From behind the salon chair at Salon Nevaeh, Justyna removes unwanted length with a pair of gleaming scissors and bestows strands with new color using bowls of freshly mixed hair dye. Her fleet of trusty products, such as Moroccan Oil and Wella, aid her in the pursuit of revamping manes, and her fingers twist hair into chic updos and Windsor knots for special events.
Voted Best Indoor Playspace by Nickelodeon's Parents Connect, Chelsea TreeHouse has since flowered into a 2,000-square-foot, three-level play palace where children frolic and tumble on a host of pint-size attractions. At the new location, kids can learn about gravity on five exciting slides and on swinging bridges, or gather to construct a miniature particle accelerator in a separate toddler area. Parents can view their tots from afar while perched on leather couches and comfy chairs. The fresh-faced facility also boasts its own basketball court where kids showcase sweet, tube-socked moves. Though not included in today's Groupon, the TreeHouse crafts a wide assortment of healthy snacks, ranging from guilt-free fruit and homemade baked goods to hearty soups and stacked sandwiches alongside a gourmet coffee bar. A generous admission policy grants children all-day access to the play land, foregoing the need to switch disguises after every restroom break.
Before establishing Couture Cupcake Cafe, owner Cathi Volante was submerged in the world of public relations and marketing. But a desire to do something sweeter in life drew her to the world of desserts, where she now churns out handcrafted cakes, cupcakes, and savory pastries from the kitchen of her gourmet shop. Cathi’s lengthy menu of collections packs in more than 60 cheekily named cake flavors—the Jimmy Choo honors the designer’s decadent styles with rich layers of Belgian chocolate, and the 24 Carrot Cake’s orange cream-cheese icing pops like its golden namesake. Cathi also whips up such delicacies as savory cakes made from lobster and caviar, entices kids with s’more and donut flavors, and crafts men-centric treats including a BLT cake filled with bacon and flannel shirts. Dedicated to her customers, Cathi will even whip up gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, organic, or 100-calorie versions of her cupcakes or crown regular treats with whipped-cream icing.
The boutique shop also pleases sweet teeth with more than 600 Italian-gelato flavors at the adjoining Ciao! gelato bar and pours out glasses of Arabica gourmet organic coffee and custom-blended iced teas. To keep the good karma coming in, Couture Cupcake Cafe also donates 10% of its proceeds to local churches, charities, and organizations.
At The Waffle Gourmet, a waffle isn't just a breakfast item. It's the foundation for creatively topped desserts, sandwiches made with Boar's Head meats, and ice-cream sundaes made with more than 30 flavors. After devouring crispy chicken with a waffle or another savory option, guests can pick from sweet waffles coated in toppings such as peanut butter, Nutella, and cream-cheese frosting, or choose waffle ice-cream sandwiches or sundaes tucked in waffle bowls. The wafflesmiths also use dedicated equipment to craft their special gluten-free vegan waffle, made without wheat, dairy, soy, corn, or yeast. As diners linger to chat or use the free WiFi to check in on their virtual pet rocks, they can also sip smoothies, french-pressed coffee, and organic milk.
As train whistles blow from the station down the block, Signature Sweets' surfeit of gourmet snacks delights travels and commuters with artfully honed combinations of sweet and savory ingredients. The staff fills bags and tins with heaping scoops of creative popcorn flavors, including bacon and cheese, apple cinnamon, and a Chicago-style mix of caramel and cheddar. Small- and medium-size candy arrangements burst from decorative cups, and sheets of cellophane wrap neglect basic etiquette by swallowing gift baskets whole.