One cupcake looks much like another, which is why Red Velvet Cupcakery's pastry chefs pay such careful attention to what makes them different: the ingredients. Even before a Red Velvet customer takes a bite, they'll probably smell the presence of European butter, Valrhona chocolate, Maldon sea salt, local dairy products, French-style buttercream, and accents made from 24K gold leaf.
That difference was tasted by Washington Post Express, which concluded that Red Velvet's devil's-food cupcake "is sinfully satisfying" with its rich buttermilk cake topped with Valrhona bittersweet-chocolate ganache. It likewise hailed the red-velvet Southern Belle's whipped cream-cheese frosting as "simple, elegant, and too scrumptious for words." To ensure fresh cupcakes?and to keep their wastebaskets available for crumpled-up paper during "writer's block" montages?Red Velvet donates each day's remainders to local shelters and nonprofit organizations.
It was a fateful day that Campus Candy founder Mark Tarnofsky dropped his daughter off at Indiana University about four years ago. On a mission to track down a simple candy bar, the dutiful dad found himself roaming far afield until he finally landed at a distant drugstore. Convinced that college kids want candy within constant reach, Tarnofsky started his first store right there, and soon expanded to the schools in Wisconsin, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. Each outlet sells more than 500 different types of candy, all of which may be repurposed as toppings on a rotating menu of frozen yogurt. By slinging bulk candy at a fixed price, Campus Candy stores make it easy for college kids to load up on diverse desserts without filling their schedules with bonbon-making classes.
You don’t win accolades and awards just for having the best smoothie flavors. The ingredients matter as well. That’s why the blender-operating staff at Xoom eschew the use of high-fructose corn syrup, added sugars, and ice cream in favor of natural, organic ingredients that satiate nutrient levels as well as taste buds. The smoothie menu focuses on 100% fruit juice, blended with organic milk, nutrient boosters, and energizing shots of espresso to ready your body for a fast-paced day of activity or telling the Kool-Aid Man you’re changing the locks on his favorite wall entrance to your house.
Remaining true to its name, Eclectic Cafe introduces taste buds to an array of fresh offerings from both contemporary American and Mexican cuisines. Chefs sizzle up double havarti cheeseburgers and albacore melts alongside international dishes such as sonoran black-bean torta and the carne asada tostada. They offer gluten-free options, as well as catering services to accommodate those hosting special events or congressional summits in their home or office.
Avenue Coffee's certified baristas serve responsible coffee with a level of dedication that shows from the drink selection to their latte art. These bean shamans heat their espresso ($1.75) to 202 ¬¬ºF to achieve quality taste with none of the bitterness that characterizes coffees who never got a reply on their screenplay treatment. Offer a date a choice between a white- or dark-chocolate mocha ($3.25–$4.25) to determine their allegiance to the dark side. Delicious baked goods such as muffins ($2.25) and bear claws ($2.75) arrive fresh daily, but it's always an option to adopt a pastry orphaned from the previous day ($1.25) as well.