Mocha Magic has served up locally roasted coffee and homemade café fare in a sun-bathed modern space since 1994. Behind the café counter, sandwich makers layer sourdough and croissant with honey baked ham, smoked turkey, and fresh produce accompaniments. At breakfast, patrons can jumpstart the day with freshly baked scones and muffins, but are discouraged from jumpstarting a car by pouring espresso drinks directly into the gas tank.
At Ice Cream Company, chilled cream serves as a stage for showcasing local and seasonal ingredients. Each day, the spotlight shines on more than 25 homemade flavors ranging from classic vanilla and chocolate to exotic varieties such as coconut, swiss-chip orange, and raspberry cheesecake. Scoops tango with mix-ins such as hot fudge and Heath bars to form 100 types of milkshakes, which can be thickened with malt powder or fresh bananas. In addition to building ice-cream masterpieces, visitors can construct sandwiches from a choice of breads, cheeses, meats, and more spreads than a 1,000-page magazine.
Loard’s Ice Cream beguiles ice cream connoisseurs with more than 40 flavors of cold culinary comfort. Experience the tastes of fall without sautéing leaf piles by slurping up regular-sized scoops of pumpkin or maple-walnut ice cream crafted with cream from local suppliers ($2.50 each). Popular concoctions such as cookie-dough, bubble-gum, and ube-taro-root ice cream color tongues’ opinions on nothing-but-dessert diets, swaying them to beg for milkshakes for breakfast ($3.85), double scoops for lunch ($3.85), and kids’-sized scoops for post-cardio workouts ($1.90). The punch cards unlock further treasures of Loard’s loaded menu, including ice-cream-free italian sodas, shaved ices, and freshly made cookies.
The cooks at Velvet Grill & Creamery stay busy all day, whipping up breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes from scratch and churning out fresh batches of more than 20 ice-cream flavors throughout the day. For breakfast, the denver omelet throws diced ham, cheddar cheese, and bell peppers together with three eggs ($8.39), and Velvet's original pancakes, made with real oatmeal and buttermilk, soak up amber syrup ($4.99 for a full order). Smoked pork chops bask in a tangy apricot glaze alongside grilled vegetables ($11.99), and the mega grilled cheese ($7.39) combines four kinds of melted, gooey cheese between three slices of bread to form a sandwich hefty enough to knock over Mechagodzilla should he return from his semester abroad in Prague.
The modest size of Cheesecake Kitchen’s bakery stands at odds with its extensive menu of cheesecakes and cheesecake-flavored desserts, many of which include copious toppings of peanut butter, candy bars, and fruit. The 5-, 7-, and 10-inch cheesecakes nestle side-by-side within a display case that proudly exhibits more than 25 concoctions laced with flavors such as chocolate mocha and eggnog rum. In addition to traditional cake slices, the expert staff bakes their signature cheesecake tastes into brownies, cannoli, cupcakes, and elegant pillbox hats. Cheesecake Kitchen’s freezable cakes can also be slathered in customized decorations to celebrate a birthday party.
Known throughout the Central Valley as The Cupcake Lady, Troyce Fraga has certainly earned the moniker emblazoned on the side of her bright-pink delivery truck. Her first batches of cupcakes came shortly after her first steps as an infant, and the recipes she has perfected since those early days have gone on to win state-fair ribbons and local acclaim. These recipes draw inspiration from cocktails, candies, and even Mexican cuisine, resulting in flavors as diverse as minty mojito and horchata.
These days, throngs of dessert lovers sprint after Troyce’s cheery delivery truck as it drives along a route of Central Valley destinations such as Turlock City Hall, Latif’s Restaurant, and Emanuel Medical Center. When she isn’t packing marshmallows and raspberry preserves into her specialty cupcakes, Troyce dumps the gooey fillings out the window to slow down cars driving too close for comfort. Those lucky enough to be around when her truck stops can sample buttercream frostings and classic cake flavors such as red velvet and triple chocolate. In addition to her fresh-baked cupcakes, Troyce’s truck shuttles cake pops, whoopie pies, and cupcake parfaits to parties and other catered events.