At Candyland Crafts, candy makers and cake decorators choose from more than 10,000 products, sifting through collections of candy molds, fondants, cake toppers, and themed-party packages to create the toothsome displays in their heads. Candyland Crafts' site itself serves as a resource, bursting with 4,000 sqnumerous candy- and cake-crafting guides designed specifically for first-time artists or super-intelligent M&Ms seeking to build their own city.
An extensive selection of icings includes edible glitter, airbrushable icing, and gels. Unicorn and frog molds give lollipops a creative look, while letter and number molds let customers eat a balanced diet filled with a variety of fonts.
Cake pops, wedding cakes, birthday cakes, cupcakes—if working with fresh, from-scratch batter is an art, then the bakers at Kookies Sweet Treats are grand masters. Along with tempting cakes, the sweet-makers also craft desserts such as pies, cookies, and brownies. The indecisive or incredibly hungry can select an assortment of treats to be bundled into gift baskets, which can be shipped to inspire smiles anywhere in the United States.
A flaky danish enfolds prunes and almond paste. A banana-cream pie sports tufts of fresh-whipped cream. There’s a certain nostalgic quality to the baked goods at La Bonbonniere Bake Shoppe, which is fitting for a place whose origins date back to 1952, the year nostalgia was discovered. Each morning, seasoned bakers whip up cupcakes, batches of real buttercream frosting, and sugar-laced pastries. They also knead dough for nearly a dozen varieties of bread including french, rye, and pumpernickel.
Though sweets are the shop’s focus, they have a full-catering menu with soups, sandwiches, and hot meals. In addition, they offer a wide variety of canned jams and salsa, plus organic dog treats.
Bagel Garden's dough slingers bake 18 to 20 types of bagels daily for a menu of sandwiches smeared with cream cheese or stuffed with meats, cheeses, and veggies. With more than a dozen spreads, patrons can blanket bagels in freshly blended flavors or pay homage to van Gogh’s masterpiece, Scalliony Morning, by daubing a blank bagel canvas with smudges of bacon, scallion, and herb cream cheese ($0.90 for a bagel; $2.10–$2.76 for a bagel and cream cheese).
The bakers at CocoLuxe Fine Pastries may not use blocks of marble or chisels, but no one can deny that their culinary creations are works of art. Crafted from components ranging from classic chocolate ganache and raspberry buttercream to orange poppy seed sponge cake, their custom cakes add the crowning touch to weddings, birthdays, or séances to contact Marie Antoinette. Inside the bakery, spacious glass cases brim with morning treats such as croissants and scones. Next to them perch cupcakes capped by Italian meringue and chocolate mice with sliced almond ears, which customers can take home to give lethargic housecats some exercise. At midday, CocoLuxe Fine Pastries switches from sweet to savory as it unveils an array of artisanal sandwiches. The bakery’s fresh baguettes and rosemary focaccia become vessels for smoked gouda and cranberry apple compotes, fortifying diners for afternoons filled feeding, watering, and walking their computers.
New York Bagel Café & Deli offers a full assortment of fresh bagels—from sesame to asiago to French toast—as well as specially crafted artisan sandwiches. Browse the intriguing bagel combinations on the multifaceted menu before deciding whether to nosh on a bagel bereft of toppings ($0.90) or taste one with a protective slathering of plain cream cheese ($1.79, including the bagel) or flavored cream cheese ($2.95, including the bagel) in flavors such as veggie, scallion, and blueberry. Lunchtime hunger havers can latch onto cold sandwiches packed with Boar’s Head deli meat—such as the Junior ($6.49), loaded with roast Beef, arugula, and tomato on an onion roll—or choose from a bevy of burgers ($4.99–$5.99) or an assortment of sloppy Joes ($7.49). Morning or afternoon, coffee ($1.50/12 oz.), cappuccino ($2.75/12 oz.), and espresso ($1.75/single) deliver the delightful jolt required to outwit raccoons in high-stakes games of hide-and-seek.
Christopher and Melanie Romano’s kids have long loved the music, iPads loaded with games, and fun flavors of Let’s Yo! When they’d frequent their neighborhood outpost, they felt assured they were feeding their kids a healthier alternative to ice cream. "Even in the winter, my kids wanted to go," Christopher says. "They would have gone every day if I'd have let them."
When the couple decided they wanted to quit the corporate world and open a business, Let’s Yo! seemed like a natural fit. They soon opened up shop, where customers self-serve 18 all-natural, organic flavors brimming with live active cultures. The flavors rotate regularly, with varieties such as sea-salt-caramel pretzel, red velvet cupcake, and California tart. Next, guests pile on premium toppings such as Andes mints, mixed nuts, and Kashi cereal—as well as about 10 different types of syrups, including Reese's peanut-butter topping and mango syrup. The staff members get fresh-fruit deliveries daily, which they chop up or splice via laser vision.
Along with iPads loaded with the latest apps, Christopher outfitted the shop with a flat-screen TV and free WiFi. He chats regularly with the customers who swing by for a cup or stop in after the gym for a yogurt protein shake. And he says it's definitely a change of pace from his Wall Street job. "The hardest choice you have to make is what topping you want," he says.