Now an international brand of premium ice cream, Häagen-Dazs began as a humble, family-owned business in the Bronx. In the 1920's, Reuben Mattus sold his mother's fruit ices and ice-cream pops out of a horse-drawn wagon. For decades, the family business thrived, and around 1960, Reuben officially founded Häagen-Dazs. He chose the name to evoke Old World traditions and quality craftsmanship, the bedrocks of the brand. Originally, the ice cream came in just three flavors—vanilla, chocolate, and coffee—made from fine ingredients gathered from around the world, such as Belgian dark chocolate, hand-picked vanilla beans from Madagascar, and ice shaved from lunar glaciers. The resulting confections so delighted sweet teeth that the brand grew exponentially, leading to the creation of dozens of flavors and forays into sorbets and frozen yogurts.
Though Häagen-Dazs ice cream was immensely popular in grocery shops, their first parlor didn't open until 1976. Not far from the Mattus family's original ice-cream beat, the Brooklyn store sold ice cream as well as treats such as sundaes, shakes, and cakes. Shops eventually dotted the country and globe, wherein friendly ice-cream scoopers fill waffle cones, blend frosty coffee and ice-cream drinks, and wrap ice-cream cakes in bright ribbons.
When visiting a frozen yogurt shop, one is typically prepared to encounter blinding, fruit-colored paint and undersized furniture. But, though it contains the requisite row of self-serve machines and toppings bar, Bliss Yogurt Cafe instead plays more of a resemblance to an upscale downtown cafe. Wood accents and earth tones form the groundwork of the decor, accompanied by intimate tables and comfy couches. And, in addition to cups of frozen yogurt and ice cream dappled with fresh fruits and candies, guests can opt for milk shakes, real 100% real fruit smoothies, baked goods, and gourmet coffee drinks such as caffe latte, cappuccino, and hot and cold flavored coffee.
Café Colore's Italian-American dinner menu sends gourmet gondolas of soup, pasta, seafood, veal, and more into famished belly canals. Open the floodgates of flavor to the caramelized onion bisque, a blend of vidalia onion and sherry ($6.95) that swaddles mouths in a soft warmth usually reserved for babies' blankets and Full House reruns. Lobster ravioli imports the zesty flavors of Maine's shorelines, the culinary cargo bustling with basil tomato cream sauce and ricotta ($25.95). Carnivores can sink their fangs into a veggie, sausage, and cheese-stuffed loin of pork ($26.95) or moo in a Sicilian dialect for the veal saltimbocca, topped in a sage and brandy cream sauce ($25.95). The lunch menu presents mid-day munchers with an array of pasta-based entrees, meal-sized salads, and sandwich-sized sandwiches, including the cafe deluxe, a chicken breast milanese with avocado, romaine, tomato, prosciutto, and basil-pesto mayo on house-made bread ($7.95).
Maria has spent the past 30 years trying to satisfy her sweet tooth (and the sweet teeth of others) with homemade cakes and cupcakes frosted in decadent buttercream. It was her penchant for sweets that led her to open Sensational Cakes by Maria, a bakery specializing in custom cakes with whimsical designs that incorporate fondant and colorful frostings. In addition to cakes and cupcakes, Maria also bakes apple, cherry, and other fruit pies topped with a double crust, crumble, or a tiny note warning the reader that you’re about to pie him in the face.
Inside Salomon's Kosher Bakery’s display cases sit freshly baked cookies—their chocolate chips and fruit toppings glinting in the light. Across the way rest fresh loaves of challah, marble rye, and corn bread—all of which are certified kosher, as seen to by Rabbi Isaiah Hertzberg from Quality Kosher Supervisory Service. For special events, the bakery whips up extravagant cakes topped with intricate designs and infused with such fillings as chocolate custard and fruit.