Visual Utopia bistro offers an upscale dining experience with panoramic views of the Mesa. Let peckish peepers eat up the scenery while the bruschetta platter with melted brie, candied pecans, and apple primes the palate ($7). Or, tantalize your tummy with a mountain of spinach salad drizzled with pineapple-bacon dressing and topped with hard-boiled egg and goat cheese ($10.95). The hand-tossed barbecue-chicken pizza introduces chicken and barbecue sauce to mozzarella, red onions, and cilantro, facilitating a friendship as satisfying as a Tom and Jerry reunion ($12.50). Just like ambition to pursue guinea-pig rodeo clowning, dinner specials fluctuate weekly, but in the past have included options such as the grilled trout with tomato-cilantro chutney ($16.95) and the 14 oz. New York strip steak ($18.95).
With more than 700 locations, Jamba Juice proves to the masses that nutrition can be speedy and delicious. Since the beginning, the company's product philosophy has revolved around choosing whole fruits and other natural ingredients over artificial flavorings, sweeteners, and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats, and it offers additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
Blended drinks dominate the menu, with options including fruit refreshers—made with naturally hydrating, electrolytic coconut water—and pre-boosted smoothies that can fill nutritional gaps with infusions of protein, immunity boosters, or antioxidants that neutralize accidentally swallowed pool water. The drink list also includes organic house-blend coffee and Talbot Teas, including Paris Breakfast and SOHO Earl.
For those with heartier appetites, steel-cut oats steep in soymilk before being enhanced with toppings such as apples, cinnamon, and brown-sugar crumble. The lunch hour presents protein-packed mini wraps, toasted bistro sandwiches and California Flatbreads that pack only about 320–420 calories each.
From its humble beginnings in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1938, Dairy Queen has grown from a delicious experiment in soft-serve ice cream to a household name with more than 5,900 restaurants around the world. The shop's signature frozen delights are built upon a frosty foundation of creamy chocolate or vanilla soft serve, which swirls idyllically into cones, cups, overturned top hats, sundaes, Peanut Buster parfaits, and the chain's iconic Blizzard treats, blended with crumbled candy and other mix-ins. Ice-cream cakes cleverly conceal a surprise filling of fudge and chocolate crunch between layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, providing sweet, sliceable sustenance for birthday parties and other special occasions.
Fruit rules the roost on the other side of the slushy emporium, where Orange Julius blends its signature frothy drinks crafted from fruit juice, ice, and a "magic” powdered sweetener that explains why they disappear from most customers’ cups minutes after the first delicious sip. Real fruit purée forms the basis for the shop's smoothies, which also come in diet-friendly light versions that boast 150 calories or fewer.
When they emerge from the La Dolce Pesca kitchen, the wedding cakes, cupcakes, and cookies are almost too pretty to eat. This makes sense, as the bakery's seasoned pastry chefs handle their culinary creations as though they were works of art, decorating them with elegant fondant flowers, dazzling swirls, and whimsical patterns. Their gorgeous baked goods have made appearances at many a wedding, baby shower, and bar mitzvah, as well as in the glossy pages of Arizona Foothills and Arizona Bride Magazine.
The chefs customize cakes and pastries to order, taking time to meet with the customers beforehand to discuss preferences and administer tastings. They invite clients to choose from a variety of cake flavors, fillings, and frostings, or to choose from a selection of gourmet layer cakes, such as the German chocolate with coconut pecan frosting or the lemon mousse with candied lemon zest. The chefs can also tailor cakes to accommodate clients with wide variety of unique dietary concerns, such a birthday boy with a gluten allergy or a groom who turns into a frog whenever he eats a pecan.
Fresh, high-quality ingredients are the keys to Yogurtology's appeal, allowing guests to indulge in dessert while doing good for their bodies. In addition to diligently preparing fruit toppings daily, the staff members hand-cut each hunk of candy bar, creating delectably bite-size pieces that can be scattered over yogurt along with gummy candies, flakes of coconut, and more than 60 other garnishes, many of which are gluten-free and are carefully kept from commingling with the other ingredients. The resident "yogurtologists" also apply their attention to detail to the shop's atmosphere, replenishing and cleaning up the toppings bar throughout the day, helping to maintain a crisp, neat vibe.
Of course, toppings are only half the story. The stars at Yogurtology are the frozen yogurts, which range from classics to inventive flavors like pomegranate raspberry, Tart Nouveau, and award-winning Oatmeal Cookie. The self-serve machines offer up two no-sugar-added and two dairy-free options daily in order to accommodate dietary restrictions, and the shop shows respect to man's best friend by carrying cups of organic "doggie" yogurt.
Although Barista Cafe has been making headlines with its scantily clad servers—women dressed in bikini-like ensembles—the menu's fresh, healthful cuisine remains the backbone of the business. Instead of frying or dipping ingredients in a natural lake of frosting, the café’s cooks fold them into nutritious meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Jump Start, a smorgasbord of eggs, ham, bacon, green chilies, pepper jack cheese, and salsa, gets mornings underway when paired with a steaming cup of coffee. For later meals, efficient service and to-go options ensure ample time to devour salads, sandwiches, and wraps, such as the Hawaiian Tropic, which is stuffed with grilled chicken, pineapple, and a housemade soy-dijon sauce.