Oftentimes, a meal out of the house isn't complete without dessert -- not just any dessert, but one that's so good you'll never forget it, one that will make guest appearances in your dreams for a good, long time. To help satisfy your sweet tooth, we're offering up our 10 of our favorite desserts in the Valley.
10. Fried Bananas and Coconut Ice Cream from Soi 4 Bangkok Eatery
This dish might sound simple, but it's really something special. The bananas are fried into crispy little delicious spheres, which creates a nice presentation and also makes them easier to share. Really, though, everyone at the table will be fighting over the house-made coconut ice cream in the middle. This frozen treat is dreamy, creamy, and very coconutty. Coconut can be a mild flavor that's more of a sidekick than a star, but with Soi 4's ice cream, coconut takes the main stage.
9. Spumoni Americano from Cowboy Ciao
Cowboy Ciao's dessert menu is an all-around winner. What really knocked us out was the Spumoni Americano -- a delicious twist on the classic Italian ice cream topped with strawberry cake batter semifreddo, pistachio marshmallow fluff, and, for good measure, a chocolate pretzel. If that weren't enough, the whole creation sits atop a chocolate shortbread cookie.
8. Chocolate Torte with Sorrel Ice Cream from Quiessence
This chocolate torte is very rich in flavor and has a soft yet dense texture that's somewhere between a thick mousse and a fudge. The pears, spiced with just enough cinnamon, are poached to enhance the fruit's naturally soft texture and to help the pears burst with juicy flavor. The sorrel ice cream is bright and earthy, adding a fresh herbal note while lightening the deep chocolate of the torte. Beware: Like many items on Quiessence's menu, this one is seasonal.
7. Tortilla Pudding from Ticoz Resto-Bar
Although this dessert is made similarly to a bread pudding, the final result is much closer to a cake -- a gooey, cinnamony, can't-stop-shoving-forkfuls-in-your-mouth kind of cake. Heads up: This isn't a dessert that's designed to be breathtakingly gorgeous. But that's absolutely fine with us because it's clearly made to be uniquely flavorful, as if the world's best cinnamon roll and grandma's homemade cake had a love child.
6. Crepas de Cajeta from Barrio Café
Fans of goat cheese will not be able to get enough of this flavor-packed cajeta sauce. Made with goat milk, this caramel has that unmistakable tang. While most caramel tastes mostly like sugar, sugar, and more sugar, cajeta has a distinctive nutty, savory flavor that the sugar works to tame and balance. The crepes are topped off with vanilla bean ice cream, strawberry slices, powdered sugar, and meringue-coated pecans.
5. Pigs in the Orchard Bread Pudding from Citizen Public House
With Applewood smoked bacon, Granny Smith apples, and cinnamon ice cream, this dish features the best of breakfast and the best of dessert all in one. (Warning: It's seasonal, and therefore not always on the menu.) Pastry chef Tracy Dempsey's method is impeccable, slicing the apples as thinly as possible and chopping the bacon into surprising little bits of flavor that the eye can hardly discern. This ensures that no one at the table will be digging for the bacon treasure, leaving their friends high and dry with plain custard.
4. Lunch Menu from T. Cook's
With all that T. Cook's pastry chef Travis Watson has to offer, why not try several of his creations at once? The "lunch menu" lets you pick 3 of 7 mini desserts for just $8. We happened to visit when picks included Pecan Pie with Vanilla Chantilly Cream & Bourbon Caramel and Fudgy Brownie S'mores with Vanilla Scented Marshmallows & Graham Cracker Tuille. Delish.
3. Peanut Butter Chocolate Flan "Sandwich"* from Province
Serving as the top part of this "sandwich" is a richly flavored peanut butter flan. The middle is made of little pieces of meringue, the bottom is a dark chocolate crust that's much more chocolate than crust, and the plate is finished with a cocoa-peanut crunch. Then, it's topped with dark chocolate sorbet, which is surprisingly creamy rather than icy, and there's also a salty brittle cracker. This "sandwich" is a one-of-a-kind way to satisfy a serious chocolate peanut butter craving.
2. Chocolate Bread Pudding from Cornish Pasty Co.
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Dark chocolate lovers will rejoice after one bite of this dessert. The name doesn't do justice to this dish's deep, luxurious dark chocolate flavor. While bread pudding can be a mushy, soggy mess, Cornish Pasty Co. does it right with a crispy, flavorful layer on top and crème anglaise on the side. Although not something you would (or could) make at home, this dessert feels equally comforting and decadent.
1. Warm Doughnuts & Holes from Noca
These desserts are whimsical, inventive, and most importantly, off-the-charts delicious. Noca definitely benefits from sweet advice from top pastry chef Kriss Harvey. Having studied with a master gelato maker in Italy, Harvey brings powerful flavor to frozen treats, including flan, meringue, and Greek yogurt flavored gelato. While the dessert menu changes seasonally, you can always snag the Duo of Warm Doughnuts & Holes. Noca also offers all guests complimentary cotton candy and cookies, making this restaurant a true dessert destination.