The giggles of pintsize cupcake chefs emanate from Bubba Sweets, where groups of children frost and sprinkle freshly baked cupcakes during parties. When not hosting these sessions, the chefs fill the glass display cases each day with a rotating selection of 13 flavors. A calendar keeps patrons appraised of the arrival of cakelets named for celebrities including Johnny Depp and Willy Wonka and topped with inventive ingredients including strawberry pur?e, caramelized bacon, and thin-mint cookies. Bold pink walls and pendant lights dripping with sparkling crystals add additional hints of sweetness to the sugar-dusted displays.
For the last decade, pastry chef Rachael Louw and her husband Francois have perfected the art of cake-making at Sweet Traders, a boutique bakery that's attracted the attention of wedding websites and salivating customers alike. One look at the bakery's offerings and you'll find plenty of tasty choices for special events of all kinds. Cupcakes?made with American-style cake and European-inspired butter frosting in more than 20 flavors?form edible towers that are perfect for weddings, baby showers, or a gingerbread man in need of a guest house. Shoppers also have their choice of full-size cakes and other sweet treats such as fruit tarts, chocolate marshmallow pops, and tiramisu shooters.
But freshly-made baked goods aren't the only indulgences at Sweet Traders. The gourmet shop also offers chocolates and wines in decorative baskets?or even mixed together. Chocolate-dipped champagne bottles combine the two treats into one perfect gift for anyone who ever wished a bottle was easier to eat.
Contrary to its name, the signature item at Rita's Italian Ice is a sandwich. Well, sort of. Known as the gelati, the tasty creation consists of a mound of italian ice?made from scratch every day using fresh fruit?crammed between two giant dollops of frozen custard. The gelati, along with a construction team that demands to be paid in sprinkles, has helped Rita's expand to more than 500 italian ice stores in the United States over nearly three decades. The franchise has become so popular that it even made the top of Zagat's list of Best Quick Refreshment chains in 2012.
But the expansion would mean nothing if the desserts themselves weren't delicious. Thankfully, Rita's carries more than a dozen flavors of italian ice, which run the gamut from cantaloupe and guava to cotton candy. The shop also serves gelato, cream ice, milkshakes, and sundaes awaiting to be piled with limitless toppings. To keep taste buds tempted, Rita's consistently adds inventive and seasonal flavors to their menu. Among these are strawberry Starburst italian ice, marshmallow peanut butter cream ice, and pumpkin cheesecake cream ice.
Whipped OC swirls six flavors of Dole Whip into cups for a dairy-, gluten-, and fat-free treat that can only be found in West Hollywood, at the Disney resorts, and at Dole Plantation in Hawaii. Whipped OC is also one of the only establishments that serves Blue Bell ice cream in the state of California, rotating 40 flavors including Homemade Vanilla, Banana Pudding, and Southern Blackberry Cobbler. Customers can pick from 5-ounce, 8-ounce, 16-ounce, or 32-ounce towers of Dole Whip flavors such as Foot Stompin Strawberry to fuel dispirited toes or choose Pulsating Pineapple, which once lurked under the floorboards in Edgar Allan Poe?s room. An array of more than 25 toppings can dapple Venturous Vanilla, Wild & Deep Chocolate, or Big Hairy Raspberry to diversify cups' flavor bouquets next to Whipped's new addition, hawaiian shave ice.
If you can't find something to top your frozen Xogurt among the fresh fruit chunks and baked goodies at SweetXO's full toppings bar, it's not that big of a deal. Because you'll definitely find something you like in one of the store's more than 200 candy bins.
SweetXO, one part old-fashioned candy store, one part modern yogurt bar with 18 different flavors, lets customers loose in the candy-store portion to find the exact sweet they're looking for to complete their fro-yo creation. At the counter, its sweets-makers also peddle baked goods, such as soft, oven-fresh cookies and brownies that come in six different varieties.