From towering tiered cakes to bite-sized miniature desserts, the bakers at Cotton's Gourmet Gifts & Creations handcraft an eclectic portfolio of sweets for every occasion. Each dessert is handmade at the behest of each and every client, and a wide range of options is available for weddings, showers, birthdays, and sweet-tooth conventions. Beautiful wedding cakes are among the bakery's specialties, helping see each bride and groom's vision becomes a sweet-tasting reality.
Real-estate agent [LaKisa Taylor]( HYPERLINK "http://gr.pn/LjXD6K" http://gr.pn/LjXD6K) may have been a longtime whiz in the business of brokering homes, but brokering cupcakes began as a hobby. As a thank-you to clients and potential buyers, LaKisa would bake and decorate batches of the confectionary delights. Her sweet tooth and background in event planning eventually propelled the pastime into a full-fledged career when she dreamed up Pretty Girl Cupcakery, named for her still-flourishing real-estate campaign, Pretty Girl County. Inside the shop's recently opened doors, LaKisa and her staff bake treats fresh each morning in an atmosphere more welcoming than a doormat carved from peanut brittle. Their classic menu keeps it simple with chocolate and vanilla, double chocolate and vanilla, half and half, and red-velvet cakes topped with rich buttercream frosting.
LaKisa and her team spread their passion for edible artistry at classes that broach subjects such as basic frosting techniques and crafting fondant that deliciously embellishes cakes. They also host themed bashes at the bakery, enveloping birthday kids and their guests in a world of pretty princesses or doll and tea parties.
On a hot summer day, the interior of Mr. Smoothie & Frozen Yogurt Bar looks a bit like paradise. Staff members man blenders whirring together non-fat yogurt and a choice of two fresh fruits into their signature smoothies, allowing customers to cool off with treats that are refreshing, healthy, and able to put out a very small fire. Everything made at Mr. Smoothie is customizable, and guests can opt to pare down the sweetness by only drinking freshly squeezed juice or creating fruity freezes from the same juices blended with chunks of real fruit. Eleven flavors of coffees are used to make frappes, with skinnier versions available for those desiring less calories and more protein. In fact, staff members can add a range of supplements and boosts to any smoothie or drink, adding ingredients that build muscle or nutrients that aim to improve hangovers.
The bakers at the sister-owned cheesecakery use fresh ingredients to create creamy, handmade confections. This Groupon is good for 12 two-inch microcakes, and you can mix and match among the original flavor, chocolate, strawberry, and cookies 'n' cream to assemble a delicious dozen. The bite-sized baked goods are perfectly portioned to prevent guilt-induced post-cheesecake regret, and as such make a fitting gift for calorie-counting suckers for sweet or someone who underwent a surgical procedure that replaced his or her human mouth with the mouth of a striped bass.
Healthy Bites assembles meals that are healthy, organic, and made from local farm-fresh ingredients, and its Lite Bites meals keep fat-burning hormones revving. The selection of available fare changes weekly based on seasonal ingredients; the Sept. 8–13 Lite Bites menu, for example, showcases dinners such as a salmon filet blanketed in a horseradish-almond crust and mango compote, accompanied by a mixed-green side salad topped with ginger dressing. While meaty morsels do appear throughout the dinner options, Healthy Bites specializes in veggie-centric meals to help your heart cross the finish line at another birthday-celebration race. Flavorful and fitness-bolstering concoctions on the Sept. 8–13 menu include spiced black-bean cakes with corn radish salad and lime Greek yogurt, or the chicken-and-broccoli stir fry. Be sure to check out the weekly menu before ordering your dinners via phone call or flare-gun signal.
Gianluigi Dellaccio was a star water polo player in Italy until the mid-90s, but it was actually his second career as a dessert chef that put him in touch with a number of global luminaries. After studying pastry-making in culinary school, he put in time at famous dessert shops in Germany, Naples, and Washington, D.C., where he had the chance to make pastries for Bono, President Clinton, and the Pope. Bolstered by the sweet taste of success, Dellaccio went on to found his very own gelato company, Dolci Gelati, where he incorporates the tenets of pastry-making into chillier desserts.
These days, Chef Dellaccio spends most of his time developing new flavors in what he calls his gelato laboratory. He rises each morning to take dairy deliveries from local farms, as well as shipments of hand-picked fruits and specialty chocolate, imported from a small, sustainable farm in Ecuador. He begins by tempering the chocolate himself to create flavors rich and dark or sweet and creamy. Then, he mixes his premium, custom-prepared ingredients into the base of what will become the gelato. He still uses a long-treasured family recipe to turn his exotic ingredients into the final product, though, developing a treat that, like a digital cummerbund, strikes a balance between tradition and innovation.