9 Best Desserts in Metro Phoenix
Dayvid LeMmon One of Pomegranate Cafe's many delectable (and health-conscious) desserts
As author of Chow Bella's "Dessert First" column, I tasted my share of sweet in this city. (To say photographer Dayvid LeMmon and I enjoyed the research is an understatement.) What follows is the absolute best of the best.
Restaurants change their dessert menus on a regular basis -- seasonally or even weekly -- so it's nearly impossible to round up a list of current favorites guaranteed to be on the menu. If these exact dishes aren't available when you stop by, we bet you'll get your pick of exciting new offerings that our favorite sugar wizards are whipping up in the kitchen.
This Ahwatukee eatery's menu is full of fresh, locally produced ingredients, so it's always a good idea to get a salad, wrap, or daily special. What you might not expect from such a health-focused establishment is that the desserts are some of the best in the Valley -- and they're vegan, too. The raw, cheese-less cheesecakes are creamy and packed with fresh fruit flavor, and the handmade candy bars are delicious. But our fave is the signature layer cake made from spelt flour and organic cocoa. There's just enough tart pomegranate flavor without overpowering the chocolate. Stop in for a slice, or pre-order a whole cake for your special occasion.
Dayvid LeMmon Mama Bianco's famous flourless chocolate cake
Erase all previous memories of boring, flavorless flourless chocolate cakes and sink your teeth into this version by Mama Bianco. It's extremely fudgy without being too dense, and it's soft and moist, almost mousse-like but heavier. The rich and sophisticated flavor is thanks to 80 percent dark Valrhona chocolate, which pairs perfectly with the slightly tangy, mostly sweet Meyer lemon marmalade. This cake is regularly available at Pizzeria Bianco, Pane Bianco, and Trattoria Bianco.
Lauren Saria What makes Churn's ice cream even better? Pretzel cones and cookie sandwiches!
You could think of Churn as a separate establishment run by super-restaurateurs Upward Projects (Postino, Federal Pizza). Or, you could say that the desserts at Windsor are so addictively delicious that they warrant their own storefront. Either way, if you manage to drive past this unstoppable duo without stopping for a cocktail and a bowl of ice cream, you have a monk's sense of willpower. There's not a bad flavor in this ice cream case, but the most popular is rightfully butter pecan -- so rich it's like licking melted butter off your fingers, with the added bonus of candied pecans. To really wow your palate, mix it with Vietnamese coffee ice cream and top with toffee pieces.
Pepper T. (Yelp) Butternut squash pop with tamarind-chocolate syrup
Childhood-inspired desserts will always be a hit, with recent trends including Pop-Tart-like pastries and Hostess-style cakes. Kevin Binkley and the culinary team at Bink's Midtown has their own throwback on the menu: Push-Pops. The flavors are changed up pretty frequently, but the concept remains the same: ice cream layered with sweet sauces and packaged in a plastic tube, with something like granola for your dipping pleasure. Don't expect flavors like bubblegum and cherry. Instead, you'll find butternut squash with chocolate and tamarind, or chai tea with pineapple chutney and carrot cake crumble. This is one playful sweet treat that grownups will enjoy just as much as the little munchkins.