Since Baskin-Robbins first began its dessert fashion show in 1953, more than 1,000 original flavors have sauntered across the nation's tongue runways, 31 at a time. With the ice creamery's iconic pink sampling spoons as your guide, taste-test as many as you like until you find the flavor that gives your soul a back rub, whether it's a classic flavor single scoop of rocky road ($2.49) or a downright aristocratic double scoop of Chocolate Mousse Royale ($3.99). Otherwise, keep it simple and bury your face in the flavor of the month—chocolate escape ice cream. The ice-alchemists at Baskin-Robbins can also transmute vanilla soft serve and fruit into drinkable desserts such as the mango, peach passion banana, or strawberry banana fruit blast smoothies ($4.49–$6.29) rocketing sweet flavors directly to the tongue's docking bay.
Gleaning her baking skills from her mother and grandmother, Gigi's Cupcakes' eponymous owner opened her first cupcake hub in 2008, drawing upon her entrepreneurial spirit and gift for crafting beautifully topped cupcakes. The franchised cupcakery now has 50 locations, each of which churns out 12 daily-rotating flavors that are made fresh every morning. The shop's selection of more than 40 flavors includes Canadian Maple, Southern Comfort, and Champagne—a bubbly-flavored base topped with an edible pearl. Patrons can pick out sweet treats from the daily selection or preorder them at least one day in advance online, by phone, or via singing telegram.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2012 list of Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. The shop’s reputation grew, and so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&M’s, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real showstoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
Voted Best Barbecue in the Tennessee Valley by CityVoter, LawLers Barbecue Express 5 dishes up sweet-and-tangy delights at boot-scootin' speeds while the affable staff doles out a hearty side of laughter. LawLers’ signature hickory-smoked-pork plate rewards patient taste buds with its precisely cooked meat, plus a slice of bread and choice of two enticing sides, including barbecue beans and corn on the cob ($6.77). Carnivores needing a nourishing meal before they chop wood with their bare forehead can wolf down the half-slab rib plate ($10.97), which heeds the accompaniment of a Stuffie potato that brims with butter, sour cream, cheese, and a tasty choice of pork, beef, ham, or, turkey ($6.47 for one meat).
Chef Margaret Hale, a graduate of Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College, packs a grocery cart full of experience as she teaches wannabe Wolfgangs and baby Batalis the tricks for radiating kitchen brilliance like the melody of a freshly tuned didgeridoo. The Chef Next Door makes cooking approachable by coming to your home with a class customized to accommodate personal preferences and any dietary restrictions. Using her ingredients and your cookware, Chef Hale will execute a one- to two-hour interactive workshop for you and up to three others. Jump in on the action like a stage diver at a knitting convention, learning the full potential of your own kitchen equipment and appliances, then bask in the warm, appetizing afterglow of your hard work.
A stash of more than 65 teas from around the world complements Emma's elegant atmosphere and flavorful menu, which features sandwiches, soups, salads, and a variety of delectable desserts. Pair the chicken-salad sandwich with a side of fresh fruit ($8.75), or indulge your inner herbivore with the fruit salad—a citrusy mixture of mixed greens, mandarin oranges, strawberries, kiwis, and pecans, drizzled and dressed with an orange poppy-seed dressing ($8.95). For steeped drink savants interested in the quintessential afternoon teatime experience, the cozy teahouse features four tea party options ($12.50–$22.50 per person), available from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday afternoons. Gather any available friends or hire some unoccupied acquaintances and enjoy a leisurely afternoon of sipping and socializing over a medley of tea-completing noshables, including finger sandwiches, scrumptious scones, and a flowing chocolate fountain—all accompanied by a pot of the teahouse's leafy brew.