The pastry chefs at Gone Cupcaking Across America share a wealth of gourmet cupcake experience with aspiring dessert artisans, in flavors that include whisked buttercream atop classic vanilla, chocolate, and red-velvet cake bases, and more exotic choices such as Grand Marnier or peaches 'n' cream. At lessons, students learn piping techniques, how to make frosting, and how to make iced flowers without the hassle of fertilizing regular flowers with milk and butter.
Whether seated on a patio overlooking stretches of grass or within a cozy dining room aglow with hanging lights, guests at Donna’s are treated to an array of tasty, upscale American dishes. The menu boasts a selection that changes weekly and may include quinoa and homemade falafel, five-spice ribs, salmon on cold noodles, or homemade tacos. From the expansive wine lists, guests select a glass of dry sparkling prosecco to pair with pizza or calamari or sip a seasonal cocktail such as the pineapple caipirinha. In addition to crafting delicious meals, the team at Donna’s offers cooking classes, during which they bake rustic breads, make pastas by hand, and quiet the melodramatic death throes of Italian vegetables.
The skilled bakers at KoDee Cakes specialize in one-of-a-kind cakes and cupcakes, which they make by hand using fresh ingredients. Bakers make exact replicas of your parents' wedding cake for an anniversary, or cartoon characters made from fondant and flour for when Huckleberry Hound is elected president. The bakers are also happy to accommodate diet requests, including vegan, gluten-free, and fresh fruit options.
But it doesn't stop there at just cakes: they also craft cookies, pies, cobblers, and cupcakes in flavors such as snickerdoodle, almond raspberry, banana foster, death by chocolate, butterscotch, and salted caramel. There's even savory fare available, such as bread fresh from the oven, sandwiches, and specially made dinners such as shrimp and grits.
Cake craftswoman Cynthia adds a sweet, artful touch to weddings, birthday parties, and events with custom cakes pulled fresh from her oven and wildly creative imagination. She sifts, mixes, and ices one-of-a-kind confectionery marvels—in chocolate, vanilla, and red velvet—to each client’s specifications. No two creations look the same, and each custom goody pushes her ingenuity as she achieves such unlikely designs as a Chucky doll, Nikon camera, or motorcycle. Traditional tiered cakes further demonstrate Cynthia’s artistry and attention to detail with precisely crafted flowers, lace, and filigree fit for the Queen of England’s midnight snack.
At four stories tall, XS has plenty of room for surprises. Modern art hangs from the exposed brick walls in the deceptively large industrial building, where giant silver tubes stretch from hardwood floor to lofted ceiling and a sleek room with red-leather wall panels awaits discovery. On the ground floor, waiters weave around the wrought-iron staircase and stainless-steel tables bearing platters piled with sushi and Japanese fusion cuisine.
Every morning, these platters hoist breakfast items, including french-toast variations, goodie-stuffed omelets, and smoked salmon. By night, they carry stuffed maki rolls, kobe-beef burgers, and sweet-thai-chili tuna, as well as handcrafted cocktails. Nighttime is also when DJs spin hits, making for a combination nightclub-restaurant to rival CBGB’s, which of course stood for Consume Bacon, Get Bizzay.
Shapiro's Cafe is a low-key neighborhood eatery that has comfort food and coffee down pat. Guests can sample classic deli sandwiches, such as hot brisket on rye, or opt for Mediterranean specialities, such as shawarma and falafel, which was voted best in the city by Baltimore City Paper in 2010 and 2011. Shapiro's also has the caf? staples covered with breakfast sandwiches, light salads, and strawberry and snozzberry smoothies. For a caffeine jolt, try a cup of Zeke's Coffee?the caf? pours it black or can turn it into specialty drinks including mocha lattes.