Like all great stories, Cakes by Crème de la Crème's was written through persistence. Pastry chefs Michael Jones and Bart Utz first met when they were taking baking courses together. They formed a partnership, worked at several establishments, then pooled their resources and struck out on their own, starting Cakes by Crème de la Crème. The duo, who have chalked up experience working at venues such as the Washington Athletic Club and the Sunset Club, combine their expertise to craft delicious and visually intricate cakes for all occasions. This expertise has garnered press attention from The Knot, who recently included them in their "Best of Weddings 2013" feature.
Their tiered wedding cakes roll out a spectacle for the eye and the tongue, with romantically elegant designs finished in buttercream icing and fondant. They customize cakes to each client’s specifications by creating a unique border or design, and by giving customers a choice of unique flavors, such as banana cake with strawberry preserves and cream-cheese filling. Jones and Utz also specialize in affordable dessert cakes, tortes, and tarts and custom party cakes, which they can mold into inspired designs such as stacks of favorite books, a college’s logo, or a turntable with vinyl records on top—an homage to the days when every cake was also a record player.
Shnoo Yogurt isn't your run-of-the-mill frozen yogurt stand. Instead of serving pre-made treats churned out in a factory, the staff makes non-fat, gluten-free yogurt in small batches, using minimal sugar and milk from a local dairy––a practice that helps preserve all the nutrients and live cultures that make frozen yogurt healthy. But Shnoo Yogurt's Full Tilt brand ice cream is also good for you; made from all-natural, local ingredients, it's available in 28 flavors, including vegan-friendly varieties. And the health-conscious options don't stop there. One you've chosen your favorite frozen yogurt or ice cream, a full bar of at least 30 nutritious toppings awaits to be mixed in, including fresh blueberries, coconut, granola, honey, and even marshmallows, which count as a vegetable if eaten on Thanksgiving.
At the center of a big, round table sits a lazy susan bearing tiny, elegant white dishes. Each holds a mound of intriguing dried leaves that look as though they’ve been emptied from an alchemist’s vial. Over the course of the evening, everyone around the table will watch, smell, and taste as the power of those leaves is awakened through hot water and the deep knowledge shared by Roberta, Experience Tea’s owner. A certified tea specialist, she leads classes on a vast range of tea topics, exploring everything from health benefits to proper steeping techniques to the etiquette of Chinese tea ceremonies or British-tea hot tubs. Within a warmly lit storefront lined by painted brick walls and a veritable library of tea varieties, students can also learn how to create their own signature brew in blending workshops. Even customers who stop in for a pouch of loose-leaf are likely to end up indulging in a rich sensory experience as Roberta offers them a sample and shares tasting notes.
At ice cream dispensaries across the country, Ben & Jerry's staff members scoop up heavenly bites of Vermont's most famous treats. Whether gracing cups or cones, flavors including the banana-based Chunky Monkey and Phish Food—chocolate ice cream swirled with caramel, marshmallow, and fish-shaped pieces of fudge—bring chilly smiles to customers' faces. The shops have also added mango and lemon sorbets to their menu, as well as frozen greek yogurt.
Great Harvest specializes in baking tasty delicacies and healthy, homemade breads ($4.50–$8.50 per loaf) that are high in fiber, free of preservatives, and crafted with freshly milled flour every day. The bread selection changes each day of the week according to a monthly schedule; previous offerings include golden honey wheat and Dakota bread. Gluten-free and high-protein breads are available in a variety of flavors, including gluten-free cinnamon-chip bread. For carb connoisseurs that prefer breaded delights that are easily juggled, Great Harvest bakes scones, muffins, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and bars.