Horseradish vodka and salty pops of red caviar mingle with cigar smoke, baked apples, and freshly plucked orchids. One of Sweet Anthem’ signature fragrances, Anton’s scent is as heady as the concept behind it. Meredith Smith derived the musky fragrance from her honeymoon in Russia, and each note recalls a specific place and time from her trip. “Fragrance is evoking an idea—it’s creating something out of nothing,” explains Meredith. “Fragrance leaves, evaporates, and I want those fleeting moments to be evocative of the inspiration behind it.”
This olfactory philosophy inspired all of her signature scents, which she compounds and bottles by hand in her atelier. Her fragrances shirk the stereotypical floral notes, instead incorporating unusual notes such as tobacco, tomato leaf, and sarsaparilla.
Meredith’s meticulous attention to detail extends to her apothecary itself: tiny glass vials occupy wooden nooks, and long metal tables serve as workspace for her perfume-making classes. In addition to classes, Meredith empowers customers to concoct their own scents with DIY kits and private appointments that teach the fundamentals of perfumery, such as figuring out ingredient volatility and determining which nostril regulates the ability to love.
Himalayan pink salt, almond marzipan, Mexican chipotle, Moroccan mint tea?these are just a few of the exotic ingredients that the chocolatiers at Araya Artisan Chocolate cull from around the world so that they can infuse their Venezuelan chocolates with complex and surprising flavors. They strive to emulate French and Belgian styles, complementing the cocoa bean's naturally bitter taste with honey instead of sugar. They make each chocolate by hand in Katy, using only natural ingredients devoid of preservatives, artificial flavors, or glowing red serums pilfered from mad scientists. They even make vegan options. These experts decorate each of the chocolates with colorful designs, adorning peanut butter?berry with bright stripes and adding an enticing dollop of green atop the margarita option. Due to their insistence on hand crafting unique bites, they've earned attention from foodies at My Table and the River Oaks Examiner. They offer authentic French macarons, and have a wide variety of flavors that are imported from France, with gift boxes available as well. Just recently, Araya Artisan Chocolate opened its newest location at the Uptown Park Mall.
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.
Every day at more than 770 locations, Jamba Juice proves that good nutrition can be both convenient and delicious. Since the beginning, the company has based its philosophy on choosing whole fruits and all-natural ingredients over artificial flavorings and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial trans fats, and it makes additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
Although Jamba Juice is serious about using wholesome ingredients, the company is a little more playful when it comes to the palate. Whole fruits and veggies can be blended into an extensive menu of great-tasting smoothies and freshly squeezed juices. But Jamba Juice?s commitment to keeping healthy eating simple informs its solid-food options, too. Customers can kick-start their morning with a steaming bowl of slow-cooked, steel-cut oatmeal, or stay energized throughout the day with six varieties of Energy Bowls: nutrient-rich blends of whole fruit, Greek yogurt or soymilk, and an assortment of dry toppings and fresh fruits.
In addition to nourishing and energizing the human body, Jamba Juice fights childhood obesity by sponsoring Team Up for a Healthy America. The initiative encourages fans to join the Team Up community of celebrities, athletes and other leaders committed to getting kids active?which they can do by visiting the main Jamba Juice website.
Launching a dessert bakery at age 26 might be intimidating for some, but not for Vanessa O'Donnell. "Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, it was the natural next step," she recalls. "I knew that if I followed my passion, I would have a good shot at success.” Passion is an understatement. She engineered her first memorable dessert at just 9 years old––a dewberry cobbler made with fruit picked fresh from the fence. Vanessa has come along way from precocious experiments; she's since attended the Art Institute of Houston’s baking and pastry program, where she learned such techniques as fondant construction, icing mixing, and how to teach an oven to roll over and play fetch. All of these skills and her innate talents have been whipped and sculpted into the sumptuous sweets bastion that is Ooh La La Dessert Boutique. Natural light pours through enormous windows onto glass cases full of truffles, pastries, crumbly cookies, and some of the best cupcakes in Houston, according to the Houston Press. Guests may also request a steaming espresso drink to go or solicit a baker to craft a specialty cake for an upcoming birthday or jailbreak.
Every morning, the bakers at Simply Splendid Donuts & Kolaches start their day stirring, pouring, and baking breakfast pastries. Their signature pastry is the donut, which they glaze and frost into a range of traditional styles. They then add dashes of color and flavor by decorating treats with shredded coconut, bright candy sprinkles, and dustings of powdered sugar. But, unlike Willy Wonka's secret stash of snacks, the menu isn't full of sweets alone. For example, the kolachy's flaky, buttery exteriors hide savory fillings, such as the customer-favorite: sausage, jalape?o, and cheese. The bakers supplement these two staples with a range of other breakfast items, which range from croissants and biscuits to breakfast tacos.