Entrepreneur Smita Salgaonkar has crafted Indian-inspired ice creams for more than 10 years at the brightly pigmented Saffron Spot shop, scooping more than two dozen exotic flavors into cups and cones. The signature saffron silk flavor sings notes of rose and pistachio as it melts in mouths, while fruity blends such as guava and jackfruit roll around the edges of the tongue like flavorful marbles. Milk shakes join any ice-cream flavor with milk and straws, while hot drinks include coffee beverages and almond-flavored badam milk.
Max Bloom's treats customers to classic café fare in an old-timey 1940s ambience, as vintage film posters, black-and-white photographs of glamorous starlets, and other remnants of pulp past line the walls. Max Bloom's menu percolates with caffeinated cups of house-blend coffee ($0.89–$1.80) and café lattes ($2.70–3.85), as well as vintage sodas ($1.85) and milkshakes ($4), which are concocted by a 1940s commercial mixer to impart the wholesome taste of postwar America. Diners can don their swellest petticoats and order a roast-beef panini as fuel for future foxtrot competitions ($4.75), or wake up with the breakfast burrito before imparting on a noir-esque detective hunt to find out who murdered the department store's mannequins ($3+). Max Bloom's also has a swinging calendar of events, including open-mic nights, film showings on Mondays, and live music.
Tucked away in the kitchen of each Paris Baguette, bakers trained in French techniques craft buttery, flaky croissants and tart crusts, and their success at this has earned attention from the likes of the New York Times. In addition to pastries and sweets such as mocha rice balls, the bakers knead bread for their namesake baguettes and yeasty creations that hold an Asian twist, such as red-bean-paste-filled donuts. The experts also create fondant-cloaked cakes that venture beyond classic flavors into green tea, cappuccino, and sweet potato, delighting partygoers bored of the same laminated sheet cake that makes its appearance at each year’s birthday celebration.
To wash down these treats, patrons sip cups of java or more exotic drinks such as wheatgrass and black-sesame lattes, persimmon smoothies, and bubble tea. At lunchtime, many locations layer sandwiches, filling hungry stomachs with croque monsieurs and baguettes stuffed with chicken and pesto.