Orange Leaf's self-serve frozen-yogurt stations tempt dessert lovers with a line-up of more than 55 flavors, including gluten-free and no-sugar-added options, and 35 toppings. Tongues can traipse across timeless frozen-yogurt flavors such as classic tart, cherry, and chocolate, or less-trodden tastescapes such as peanut butter, red velvet, and gingerbread ($0.49/oz.). Then guests bedeck desserts with mounds of toppings, adorning their yogurt with such options as marshmallows, chewy mochi, and fresh fruits similar to those worn by generals in the Oompa Loompa army. The staff weighs completed creations on a scale before guests dive into their edible masterpieces spoon first.
My Yogurt Cafe’s healthy, probiotic yogurt evicts guilt from the dessert table after hopping into an indulgent array of lower-calorie sundaes. Craft cold, creamy towers out of dozens of flavors ($0.49/oz.) housed within My Yogurt Cafe’s self-service stations before adorning icy constructions with a large variety of toppings, including M&Ms, fresh fruit, and weathervanes made from peanut brittle. Clocking in at a scant average of 25 calories per ounce and arriving in nonfat and sugar-free varieties, each dollop of yogurt satisfies discerning sweet teeth without the drawbacks of zero-calorie rivals such as lettuce popsicles or paper.
Old School Bakery’s Paris-trained owner and operator Billy Himmelrich helms a staff of bread artisans who rise before dawn to mix, shape, and bake fresh loaves and baguettes and rolls and breadsticks. The bakers patiently proof and ferment each loaf of bread, which are sold when they're as fresh as a member of the royal court at Bel Air ($6 for large/deluxe or $4 for small), at one day out from the oven's warm embrace ($3 large; $2 small), and for a steep discount when they're more than one day old ($1). The bread gallery showcases featured breads, such as the ciabatta or seed rye loaves, whose angular shape complements the rounded sides of the brioche and sundried rolls. Sweet teeth may sneak a peak at baskets of croissants and muffins that gleaned their crusty exterior and moist interior from secrets spilled by Winston Churchill’s acting coach.
Project Mat? Bar is a caf? and shop devoted to one special variety of tea: yerba mate. A favorite in South America's Guaran? culture, the antioxidant-rich leaves are brewed throughout Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Southern Brazil. Fanatics praise its earthy taste, its bounty of vitamins (A, C, and E), and its minerals (calcium, magnesium, and potassium). And with two-thirds the caffeine of coffee, but none of java's dehydrating qualities, yerba mate is especially praised for the special brand of calm alertness it helps impart.
At Project Mat? Bar, sippers quaff the energizing elixir or take home the powder or leaves they need to brew their own. The shop culls its yerba mate sustainably, relying on trees, and tea from the branches' teapots, that grow in Brazil's town of Sao Martinho, Rio Grande do Sul. In addition to yerba mate, the shop offers organic blended teas and tea accessories. Sweet-toothed tea fiends can even munch Belgian chocolate infused with yerba mate. Since the drink is traditionally swigged from a gourd, Project Mat? Bar stocks plenty of etched, cured gourds for that purpose.
For John Offerdahl, the aroma of meat sizzling on the grill stirs memories of his family's barbecues in rural Wisconsin. Even when John grew up and became a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins, he couldn't escape that enticing smell?it would waft into the stadium from fans tailgating outside and the mascots who secretly stuffed their costumes with cheeseburgers. So it was only natural that, after retiring from football, John would once again find himself at the grill when he and his wife Lynn opened Offerdahl's Cafe Grill in 2000. The couple were no strangers to the restaurant business; they had previously owned a chain of bagel shops. This venture, however, would prove more ambitious?they devised menus of classic American cuisine that could be served up fast for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a focus on fresh-grilled fare.
Today, Offerdahl's Cafe Grill has expanded to seven locations, but its flavorful, no-frills meals remain the same. "Johnny O's Famous Bagels" still take the starring roles during breakfast, waking diners up with flavors like cinnamon crumb, pumpernickel, and fruit-and-nut. But once breakfast turns to lunch and dinner, the grill takes over. Chefs swiftly cook up steak, chicken, and salmon, serving the proteins over rice, pasta, or salad with homemade dressings. They also grill chicken sandwiches and burgers, in a nod to the caf?'s backyard barbecue roots.