Rifle through the pages of the menu at Nirvana Cafe, and you'll see dishes inspired by cuisines from across the globe—there's tender gyros and kebabs from the Mediterranean, plump perogi from Eastern Europe, and tangy Korean-style carrot salad. But there's also a variety of American favorites, such as chicken salad wraps and creamy new york cheesecake. As chefs bring these dishes to life in the kitchen, diners lounge on banquettes amid the bold red walls of the bright dining room, sipping freshly squeezed juices and imported Russian beers.
The Hyppo Cart, which hangs out in the St. John’s Town Shopping Center, is a spinoff of the original Hyppo in Saint Augustine. This gourmet popsicle truck got its start from simple fresh fruit, cane sugar and other freshly-made, interesting ingredients. Fashioned after paletas, which are Latin American ice pops made from fresh fruit and spices, flavors are as diverse as cucumber lemon mint, melon and cracked pepper. Fully-realized iterations like the Elvis combine peanut butter, honey and banana, while a Mexican Hot Chocolate version uses cocoa, cinnamon and cayenne. The Hyppo cart also offers gourmet sandwiches and salads, Bold Bean coffees and espresso, tea, agave sodas and baked goods. From its humble beginnings, the pops have gained a loyal following and bring about arguments of favorite flavors among its fans.
Without a job, single mother Gwen Willhite was facing a difficult situation. But a sweet solution relieved her tough times: she assembled homemade cookies into a more sugary version of the bouquet, an idea she thought would be perfect for gift-giving. The concept was a hit, and within a few years, the business she called Cookie Bouquet had become a franchise. Willhite's company, now called Cookies By Design, continues to churn out edible bouquets, alongside cookie cakes and cookies in flavors such as white-chocolate pecan, snickerdoodles, and oatmeal raisin. Cookies By Design has expanded to many locations across the US, where staffers at each hub freshly bake and hand-decorate each creation.
A Sweet to Eat Bake Shop's menu features all kinds of handcrafted creamy, crunchy, and cupcakey creations. The shop's signature chocolate chunk cookies are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, speckled with hunks of Belgian chocolate, and sprinkled with just a dash of sea salt for a rounded-out finish ($2.25 each). Defy the same misguided masses who said you couldn't milk a lizard, and have dessert for breakfast with a bite of fruit rugelach (three for $2), a Linzer torte slice ($3.99), a buttery, balanced scone ($1.25), or a neatly wrapped cannoli ($2.25). Cupcake flavors include red velvet, strawberry, and lemon, with buttercream headdresses offered in shades of vanilla, peanut butter, cream cheese, strawberry, and more ($2 each, bite-size $0.50 each). Lure unsuspecting neighbors into cleaning your caramel-sauce-filled pool with an aptly placed pie on the windowsill; choices include the key lime pie ($24), the tried-and-true apple lattice ($20), and the svelte, sugar-free apple lattice ($20). A Sweet to Eat also presents a large cake selection (starting at $24, cookie cakes $15) and a selection of savory snacks such as individual servings of cheesy popcorn ($1.50), roasted nuts ($3), and homemade Chex mix ($1.50).
Choux Designer Cakes & Pastries combines sweet-tooth-sating flavors with upscale, custom pastry design. Using only high-class ingredients such as Belgian chocolate, pure vanilla, and imported Swiss fondant, Choux's chefs handcraft each cupcake and dispense them by the flavor-full according to the customer's verbal request or series of oversized cue cards. Indulge cravings with a chocolate cupcake topped with gooey vanilla frosting, or rest chins comfortably in a pillowy-pink patisserie.
Family owned and operated, Flippin' Good Cookies sates confectionary cravings with its selection of colossal cookies. Each sweetmeat weighs in at two ounces and comes in five traditional varieties, such as oatmeal brickle raisin, Southern pecan caramel, and chippy chocolate toffee, which mingles semi-sweet chocolate chunks with gregarious gobs of toffee and a saccharine buzz of espresso. Indecisive sweet teeth can craft a delectable dozen of assorted cookies, and eco-conscious chompers may request environmentally friendly packaging to help Mother Nature tidy up after last night's interstellar rager.