Cheap Eats

Sugar Rush: Decadent Desserts Under $4

What to skip (macarons) and what to get (cake balls) at Houston’s sweetest shops

By Joanna O'Leary May 31, 2016 Published in the June 2016 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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A cone at JCL

The Chocolate Bar

Skip: the colossal slices of chocolate cake, which come at an equally oversized $9.99

Get: the equally outsized Oreo brownies, just under four bucks, or an imperfect-yet-still-immense “oops” slice of cake for $3 off

Petite Sweets

Skip: the delicate macarons, which are too easy to gobble up too quickly at $2 each

Get: the far heartier cake balls ($2.50 and up), which come in their own range of fun flavors, such as chocolate-peppermint, funfetti, gingerbread and Key lime

James Coney Island

Skip: the 99-cent Thursday hot dog special—you’re heading straight for dessert!

Get: the other 99-cent special, a cone of vanilla soft-serve dipped in milk chocolate

Maine-ly Sandwiches

Skip: the saltwater taffy; you’ll be picking it out of your teeth all day anyway

Get: the whoopee pies, a regional treat made famous in Maine. The traditional version—chocolate with marshmallow cream—is $3, while 50 cents more gets you red velvet, pumpkin and other seasonal varieties.

House of Pies

Skip: sugar-free anything; you know exactly why you’re here at 2 a.m.

Get: literally any other pie ($3.75–4.25 a slice). We love the diner’s world-famous Bayou Goo, made with layers of cream cheese, vanilla custard and chocolate chunks on a pecan crust.

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