Valley Lahvosh Baking Company's artisan bakers, who've been crafting doughy delights since 1922, forge their signature crackerbreads using three generations of Armenian family recipes. Bags of 15" crackerbread rounds––which double as throwing discuses for teddy bears––come in original and cracked-wheat varieties that buyers can slather in condiments or use to make wrapped sandwiches. A great base for hors d'oeuvres served at parties and social gatherings, boxes of Heart and Star Lahvosh crackers cheerily accept dips and spreads on unique cutout shapes. Rather than impersonating a horse to receive sugar cubes, buyers can get their sugary kicks with a bag of heart-shaped Sweetheart Snacks lightly dusted with cinnamon. Each assorted holiday package bears a chip clip that keeps snacks inside their bags and helps preserve freshness.
After a day at most salons, you might look better for a few weeks; after an hour at Permanent Beauty, you might look better for several years. That's because the center specializes in permanent-makeup applications, during which skin artists apply long-lasting, mineral-based pigment to eyes, lips, and brows. The pigments are designed to fade gradually over time so clients can change makeup styles and shades as they age, change their hair color, or disintegrate into their component Transformers. Ever conscious of sanitation, the technicians use brand-new materials and equipment on each client. The end result is that clients achieve the dramatic glances, full lips, and expressive brows they’ve always desired but couldn’t obtain without betraying Mr. Potato Head’s trust.
It all started with a sip of coffee. And then another. And then several thousand more. Before they knew it, the soon-to-be founders of The Coffee Lounge were sampling to the point of obsession. Their dedication, research, and thirst paid off. They now treat customers to their very favorite blends from award-winning bean roasters, such as Klatch Coffee and Organo Gold. They complement their blends with tasty baked goods, gourmet teas, and 20-ounce fruit smoothies.
Upon first glance, Le Roi French Bakery looks a bit like a castle. Roses and metal curlicues line the space, where bakers flit in and out of a pair of saloon doors. Named for the French word for king, this bakeshop’s confections are enchanting and majestic, like a towering mountain of Magic 8 balls. At the counter, a brightly lit case brims with classic European treats such as éclairs, napoleons, tarts, and parfaits. The scent of espresso wafts by as staffers froth fresh milk for lattes and cappuccinos. Like a fairy tale about princes and princesses, these details inspire daydreams as patrons leaf through albums stuffed with hundreds of custom-cake ideas, including tiered wedding cakes adorned with fondant flowers and round delights flanked with fruits, frostings, or ladyfingers.
Cinnabon's ovens constantly churn out freshly baked goods, including the business's eponymous classic cinnamon roll—warm dough stuffed with Makara cinnamon and dripping with cream-cheese frosting. The classic Cinnabon ($3.49) takes on a twist with the Caramel Pecanbon ($3.99), which tweaks the traditional recipe by adding caramel and pecans. Cinnabon Stix ($2.49+) backflip into pools of cream-cheese frosting, and Cinnapacks ($10.99/four classic rolls) please coworkers or multiple personalities by packing regular or mini-size rolls inside a box. Sugarcoated tongues delight in cups of hot coffee ($1.69+) or Chillatta smoothies ($3.69+) in flavors such as chocolate mocha and strawberry.
With baskets full of hand-plucked, wild blueberries, Vincent Colombet and his cousins happily crammed into their Alsatian grandmother's tiny kitchen. In that quaint room, equipped with only a wood-burning cast-iron stove, Vincent learned over the years how to tuck berries into pies, prepare meats sourced from neighboring farms, and eventually produce elaborate meals for his entire family.
Driven by his passion for French family-style cuisine, he traveled to Paris before a longing for experiences abroad tugged him across the pond and into the arms of the Windy City in 2004. The following year he opened Cook Au Vin, where he leads three-hour BYOB cooking classes centered around classic techniques and organic ingredients. Patrons may also enlist the Cook Au Vin team to cater special events, or swing by Colombet's Logan Square bakery, La Boulangerie, for butter-infused inhalations, freshly made crepes, and crusty baguettes.