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UNIT 9. ALL FOUR STARS

JUST DESSERTS, by G. GATSBY

Do you want to go to Classy Cakes, Midtwon Manhattan's new all-dessert bistro? You'd better start planning your visit early. First of all, there ia a week-long wait for reservations - and good luck getting a table without one. If you get in, congratulations! Now it's time to start saving your pennies, because cake prices start at $12.50 a slice. 

Once you're through the door, the waiters and waitresses, dressed in yellow and black, buzz busily around the dining room. But the real problem is the hostess, who reigns over the restaurant like a mean queen bee. So it's a good thing the desserts are delicious - so delicious that the moment the first bite touches your taste buds, you'll forget all about the trouble, and the expense, and the rudeness. 

Chef Allison Sconestein-Alforno has created a dessert for every kind of appetite. If you like pecan pie, then you'll love her tree-nut tart, which adds fancy nut varieties like black walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts to the mix. But if you're on the mood for something creamier, you can choose from among the lemon-lavender, mocha-mint, and berry-basil custards, where fresh herbs add the perfect kick to the classic custard flavors. 

For a dessert that's filling as a whole meal, you can try the belly-swelling bread. Kids will beg their parents for the home-made ice creams in cookie flavors, like cinnamon graham and banana biscuit. And if things get too sweet for you, you can always order a cheese plate-its many colors make it almost as pretty as it is stinky. 

But the restaurant is called Classy Cakes, so you probably want to hear about those $12.50 cake slices. They are as tall as a lady in high-heeled shoes, but feel as moist in your mouth as the Amazon rain forest on a rainy day. Their flavors will send your taste buds on a trip around the world: the Moroccan cake features pistachio and cardamom, the Chinese cake has green tea and sesame seeds, and the Belgian cake has chocolate and ... well, more chocolate. 

The creative cakes will probably be many diners' favorite desserts, but for me, the mos impressive item on the menu was one of the most traditional: the crème brulée. It's hard to explain what, exactly, made this dessert so special, so I'll just say that the chef is much more skilled with a blowtorch than this reviewer will ever be. 

 

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