Featured Food, Restaurants & Dining Sports Fara Illich December 30, 2009

Whoever said, “Life is short, eat dessert first,” deserves a big slice of caramel cheesecake. So before those New Year’s Resolutions kick in, sample some of Downtown’s best desserts.
I know, you’re way ahead of me, but I have to mention the cupcakes at Tammie Coe Bakery. Get the coconut, which has the most heavenly, cream cheese-y frosting with just a hint of tartness to keep it from being too sweet.
Deep-Fried Ice Cream
The Matador’s version of this local favorite begins with a scoop of ice cream coated in cinnamon, cornflakes and peanuts. The ice cream is deep fried, then topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. It’s the perfect bite: the outside is hot and crispy with a spicy kick, while the inside is cold and creamy.
My Florist Cafe serves an untraditional version of this Italian treat, blending custard with organic raspberries and blueberries, served with whipped cream and vanilla bean ice cream. The first time I tried this, I made one of those faces you only see in R-rated films. Be careful or you’ll fall in love with your server.
Big_Fat_GreekPeach Pecan Cobbler
The Compass Arizona Grill at the Hyatt Regency makes this dish, which reminds me of my childhood in the South, where we’d pick fresh peaches off the tree and… oh, wait, I’m from Cleveland. That’s how good this dish is. Cinnamon crumb topping and butter pecan ice cream set off the peaches wonderfully.
Flamed Baklava
This is one of those wow-your-date desserts. My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, located in the Arizona Center, serves this dish tableside, setting fire to the honey-soaked pastry.
The City Bakery at the Arizona Science Center has some wonderfully cream gelato which actually has fewer calories and about half the fat of ice cream.
Mini Lemon Meringue Tart
This dessert is a big hit at Hanny’s, and the secret is in the lemon zest. It makes these tarts really pop with flavor. Made fresh to order, each tart is big enough for two people to share. Just remember that sharing is optional.