Sarah Riefke took her first cake-decorating class in 2008. Instantly hooked, she soon became a decorating instructor herself, eventually enrolling as a student in the prestigious French Pastry School in Chicago. She went on to start Sweeter Than The Rest, where she has created a jaw-dropping assortment of specialty cakes and three-dimensional masterpieces that are nearly too pretty to eat, but just pretty enough to chew on.
In 1997, friends Dena Tripp and Debra Shwetz set out to create a luscious, melt-in-your-mouth bundt cake. What began as an endeavor in their own home kitchens soon blossomed into a bustling business with bakeries in 14 states. Rich cocoa browns and soft pastels lend a nostalgic feel to each bakery, where every day lava-powered ovens warm up batter made from fresh eggs, real butter, and cream cheese. Flavors such as chocolate chocolate chip, pecan praline, and white-chocolate raspberry remain constants on the menu, and a new flavor makes a guest appearance each month. Cakes come in several sizes, from the standard 8- or 10-inch bundt to the single-serving bundtlet and the bite-size bundtini, all frosted with a signature blend of cream cheese and butter.
Each Nothing Bundt Cakes location also houses its own stock of gifts. Patrons may come across the brightly hued handle of a confetti cake knife or opt to take home an old-fashioned tin, perfect for stowing coffee and imprisoning gingerbread men who have tried to run away. Contact the location of your choice for gift pricing and availability.
Stainless steel spouts, set into a wall inlaid with aqua mosaic tile, let customers flex their culinary creativity by filling cones and cups with Penguin Frozen Yogurt’s refreshing fro-yo in flavors such as chocolate truffle and Valencia orange. Patrons can then add slices of kiwi and strawberries, candies such as gummy worms and rainbow sprinkles, or slices of almonds and walnuts to finish off their own custom sundaes. Penguin also serves iced coffee topped with whipped cream, and cake pops wrapped in blue frosting to match the shop's color scheme and customers' chilly tongues.
Italia by Café Noam offers Italian-style café eats, including an assortment of baked goods. Customers can grab a cup of Lavazza coffee and espresso for a jolt of energy to hopscotch across the outdoor patio. Stop in for a scoop of gelato, which comes in a range of flavors, including mango, tiramisu, and cookies and cream.
The friendly clothing cleansers at Martinizing Dry Cleaning have been scrubbing enrobements in an eco-friendly manner since upgrading to new GreenEarth technology. Get blouses ($5.20), slacks ($5.20), and golf shirts ($4.50) cleaned, freshly dried, and folded, with services also available for plain dresses ($8.95), as well as sports coats and blazers ($5.80). The noble employees will confront any stain with strong words and all the dirt-scattering ammo in their arsenal, ensuring garments return to customers soft, clean, and smelling like pastoral Latvian pancake houses.
Helmed by cake designer Mercedes Strachwsky, Bake Me a Cake is stuffed with sugary morsels that have sweet-talked celebrity palates including Paris Hilton and Shaquille O'Neal. Gluten-free french macaroons sandwich sweet fillings and edible berets between two tiny cookies, alluring eaters with an array of flavors and a spectrum of psychedelic colors. Bakers box up a dozen small cupcakes, bite-size creations available in 24 cake flavors including amaretto, pumpkin, german chocolate, and hazelnut.