Best Cheesecake - 2004
Il Caffe Emporio Rulli - CLOSED
San Francisco, CA 94123
The best thing about the newly reconfigured Union Square is Rulli's little cafe just off Stockton Street, where you can sit at the edge of the piazza, soak up the ambience, sip an espresso, and eat the best pastries east of the Pacific Ocean. Take the house cheesecake, for instance. This isn't the platinum brick of cream cheese that traditionally caps off an evening of rib-eye and martinis, but a light and airy Sicilian cassatta, a timbale of barely sweetened ricotta studded with pistachio and bits of bittersweet chocolate, set upon a base of rum-soaked spongecake and crowned with candied orange and grapefruit. It's especially creamy-dreamy when the sun is out, Andrea Bocelli is emoting through the stereo speakers, and you can contemplate the passing parade, the Dewey Monument, the occasional palm tree, and ... the Cheesecake Factory across Geary, where Snickers and cookie dough subvert the great American dessert just as surely as does Rulli's light and lovely creation.