Italian Tomato - Costa Mesa
Japanese bakeries have something in common with other Asian bakeries: they produce cakes and pastries that feature a Zen-like balance of flavors. Less important is how much butter they can cram into the frosting, or how much sugar they can work into the batter -- a practice lamentable in American bake shops, and the reason why I never, ever buy a cake from Albertsons or Ralphs.
There's no danger of such sugar shock at the Italian Tomato, which is located in a prime spot inside the ever popular Mitsuwa food court. Once diners get their fill of ramen, udon, and curry, Italian Tomato is there to entice them with sweets that aren't too sweet.
Recently, we went there specifically for an afternoon of dessert snacking and bought a pair of treats. The first was a crepe ($2.75), which looked like a cannoli, filled with a winning custard and topped with fruit. Inside and towards the center we discovered chunks of sponge cake. Although delicious, we would've preferred more custard. Better was the tiramisu ($4.00), which had a good and generous dusting of coffee/cocoa powder on top and three, feather-light layers of cake separated by whipped cream and a good soaking of coffee. It even came with a white chocolate nametag with the word "Tiramisu" scribbled in script, as if there could be any mistake.
665 Paularino Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626