Who doesn’t love a good dessert? What about local vendors? Personally, I’m a big fan of supporting smaller, local businesses, and seeing events like this pop up in my area get me excited to help out — by smashing my face right into the sample tray!
Meme sourced from KnowYourMeme
Dessert Goals is a curated festival of sweets that tours New York and Los Angeles to bring awareness to the local small businesses. In Los Angeles, the vendors included hidden gems like Amborella Organics, Dirty Cookie, Lee’Poof. This is an event that caters to the hedonist in us all. The people who say “what’s a diet?” Those who throw carrots to the wind– unless they’re included in cakes. An ode to self-indulgence.
So put away your calorie counting apps and scales for the weekend, and eat your cupcakes before dinner! Let’s dig in!
Heading into the event, we were presented with a lovely map of the building and all the booths, along with a wristband with detachable tags. The wristband granted us samples from some of the booths, like Boxed Water, and some items from the Salt Bar. There were two rooms and an outdoor patio area, packed with vendors from all over SoCal. The scent of sugar hung in the air, causing my mouth to water before I could even get my bearings.
Basically a cookie calzone, Stuffed Cookies offers exactly what you think. A fat cookie made from brown butter (an often-overlooked and easily one of the best cookie bases to exist) filled with various options, like Nutella, caramel, or peanut butter. One of the many delicious cookies was the Oreo Birthday Cake, which is a cookie made from vanilla brown butter, stuffed with cookie butter, and includes mix-ins of oreos and is topped with sprinkles. The company’s founder has prided herself on making people happy with tasty, well-crafted desserts since 2014, and you can taste the love and effort.
The Pie Hole
This Los Angeles staple has six locations across SoCal and somehow also two in Tokyo. The franchise offers a huge variety of pies, but also one of my favorite things in the world: coffee. They have a special blend of coffee that you can only find in their cafe, as well as seasonal pies with really intriguing pie flavors. I mean, you could get the normal stuff like “Mom’s Apple Crumble” but why would you when you can get Earl Grey, Mexican Chocolate, or Salted Honey Custard? The Pie Hole isn’t just a play on words, either. They have something called a Pie Hole, which is a handheld, cookie-sized pastry that comes by the half dozen. Unfortunately they don’t have a way to order online unless you’re close enough for a pick up or delivery, but locals will be excited to know that they just opened up a location in Glendale’s Americana.
This Orange County based sweets shop was founded by a ex aerospace project manager, born from the desire to change lives with innovative cookie designs. Cookie shots! I saw the sign, and immediately had to ask. What the holy hell is a cookie shot? Is it a shot glass that looks like a cookie? Wait, it feels like a cookie. Really great design. Hold the phone. It IS a cookie?! What black magic is this! You fill it with coffee or milk, but it doesn’t get soaked in, because this crazy mofo created a frosting designed specifically to create a water-proof barrier and coated the inside with it like a very tasty and less-deadly caulk. I bought one immediately, but because I don’t think things through, I ended up carrying this cookie cup filled with coffee (that I definitely spilled on myself at one point) all over the event space before I got the ability to sit down and eat it. That was an actual and exaggerated 15 minutes of liquid sitting in a glass made from sugar and not dissolving it. I bought 4 more, and a jar of their cookie butter, which honestly has no business existing. It didn’t make it home.
Pop’t by Lily
This adorable mini tarts are made for the ‘gram! Each one is crafted with ultimate tastiness, sure, but also with such intricate detail and artistic flair that it’s almost a crime against the arts to eat one! This cutesy shop flew out from NYC just to attend this event, which shows her dedication to and love of the craft. Check out her Instagram, and see how cute these little desserts can be. But also know that as cute as they are, they’re twice as tasty.
Listed on LAist.com as one of the top 10 best donut shops in LA, Colorado Donuts does not disappoint! They’re located in Eagle Rock (on Colorado Blvd, for those of you sassy folks who are saying “they’re not in Colorado why use the name”), and their donut creations are absolutely sinful. This Instagram-famous donut shop isn’t just in it for the looks. The taste really delivers, as well. Their table was a pleasing direct assault not only on my olfactory and optical nerves, but also on my wallet because I bought way too many of these things. And like the cookies mentioned earlier, they didn’t last long in my possession. Maple bacon, donuts stuffed with assorted candies like Ferrero Rochers. Even an ube donut, that has not only a lovely purple ube flavored icing, but also is made entirely of ube cake dough. If you’re in the area, get to them. If not, stare at their Insta and try not to ruin your keyboard with all the drool.
Pops Artisinal Creamery
With ice cream to die for, Pops has an impressive array of delights, from what you’d normally find in a creamy: ice cream and sorbet by the scoop or pint, to the strange but tasty, like ice cream nachos. The family that runs this mom and pop near Burbank came from Belize, bringing with them a truly unique Latin American twist to their flavors. You can grab a scoop from some of your more run-of-the-mill traditional options like vanilla bean, rocky road, and the less traditional but relatively common in LA flavor: horchata, and then follow up with something a little wackier and exotic, like lucuma, soursop, or almond avocado. All flavors are equally creamy, with a great mouthfeel that comes only from churning ice cream with care and consideration for the process. At Dessert Goals, Pops unveiled their newest addition to the menu, the creme brulee coconut sundae! Served in coconuts, these are not only an amazing combination of flavors on the tongue, but also a beautiful display that speaks to the heart of the artist in me. I could see myself on the beach with one of these. Just gotta be careful to not mix it up with the coconut in my other hand that’s filled with rum!
Oh what a wonderful concept! Made to order churros, freshly baked just for you, and brought to you on a cute cart at whatever event you’re running. Churros truly are one of the finest dessert gifts that exist just for my face, and Churro Service is all that and a bag of chips. This sweet, buttery, crunch, tube of cinnamon-sugar dietary destruction is perfected in this place, because nothing is better than a hot, soft, fresh churro. And if you live on the east coast and don’t know what this Spanish/Latin American delight even is and you dare to compare it to those toxic fried horrors at Taco Bell (SHAME), you don’t know what you’re missing. You could try to make one, but you’re better off just getting to the southwestern part of the states and hitting up a street cart. Or just call Churro Service.
Jessie’s Nutty Cups
One of the more customizable dessert options, Jessie’s Nutty Cups allows you to create that perfect dessert for your big events with a combo of flavors, designs, and messages. With this concept, I can see using these cups for gender reveal parties, birthdays, or even weddings! Jessie’s also has online ordering options and a subscription service, to help keep me off my health kick with the convenience of not even getting up from my sofa. You can find Jessie’s Nutty Cups products in local stores in Los Angeles, New York, and in a couple smaller locations across the U.S. and Hawaii.
I was really excited to see this place here, because it’s one of the coolest dessert concepts that I’ve experienced. It caters not only to my deep, deep desires to consume sugar in literally any form, but also my love for helping the environment. “Organic” doesn’t typically mean much to me, considering the term can be applied to plenty of things that aren’t fully chemical free (“organic” products don’t contain chemicals, additives, synthetics, etc, but those are vague and up to interpretation, and also can still be up to 30% of the product while still qualifying as organic), and definitely doesn’t mean that what you’re eating isn’t laden with chemicals or even healthier in general. That’s not the case with Amborella Organics! This company prides itself in sustainability and kindness to the environment. They even created their logo by foraging local flowers and herbs. The colors that you see in the lollipops are sourced from natural dyes, like turmeric and carrot, and each lollipop is seed-bearing, featuring biodegradable paper sticks laden with seeds the correspond to the flavor you just consumed. Just lay the stick horizontally in soil and water daily to grow a flower or herb! How cool is that! Co-owners and nature-loving duo Brennan Clarke and Taylor Morgan strive to keep humans happy with sugary sweets, and nature happy with less litter and waste, and more plants. You can find their shop online, or pick some of their stuff up at small retailers worldwide.
Macarons. Are. Amazing. Soft, almost cakey, sugary, merengue cookie made with almond paste and probably angel poop is at the top of the list of decadent and irresistible sometimes foods. Hailing from the northern Californian, tech-saturated Silicon Valley, is Fancy Flavors. Owned and run by an inspirational woman with lofty goals of equality for all, this bakeshop has funneled that passion into perfecting the French macaron. Using locally-sourced almonds, C&H sugars, rBST butter from grass-fed cows, every step involved is taken with the ultimate goal of sustainability, kindness to the environment, and ultimate flavor. Speaking of which, you can find a variety of options for order, which include greats like Earl Grey (a favorite of mine), Fruity Pebbles, and Honey Lavender. They only deliver locally, but you have the ability to customize the shapes, colors, and designs for any occasion. Imagine having heart-shaped macarons with flavors that match your cake as table gifts for your wedding guests! These are some of the best macarons I’ve ever tasted.
With cotton candy the size of your head, it’s a wonder that this place isn’t more well-known! Lee’Poofs has tons of flavors, and can make those flavors into unique and interesting shapes. While I was at Dessert Goals, I saw an elephant head, a unicorn, a pig, and a Pikachu! All gigantic, all delicious, and the smiles on the kids’ faces when they got this edible masterpiece was of pure delight and joy.
The company that created the original chile gummy bear, ChilOSO’s appearance was a pleasant surprise! These gummies are that perfect combo of sweet and spicy that you just can’t get enough of. But they have more than just gummy bears. You’ll also see chilangos, which are a slice of a delicious ripe mango coated in their special blend of spice. It’s absolute perfection. The best part is you can order online and have it shipped to you! The only down side is that these guys are so popular that it’s hard to get the favorites, so jump on them when you see them!
With 9 locations in Los Angeles, Ubatuba Açaí boasts some of the tasiest açaí bowls in the area. This is probably one of the healthiest items at the entire event, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t qualify as dessert! The açaí in a cup is practically ice cream, and you can top it with a variety of sliced fruits, like dates and goji berries, or drizzle it with some honey or Nutella. You can even go full LA with vegan carob chips or hemp seeds!
No, it’s not the study of bears. That’s ursinology. Bearology is another in the group of great local franchises that are taking a stand against unsustainable practices and irresponsible business practices by removing plastic from the equation and opting instead for glass mason jars for their containers. They also use real, locally sourced ingredients from farmers markets in the area, rather than powders or syrups. for this reason, everything just tastes super fresh, and bright. I don’t know how they do it, but some of their drinks are even glittery! I’m a big fan of the Thai Tea from their vast collection of teas, but they also have various lemonade flavors, smoothies, and cold-pressed juices. And for those weirdos that like to chew their drinks, you can toss some boba, chia seeds, lychee jelly, or aloe vera in there. Unfortunately I don’t think they have an option to order for just yourself, unless you want them to cater your living room as you watch Season 4 of Rick and Morty in your underwear.
Cookie Dough Dreams
Oh cookie dough… let’s get married and move in together. Cookie Dough Dreams used to exclusively cater only to the Hollywood film industry, but they’ve recently opened their customer base to the general public, allowing people like me to wish they had better self control and eventually invest in a Rascal scooter. You do have the ability to bake the dough into cookies, but why take the extra step just to seem like a reasonable person when the only one judging you is your jerk cat? They have a food truck, cater, and sell their stuff online, so I don’t have to justify putting on pants. Not only do they have all the classics, but they also have something for people with dietary restrictions: Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Vegan Chocolate Chip cookie dough.
Sweet n’ Hollow
Two words: Chimney cakes. Picture an ice cream cone, but instead of a crunchy waffle cookie, it’s a twisted up hollow cinnamon sugar cake. Why was this not a thing before now? So the chimney cake is a think in the UK, but not really so well-known on this side of the pond. We can thank owners George and Sevana, who traveled to Slovenia just to learn how to make this dessert the right way so we can promptly not appreciate anything about it by eating it so quickly we get a brain freeze and a tummy ache. After studying the technique in Eastern Europe, they used that knowledge to bring a little joy to the mean streets of LA with their catering company. I swear I’m going to set up for all these carts to just hang with me in my house and feed me until I burst. Their Caramel Apple Crumble is a seasonal favorite, filled with vanilla ice cream, apple crumbs, caramel, and topped with a pumpkin candy for that extra nudge of sugar to take you right over the edge into diabetes territory.
Pacific Organic Pops
We already covered “organic,” so I won’t go through it again. Pacific Organic Pops, or POP for short (clever girl), makes their pops from real ingredients and natural organic sweeteners like honey, maple, and cane sugar. Besides the common flavors, like watermelon or orange cream, they also offer gluten free/dairy free cookie pops, and wellness pops that help hydrate you as you cool off. In places like Los Angeles, this is huge! It’s always so damn hot, here! And we’re always on fire! Both literally and figuratively. You know what I mean. Cool part is that they come to you. Why not do a popsicle themed birthday party? Or maybe just eat the 75 pop minimum order by yourself. Make it a contest with your friends. Get the 100 pop package, and set a time limit. Just don’t give yourself an aneurysm. (Probably don’t actually do that contest.)
Drunken Cake Pops
Another addition to my list of “how was this not a thing before now” comes Drunken Cake Pops, the booze-soaked cakes of the future. With delights like Drunken Monkey, a banana nut cake infused with brandy, and Monique’s Pink Champage (which I swear wasn’t named after me but it may as well have been), which sports a thick vanilla cake infused with champagne and coated in strawberry chocolate, this place serves desserts perfect for the adult crowd.
Just down the street from my house, Famous Apples is a hole in the wall to beat all holes in the wall. One of the best snack bars in the area, they have not only some legit really cool looking caramel apples, but also crepes, pastries, and juices made from scratch. At Dessert Goals, they pulled out all the stops with their decorative caramel apple creations, covering their table in a ton of crazy designs! I saw unicorns and upside down ice cream cones, and cats, and all kinds of awesome designs. They do special events, and online orders for pick up or delivery.
Small Cakes OC
Last on our massive list of vendors, but certainly not least is Small Cakes OC. Making the world better, on cupcake at a time, this adorable startup offers full sized special order cakes, ice cream, cupcakes, and even PUPcakes! Yes, small cupcakes your your canine companion. Their flavors change on a daily basis, which is amazing for my short attention span and constant desire for novelty. Their designs are cute, the flavors are rich, and the cakes have a fantastic silky texture.
After this event, I feel like I took a dessert-themed foodie tour of Los Angeles and Orange County. I loved the entire set up, from the food and vendors, to the photo walls and photo stand-ins, and all the way to the outdoors covered patio with the tiki themed pool floaties and fake grass to simulate a luau-styled party.
The founder, Miraya, is pretty much the best person ever. She loves cake and party planning, and has been doing it for a lifetime. She usually attends these things personally, sporting loud clothing and a purse that looks edible. Make sure you say hi and thank for for throwing together probably the best event ever.
They do New York City in Spring and Fall, and typically visit us here in LA in the summer. This is the first time that they’ve come at us in the Fall, skipping the summer this time. I’m hoping to see a twice annual visit going forward! Hint, hint, Miraya!
Do you live in NYC or LA? What local businesses would be great in this event that weren’t already there? You should let us know and also let them know!