The staff at Orange Leaf rejects the oft-touted claim that Americans don’t care about nutrition. The problem, they say, has more to do with selection than anything else; most low-calorie sweets don’t hold a candle to a fudge brownie or a warm slice of apple pie. They kept this in mind when crafting their frozen-yogurt recipes, working tireless to develop a healthy—and equally delicious—alternative to the dessert status quo by turning to decadent confections and just-picked fruits for inspiration.
Their experiments thus far have yielded more than 60 frozen yogurt flavors, which take turns pumping through the self-serve machines that line their colorful shop’s wall. Before taking a seat in a bright orange chair, guests fill their dishes with cool, low-fat swirls of chocolate cheesecake, strawberry banana, and a classic tart that bites as pleasantly as a teething kitten. Juicy pears, crunchy granola, and gooey chocolate sauce headline a smorgasbord of at least 30 toppings ready to scooped or poured into cups before their final weigh-in.
Rachel Johnson loves opening her oven to see sweet cupcakes rising up from their pan, but she knows not everyone has the time or the inclination to make that happen on their own. That's why, as owner of Dainty Cakes, she's made it her mission to deliver the freshest homemade treats directly to people's doorsteps. Upon delivery, clients unfurl the wrapper of a peach-cobbler or german-chocolate cupcake or bite into the soft buttercream of sweet strawberry.
Crystal Mooers has been decorating cakes for nearly three decades, including 15 years working as a cake decorator for large food chains. About seven years ago, she and her husband Steven decided to tap into the teamwork they'd honed raising five children together and started their own business: Just Cakes. Together, they provision parties of every sort with festively layered cakes.
Crystal festoons birthday sheet cakes with basic decorations or spruces them up with edible images, cutout shapes, or fondant designs. Her grooms' cakes express new husbands' interests, from cheering on a sports team to fixing up vintage cars to eating cake. Wedding-cake flavors, including butter pecan and red velvet, are spackled together with cheesecake mousse, peach-velvet topping, and other sweet fillings, creating multi-tiered masterpieces that realize newlyweds' confectionary dreams. She also shapes adult novelty cakes into risqué works of art for bachelor or bachelorette parties. To help hosts and hostesses put the finishing touches on their events, they rent out plate-topped columns, stands, pedestals, and fountains.
Just Cakes is a labor of love for the couple for reasons beyond their confectionary passions. They donate a percentage of the bakery's proceeds to help Crystal's sister pay her medical bills as she fights breast cancer.
With display cases brimming with a dozen or more cupcake varieties, the dessert chefs at The Sweet Tooth have deemed their shop a cupcakery. Made from scratch with fresh ingredients, regular flavors include a red velvet concoction called rouge, choc-o-mint, and vanilla vanilla, which comes crowned with a juicy maraschino cherry. Cookies harmoniously complement the cupcake selection, boasting seven varieties and barbershop-quartet-quality chops. The Sweet Tooth's blog keeps customers updated about seasonal flavors and the cupcake of the week, and the bakery also brings a touch of sweetness to the community by catering area events and partnering with local charities.
The bakery has joined up with mobile cupcake company, 3 Girls Cupcakes, whose cupcakes will be available at The Sweet Tooth's store location for an even larger assortment of flavors. Their mobile Cupcake Cruiser, meanwhile, delivers delectable eats around town.
With each creamy bite, it becomes more evident that CherryBerry’s yogurt was made from all-natural ingredients: the strawberry contains tiny chunks of fruit, and the chocolate’s rich flavor could never have come from a powdered mix. Like a tag-team dance-off at the UN, the yogurt itself features four types of live and active cultures, all of which aid in digestion. Low-fat, fat-free, and gluten-free flavors abound, as do sorbet options with no dairy and Splenda-sweetened yogurts with no added sugar. More than 50 fruit, nut, and candy options overflow from bins and canisters at the topping bar, awaiting their chance to cascade down the snowy peaks of fro-yo.
Under the same roof as CherryBerry, but following the beat of their own chocolate-dipped drum, are the expert confectioners of Paradise Chocolate. At a separate counter, they hand-dip fruits and pretzels into vats of warm chocolate and set them out to cool alongside premium truffles. Distinctive varieties of bon-bons, peanut-butter delights, and english toffee congregate with apples draped in caramel and chocolates inside the 8-foot-long display case.
The Roasterie Café commits itself to supporting small, specialty-coffee-bean farmers around the world and employing a convection air-roasting method to help ensure smoothness and consistency. Customers can take bags of dry beans, such as Super Tuscan Espresso ($12.65 per 12 oz. bag), home for private brewing, or they can perk up with signature drinks that include Brooksider Bob, a mélange of mint, chocolate, and espresso ($3.85 for 12 oz.). Fruit smoothies such as Mandarin Passion ($4.15 for 16 oz.) inspire slurpers to throw regular-sized oranges in a dryer, and coolers such as Thrilla Vanilla ($4.50 for 16 oz.) calm urges for chilled caffeine. The coffee mecca rounds out its extensive menu with bagels and pastries, as well as more than 20 different flavors of loose-leaf and sachet teas.