At Big Star Coffee, rigorously trained baristas handcraft each cup of coffee to their client’s request, rather than relegating their jobs to automated coffee makers. Drawing on a supply of fair-trade, organic teas and coffee beans, they concoct drinks from simple Americanos to cinnamon- and spice-infused mexican mochas. Alternatively, they blend summery drinks that run the gamut from coffee frappes to Red Bull smoothies, which bolster energy levels and fuel select automobiles. They also stock a glass-fronted case with pastries, wraps, and breakfast sandwiches.
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Preece Designer Chocolate hand-dips and drizzles its traditional, truffle, and signature-flavored fillings in rich chocolate made from cocoa beans harvested by farmers on the Ivory Coast. Caramel coats triple-chocolate nougat in the Chocopolitan ($0.95 each; $7.50 for 8), and the Bordeaux ($0.95 each; $7.50 for 8) encases brown sugar buttercream into a chocolaty sarcophagus befitting of sweet-toothed royalty. Whereas the Blue Velvet melds blue cheese and chocolate ($0.95 each; $7.50 for 8), the Velvet Hammer piles caramel, coffee, and chocolate atop one another ($0.95 each; $7.50 for 8). Additionally, salty and sweet flavors meld in potato chips smothered in chocolate ($6.50/6 oz.) offer a tastier treat than a peanut-butter-and-jellyfish sandwich.
Founded by ice-cream enthusiasts Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone Creamery has grown to more than 1,400 locations across North America. Each day, the shop's scoopers mix up fresh batches of ice cream and sorbet, which are served by the scoop, piled high in sundaes, and blended into shakes. After customers choose their desired flavor, staffers toss the chilly sustenance upon a slab of frozen granite and fold in a smorgasbord of candy and nuts to achieve the ideal ice-cream-to-add-in ratio. Customers can dream up their own creations or opt for a signature masterpiece, sampling one of more than 11.5 million possible flavor combinations, which still await a brave conqueror to unlock them all. To accommodate sweets cravings at celebrations, staff members also dish out pre-made treats, such as ice-cream cakes and baked goods.
It can be hard to find the right balance between healthy treats and tasty ones, but at CC’s Cupcake Cafe, desserts that toe that fine line can be delivered directly to your door. The bakers at the delivery-only shop hand pick the fruits and vegetables that go into their full menu of cupcakes, cookies, and cake pops, eschewing preservatives and low-quality ingredients to create chic gourmet confections. The shop’s cupcakes—which come in flavors such as mocha, spicy carrot, and toasted coconut—can be decorated with customizable fondant, and some flavors can accommodate clients on a gluten-free diet. Bakers also craft cake pops and cookies, which allow clients to start their morning with a burst of energy without having to remember to plug themselves in every night.