The pen stroke of a poet. The flourish of a painter's brush. The tangled staff notes of a musician. The baker and owner of Yummy Bakes, Iris Rodriguez, likens the way she narrates celebrations through custom cakes and cupcakes to the works of any other artist. She sculpts 3-D desserts to reflect the focus of festivities, commemorating nuptials with four tiers of a ribbon-adorned cake in Tiffany blue and birthdays with an edible castle of bubblegum-pink turrets inhabited by princesses. Cartoon characters from Angry Birds and Sesame Street emerge in colorful twists of frosting and fondant, delighting birthday celebrants and confusing Martians trying to understand Earth’s food chain. Iris sometimes weaves her stories by embellishing sweets with edible photographs and images.:m]]
Tom Yum's seasoned Thai chefs create authentic Thai dishes using trademark Thailand spices. The ingredient roster also extends to such flavor-enhancers as ginger, basil, and coconut milk, the kind of milk least likely to come out of a cantaloupe. Along with traditional rice, curry, and noodle dishes, they flame-grill and saut? exotic specialties, including a lobster pad thai and barbecue chicken with papaya salad.
Chef Gwynn Galvin combines her culinary craftsmanship with the entrepreneurial guidance of her son Bryan Mueller to churn out more than 30 varieties of homemade, artisan cupcakes. Gwynn shrinks her signature cheesecake into a microcosm of goodness with cheesecake cupcakes (a $29 value/dozen), dishing out decadent meal-sealers in flavors such as cappuccino cheesecake, peanut-butter-cup cheesecake, and classic Italian cheesecake. Regular cupcakes ($23/dozen) include perennial tongue-pleasers such as red velvet, mochachino, and blackout brownie, a palm's worth of brownie cake with milk-chocolate ganache topping and the ability to erase one's memory. Fruity flavors such as lip-smacking lemon, caribbean coconut, and orangesicle make a light, fluffy treat for brunch dessert or a pre-marathon snack.
The food at Lula's Latin Cuisine takes a Dominican slant, thanks to owners and partners Reimy and Lula Valdez. Each day, the chefs prepare menu staples such as golden-brown cheese empanadas and breaded steak. But the changing specials are the real stars, and up to seven are offered each day: you may encounter roasted pork on Tuesday or pork-chop stew on Sunday. Punctuate meals with a sweet ending, such as the Dominican-style cake, a yellow layer cake traditionally filled with pineapple and described by one North Jersey food critic as a "luscious confection" that will "give you something to celebrate."
At Yo-Delight, guests lounge on plush sofas or a cushioned purple bench and sip smoothies filled with tapioca pearls or dig into chilled cups of frozen yogurt. They fill these cups with their choice of 24 daily flavors, some of which are sugar- and fat-free, and then pile on the toppings from the toppings bar, which contains 80 options. For a more filling treat, patrons can opt for a freshly prepared sweet or savory crepe—a flaky treat that's both comforting and rich, much like a waterbed filled with banana pudding. In addition to frozen treats, Yo-Delight features entertainment such as music, WiFi access, six flatscreen TVs, and free usage of iPads and Xbox consoles.
Like its name, Wagon Wheel Restaurant’s menu and interior pay homage to simpler times. Tiffany-style stained-glass lamps cast a golden glow over hearty cuts of filet mignon, stuffed chicken breasts, baby back ribs, and the other unimpeachably traditional American eats that fill out the comforting, honest menu. As they dine, guests can relax, allowing their eyes to wander over the deep oxblood walls hung here and there with photographs and paintings of pure natural landscapes, wagering with their tablemates whether the images are real places or pictures fished out of Bob Ross’s dream catcher. Across from the dining area, distressed wooden posts and dangling metal steins highlight the spacious, u-shaped bar. Occasionally, Wagon Wheel plays host to local bands that perform classic rock or the kind of simple folk tunes that require at least one band member to bang a washboard against a drum.