Mabuhay, mahal, kumain is the motto of owners Chonnie Richey and Czarina Hounsel at Zen Bistro & Dessert Bar—Tagalog for “live, love, eat.” It’s an appropriate mantra for a bakery shaped by the sisters’ Filipino heritage with flavors collected from across Asia and comforting, homey treats such as cake balls. The latter have been raved about on the Cooking Channel's Food Crafters and in D Magazine. Each day, the kitchen rolls them from fresh-baked cake, frosting, and add-ins such as dark-chocolate cookie dough and fruit to create more than 10 classic and seasonal flavors including Filipino-inspired creations such as a purple ube yam variety. The spheres are then dipped in melted chocolate and decorated with more chocolate, colored crystal sugar, and sprinkles. At the dessert bar, customers can also reach for piles of stuffed cookies, gourmet cupcakes, and cakesicles—a fluffier, chewier version of icicles.
Asian flavors come into the forefront in a bistro menu of traditional Filipino dishes, Asian tapas, and bubble teas brimming with black tapioca pearls. The savory side of Zen’s mini-empire has attracted nearly as much attention as the sweets for dishes as bracingly authentic as the spicy beef caldereta—a tomato-based stew of potatoes, beef, and liver—and as American-influenced as the egg-topped Tocino burger, which made CraveDfw’s Comprehensive Dallas Burger Guide.
With Tasti D-Lite treats and Planet Smoothie in one spot, healthier treats abound, from Tasti D-Lite's frozen concoctions with fewer calories than both ice cream and fro-yo to Planet Smoothie's fresh-fruit-and yogurt smoothies and protein shakes.
Like many children, the founder of Tasti D-Lite, a native New Yorker, begged her father for a taste of ice cream. But this was no typical whining for a treat: she needed her father, an experienced food technologist, to help develop a frozen treat with less calories and fat than ice cream and frozen yogurt. Thus, in 1987, the first cup of Tasti D-Lite swirled into existence. From the shining root-beer oceans to the marzipan mountains, Americans now enjoy flavors such as carrot cake, chocolate nougat, or Mango Tart 'n Tasti, topping each treat with bits of candy and fresh fruit.
Meanwhile, the team of fruit mixologists at Planet Smoothie has nothing to hide when it comes to making its cold creations. Whether blending a weight-loss smoothie or a protein shake, the team knows exactly what's going into each of its concoctions—which consist primarily of fresh fruit and yogurt. They’ll even happily recite the all-natural ingredients list at customers' behest or unprompted in the middle of the night as they try in vain for slumber. Customers can choose from the shop’s list of smoothie combinations or come up with their own custom mixes.
In Mexico, life’s milestones are inextricably linked to chocolate. And Andrea Pedraza will never forget sipping her first mug of delicious hot chocolate on the morning of her first communion.
Her early memories of chocolate blossomed into a lifelong obsession. Now, at Cocoandré Chocolatier, Ms. Pedraza strives to match the purity of that first mug. She imports 100% natural, cocoa-butter-based raw chocolate from Belgium and Mexico to craft her European-style truffles, flavors them with exotic spices, and covers them with ganache made with butter and heavy whipping cream.
Her confections have earned a slew of positive press, including a spot on Good Morning Texas, which showcases her inventive chocolate molds in holiday-appropriate shapes. Her team can also create custom molds, allowing patrons to fulfill a lifelong dream of eating Rodin’s The Thinker.:m]]
It was a fateful night in January 1999 when the bellies of college sophomores Leon and Tiffany started to rumble. The two UT Austin students convened at Leon's apartment, where they whipped up a batch of chocolate-chip cookies in his oven. As they chewed on the warm, gooey fruits of their labor, the pair was struck by the idea to sell these freshly baked cookies to their fellow students. They began delivering treats to their peers during evening study breaks before expanding their customer base to include parents and Austin residents, all the while renting the back kitchen of a local restaurant to accommodate the growing demand. Fifteen years later, the indulgent lure of Tiff's Treats has helped Leon and Tiffany open 13 locations throughout Austin, Dallas, and Houston. Within these bakeries, kitchen crews sculpt fresh dough into 10 types of cookies, supplementing the gooey morsels with decadent brownies and signature Tiffwiches?vanilla Blue Bell ice cream sandwiched between two warm cookies. Bakers hand-deliver batches every day, pulling them fresh from the oven instead of the overheated engine block of the delivery car.
It takes a lot of confidence to call yourself the best at anything, and even more to do so with a huge sign. Yet, Oak Lawn Coffee—previously known as Old Dog Coffee—does just that, directing passersby to its shop with a wall-scaling arrow that reads “Best Iced Coffee in Dallas.” It does happen to be cold-brewed from a seasonally changing selection of coffees from the likes of Brazil, Rwanda, Honduras, and Nicaragua—anchored by a spectrum of flavors from lemon drop and salted caramel to orange and rose—so the the claim is likely not far off. Customers can cool off with their iced concoction, or any other of the shop’s fresh-made offerings, atop a wrought-iron chair on the outdoor patio, or lounge on a velour loveseat or armchair amid the renovated space’s display of local artwork. Regardless of where customers sip, Oak Lawn Coffee will give a portion of every purchase back to the neighborhood by donating 10% of its profits to local organizations.
The Dallas Observer called the ice cream sandwich “perhaps the most perfectly devised dessert ever created.” But apparently even perfection can be improved upon. “Pokey O’s has upped the ante,” the paper went on, in its explanation for bestowing this cookie and ice cream shop the honor of Best Food Orgasm in 2006. Pokey O’s puts a freshly baked spin on the iconic dessert sandwich by plopping a decadent scoop of Blue Bell Ice Cream, a treat rarely found on the West Coast, between two of their moist, chewy cookies. Customers can choose from more than 10 cookies, which range from such classics as chocolate chip and snickerdoodle to creative combinations of white chocolate and cranberry or maple and pecan. Once they’ve selected a cookie, the next step is to choose from 15 flavors of ice cream. Customers can also opt for cookies sans ice cream, which wash down perfectly with a thick, old-fashioned milkshake.