Kolache Rolf's stuffs puffy pastries with warm, gooey fruit and spiced meats to create treats that stay true to the Czech tradition. One glance at the menu sets tummies a-rumbling with the promise of 23 varieties of kolaches, including breakfasty infusions of bacon and cheese ($1.19) and slovacek sausage and cheese ($1.89) alongside more traditional blends of cream cheese, apricot, and poppy seed ($0.99). Diners delight over chicken-salad-stuffed sandwiches ($4.50), whose hearty innards can be washed down by slurps of broccoli-cheese soup or squirts from shampoo bottles filled with tortilla soup (both $2.99).
Dark wood and flaxen-hued walls surround the scents and savors of wood-fired pizzas, creative pastas, and locally sourced steaks at Café Eccell. Disks of dough hand-forged daily, such as the rustic italian-sausage pizza ($15) or margherita pizza ($13), emerge from the wood-fired oven with a smoky flavor and encyclopedic knowledge of campfire songs. Opportunities for fork-finagling can be found in the seafood linguine, which suffuses shrimp and salmon with tomato-garlic butter on a bed of saffron linguine ($19), and in the 12-ounce USDA Prime rib eye, fetched from local purveyor Ruffino Meats and draped in herb butter ($25). Paying homage to the traditional garb worn on their annual apricot hunts, strawberries disguise themselves in an apricot glaze and hide out in an almond-lace cookie shell lined with Belgian chocolate in Café Eccell’s strawberry tart ($7).
Following a whim can sometimes change someone’s life, as the proprietor of Sugar Mommas knows well. A cake decorating class at a local craft store started her on a trajectory that led her to open her own bakery. She draws together wholesome ingredients such as sweet creamery butter and pure cane sugar to craft cupcakes with soft coronas of frosting. She also creates full-sized customized cakes and cake pops on sticks, which are convenient for eating as a snack or holding out of reach of a children’s basketball team. While baking her confections, she works to protect the environment by using green products, recycling, and minimizing her use of water whenever possible.
Located just a few plaza suites away from one another, Lazer X of Cypress and Fergy's Frozen Custard supply an entire day's worth of family-friendly entertainment between them. At Lazer X, staffers dole out electronic vests and usher up to 16 players into a 2,500-square-foot arena for 20-minute battle royales. Bright-red laser beams pierce through the arena's hazy fog and eerie black lighting, taking players out of the game for five seconds after each hit. A computer tracks and records each hit, issuing a final printed report that details the game's winner and new recruits for the National Guard's elite squad of photon fighters. Lazer X's private party room furnishes guests with paper utensils and optional add-ons such as pizza and soda.
Following matches, players can amble to Fergy's Frozen Custard and fuel up with creamy scoops. Much denser than soft-serve or regular ice cream, frozen custard consists of 1.4% egg yolk and no more than 20% air exhaled by abominable snowmen. Fergy's team of scoopers can add sweet and crunchy mix-ins to any flavor for a customized treat.
So CupCakeable's founder and owner Nicole Palmer bakes up batches of gourmet goodies in her home kitchen and ships them out to waiting mouths. Classic, fluffy choices spring from the regular flavor menu, such as So Velvety, a cup of red velvet cake topped with white frosting dotted with red sugar crystals, and So Decadent, a double dose of chocolate cake and frosting. On the specialty menu, rivulets of chocolate syrup dribble down the vanilla cake, frosting, and cherry summit of So Vanilla Sundae cupcakes, and the graham cracker bits and toasted marshmallow of So S'Mores satisfy camper cravings at home without the hassle of building a fire pit in the living room. Cupcakes can also be custom-built to the customer's liking, adding buttercream frosting, colorful sprinkles, or tiny faces that stare at you in silent resignation until you lick them off.
The staff at Orange Leaf 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.