First, restaurants were hit hard by the pandemic. Then, inflation kept customers away. And last week, Hurricane Ian swept through Florida, battering the already suffering hospitality industry in its wake. Initially a Category 5 storm, then downgraded to a Category 1 storm, restaurant owners watched as their businesses were crushed, swept away or damaged beyond repair.

According to Nation's Restaurant News, one 24-hour breakfast chain is such a reliable presence on the restaurant scene in the Southeast, that its decision on whether to keep restaurants open or close them during storms is a good indicator of how severe the weather conditions will be. Naturally, Hurricane Ian managed to shutter dozens of their locations over the past week.

RELATED: This Texas Burger Chain Just Abruptly Shuttered All of Its Locations

As many as 40 closures in the past week

During Hurricane Ian, Waffle Houses temporarily closed 40 of its Florida locations, according to Nation's Restaurant News, despite being infamous for rarely if ever closing for weather-related reasons. The popular chain has been an unofficial weather indicator for national disaster severity. If the status of its stores is green, then they're up and running; yellow reflects a limited menu; while red means locations are temporarily shuttered. The restaurants that had temporarily shuttered were in the direct path of the hurricane or were in flood-prone areas.

waffle house

The chain is now working to reopen locations

But Waffle House will not be leaving customers without their waffle fix. As of Friday, 34 of the 40 shuttered Waffle Houses reopened with minor damage. The chain is working to open the remaining six restaurants in Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Northport, and Port Charlotte as soon as possible.

Pitching in during the hurricane chaos

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis arrived at a reopened Waffle House in Charlotte County, Fla. on Saturday to feed hungry linemen, according to Fox Business.

"WaffleHouse is one of the first restaurants in Charlotte County to reopen and provide hot meals as we work together to serve Floridians after Hurricane Ian," DeSantis tweeted. "Thank you for providing meals to the linemen working to restore power."

As Waffle House does its part to get back up and running—and to help volunteers working in Florida—other restaurants are also trying to do their part. Miami restaurants including Abbale Telavivian Kitchen, Inika Foods, Red South Beach, Sergio's, Zalie Cakes, and more, are hosting fundraisers and donating portions of their profits to Hurricane clean-up and restoration.

The post This Popular Restaurant Chain Temporarily Shuttered 40 Locations In the Past Week appeared first on Eat This Not That.

If you're looking to excite your taste buds with some seriously spicy flavor this Halloween, Burger King has you covered.

While most fast-food brands tend to play it safe with their signature menu items, Burger King has never been afraid to get weird with the Whopper. Who can forget the eye-popping A1 Halloween Whopper from 2015 sporting a black bun? There was also the green-bunned Nightmare King in 2018 that apparently promoted bad dreams.

And this year, the burger chain is reportedly set to debut another spooky, seasonal take on the Whopper that'll be pegged to Halloween. The Ghost Pepper Whopper will be coming in hot with the addition of spicy queso sauce, Ghost Pepper cheese, bacon, and crispy jalapeños to the usual Whopper base of a flame-grilled patty. And to make it pumpkin-like, its bun is getting a color upgrade to bright orange with black sesame seeds.

RELATED: Burger King Is Upgrading This Crucial Sandwich Staple

burger king ghost pepper whopper

The new Ghost Pepper Whopper is expected to be available at Burger King locations nationwide starting October 13, but select locations should start rolling out the spectral new burger a few days earlier on October 10.

The arrival of the new Whopper hasn't been officially announced by Burger King just yet, but multiple sources including reputable snack scooping Instagram account @Markie_devo and Chew Boom have already picked up on the story.

"Coming soon to Burger King for Halloween is a spooky Ghost Pepper Whopper!! This one features an orange bun, spicy queso, crispy jalapeños, bacon, ghost pepper cheese and a Whopper patty. I don't know about y'all, but an orange bun seems like a damn good time," Markie_devo wrote in a post that even appears to reveal an internal memo on the new item.

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This isn't Burger King's first foray into the world of ghost peppers. The home of the Whopper debuted Ghost Pepper Chicken Nuggets last year, and fans are clearly excited for more spiciness. One user commented on Markie_devo's post: "Oh hell yes! Their Ghost Pepper nuggets last year were fire af 🔥"

The BK brand clearly isn't resting on its reputation these days. Burger King recently announced a massive $400 million investment campaign focused on increasing sales growth and promoting a more premium brand image. Dubbed "Reclaim the Flame," the campaign is set to spend $150 million on advertising and other digital branding efforts, as well as an additional $250 million on improving physical Burger King locations with new kitchen equipment, technology, and building enhancements.

The post Burger King Is Launching a Brand New Whopper That Will Make Your Eyes Water appeared first on Eat This Not That.

From competitive weightlifters and other professional athletes to those who simply enjoy hitting the dumbbells at the gym, cultivating stronger muscles and increasing muscle mass is a health goal many can relate to. No matter where you might start on your own muscle-building journey, it's important to stick to your routine, which means remaining committed to not only your workouts but also the quality of your diet. What you eat plays just as much of a significant role as how you train, and striking the right balance is what will help you achieve your goal.

But when deciding on what to include in your daily meal plans, how do you know what eating habits will best position you to make the greatest strides in your pursuit of stronger muscles? Jen Bruning, MS, RDN, LDN, and spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, believes that the most crucial eating habit for building stronger muscles is to consume a balance of nutrients.

"A combination of foods containing lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats should do a similarly good job of supporting and maintaining muscle mass," Bruning says. "Give your body carbs to work your muscles more rigorously, protein to build them, and healthy fats to support body movements and recovery."

Stronger muscles through the power of protein

Protein sources
"Proteins are one of the most important nutrients for muscle building, as muscles are built from the same amino acids that we get from eating protein-rich foods," says Bruning. "When we eat foods containing protein, we digest the protein into amino acids."

Amino acids are what Cleveland Clinic calls "the building blocks of protein." According to Bruning, our body absorbs amino acids and then puts them to work for your body in a variety of ways, including building and maintaining muscles. She also notes that protein even helps your body recover post-workout when eaten within two hours of your exercise session.

"Day by day, using our muscles and eating plenty of protein-rich foods can build muscle," Bruning says.

If muscle gains are your aim, certain high-protein foods may help with muscle synthesis and cultivating mass. If muscle gains are your aim, some high-protein foods that may help with muscle synthesis. But this doesn't mean you can go ahead and eat bacon all day, every day, under the assumption that it's providing you with the quality protein intake you need to increase your strength and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

"Animal and plant-based high protein foods can both facilitate the building of lean muscle," Bruning advises. "There may be a slight benefit to using animal sources, but plant-based sources will also help muscles to build. Lean animal-based protein has the most protein per [ounce] of food, generally."

She also notes that it's important that you eat lean proteins low in saturated fat when trying to build up your muscle strength. Examples of quality lean proteins include fish, poultry, and plant-based proteins like tofu and tempeh. You can also have some lean cuts of pork and beef, as well—but always, of course, in moderation.

Lean proteins may seem like the star of the show when it comes to building muscle and strength training. , But a common misconception is that this nutrient is all you need to eat to gain muscle mass and increase strength. To support the whole body while building muscle, Bruning claims that balanced diets need just enough protein rather than excessive amounts of this nutrient.

"It's important to keep in mind that while protein is essential to build muscle, other nutrients are important for supporting the body, as it does the work that helps build muscle," Bruning explains.

Depending on protein alone could potentially set you up for a dead end, but a well-balanced diet can provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to function effectively. So when trying to build muscle, don't forget to also include carbs and healthy fats.

How the right carbohydrates can help you develop stronger muscles

As much as we may spite carbs with the mentality that they are all bad for you, it's essential to eat them for proper muscle development and add them to a balanced diet.

"While protein should be consumed as part of a balanced diet, allow nutrients like carbohydrates to help provide fuel during a workout," Bruning says.

Carbs are among the quickest sources of fuel for strength development and weight training. According to the Mayo Clinic, "During a workout, carbohydrates fuel your brain and muscles. […] If you are in good shape and want to fuel a daily, light-intensity workout, eat about 3 to 5 grams of carbohydrates for every kilogram of body weight."

But before you start eating ziti by the box full for your workouts, make sure you're consuming the right kind of carbs. Bruning suggests that whole grains are ideal for increasing muscle strength.

"Whole grains contain some protein as well as B vitamins and iron," she says. "B vitamins help build muscle, and iron carries oxygen in the bloodstream to the muscle, so having enough iron helps muscles work more efficiently."

Whole grains can even emphasize protein in the body. In a study published in Current Developments in Nutrition, researchers found that consuming 50 grams of whole grains per day helped to promote higher protein turnover and enhance net protein balance in adults. Some nutritious whole grain carbs include whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, millet, and barley.

The role of healthy fats and antioxidants in increasing muscle strength

avocado-smoked-salmon-toast

Antioxidants are substances that can help shield your cells against free radicals. Too many free radicals can be difficult for your body to regulate, which can have several side effects, including altering proteins.

Similar to the negative stigma around carbs, fats as a whole are often snubbed and looked down upon when it comes to improving your health. In actuality, not all fats are bad for your body. Although "healthy fat" may seem like an oxymoron, they are a good resource for muscle strength. Some evidence even suggests that consuming omega-fatty acids could potentially amplify skeletal muscle anabolism—which is when the body naturally builds and repairs muscle tissue—depending on factors like how much protein you eat per day.

"Healthy fats and antioxidants can assist with recovery," Bruning says."Omega-3s are a type of healthy fat that may play a role in muscle cell efficiency and muscle recovery," Bruning says.

For some good sources of antioxidants, Bruning suggests consuming plant foods such as colorful fruits and veggies, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and even coffee. And for healthy fats, try salmon or other fatty fish, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.

The post The Most Crucial Eating Habits for Stronger Muscles, According to a Dietitian appeared first on Eat This Not That.

If you are a chocolate lover, then you are not alone. According to research, Americans, on average, eat approximately 9.5 pounds of chocolate per year, coming in 9th place for the world's top 10 chocolate consumers. If you think that's a lot though, take a look at Switzerland—on average each person there enjoys approximately 19.8 pounds of chocolate annually. Talk about a sweet tooth!

Even though chocolate is delicious, some variations of it may have negative effects on our health—as it turns out, not all chocolate is created equal. For example, dark chocolate may have health benefits when enjoyed in moderation, but other types, such as white and milk chocolate, can be packed with fat and added sugar.

"To get the maximum health benefits from cacao, you want to choose a dark chocolate that is 70% or higher," explains Danielle McAvoy, MSPH, RD, and Registered Dietitian with Strong Home Gym. "The percentage of cacao also tells you the percentage of sugar," says McAvoy. For example, if a chocolate is labeled as "50%" that means it is made of 50% cacao and 50% sugar and dairy.

But even healthy dark chocolate can be over-consumed. If you feel like your chocolate habits are negatively impacting your health, cutting it out could help. Cutting out chocolate may feel difficult at first, but it can work wonders for both your mind and body. From getting a better night's rest to experiencing fewer mood swings, here are some of the effects of giving up chocolate for 30 days.

While you're making healthier choices, check out Eating Habits to Lose Abdominal Fat As You Age, Say Dietitians.

1

You'll experience fewer mood swings

feeling moody

When we cut out chocolate we are also cutting out sugar, which can then have a balancing effect on our moods.

"When you eliminate sugar from your diet, you're getting rid of one of the main causes of mood swings and irritability," explains Jay Cowin, NNCP, RNT, RNC, CHN, CSNA, Registered Nutritionist and Director of Formulations at ASYSTEM. Cowin explains that sugar is a toxin that can deplete energy while also wreaking havoc on blood sugar levels. "[This] can lead to mood swings, cravings, and other unhealthy behaviors," he says.

2

You may lose weight

weight loss

Having trouble reaching your weight loss goals? Eliminating chocolate from your diet, even if it's just for a month, can help cut back on calories and sugar which can then lead to weight loss.

"Because added sugars are often hidden in foods and drinks, and more especially in chocolate, it can be tough to track just how much sugar you're eating each day," says Cowin, "cutting back on added sugars can help you lose weight and improve your overall health."

RELATED: The Unhealthiest Foods Making Your Sugar Cravings Worse

3

You may get less heartburn

heart burn

According to research, almost one-third of Americans may experience acid reflux weekly. When we think of heartburn or acid reflux, images of tomato sauce, alcohol, and fried foods may come to mind, but did you know that chocolate is also a culprit? "Chocolate is an acidic food and can cause or worsen symptoms of heartburn or acid reflux," shares McAvoy, "The sweeter the chocolate, the more triggering it can be."

4

You may sleep better

sleep

If you indulge in chocolate later in the day you may find that going to sleep at night may be a struggle. This is because chocolate contains caffeine and can keep you up. McAvoy points out that caffeine is okay in moderation, but if you are someone who is guzzling down coffee in the morning, having chocolate in the afternoon or evening may disrupt your sleep. "Caffeine can also contribute to anxiety, so reducing the amount you consume can help you feel more relaxed," McAvoy adds.

RELATED: Popular Drinks With More Caffeine Than Coffee, Says Science

5

You may experience increased emotional awareness

emotions thoughts

By avoiding chocolate for a month you may develop increased emotional awareness which can help improve mindful eating. "I know firsthand that eating chocolate is an easy way to pacify uncomfortable emotions," says Sylvia Gonsahn-Bollie, M.D., dual-board certified obesity & metabolic health physician, bestselling author, personalized lifestyle coach, and CEO of EmbraceYOU Weight & Wellness. "When I gave up chocolate for a month I was forced to "feel my feelings," she adds, "This emotional awareness helped improve my mindful eating."

Dr. Bollie also said that she felt "a greater connection and clarity" when she wasn't using food to "soothe" her feelings. "This is a common pattern I see with other emotional eaters that I work with on their weight and wellness journey," she points out.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Quit Emotional Eating for Good

6

You'll reduce your risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

healthy liver

Just a single Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar contains 24 grams of sugar. Enjoy one of these a couple of times per week and that's nearly 200 grams of added sugar, just from chocolate, each month. According to a 2018 research study, it was found that diets that are high in sugar can put you at a greater risk of developing non-fatty liver disease. By decreasing your chocolate intake you can help lower your risk of this illness while also lessening your risk of both diabetes and obesity along the way.

7

You'll be at a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases

cardiovascular

In a 2014 study by JAMA Internal Medicine, it was found that there was a direct correlation between higher added sugar intake and increased risk for CVD (cardiovascular disease) mortality. By switching out your chocolate habit for healthier alternatives, such as fruits and nuts, the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease may be lessened.

8

You could have fewer migraines…or not

woman dealing with severe headache or migraine at home

While chocolate has long been considered a potential migraine trigger, a study in the journal Nutrients did a deep dive into 25 studies that investigated the role of chocolate in the formation of migraines. They failed to find sufficient evidence that chocolate alone is a migraine trigger.

A previous version of this article was originally published on February 18, 2022.

The post 8 Incredible Effects of Giving Up Chocolate for a Month, Says Research appeared first on Eat This Not That.

Indian food is one of the most popular cuisines in the United States. It consistently ranks among the top 10 most popular types of food from overseas, according to Parade, and is often among the top five most popular cuisines in many parts of America, according to Chef's Pencil. Here's the sticky widget: those "Indian" foods you love so well? Many of them may not be all that Indian at all.

Many dishes are treated as arising from a given cuisine when the origin can be traced far from the culture with which they're associated. Some dishes are indeed brought along by emigres but change and evolve over the years. Other "foreign" foods are created both in and for the countries in which they gain popularity. Still, other dishes are hybrids or fusions of traditional foods and new spins. Given all the above, here are eight so-called "Indian" dishes they don't eat in India.

Plus, check out 6 "Mexican" Dishes No One Eats in Mexico.

1

Rajma Dal

Rajma Dal

Rajma dal is, according to The Spruce Eats, a tasty Indian vegetarian curry dish that's great over rice and served with pickled vegetables. However, according to BuzzFeed, "there's no such thing as 'Rajma Dal,' in India." There's a similar dish, but it's just called "rajma," and it does not use the kidney beans usually found in the Westernized take on the meal.

2

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

You will find chicken tikka masala on the menu at many restaurants in India, but if you take a close look at your surroundings, you'll find that said restaurants predominately cater to tourists. This is not an Indian dish, having actually been created in Glasgow, Scotland in the early 1970s, according to India Times. That said, it's delicious stuff, so enjoy it no matter where you find it.

RELATED: Top 5 Takeout Food Orders That Increase Happiness, Says New Research

3

Lamb Vindaloo with Potatoes

Lamb Vindaloo with Potatoes

You will find vindaloo dishes in India. You will find dishes featuring lamb meat there, too. And you may even find lamb vindaloo served at some restaurants and in some homes. But the origins of the dish are Portuguese, not traditionally Indian, and the dish served in America with added potatoes is entirely inauthentic.

4

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Created in the 1950s in New Delhi, butter chicken is another of those tourist trap dishes that you'll find in restaurants in busy cities and resort towns everywhere, but will hardly ever see in a restaurant catering to locals or prepared in private homes, via The India Trip. This is not to say it's not a tasty food that is popular around much of the globe.

RELATED: 15 Popular Indian Dishes To Order At a Restaurant

5

Meat-Filled Samosas

Meat-Filled Samosas

Samosas are popular all over India, but the type of samosa you may know and love is likely quite different from those eaten there. If your preferred samosa has meat inside that flaky, delightful crust, then it's not the genuine article. According to The Better India, a traditional samosa is a vegetarian affair, with peas, onions, chilies, and spices playing the lead roles, ingredient-wise.

6

Jaipur Vegetables

Jaipur Vegetables

Though you can find recipes for Jaipur vegetables spread across the internet and you can buy a bag of mixed, spiced veggies labeled "Jaipur Vegetables" from Trader Joe's, there's really no such dish known as such in India at all, says BuzzFeed. This is the equivalent of someone loading a bunch of Southwestern veggies and spices into a bag and calling it "Santa Fe Vegetables."  It sort of makes sense, in other words, but it's not authentic at all.

7

Curry Dishes

curry

Curry is a dish created with myriad spices and seasonings, but to be clear it is a type of dish, not a specific dish at all, via Delish. If you have ever simply ordered "the curry," it was the invention of a chef, not the flavor of a county's cuisine. According to Love Food, the dish you get when you ask for curry has little to do with classic Indian food, where each region and in fact even each family may have its own unique take on the food.

8

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer

Palak paneer is eaten and enjoyed in India, and the dish has probably been around since the late 1800s.  However, the version of palak paneer you eat in America is unlike what you would be served in India. Diners outside of India tend to get a palak paneer with a hefty dose of heavy cream, an ingredient not on the menu in Indian dishes.

A previous version of this article was originally published on Mar 18, 2022.

The post 8 "Indian" Dishes No One Eats in India appeared first on Eat This Not That.

At the end of a perfect restaurant meal, there's that inevitable moment when you ponder getting dessert. Sure you could order a creme brulee or a fancy soufflé, but if you really want to go all out, only one thing comes to mind: good old-fashioned chocolate cake. Nothing says comfort and is as satisfying as a good slice of chocolate cake. The classic dessert can be served in towering layers or with a molten core, and of course, it should be shared by anyone and everyone at the dinner table.

We've rounded up a long list of choices that will cure your chocolate craving in any state you're in (or visit!). Here's where to get the best slice of chocolate cake in every state.

ALABAMA: Dean's Cake House in Andalusia

Seven Layer Chocolate Cake at Dean's Cake House

We've already given credit to the best cake in Alabama, and it just happens to be chocolate. Dean's Cake House in Andalusia is the home of the seven-layer cake, and the chocolate variety, in our opinion, reigns supreme.

ALASKA: Cake Studio in Anchorage

chocolate cake Cake Studio

We think that pairing red wine with chocolate is brilliant. Even smarter? Adding it to the cake batter. Cake Studio in Anchorage makes this decadent dessert from scratch, adding merlot to the rich chocolate layers sandwiched between chocolate ganache buttercream. The final touch is a dusting of cake crumbs. Yum!

ARIZONA: Velvet Buttercream Bakery in Phoenix

Velvet Buttercream Bakery

Yelp users can't get enough of chocolate cake at Phoenix's Velvet Buttercream bakery. We wholeheartedly agree. The Cookie Monster isn't classic chocolate cake, it's a cookie-infused masterpiece that will surely cure a sugar craving. This cake is filled and topped with crushed Oreos and chocolate chip cookies, even in the icing.

ARKANSAS: Bliss Cupcake Cafe (multiple locations)

Bliss Cupcake Cafe

The best chocolate cake in Arkansas is really a ….cupcake? Let's pretend it's just a slice or a serving made just for you. The Food Network Cupcake War competitors change the flavors at Bliss Cupcake Cafe constantly with the exception of the Chocolate Milkshake, a light milk chocolate cake with milk chocolate icing topping its tender light milk chocolate cake. There's a bonus – if you aren't in the area, you can have them shipped.

CALIFORNIA: Extraordinary Desserts in San Diego

Extraordinary Desserts

The Au Chocolate Cake from Extraordinary Desserts lives up to its name. Flourless chocolate cake is infused with vanilla, cocoa beans, and French salt. Dark chocolate ganache is poured over the top and macarons dot the surface. Pastry Chef Karen Krasne also has a cookbook available to allow cake lovers to experiment at home. We hope the chocolate cake is included!

COLORADO: Marigold Cafe & Bakery in Colorado Springs

Marigold Cafe & Bakery

At the Marigold Cafe & Bakery, the Double Chocolate Mousse Cake Chocolate cake is layered with a bittersweet chocolate mousse and topped with a rich ganache and chocolate shavings. If that read 'chocolate, chocolate, chocolate' you would be right. It's all about the cocoa. This cake has won awards before. It was voted the 'Best Cake in Colorado Springs' but we think it may well be the best in the state.

CONNECTICUT: Cafe Le Rouge in Westport

Cafe Le Rouge

Aarti Khosla created Cafe Le Rouge in Westport to blend the flavors of her home country of India with chocolate. Her website says she wanted to "capture the flavors from around the world in the divine language of chocolate." Her Kentucky Bourbon Chocolate Ganache cake speaks that language well. The chocolatier modeled this cake after a popular truffle, rich, chocolatey, and infused with Kentucky bourbon.

DELAWARE: Bing's Bakery in Newark

Bing's Bakery

Locals in Newark know that Bing's Bakery is known for consistently delicious desserts. The Chocolate Mocha Torte is no exception. Four layers of moist chocolate cake are sandwiched between their homemade mocha buttercream. Delicious!

FLORIDA: The Equestrian in Ocala

The Equestrian

A new resort flanking the World Equestrian Center recently opened in Ocala. The Equestrian reflects the theme of the "horse capital of the world," but also serves an old-fashioned chocolate cake with a view. You can opt for the treats from the on-site patisserie, but the best bet is found at Stirrups Restaurant. Sit on the porch to watch the competing horses and enjoy Florida's best—a springy chocolate sponge cake with decadently rich icing made with couverture chocolate. If you aren't familiar, that's a grade of chocolate higher in cocoa butter and appreciated for its superior taste and texture.

GEORGIA: Better Than Sex in Savannah

Better Than Sex in Savannah

Bear with me for a moment. I'll try to keep this G-rated. There's a little restaurant in Savannah. It's one of about six locations. I'm not going to share their name for the chocolate cake. I had to look it up in the urban dictionary—don't if you are easily offended. Let's just say this restaurant calls itself Better Than Sex and the names of the desserts are decidedly 'spicy'. Everything is coated in chocolate, even the cocktails. It's the perfect titillating spot for a romantic date night. Their chocolate cake is delicious, one of the best I've ever had. But again, if you can't tolerate the risqué, let's leave it at that.

HAWAII: Cake M in Honolulu

Cake M

The Chocolate Cake from Cake M in Honolulu is a rich chocolate sponge cake between chocolate cream and topped with ganache. What makes it special is the preparation. When they say "from scratch," they mean it. There are no mixes or pre-made powders. This bakery uses whole ingredients to make their chocolate masterpiece, many coming from local farms in O'ahu.

IDAHO: The Snakebite Restaurant in Idaho Falls

The Snakebite Restaurant

Burger and brew spot The Snakebite Restaurant has an unexpected winner on their menu. There's not a lot of description, just a suggestion to leave room for locally-made chocolate cake. Don't bring your credit cards if you want to have a taste. This restaurant uses only cash or check.

RELATED: The Best Cheesesteak in Every State

ILLINOIS: The Lutz Bakery in Chicago

The Lutz Bakery

The Lutz Bakery in Chicago has created sweet treats for patrons since 1948. Their chocolate cake is a classic, dark, spongy chocolate layer cake with chocolate cream and a covering of thick ganache. With a long history of serving Chicago, the bakery also delivers its cakes all across the country.

INDIANA: The Cake Bake Shop in Carmel City Center

indiana the cake bake shop

Made in-house at the Carmel City Center location of The Cake Bake Shop, Gwendolyn's Famous Earl's Court Chocolate Cake was a prize winner at the London Cake & Bake Show in 2012. We can't argue with the accolades, covering this delicious dessert in other articles as well. There are three layers of Valrhona French chocolate cake divided by a Belgian chocolate ganache and malted cream. Belgian chocolate fudge and Fleur de Sel adorn the top. Food Network also covered this cake for its show "Guilty Pleasures."

IOWA: Sweet to Eat Bakery in Des Moines

Sweet to Eat Bakery

Food Network gave the Sweet to Eat Bakery in Des Moines the title of "Best Chocolate Cake in Iowa." We agree! You can fill your chocolate layers with chocolate ganache or mix it up with some cookies and cream buttercream.

KANSAS: Dolce Bakery in Prairie Village

Dolce Bakery

Dolce Bakery in Prairie Village has the motto, "every batch from scratch." That approach to baking has made them a successful spot for baked goods since 2007. Their Chocolate Blackout Cake is their bestseller, with layers of vanilla cream cheese icing piped between rich chocolate cake. The entire confection is covered with icing and chocolate shavings, the black and white contrast tasting as good as it looks.

KENTUCKY: Plein's Bakery in Louisville

Plein's Bakery

When you see that a bakery has been in operation since 1924, you know they are doing everything right. Plein's Bakery has been a favorite in Louisville for cakes, cupcakes, and more. They call their Fudge Cake an "everyday cake" and have it always ready in their to-go case. When you visit, plan on getting a scoop of ice cream made on-site.

LOUISIANA: Joe Gambino's Bakery in New Orleans

Joe Gambino's Bakery

I could write a love letter to the food in New Orleans. It might mention Joe Gambino's Bakery. While the bakery is famous for Doberge Cake, a NOLA original, the Brownie Cake is also an epic choice. The bakery suggests you get a glass of milk to enjoy the chocolate fudge, pecans, brownies, and poured chocolate icing. Chocolate overload!

MAINE: Hillman's Bakery in Fairfield

Hillman's Bakery

Baking from scratch for over fifty years, Hillman's Bakery has been creating an affordable and tasty chocolate cake for residents in Fairfield. The spot is also known for its friendly, smiling staff. Sometimes the classics are just the best, but if it's available, try the chocolate cake topped with banana pudding, whipped cream, hot fudge, and chocolate chips.

MARYLAND: Charm City Cakes in Baltimore

Charm City Cakes

Charm City Cakes is well known for Chef Duff and his Food Network show Ace of Cakes. It's also known for this delicious cake. The Ultimate Chocolate Cake has a chocolate mousse filling and is coated with a layer of chocolate cream cheese frosting. The finishing touches are gold and chocolate sprinkles, chocolate nonpareils, and chocolate ganache adorning the top. The best part? You can order this cake to come to your house!

MASSACHUSETSS: Flour Bakery (Multiple locations)

Flour Bakery

The Midnight Chocolate Cake at Flour Bakery is made of dark chocolate devil's food cake, milk chocolate buttercream, and covered with a bittersweet chocolate ganache and fresh fruit. Named a Top 100 Bakery by Food & Wine, this bakery knows how to put together an epic cake.

MICHIGAN: Cranberries Cafe in Goodrich

Cranberries Cafe

When they say that the chocolate cake is big at Cranberries' Cafe in Goodrich, they aren't kidding. The massive six-layer cake is served by the rich and chocolatey slice for $10.95, quite the deal as you can feed everyone at your table with one piece.

RELATED: The Most Popular Dessert in Every State

MINNESOTA: French Meadow Cafe in Minneapolis

French Meadow Cafe

We are veering away from a classic recipe just a bit for Minneapolis' French Meadow Cafe's version of chocolate cake. Yes, there are layers of chocolate cake, but instead of buttercream, expect naturally dyed vanilla rose icing. The creative cake is available during dinner at the bakery and cafe, which has the distinction of being the country's first organic bakery.

MISSISSIPPI: Sugaree's Bakery in New Albany

Sugaree's Bakery

If you find yourself traveling to New Albany, take a minute to just breathe in the sugar-laced air at Sugaree's Bakery. The from-scratch cakes have been covered in the press everywhere from The New York Times to Garden & Gun and for good reason. You can tell the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Cake is tender just by looking at a slice. Try some!

MISSOURI: Bailey's Chocolate Bar in St. Louis

Bailey's Chocolate Bar

The name says it all, Chocolate Inebriation. The tender chocolate cake infused with stout is covered by a bourbon ganache. Bailey's Chocolate Bar in St. Louis makes this boozy and sweet!

MONTANA: Bernice's Bakery in Missoula

Bernice's Bakery

We covered Bernice's Bakery in Missoula when we listed "The Best Cakes in Every State." Now, we are going to talk about their delicious Chocolate Chocolate Cake. It's a classic with buttercream between rich cake layers.

NEBRASKA: The Chocolate Bar in Grand Island

The Chocolate Bar

The Chocolate Bar in Grand Island serves made-from-scratch sweet treats to pair with the drink menu. A fantastic option is an Old-Fashioned Chocolate. The cake is full of cocoa and tastes of vanilla, hazelnut, and almond. If you love your slice, you can give 24 hours notice and order a whole cake.

NEVADA: Patisserie Manon in Las Vegas

Patisserie Manon

I'm sure there's some serious competition for this title. However, the reviews are in—Patisserie Manon makes a Truffle Cake that just can't be beat. This popular cake has devil's food cake layered with chocolate mousse and topped with chocolate curls. Every bite is chocolate overload. You can also order the same cake with raspberries or strawberries to complement the cocoa.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Dutch Epicure Bakery in Amherst

Dutch Epicure Bakery

Amherst's Dutch Epicure Bakery makes an incredible Basilic Chocolate Cake. The talented bakers take three layers of sponge cake and line them with a layer of raspberry puree and chocolate mousse. It's iced with buttercream and decorated with more chocolate and raspberry puree, perfect partners to bring out the fresh fruit and rich cocoa.

NEW JERSEY: Dulce De Leche in West New York

Dulce De Leche

The name of the bakery says it all. The Dulce de Leche Chantilly cake, a concoction made of chocolate cake layers, gooey dulce de leche, and whipped cream, gets huge compliments at this West New York Argentinian bakery named, you guessed it, Dulce De Leche. The cake is also beautiful, with drips of chocolate cascading over the whipped cream layer.

NEW MEXICO: The Chocolate Maven in Santa Fe

The Chocolate Maven

The Chocolate Maven won "Best of Santa Fe 2021" and the spot has been written up in Fodor's, Travel & Leisure, and Lonely Planet. We are talking about it for the decadent Chocolate Buttercream Cake. Made with dark Belgian chocolate and milk chocolate buttercream, it can be made gluten-free or vegan and shipped nationwide.

NEW YORK: The Evercake in New York City

The Evercake

The Evercake's nod to Frida Kahlo is adorned with a look similar to the artist's signature Mexican flower crowns and full of dark cocoa flavor. The sinfully rich buttercream exterior is decorated with a rose macaron and a cluster of bright blooms, making this New York City cake truly spectacular.

RELATED: Best Once-in-a-Lifetime Meal in Every State

NORTH CAROLINA: Groovy Duck Bakery in Raleigh

Groovy Duck Bakery

Our opinion of chocolate? More is better, especially when it's in a cake. At the Groovy Duck Bakery in Raleigh, the Triple Chocolate Cake makes good use of cocoa with chocolate cake layered with chocolate mousse and chocolate buttercream. Chocolate ganache covers the layers and shavings of chocolate just add to the extreme level of flavor.

NORTH DAKOTA: Nichole's Fine Pastry & Cafe in Fargo

Nichole's Fine Pastry & Cafe

"Spectacular" and "outstanding" are two of the words reviewers used to describe the Chocolate Feuilletine Cake from Nichole's Fine Pastry & Cafe in Fargo. Dark chocolate mousse is sandwiched between cake layers filled with hazelnut crunch. The entire cake is covered with a rich dark chocolate glaze made more beautiful with a lustrous gold leaf decoration.

OHIO: The Suisse Shop Bakery in Columbus

The Suisse Shop Bakery

Therese Whitfield was a Swiss baker who started The Suisse Shop Bakery in Columbus in the 80s. Since then, the shop was voted "Best Wedding Cake Bakery" for eight years running. You can't go wrong with the Double Chocolate Cake, made of a generous portion of chocolate buttercream and cocoa cake layers.

OKLAHOMA: La Baguette Bistro bakery in Oklahoma City

La Baguette Bistro bakery

The Chocolate Fix at the La Baguette Bistro bakery in Oklahoma City absolutely takes care of any chocolate cravings that you might have. The three-layer cake is layered and iced with chocolate rum icing and decorated with curls and sprinkles. This luscious chocolate treat reflects the skill the owners, brothers Chef Alain and Michell Buthion, were exposed to growing up in the South of France.

OREGON: JaCiva's Bakery & Chocolatier in Portland

JaCiva's Bakery & Chocolatier

Combining baking skills with the knowledge of a chocolatier is a sure way to make an incredible chocolate cake. At JaCiva's Bakery & Chocolatier in Portland, chocolate enthusiasts get to indulge in a 7th Heaven, a cake with seven different types of chocolate. This bestseller for the bakery has chocolate fudge cake layered with fudge filling, white chocolate mousse, and chocolate chips. It's finished off with a layer of Swiss buttercream and a covering of poured white chocolate.

PENNSYLVANIA: Dolce Patisserie in Hellertown

Dolce Patisserie

Chocolate cake with stripes of vanilla creme brulee, fresh raspberries, and chocolate mousse make chocolate cake a star on the menu of Dolce Patisserie. The cake, named the Signature of the store, is a showstopper in appearance as well as taste.

RHODE ISLAND: Sin in Providence

The Chocolate Bourbon Cake

Known for their tender, moist cakes, Sin in Providence is the place to go to "eat wicked, never feel guilty." The Chocolate Bourbon Cake is no exception to that motto. Deep cocoa layers have just a tiny taste of bourbon, giving this cake something extra.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Brick Street Cafe in Greenville

Brick Street Cafe

It's no secret that Greenville's food scene is vibrant and creative. The Brick Street Cafe serves cake slices Tuesday through Saturday. We highly suggest you order the Best Chocolate Cake I Ever Had. Sometimes you have to just call it like it is.

SOUTH DAKOTA: Queen City Bakery in Sioux Falls

Queen City Bakery

Queen City Bakery makes a selection of delectable cakes, including a great classic chocolate. We really appreciate one of their specialties, the Chocolate Espresso. This cake has a handcrafted espresso buttercream on top. Chocolate glaze is poured over and chocolate-covered espresso beans dot the surface. Incredible!

TENNESSEE: Oak Steakhouse in Nashville

Oak Steakhouse

We are veering away from a bakery and into a restaurant for just a slice of this unbelievable cake. The Oak Chocolate Cake at Oak Steakhouse Nashville is full of tart espresso balancing the sweetness of the chocolate mousse and peanut butter buttercream.

TEXAS: Dark Chocolate Bakery in Dallas

Dark Chocolate Bakery

Offering delivery in Dallas, the Dark Chocolate Bakery makes a classic chocolate cake with a spin. The Chocolate Toffee Crunch Cake has two layers filled with toffee pieces and chocolate buttercream. Their elegant cakes have been sold through Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Horchow for years, allowing all of us that don't live in Texas a chance at tasting the talented recipes of founder Jill Frank.

RELATED: The Best Steakhouse in Every State

UTAH: Tulie Bakery in Salt Lake City

Tulie Bakery

Using local ingredients whenever possible, Tulie Bakery in Salt Lake City bakes an exceptional classic chocolate cake. Triple layers of cake wrap around vanilla or chocolate buttercream. The presentation is simple with the cake as the star of the show.

VERMONT: Delicate Decadence in Barre

Delicate Decadence

Barre's Delicate Decadence has created a rich, indulgent Double Fudge Cake that satisfies. Chocolate cake is stacked with fudge icing to make a lush cocoa dessert. Chef Tim Bolton puts to use his 15 years of European food experience to create a selection of pastries and cakes served with fresh coffee in the shop, including this exceptional cake.

VIRGINIA: Edibles Incredible Desserts in Sterling

Edibles Incredible Desserts

When you see the number of awards that Edibles Incredible Desserts in Sterling has won, you won't be surprised that they're making the best chocolate cake in Virginia. Owners Alan Furman and Robyn Hannah fell in love and went into business together, opening this bakery to cater to the sweet in all of us. The Chocolate Mousse Bliss cake is just superb. If you aren't in the area, you won't miss out. The three layers of cake and milk chocolate mousse covered with ganache can be delivered to your door, wherever you live in the United States.

WASHINGTON: Bakery Nouveau in Seattle

Bakery Nouveau

Bakery Nouveau has won the title of Seattle's best bakery numerous times for a good reason. The Classic Chocolate Cake offered at their three locations is a delight with dense cake layers and plenty of flavor in the dark chocolate mousse and glaze. A customer favorite, you can see the moist texture in every slice.

WEST VIRGINIA: Spring Hill Pastry Shop in South Charleston

Spring Hill Pastry Shop

For those that love German Chocolate cake, we wrote about South Charleston's Spring Hill Pastry Shop in an article rounding up the best cakes in the U.S. This type of chocolate cake layers in coconut and pecan chocolate frosting for a chewy, delicious texture. Reviewers enjoyed the shop's cake so much that they called it a personal favorite.

WISCONSIN: Aggie's Bakery & Cake Shop in Milwaukee

Aggie's Bakery & Cake Shop

Open for over 40 years, Aggie's Bakery & Cake Shop is the go-to spot for celebration cakes in Milwaukee. They use their original buttercream recipe in the layers of their chocolate cake, a taste they've honed from experience.

WYOMING: Buttercream Design Co. in Jackson Hole

Buttercream Design Co

The Buttercream Design Co. is all about celebrations and because of that mission, the cake artists not only come up with creative designs to compliment your event, they will bring it to you. Based in Jackson Hole, they've shipped and hand-delivered masterpieces from Savannah to Santorini, with no destination off limits. The Cookies-n-Cream Cake is a twist on the classic chocolate with vanilla icing. It's filled with crumbled Oreos to add to the chocolate delight.

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Did you know that your brain naturally creates the hormone melatonin when you're in a dark environment? The hormone supports your body's circadian rhythms, as well as daily sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health. That being said, because sleep isn't perfect or consistent for everyone a lot of the time, many choose to supplement in hopes it can be improved.

One of the main powers of a melatonin supplement is that it can support better, deep sleep. "Melatonin is generally safe when taken in low dosages and is for short-term use only," suggests Deena Adimoolam, MD, a member of the Eat This, Not That! medical expert board and specialist in endocrinology and metabolism. While over-the-counter melatonin is generally safe to use in moderation, you should still ask your doctor if it's best for you and your individual body, she goes on to explain. Because whether it's in the form of a gummy or a capsule, it's possible that this bedtime supplement has the potential to cause you harm or ugly side effects.

There are always dangers when it comes to taking any supplements to fill in any gaps for the needs of your body. And that still includes those that are made up of natural or organic compounds, such as melatonin. So, before you get all cozy in bed and pull up the covers, make sure that your nighttime routine isn't negatively affecting your health. Read on to learn more about the ugly side effects of melatonin, and next, check out The 5 Healthiest Supplements to Take, According to Doctors.

1

It can cause short-term side effects

woman dealing with severe headache or migraine at home

While the back of medicine bottles will usually contain a long list of unwanted possibilities, melatonin is no different. Talk about ugly side effects—your body may end up paying the consequences.

Common side effects of melatonin usage include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and drowsiness, per Mayo Clinic. For the most part, studies that noted these symptoms were reportedly mild and short-term.

"Long-term risks of melatonin use [are] unknown, as most research studies have evaluated short-term use only," Adimoolam says. Even though there haven't been any studies that acknowledge any long-term effects, there is still much more research to be done to clarify there aren't any for certain.

2

It can cause vivid dreams or nightmares

having bad dreams

Melatonin may improve your ability to catch some Z's, but for some people, an unfortunate side effect is that your sleep will be tainted by unwanted visuals. Vivid dreams and nightmares may take place, according to Mount Sinai researchers, and this can be a result of taking too much melatonin (possibly too frequently as well). Studies have found that since the supplement can disrupt circadian rhythms (or your "body clock"), your body may be in REM sleep—the sleep cycle known for vivid dreaming—longer than normal.

RELATED: Never Take This Medication at Night, Say Doctors

3

It can interfere with certain medications

melatonin pills sleep concept

It's important to always review your medications before you add something new to the mix. If you have any serious health conditions, taking melatonin may not be a good option to begin with.

Melatonin has been seen to negatively interact with certain medications—such as blood thinners and anti-seizure medications—which is a major downside to the supplement, explains Adimoolam. It's not uncommon for these types of medications to hinder the body's natural ability to curate melatonin hormones, which is why supplementing may seem like the next step.

However, in terms of blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants), taking melatonin has been linked to a potential increased risk of bleeding. Alongside that, melatonin supplements can enhance one's chance of having seizures, as well as increase how often those seizures may occur (especially in children) if neurological disabilities are present, according to Mayo Clinic.

4

It can lower your energy levels and mood

woman sad in bed, side effects of melatonin

Dealing with pre-existing mental health conditions on a daily basis is challenging enough as it is. Unfortunately, Adimoolam explains, "Individuals with known mood disorders like depression may experience worsening depressed mood and/or anxiety." Melatonin can lower one's mood and energy levels—in the process of relaxing and preparing the body for sleep—which can mimic or foster a depressive state in people who already suffer from the illness.

Although, some experts have reported that you can attempt to counteract the negative toll melatonin takes on mental health by increasing your vitamin D intake. Since vitamin D is a natural way to improve one's mood, it may help some. But many who still experience excessive mood changes must stop taking the supplement altogether and discuss uneasy sleep patterns with a doctor.

RELATED: The Most Effective Exercises For Sleep Apnea, Expert Says

5

It heavily affects the elderly

elderly woman taking melatonin supplement before bed

Out of all users, "elderly people may be more sensitive to melatonin and more likely to develop side effects, most especially drowsiness and lethargy," according to Adimoolam. 

In 2015, The American Academy of Sleep Medicine guidelines stated that the elderly who suffer from dementia should not take melatonin. The effects on the body's circadian rhythms tend to last longer in older people, resulting in uncontrollable daytime drowsiness.

6

It can keep you up at night if you take too much

woman having trouble sleeping during menopause

Ironically, melatonin can end up causing you to get no sleep at all. If your dosage of melatonin is too high, it can lead to a "state of enhanced alertness," Medical News Today reports, which is quite the opposite of what you're trying to achieve when you snuggle up in bed after a long day's work.

A previous version of this article was originally published on May 4, 2022.

The post 6 Ugly Side Effects of Taking Melatonin Before Bed appeared first on Eat This Not That.

If you're taking over-the-counter supplements, be careful—not all of them are safe, and certain dosages can be harmful to your health. "It's recommended to always talk with your doctor before taking any sort of supplement," explains internal medicine specialist Ronan Factora, MD. "Unregulated supplements can pose a serious risk if taken with other medicine, in excessive amounts or taken for an unconfirmed medical problem. Speaking with your doctor can help determine potential interactions. Often, asking the pharmacist about any specific concerns you have about a new supplement is worthwhile, too. It's always better to be safe than sorry." Here are five dangers linked to taking supplements, according to experts. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Prescription Medications

closeup woman taking high blood pressure medication

Certain supplements can interfere with prescription medications. "Garlic, ginger or ginkgo extracts could potentially interact with blood thinners and increase the risk of bleeding," says Dr. Factora. "And St. John's Wort is commonly taken for depression, but it can interact with other antidepressants being taken at the same time."

2

Protein Powder

drinking protein shake

Do you know what's in that harmless-looking protein powder? Researchers at the Clean Label Project investigated 134 different types of protein powder and discovered many contained dangerous levels of toxins, heavy metals, and BPAs. "I don't recommend using protein powders except in a few instances, and only with supervision," says registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. 

3

Colon Cleanse Supplements

Colon Cleansers

"Colon cleanses and enemas are safe only when prescribed by a licensed physician before a colonoscopy or for treatment of constipation," says David R. Heiman, MD. "They can come with their own set of side effects, including bloating, dehydration, and cramping, but these are temporary and last for just a day before a colonoscopy. Non-prescription colon cleanses may make big promises, but the truth is that they're more likely to cause harm than good… Laxatives and enema solutions can lead to severe abdominal pain, cramping, and bloating. These can last hours or even days afterward."

4

Energy Supplements

Over-the-counter energy supplements can contain dangerous levels of caffeine, doctors warn. "Small amounts of caffeine are not generally dangerous to most people," says Anne-Michelle Ruha, MD, a medical toxicologist at Banner Health. "But large amounts can increase blood pressure and accelerate the heart rate. There are many situations in which these side effects can be hazardous."

5

Weight Loss Supplements

weight loss supplements

Weight loss supplements land thousands of people in the ER every year, and the FDA's list of tainted weight loss supplements is extensive. "Patients quickly get into trouble when they take powerful prescription weight loss medication outside a doctor's supervision, combine multiple weight loss supplements – particularly stimulants aimed to speed up metabolism – with illegal stimulants like methamphetamine or cocaine," says Michael Daignault, MD. "They present to the ER with an accelerated heart rate and elevated blood pressure, altered or agitated mental status, potential damage to liver or kidneys, and diarrhea or rectal bleeding."

 

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