For more than 25 years, Once Upon a Bagel’s staff has cultivated a cozy vibe at the deliciously bread-perfumed bagel shop where customers can linger over breakfast, lunch, or dinner without feeling rushed or ignored. Atop the eatery’s main counter, bagels pile into baskets labeled with flavors such as asiago cheese, chocolate chip, pumpernickel, and honey blueberry, and trays of bagels, fish, and meat are prepared for catering. Beneath the bagel spread, an ample selection of breads puffs up in leavened excitement, hoping diners choose them to build a base for salmon-salad sandwiches, turkey pastrami, and the customer-favorite reuben boat, a loaf of bialy bread into which sandwich makers fold pastrami or turkey along with melted cheese and all the classic reuben trimmings.
As the eponymous owner of Marla's Sweet Bites, Marla Levitt ensures that every morning the bakery’s display cases brim with fragrant batches of freshly baked treats, which her staff prepares fresh and without additives or preservatives. The store's selection changes daily, much like the speed of light, although saccharine-savvy customers can keep an eye out for such perennial favorites as the apple crumble pie and the miniature or jumbo cupcakes glazed with the bakery's signature italian buttercream icing. Marla's Sweet Bites also supplies events with do-it-yourself cupcake-decorating bars, which allow guests to either express their confectionery creativity or use the frosting to accessorize their clothing with perfectly piped initials.
The professional candy peddlers at The Confection Connection supply jittery sweet teeth with primo treats such as chocolates, fancy truffles, sour candy, and a menagerie of gummy animals. The heavenly smelling shop rings in Valentine’s Day and its swarms of feral cupids with a smorgasbord of unusual goodies enveloped in chocolate, such as chocolate-covered Oreos and mini graham crackers ($10.95/lb.), or chocolate-covered pears ($16.95/lb.). The chocolate-covered potato chips ($19.95/lb.), meanwhile, dresses up a wholesome American staple in a silky-sweet dessert, similar to slathering a whipped-cream bikini onto the Lincoln Memorial. Most chocolate items are available in milk, white, and dark varieties. For a less conventional candy choice, woo your valentine by arranging a batch of adorable gummy bears ($8.95/lb.) into the shape of a terrifyingly huge bear, then hiding it behind your beloved’s bedroom door.
As a small-batch, all-butter bakery, the Bent Fork whips up sweet tooth-tickling confections by relying on recipes made from scratch and measurement-savvy chefs. The menu entices cookie mongers with such sugary circles as Peanut Buttah-White Chocolate Toffee ($1.25) and Oatmeal Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate ($1.25). Intense Brownies ($1.50) and PBJ Bars ($1.50) satisfy square barons, while the Fresh Fruit Crostata (large $12, mini $3.50) packs apples, caramel apples, and seasonal berries into a buttery crust case. Rotating flavors of buttercream cupcakes charm minds and mouths through a variety of flavors—classic chocolate and vanilla, Banana Sundae, S’mores, and Strawberry Fields—and can be prepped as bite-size minis ($1 each, minimum of six) or regulation-size regulars ($1.75–$2).To make any hour omelette hour, Bent Fork serves an all-day breakfast menu of coffee cakes, cinnamon rolls, and jumbo muffins.