Delicious Desserts at the Tag Restaurants

 Kabocha cake (Mister Tuna) - Amaretto squash purée, kabocha (squash) cake, buttered walnut ice cream, candied walnuts, and warm caramelized maple.

Kabocha cake (Mister Tuna) - Amaretto squash purée, kabocha (squash) cake, buttered walnut ice cream, candied walnuts, and warm caramelized maple.

It’s the time of year where we can over dress, over shop, over party and over eat. Yes, we at Ultra5280 Lifestyle love to do all of these things, all of the time, but during the holidays we let ourselves get carried away. Last night for example, we indulged in a variety of delicious desserts created by Denver native Joy Williams, newly appointed Executive Pastry Chef of TAG Restaurant Group.

Joy studied Baking and Pastry Arts at Johnson and Wales University and most recently led the pastry team at Bonanno Concept restaurants before joining TAG Restaurant Group. We met Joy at Guard and Grace, a contemporary American steakhouse in downtown Denver, to sample a few of the desserts on the menus at Guard and Grace, Mister Tuna and just-opened FNG.

 Guard and Grace

Guard and Grace

The Banana Cream Pie at FNG was a hit all around ­­– the main component, the creamy filling, is made with fresh bananas here, which we learned is usually not the case with banana cream pies. A browned graham cracker crust complements it, along with the huge dollop of whipped cream topped by bananas and caramel made for a sweet, comforting indulgence. Reminiscent of what you might have on a special occasion at Grandma’s house and worth ordering dessert after dinner.

 Banana cream pie (FNG) - fresh banana custard, graham cracker crust, whipped cream, fresh banana slices and salted caramel.

Banana cream pie (FNG) - fresh banana custard, graham cracker crust, whipped cream, fresh banana slices and salted caramel.

Our second favorite was the Kabocha Cake, which was unlike anything we’d ever had, and included a bunch of fall favorite flavors. While there were many elements, they all worked together beautifully and provided savory, sweet, crunchy, moist, warm and cool components, with a creamy buttered walnut ice cream on top! It was such a unique treat and perfect for anyone who waits all year for those fall/winter flavors.

 Coconut 'creme brûlée' (Guard&Grace) - toasted coconut custard, vanilla roasted pineapple, toasted coconut, house made passion fruit sorbet topped with caramel glass brûlée'.

Coconut 'creme brûlée' (Guard&Grace) - toasted coconut custard, vanilla roasted pineapple, toasted coconut, house made passion fruit sorbet topped with caramel glass brûlée'.

The Coconut 'Creme Brûlée' is on the other end of the flavor spectrum from the Kabocha cake, full of tropical, fruity flavors. It is not your traditional creme brûlée', tasting mainly of coconut, encircled by roasted pineapple chunks, and the brûlée' sugar hovers above like a tipped hat! Very delicious, but different from a traditional crème brûlée'.

Last but not least, the Cardamom Torte was much more subtle and simple in flavor combinations compared to the top two. The pomegranate sorbet on the side packs a tasty, tart flavor punch, but overshadows the elegant cardamom spice cake and apple accompaniment. This tote would be perfect with a coffee or tea or for those who don’t like a super sweet dessert.

 Cardamom Torte (Guard&Grace) - cardamom cake, whipped mascarpone, ginger beer compressed apples, caramelized honey (alchemy, Boulder) and pomegranate sorbet.

Cardamom Torte (Guard&Grace) - cardamom cake, whipped mascarpone, ginger beer compressed apples, caramelized honey (alchemy, Boulder) and pomegranate sorbet.

“We’re very excited to have Joy on board,” says Chef Troy Guard. “She has such a thoughtful way of doing things. Every flavor has a place; every ingredient has a purpose, and there’s a creativity there that makes her work so special.” We encourage you to set aside some time this busy season to see the holiday lights around town and to try the tasty treats Chef Joy Williams is cooking up in the TAG Restaurant kitchens!

Words by Tiffany Candelaria          Photos by Samantha Bliss