Valley Lahvosh Baking Company's artisan bakers, who've been crafting doughy delights since 1922, forge their signature crackerbreads using three generations of Armenian family recipes. Bags of 15" crackerbread rounds––which double as throwing discuses for teddy bears––come in original and cracked-wheat varieties that buyers can slather in condiments or use to make wrapped sandwiches. A great base for hors d'oeuvres served at parties and social gatherings, boxes of Heart and Star Lahvosh crackers cheerily accept dips and spreads on unique cutout shapes. Rather than impersonating a horse to receive sugar cubes, buyers can get their sugary kicks with a bag of heart-shaped Sweetheart Snacks lightly dusted with cinnamon. Each assorted holiday package bears a chip clip that keeps snacks inside their bags and helps preserve freshness.
Planet Java’s menu adds a healthy jitter to one's morning step with delicious, fresh-roasted joe juice served from a convenient drive-through brew shack. Feed your need for black liquid speed with a mondo (20-oz.) cup of regular coffee ($2), or try a tall (12-oz.) Aztec mocha ($3.60), which blends espresso with cinnamon-chocolate and steamed milk to fill your demitasse with a healthy dose of post-all-nighter elixir. Otherwise, cool off after a hotcake-eating competition with a 20-oz. iced option; bathe your sweaty mouth with the refreshing nectars of a cold chai charger ($3.95), a concoction of espresso, vanilla chai, and steamed milk or water. For something more hedonistic, let the caramel and milk chocolate contents of a hot or blended caramel decadent ($4.35) effervesce within your stomach while you bathe in a cistern of foie gras and watch masked servants dance for your amusement.
When Simply Frosted Cupcakes opens, scones and cinnamon rolls take the morning shift before an ever-rotating selection of cupcakes clocks in for work. The freshly baked cupcakes, in flavors such as the birthday cake or orange dreamsicle, are made each morning and never refrigerated, much to the relief of discerning taste buds and milk with jealousy issues.
With baskets full of hand-plucked, wild blueberries, Vincent Colombet and his cousins happily crammed into their Alsatian grandmother's tiny kitchen. In that quaint room, equipped with only a wood-burning cast-iron stove, Vincent learned over the years how to tuck berries into pies, prepare meats sourced from neighboring farms, and eventually produce elaborate meals for his entire family.
Driven by his passion for French family-style cuisine, he traveled to Paris before a longing for experiences abroad tugged him across the pond and into the arms of the Windy City in 2004. The following year he opened Cook Au Vin, where he leads three-hour BYOB cooking classes centered around classic techniques and organic ingredients. Patrons may also enlist the Cook Au Vin team to cater special events, or swing by Colombet's Logan Square bakery, La Boulangerie, for butter-infused inhalations, freshly made crepes, and crusty baguettes.
Amid pale pink walls and white cabinets with chrome counters, a large glass case at Maddie Cakes Cupcake Bakery protects jumbo-size cupcakes perched on silver cake stands from the harsh realities of adulthood. At Maddie Cakes Cupcake Bakery, bakers infuse the desserts with flavors such as salted caramel, pumpkin apple, cherry delight, and at least 10 chocolate-infused options, and cap each cake with fluffy frosting. They also bake cinnamon rolls, fruit tarts, and custom cakes with fresh fruit filling and fondant figures.
After a day at most salons, you might look better for a few weeks; after an hour at Permanent Beauty, you might look better for several years. That's because the center specializes in permanent-makeup applications, during which skin artists apply long-lasting, mineral-based pigment to eyes, lips, and brows. The pigments are designed to fade gradually over time so clients can change makeup styles and shades as they age, change their hair color, or disintegrate into their component Transformers. Ever conscious of sanitation, the technicians use brand-new materials and equipment on each client. The end result is that clients achieve the dramatic glances, full lips, and expressive brows they’ve always desired but couldn’t obtain without betraying Mr. Potato Head’s trust.
It all started with a sip of coffee. And then another. And then several thousand more. Before they knew it, the soon-to-be founders of The Coffee Lounge were sampling to the point of obsession. Their dedication, research, and thirst paid off. They now treat customers to their very favorite blends from award-winning bean roasters, such as Klatch Coffee and Organo Gold. They complement their blends with tasty baked goods, gourmet teas, and 20-ounce fruit smoothies.