Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Afternoon Pick-Me-Up

Hooker's Sweet Treats. It looks like Martha Stewart has ventured into the TenderNob and transformed 442 Hyde into a farmhouse chic coffee and chocolate bar. Cobalt blue walls, antique wooden tables, a tiny open kitchen and shelves with curious flea market finds (like Cracker Jack Boxes from before I was born). Caramels come loose in brown waxed paper bags or wrapped in heavy brown paper and twine. The design elements are spot on, and the caramels are even better.

I've complained about this before...poor Gourmet Walks tour guides try a lot of salted caramels. Many of them are just so so, and there are only a few that absolutely must be sampled. Hooker's is one of them. We love that David "Hooker" Williams uses intense dark chocolate (72%) since so many salt caramels are milk. And the salt he uses is flaked right on top - Welsch lightly smoked sea salt. Ingredients are also Michael Pollan approved: agave nectar for sweetener, organic locally sourced fair trade chocolate. At $2 a piece, I'd spring for the 20 for $10 and invite friends over. They won't last long.

Gourmet Walks will come here for the caramels, but coffee fans won't be disappointed by the fresh roasted Sightglass Coffee. Started by Blue Bottle alums, Sightglass is the place to go when you find yourself in the outer limits of SOMA, and now, the TenderNob. The Hooker's Mocha is a beautiful partnership. And then there are the bread puddings, inspired by Williams's childhood in Lousiana. But why fill up on bread puddings when there are luscious caramels to devour?

Hooker's Sweet Treats is at 442 Hyde Street, open from 8-5 Monday through Friday and 10-2 on Saturdays.

No comments: