Since February, I've been sharing my 100 Favorite St. Louis Dishes. From time to time, I'll highlight groups of these dishes that fit together in some way. Today, five great desserts.
The Lemon Meringue and Pine Nut Torte at BitterSweet Bakery
The lemon meringue and pine nut torte is a standout at BitterSweet Bakery -- which is saying something, given all the great desserts served there. A lemon curd topped with browned Swiss meringue inside a pastry crust flavored by pine nuts, the torte manages the nifty trick of being both refreshingly light and utterly indulgent.
2200 Gravois Avenue; 314-771-3500
The Lemon Drop Cupcake at the Cup
Yeah, cupcakes are passé. Deliciously, deliciously passé. My favorite is the simply sweet, ever so tart lemon drop cupcake at the Cup (formerly known as the Cupcakery). With its moist cake and reasonable ratio of cake to buttercream, this is a cupcake that transcends trends.
28 South Maryland Plaza; 314-367-6111
Paletas at La Vallesana 2
Paletas are Mexican popsicles. Like Mexican Coke, they are infinitely better than the domestic version. La Vallesana 2, located across the street from its taqueria namesake, serves them in several flavors, both familiar (strawberry, pictured) and not (cucumber). The must-try is the devilishly hot spicy pineapple.
La Vallesana 2
2818 Cherokee Street; 314-776-4223
Gold Coast Chocolate Ice Cream at Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream
Ice cream doesn't get much more indulgent than this: a pure, rich chocolate flavor and a body so thick that I can't believe the plastic spoon doesn't break under its weight. A scoop or two of this is less a dessert than a full meal that happens to be cold and sweet.
Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream
8130 Big Bend Boulevard, Webster Groves; 314-962-2700
Coffee and a Pastry at 222 Artisan Bakery
Duh. The coffee's not sweet. Though it does pair beautifully with the cranberry-walnut muffin pictured above. 222 Artisan Bakery might be a bit of a drive for most Gut Check readers, but it's a worthwhile destination for some of the area's best coffee, bread and baked goods.
222 Artisan Bakery
222 North Main Street, Edwardsville, Illinois; 618-659-1122