Toy’s Café and Bakery specializes in the spicy entrees of Mandarin and Sichuan dinner fare as well as traditional Chinese and Taiwanese baked goods. With more than 100 options, the menu features a range of sauces available atop pork, chicken, beef, or seafood, as well as the chef’s hometown specialties of black mushrooms in braised e-fu noodles and beef chow fun. The bakery complements the complex flavors of the kitchen with traditional pastries and baked goods such as fresh-fruit chiffon cake, mango-mousse cake, and curry beef buns. All of these pastries are made in-house using only seasonally available fruit and hand-whipped cream to add a rich decadence to desserts without delivering them to patrons wrapped in chocolate-coated money.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,150 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options, such as the pepperoni pretzel and eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs, slicing it into bite-size nuggets, or using it to build historically accurate Austrian villages. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
At first glance, the kitchen of Trophy Cupcakes and Party could be taken for that of a gourmet restaurant. Pure Madagascar-Bourbon vanilla and Valrhona cocoa from France line the shelves, and local sweet-cream butter, free-range eggs, and fresh fruit fill the fridge. These are the ingredients Jennifer Shea uses to craft her daily rotating cupcake flavors, from chocolate nutella to gluten-free red velvet. With the help of husband Michael Williamson, she distributes her decadent handheld desserts to three Seattle boutiques, which have garnered press attention to rival that of the city's finest eateries. Martha Stewart gushed about Jennifer's innovative and widely varied flavors, and Seattle magazine picked six Trophy creations for its 2008 list of the city's 95 best desserts.
To complement their cupcakes, Trophy Cupcakes stocks a curated selection of party supplies. A cocktail-style party room in Wallingford Center, which can accommodate up to 30 guests, is available to rent for birthday parties, baby showers, and superhero business meetings.
Jérôme Charles wouldn't be the same stylist had he not traveled so extensively. From his native Paris, he brings the knowledge he gained at the L'Oréal Institute. From his stint as a stylist at the famed José Eber salon in Beverly Hills, he brings the skills he developed working on celebrity clients. And from his work across America, he brings his signature blowouts, all of which are named after a specific region. The Beverly Hills blowout, for example, leaves hair bouncing with curls, whereas the Hawaiian blowout imparts a look that is both beachy and glamorous, unlike tucking a conch behind your ear.
Inside Studio 6—which is fittingly nestled beside a French bakery—he performs cuts, color treatments, and bridal services. L'Oréal products help to strengthen and beautify hair during these appointments, whether guests want a simple shampoo and trim or the deft, freehand application of balayage highlights.
Gwen Whillhite found herself with time to think. Suddenly unemployed, the single mother needed income and fast. So she harnessed her motivation and creativity, experimenting with her handcrafted recipes for cinnamon and brown-sugar cookies and combining two traditional gifts—flowers and cookies—into one edible work of art. Soon her signature line of cookie bouquets took off, celebrating any season, event, special occasion, or adoption of a new nickname.
Bouquet gift baskets celebrate a birthday or graduation with a central message and a cartoon collection of images, animals, and flowers iced onto sugar cookies. Each vibrantly dressed confection sits atop a stick, arranged with its kin into a symmetrical display with colorful rushes of tissue paper. Cookies By Design also arranges circular sweets into personalized tins and baskets or sells them individually. Skillful bakers can paint cookies with the likeness of a licensed character from Disney, Garfield, and Winnie the Pooh, as well as NHL-, NBA-, and NFL-themed treats for sweetly bribing hungry referees.
A cozy boutique bakery, New York Cupcakes whips up house-made cupcakes in small batches throughout the day, topping each petite treat with signature buttercream frosting made with fresh butter from a nearby dairy farm. Like a sugary maelstrom, a rotating array of daily flavors widens the eyes of toddlers and grownups alike, tempting tongues with such varieties as East Village vanilla latte, royal red velvet, and orange dreamsicle. Orders must be placed by noon at least 24 hours in advance, and an additional charge will apply for filled, specialty, seasonal, and breakfast cupcakes.
The heavenly scented patisserie specializes in gourmet German-style chocolates, and during their two-hour class, chocolatiers in training will create fresh truffles from scratch—a delicious ethereal substance comprising fairy hair, comet dust, and baby giggles. Suess offers two truffle-making classes for adults: the rolled truffle class, in which participants create the sweet treat’s rich ganache filling before tempering chocolate for dipping and dunking the treat into its permanent shell; or the molded truffle class, in which chocolate makers pour the gooey goodness into shaped molds and fill them with fresh ganache. At the end of each class, participants will have about two to three fresh truffles in two to three different flavors to take home, where they can be enjoyed in one sitting or gifted to a friendly toll collector.