For as long as I can remember, East Coasters and West Coasters have been waging a battle over whose food is better. 

Californians stand steadfast behind In-N-Out Burger while Virginians argue in defense of Five Guys. Pacific Northwesterners swear by their salmon and dungeness crab, but New Englanders are loyal to lobster and blue crabs. San Francisco sourdough rules the west while New York bagels are the pride of the east.

One of the many categories that the East and West coasts are stuck on a stalemate is dessert. Here are the best of both coasts in all of the most important sweet treat categories. 

Specialty Ice Cream

East Coast: Ample Hills Creamery

Named after a Walt Whitman poem, Ample Hills Creamery has embodied the poet's creativity and dedication to nature from day one through their old-fashioned ice cream-making process and constant stream of new innovative flavors. 

They use high quality ingredients for their ice cream bases and make almost all of their mix-ins on site at their dairy plant slash creamery slash bakeries.

Their most famous flavors include Salted Crack'd Caramel, Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, and The Munchies. Every shop, spread around New York's Boroughs plus one in Jersey City and one in Disney World, has its own rotating menu. 

West Coast: Salt & Straw

Portland-based shop Salt & Straw reigns king of West Coast ice cream. Salt & Straw gained fame from its unconventional, made-in-store flavors, including customer favorites such as Honey Lavender, Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper, and Bone Marrow & Sour Cherries. If you aren't feeling adventurous, they also scoop classic flavors that taste just as great.

Your perception of ice cream will change for the better after having a spoon of Salt & Straw ice cream. Outside Oregon, you can find multiple locations in Seattle, L.A., San Francisco, and San Diego. But if you can't make it, lucky for us all, Salt & Straw has got our stomachs with home delivery.

Over-the-Top Doughnuts

East Coast: Duck Donuts

I don’t know if I’m biased because I grew up a couple of miles from the beach and had my first Duck Donuts experience with sand between my toes, but I think Duck Donuts are the perfect beach vacation breakfast.

Everything you order comes with a simple vanilla cake donut base, but the toppings get crazy from there. When you order, you get to choose a glaze, a topping, and a drizzle. Some of the most popular are maple glaze with bacon crumbles and chocolate glaze with vanilla drizzle and oreo crumble.

My family always makes sure to order a dozen with a couple classics like vanilla glaze with rainbow sprinkles thrown in for good measure. 

West Coast: Voodoo Doughnut

Also originating in Portland, Voodoo's doughnuts are the epitome of "Keep Portland Weird." Portland Cream, The Loop, and the Voodoo Doll are just a few of the many eccentric creations that Voodoo has to offer.

Voodoo Doughnut's popularity has made it a prime destination for tourists. The line even goes out the door on weeknights. Find out how to spare yourself from the line here.

Even if doughnuts aren't your thing, Voodoo Doughnut's original location is definitely still worth visiting as one of Portland's iconic landmarks. Every time I go visit my cousins, we always make sure to grab at least a dozen to take home in one of Voodoo's iconic pink boxes.

Trendy Bakeries 

East Coast: Momofuku Milk Bar

I'll preface this by saying that Christina Tosi is my queen. After watching the Chef's Table Pastry special on her, I've watched and read and listened to everything I could get my hands on about her. She's truly inspirational.

Not only that, but her delicious sweets at Milk Bar go above and beyond in innovation points. She got her start with cereal milk ice cream and crack pie. Now she's cranking out birthday cake truffles, compost cookies, and so much more.

West Coast: 85ºC Bakery Cafe

Named after the temperature which coffee best holds its flavor, 85 Degrees is the perfect treat, meal, or whatever you make of it, at all times of day. This Taiwanese-origin bakery bakes fresh buns and bread in-store every hour. Employees announce "Fresh bread!" as soon as a batch comes out of the oven, a proclamation to customers that the freshest of the fresh is readily available.

To add more excitement to the variety of drinks, baked goods, and their assured freshness, all bakery items are self serve and affordably priced. Upon entering, you grab a pair of tongs and a tray on which you place fresh baked goodies to your stomach's content.

Locations across the West Coast are always bustling. You can find me relaxing at my nearest 85ºC with a taro bun and boba. Plus, I always grab a whole bunch of sweet and savory pastries and buns boxed up to go.

Regional Pie

East Coast: Shoofly Pie 

Related to the chess pie, a southern delicacy, and Momofuku Milk Bar's invention, the crack pie, this pie is sticky and sweet. It's no dessert for the casual sweet tooth, but since its invention in Amish country, shoofly pie's popularity has spread across the sugar-loving United States.

The name came from a serious issue that bakers come across when baking the pies. The high molasses content attracts flies, which must then be shoo'd away. 

It comes in two distinct varieties. The dry bottom is cooked through with a cake-like texture, while the wet bottom variety has a more gooey, sticky texture. Personally, I like either, a la mode style with some chocolate syrup. 

West Coast: Olallieberry Pie 

The west coast is known for its berries—raspberries, blackberries, mulberries, Knott's Berry Farm—we've got 'em all. We've even brought forth the olallieberry, a hybrid cross between the loganberry and the youngberry.

Olallie is the word for berry in the Native American Chinook language. So, essentially olallieberry just means berry berry. Olallieberry, meet your name twins: chai tea, queso cheese, and rice pilaf.

When baked in a pie, olallieberries form a naturally sweet, delicious dessert a step above the rest. When I enjoy it in the warmth of summer, I'm pairing my berry pie with vanilla ice cream for sure.


East Coast: Salt Water Taffy

As the legend goes, there was a horrible flood in 1883 in Atlantic City that contaminated the entire taffy stock of Bradley’s Candy Store. He jokingly called it salt water taffy, but customers gobbled it up, and he saw a business opportunity.

In the past 150 years, hundreds of flavors have been developed. Many of the most popular are fruity, like key lime, raspberry, watermelon, and banana. Salt water taffy is now a popular boardwalk snack and souvenir.

West Coast: Jelly Belly's Jelly Beans

The Jelly Belly headquarters in Fairfield, CA sells jelly beans wholesale-style and gives factory tours. The factory is bustling with kids, AKA me growing up, and adults, AKA me right now, alike.

Just like the flavors infused into the center of each jelly bean, Jelly Belly's jelly beans were infused in my West Coast childhood. Through the years, the ever-growing list of jelly bean flavors has never ceased to amaze my senses and tastebuds.

Jelly beans are fit for quite a variety of dietary restrictions, including gluten-free, peanut-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, gelatin-free, and Kosher. Growing up, this meant every kid having a large selection Jelly Bellies at their birthday party.

The Harry Potter Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans and BeanBoozled jelly beans game always make for exciting activities to this day, because there's no way to tell if that jelly bean you're putting in your mouth is Juicy Pear or Booger flavored unless you eat it.

Chocolate Companies

East Coast: Hershey's

Although Hershey is now a global candy giant, it started just like any other candy business, with entrepreneur Milton Hershey. He started two unsuccessful companies before hitting it big with a caramel confectionary in 1886. In 1894, the first Hershey's cocoa product was introduced. From there, the rest is history. 

The Hershey company has supported the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania through thick and thin, even keeping it afloat during the Great Depression. Now it's home to an entire amusement park in addition to the factory.

Hershey dips its toes in producing pretty much anything with sugar as a primary ingredient. From straight up chocolate bars and Kit Kats to Twizzlers and Jolly Ranchers, Hershey's has something for literally everyone.

West Coast: Ghirardelli

Ghirardelli's chocolate squares are the GOAT. Don't fight me on this one. To me, Ghirardelli chocolate is creamy goodness filled with liquid luxury. Started by Italian chocolatier Domenico Ghirardhelli, the Ghirardhelli Chocolate Company is now the golden standard of perfectly portioned chocolate pieces for s'mores.

Although the actual chocolate factory has been moved from its original location in Ghirardelli Square, it's still a fun location to visit. Be sure you arrive hungry so you can indulge in some of their specialties, including house-made waffle cones filled with rich ice cream, over-the-top sundaes, and chocolate covered fruit.

Instagrammable Frozen Treat

East Coast: Black Tap Freakshakes

These milkshakes are bigger than life. Honestly, I don’t know if the name milkshake quite cuts it anymore.

Depending on the flavor, each shake comes with the glass lathered in something sticky, whether it is Nutella, peanut butter, or frosting. Then toppings like candy, Reese’s Puffs, or chocolate are rolled along the outside. Each giant mug is filled with milkshake and topped with a massive swirl of whipped cream.

Although you could probably split one between several people, you’ll want to order a variety of flavors, so come hungry. 

West Coast: THE LOOP Handcrafted Churros

Nothing screams West Coast like aesthetic food made to be featured on your Instagram. The Loop is the place where aesthetic and deliciousness unite. This Orange County shop serves churro sundaes. Churro sundaes. Yes, that is a thing now, and yes, it tastes as good as it looks.

You get to craft your own looped churro-ice cream combo with your choice of dips, glazes, soft serve, and toppings. The combinations for this dessert and its corresponding Instagram post are pretty much endless.

As trends have come and gone and generations pass, the arguments continue. Personally, I like to indulge in the best of both coasts whenever possible. I hate to pick sides because each coast has delicious regional food to offer. But you decide for yourself. Taste test each of these categories to your preference. East or West, which desserts do you think are best?