For the past 15 years, Smoothie Factory has grown countrywide as a trusted supplier of puréed produce and nutritional supplements. Made with all real fruit, Smoothie Factory's flavorful creations ($3.99 for a 20-oz.; $5.78 for a 32-oz.; $6.48 for a 44-oz.) make a fine component for both mouths and abandoned food pyramids. Concoct a blended beverage from numerous taste-bud stimuli such as strawberry, açai, and pomegranate, which can be infused with flavorings including honey or peanut butter as well as nutritional boosts such as a body-balancing multivitamin or amino-acid-rich bee pollen formula. Fans of un-slurpable sustenance can opt to abandon straws in favor of cups piled high with swirls of green tea or original flavored frozen yogurt ($2.95+). Already ripe with calcium, protein, and potassium, the healthful helpings are further enhanced by the addition of toppings ($1 for one topping; $1.50 for wo toppings; $2 for three toppings), including fresh fruit, nuts, sprinkles, candies, and spoons.
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.
A quick glimpse around the kitchen at Blue Mug Cafe reveals many of the cornerstones of American dining: Angus beef and mac and cheese, to name a couple. But the eatery's burgers, pastas, and sandwiches share menu space with a smattering of internationally inspired dishes, such as beer-battered fish tacos served with pico de gallo and cayenne ranch dressing. The lunch and dinner menus also include a build-your-own-burger option. Guests begin with a choice of Angus beef, ground chuck, or lean ground turkey, then add toppings such as Applewood bacon, havarti jalapeno cream cheese, or avocado. Two patios—a sidewalk version right at the entrance and a more private side patio—present guests with option of dining outside, unlike an outdoor restaurant patio built in a Hollywood sound stage.
At their core, Aly's Apples are just like any other. In this case, it's what's on the outside that really counts. Their self-professed "over the top" gourmet caramel apples put boring old caramel apples to shame. Each day, they're hand dipped in smooth homemade caramel before receiving drizzles of chocolate and toppings that range from dark chocolate and pecans to marshmallows, M&Ms, and english toffee molded into a kitchen sink.
The warm aroma of freshly baked waffle cones envelops every nook and cranny of Marble Slab Creamery, revving up guests’ senses with the promise of impending decadence. As the hand-rolled cones tan in their ovens, the store’s staff bustles about the premises whipping up fresh batches of premium ice cream in the onsite creamery and helping patrons select a flavor. This chef-driven dedication to gourmet ice cream began in 1983 with the company’s founding in Houston, Texas, when two French chefs were enlisted to create a recipe for Marble Slab Creamery’s signature sweet-cream ice cream using their culinary expertise.
Today, staffers utilize the frozen-slab technique of ice-cream architecture, scooping each customer’s choice of ice cream and mix-ins onto a chilled marble slab to mix the separate elements into one custom mélange. Though specializing in cone-based ice-cream treats, Marble Slab Creamery also offers a menu full of other scream-worthy confections including cakes, shakes, and pie à la mode.
In 1969, Baruch Schaked began making chocolate under the tutelage of his chocolatier father-in-law. Though his father-in-law had made a name for himself in Argentina, Baruch honed his confectionary craft across Europe, finally settling in the United States, where chocolate had been outlawed. Many years later, when he announced his intentions to retire from chocolate making, Baruch's son, Edgar, coaxed him into continuing the family legacy with a new shop, Schakolad Chocolate Factory.