10 Cherry Desserts Worth Traveling For

June and July are peak cherry-picking season, and though snacking on a bowl of cherries is a (healthy!) treat by itself, it's hard to resist a dessert featuring the sweet fruit. Here are 10 cherry desserts worth traveling for year-round.

1. GRAND TRAVERSE CHERRY CRUMB PIE // GRAND TRAVERSE PIE COMPANY // TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN

Michigan grows several varietals of cherries, and Michiganders love cherries so much the Lower Peninsula hosts the National Cherry Festival, in Traverse City, every summer. Mike and Denise Busley take advantage of the vast cherry supply in their state by making cherry pies at their bakery, Grand Traverse Pie Company. Their Grand Traverse Cherry Crumb, the signature pie of the festival (one chef Mario Batali has referred to as “a religious experience”) is made with tart Montmorency cherries. The bakery, which has more than a dozen locations across the state, also makes a natural cherry pie, adding no additional sugar; cherry berry (a blend of cherries and raspberries); and a cherry pie coated with ganache.

2. TOM’S CHEERY CHERRY CHERRY BERRY PIE // SWEETIE-LICIOUS // DEWITT, MICHIGAN

Another Michigan standout is Sweetie-licious. Linda Hundt’s pies have won first place at Crisco’s national pie competition, Food Network’s Amazing Pie Challenge, Michigan Live’s best pie in the state, and many other awards. Hundt named her signature pie, Tom’s Cheery Cherry Cherry Berry, after her brother-in-law because he loved the cherry pies she made for him. The pie contains Montmorency cherries, dried Michigan cherries, and blueberries, and can be found at three locations across Dewitt and Grand Rapids.

3. CERISES JUBILÉ // ANTOINE’S RESTAURANT // NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

Setting cherries on fire—why not? As the story goes, renowned French chef Georges Auguste Escoffier created the flammable dish for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. The dish, widely known as Cherries Jubilee, takes cherries coated with sugar and brandy, and sets them ablaze tableside. In NOLA, Antoine Alciatore’s French-Creole institution takes Escoffier’s method but pours the brandied cherry mixture over ice cream. You can also find other flambeés in addition to Cherries Jubilee at Cyrano’s Café in St. Louis.

4. CHERRY KRIEK // STRANGE CRAFT BEER COMPANY // DENVER

Beer isn’t quite dessert, but Strange’s cherry beer has been described as “cherry pie in a glass,” so it belongs on this list. Though this beer contains Montmorency cherries, it’s not a sour beer, but a Belgian Dark Wheat Ale. Low in bitterness and with a foamy red head, this beer pairs well with chocolate, and it’s so good, it won the 2014 World Beer Cup in the fruit beer category. Get the beer on tap at Strange's Denver taproom.

5. CHERRY CRISP // MASTRO’S STEAKHOUSE // SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA

Mastro's Steakhouse has locations in Scottsdale (the original), Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, and all across California. Some diners say their signature warm butter cake is the restaurant’s best dessert, but their cherry crisp, which is on the menu at all 14 locations, gets high marks, too. Cherries are covered in a brown sugar-pecan crust and served with ice cream and a sprig of mint.

6. CHERRY BENJAMIN // BRYANT’S COCKTAIL LOUNGE // MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN

Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge—which has been opened for almost 80 years—is the oldest cocktail bar in Milwaukee. In 2012, Esquire named it one of the best bars in America. Its old school ethos translates into their drink menu. The Cherry Benjamin mixes ginger liqueur, cherry syrup, and cognac with vanilla ice cream (and whipped cream and a cherry on top), generating a boozy and dessert drink.

7. CHERRY SMASH SUNDAE // CHERRY SMASH ICE CREAM PARLOUR // CORAL SPRINGS, FLORIDA

The throwback ice cream parlor concocts the Cherry Smash, a rich sundae that the New Times Broward Palm Beach describes as “not to be missed.” Purple Haze ice cream (chocolate, cherry, raspberry) gets scooped into a gold goblet. “Hidden inside are chocolate-covered maraschino cherry candies that need to be unwrapped for consumption,” and then the ice cream is topped with walnuts, black cherry sauce, and hot fudge. In fact, all of their sundaes are elaborate and sweet-tooth worthy.

8. WILD CHERRY PHOSPHATE // THE ICE CREAM BAR // SAN FRANCISCO

Phosphates are an old-time soda fountain drink made with a syrup, acid phosphate, and soda water. San Francisco’s 1930s-themed The Ice Cream Bar makes a wild cherry one with housemade cherry syrup and wild cherry bark tincture. The result is a dark-as-blood red drink with a fizzy head. Besides the wild cherry phosphate, they also serve the L-O-L-A float: Cole St. Cola syrup (which is made with 15 botanicals), cherry syrup, black Morello cherry, and crème fraîche ice creams also containing acid phosphate and soda.

9. CHERRY ICE CREAMS // BONNIE BRAE ICE CREAM // DENVER

Rated one of the best ice cream shops in the Mile High City, Bonnie Brae apparently loves their cherry ice creams. They rotate numerous kinds of cherry-infused flavors: cherry vanilla, cherry rum raisin, cherry mash, cherry cheesecake, cherry sherbet, and pineapple cherry cake.

10. CHERRY PIE // CROUSE CAFE // INDIANOLA, IOWA

Iowa is known for its cherry pie, and that is the specialty at Indianola's Crouse Cafe. This succulent cherry pie is housed in a tender flaky crust that Crouse's claims their diners call the best crust in the world. If that doesn't sell you, The Des Moines Register once listed Crouse Cafe's cherry pie one its "100 Things to Eat in Iowa Before Die."

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Alexa Can Now Help You Find a Wine Pairing
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iStock

Even if you enjoy wine regularly, you may not know exactly how you’re supposed to pair it with food. But you don’t have to be a sommelier to put together a good pairing at home. According to Lifehacker, you can just ask Alexa.

An Alexa skill called Wine Finder is designed to help you figure out which wine varietal would go best with whatever food you’re planning to eat. You just have to ask, “What wine goes well with … ”

Created by an app developer called Bloop Entertainment, the Amazon Echo skill features a database with 500 wine pairings. And not all of them are designed for someone working their way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The skill will also help you find the proper pairing for your more casual snacks. In one demo, the skill recommends pairing nachos with a Sauvignon blanc or Zinfandel. (Note that the latter also goes well with Frito pie.)

You can also ask it to find you the perfect wine to drink with apple pie and pizza, in addition to the meats, cheeses, and other wine-pairing staples you might expect. However, if you ask it what to pair with hot dogs, it says “water,” which is an affront to hot dog connoisseurs everywhere.

There are a few other wine-pairing skills available for Alexa, including Wine Pairings, Wine Pairings (two different skills), and Wine Expert. But according to user reviews, Wine Finder is the standout, offering more and higher-quality suggestions than some of the other sommelier apps.

It’s free to enable here, so drink up.

[h/t Lifehacker]

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Elsie Hui, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Sam's Club Brings $.99 Polish Hot Dogs to All Stores After They're Cut From Costco's Food Courts
Elsie Hui, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Elsie Hui, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

In early July, Costco angered many customers with the announcement that its beloved Polish hot dog was being removed from the food court menu. If you're someone who believes cheap meat tastes best when eaten in a bulk retail warehouse, Sam's Club has good news: The competing big box chain has responded to Costco's news by promising to roll out Polish hot dogs in all its stores later this month, Business Insider reports.

The Polish hot dog has long been a staple at Costco. Like Costco's classic hot dog, the Polish dog was part of the food court's famously affordable $1.50 hot dog and a soda package. The company says the item is being cut in favor of healthier offerings, like açai bowls, organic burgers, and plant-based protein salads.

The standard hot dog and the special deal will continue to be available in stores, but customers who prefer the meatier Polish dog aren't satisfied. Fans immediately took their gripes to the internet—there's even a petition on Change.org to "Bring Back the Polish Dog!" with more than 6500 signatures.

Now Sam's Clubs are looking to draw in some of those spurned customers. Its version of the Polish dog will be sold for just $.99 at all stores starting Monday, July 23. Until now, the chain's Polish hot dogs had only been available in about 200 Sam's Club cafés.

It's hard to imagine the Costco food court will lose too many of its loyal followers from the menu change. Polish hot dogs may be getting axed, but the popular rotisserie chicken and robot-prepared pizza will remain.

[h/t Business Insider]

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