by Mabel Suen
Welcome to Sugar High, a series devoted solely to spotlighting the best ways to sate a sweet tooth in St. Louis. We'll sample the best the city has to offer at restaurants, bakeries and holes-in-the-wall, and provide some insight on how these confections are made along the way.
Most desserts serve as guilty pleasures, but not at Frida's Deli (622 North and South Road, 314-727-6500), a healthy-lifestyle restaurant that's both butter free and processed-sugar free. Since opening in July 2012, chef Natasha Kwan has held a firm commitment to offering wholesome, low-glycemic food -- dessert notwithstanding. One particular superfood appears frequently throughout her menu, even in a sweet capacity: Frida's avocado mousse comes out cold in a small bowl, a revitalizing treat to enjoy by the spoonful.
Kwan modeled the dessert after a favorite Filipino dessert she enjoyed while growing up with her traditional Chinese family in the Midwest -- a mousse primarily made up of avocado, ice and sweetened condensed milk.
"It was a really special dessert in our family. We'd only have it twice a year," she says. "The Chinese don't really eat dessert. The most we'd have is maybe orange slices after dinner."
"Avocado, for me, was always used in desserts," she continues. "When I came across guacamole at age seven or eight, I was like, 'What? Avocado is dessert! You don't eat it unless you want it after a meal.' It was then that I learned that Americans more so eat avocado as a savory food.'"
Kwan's take on the mousse from her childhood combines ripe avocado with a small amount of ice, blended to order in a Vitamix until cold and creamy. Patrons can opt for the traditional avocado flavor or pay a small upcharge for high-quality chocolate or raspberry-chocolate additions. Each one gets topped with slivers of unsweetened coconut flakes for texture as well as maple syrup to lend a "buttery" mouthfeel to the already rich fruit.
Frida's avocado mousse receives marks from every category in the menu's legend: It is vegan, raw, gluten-free, soy-free and oil-free. Whether that matters to your diet or not, the mousse serves as a delightfully refreshing end to any meal -- completely guilt-free.
Previously on Sugar High: - India Palace's Gulab Jamun - Melt's "Violet Beauregarde" Waffle - Brevan's Patisserie's "Brendan" - Winslow's Home's Chocolate Cake with Espresso Meringue - La Patisserie Chouquette's Eclair - Black Bear Bakery's Raspberry Oat Bar - Gelateria's London Fog Gelato - 4 Seasons Bakery's German Cheesecake - Libertine's "Candy Bar" - Cleveland-Heath's Old Fashioned Cherry Pie - Schlafly Tap Room and Bottleworks' Sticky Toffee Pudding
We're always looking for some sweet ideas. E-mail the author at email@example.com.