Marvin Owens has been tempting people with baked goods for quite a while. Just ask his wife, who describes the sweets he'd bring over while he was courting her as "bribes" (which evidently worked). His fourth bakery, Hometown Cookie Co. & Bakery, offers a wide assortment of fresh baked sweets and savories, from Texas muffins filled with sausage, jalapenos, and cheese, to gooey cinnamon rolls that are easier to pull apart than two positive magnets covered in frosting. Each day, the bakery rolls out a variety of pies, muffins, cupcakes, and cookies, and can fill custom orders for special occasions.
In Italy, l’aperitivo is time for socializing with friends over drinks and light snacks. Aperitivos Coffee & Wine Bar supplies this exact respite amid old-country surrounds of dark woods, brick, and stucco walls. Here, baristas add splashes of flavoring, such as sugar-free hazelnut, to Segafredo Coffee, or use it to craft caffeinated favorites like chai lattes. Bartenders, meanwhile, pour reds and white from an extensive list with selections that span everywhere from Argentina to Washington State.
All beverages complement upscale bistro fare, including six-ounce marinated steaks finished with blue cheese butter or flatbread pizzas topped with roasted chicken and a creamy garlic-and-onion sauce. On most weekends, feasts unfold as local musicians grace the Aperitivos stage with soothing tunes.
Ever since Baskin Robbins first began its dessert fashion show in 1953, more than 1,000 original flavors have sauntered across the nation's tongue runways, 31 at a time. With the ice creamery's iconic pink sampling spoons as your guide, taste test as many as you like until you find the flavor that gives your soul a back rub, whether it's a classic-flavor single scoop of rocky road ($2.49) or a seasonal double scoop of Love Potion #31 (white-chocolate and raspberry ice cream loaded with raspberry-filled chocolate hearts) ($3.99). Otherwise, keep it simple and bury your face within the flavor of the month. The ice alchemists at Baskin Robbins can also transmute their ice cream and sherbet into drinkable desserts, such as floats, freezes, and shakes ($4–$6). Tongue-pleasing tortoises donate their praline-lined shells to coffee- and caramel-swirled science in the Turtle Cappuccino Blast, and custom floats let treatsters plunge scoops of their favorite ice cream into a fizzy soda-pop bath.
Le Peep's focus on breakfast and lunch stems from a decision made more than 40 years ago, when Buddy and Rhoda Waldman opened The Village Pantry in Aspen, Colorado, and—not wanting to miss a half day of skiing—would close the kitchen each day before noon. The duo would continue to tinker with their concept, stare at it through a novelty-sized microscope, and change its name before it eventually migrated to Texas. Nowadays, the kitchen staff perpetuates the breakfast-crafting tradition by offering omelets, eggs benedict, skillets, and build-your-own pancake options that use ingredients such as walnuts, bacon, pineapple, and chocolate chips. Traditional dishes are augmented with unique twists, such as the Gooey Buns, english muffins broiled with brown sugar, cinnamon, and almonds and served with a signature side of Mom's Sassy Apples. During midday hours, a variety of salads, burgers, and sandwiches parades out of the kitchen accompanied by smoothies, juices, or Mother Parkers coffee. Le Peep's catering service delivers breakfast and lunch fare to homes, events, or filibustered neighborhood-watch meetings.
The cupcake artisans at Sweet Indulgence Bakery send taste buds into a swoon with more than 20 cream-filled cupcake varieties baked daily. Inside the bakery, which boasts modern WiFi and a retro ice-cream-parlor feel, a display case of miniature candle cushions beckons customers with varieties such as banana-split cake and Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise. Specialties may include the Chocolate Delight filled with chocolate buttercream or the red velvet with cream-cheese frosting, which brings classic flavors together more seamlessly than a finely stitched cheeseburger. After corralling raspberry amaretto, italian cream, and strawberry-lemonade cupcakes together, customers can help up to 12 friends forget their traumatic muffin encounters.
Patty Cakes specializes in a variety of fresh-baked goods, special-event cakes, and catering. Its newest signature dessert is the cake ball, which is precisely what it sounds like: a lavish, formal gala where cakes from around the world gather to dance the night away. Each sphere of cakey goodness is coated in a delectable candied shell. Choose from four flavors of cake to cover in a cloak of milk or dark chocolate: chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, or red velvet. For indecisive or exploratory palates, multiple flavors can be mixed and matched per order, but the minimum number of one flavor is six. Similar to donut holes and the Indian in your cupboard, these cake balls boil down the essence of a larger cake into a handheld treat. With today’s Groupon you receive 24 cake balls, which is enough to feed an interspecies gang of aggressive pigeons and angry squirrels.