Never mind what mama said about eating your vegetables--dessert is always the best conclusion.
By Laura Marrich and Steven Robert Allen, Christie Chisholm, Amy Dalness, Marisa Demarco, Hillari Straba, Jennifer Wohletz
Most Unique Dessert
There's a reason this place is named Euphoria Smoothies. I've got four words for you: stuffed chocolate crumb pretzel. The thing is filled with creamy chocolate and covered in chocolate drizzles and crumblies. The moniker could also have something to do with the “Raging Bull” smoothie, a power lifter in which Red Bull is a key ingredient. Though that's less likely to induce "euphoria" than it is to bring on the "hyper-talkative ADD" portion of your afternoon.
1. Euphoria Smoothies
3. Flying Star Café
Best Use of Chocolate
Chocolate is like sex. It's almost always good--but it has the potential to be spectacular. Tender, balanced, redolent and slightly spicy--a good piece of chocolate can satiate like nothing else. Creativity goes a long way too--which is why The Melting Pot won this category. For a mere $16, this restaurant serves you and your dinner date a smooth, bubbly bowl of chocolate, and provides you with all the poundcake, brownie, cheesecake, pineapple, strawberry and banana pieces, and marshmallows dipped in Oreos and peanuts, you can muster. Gets us hot and bothered just thinking about it.
1. The Melting Pot
2. Tie: Chili's, Chocolate Café and Bakery, Flying Star Café
3. Candy Lady
A good cupcake is hard to find. A cupcake, in its perfection, is moist, light and sweet, but not overpowering. The cake and the frosting are suspended in a delicate dance, where each bite is supported by an airy bed of chocolate, or vanilla, or coconut, or banana ... and isn't weighed down by a gooey slather of glaze. We're not looking for a muffin posing as a cupcake donning a heavy frosting hat--and we're not looking for cardboard cupcakes out of a box. We're looking for ambrosia. Alibi readers agree--Cake Fetish, Albuquerque's own cupcake boutique, is the place to go when you're looking for a little piece of heaven.
1. Cake Fetish
2. Slate Street Café
3. ABC Cake Shop
4. The Grove Café and Market
5. Tie: La Montañita Co-op, Yale Arts Center
Ah, cookies. Little confectionary discs of joy sent from above to brighten anyone's day. Seriously, what's better than taking the first bite out of a freshly baked cookie? We can't think of anything. If you're searching for the best cookie in town, look no further than the Flying Star Café. Their sugar cookies are so good they just might make grandma shake in her slippers.
1. Flying Star Café
2. Baggin's Gourmet Sandwiches
3. Mrs. Fields
4. Tie: ABC Cake Shop, Dion's Pizza
5. Tie: La Montañita Co-op, Satellite Coffee
Best House-Made Ice Cream
Summer may be over, but ice cream is a year-round obsession. And homemade ice cream is so magnificent it's almost obsessive-compulsive. Albuquerqueans think Cold Stone Creamery is the best place to get your fix. Pick from seemingly endless combinations of ice creams, fruits, candy bar chunks, brownies and toppings and watch the cream connoisseurs behind the counter fold it all together on a big, frozen, stone slab and serve it up in a cup or cone. You could get cake batter with raspberries, or sweet cream with Oreos, or chocolate and mint with brownies, or ...
1. Cold Stone Creamery
2. Tie: Graze, I Scream Ice Cream, The Standard Diner
3. Slate Street Café
Best Cheese Course
We've got a soft spot for bloomy-rinds. We're not afraid of being sheepish. Sometimes we get depressed when we don't get our blues, and we think looking ashy is a good thing. We're cheesy and we like it. To those who flip for frommage, the ultimate in cheese worship doesn't come until after the main course, in the form of an artfully assembled cheese plate. Winner Graze always has an outstanding artisan cheese plate on the menu with lots of little goodies like house-made crackers, compotes and chutneys. Add an impeccably-matched wine and we're in gastronomic heaven.
3. Relish Sandwich Shop
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