Dig into fresas con crema, gelato, cream puffs, chocolate chip cookies, purple rice yogurt and more…

Mochinut magic. (Image via Yelp)

Whether you crave a warm chocolate chip cookie, fresh fruit, a delicately decadent cream puff or creamy gelato, these new arrivals have you covered. The latest eateries to join the abundance of sweets on the Peninsula hail from both abroad and home, each adding their own creative twist to beloved favorites.

International chains like Mochinut and Yomie’s X Rice Yogurt established Peninsula outposts, and the locally founded Cibele’s Ice Cream, Pâte à Choux and SF Gelateria represent a vision fulfilled for their owners as they pushed through the added challenges of opening an eatery during the pandemic. Fortunately, hot summer months call for ice cream, and business has started to pick up.

“It’s a dream come alive that we’ve slowly put together,” says Selene Garcia of Cibele’s Ice Cream.

Prepare to satisfy your sweet tooth. There’s a lot to dig into.

When her restaurant closed in the pandemic, Michelle Ko pivoted to the art of making cream puffs, striving for perfection in texture and flavor. The family-owned Pâte à Choux opened in San Bruno. Left: Cream puffs with chocolate and vanilla custard. Right: A coconut cream puff and a black sesame cream puff. (Photos courtesy Michelle Ko)

Pâte à Choux

The family-owned Páte à Choux in The Shops at Tanforan brings a passion for cream puffs to the Peninsula.

Customers can choose between a classic puff pastry, or one that incorporates chocolate for a flavor that’s very rich, and just a little bit bitter, and not too sweet. Some have a cream or cupcake-inspired top. To maintain the puff’s delicate texture, the team fills each puff with smooth custard as customers order. Flavors include original, chocolate, matcha, yogurt, black sesame and hojicha.

There are also limited edition special items, like mochi brûlée and berry puff cakes. Co-owner Michelle Ko says she expects to continually evolve the menu, introducing new flavors, and maybe even new puff shapes.

Pâte à Choux // 1150 El Camino Real Suite 205, San Bruno; 650.576.4915

International chain Mochinut opened its first Bay Area location in San Mateo, serving mochi donuts. (Photos via Yelp)

Mochinut

With a focus on mochi donuts and other sweet and savory snacks, Mochinut is expanding its international franchise beyond South Korea and Thailand, with plans to open upwards of 90 in the United States. Today, there are more than a dozen locations in Los Angeles, and just one in the Bay Area, and that’s in the Peninsula’s own San Mateo. A second Peninsula location is planned for Palo Alto.

On the local menu, featured mochi donut flavors include strawberry, honeydew, tiramisu and cinnamon sugar. Currently, they don’t have gluten-free, vegan or dairy-free mochi donut options, though the team hopes to add those in the future. Boba and packaged fruit milks and soy milks are also available.

If you crave something salty to go with the sweet, Mochinut also serves hot dogs, encrusted in a rice flour batter. You can add sugar, potato or Hot Cheetos to the mix too.

Mochinut // 250 S. B Street, San Mateo; 650.458.3041

“Our theme is what our culture is all about and Hispanic heritage,” says Selene Garcia of Cibele’s Ice Cream. In Menlo Park, Garcia and her business partner Carlos Peña serve antojitos inspired by their hometowns in Mexico. Left: Corn with mayo, cheese and chile. Right: Botana with fresh cut fruit. (Photos courtesy of Selene Garcia)

Cibele’s Ice Cream

Be it sweet, savory, spicy or sour (or a combination of the above), Cibele’s Ice Cream caters to just about any little craving you might have. The team brings flavors from their Mexican hometowns to Menlo Park — “with a little bit of twist,” says business partner Selene Garcia.

The team takes pride in getting fresh, natural ingredients for their ice creams. “There’s no artificial flavoring, no artificial coloring,” Garcia says. “If it’s mango, it’s actually made out of mangos.” Same goes for their other flavors: If it’s nanche, it’s made out of nanche. If it’s guava, it’s made out of guava.

“If it’s mango, it’s actually made out of mangos.” The Cibele’s Ice Cream team serves ice pops with fresh fruit. (Photo courtesy of Selene Garcia)

Ice creams have been especially popular during the warm summer months, Garcia says, but fresas con crema is another specialty. There are also beautiful botanas with a mix of fresh cut fruit in a pineapple or watermelon, served with tangy chamoy sauce, crisp bites of jicama and a dash of spice. Hot crepes, fresh fruit juice and creamy banana splits are also available.

Cibele’s Ice Cream is now open, just down the way from Back a Yard Caribbean Grill (which has its own selection of sweets, including sweet potato pudding, pineapple upside down cake and key lime pie).

Cibele’s Ice Cream // 1199 Willow Road, Menlo Park; 650.561.3225

“I was itching to start a new venture.” After the solar company closed that Shiao-Ying Fang worked for, she had her sights set on opening a gelato shop. She opened SF Gelateria in Redwood City. (Photos courtesy of Shiao-Ying Fang.)

SF Gelateria

Redwood City has a new gelato shop with the arrival of SF Gelateria. The dairy-based gelatos and vegan sorbettos are made on-site with local seasonal ingredients when they’re available, and served the next day to hit just the right temperature and texture.

On the menu are flavors like sweet cream, hazelnut and tiramisu, as well as Snickers, cheesecake and honey lavender with blueberries. There are also flavors inspired by founder Shiao-Ying Fang’s travels and childhood, like rosewater saffron, black sesame, lychee and milk tea. Dairy-free options include chocolate, horchata and a variety of fruits such as banana kiwi, strawberry, avocado lime, lemon and matcha coconut.

Some of the flavors have come from customers’ suggestions: There’s a board in the shop where you can write in your own ideas too. Guava passion fruit, watermelon mojito, piña colada, mango Tajín and birthday cake flavors all came from this.

SF Gelateria // 2621 Broadway, Redwood City; 650.257.0940

Photos by Sara Hayden

Yomie’s Rice X Yogurt

My mother-in-law recently switched to purple rice after a lifetime of loyalty to jasmine rice for its fiber and protein content. When I saw that it was available with probiotic frozen yogurt in smoothie form, I figured I could basically turn to this treat as a health food. Purple rice yogurt smoothies are now available at a Yomie’s Rice X Yogurt location in Millbrae, in the former home of Search Tea.

The very first location of the international Yomie’s chain opened in 2018 in Sydney, Australia’s Chinatown, joining its lineup of establishments offering milk teas, sweet soups and other desserts. Since then, Yomie’s has expanded beyond Australia, throughout Asia and to the West Coast of the U.S.

At the Millbrae location, Yomie’s has yogurt smoothies with fresh fruit like jujube, avocado and durian, as well as teas with passion fruit, grape and melon. There are also special flavors on rotation, like lychee rose. But the signature purple rice yogurt smoothie is what hit the spot for me. The taste is subtle, refreshingly so. The rice has just enough chewiness to register as decadent, and you can order the sweetness level to your liking.

Yomie’s Rice X Yogurt // 105 Park Boulevard, Millbrae; 650.392.0650

Bagel Street Cafe is now supplying warm chocolate chip cookies. (Photo via Yelp)

Choc Cookies at Bagel Street Cafe

Last but certainly not least, Bagel Street Cafe in Millbrae is offering a different type of tasty circular treat in addition to their signature bagels.

Bagel Street is now host to the second location of Choc Cookies, the first of which is in Santa Clara. Now, you can order large chocolate chip cookies directly at the bagel shop, order them for pickup or get them by delivery. Choose from original, or triple chocolate.

When you order online, be sure to answer the crucial question when its asked: “Would you like this item warmed?” (Answer: Yes!)

Choc Cookies at Bagel Street Cafe // 537 Broadway, Millbrae; 650.652.9700

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