While training at New York City’s French Culinary Institute, pastry chef Claudia DeLatorre learned that making incredible desserts often involves many steps but rarely many preservatives. At her bakery, Cake Flour, creations range from simple savories such as cheese scones to fancy, French-inspired sweets such as mini tarts and petits fours. Though their recipes differ, eschewal of artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated oils brings them together in a NuLu District shop teeming with the scents of cinnamon and toasted nuts. Certified organic ingredients such as unbromated flour, unbleached sugar, and free-range eggs infuse goodies with more flavor and freshness than a rapping watermelon.
Determined to serve the most memorable baked goods her customers have ever tasted, Claudia and her team craft each goodie from scratch, plucking rosemary from the shop’s garden to spice fresh focaccia and mixing rich ganache to glaze a flourless chocolate cake that’s been featured on the Food Network. In addition to building bite-size confections for Cake Flour’s bakery case, Claudia designs more than 600 types of wedding cake and tailors treats to the needs of vegan and gluten-free diners. To shrink the bakery’s carbon footprint, she paints its walls with low-VOC paints and pours steaming coffee into compostable cups insulated with corn-based linings, not diamond-stuffed long johns.
An open-flame hearth is at the heart of Cosi's kitchen space, giving sandwiches and pizzas their toasty crunch. But there's a lot more to the menu than what happens under the flame. The T.B.M. sandwich piles tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella inside warm flatbread and the tandoori chicken sandwich brightens up grilled chicken breast with red peppers. Even salads are hearty meals here, with choices such as the cobb mixing greens with grilled chicken breast, bacon, and gorgonzola in a sherry-shallot vinaigrette. The crown on top of any meal here is undoubtedly the s'mores, in which two to four diners roast their own marshmallows over a tabletop fire pit, then sandwich the sugar cloud with chocolate and graham crackers before dragging their sleeping bags into the kitchen for a night's rest.
In 1818, George and Elizabeth Moore built a new house in which to raise their future family. Their youngest daughter, Mariah, would go on to spend her entire life in the home her parents had bequeathed to her. When Rick Kelley and David Sears decided to transform the historic residence into a restaurant nearly a century after her passing, they chose the name to honor its longest-term resident. They also added a 3,000-square-foot expansion and restored the fireplaces, wood flooring, and brick walls to their original appearance.
Thanks to these refurbishments, Mariah’s old home seems to have found new life in the 21st century. Where she used to cook, chefs now hand-cut steaks and slide thin-crust pizzas into a large brick oven for firing. As Bowling Green's oldest standing brick structure, the nearly 200-year-old Mariah Moore House offers diners much to gaze at if they can pry their eyes away from the hearty fare on their plates. The building’s historic accents include a Brunswick bar top from the 1880s, an aged carousel horse, and a TV-video wall salvaged from Grover Cleveland’s presidential situation room.
Pangea Cafe's owner and chef Justin Crandall strives to locally source the ingredients for his palate-pleasing, culture-crossing menu. Supper selections shine with entrees such as the parmesan-rosemary chicken, pan-seared and flanked by a red-pepper-and-mozzarella infused risotto cake ($14.99), and the tortilla-crusted shrimp, doused in chipotle marinara ($11.25 lunch; $13.99 dinner). The Asian flavors of napa cabbage, crisp carrots, and tasty noodles tossed with soy vinaigrette come in a range of culinary incarnations, from a lunch salad ($7.54) or a wrap ($7.35) to a succinctly satisfying supper salad ($8.29). A zesty roster of pizzas ($10.99–$14.99) emerges from the oven garnished with traditional toppings such as pepperoni and mushroom, as well as more adventurous adornments including banana peppers, jalapeños, and GI Joes.
If the thought of rolling dice to make decisions sounds appealing, Cosmic Oasis has plenty of dice available—along with a menu of creative sandwiches, the gaming café has more than 100 board games that customers can play free of charge as they nosh on tasty cuisine. The menu includes inventive sandwiches such as the bacon apple bistro, which blends bacon, apple slices, provolone, apple jelly, and tarragon with honey dijon. They also top nachos with barbecue pork, melted cheddar, and jalapeños, and desserts include sweet treats such as Reese’s peanut-butter cheesecake. As diners down a sweet bubble tea or coffee frappe, they can avail themselves of more than 100 games including Dungeons & Dragons, Game of Thrones, Magic: The Gathering, Say Anything, and Wits & Wagers.