On a patio shade by large umbrellas, or inside amidst the whir of an espresso machine and walls littered with art, The Neighborhood Cup fosters that sought-after feeling of coffee-house leisure. Resident baristas craft coffee and espresso drinks, manipulating the bubbly foam of lattes into intricate patterns such as portraits of the Mona Lisa drinking a cappuccino. Patrons also find coffee-colored leather couches and chairs, as well as a menu of breakfast bites, sandwiches, and snacks. The Neighborhood Cup also hosts events, including open-mic nights and classic-car gatherings to see whose muscle car can knock back the most espresso shots.
For more than 60 years, the innovative cake artists of Cinderella Cakes have been creating celebratory desserts that push the boundaries of both flavor and physics. Prominently featured as winners on TLC's The Ultimate Cake Off and in episodes of WE tv's My Fair Wedding and Bravo's The Real Housewives of Orange County, the bakery's team of artists sculpt impeccable carved cakes for specific occasions, such as a golf bag to celebrate retirement, or a guitar to mark a successful instrument restringing. The same artists also lend their expertise and personalized touch to elegant and innovative wedding cakes, cupcakes, and bouquets of theme cookies. They stock their shelves with fresh ready-to-go cakes, ideal for unexpected celebrations such as a surprise engagement or the birth of a mayfly. Professional decorators also spread their sweet wisdom during private cake-decorating classes and birthday parties.
It's not a rarity to hear "I feel like a kid in a candy store!" at Powell's Sweet Shoppe, an old-fashioned, nostalgic re-creation of candy stores, that's goal is to take customers for a walk down memory lane. Adults of all ages revert to a child-like state when presented with jars, shelves, and boxes of the candy of their childhood, including early 1900s classics such as Charleston Chews to later favorites such as mallo cups and candy necklaces. But just because the staff stocks nostalgic candies, it doesn't mean they ignore 21st-century concerns. They keep handy comprehensive lists of which candies are free from allergens and unwanted products. These lists include options free of high-fructose corn syrup, animal products, or gluten, which can help guests treat themselves without fear of dietary restrictions or accidentally starting a five-day candy bender.
Helmed by Susan Vollmer, the culinary shop equips patrons with the goods and know-how with which to assemble delicious meals. Guests can peruse the cozy shop's selection of cookware, kitchen gadgets, and kitchen décor, picking out funky Venus flytrap–shaped tongs or kitchen mops that double as sous chefs. To learn how to put their new tools to work, gourmet cooking classes teach students to whip up meals such as Iranian mushroom patties in whole-wheat pitas or five-course brunch feasts. The classes run in 50-minute, 60-minute, or two-hour spurts, and are taught by local teachers, chefs, and cookbook authors.
Moist double chocolate chip cookies speckled with rich chocolate chunks. Coconut cheesecake brownies drizzled in chocolate syrup. Chocolate mousse-filled buttercream cake frosted with tufts of dark chocolate. It’s clear that Loving Nutrition’s desserts embody indulgent excess. It may come as a surprise then that they also embody vegan ideals, containing no gluten, dairy, egg, soy, or nuts. A pastry mecca for those with vegan beliefs or food allergies, Loving Nutrition stems from the brain of Suraya Iller, a pastry chef and mother of two. After noticing that many children with food allergies were excluded from eating birthday cakes and holiday treats, she swooped to the rescue, baking desserts that everyone could enjoy. In addition to whipping up red velvet cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and buttercream cakes, the shop also serves a variety of gluten-free breads, including tomato focaccia and pumpkin cranberry.