Gleaning her baking skills from her mother and grandmother, Gigi's Cupcakes' eponymous owner opened her first cupcake hub in 2008, drawing upon her entrepreneurial spirit and gift for crafting beautifully topped cupcakes. The franchised cupcakery now has 50 locations, each of which churns out 11 daily-rotating flavors that are made fresh every morning. The shop's selection of more than 40 flavors includes Canadian Maple, Southern Comfort, and Champagne—a bubbly-flavored base topped with an edible pearl. Patrons can pick out sweet treats from the daily selection or preorder them at least one day in advance online, by phone, or via singing telegram.
Combining her grandmother's recipes with personal artistry, owner and chief baker Virginia Rankin sculpts sweet treats that stun the eyes and mouth alike. Mert's succulent cakes brim with fresh, full ingredients like eggs, sugar, and cream, and sandwich spreadings of real fruit filling and fluffy frosting. The iconic Louie's Derby Cake, created for the Kentucky Derby, deliquesces on the tongue with tastes of butter praline, dark chocolate, and top-shelf Kentucky bourbon ($19.80 for a small, $36 for a large). Other fine cakes circling the nucleus of nuts and sugar include rum-moistened cranberry walnut spice cake and bourbon-drenched butter praline cake (both $22.50 for a small, $38.50 for a large).
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-fiber 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.
Named for a small town in Napa Valley, Calistoga Artisan Sandwiches aims to recreate the atmosphere of that West Coast epicurean Elysium through its oven-warm baked goods and fresh café fare. Morning munchables are served until 11 a.m., and include breakfast sandwiches and gourmet omelets ($6.89–$7.99), which come sidekicked with potato-cheese casserole and a biscuit. Hunger-havers who prefer dining under a steadily reclining sun can lock their lips around artisan sandwiches, such as the pulled pork pressata ($7.99) or chicken pesto cordon bleu ($7.99), all of which can be wrappified for carb-loathers or anyone who fears breaking bread. Flora fanatics can feast upon salubrious salads, such as the Copper Canyon chicken Caesar ($7.99), while liquid-lovers can lap up piping hot soups from regular bowls, bread bowls ($1.59 extra), or Camilla Parker Bowles.
The menu at Funmi’s Café swims with the names of West African dishes, tangles of unfamiliar syllables. Kachumbari, asaro, and kelewele may sound intimidating initially, but they conceal a cuisine characterized by warmth and gentle spice. Kachumbari is an African spin on coleslaw, asaro is a goldenrod-hued yam porridge, and kelewele is a snack of fried plantains.
In the kitchen, chefs stir pots of stew and sauce, often eschewing meat and dairy to fill Funmi’s menu with vegan options. Beneath murals of circular huts on a colorful savannah, fair-trade organic coffee imported from Africa pours forth steam like a robot trying to understand the end of Of Mice and Men.
The aromas of warming butter and sugar have called to mind the Heitzman legacy since 1891, when Jacob Heitzman baked and iced his first cake. It didn't take long for his airy desserts to build a fan base, one that grew each time the bakery added to the menu with new items, such as butter kuchen and strawberry whipped-cream cake.
Today, a full-scale deli joins the original baked goods at the Heitzman Traditional Bakery and Deli. On the sweet side of the shop, spice cakes burst with raisins, pecans, and fresh jam, protected from poking fingers by a caramel coating. Fresh-made pies, signature butter kuchens, and loaf cakes teem with fruits and nuts, and specialty cakes come in classic variations such as german chocolate and red velvet. The deli satisfies savory teeth with kettle-boiled bagels from Dooley's Bagels, as well as a selection of fresh soups and sandwiches. Salads bring together morsels of chicken, tuna, and fruit cut by hand, and catering trays carry turkey and ham dinners, box lunches, and casseroles to family meetings and business sing-alongs.