My children are very, very spoiled — at least they are when it comes to food.

Thanks to sharing my experiences as a restaurant critic, they have come to expect things like fresh mixed greens in salad, going so far as to criticize school lunch that offers "just" iceberg.

They tell people which places have the best salsa and where to find good gelato. And they always, always expect dessert when we eat out — and even when we don't.

I've given in to this request a bit more than usual lately: I've been in the mood for sweet things, too. I think it's the summer; sweets put a smile on my face, and I'm so ready for some sunny cheer after our long, white winter.

Just in case you feel the same, here are three "sweets" I've enjoyed lately.

The cookie crumbles

I've written before about Scoopology (7710 S. Union Park Ave., Midvale; 562-8937), and I'm happy to report that the folks there are continuing their zany ways, which include serving ice cream with Jell-O and peanut-butter sandwiches with crushed cereal.

The newest Scoopology experiment is cookies baked into cookies. Yes, you read that right. Picture an Oreo, crumbled and used as a mix-in for a soft, crisp-skinned sugar, dark chocolate or chocolate-mint cookie.

On any given day you may also find Nutter Butters baked into chocolate cookies and those pink-and-white circus animal cookies studded in sugar cookies. My favorites are any Oreo variety and the Nutter Butter-chocolate combo, but the circus-sugar cookie sure is popular with the kids. The cookies aren't exactly cheap, but as an occasional treat, and for sheer exhilarating weirdness, they're worth it.

Nothing bundt decadence

For some time now, I've been staring at the storefront for Nothing Bundt Cakes (10389 S. State, Sandy; 619-3757), waiting for it to open so I could get in there and start snarfing cake.

But now that I've visited, I no longer feel so much like snarfing. Snarfing wouldn't be right for something as refined, as impossibly cute as the creations at this bakery chain.

Nothing Bundt Cakes is a store Martha Stewart would love, both for its elegant/whimsical decor and for its relentless after-marketing. I didn't know you could accessorize cake, but I should have known better: There are bows, flowers and toppers to jazz up the bundts, lots of different pedestals for them to sit on and cards and tags to personalize them.

The regular-size bundts, with thick ropes of rich cream-cheese frosting blossoming down their sides, are for sharing. But my favorites were the "bundtlets," single-serving cakes that are as tasty as they are adorable. The chocolate chocolate chip was dark and rich, the pecan praline reminiscent of a sweet bread, the carrot a refined version of the classic. And the red velvet with chocolate chips was both eye-catching and delicious.

You can buy these wee cakes by the dozen, boxed specially in a "Bundtlet Bundle" to share with all your friends. Or you can buy a couple, hide out somewhere and do just a little snarfing — but do it daintily.

A jewel of a smoothie

Luckily, I've got one sweet spot that's good for me. The drinks at Emerald City Smoothie (2722 W. 12600 South, Riverton, and 5692 S. 900 East, Murray) are mostly fruit-based, with menu sections titled according to what the smoothies do: "Treat My Body," "Help Me Lose Weight," etc.

And they taste wonderful. One of our favorites is the no-fat Mango Mania, with mango, pineapple, nonfat milk and protein. It's full of flavor and silky texture. The Energizer has all sorts of good-for-you stuff like minerals, brewers yeast, wheat germ and protein, but it tastes like smooth, frothy banana and strawberry.

But the best thing on the menu are the layered smoothies — meals in a cup that taste like dessert but offer balanced nutrition. I loved a tart-sweet peach smoothie layered with wheat germ, granola and berries (bananas are listed on the menu, but I didn't mind the switch at all). They'd be great for breakfast, but I had mine for dinner and wasn't hungry until the next morning — not even for dessert.


Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News. E-mail: [email protected]