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Get Your Just Desserts at These Sweet Spots

Cap off a romantic Valentine's night with a sweet bite.

By Timothy Malcolm January 28, 2019 Published in the February 2019 issue of Houstonia Magazine

A platter of goodies at 85°C Bakery Cafe

The dinner was sublime. The company, even more so. Now you want to cap off Valentine’s dinner with a sweet bite. Wave off the dessert menu and head to one of these specialists for an extra dash of romance.

85ºC Bakery Cafe

The cases are so packed at this Chinese dessert shop, you’ll want to come in with a plan. Head for the yummy, subtly sweet coconut raisin tart; the milk butter puff, whose thick round of fluffy bread hides the delicious cream within; and the rich strawberry panna cotta with a topping of tart blueberries and raspberries.

The Chocolate Bar

For nearly 20 years, this cocoa kingdom has been serving chocolate to Houstonians in just about every form imaginable. You might be overwhelmed by all the offerings at this little, um, slice of paradise, but here’s a cheat sheet: The chocolate-covered Oreos are a crunchy, creamy, nostalgic trip, and the four-layer Uncle Darryl’s chocolate cake is a masterwork, complete with rich mousse, ganache, and toffee crumbles.

Dolce Bacio Cafe

Tucked into the Shops at Arrive River Oaks (formerly West Ave), this Euro-chic storefront serving up gelato and crêpes is a jewel. You’ll want the locally made gelato (we love the silky-sweet limoncello) and a Nutella crêpe—add banana. The café also offers smoothies, airy croissants (the chocolate hazelnut is to die for), and—at lunch—savory crêpes.

Dolce Neve Gelato

In 2014, when the Silvestrini family brought their gelato to Austin, it was an immediate hit. A few years later they opened a location here, too, and let us tell you, the gelato is legit. Get the Crema Dolce Neve, a smooth custard brightened by lemon zest, either in a cup, a waffle cone, or inside a shortbread sandwich. Also awesome: the traditional stracciatella packed with crispy bits of dark chocolate, and the tart fromage blanc with apple cider butter.

Kravin’ Desserts & Tapioca

This fun, super-cute café pumps out 2000s pop jams. Our favorite orders are the green tea and taro snow ice; the milk tea snow ice with crumbled Oreo cookies, Fruity Pebbles, and mochi sticks (it’s like 7-year-old you went to heaven); and the Oreo milk tea at half-sugar with coffee jelly, which is sure to pep you up and sweeten your evening.

Melange Creperie

This Houston institution started out as a street cart but now has its own oh-so-pretty pink building. Inside, delicious crêpes are whipped up in minutes flat. Have a seat in the cute dining room, the better to enjoy your crispy-edged crêpe stuffed with the classic combo of Nutella and banana; sticky-sweet s’mores; or brie and jam (we like strawberry). The coffee here is nutty and delicious. Come back for the excellent savory crêpes.

Red Dessert Dive

Pair your dessert with a glass of merlot, a craft beer, or a coffee at this cute café. Snag a slice of cheesecake—we recommend the turtle. The cookies are darn good, too, especially the salted-chocolate-chunk made with Valrhona chips.

Sleek Chocolatier

Step into this gallery of chocolate art and try not to order everything. The shop offers a creation popularized a few years ago in Israel: chocolate shawarma, in which dark, milk, and white chocolate are put on a rotating spit, then shaved and stuffed into a thin, crêpe-like wrap for an incredible dessert. But be warned: You’ll also be tempted by the chocolate-drizzled waffles and the pretty homemade truffles calling you from inside the case.

Oui Desserts

It’s hard to go wrong at this sunny spot, whether you’re getting a delicious tart; a caramelized-on-the-spot crème brûlée; a moist éclair filled with rich cream; a decadent brownie à la mode; or a selection of pretty macarons. Whatever you choose, it will taste best with a coffee drink.

Proud Pie

This buzzy, old-fashioned pie-and-coffee hangout hits the spot. The most popular item is the outstanding chocolate silk pie, a smooth Ghirardelli mousse topped by a three-inch layer of rich whipped cream. The bananas foster, featuring a dreamy custard, is also a winner.

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