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Z is for Zabaglione

San Rafael Joe's offers this rich dessert, that could easily sate two people.

And here we are at Z, the final letter in this half-year exploration of San Rafael as a delicious edible alphabet.

I will always zigzag towards zabaglione when I find it on a menu. This glorious Z-word dessert is one of the simplest yet most sensuous adventures in sweet culinary alchemy, that you’ll find in an Italian restaurant.

, a Fourth Street fixture for more than 60 years, is famous for its zabaglione. The restaurant’s executive chef-partner Chez Bornia, (he’s been main kitchen man here for 43 years) prepares each one to order so the pale gold, richly creamy froth is served steaming hot.

Each overflowing goblet of zabaglione is made up of three egg yolks, a touch of sugar, Marsala wine, vanilla extract and the merest squeeze of lemon juice. Chef Bornia beats these ingredients together in a copper bowl, then whisks them over high heat until they quintuple in volume.

The taste? Like a cloud married to egg custard kissed with citrus and spiked with oaky, honeyed dessert wine.

Zabaglione at San Rafael Joe’s is $7.25 and is available at both lunch and dinner. It’s rich; one goblet will easily nourish two as an end-of-meal extravaganza.

San Rafael Joe’s is at 931 Fourth St., 456-2425. It’s open daily for lunch and dinner.

Contact Leslie Harlib at lharlib@gmail.com.

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