Anyone who knows me will tell you this is the category I love most. I’m a sweets fiend, and my love for the sugar knows no bounds. So, with that in mind, we speak of desserts. Flying Star Cafe has been around almost as long as I have been alive, though if we count the days before the re-brand, they’ve got me beat. So it’s no surprise that they have the art of making desserts down. With an always impressive array of cakes, confections and cookies, your sweet tooth will find happiness in this staple of the local food scene.
2) Eldora Chocolate
3) Q's Cakes & Sweets Boutique
Eldora Chocolate deals in the art of craft chocolate, which sounds like hipster upspeak until you try them for yourself. Sure, you can buy a Hershey bar and get your fix the old-fashioned way, but with something inferior and basic like that, what more do you walk away with besides a sense of sadness that the fleeting moment of eating it has already come and gone? Eldora specializes in chocolate that means something to your mind, body and soul. It leaves a mark on you, one of joy and satisfaction, and can be something to carry forward into the week. If you don’t believe me, try one of their truffles and tell me afterward you didn’t have a spring in your step.
2) ChocolateDude Cacao Y Cafe’
3) Chocolate Cartel
How do you not love Rebel Donut? With creativity being the driving force behind their amazing treats, they always seem to have the right things in the case when you come by. On top of that, the donuts themselves are just plain amazing. You will never see someone upset when you bring a dozen into the office with you, no matter how badly you messed up. Is that my secret to staying employed? I’ll never tell! Rebel Donut has the magic formula of great doughnuts and creative flavors, giving them an edge over the competition. Plus those bacon maple doughnuts are, like, amazing. How did they nail that style so perfectly?
2) Bristol Doughnut Company
3) Amy's Donuts
Well, there are two ways to think of Cake Fetish. Does their love of cakes reach an unhealthy level of adoration? Or are they so good that you consider them magical and supernatural? Either one tends to work for Cake Fetish, and it’s clear why. The way I tie it up is by thinking of it like this: Within all our families, there’s the aunt whose desserts the family looks forward to, and the aunt that they hope forgets to bring it. Cake Fetish is the aunt who has the skills to kill it in the kitchen and isn’t opposed to flaunting that and showing off a bit.
2) Q's Cakes & Sweets Boutique
3) ABC Cake Shop & Bakery
I’ll be real with you: I had never heard of Snugglecubs Cookies before we got the first wave of results in. Eventually someone got curious, and I came into the office to find a package of their cookies had been brought in. As is my job and sacred duty, I made sure to test them, not just for safety, but also to see what made them so dominant in the cookie category. Once again, Albuquerque has spoken, and Albuquerque is right. These are thick-baked cookies packed with quality ingredients, finding that perfect balance of not too sweet and not too doughy, leaving you with an arguably perfect bite every time. I didn’t know cookies could be this gourmet, and I am so glad I now have knowledge of their existence.
2) Rude Boy Cookies
3) The Burque Bakehouse
The Burque Bakehouse
The Burque Bakehouse is pretty impressive for a small batch bakery. With no storefront beyond the digital, they sell at farmer’s markets, through delivery and even have some product in a few of my favorite coffee shops, Zendo and Michael Thomas. Add on to that a whole load of everyone’s favorite baked goods, including croissants, danishes, scones and more, and you’ve got the dream bakery that you’ve been looking for. Let their hard work pay off for you in the form of delicious snacks with flaky layers that will soothe your anguished heart and leave you feeling like a new person in no time.
2) Golden Crown Panaderia
3) Q's Cakes & Sweets Boutique
Best Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt/Gelato
Pop Fizz straight-up kicks ass. By creating not just traditional paletas, but also ice cream styles with a range of toppings and flavors to cater to the more creative side, you’ve got a titan worth facing in the field. Additionally, through pure genius and crafty marketing, they’ve found a way to make paletas and alcohol come together in glorious matrimony, making mimosas, spiked seltzer mixes and whatever the term for ice cream in beer is. With all the snacks, slushes, churros and choco tacos there awaiting consumption, Pop Fizz was the obvious choice to take this award home.
2) Olo Yogurt Studio
3) El Cotorro Taqueria and Heladeria
Pop Fizz straight-up kicks ass. By creating not just traditional paletas, but also ice cream styles with a range of toppings and flavors to cater to the more creative side, you’ve got a titan worth facing in the field. Oh wait, I did that already. Oh, wait! I did that joke already, too! Damn. Double damn. The truth is, when it comes to paletas, Pop Fizz just gets it. Yeah, they do some higher-end madness with a lot of style, flair and innovation, but we can’t discount the OG of the popsicle world. With fresh fruit and time, they’ve made paletas that are just plain wonderful, and you are deserving of one for any task accomplished, so go out and treat yourself!
2) The Paleta Bar
3) Paleteria El Tropico
Flying Star Cafe
Now I can’t even do the same joke as the last section double-entry. This is awkward. Flying Star Cafe gets desserts. It’s kinda their whole deal. Sure, their menu is full of all sorts of things worth digging into, but you name a better way to end a date than by stopping in for a shared dessert? Want to really impress your date? Order a whole pie—the whole thing, with no pieces missing. Make a deal that neither of you can leave until the pie is finished. Slowly, you two will bond over shared life stories while you consume what some consider an unholy amount of pie. You’ll be left rotund and pleased by your pie-eating antics. “How can one person eat so much pie?” your date will surely think. And that’s how you will win their heart.
2) 66 Diner
3) Cinnamon Sugar & Spice Cafe
Eric Williams Photography
66 Diner’s milkshake truly does bring all the boys to the yard. Has this joke been made in past years? It almost 100 percent assuredly has, but I am a new man, so the joke is still fresh to me. There’s no question that they have the best milkshakes. The entirety of their business model is to replicate the ’50s, and that was the time when milkshakes were in. Nothing better than you and your gal hopping on down to the local diner to listen to the latest Buddy Holly record, while avoiding that greaser Tony who would be cruisin’ for a bruisin’ if he ever again tried to engage in any backseat bingo with your sister. And then you drank a milkshake.
2) TIE: Holy Burger/Model Pharmacy
3) Q's Cakes & Sweets Boutique
Best Candy Maker
Can I convince you to eat Eldora Chocolate more than I already have? No way. That was as impassioned and emboldened as I get. If they got best chocolate, they stood a real chance to win best candy maker, though shout-out to Candy Lady, best candy meth maker without a doubt. Eldora is just skilled in knowing what makes chocolate good, allowing it to stand on its own without a lot of frills. Finding ways to showcases chocolate’s natural taste and goodness while also refining it to a smooth, rich finish is a skill one shouldn’t ignore.