Little Caesars Introduces Bacon-Wrapped Deep Dish Pizza, Is Apparently Trying to Kill Us All

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JK Grence

The Guilty Pleasure: Bacon-Wrapped Deep-Dish Pizza
Where to Get It: Little Caesars, locations nationwide
Price: $12
What it Really Costs: Each slice is 450 calories. Each. Slice.

Peak Bacon has come and gone. I mean, things with bacon on them are still delicious, but the trend of slapping bacon on anything that doesn't run away fast enough is so last year, possibly even so 2013. I'm a little wistful, but mostly relieved.

That doesn't stop people from trying, though. Case in point: Little Caesars went and lined the crust of their deep-dish pizzas with strips of bacon.

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Chocolade Van Brugge in Scottsdale Serves Excellent Liege Waffles

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Lauren Saria
This waffle will blow your mind.
The Guilty Pleasure: Leige waffle
Where to Get It: Chocolade Van Brugge
Price: About $5
What it Really Costs: More calories than I'd like to think about

Situated in a part of Old Town Scottsdale that's mostly filled with expensive art galleries and fancy boutiques, Chocolade Van Brugge, a chocolate shop, is a bit of an unlikely find.

Then again, the boutique sweet shop sort of fits in perfectly -- just consider the $2.50 per truffle price tag. Chocolade Van Brugge justifies the price with the fact that the chocolates are imported from Belgium, and though they're certainly worth trying, what we really love are the shop's Liege waffles.


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Ben & Jerry's Cookie Core Ice Creams Are Even Better Than You Expect

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JK Grence

The Guilty Pleasure: Ben & Jerry's Cookie Core ice cream
Where to Get It: In theory, your favorite grocery. In practice, I've only seen it at Walmart.
Price: About $4, same as all the other Ben & Jerry's flavors wherever you buy them.
What it Really Costs: Three times the calories to find your favorite. And entering Walmart.

Ben & Jerry's has long been a standard bearer for guilty pleasure sweets. I know it's my ice cream of choice if I'm curling up on the couch with a bad movie after a rough day.

I love that even though the eponymous duo doesn't have a hand in day-to-day operations of the company, Ben & Jerry's still has some of the most fun and innovative flavors on the market.

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New Red Velvet Oreos? Yes, Please!

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JK Grence

The Guilty Pleasure: Red Velvet Oreos
Where to Get It: Your favorite big box grocery store.
Price: Same as the regular box of Oreos.
What it Really Costs: More money per cookie, considering the smaller box.

When someone tells me that Nabisco is going to unveil a new flavor of Oreo, I get a little nervous. While they've released some fun flavors (the pumpkin spice ones weren't half bad), I have minor PTSD over the dubious watermelon flavor Oreos.

This time around, they played it safe and went with perenially popular red velvet cake, in cute little sandwich cookie form.

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Cool Gelato in Scottsdale Has Killer Brioche Ice Cream Sandwiches

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JK Grence

The Guilty Pleasure: Gelato Panini
Where to Get It: Cool Gelato Italiano, downtown Scottsdale
Price: $4.50
What it Really Costs: Still on the low-carb bandwagon? You'll definitely have to sit this out.

My craving for a really good ice cream sandwich knows few bounds lately. Just last week I was over on the west side enjoying an ice cream macaron sandwich. Then, a friend told me about another creative ice cream sandwich, this one deep in the heart of Scottsdale.

Cool Gelato Italiano is already one of my favorite dessert stops in town. Their gelato is mind-blowing. The flavors are vibrant, and the texture is like frozen silk. Even better, the very Italian couple that runs the place is utterly charming.

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Pho 43's Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches Are the Best of Both Worlds

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JK Grence
Taro and Thai tea? Yes please.

The Guilty Pleasure: Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches
Where to Get It: Pho 43, 43rd Ave and Thomas
Price: $3.75
What it Really Costs: Somehow, regular macarons weren't unhealthy enough yet.

I'm a little dismayed that macaron mania seems to have come and gone. I'm not exactly surprised, though. They are a pain in the ass to make. Still, I'd rather have a macaron or two instead of those over-frosted cupcakes that I'm somewhat glad to see are on the wane.

While macarons may not be quite as chic as they once were, there are still a number of places around town that serve up some mighty fine ones. Eugenia Theodosopoulous and the rest of the gang at Essence Bakery still crank out some of the best in town.

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Grass-Fed Beef Burgers Now at Carl's Jr., Of All Places

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JK Grence

The Guilty Pleasure: The All-Natural Burger.
Where to Get it: Carl's Jr., several locations around town.
Price: Starting at $5.99, more for a double burger or a combo, natch.
What it Really Costs: Hope you're hungry at 730 calories for a single burger. And am I getting old, or is six bucks a lot for a drive-thru burger even of this caliber?

Phoenix sure loves burgers. Over around Biltmore and Arcadia, there are seemingly dozens of places you can go that specialize in chichi hamburgers.

Anymore, if someone tells me that their burgers are made with grass-fed, hormone-free beef, and natural cheddar cheese, all on a bun baked fresh in-house daily, I'm not going to bat an eyelash. Around these parts, that's a bush-league burger.

However, when a regional chain puts out a burger like that, it gets me to sit up and take notice.

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Paradise Valley Burger Company's Country Fried Burger Is Great for Resolution Breaking

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JK Grence
Just what a burger needs: The country fried steak treatment.

The Guilty Pleasure: Country Fried Burger
Where to Get It: Paradise Valley Burger Company, 40th Street and Bell Road
Price: Seven bucks.
What it Really Costs: Good luck resisting the sweets.

For some reason, the coming and arrival of the new year has brought me a serious craving for good burgers. In my neighborhood, I can barely swing a cat without hitting a fancy-pants gourmet burger joint. I like my little local spots, but they have a slight tendency to blend together into a blur. So, I keep going around town in search of something fun and new.

On a recent sojourn, I stopped by Paradise Valley Burger Company up in north Phoenix just off the 51 at 40th Street and Bell (which, in my humble but correct opinion, ain't even close to Paradise Valley), and found a hotbed of guilty pleasure burgers.

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Pizza Hut Revamps Entire Menu, Still Manages to Taste Like Pizza Hut

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JK Grence
The trendy new pizza joint down the street? Nope! Would you believe it's Pizza Hut?

The Guilty Pleasure: Huge new menu additions.
Where to Get It: Pizza Hut, at your door in about half an hour.
Price: Right now, any non-stuffed-crust pizza for $12 if you order with the app
What it Really Costs: Skinny crust? It's a little better for you than usual!

In the constant struggle for mass-market pizza domination, Pizza Hut has found themselves struggling recently. Papa John's seems to be doing just fine thanks to their NFL sponsorship. Domino's was faltering quite a bit until they had the brilliant idea to change their base recipes so the pizza didn't taste like dried oregano-covered cardboard anymore.


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Viniq Shimmery Liqueur: for Your Glittered Cocktail Needs

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JK Grence
Before shaking the bottle, and after. Say it with me now: Oooh, aaah!

The Guilty Pleasure: Viniq Shimmery Liqueur.
Where to Get It: Well-stocked liquor stores and Fry's.
Price: $19.
What it Really Costs: The bottle is 15 inches! Where the hell am I going to put this thing?

It's hard for new products in the spirits category to stand out. This isn't much of a surprise, given that the contents of a liquor store are literally thousands of varieties of the exact same product. So, spirits makers will resort to any number of gimmicks to make their bottle that much more eye-catching and therefore get ordered in a bar or taken home for enjoyment as both beverage and an ersatz objet d'art.

Some of the more noteworthy ones include Hpnotiq, with a cerulean hue not usually seen outside of waters in the Caribbean Sea, and Galliano, with its nearly 18-inch bottle that can't be missed, but also can't be put on quite a few shelves.

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