For Irving Farm Coffee Roasters, serving flavorful cups of coffee is more of an art than a job. Their dedication to their brews starts with importing beans directly from farmers in East Africa, Latin America, and the South Pacific who share the company's sustainability- and quality-minded goals. Roastmaster Clyde Miller at the Hudson Valley roasting facility takes over from there, nurturing each batch of beans in specialized machines to bring out their bold tastes and discover any stowaway marshmallows hiding inside. Inside cafes, baristas brew Irving Farm's beans in small batches to maintain their freshness, even going so far as to brew them by the cup for especially discriminating patrons.
Serving as a New York epicenter of holistic thought, the nonprofit educational and cultural center hosts more than 500 programs per year, taught by renowned teachers such as Deepak Chopra. In-person programs cover topics ranging from wellness and psychology to the interplay between ecology and culture, and the center’s online courses teach students how to incorporate feng shui into an urban lifestyle or tie-dye their auras to match their favorite sweaters. Students anywhere in the world can participate in streaming webinars, which pair interactive instruction with live question-and-answer sessions. One-hour wellness sessions vanquish physical and spiritual pains with a choice of 15 healing modalities, and an onsite bookstore expands visitors' horizons with world music, educational DVDs, and a secret passage to a cavernous vault filled with globes.
IHOP's vast menu ambles through all walks of eating life, running the gamut from pancakes and hearty breakfast combinations to lunch and dinner items. IHOP's signature pancakes make eyes at diners in seven sweet varieties, such as the new york cheesecake ($7.49 for four) or the newly created Cinn-a-Stack—buttermilk pancakes piled between cinnamon-roll filling and drizzled with cream-cheese frosting ($7.29 for four). Patrons can dive mouthfirst into the day's first meal with the breakfast sampler, which piles two eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, and fluffy pancakes on a single plate ($8.79). Harvest grain and nut pancakes ($6.99) keep bodies functioning at peak performance, offering diners a healthy alternative to fare served in a shark tank.
When Midtown Lunch’s Rachel Goldner stopped by Simon Sips, she was heartened not only by the foam art on her drink, but by staffers she described as “just the kind of people you want to interact with in the morning: calm, extremely nice, and helpful.” Perhaps this amiability stems from the fact that the shop’s baristas aren’t frazzled by overly complicated drink orders—Simon’s puritanical espresso menu includes only lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas. The New York Times' Oliver Strand called Simon Sips "worth seeking out" on its city guide app, The Scoop, and Midtown Lunch's readers even voted Simon Sips "Best Coffee 2012." The smell of drip coffee also fills the newly renovated space, where patrons can nibble on a daily rotating selection of muffins or especially fresh-smelling drink sleeves.
When Rich and Greg Komen decided to make the world's best cinnamon roll, they didn't just dive in. They researched. After three months of working with a food connoisseur and taking numerous trips to Indionesia, they found the secret behind their, and eventually Cinnabon's, success: their Indonesia Makara cinnamon. Now their cinnamon rolls can be found throughout the US, each still made with the same cinnamon and topped with a gooey glaze of cream cheese frosting.
Despite the nearly 30 years that have passed with great success, Rich and Greg have continued to innovate. Beyond their classic rolls, they now serve tinier, bite-sized portions—including the Minibon, Cinnabon Stix, and even just the sticky center of their classic cinnamon roll. They also pair their desserts with decadent drink options, blending coffee and chocolate into Mochalatta Chills and blending frozen lemonades with a range of fruity flavors. Some of these drinks even contain swirls of Ghiradelli chocolate sauce or candy, making them as sweet and refreshing as dancing in soda rain or capsizing while kayaking through a river of Cinnabon's cream cheese frosting.