Dessert First

Spiced Apple & Ginger Bread Upside Down Cake at T. Cook's

Nestled in the back of the Royal Palms Hotel you'll find T. Cook's, one of the best rated restaurants in Phoenix. The good news is there's no reason to wait for a special occasion to check it out. For allowing diners to pick three mini desserts for just $8, the restaurant's lunch menu recently made our list of Top 10 Desserts in town. But if you can't make it for lunch, swing by for dessert and a drink any night of the week. Relax in the bar, which features live music, or cuddle up with the cozy fireplace located in a quiet alcove.

Pastry Chef Travis Watson crafts a completely different selection for lunch and dinner, so if dessert is your favorite meal of the day, it's really best to stop by to taste both - multiple times. T. Cook's dinner menu has six dishes to choose from. Not in the mood for a fancy plated dessert? Try an assortment of hand-rolled truffles or have a scoop of gelato or sorbet. And if you want to fully immerse your palette in the experience, take advantage of the wine pairings offered for each sweet selection. It's tough to pick, but we tasted the Spiced Apple & Ginger Bread Upside Down Cake.

Whereas the classic pineapple upside down cake is usually quite sweet, this unique Spiced Apple & Ginger Bread Upside Down Cake wasn't too sugary at all. It tastes equally like the Granny Smith apples, which are braised with cinnamon and caramel, and the spiced cake, which is a lighter version of gingerbread that takes it easy on the molasses but not on the ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

At first glance, this dessert seems like it might be falling into the trend of trio-plated dishes, but the presentation actually supports the flavors. It's pretty natural to go right for the cake, ignoring the ice cream and caramel. After a while, the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream begs to be eaten, and it's got the perfect clean vanilla flavor. Something about it feels homemade, but the flavor is expert. Once everything has been tasted (and thoroughly enjoyed) on its own, it's time to start mixing it all together and topping each bite off with the shot glass of super creamy caramel sauce. Even the apple-shaped cracker on top of the ice cream is delicious, crispy, and buttery. Basically, there's no wrong way to eat this dessert because every possible combination is bound to be amazing.

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