If you do a double take upon reading the name on the door of New York Cupcakes, you're not alone. Many of the shop's customers wonder why this quaint cupcake shop in Bellevue Square is named after a city on the other side of the country. The answer is simple: that's what the shop was called when current owner Lisa Waxman Johnson first fell in love with it and decided to buy it; the former owner, Lisa says, meant the name to be an homage to the birthplace of the modern cupcake trend.
Lisa's cupcakes may not be made in New York, but their modern flavor combinations and chic decorations would make the fashion-forward Big Apple proud. The cupcake roster includes no fewer than 60 tempting options, with favorites that include Cookie Dough Delight, Royal Red Velvet, and Oh My Blueberry Pie. Several flavors draw inspiration from New York landmarks and icons, such as the New York Black & White, a half-chocolate, half-vanilla cupcake inspired by the city's beloved black and white cookies, or the Coney Island Coconut, a nod to the palm trees that line Brooklyn's beaches. The mouth-watering confections have earned numerous accolades by those impressed by their style and substance?each batch is made fresh daily using local eggs and butter.
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 cherries jubilee. With the help of husband Michael Williamson, she distributes her decadent handheld desserts to four 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's readers dubbed them best cupcakes 2011-2014.
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.
Great Harvest specializes in baking tasty delicacies and healthy, homemade breads ($4.50–$8.50 per loaf) that are high in fiber, free of preservatives, and crafted with freshly milled flour every day. The bread selection changes each day of the week according to a monthly schedule; previous offerings include golden honey wheat and Dakota bread. Gluten-free and high-protein breads are available in a variety of flavors, including gluten-free cinnamon-chip bread. For carb connoisseurs that prefer breaded delights that are easily juggled, Great Harvest bakes scones, muffins, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and bars.
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.
J?r?me 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'Or?al Institute. From his stint as a stylist at the famed Jos? 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'Or?al 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.
Truffles, buttercreams, caramels, turtles?Vavako Chocolates makes all of these candies by hand each day at its Main St. boutique. Dietary restrictions are no problem at the store, which often accommodates vegans and people with allergies. As if small-batch chocolates weren't romantic enough, Vavako also sells roses and hot cocoa.