Appetite: Elizabeth Falkner's fantastic new dessert menu at Bubble Lounge

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Falkner's upside-down cheesecake turns us inside out
ALL PHOTOS BY VIRGINA MILLER

Elizabeth Falkner is easily one of the widely acknowledged pastry greats in the US and chef of two SF restaurants, including Citizen Cake, which is moving to Fillmore Street, hopefully open by the beginning of July. Bubbly lover Falkner has created something sweet at Bubble Lounge, eager to take on creating desserts meant to pair with champagne/sparkling wine. She trained Bubble Lounge's crew on preparing the menu which launched on 6/16.

At a sneak preview tasting of the entire menu with Falkner, I was impressed by the range of tastes covered in these five unique desserts, as well as their approachability. It gets even better when paired with Bubble Lounge Wine Director, Sabawun Kakar's fine champagne pairings (more on Kakar and Bubble Lounge in my Perfect Spot newsletter).

Falkner says, "I love the balance of acid, sweetness and richness these desserts offer and it makes pairing with champagne really fun. I want to wake up the palate with refreshing flavors, no overkill anywhere." Her creative whimsy shows in the Spring menu:

LEMON DROP

Ingredients: lemon curd, yogurt, blueberry sauce, maple crunch, champagne granita - bright, tart dessert in a glass

Pairing: Fleury Carte Rouge - organic, biodynamic champagne, lovely and crisp on its own, but the only one that didn't work for me with the dessert

UPSIDE-DOWN CHEESECAKE: A little sweet in the big city

Ingredients: creamy cheesecake-like dessert topped with buttery graham crust and amarena cherries - almost savory, strong, silky cheese; the most unique item on the menu and one of my favorites

Pairing: Gaston Chiquet Blanc de Blancs - lovely small producer; clean, with notes of herbal tea, tangy apple

OLIVE OIL MADELEINES (pictured above)

Ingredients: madeleine baked in brown butter and grassy olive oil, with olive oil ice cream, a Spring-fresh strawberry and fennel salad in rose vinaigrette; probably my favorite all around dessert for unique combination of savory/sweet salad with baked madeleine

Pairing: Pol Roger Brut - a gorgeous, flowery/toasty nose, dry with fruit and cream, bringing out the earthiness in the fennel; possibly my favorite pairing of the menu

ICE CREAM SANDWICH

Ingredients: pizzelle wave cookies, layered with three sorbets/ice creams: chocolate (with a brilliant whiff of tobacco), passion fruit, pistachio

Pairing: Jean Milan Blanc de Blancs - acidic, fruity, with light balance of toast

DARK CHOCOLATE PAIN PERDU

Ingredients: dark chocolate "French toast" in delicate orange-caramel sauce with genius pink peppercorn chantilly

Pairing: Bruno Paillard Brut - family run, small production; fresh fruit and spice

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