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Quick Bites: The Dish on Desserts

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Everybody loves dessert, but not all sweet treats are created equal. And the best meal of the day doesn’t have to be confined to your traditional chocolate-chip cookie or brownie. Think outside of the Betty Crocker box! Lucky for us, Tahoe and Reno are full of restaurants and bakeries that cook up some creative and yummy desserts that will satisfy the sweetest of teeth.

I like my food whole (pure, classic, nothing artificial or low calorie), which doesn’t always equate to wholesome. I used to fear developing food allergies — how would I survive without my precious dairy or gluten? — until Allison Sayles opened up Sugar Pine Cakery. Her arsenal of vegan and gluten-, grain-, and dairy-free treats aren’t missing a thing when it comes to flavor. She bakes a daily gluten-free muffin from her proprietary mix of white and brown rice flours, coconut flour, and almond meal. I recently tried the gluten-free vanilla-pear muffin ($2.50) and it was light, fluffy, and perfectly not-too-sweet. Lemon-coconut shortbreads ($2) are another healthy standout as they’re vegan and made without grain (no rice flour) and gluten. No limits? Try a thick slice of the best-selling apple-caramel bread ($3). Info: 2923 Lake Forest Rd, Tahoe City, (530) 363-3076,, open Wednesday to Friday 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and on Saturday 7 a.m. to noon.

~ Lis Korb/Moonshine Ink

I am a chocolate person through and through, so it's rare that a dessert without the dark stuff will tempt my taste buds. But I can’t resist Uncommon Kitchen's delicious carrot cake ($3.50/slice or $32 for a whole cake). Adapted by Uncommon Kitchen co-owner Doug Baehr from the 'Tassajara Bread Book,' a favorite of both renowned chefs and casual bakers for more than 30 years, the cake is made with currants, walnuts, cinnamon, organic sugar, and of course carrots, and topped with a velvety cream-cheese icing. The scrumptious cake is moist yet filling, the perfect thing to top off a not-yet-full stomach, for a late-afternoon snack, or even to go with your coffee for breakfast. The carrot cake rotates with the cheesecake, so call ahead to make sure it's in the display case. Even if you end up at Uncommon Kitchen, located inside New Moon Natural Foods in Tahoe City, on a day they don’t have carrot cake, you can’t go wrong with any of their desserts, from lemon bars to vegan tiramisu.

'The desserts are really popular; it always blows my mind,' said Baehr's wife and co-owner, Dawn. 'You wouldn’t think so with our health-conscious community, but people want to ski and have their dessert.' Let them eat carrot cake. Info: Uncommon Kitchen, 505 West Lake Blvd, Tahoe City, (530) 583-3663,, open Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Sunday.

~ Melissa Siig/Moonshine Ink

Inspired by our recent article featuring Mark Estee's new Reno restaurant, Campo, I decided we ought to highlight its cuisine. Once seated in the sunny window near the Truckee River, I requested a dessert menu. Generally, my eyes navigate straight to the most intense chocolate dish, but not on this fine afternoon. I went for something entirely different, per everyone's highly persuasive suggestions: the caramel budino ($6), Campo's most popular dessert item. After one taste of the caramel Italian pudding, sprinkled with salty, chocolate cookie crumbs and a dollop of rich whipped cream, I understood perfectly why — it's such a rich treat, one dish is plenty to share. Unless you’re with me, then you’ll have to get your own. Info: 50 N. Sierra Street, Downtown Reno,
at the Palladio, (775) 737-9555,, open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and until 8 p.m. on Sunday.

~ Emily Dettling/Moonshine Ink

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Soul Kitchen dishes out one-of-a-kind recipes from Tahoe locals. Read about Tahoe Truckee’s local food culture, get a roundup review of local venues, catch a new recipe, and find out what's in season.

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February 14, 2019