The staff at Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt rejects the oft-touted claim that Americans don?t care about nutrition. The problem, they say, has more to do with selection than anything else; most low-calorie sweets don?t hold a candle to a fudge brownie or a warm slice of apple pie. They kept this in mind when crafting their frozen-yogurt recipes, working tireless to develop a healthy?and equally delicious?alternative to the dessert status quo by turning to decadent confections and just-picked fruits for inspiration.
Their experiments thus far have yielded more than 60 frozen yogurt flavors, which take turns pumping through the self-serve machines that line their colorful shop?s wall. Before taking a seat in a bright orange chair, guests fill their dishes with cool, low-fat swirls of chocolate cheesecake, strawberry banana, and a classic tart that bites as pleasantly as a teething kitten. Juicy pears, crunchy granola, and gooey chocolate sauce headline a smorgasbord of at least 30 toppings ready to scooped or poured into cups before their final weigh-in.
The story of Cakes by Happy Eatery begins with a family who appreciates good food. Today, sisters and second-generation owners Victoria and Emily Wu continue to uphold the bakery's classic baking traditions while giving it a modern twist. It's here where a team of dedicated bakers and pastry chefs spend their days whipping up a staggering selection of pastries, cakes, and desserts. The baking gurus excel at showcasing both sweet and savory flavors; Chinese-style roast pork buns, hand-held chicken pot pies, and chicken salad sandwiches with seasonal champagne grapes rank among their most popular items. The bakery is best known, however, for its European genoise sponge cake, a light, never-cloying style of cake exuding a blend of signature sweetness. While Cakes by Happy Eatery prides itself on making old-fashioned creations using only real butter and sugar, those with restrictive diets will also find vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free delights.
In May 1932, the proud owner of Bushong’s Grocery posed for a photo in his shop, completely oblivious to the fact that in 80 years, it would have evolved into Simply Sweet on Main. Today, the coffeehouse still retains the homey air of his inviting store. Hardwood floors, worn by time and river-dancing, stretch out beneath clusters of tables, plush chairs, and a counter surrounded by whitewashed wood paneling. On colorful chalkboards, a hand-scrawled menu features coffee, espresso, and smoothies bursting with flavors such as passion orange guava or pineapple and coconut. Beverages are served with wraps, sandwiches, and paninis stuffed with meats and veggies. Soothing ears are the songs of live musicians and the soft taps of laptop keyboards as their owners surf free WiFi.
Chocolate bliss and vanilla divine might not seem like the most exciting flavors on a menu filled with all manner of decadent treats, but Cupcake Heaven and Caf? might make you rethink that assumption. The chocolate cupcake delivers unexpected richness with Ghirardelli dark chocolate and homemade buttercream icing, and the vanilla brings the ruckus with Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean. Along with these gourmet classics, the shop bakes vanilla almond and red velvet cupcakes, and a rotating selection of specials, such as butterscotch, maple bacon, or raspberry cocoa kiss. Cafe guests can pair sweet treats?that branch out from cupcakes in the form of muffins, cookies, brownies, and more?with iced and hot coffee drinks. For those who prefer a savory treat, lunches like quiche or sandwiches are also served.
Cheesecake Heaven Richmond’s head chef Jane Eckels first began baking her cheesecakes for local restaurants in 1994, and has since enticed the palates of such prestigious clients as Samuel L. Jackson. Today, she hands out selections by the slice or whole cake from an ever-changing menu with flavors ranging from traditional New York–style cheesecake to innovative espresso chocolate chip or raspberry lemonade. To satisfy as many patrons as possible, the pastry chef can create gluten-free alternatives of her creations upon request. In addition to the main bakery location, two brick drive-thrus allow customers to enjoy cheesecake without leaving the comforts of their car or Pope-mobile.
From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers? exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location?s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.