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I’m certainly a gnome with one sweet tooth, so dessert is a rather crucial part of any vacation. Throughout my roaming, I have acquired the particular skill of artfully choosing my treats based on my location, and now I’ve compiled this list of my favorite sweet treats across the US. Some advice is more specific, some is more regional, but I’m dying to share some tidbits of this most valuable wisdom with you, dear friend.
RELATED: Top 10 bits of road-trip travel advice, according to the Roaming Gnome
1. In the South, get a short stack
Dessert can be an all-day event, mind you. So, let me begin with start-of-the-day sweets. If I’m heading south, I always order a stack of pancakes as tall as I am. I guarantee you that southern pancakes, unlike their flapjack and hot cake counterparts in other regions, will be thicker, fluffier and butterier. Any of your local mom and pop cafes won’t disappoint.
2. The exception for Louisiana—beignets!
Now in Louisiana (New Orleans specifically), there’s nary a treat that beats a beignet. Cut the sweetness with the bitterness of a coffee, and you’ve got yourself a combination as superb as blue coats and red hats. But watch out. The airy, powdery goodness will leave you with a goatee of sugar. Didn’t you know that this beard is all beignet?
3. It’s snowing in Hawaii
It’s not just the outstanding quality of Hawaiian snow cones, it’s the ideal snow-cone -consuming environment that makes these frozen delicacies so refreshing. There is no better place to enjoy shaved ice with pineapple flavoring than the Aloha State, and that’s a fact. I’m a very stubborn gnome and you can’t tell me this isn’t paradise.
4. Macarons for movie stars
In L.A., you can get just about any food in the world, and I guarantee it will be phenomenal. That’s why I like to travel with my taste buds when I’m in town, and for dessert, I’m going French. There’s always a marvelous macaron shop to try, and just think, your favorite stars may have been right there enjoying the same cookies!
5. Donut miss out on Portland
No one does coffee better than Portland, and therefore, the dessert experience must be delightfully dunkable. There are more than a few fantastic coffee + doughnut shops here, and if you have a high caffeine tolerance (or simply no circulatory system to deliver caffeine to your brain, like me), I recommend you try them all!
6. A Wisconsin specialty: blue moon ice cream
Now it might seem counterintuitive for a region so cold to be famous for ice cream, but you simply can’t get this iconic flavor anywhere else. What exactly the blue moon flavor is, you wonder? Well, it can’t quite be described. You just have to taste it to believe it. Be sure to grab a picture in your best matching coat for the ‘gram.
7. Fruity in Florida
Did you know the Sunshine State is the nation’s top producer of watermelon? Now if you’re saying “Fruit isn’t dessert, Gnome,” I would counter by asking, “Have you ever had fresh fruit in Florida?” It’s about as sweet as a flight attendant when you tip. The trick is to get what’s in season, and if you’re still not satisfied, you can borrow my chocolate fountain for fruit fondue.
8. NYC: The C Is for cupcakes
The amount of fantastic cupcake shops around the country is impressive, but if you’re looking to cross “the best cupcake you’ve ever had” off your bucket list, the Big Apple is the place to do it. The number of top-tier cupcakes all concentrated in this city has me drooling in my beard! If there are too many options, gee, try one in every borough!
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