SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition
Of the many fine things to come from houses -- prime rib, pancakes, Venus Xtravaganza -- the finest may be silvanas. Conjured out of butter and cashews, with a touch of food coloring added for good luck, these sandwich cookies are only found in a few places outside the Philippines. In fact, the Manila-based House of Silvanas has only one Bay Area location, a shoebox bakery located in a Daly City strip mall barely visible from the street.
Silvanas, which are stored in a freezer case, are the size of an oversized Oreo or a Parisian macaron. When you pick one up, it gives the illusion that it's more air than solid. Eat the first silvana as you're departing the store, and you seem to taste it in two waves: First the wafers, whose brittle, flaky texture is reminiscent of a Butterfinger, shiver and dissolve. Then the butter cream at the center of the cookie begins to melt.
House of Silvanas, 2055 Gellert, #3, Daly City, (650) 878-8700, www.houseofsilvanas.com.
Most of the silvanas' flavor -- tangy mango, deep chocolate, grassy pandan leaf -- is locked in butter, and it slowly spreads throughout the mouth, leaving the fruit long after the bite is gone. As the silvanas warm up, the time lag disappears, and you realize that you've grown to like the syncopated effect. Which is why the few that make it back to the house will go back into the freezer. There, they emit pulses of some gravitational force that keeps you orbiting back to the kitchen, until they have all disappeared.
Other favorites in this series: