8:00 p.m. Friday: Best Crème Brûlée 

Mudd's Restaurant

Work sucks, the boss is an asshole, and your commute is hell. What to do? Soothe yourself with one of Mudd's fabulous seasonal crème brûlées. Amazing how sugar, eggs, and a stunning atmosphere can work wonders. This ain't just any crème brûlée. For the past sixteen years, Mudd's has been delighting diners with seasonal menus and desserts. Chef Josephine Segraves oversees much of the cooking here and ensures the brûlée are as fresh and timely as everything else on Mudd's outstanding menu. A custard-like French dessert, crème brûlée is baked in the oven and set in cups in a water bath to ensure it doesn't dry out. At Mudd's, seasonal fruits such as passion fruit and mango are mixed into the custard to make an unforgettable dessert. The mango brûlée is accompanied by caramelized mango slices. In February, the restaurant featured a tangerine and ginger brûlée. A few months earlier, it was honey and lavender. Once out of the oven, the dessert is topped with sugar and brown sugar and then seared with a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar and form a crust ("brûlée" means "scorched" in French). "Depending on what's available, we try to keep the brûlées as seasonal as possible," Segraves says. Nestled in the East Bay hills, Mudd's sits on ten beautiful acres of wooded land with gardens and creeks. This is a marvelous way to unwind with a sugar salve in a garden setting.

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