Handbags, backgammon boards, and hippopotamuses may not sound particularly appetizing, but in the hands of Duet Bakery Boutique’s chef, Diana Rodova, they become the unlikely themes of her delectable custom cakes. She tailors her designs to fit clients’ special requests while tempting taste buds with cake flavors ranging from chocolate to lemon chiffon. Beyond cakes, she whips up cupcakes, crème brûlée, and other sweet treats that add a climactic finish to meals, much like announcing to dinner guests that they’re all receiving a new car. For sensitive systems, Rodova can alter her dessert recipes to be lactose and gluten free.
Rodova complements her sweeter offerings with an array of hearty lunch staples, such as sandwiches, soups, and salads. Her bakery also stocks imported European chocolates, breads, and cheeses, which add a more glamorous international touch to the shop than a croissan’wich dispenser.
A seasonal cache of more than 20 flavors of organic soft serve and all-natural hard ice cream topples into cups and cones at Pagoto Organic Ice Cream. At any given time, incarnations of pumpkin swirl may perch next to organic versions of black raspberry and pistachio ice cream and sorbets such as mango and pink lemonade made from 80% fruit. Inside the display freezer, soon-to-be-formed scoops await their journey to a cup or waffle cone where patrons can customize them with sprinkles, fruit, and candy toppings. Gourmet toppings add an extra layer of decadence, including adornments of red velvet crumbs or "Black Widow," a combination of dark-chocolate chunks, dried figs, almonds, and sea salt scraped from a mermaid's potato chips.
Nature’s Grill’s three locations in Bay Ridge, Cobble Hill, and Caesar’s Bay aim to create a healthier community by crafting fresh, made-to-order dishes from original recipes, natural foods, and high-quality ingredients, including exclusively hormone- and steroid-free poultry plus grass-fed and organic beef for select menu items. The restaurant’s health-first approach includes an aversion to microwaves, preservatives, and puddles of mercury, which is evident on its expansive menu, which fills bellies with smoothies, protein shakes, and savory wraps packed with grilled chicken, salmon, and tofu.
At Fulton Bagels, New Yorker not only describes its patrons, but it also serves as one of its array of specialty sandwiches. Its toasty exterior comes packed with hot pastrami, melted swiss cheese, and a drizzle of russian dressing. Morning patrons can nosh on breakfast bagels stuffed with egg, sausage, and bacon, rather than noshing on the worst breakfast sandwich: oatmeal sandwiched between two bowls. Lox spread and an enormous variety of cream cheeses—in flavors such as scallion and veggie—adorn bagels for a simpler meal. Visitors can also opt for verdant salads, which range from a classic caesar to a chef’s salad that pairs lettuce, tomato, and cucumber with roast beef, ham, and cheese.
Like many children, the founder of Tasti D-Lite, a native New Yorker, begged her father for a taste of ice cream. But this was no typical whining for a treat: she needed her father, an experienced food technologist, to help develop a frozen treat with less calories and fat than ice cream and frozen yogurt. Thus, in 1987, the first cup of Tasti D-Lite swirled into existence. After a huge boon in New York, the company now boasts locations in more than a dozen states. From the shining root-beer oceans to the marzipan mountains, Americans now enjoy flavors such as carrot cake, chocolate nougat, or mango tart n? Tasti, topping each treat with bits of candy and fresh fruit.
In 1923, French confectionary training, a marble countertop, and some copper kettles were all George Demetrious needed to make his handcrafted chocolates. At his Greenwich Village shop, the scents of American-style candies wafted through the air, enticing passersby to sample the truffle squares, fudge, caramels, and butter crunch inside. And 89 years later, Anthony Cirone, the current owner of the Li-Lac Chocolates shop, still strictly adheres to Demetrious’s recipes and his chocolate-making style. Each day, clients can come to one of three locations and indulge in sweets that the staff produces daily in small batches to ensure flavor and freshness.