If you've ever meandered into the food court of Mitsuwa Marketplace in Costa Mesa, you probably noticed the seemingly random Italian Tomato nestled amongst all the noodles and rice balls.
More of a Japanese tomato than anything, this little bistro dishes out “Italian” fare with a Japanese flare (yeah, that rhymed). Although the place does serve up some strange spaghetti (for which it's not very popular… and for good reason), the main draw are the adorable slices of various cakes, cream puffs and parfaits that line its little glass display case.
The strawberry quartet cake is a perfect representative of the alluring sweets Italian Tomato has to offer. Just take a look and tell us you don't immediately want to grab yourself a cup of tea and go face-down on it:
Enter the black sesame pudding:
You might be hesitant to shell out $2 for a little container of an unidentifiable substance, but in this case less is definitely more. The pudding's consistency is thick while still remaining creamy. The flavor is subtly sweet and rich without being overwhelmingly so.
Finely ground black sesame seeds create the dark layers between the lighter pudding and add an aromatic nuttiness to the flavor. The serving size is just enough to satisfy your sweet tooth without making you ill, unlike the endless fluffiness of the strawberry quartet cake–which has the potential to make you go belly-up.
Of course, you have to appreciate sesame to get on with this dessert and if you don't, at least you've got a backup plan.
665 Paularino Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626-3033