Why Southern Desserts Are the Best Desserts

Every region does desserts but none as successfully as the South
Beignets dusted generously in powdered sugar make a suitable ending—or beginning—to any meal at Roux

This article appears in print in the February 2018 issue, as part of the cover story, "The United States of Food." Click here to subscribe.

Restaurant Roux
New Orleans Beignets
Brunch, dinner, happy hour…any time of day is a good time for beignets. The square, fried yeast doughnut made famous at Café Du Monde in New Orleans is best enjoyed locally at Restaurant Roux, the Fremont neighborhood restaurant where owner Matt Lewis made a brick-and-mortar home for his popular Where Ya At Matt? food truck. Follow any of the Nola-inspired dishes with warm beignets ($6 for three), served under an avalanche of powdered sugar.
What Else To Order: The chicory coffee, a traditional pairing with the doughnuts.
Restaurant Roux, Fremont, 4201 Fremont Ave. N; 206.547.5420

A la Mode Pies
Florida Key Lime Pie
Although Seattle is almost 3,500 miles from Key West, this Floridian staple can be found in delicious approximation at A la Mode’s two shops. Admittedly, real key limes—the small, round cousin to the standard supermarket variety—are awfully expensive here. So, owner Chris Porter combines key lime juice with fresh lime juice and zest for a sweet-tart pie ($32) that’s sure to satisfy. 
Know Before You Go: You can now get A la Mode’s pies, including key lime, delivered to your door via Amazon Fresh.
A la Mode Pies, Phinney Ridge, 5821 Phinney Ave. N; 206.383.3796
West Seattle, 4225 Alaska St.; 206.456.4343; alamodeseattle.com

Theo Chocolate
Tennessee MoonPies
The moonpie, that packaged cookie-and-marshmallow dessert your mom may have packed in your lunch box, celebrated its 100th birthday last year. And while there’s something satisfying (if unidentifiably plastic-y) about the original, Theo Chocolate has taken the Tennessee treat, renamed it a Lunar Pie ($7.50) and gilded the lily: chocolate marshmallow and cocoa-nib crust covered in dark chocolate, all made in house and only available at the Fremont factory store. We dare you to finish a whole one.
Where Else To Find It: Looking for the original? You can usually spot the packaged sweet at Walmart or Walgreens.
Theo Chocolate, Fremont, 3400 Phinney Ave. N; 206.632.5100 

Simply Soulful
Mississippi Banana Pudding
This tiny café, hidden off Madison behind Cafe Flora, is best known for its sweet potato pie, from a recipe handed down from generation to generation. Once you’re already sitting down to a meal of fried catfish and grits, it only makes sense to add a dessert. But while the sweet potato pie is the star, the banana pudding ($5.95) is the ingenue that steals the show. The boxes of Nilla wafers shine from a high shelf, the cookies awaiting their turn to fall apart under a layer of whipped cream and rich pudding.
Where Else To Find It: If the warm Southern hospitality and family-run feel here make you happy, find a similar vibe (and more catfish) at Jackson’s Catfish Corner in the Central District.
Simply Soulful, Madison Valley, 2909-B E Madison St.; 206.474.9841; 

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