Cherry on top

Our Favorite Date-Night Desserts

What’s a night out without giving your sweetie some sugar? These end-of-meal delights may be entirely cold-hearted—frigid to the core—but at the end of the day, it’s just dessert.

By Timothy Malcolm, Gwendolyn Knapp, and Joanna O'Leary June 1, 2021 Published in the Summer 2021 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Helado de Elote at Xochi

Image: Xochi

Helado de Elote at Xochi

Have you tried—and failed—to make some wild flavor of homemade ice cream for your partner? (It was still liquid, wasn’t it?) Make up for it by ordering Xochi pastry chef Ruben Ortega’s housemade corn custard ice cream—shaped into baby ears of corn and laid atop corn cookie crumbles with a dollop of whiskey-infused ice cream and blue cornmeal cream. It’s okay. You’ll get that recipe down one day. —Timothy Malcolm

  • Find it at 1777 Walker St.,
  • Do cheer on the Astros, because Minute Maid Park is two blocks away and nothing goes better with corn ice cream than peanuts and Cracker Jacks. 
  • Eat … well, at Xochi! The cachets de res en mole pasilla, also known as braised beef cheeks in rich poblano sauce, is heavenly.

Affogato al Caffe at Fellini Caffè

Affogato al Caffe at Fellini Caffè

An affogato is the best proof that opposites attract—leave it to the ultra-romantic Italians to get that bitter, strong espresso is the perfect match for sweet, chocolate-chip inflected stracciatella gelato. The version at this City Centre caffè comes with three scoops, a shot of caffeine, and its own party hat (a little, upturned sugar cone) to celebrate your first date, obvi.–Gwendolyn Knapp

Tiny’s Milk & Cookies

Milk & Cookies Ice Cream at Tiny’s Milk & Cookies

West U’s beloved walk-up counter for ice cream, pastries, and coffee will have a line wrapped around the building but allows for some convo time—like what scoop you’ll order (the one with chunks of house-made cookie dough in it, duh). And if things don’t work out? Hey, Tiny’s cinnamon-spiced waffle cone is your one true love anyway.–GK

  • Find it at 3636 Rice Blvd.,
  • Do take a walk around stately and charming “downtown” West U.
  • Eat all the tacos at tiny, buzzy El Topo, just a block away on Edloe.

Soft Serve at La Lucha

Image: La Lucha

Soft Serve at La Lucha

Of course the Ford Fry eatery that elevates old school Gulf Coast grub also elevates the soft serve of your childhood dreams. Order one of three flavors (chocolate and vanilla are likely, then a wild card) and dress your cone in an assortment of off-the-beaten palate toppings—extra-virgin olive oil, Fruity Pebbles, saltines—that will definitely get the conversation going.—Joanna O'Leary

  • Find it at 1801 N. Shepherd Dr., Heights,
  • Do keep it fun and festive with pints of Buckle Bunny at Eureka Heights Brewing Co., a few blocks west.
  • Eat La Lucha’s long-brined fried chicken, among the best in the city, or the crispy tacos at casual Superica next door.
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