CakeSpy Undercover: Gelato from Bottega Italiana, Seattle

This is what happiness looks like on a (rare) sunny day in Seattle. It is two scoops of gelato from Bottega Italiana in the Pike Place Market. It is (for me) generally devoured slowly, with a tiny spoon, while leaning against my car, which is illegally parked in the three-minute load zone just outside of this small establishment.

I have an answer prepared if a traffic cop ever comes up and busts me, by the way. It goes something like "the spoon is tiny, dude, this cannot be rushed." I'm pretty sure he or she would not give me a ticket, because this is very sound logic.

Of course, tiny spoon aside, there is another very valid reason why Bottega Italiana gelato ought not be rushed: the stuff is good.

Now, I say this with the slightest tinge of hesitation, because they also specialize in sorbetto, but in my opinion, we (as a human race of dessert lovers) ought not waste too much on sorbetto when gelato is on hand.

Sorbetto (gelato's fruit-based, generally fat-free cousin) is just fine when paired with gelato--for instance, a scoop of raspberry sorbetto with gianduja gelato, or a scoop of strawberry sorbetto paired with rich French Vanilla gelato--but on its own, it's vaguely virtuous and doesn't hold my personal attention for too long.

In my opinion, the real reason to visit the Bottega is the Panna Cotta ("cooked cream") gelato. It's unbelievably smooth, rich, and creamy, and is made even better with a second scoop of something equally rich and creamy--say, hazelnut or gianduja or--if they have it on the day in question--salted caramel gelato. What will happen is this: you will take a taste, you will let it melt on your tongue, you will close your eyes which are already rolling back inside of your skull a little bit, and then you will re-open your eyes to make sure you are getting a good sized scoop with that mini spoon, and you will repeat until your little flower-shaped cup is empty.

And if nobody is looking, you'll tilt that cup skyward so that you can sip the last melty bits when you're nearing the end.

Yup: that is indeed what happiness looks like, sweeties.

Bottega Italiana, various locations (go to the Market one, it's my favorite); online here.

Bottega Italiana on Urbanspoon