What I 8: The search for the Best Desserts in New York with @hotspothunter

#whatI8

Leave room for dessert, they say. But for sweet tooths like me, dessert is the highlight of the meal! Let’s discover the best desserts in the big apple with @hotspothunter, and don’t forget you can save her recommendations to your own list from her list here.

Siobhan firstly congratulations on your book! An incredible achievement. Take us through the growth of @hotspothunter and how this ultimately had led to “New York Desserts: A Hotspot Hunter guide highlighting the best picks on the menu”?

Thank you so much! I am overwhelmed by the response and I feel so happy to share what I have been working on for so long. I started my Instagram Hotspot Hunter years ago but things really took off when I was working as a food editor in New York – I spent my free time ticking off each bakery, café and tucked-away dessert shop (or as I like to call them, Hotspots), quickly realising it’s not only important to know where to go but what to order. I would order a dessert at one place and be completely swept off my feet, while other times, at the exact same place, I would feel underwhelmed and disappointed – the latter is not the experience I want people to have. It became my mission to find the very best picks on the menu, so I could share my finds with my followers and now, have it all together in a book for people to use as their go-to guide for desserts in the city.  

Now the title might give it away slightly, though what can people expect to find in the book? 

This book shows exactly what to order where. Unlike many travel books that are categorized by area, it takes you through eight desserts – cookies, cupcakes, cakes, cheesecakes, doughnuts, frozen treats, Instagrammable and must-try – so you can choose depending on what you are craving that day. The last chapter, must-try, is a collection of finds that are completely unique with elements from different desserts combined into one unassuming treat. Think hybrids, tubs filled with cake and cream or so-called Jamborees.

As a Dessert Hotspot Hunter, what is it that you are looking for that defines the best in this category?

If it doesn’t make you weak in the knees, it’s not good enough. It needs to be more-ish, memorable and something you would order time and time again.

Without giving away the book, what are 5 of the best Desserts you have had? Feel free to theme them in any way. 

Such a difficult question but thank you for letting me choose five and not just one! In no particular order: Blueberry Cheesecake Cookie, Brooklyn Blackout Cake, 24-layer Chocolate Cake, Ooey Gooey Butter Cake ice cream (lives up to its name) and something so small yet life-changing, the B’day Cake Fruffle.

What is something you’ve eaten that just blew you away because you did not expect it to be that good? It might have been an out of the way place or an unexpected flavour combo.

That B’day Cake Truffle. It’s wrapped up in threes behind the counter and not screaming to be ordered (who would be tempted by beige-looking balls?), it’s so small but it delivers the biggest bursts of flavour. It features birthday cake crumbs, vanilla milk with an invisible-to-the-eye, white chocolate shell and each truffle is so buttery, fudgy and sweet – the flavour and texture is incredibly addictive. 

Which other foodies do you love to follow and why? Give us at least three to check out.

There are so many great foodies to follow on Instagram but I love @laraseesfood (the most colourful feed of treats), @thecarboholic (she will instantly make you crave cake) and @mikejchau (he’s very good at highlighting new places and lesser-known dishes).

Quick Bites outside of Dessert hunting:

Best Breakfast? Sweetcorn Fritters with smashed avocado and chilli jam. Aussies do breakfast best!

Best Veggie or Vegan dish? Whole-roasted Cauliflower with Tahini… but preferably the whole Middle Eastern feast with Hummus, Falafel and Pita as well.

Best Side? Sweet Potato Fries at Ruby’s Cafe

What’s on the radar for you moving forward? Anything you’d like people to know or think about? Any shout outs you would like to make (particularly if there is a great place doing it tough with the pandemic impact)?

As I now live in London, I have been busy working on a second book – the food culture is just as present here as in New York, but I want people living here to rediscover the city, venture out to bakeries beyond their own neighbourhood and try different things. I also hope my New York readers will find it useful when travel is possible again – it’s a tough time for the hospitality industry and they all need our support more than ever.

We are so excited for the second book! While waiting, check out the @hotspothunter‘s recommendations here.

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