Framed in arched woodwork, scenic murals of the Italian countryside line one wall of La Piazzetta Cafe and mirrors stand guard over teal banquettes on the other. Small bouquets of vibrant-hued flowers are eternally in bloom at the center of each table, weighed down with plated Italian favorites. Shrimp, veal, chicken, meatballs, and eggplant all receive the parmigiana treatment, and pasta dishes offer more than 20 varieties, including rigatoni montonara and dried macaroni for making crafts at the table. Guests can share a specialty pie such as the buffalo-chicken pizza, or horde their own 12-inch personal pizza. Diners can feast inside where a television entertains kids, relax at a bistro table outdoors, or order catered fare for their next Golden Girls viewing party.
Clever Cookie has been distributing delectable arrangements of cookies since 1991. Today, they offer a variety of cookie baskets and arrangements for occasions such as anniversaries, graduations, weddings, and birthdays, along with holidays such as Christmas or Easter. The cookies are all certified Kosher, and hand-decorated cookies arrive individually shrink-wrapped, along with a "crumble-free guarantee."
There's chocolate in Lee Perrotta's blood. It's easy to see how it got there; in 1928, her great uncle was the chief formulator for Rockwood Chocolate in Brooklyn, and her great aunt Lena was a prolific candy maker who left behind a trove of candy-making supplies stored in hatboxes. Following suit, Lee has made her own footprint in the confectionary world by approaching chocolate making as an art—literally. In 2007, the Walt Whitman Museum displayed 36 edible sculptures and portraits that she crafted from chocolate. In 2008, the New York Food Festival named her the overall best chocolatier of the year, also awarding her prizes for fudge, truffles, and chocolate sculpting.
Several of Perrotta's chocolate sculptures serve as decor inside The Chocolate Lady in Oyster Bay. Visitors can peruse more than 180 types of seasonal confections made with freshly ground cocoa, fresh-fruit purees, and fresh butter from a cow whose udders squirt chocolate milk. Organic rose-cream cordials, citrus-tinged blood-orange bites, and dark-chocolate espresso truffles are just a few of the treats available in her store.
In the Mood Coffee & Ice Cream is a nostalgia-infused old-fashioned ice cream parlor that offers delicious homemade ice cream, sorbet, and other delicious snacks, all made fresh daily. Prices for icy treats range from $3.95 to $8.50, and come in more than 30 flavors. They range from classics done right, such as rocky road and coffee break, to wilder variants such as howling brownie, mountain lion crunch, and funky pretzel gold mine. Sorbet—ice cream’s fruity and lactose-intolerant cousin—features tastes of mango, orange, and strawberry, as well as sugar-free ice cream options. If cold sweets make you anxious for bready treats, nosh on a Monte Cristo panini ($5.49) made with ham, turkey, Swiss and cheddar cheeses, then bury the evidence under a banana-flavored smoothie ($5.70). In the Mood also carries delightful specialty coffees, so wake yourself up in the morning or avoid terrifying dreams of hearing friends endlessly recount their dreams with a large cappuccino ($2.59).
Peter Goldfarb sits watching his mother, who holds a textbook with one hand while churning cookie dough with the other. As she pulls double duty as a mom and graduate student, she unwittingly alters the course of her son's life. The young Peter will soon grow up, move to Los Angeles, and pursue a career in television production—but his friends won't care about his industry stories; they'll want to know where his shipments of ridiculously tasty cookies are coming from.
This true tale is what inspired Peter to eventually enroll in culinary school and coax his mom into cofounding Chip'n Dipped. Today, the duo and a crew of bakers make all-natural cookies, chocolates, and confections—including gluten- and dairy-free options—in full view of customers, as well as for impressed reporters from large publications such as the New York Times, Newsday, and the Candyland Gazette. Using kosher ingredients and minimally processed chocolates, the mom-and-son team creates treats loaded with bioflavonoids and free of hydrogenated oils and preservatives.
Bon Bons serves up a large selection of carefully constructed treats that melt the hearts and please the palates of its patrons. Fill a half-pound box ($16 for about 16 chocolates) with raspberry-, champagne-, or rum-flavored truffles, or grab a 1-pound box ($32 for about 34 chocolates) and fill it with peanut butter cups](http://gr.pn/e5YEsV) and peppermint thin mints. Bon Bons’ handmade chocolates make great special-occasion gifts and popular rewards for stellar report cards or first-place finishes in underwater bench-pressing contests.