In the summertime the city is divided into two groups of people: dessert resisters and dessert embracers. I am part of the second group — I embrace dessert with open arms (along with a double dose of classes at Shred 415).  When we only have a few short months to enjoy quintessential summer sweets, such as rosé snow cones and gourmet ice cream sandwiches, it seems silly to avoid. There’s nothing quite like ending a satisfying meal on a decadently delightful note, so why not dig in?

15 Desserts to Try Before You Die by Leah Nolan of the Chicago Chic.

Photo Credit: IMR

Seven Lions, Sundae of the Month

At Seven Lions they don’t serve a typical ice cream sundae with chocolate fudge, nuts, cherries and whipped cream – think bigger. As the name suggests, the sundae changes monthly, but the grandeur of the presentation remains. July is all about patriotism! This month’s creation features red velvet cheesecake ice cream topped with a decadent slice of red velvet cheesecake, sprinkles, raspberry syrup and whipped cream. To add an extra special pop (as if it needed one), it’s garnished with red and blue hard candies and sweet and sour blue ribbons. Without a doubt, this one is meant for sharing.

130 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603

 The Bedford, Key Lime Pie

A few months ago The Bedford celebrated its five-year anniversary with the release of a refreshing new Supper Club-inspired menu. The Key Lime Pie is a punchy addition that arrived just in time for summer. This thin slice is topped with toasted meringues, has a decadent crust and is served aside homemade coconut ice cream that sits atop charred pineapple curd. It’s a light and zesty last bite that has layers of nectarous flavors.

1612 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622

15 Desserts to Try Before You Die by Leah Nolan of the Chicago Chic.

Photo Credit: Ext. 54

Cocoa + Co., Ice Cream Sandwiches

At a chocolate shop like Cocoa + Co. it’s impossible to order just one thing, especially when owner, Kim Hack puts such thought and care into each item sold in the store. In addition to carrying chocolate bars from all over the world, Cocoa + Co. offers a selection of drinking chocolates, frozen lemonades, pastries, cookies and other one of a kind creations that cannot be ignored. Case in point, the Ice Cream Sandwiches. Sandwiched between two giant Oreo cookie tops, the ice cream is sourced straight from Homer’s, a legendary gourmet ice cream shop in Wilmette, which has been in business for over 60 years. The ice cream is then rolled in a variety of toppings that add even more  sweetness and crunch.

1651 North Wells Street, Chicago, IL 60614

White Oak Tavern & Inn, Chocolate Chip Cookies

 A warm chocolate chip cookie brings instant happiness. A Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie with chocolate sauce and bourbon marshmallow topping at White Oak Tavern & Inn evokes a sense of instant euphoria that makes it nearly impossible to stop smiling while eating. The warm and gooey chocolate chunks sit nestled inside the soft and chewy center, and the light crunch around the edge of the cookie elicits instant satisfaction. A glass of milk is required and an order of seconds in a to-go bag is unavoidable.

1200 West Webster Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614

15 Desserts to Try Before You Die by Leah Nolan of the Chicago Chic.

Photo Credit: IMR

Rockit Burger Bar, Dessert Nachos

The Dessert Nachos at Rockit Burger Bar offer a taste of the carnival right outside of the ballpark. A small mountain of cinnamon sugar tortilla chips circle around a giant scoop of silky vanilla ice cream that is topped with rainbow sprinkles, fresh fruit and sticky caramel sauce. The sugary goodness is the ultimate sweet indulgence bite after bite.

3700 North Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613

15 Desserts to Try Before You Die by Leah Nolan of the Chicago Chic.

Photo Credit: Leah Nolan

Aha Crepe, Mango Banana Crepe

Aha Crepe offers a taste of Tokyo in the heart of Lincoln Park. The Mango Banana Crepe features a made-to-order wafer thin crepe that is rolled into a cone and stuffed with sliced bananas, sliced mangos, chocolate chips, granola and mango ice cream. It’s then garnished with chocolate truffles, Nutella chocolate cream and my personal favorite, Koala Yummies (hello 1990’s nostalgia). The crepe itself is light and fluffy and with the toppings folded into each section, it is bursting with chocolaty notes down to the end of consumption.

2435 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

Joy District, Cotton Candy & Strawberry Shortcake

New to Chicago, Joy District opened with a bang, but nothing garnered more attention that its out of the box dessert menu. In the world of Joy, everything makes sense with cotton candy (why wouldn’t it?!) and the strawberry shortcake is served with a healthy helping on the side. This light-as-air spun sugar surprisingly complements the fruit-forward shortcake, which is packed with strawberry flavor and topped with a fluffy whipped cream. Moral of the story: embrace the cotton candy.

112 West Hubbard Street, Chicago, IL 60654

15 Desserts to Try Before You Die by Leah Nolan of the Chicago Chic.

Photo Credit: IMR

Arami, Mochi Ice Cream

This soft glutinous rice is a traditional Japanese cake wrapped around ice cream. At Arami, it is offered in a variety of flavors, each of which are as scrumptious as the next. This unique Japanese-American fusion dessert is texturally satisfying, the mochi is silky smooth and the ice cream is lavishly soft. It instantly cleanses the palate, which is particularly welcomed after indulging in a vast variety of sushi and sashimi. It’s a surprisingly exquisite way to end a meal.

1829 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622

15 Desserts to Try Before You Die by Leah Nolan of the Chicago Chic.

Photo Credit: Leah Nolan

Imperial Lamian, Golden Sesame Balls

At Imperial Lamian, the Golden Sesame Balls are an unassuming Chinese dessert that appear to be utterly unimpressive, but it is what is on the inside that makes them exceptional. These three balls of steamed yeast-leavened dough are filled with satiny lotus paste. With light notes of caramel, this visually simple dish is anything but ordinary and every forkful is fresh and sumptuous. When you visit Imperial Lamian, don’t judge a book by its cover.

6 West Hubbard Street, Chicago, IL 60654

Monteverde, Sorbetti with Forgotten Cookies

Sarah Gruenberg’s restaurant, Monteverde is best known for its pasta. When Gruenberg makes each variety she uses the egg yolks and then saves the whites for her divinely chewy Forgotten Cookies. A decidedly Southern dessert, the sweet chocolate meringue cookies only bake for 5 minutes and then the oven is turned off and they sit inside overnight. This makes them extra crispy on the outside, while allowing them to retain their sinfully soft interior. Served with cherry or coconut sorbet, this combination is lip-smacking good.

1020 West Madison Street, Chicago, IL 60607

15 Desserts to Try Before You Die by Leah Nolan of the Chicago Chic.

Photo Credit: Leah Nolan

North Pond, Blueberry Buttermilk

The Blueberry Buttermilk is an ambrosial new summer addition at North Pond. On the seasonal brunch menu that offers three courses, the last plate is without a doubt the most important. As a finale to a meal, the blueberry buttermilk does not disappoint. The Bavarian buttermilk combines with the blueberry compote to create a rich medley of inspiring flavors. The candied pecans add a sugary crunch and the velvety rosemary ice cream, served on the side, adds notes of savory and sweet.

2610 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614

15 Desserts to Try Before You Die by Leah Nolan of the Chicago Chic.

Photo Credit: Leah Nolan

Firecakes, Bacon & Pineapple Donut

At Firecakes, the Bacon & Pineapple Donut reigns supreme. Served as a mini, this three-bite pastry is delicately glazed with a sugary polish that houses crispy bacon and fresh chunks of titillating pineapple on top.  The soft, buttery richness of the gourmet donut is best served with a side of hot coffee, which they also have on hand. My last recommendation for this breakfast pastry — eat it outside on one of their picnic tables. Somehow, this makes it taste even more exceptional.

2453 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657

 Expat, Rosé Snow Cone

When Expat, a seasonal pop up eatery unveiled its Rosé Snow cone there was a collective gasp among all Chicago foodies. The pink adult slushie was previously confined to epicurean dreams and boozy fairytales. Is there anything better than sitting in the warm breeze on a quaint and cozy patio whilst noshing on a snow cone filled with rosé and topped with a cherry? The answer: probably not.

118 North Green Street, Chicago IL 60607

15 Desserts to Try Before You Die by Leah Nolan of the Chicago Chic.

Photo Credit: Chicago Foodie Girl

Pump Room, Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie 

The Pump Room is a Chicago landmark and just like this iconic space, I hope the Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie never goes away. This thick and lavish cookie has an expertly scooped ball of malt ice cream placed on the top. Warm chocolate oozes out and cascades all over the plate the minute it is pierced with a fork. The cookie mixes with its trimmings to create bountiful bites fit for gourmet chocolate lovers alike.

1301 North State Street, Chicago, IL 6061

15 Desserts to Try Before You Die by Leah Nolan of the Chicago Chic.

Photo Credit: Hilary Higgins/Buck’s

Buck’s, Cheerwine Float

Buck’s, a distinctively Southern eatery (where Beyoncé & Jay Z recently dined) is home to the magical Cheerwine Float. This bubbly cherry soft drink is poured over homemade vanilla bean ice cream and served in a mason jar with a straw. It’s simple, sweet and hits the spot.

1700 West Division Street, Chicago, IL 60622

Featured Image Photo Credit: Food & Wine


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