America's 25 Best Desserts You Have to Try

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Why save the best for last? These desserts are so impressive, they deserve a spot at the top of the menu—and the top of your personal 'must eats' list. Savor 25 essential sweet eats from around the country.

1. EDIBLE HELIUM BALLOON, ALINEA // CHICAGO

Balloon dessert Alinea
Basheer Tome, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The fare at this three-Michelin-starred restaurant gives "light meal" a new meaning. Along with a tasting menu filled with savory works of molecular gastronomy, chef Grant Achatz serves up edible helium balloons in a variety of flavors, including grape and banana. Of course, a seat at one of these tables doesn't come easy or cheap. Reservations—which start at $175 a person—are released two months in advance and fill up quickly after the release date on the 15th of each month.

2. KOUING AMAN BREAD PUDDING, LES MADELEINES // SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

Les Madeleines Kouign Amann
Simon Gibson, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Once featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate, the French-inspired pastries from Les Madeleines reign supreme. The sweet-and-salty treats are flaky as well as crunchy and are finished with a salted caramel topping. According to the menu, "If you love salted caramel, this is the pastry for you."

3. SEASONAL DOUGHNUT, HOLE DOUGHNUTS // ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

Asheville
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Asheville, North Carolina's Hole Doughnuts shop keeps it simple with one yeast doughnut recipe in four varieties: vanilla glazed, toasted almond sesame, cocoa rub, and an ever-changing seasonal flavor. But that doesn't mean the flavors aren't complex. Light and airy, the handmade treats are a must-try.

4. CHILTON COUNTRY PEACH UPSIDE DOWN CAKE, HIGHLANDS BAR AND GRILL // BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA

Highlands Bar
coast2coastmove, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Dolester Miles, an award-winning pastry chef, dreamed up this creative dessert just for the Alabama eatery. Topped with chantilly cream, the fruity dish is an unconventional twist on a classic.

5. ICE CREAM SUNDAE, ABC KITCHEN // NEW YORK CITY

ABC Kitchen Sundae
Erin McCarthy

The inside scoop on ABC Kitchen's indulgent sundae: The dessert is a balance of popcorn, salted caramel ice cream, hot fudge, candied peanuts, and whipped cream.

6. TRIPLE COCONUT CREAM PIE, DAHLIA'S BAKERY // SEATTLE

Dahlia's Bakery Seattle
javacolleen, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0  

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This sweet eat from Dahlia's Bakery is POTUS-approved. President Obama is such a fan of the dessert that he's returned to it a number of times, according to Seattle Weekly. Sample the famous pie—a coconut crust filled with shredded coconut cream and topped with toasted coconut, fresh whipped cream, and shaved white chocolate—as a whole pie (either a "baby" 6 inch or a 9 inch), by the slice, or as an "individual bite."

7. STICKY BUN, FLOUR BAKERY + CAFE // BOSTON

Flour Bakery and Cafe Sticky Bun
Arnold Gatilao, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

It's not hard to track down a sticky bun in any city, but the gooey caramel pastry from this award-winning brand—in eight locations across Massachusetts—is a real winner. In fact, the sticky bun once defeated one of Bobby Flay's creations. (Another honorable mention: The bakery's famous meringue clouds have also earned rave reviews.)

8. BREAD PUDDING SOUFFLÉ, COMMANDER'S PALACE // NEW ORLEANS

Commander's Place Bread Pudding Soufflé
City Foodsters, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Commander's Palace is an award-winning institution in New Orleans. While you can't go wrong with any item on the menu at this restaurant, located in a Victorian-era mansion, the bread pudding soufflé—a creole bread pudding served with a warm whiskey sauce—is a standout among diners.

9. WHOOPIE PIE, LABADIE’S BAKERY // LEWISTON, MAINE

In Maine, you’re often just steps away from a fresh whoopie pie. (There's a reason the delicacy was declared "the official state treat" in 2011.) But Labadie's Bakery claims to sell "the original Maine whoopie." And their treats don't get points just for originality. The bakery sells a variety of flavors of the creamy staple. Can't decide? Spring for the sampler of a dozen.

10. CHURROS, 180 XURROS // PORTLAND, OREGON

Portland
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Vegan and dairy-free, these made-to-order churros are delicious in any form, whether they are "lightly dusted in cinnamon and sugar" or packed with Nutella. Mix things up with the bakery's dipping sauces, like lemon curd or marshmallow swirl.

11. SEASONAL PIES, SISTER PIE // DETROIT

Sister Pie Detroit
City of Detroit, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

At this bakery, patrons can choose from a rotating menu of pies (Think Coffee Chess Pie and Apple, Sage, Gouda Pie), all made from natural, local ingredients. The Salted Maple is a favorite among fans of the so-called "piebrary." Feeling generous? Customers are encouraged to "Pie it forward" and purchase a slice for a future customer.

12. TRIPLE BERRY CAKE, SWEET LADY JANE'S // LOS ANGELES

Sweet Lady Jane's Los Angeles
kara brugman, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

There's a reason Sweet Lady Jane's popular treat has inspired dozens of copycat recipes and earned a spot on Oprah's favorite things. Three layers of fresh blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries are heaped onto this whipped cream-frosted yellow butter cake. Can't make it to La La Land to snag a piece in person? The bakery also ships the cake frozen.

13. LEMON ICEBOX PIE, THE SILVER SKILLET // ATLANTA

The ultimate southern comfort when you're in the Peach State: homemade pie from a neighborhood mainstay. And The Silver Skillet in Atlanta delivers with the popular lemon icebox pie. Featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, the restaurant is known for the dessert, a lemon-based mixture on top of a graham cracker and vanilla wafer crust.

14. STATE FAIR FRY, YARDBIRD SOUTHERN TABLE AND BAR // MIAMI

Batter up: Fried twinkies, fried freshly-baked oreos, and vanilla ice cream come together to make up this decadent dish. "Who doesn’t love our deep fried Oreos?" the restaurant asked followers in 2016. The answer: not many. The restaurant even earned a shout-out from The Food Network.

15. CHOCOLATE BOMBE, PISTACIA VERA // COLUMBUS, OHIO

PISTACIA VERA chocolate bombe
Not for the faint of heart, this rich dessert features chocolate in three different textures: "thin layers of chocolate buttermilk cake, marsala chocolate mousse & semi-sweet chocolate ganache," according to the menu. And if cake isn't your thing, go for the also-popular Parisan macarons, available in a dozen flavors.

16. PB&J ICE CREAM PIE, TARTINE COOKIES AND CREAM // SAN FRANCISCO

Tartine Cookies and Cream San Francisco
Yuichi Sakuraba, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

A modern take on a childhood favorite, the PB&J ice cream pie from Tartine Cookies and Cream is a blend of sorbet, soft-serve, and fresh fruit on a cookie crust and garnished with candied peanuts—and Bon Appetit's best dessert of 2017.

17. FRUIT TARTS, PASTICHE // PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND

PASTICHE fruit tart
David Z., Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Locals take pride in the freshly baked fruit tarts from this small café. Cozy up to the warm fireplace in the winter and pair your pastry with Pastiche's teas or hot chocolates.

18. THE ULTIMATE COCONUT CAKE, PENINSULA GRILL // CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

Get your sugar high from Peninsula Grill's towering 12-layer delicacy of fresh coconut, cream cheese frosting, and vanilla cake. Since its debut in 1997, the famous treat has earned praises from Bobby Flay and The New York Times, among others—and continues to top itself, literally. Today, each coconut cake stands at five inches.

19. BOURBON AFFECIONADO, 610 MAGNOLIA // LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

610 Magnolia
Mike Lutz, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

This dessert from 610 Magnolia has a lot of spirit. Namely, bourbon. As executive chef Kevin Ashworth told The Whiskey Reviewer, the dish involves "bourbon soaked banana cake, there's bourbon in the butterscotch, the maple syrup is aged in Pappy Van Winkle barrels, we use bourbon staves for the smoke. If we can put bourbon in it, we put bourbon in it."

20. FRIED MILK, UCHIKO // TEXAS

fried milk uchi

This Sushi spot—with locations throughout Texas and an upcoming restaurant in Denver—offers up a famous take on dairy: fried milk. Conceptualized by Top Chef winner and pastry chef Paul Qui, the dish is a combination of ice milk sherbet, toasted milk, cornflake crumble, and chocolate powder.

21. APPLE PIE, BLUE DUCK TAVERN // WASHINGTON, D.C.

Blue Tavern
albedo20, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Climbing up the ranks of D.C.'s hottest restaurants was as easy as pie for this establishment. Applesauce and filling are combined to form the middle of this famous pie, all baked in a thick, buttery crust. Add a scoop of the restaurant's homemade ice cream to really complete the dish.

22. BROWNIE ROYALE, BAILEYS' CHOCOLATE BAR // SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI

Bailey's Chocolate Bar
Lee Davenpost, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Chocolate lovers won't know what to sample first at this Missouri restaurant, which boasts a variety of chocolate creations. One popular choice: the Brownie Royal, a fudgy brownie with hot fudge, bananas, and a cherry.

23. POI GLAZED DONUT, KAMEHAMEHA BAKERY // HONOLULU, HAWAII

KAMEHAMEHA BAKERY poi donut
Capsun Poe, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Kamehameha Bakery is known for putting a local spin on traditional desserts, like adding the tarot root poi to Portuguese malasada. The purple, glazed donuts are a favorite among locals and tourists alike. In the words of the bakery’s website, "There's nothing quite like a donut, warm, fluffy, and a little bit gooey."

24. CUPCAKES, CARYTOWN CUPCAKES // RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

CARYTOWN CUPCAKES
Giselle Leung, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The gourmet cupcake shop keeps customers guessing with rotating themed flavors, like "Polyjuice Potion" and "Butterbeer" from the "Cary Potter" menu, as well as nearly a dozen other varieties.

25. DUCK FAT DONUT & ICE CREAM, THE GREY PLUME // OMAHA, NEBRASKA

THE GREY PLUME duck fat donut
Shelby L. Bell, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Eco-friendly restaurant The Grey Plume offers up this unique treat. The name says it all: Each brioche creation is fried in duck fat before being paired with vanilla and brown butter ice cream.

fun

This Course Will Teach You How to Play Guitar Like a Pro for $29

BartekSzewczyk/iStock via Getty Images
BartekSzewczyk/iStock via Getty Images

Be honest: You’ve watched a YouTube video or two in an attempt to learn how to play a song on the guitar. Whether it was through tabs or simply copying whatever you saw on the screen, the fun always ends when friends start throwing out requests for songs you have no idea how to play. So how about you actually learn how to play guitar for real this time?

It’s now possible to learn guitar from home with the Ultimate Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle, which is currently on sale for $29. Grab that Gibson, Fender, or whatever you have handy, and learn to strum rhythms from scratch.

The strumming course will teach you how to count beats and rests to turn your hands and fingers into the perfect accompaniment for your own voice or other musicians. Then, you can take things a step further and learn advanced jamming and soloing to riff anytime, anywhere. This course will teach you to improvise across various chords and progressions so you can jump into any jam with something original. You’ll also have the chance to dive deep into the major guitar genres of bluegrass, blues, and jazz. Lessons in jam etiquette, genre history, and how to read music will separate you from a novice player.

This bundle also includes courses in ear training so you can properly identify any relative note, interval, or pitch. That way, you can play along with any song when it comes on, or even understand how to modify it into the key you’d prefer. And when the time comes to perform, be prepared with skilled hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, bends, trills, vibrato, and fret-tapping. Not only will you learn the basic foundations of guitar, you’ll ultimately be able to develop your own style with the help of these lessons.

The Ultimate Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle is discounted for a limited time. Act on this $29 offer now to work on those fingertip calluses and play like a pro.

 

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Move Over, Mister Softee: Margarita Trucks Are Bringing Cocktails to Your Doorstep

The margarita man cometh.
The margarita man cometh.
Camrocker/iStock via Getty Images

If anything could possibly rival the appearance of an ice cream truck on a sweltering day, it would be the sight of a similar automobile emblazoned with the word margarita heading down your street.

Residents of San Antonio, Texas, can now make that dream a reality. La Gloria, a restaurant owned by chef Johnny Hernandez, is bringing its signature margaritas and other popular menu items right to people’s doorsteps by way of bright pink “Margarita Trucks.”

MySA reports that the first truck has already started making deliveries within 3 miles of Crockett Park in downtown San Antonio, but additional trucks will venture as far as Dominion, Stone Oak, Alamo Heights, and other neighborhoods in the coming days.


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“Today, safety is top of mind for everyone, and many of our customers are simply not ready to dine out,” Hernandez said, according to KSAT.com. “However, we know that doesn’t mean they don’t crave one of our famous margaritas.”

Those famous margaritas include La Gloria’s house recipe (on the rocks or frozen), as well as a variety of other refreshing flavors like prickly pear, mango, cucumber, and strawberry. The truck will also be stocked with a selection of taco kits and snacks like street corn, chips, salsa, and queso, and customers must purchase at least one food item with their alcoholic beverage.

Unlike ice cream trucks, the margarita trucks won’t exactly be cruising around town, ready to pull over for any spontaneous customer. Instead, they’ll operate more like regular food delivery services—you have to order and pay online in advance, and there’s an order minimum of $40.

While you’re waiting for some enterprising restaurateur to launch a fleet of margarita trucks in your city, learn how to make your own margarita at home with these priceless tips from a cocktail pro.

[h/t mySA]