Zephyr Ice Cream Desserts

Dscf4272Since I talked about it so much in my past few postings, I think I have to actually do a post about it.  This is the insanely delicious brownie dessert at Zephyr called The Pyramid.   When I am truly craving gooey, chocolaty, mad-rich dessert, this is the one I'm craving.  I feel like Zephyr makes their own ice cream and it's always perfectly ice-flaked and sooooo cold (you know how some ice cream just tastes warm?).  The Pyramid is layered with a lightly warm, nut-filled brownie, thick hot fudge, a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream, big squirts of whipped cream and a cherry, of course.  I will also say that the warm apple pie with ice cream is homemade and delicious and in the summertime, they have the best strawberry shortcake around---with loads of super-sweet strawberries.
***Off topic, the kitchen also whips out some killer vegetarian chili cheese fries (which are almost as good as the ones at Pick Me Up).


Sweet Mandy B's {From Reelchicago}

Dscn1634_2Funny:  Today is a day where I was craving a Sweet Mandy B day (meaning full-on shove down of every super sweet in sight) and I actually quelled that sweet tooth at Zephyr's (with a gigantic dessert brownie/ice cream called The Pyramid)...but then I come home to see one of my old Raving Dishes slung up on reelchicago.  It's just crazy that my editor over there would choose this one from the archives today of all days.  I guess Sweet Mandy B's is on everyones mind these days:  Here is the yummy article.
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There is nothing in the world like real desserts, made in a down-home kitchen and Sweet Mandy B’s at 1208 W. Webster is the happiest, warmest, most delicious old-fashioned comfort shop in Chicago.


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Cold Comfort Cafe Cheesecake~For the Birds, or Not?

Dscf3206This summer, I had one of the best cheesecakes I'd ever put in my mouth; wet, sour creamy, thick with flavor and situated squarely on a cookie crumb crust.  I've daydreamed about it many times since, but never made it back to Cold Comfort Cafe & Deli on North Ave. for another round til this weekend.  I raved on and on and on about it to my bud Chez and demanded that we get there (all the way across town) before closing so she too could taste one of the finest cheesecakes around (finding the good stuff is harder than you'd imagine).  We got there about 10 minutes til closing and much to the chagrin of the employees, ordered a half slice ($2.50 only).  I was so excited, just giddy with anticipation...until my first bite.  Uh-oh!  I could tell that it had been in the refrigerated case just a day or two too long. I was totally devastated as I pushed the plate back to the middle of the table, in total despair. (Chez was plain ole pissed~)  I mentioned it to the waitress and she did something totally cool--she copped to knowing that it tasted like the fridge.  What the heck!  I give her props for admitting it, but come on, if you know it, toss it, love.  And, if it weren't sooooo damn good, I'd probably give up on the place forever, but because I remember that glorious summertime discovery, I'm gonna give them another go, on another day.  Maybe it was just a one time thing, you know?  That's what I'm rooting for, at least~


Yeah~Sweet Table Opens its Doors

Dscf1498Sweet Table. The name alone says it all, and I've been waiting months for this one to open. When I first saw the big ol' sign go up on a restaurant-heavy strip of Lincoln Avenue, my eyes doubled in size. All that was penetrating my noggin' was, "What the heck is a sweet table and how do I get a seat?" (Keep in mind, I'm a sweet freak and literally blew off seeing the Mona Lisa in Paris so I could make it to what was rumored to be a small shop selling the best macaroons in all of France. Don't worry, I did eventually make it to see her [a very small painting, if you haven't been], but fondly remember more about France from that heavenly macaroon sampling, that's for sure.)

That said, you can see why my saucers lit up in sheer delight when I noticed not only the grand-opening-soon sign, but the close proximity to my home and office. (Sweet Mandy B runs get to be a bit hectic at the I-need-a-sugar-rush-hour.) After a hefty wait, the doors finally opened to Sweet Table last week and I plowed straight through the front door pronto.

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Pretzel Contest: Hannah's Bretzel v. Auntie Annie's

Dscf1216A few weeks ago, one of my partners in crime, Jamie, raced into our office wielding a small brown menu and a set of wild, excited eyes. She was raving about Hannah's Bretzel, the new organic pretzel shop that had just opened downtown. She tossed the menu at me and practically demanded that I get there right away.

"You're gonna love it," she claimed, pointing out its organic ingredients and the thick slathers of butter draping each bretzel (German version of a pretzel). Well, I kept that little menu (and the image of a soft, chewy pretzel) on my desk for weeks until a particularly grueling work day forced me to race out of the office (avoiding all responsibility) and head downtown (in rush hour traffic, no less) to give the supposed pretzel nirvana a go.

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Back on Sweet Mandy B's~From The Raving Dish

Dscn1639So, I have a cute little food blog called Big Sweet Tooth and there's this feature on the program that runs it which lets me check the statistics. In other words, I can click on the specified tab and it opens up a little box that tells me how many people logged on and where they found me (i.e. what search engine they used and what their entry was).

There have been some google search doozies that I can't even go in to (imagine big and sweet and some other nasty, nasty things) but the single most requested google search that leads folks to my site is for Sweet Mandy B's cupcakes. I have an entry on BST about my gnarly addiction to them and apparently, I'm not alone.

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DQ Blizzard: You Can't Go Wrong

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After driving 7,000 miles round trip from Chicago to the very tip of Baja, I can officially announce the one fast food that never varies on the road is the legendary Blizzard from Dairy Queen.  I'd say I probably had a cool dozen Snickers Blizzards on the trip and every single time, they tasted identical;  thick and gooey (from the frozen caramel in the Snickers) and utterly explosive in my mouth.  Nothing tasted better in the desert heat (or caused me to pass out faster) than this DQ treat.
God love 'em (and the salty waitresses that understood the words "EXTRA CHOCOLATE SAUCE."


Seduced By Cupcakes

Cupcake_1There is no treat quite like a cupcake.  Pretty to look at, small enough to shove down in one fell swoop, and evoker of all good childhood memories; what more could you ask for in a dessert?  This little treasure makes it so easy to get woozy off the scent and high off the sugar...just one after another after another AND somehow, there is no guilt involved~
The best place in Chicago for homemade, super-moist cupcakes is Sweet Mandy B's.  I have tried almost all other bakeries around and none even compare to her delicate rendition.  My fave is the vanilla but chocolate is an easy fill-in when needed!


The Perfect Chocolate Pastry

Dscn9944I've frantically made my way back to the Ba Le Bakery four times this week alone (fielding scores of traffic, pelting rain, and not a lick of parking, mind you).  Clearly, I've got a bit of an addiction going on here.  Now they know what to do when I walk in--just bag up the goods, kiddo.
I always try to take just a few bites or even wait til I get home to dig in, but it never works~I wolf the whole thing down before I'm even back to my truck, daydreaming about the next one while I'm at it.  What the heck are the Vietnamese doing to make this pastry so mind-bogglingly delicious?  It's this seductive mix of buttery, dense pastry and super rich, chewy chocolate. Bottom line, there is no other bakery here in Chicago that can touch Ba Le's version of a chocolate croissant.