On the countertop at Cakeology—a Top 5 finisher in the 2011 Boston A-List's Best Cupcakes race and a winner of Food Network's Cupcake Wars—trays of the day's fresh cupcakes and French macarons stand at attention. Six best-selling cupcakes, including boston cream pie, carrot cake, and double chocolate, grace the menu year-round. They're joined each week by three rotating flavors, such as key-lime pie, Guinness, and white-chocolate coconut. Sharing these treats with all of Boston and Cambridge is The Brucemobile, a yellow delivery van painted with a picture of Cakeology's panda mascot, Bruce, whose bamboo cupcakes have yet to make the menu.
The caffeine connoisseurs at Boston Common Coffee Co. roast their own beans at a local facility for optimal freshness, pairing the sleep-shaking sips with a sumptuous spread of energizing eats. The in-house bakers and cooks whip up morning mouthfuls in the form of breakfast sandwiches ($3.23–$4.25), muffin tops ($1.85), and freshly baked bagels and croissants ($1.15+), crafted using local ingredients whenever possible to ensure quality. Sink into the eatery's plush leather couches while sinking teeth into the asparagus strata⎯a quiche-like entree made from bread, asparagus, tomatoes, and cheese ($4.25)—or the sourdough-ensconced Prince panini ($6.75–$6.95), a roasted turkey, cheddar, tomato, and dijon-mustard sandwich whose deliciousness can only be expressed as an unpronounceable symbol. Patrons can also opt to take a slice of the coffee pie home by purchasing Boston Common Coffee's flavored, fair traded, or varietal coffees by the pound ($10.25+).
The creative confectioners at Sweet N Nasty enliven revelry with erotic cakes, titillating chocolates, and novelty treats. Chefs embellish naughty cakes ($28.95+) or cupcakes ($2.50 each or $28.50/dozen) with chocolate handcuffs and edible human anatomy, ideal for adding a new level of intimacy to meetings with tax attorneys. Chocolate pops bear everything from derrieres ($2.59) to suggestive fruit ($3.59). For a tamer treat, the chocolate iPod ($3.49) prevents patrons from gnawing on real electronics, and a chocolate Porsche ($9.99) and mink coat ($2.99) let taste buds live out financial fantasies.
Confectioner Deana Martin and the sugar magicians at Wildflour conjure daily-baked desserts from local ingredients, a craft they demonstrate to knowledge-hungry students. Couples or solo apprentices explore the process of creating chocolate treats that run the confectionary gamut from truffle fillings to tempered chocolate to cocoa-dust fog. While dipping and decorating the luxurious spheres, daring digits can indulge an experimental curiosity by coating other sweet treats in chocolate, such as fruit or bags of sugar. Classes run Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m. and are limited to a maximum of 15 participants to prevent chocolate bunnies from being munched into extinction.
Inside the box lies a sampling of different caviars and all the necessary accoutrements, such as a mother-of-pearl spoon and an info card. By using only high-quality American caviar, The Little Pearl offers a lightly buttery taste without being fishy or salty. Even novices to this luxurious specialty will enjoy the rich flavors encountered on the palatal journey through the box's contents. Each one includes:
Judy Rosenberg didn’t set out to be an award-winning chef or an NPR-lauded cookbook author. The owner of Rosie’s Bakery found her calling in 1974 after attending art school and gobbling desserts at some of New York’s finest bakeries, becoming inspired to forge her own batch of sweets. When the staff of a local cheesecake shop got hooked on her homemade cookies, she knew she’d found a recipe for success. Since then, she’s expanded her culinary repertoire to include fudge-nut brownies, bavarian-cream fruit tarts, and more than 14 types of muffins and scones.
Each recipe teems with real, old-fashioned ingredients, such as butter, cream, sugar, and edible monocles. Cakes come in circular layers and rectangular sheets, boasting flavors such as carrot and mocha. Filled with snickerdoodles and chocolate-chip rounds, the cookie lineup conjures more childhood memories than a psychiatrist who rides to work in an ice-cream truck.
Hoping to revive the culture of the neighborhood butcher shop, with its personalized service, attention to detail, and artful products, restaurant-industry veterans Justin Rosberg and Jason Parent took a gamble on their first New Hampshire butcher shop in 2003. Dubbed The Meat House, their store quickly earned a foodie following, spawning additional franchise locations across the country. Today, The Meat House’s Mission Viejo location stocks fine cheeses, prepared side dishes, other gourmet grocery items, and hundreds of wines alongside the usual selection of traditional and exotic meats. Butchers also explain how to prepare each hand-carved cut of meat, sharing recipes, best slicing practices, and cooking techniques for giving pork chops the flavor of justice.