Hell yeah, Hellas!


I first became aware of Hellas Pastry Shop when I ate more than my fair share off the cookie table at a 1/2 Greek wedding this summer. I knew it was located in Lincoln Square, but as I traveled up and down Lincoln Ave. in my mind, I couldn’t place it. The reason, dear reader/eater, is because it’s on Lawrence NOT Lincoln.

Understatedly unassuming, Hellas is a Greek pastry shop on the corner of Lawrence and Talman. Everything is super fresh (like “wait just one minute I have to finish this dough and then I’ll be right out” fresh) and here’s what to get:

ANYTHING “macaron.” Oval and encrusted in almonds and sandwiching apricot jam, or round with an old lady red cherry in the middle, these are light and chewy and addicting.


And then there are the honey cookies. A substantial cookie with finely ground nuts soaked in honey, they are surprisingly melt-in-your-mouth but still best with a side of tea or coffee.


Then there are cookies that look like huge crescent shaped piles of snow. I was actually asked if I was planning on ordering any of these when I started my box so they could be placed on the bottom and not snow on everything else. Joke’s on planning though since I ordered so much that my couple-of-these-5-of-those all needed to be transported to a larger box. (snow banks were still properly maintained)


They also make baklava enrobed in chocolate. Also spinach pie and also eclairs, and they’ve been around since 1969 and I’m certain I’ve driven past approx 10000 times and probably blindly parked right out in front at least 5 times. And now if I get a parking spot within even a 1/2 mile radius, I’ll be stopping in Hellas.



land of milk and honey


Unless you live in Vernon Hills, Vernon Hills is not close. Nor does it have hills (quick Chi suburb tricky name lesson here). But some days the stars and sun rays align and *someone* can finally have honey and that same someone needs a nap but doesn’t know it, so a DRIVE is in order with destination: Milkcow.

Soft serve milk ice cream drizzled with honey and topped with chunks of honeycomb. Smooth and refreshing with hits of honey. They also have a cookies and cream version (for a next level milk and cookies fix), and can do a towering affogato. Delicious for an adult and probably mind-blowing for a 1 year old…. I’m guessing like a bottle on steroids??

*Extra points for having a sink in the dining area – to rinse/recycle your cup and/or to wash any sticky fingers.

Chicago pies (not pizza pies)

Today I had pie for lunchtime and pie for snacktime. Maybe growing up on deep dish helped me to develop a deep stomach? (pro tip: wear a billowy shirt when preparing for a pie outing)

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For lunchtime: Hoosier Mama Pie Company. This place used to be a great spot that served burrito-sized spring rolls, and I lamented its closing for years. But now my grieving has ceased as the spring rolls have been replaced by delicious pie (plus the window seat remains).

chocolate chess – rich bourbony brownie in a flaky crust ( wowwowwow favorite!)
apple rhubarb – tangy fruit with spiced oat/granola topping (did you know rhubarb was called ‘pie plant’? I didn’t, but now I do and you do too!)
Jeffersonville – what? where? huh? maple pecan with chocolate. yes, ok!!
(not pictured: hot chicken tomatillo in a cornmeal crust)

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For snacktime: Bang Bang! Pie & Biscuits. Here we sat outside in the pie garden surrounded by flowers and butterflies and fellow pie eaters. I could stay here all day, just eating pies that pass by. The table next to us had 5 people and one slice of pie – amateurs. We had 3 slices of pie and avocado biscuits – professionals.

key lime – the first pie to ever rival my own recipe!
chocolate macaroon – basically a 7 layer bar meets candy bar meets pie but freshly made so it’s good for you
honey pie with blueberry cherry compote –  so unique with an earthy maybe buckwheat not sweet honey flavor and whatever’s seasonal on top. “Honey pie you are making me crazy, I’m in love but I’m lazy, So won’t you please come home” (so true, so true. come home with me in my stomach.)
(not pictured: avocado biscuits with queso fresco, mole spice and pickled fresno chilis)

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soft serve in Los Angeles?

I’ve been thinking a lot about soft serve ice cream lately. It’s not so readily available here, it seems. I wonder if Dessert Oasis can help me find the best that LA has…?



Dear Tyler,

I did a bit of research for your question, since you are correct: soft serve ice cream is not readily available in Los Angeles – the land of frozen yogurt.  In fact, before last week, I’d only had it at the LA Zoo (in a stand next to the giraffes – vanilla, chocolate or swirl available).

I did find some pretty great places as well as some disappointments:

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Whipp’d LA – Known for their Dole pineapple soft serve which is only available at the Dole plantation, Disneyland and here! I’m allergic to pineapple, but I popped an allergy pill, chugged some water and just did it. It was refreshing (and tasted forbidden), and I’m still alive to tell the tale. (ps: they have flavors other than pineapple too)

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Honeymee – Only one flavor here: milk.  Order it with honey swirled in or a chunk of fresh honeycomb on top.  The milk flavor is super fresh tasting and isn’t very sweet so it perfectly offsets the sweet honey.  This is a great treat and I highly recommend trying it, but probs not what you are imagining when craving soft serve.

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Bob’s Freeze in East LA – In case you weren’t aware, I don’t like vanilla ice cream. Bob’s Freeze only serves vanilla soft serve. Their old school dip top is pretty rich though and almost *almost* makes the vanilla ok.  But if you’re a vanilla lover, then this place is worth the trip. You might also want to try a vinilla mershmalloe shake or maybe a Suicide slush float (vanilla soft serve in a bowl with ALL flavors of slush dumped on top).

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Foster’s Freeze – Their hand-written sign states that they have tacos, coffee, hot chocolate and tuna sandwich.  Their printed sign states that they have chocolate soft serve.  They do not.

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Gill’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream (at the Original Farmers’ Market) – This is where you go in LA to get soft serve.  Vanilla or chocolate or swirl.  Dip top in a bunch of flavors including my fave, butterscotch. Big portions, colorful drawings, old timey freezer. The best. They’ve been around for 78 years, so they know what they’re doing!

Let me know where you end up and thanks for asking!!

Officially soft-swirled,
Dessert Oasis

Have a dessert question?  Email me at courtneysconza@gmail.com – from funnel cakes to fondue fountains, if it has sugar, I’ve probably eaten it.