When the judges; scores came in, Sugar Rush Bakery's Andrew Mincher finished in second place on Food Network's Cupcake Wars. Going into the competition, he thought, "This is what I do and I thought, I’m going to have fun doing it." His positive attitude—and his recipe for banana-rum cupcakes with peanut-butter buttercream frosting—paid off.
The recognition came as a hefty endorsement for the brand-new owner of the former Di Monda Bakery. Mincher recently bought out the business with his dad and brother so that he could make cupcakes his way. Inside, customers find him doing exactly that, whipping together delicious cupcakes and other sweets such as cookies and fresh-baked breads. He decorates his creations with chunks of chocolate or cheerful frosting faces that seem to ask, "Do I look cute in this foil?"
Begin your trip down the meatball-lined sidewalks of Ciao Baby with a look at the menu of classic Italian eats. For antipasti, roll a homemade Sicilian rice ball filled with ground meat, peas, and plum-tomato sauce ($14.95) into your jaws. Lunch light with a member of the Wrap Pack, such as the Salsiccia Sammy (Italian sausage, tri-color peppers, and Vidalia onions sautéed in white wine and topped with mozzarella, $10.95), or lend some evening gravitas to your appetite with a dignified order for Nonna's Old World Meat Platter (freshly made meatballs, hot or sweet sausage, and San Marzano tomato sauce atop macaroni; half $23.95, whole $33.95).
The neon sign adorning Krish's entrance looks to be unchanged since the ice-cream parlor established itself in the area in 1955. The outdoor patio echoes this '50s feel with aqua-colored tables perched beneath matching umbrellas and nearby murals of ice cream, burgers, and fries that hint at the treasures in store. Inside, the staff concocts more than 35 housemade ice-cream flavors, ranging from chocolate chocolate chip and fluffernutter to peach and black raspberry. This delectable diversity helped earn Krisch's the title of Long Island Press's readers' pick for the Best Dessert Place from 2010 to 2012. Krisch's also transforms this creamy dessert into a variety of treats, adding dollops of it to sodas, whirling it into shakes, and topping it with housemade whipped cream for sundaes.
Krisch's dining room carries on its patio's decorative motifs, flaunting vibrant aqua shades and chrome accents typical of a mid-century diner or mermaid's classic Corvette. Once settled into four-tops or red booths, patrons order from a full menu of comfort fare such as hefty half-pound burgers, deli sandwiches, and homestyle entrees of meatloaf, roast beef, or southern fried chicken.
From the outside, the combination of Don Juan Mexican Restaurant's Mission-style structure and neon-purple signs hints at both a family restaurant that showcases Mexican, Southwestern, and Spanish cuisine as well as popular spot for nighttime lounging. Warm candlelight flickers atop clothed tables as the wait staff drops off plates of chillies rellenos, paella, or cilantro-lime salmon, culinary traditions that garnered notoriety from Massapequa Patch. After the sun sets and they turn back into humans, visitors arrive to celebrate nights on the town by sipping margaritas made from freshly squeezed fruit juice on an open-air patio. Vintage Mexican posters and colorful artwork line the earthy, clay-colored walls, which creates a homey yet elegant backdrop for feasts of cheesy enchiladas suizas or creamy custard flan.
To characterize Ginza as swanky is a bit of an understatement. In the expansive dining room plush chairs and candlelit tables rest beneath high ceilings, from which thin, golden chains drape beneath studio lighting. Amid Japanese statues and photomurals of pedestrians, the wait staff ferries platefuls of creations made at the sushi bar and the kitchen, including one of 19 specialty rolls or grilled filet mignon. In the lounge, bartenders pour eight signature cocktails, sake flights, or wines from various countries such as California, France, Italy, and Japan.
Broiled, baked, steamed, fried, or stewed. Those are just a few of the ways that the cooks at Long Island Fish & Chips handle their fish, shellfish, and freshly caught seafood. The culinary team also proves that casual comfort foods from the ocean are an international favorite by incorporating spices and flavors from Cajun, southern French, and New England cuisines. Beyond seafood, the menu also features a selection of smokehouse dishes from terra firma, including everything from barbecue platters to burgers.
The maritime theme runs deep, though, spilling over into the restaurant's blue- and gold-hued dining room. Fake fish adorn the sunny walls. Blue lights mark the coastline along an expansive mural of Long Island, and a bubbling aquarium sits near the front entrance. A life preserver even hangs on one wall, doubling as a pillow for patrons who want to nap in between their lunch and dinner orders.
Hershey's Ice Cream has been treating customers with scoops of chilly, sweet ice cream made from wholesome ingredients since 1984. Each flavor is created using fresh cream and condensed milk mixed with high-quality cocoa, handpicked frozen fruits, and high-grade nuts. The company's long history is reflected in the nostalgic vibe of its '50s-style ice-cream parlors, which feature classic ice-cream bars with colorful vinyl barstools and festive decorations. Customers can stop in for cones, sundaes, and shakes, or stock up on candy and other sweet novelties.