Best Desserts of CNY: Sugar & Co.

IMG_7657.JPG.jpeg

Lemon meringue bar, flourless chocolate cake, and cookie-dough brownie layered dessert. Just a little taste of what Sugar & Co has to offer. The vibes are great — Modern upbeat music, especially attractive to a younger age group. Most dates these days are dinner and a movie, but I find this to be a more UNpopular way to get to know someone without the typical restaurant meal. PLUS there is an exquisite wine list, and we all know you can’t go wrong with wine. Appetizers & desserts are what they serve up at this prime downtown location in Syracuse, NY.

The pastry chef is definitely not one to be over looked. This well-known artistic creator is what separates Sugar & Co. from the rest. She goes by the name ‘the little cake artist’ on Instagram. Her talent is very evident — not just in the quality of the desserts, but the beautifully crafted presentation as well. Probably the reason she has gained 41k followers and counting! Wow, AMAZING. The service goes above and beyond expectations. I had the pleasure of meeting one of the owners who was working at the time and she just so happened to have the same name as me. Obviously the reason why they made the list. Kidding, the bar is perfectly stunning. I never would have known she was the owner had I not asked. GO see why they are one of THE best dessert places in CNY. Be sure to follow their sweet journey on Instagram. Did you my last dessert post?! Here it is “Best Desserts of CNY: The Sweet Praxis.”

 

fullsizeoutput_1098.jpeg

Lemon meringue bar with graham cracker and hazelnut crust & Chambord macerated berries

 

IMG_2468.jpg

Cookie dough brownie with edible cookie dough layers

 

IMG_2463 2

Flourless chocolate cake paired with a Bavarian cream & raspberry sauce

 

IMG_7660.JPG

Sliced prosciutto, caramelized onion, goat cheese, & a drizzle of balsamic glaze

6174584816_IMG_1922

Macaron monday?

Best Desserts of CNY: The Sweet Praxis

6241731680_IMG_1323.jpg

Everything about this downtown Cuse spot is perfection. The moment you walk in, you know it’s something special. It is everything you would expect from a modern downtown cafe, and then some — if it can be put in any category. Everything about this place is beautiful. The simple, yet chic décor along with the display of sweets make you want to say “I’ll have one of everything please.” Always met with freshly made desserts and a variety of unique options daily. I sampled a cinnamon scone, a minty macaron, and a lemon-rose water donut topped with raspberry sugar. DIABEETUS, right? Not exactly — They actually offer healthier menu options such as porridge, yogurt and granola, soups, and more. If you go here and order yogurt though, you are my hero. LOL. I also could not leave without first trying the quiche. They offer a different intriguing quiche combination every day. I sampled the broccoli and kale quiche. SOO tasty. It is no surprise they made the list! If you missed the last post “Best Desserts of CNY: Dani’s Dessert & Wine Bar,” be sure to check it out. To read more about the amazing owners story, read their feature in Syracuse Woman Magazine! Be sure to follow their mouth-watering Instagram feed here.

6241731680_IMG_1344.jpg

IMG_1988

Seriously, how cute is this place?!

 

I. LOVE. DESSERTS.

 

 

6241731680_IMG_1324.jpg

fullsizeoutput_107e.jpeg

Broccoli + Kale Quiche

fullsizeoutput_107d

THE perfect spot for morning coffee.

 

 

XOXO

 

-E

 

Best Desserts of CNY: Dani’s Dessert and Wine Bar

I am noticing a trend of modern-type restaurants popping up lately that have recently grabbed my full attention. Dessert & wine bars. Can I just say that I am 100% on board. Whoever came up with this idea deserves an award. I mean I love wine. I love dessert. Both in one place is almost overwhelming. It’s genius, a chick-magnet if you will.
So, I have visited a few different dessert and wine bars. I was ALL over that — There is nothing better than bonding with my girlfriends over a glass of cabernet. This specific dessert and wine bar stuck out to me in Baldwinsville, NY. Dani’s Dessert and Wine Bar is truly a hidden gem. Nice intimate feel with tasteful decor. The staff is full of local, friendly faces.

6241770320_IMG_1630

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

6241770320_IMG_1621.JPG

Soy Dumplings

 

On to the menu — Perfecto. They serve up more than just desserts. You pick any shareable Tapas 3 for $22 OR 4 for $30. A scrumptious dessert can be among one of your choices. I am typically not a sea-food person other than the fact that I see-food and I eat-food, BUT the Salmon Crostini with cream cheese, capers, and pears was something I couldn’t leave without at least trying. A unique combo that I had to dive right in to. OH my goodness so this is what heaven is like. One thing to know about me is that my love for food is unwavering, If only I were as dedicated to fitness. For dessert I chose the raspberry chocolate cake and you can guess that it tasted just as decadent as is sounds. Wine speaks for itself, sometimes it makes me speak to myself. Anyway, ATTENTION MEN: Just about every girl loves wine and chocolate, so if you’re looking for a special date — hint hint you will score some brownie points here, no pun intended. Seriously go check this place out, you’re missing out! Dani’s Dessert and Wine Bar Facebook Page. Love donuts? Check my last post “Best Desserts of CNY: JUST DONUTS”.

6241770320_IMG_1628.jpg

Honey Mustard Tenders

 

6241770320_IMG_1616.jpg

Enjoying a glass of Cab Sauv.

 

6241770320_IMG_1624.jpg

Tasteful Décor

 

Best Desserts of CNY: JUST DONUTS

To kick off the start of my “Best Desserts of CNY” Mini-Blog Series comes one of the finest donut places around! I will be releasing ONE new dessert location every day this week. Like the name says, they sell JUST DONUTS. Despite the name though, they are not just any donuts. They have fresh donuts daily. The best part? They dream up a different kind of donut every day! They gladly accept ideas from customers! One day they may have red-velvet and blueberry as the base, one day may be sour cream and banana bread. This is a small-town mom & pop shop, but far from typical. The presentation is incomparable, as you see in these blog-worthy photos. Some options include: Kit-Kat, Maple bacon, Fruity pebbles, Canoli, Peanut-butter Oreo, and almost any combination you can think of. What is even better than all of that? They are all made-to-order — freshly topped or glazed with whatever your heart desires. They even do catering for weddings or events, so if you want to be UNpopular, do donuts instead of cake for your wedding or event!! The donuts are cut into cute little pieces and again, pretty much any combination you can think of to please different tastes. They are the only one that exists thus far — and I personally hope it stays that way! Craving donuts and a road trip? Head to Phoenix, NY and I promise it will be well worth it. If you weren’t hungry, I bet you are now!

 

6174614096_IMG_0451

6176674208_IMG_0457.jpg

Click here to see JUST DONUTS Facebook page 

fullsizeoutput_f2c.jpeg
6174614096_IMG_0446.JPG

6174614096_IMG_0444

Beef & Avocado Lettuce Wraps

fullsizeoutput_fd1

QUICK & EASY meal for dinner tonight? Check. ✔️ This is a meal you can eat that you don’t feel incredibly guilty for eating, and it tastes amazing. There is something great about knowing exactly what is in the food that you’re eating. If you look at the back of taco seasoning packets, you’ll notice there are not many recognizable ingredients. Shout out to my sister for ruining that one for me. Either way, it’s a scary thought.. Lucky for you, I have a homemade taco seasoning recipe for these YUMMY lettuce wraps. I never thought I would like them because I am a carb-lover to the fullest. With these, I swear you won’t even miss the tortillas. Vegetarian? Substitute meat-free Morningstar brand. Also delicious.

Ingredients:

1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Black pepper
1/4 tsp curry Powder
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/4 Dried oregano (optional)
1 1/2 Cumin (optional)
Romain lettuce, leaves
1 pound ground beef OR ground turkey

Directions:
1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet until brown and crumbly, stirring occasionally. Stir in all dry ingredients. Cook until beef is no longer pink.
2. Cut up 1 avocado into slices and set aside in a bowl.
3. Serve with 3-cheese Mexican blend shredded cheese, light sour cream, and salsa. Add Sriracha for a little extra spice.

Life is a Trip.

Toronto, Canada treated me very well. If you were talking to someone for just a month (give or take) and they asked to take you on a surprise trip, what would you say? Me a year ago—NOPE. No way José — need more details, more notice. The “not enough money” excuse would have come into play, or the “I’m just not comfortable with it yet” cop out. Living fearlessly takes less effort than you think. You just say yes — and that’s exactly what I did. I call him B, his name is Brandon though.

IMG_1344.JPG

(Posing in the middle of the road in high traffic area — “We do it for the photos, for the memories.”)

He had to tell me the night before we left where we were headed (so that I could bring my passport), though that didn’t make it any less exciting. Road trip was around 4 hours. While going through the border to Canada, the customs officer said “Any firearms or drugs in your vehicle?” B looks in the back all sketchy …and then says no. The officer is like “Why are you looking in the back, is there something you want to tell me?” LOL OH DEAR. Yea so we definitely ended up having to get out, no surprise there. Face palm. We made it through though! We jammed out to old songs, new songs — everything from Blink 182, to matchbox 20, to Ariana Grande. Thankfully we have the same all-over-the-place taste in music. I guess it matches our up-for-anything attitudes.

IMG_1370

(Exploring downtown where we vibed to a song with a homeless woman at a cafe called Second Cup Coffee.)

We have arrived — the view from the room on the 30th floor was breathtaking. We got all settled in, then decided to hit the town. King St. W. was pretty bumping, considering it was a Thursday. It was probably 20 degrees out — or less. Absolutely coming back when it’s warmer to explore more of DT Toronto!

IMG_1385

(Drunken admiring of the city lights in my own little world.)

First stop was Wvrst (restaurant). We walked up a flight of stairs to get there — we could hear the loud music before we walked in. Lights were hanging low and it had communal seating so that you can mingle with whoever. It is the only one that exists — which is actually pretty awesome. Being that it was a German restaurant, it served all kinds of crazy sausages like kangaroo and rabbit. Also serving a variety of craft beer, which I happen to be a HUGE fan of. We ordered a flight of beer in which you didn’t get to choose the different kinds of beer you wanted, hey we’re in Toronto — let’s do this! Their duck fat fries are legit amazing. I went the basic route and got Italian sausage with cheese and onions because wild boar, etc. was a little too gamey for my tastes. Next time maybe I’ll be more adventurous, and there will be a next time. I asked the bartender what time they closed and he replied “12:00.” I’m like “Huh, that’s a little early.” He then stated with a mischievous face “We need to go out and drink too!” LOL, MY MAN. We learned that Canadian one and two-dollar coins are called “Loonies” and “Toonies.” So of course B making me laugh, as per usual, kept saying “We got Luneys and Tuneyssssss!” Haha it was funny at the time, I swear. So I recommend going there 100%. Great time, awesome food, really unique place.

fullsizeoutput_c8a.jpeg

(Goofing off at the museum.)

That was night numero Uno. The following night, we went up to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum). We took in the museum, all of the culture and beauty, then headed up to the 6th floor lounge for some adult beverages, live music, and a Toronto night city view. The lounge was beautiful. The first band was a psychedelic band I think? We did not know how to vibe to it, because there was essentially no real beat. It was funny trying though. The next band included a girl whose voice was as mesmerizing and beautiful as she was. Luna Li band it was called. We had a great time laughing and enjoying the cool atmosphere. The Uber ride there was pretty amusing as well, or maybe it was the ride back to the room? Little fuzzy there. Tickets were so cheap! Great touristy thing to do while in the the six, I recommend. Fun fact: Toronto used to be broken into six cities — Old Toronto, Scarborogh, North York, York, East York, and Etobicoke. The Toronto area code is also 4-1-6. The debate continues on which one is actually the true meaning of the famous nickname “The Six.”

IMG_1309

(Finding warmth in each other’s arms on the walk back.)

So, on to the final day. Sigh. If only there were a better word for the euphoric feeling I felt on that epic last day. So B tells me, “Erin, I have another surprise in store for you today, we are meeting up with a couple of 19 year olds downtown.” In my head WAIT, WHAT?! I’m thinking, what could we possibly be doing meeting up with a couple of random kids in Toronto? He wasn’t telling, and I secretly didn’t want to know. We all met at union station. They are the coolest people ever, by first impression. Albert and Chris are their names. So we say hello and they say “Follow us — you’re in for a great surprise” with big genuine smiles on their faces. So I follow, confused as hell still. We go into a building and hop into an elevator. They press the Top floor. They have backpacks on, so I’m wondering what is in those mysterious backpacks the entire time. So we arrive to the top floor, walk out the door to the rooftop to a vertical steel ladder. They say ok, put your purse around you and climb up. The adrenaline rush was out of this world. What is happening right now, and WHY on earth am I saying yes to this?! So many thoughts going through my mind. So I get to the top of the cold, steel ladder and look up. I swear to you the most beautiful view I will ever see in my life. The sun, the sparkling water, the buildings, the CN tower. It was an absolute rush. I would compare it to something, but you see it was incomparable. My eyes must have been smiling because the look on Albert’s face was one of true satisfaction, and I just hugged him saying thank-you. I felt strangely close to a stranger in that moment. Funny side note—Im also scared of heights. There was another ladder higher up and less safe that they talked me into climbing. It turns out these “kids” are amazingly talented photographers. We had a photoshoot right there on that roof. It was all so so movie-esq. Like my wildest dream came true. Forever memorable. Photos below. Photo Credit Instagram.com/diu.lei and Instagram.com/chriischenn. Follow them for unique views of Toronto! The Prince Charming that made this possible … Brandon Deem

So friends, if you’re feeling like taking a chance, my advice to you is to just say yes. You never know what will happen, maybe you’ll find your rooftop.

IMG_1364.JPG

(Scared, but safe in his arms.)

IMG_1416.JPG

(Photoshoot at airport following the rooftop shoot, still on a high from the experience.)

IMG_1365.JPG

(Candids are the best.)

IMG_1415.JPG

(Too high to come down.)

6241724400_IMG_0277.JPG

(Living on the edge, literally.)

-E