Sometimes the news sneaks up on you. This weekend we were so distracted with the rain, the cancellation of ACL and UT's revival on the football field that we completely forgot about our favorite holiday: National Dessert Day!
So in honor of the best meal of the day, we bring you our CultureMap staff picks for the best desserts in Austin.
Cheesecake at Blue Dahlia on East 11th Street
Yes, I know, a French-style bistro in the heart of Texas is not an odds-on favorite for finding delicious — nay, divine — cheesecake. That’s okay; it just means there’s more for me: a substantial slice of butterfat heaven, the perfect balance of dense and creamy (it comes off in slices, not chunks, like most of the baked stuff), nestled in a crust strong enough to hold it, but moist enough to meld with its seamless smoothness. It comes with berries and chocolate sauce, but the hardcore will want it straight and 100 percent uncut.
Chevre Tart with candied Meyer lemon slivers at Fabi + Rosi
The combination of tangy goat cheese and sweet citrus sounds good in theory, sure, but you can’t really imagine the otherworldly deliciousness of this concoction until you get it in your mouth. Maybe it’s because almost every part of it comes from fairly close by — Chef Wolfgang Murber uses Wateroak Farms goat cheese from Bryan, Soncrest Egg Co. free-range eggs from Gonzales and lemons from McAllen’s G&S Orchard — but nothing else tastes quite like it, or quite as perfect.
— Cindy Widner, Editor in Chief
Dulce de Leche at La Condesa
So James Beard award-winning pastry chef Laura Sawicki has moved on to as yet-unknown pastures, but she's left behind an incredible dessert (or "postre') menu at La Condesa. Between birthday dinners, happy hours and bachelorette parties (seriously, everyone has their party here), I've had just about every dessert on the menu. But my hands down favorite? The Dulce de Leche. A gooey pudding cake that oozes caramel goodness, not-too-sweet cream cheese ice cream and caramel covered popcorn adds the perfect texture to this treat.
Chocolate Mousse at Whole Foods Markets
Tucked in the back corner of the Lamar Boulevard flagship store, right next to the bakery case, is my favorite mousse ever — rich chocolate, smooth texture and not-too-sweet. During a recent trip through the checkout line, the Whole Foods employee stopped when he got to my little cup of mousse, picked it up and said, "It's been three days since I've had one of these." I smiled, unsure of why he was telling me this. He continued, "I had to stop," he said sadly, shaking his head. "I was eating them every day." I nodded knowingly. Add in the fact that they're $2.99 and you have a devilishly delicious treat.
Eggnog at Weather Up
Last year, a few weeks before Christmas, I was sitting at the bar at Weather Up craving dessert but also wanting a cocktail (the ultimate Sophie's Choice). I told the bartender my dilemma and with a crack of an egg, a few shakes of wrist and a sprinkle of cinnamon, he had handcrafted the most perfect eggnog. Having never had eggnog that wasn't out of a carton and, quite frankly, disgusting, I was hesitant to take the first sip out of my retro-inspired glass. But I'm so glad I did.
Now this isn't on the menu so no guarantee you can always order it. But something tells me if you find yourself sitting at the bar on a random Tuesday evening in December, you just may be able to get the bartender to whip up a batch.
- Katie Friel, Managing Editor
Flande Almendra at Fonda San Miguel
No feast at this interior Mexican locale is complete without stealing a few bites of the Flande Almendra. Rich and creamy, this silken dessert offers the sweet and bitter balance of caramel and a hint of citrus aromatics.
Chocolate Pot de Crème at Arro
Few desserts can reach the depth of chocolate that this decadent little number does. Made with a fine dark chocolate, you only need a few spoonfuls to satisfy the sweet tooth within. (Be sure to savor the sweet crème Anglaise served alongside to balance the bitter dark chocolate of the dessert.)
- Jessica Dupuy, Food Editor
Sorberitas at Dolce Vita
At first glance, the Sorberitas seem like your standard frozen cocktails, but after the first sip you realize that these drinks are too decadent and creamy to not be counted as a dessert. Dolce Vita’s gelato and sorbets are always popular, but in Sorberita form combined with rum, tequila or vodka, you have the perfect antidote to a rough day at work. It pretty much embodies the philosophy of “Treat Yo’ Self.”
Donuts from Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery
This list is filled with the desserts from nice restaurants, but you also need to know where to go after a night out at the bar. Getting your sweet tooth fix at 2 am is pretty easy at Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery. With some of the best donuts in town for super cheap, it's the perfect antidote after you've spent all your cash on shots. Personal favorites are the maple-glazed donuts and the Bavarian creams. Plus if you tip well, they may even thrown in an extra donut as a thank you.
Frozen bananas at Bananarchy
The years between seasons three and four felt like ages for fans of Arrested Development, but they were a little easier for Austinites thanks to Bananarchy. While it doesn’t catch the eye like the original Big Yellow Joint, this food trailer offers the best frozen banana treats for a hot summer day. Order the Afternoon Delight covered in all three dips, nuts and graham crackers or the monstrous and almost excessive GOB. But hurry because this stand is seasonal and will close up shop by the end of October.
- Ryan Lakich, Listings Editor