I love dessert, whether enjoyed after a meal proper or as a mid-afternoon snack. So here's a quick roundup of my favorite places in New York City to get a sugar rush, organized by category. Check back for updates. And please let me know of any of your own favorite spots in the comments.
The best of the best, with incredibly fresh-tasting, complex flavors. And the almond granita's almost as good as the amazing gelato.
Broadway between 76th and 77th Streets
L'Arte Del Gelato
A close second to Grom—the texture is rich and creamy, the flavors deep and explosive—now open in the heart of the West Village. Like the above, a destination ice cream parlor if there ever was one.
Seventh Avenue South at Barrow Street • Chelsea Market (Ninth Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets)
Sundaes and Cones
I steer clear of the many Asian flavors here, but really enjoy the rich, handmade Mocha Chip, the Strawberry, and the Coconut, the last two especially with hot fudge.
10th Street between Fourth and Third Avenue
Delivers on the hype: wonderfully sour, clean-tasting and addicting, with fresh and tasty toppings.
Four locations so far: Chelsea, West 32nd, Upper East Side, Nolita.
Reliably satisfying and interesting Argentina-style (read: gelato-esque) ice cream.
Bleecker between Jones and Morton.
East Village Ice Cream
Handmade, small-batch, true-flavored. The Chocolate Chocolate Chip is among the best I've ever had.
Avenue B between 14th and 13th Streets.
Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery
Hands-down, the best cupcakes in town. Pretty incredible bars, too, especially the butterscotch. And they'll bake you a cake to order.
Rivington between Essex and Norfolk.
City Bakery/Birdbath/Build a Green Bakery
In the gooey, chewy category, the chocolate chip and the oatmeal are the best cookies in the city. Or get totally sugar-bombed with a pudding-esque hot chocolate.
Flagship: 19th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Also in the West and East Village.
The Treats Truck
If you're lucky enough to stumble upon the Treats Truck (like an ice cream truck, but with baked goods), by all means get the Caramel Cream Sandwich, or the Oatmeal Jammy... or, really, anything else she offers you.
Various locations; more info at treatstruck.com.
Vegan, gluten-free and shockingly good nevertheless. The secret? Subtle yet satisfying agave nectar handles the sweetening duties.
Broome Street between Ludlow and Orchard
Out of the Kitchen
I love all the cookies—crispy, chewy, sweet—at this homey take-out spot in the West Village.
Hudson Street between Morton and Barrow.
I thought the sit-down restaurant was a mediocre rip-off, but the Nutter Butters at the take-out counter are worth a trip up the escalators.
Time Warner Center, 59th Street and Broadway
Hungarian Pastry Shop
This venerable neighborhood spot has been serving Columbia students forever. The cookies, sold by the pound, are cheap and excellent.
Amsterdam Avenue between 11oth and 111th Streets
A little pricey, but the small cookies a sure winner if you need to bring some dessert to a party.
On the corner of Broadway and 17th Street.
Candies and Chocolates
Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven
My go-to spot for special-occasion chocolately gifts. In the summer, stop by for a "chipwich;" in the winter, a hot chocolate.
Hudson Street, near King. Also in Brooklyn.
A great place to bring your Soho-shopping, out-of-town visitors for a chocolate-wasabi truffle (or any number of other intriguing combos).
Spring Street between Greene and Wooster.
Less inventive than its above-mentioned neighbor, but the sweets and hot chocolate are always great here... especially the amazing Croquette au Chocolat (like a Nestle's Crunch, but the kind they serve in heaven).
Broome Street between Wooster and West Broadway.
A massive selection of pre-packaged and bulk candy, all priced to move, with lots of things you aren't likely to find anywhere else in the city (Skybar, anyone?). My advice: don't shop here hungry.
Rivington Street between Ludlow and Essex.
We're not big fans of tofu-based sweets, but we all three agree that this mod-cozy Hell's Kitchen spot knows how to put together some sophisticated yet totally scrumptious desserts.
Ninth Avenue between 48th and 49th Streets.
Yes, you can also get some top-notch savory plates here (as well as sweet/savory combos), but Pichet Ong made his name as a pastry chef, and one bite of the Coconut Creme Caramel (or whatever else is on the menu) will show you why.
West 10th Street near Waverly Place.
Room 4 Dessert
It's been too long since I've eaten at Will Goldfarb's place, and enjoyed his cleverly themed ("chocolate," for example... or "red") dessert flights. I'll have to change that. UPDATE: Temporarily closed. UPDATE #2: Permanently closed.
Cleveland Place between Spring and Kenmare.
Perpetually mobbed and often ridiculous, this house of all-things-chocolate is nonetheless worth at least one visit. Prepare for a glorious sugar stupor.
Flagship: Broadway between 13th and 14th Streets.
Schiller's Liquor Bar
Not a dessert place (in fact, the "regular" food's quite good), but it is home to the best Sticky Toffee Pudding in town.
Corner of Rivington and Norfolk.
Again, not a dessert place (good Mexican standards; less successful when it gets more ambitious), but it does have the most amazing flan I've ever had in my life.
Allen Street, just south of Houston