Annie Defa learned a lot in her 10 years in the coffee-shop industry, including how to select the choicest beans from among thousands. She puts this knack into action on a weekly basis, consulting with her local roaster to supply the shop with the aromatic blends she brews into steaming mugs or transforms into specialty drinks. She and her crew also bake up croissants, cookies, and muffins fresh each morning. In the summertime, an outdoor patio supplements the café’s intimate indoor space, and free WiFi ensures that clients stay up-to-date with emails, news, and the latest styles of cappuccino-foam mustaches.
The potation crafters at Beans & Brews Coffee House whip up hot and cold beverages from perk-proffering coffee beans, relaxing tea leaves, and sweet decaf alternatives. Hot coffee drinks, such as the cappuccino ($3.60 for 12 oz.) or eye-opener brew ($2.80 for 12 oz.) gently jolt the brain awake with mountain-roasted goodness, and the dulcet notes of iced chai ($4.10 for 16 oz.) and B&B frappes ($4.05 for 16 oz.) cool off summer-scorched palates with their sweet, icy taste. Roasters get the most out of each coffee bean with Beans & Brews’ trademark high-altitude roasting, which imparts each batch of grounds with a smooth flavor that, like an angst-riddled teddy bear, maintains a high level of complexity.
Stepping into The Sweet Tooth Fairy shop is like walking into another era: round tables and high-backed chairs surround an old-fashioned soda fountain, and oldies music plays softly nearby. Pale-blue walls and white crown molding stand behind a glass case full of sweet treats, which are baked daily and earned proprietor Megan Faulkner Brown two appearances on The Rachael Ray Show—one when she was still baking in her basement kitchen, and the next three years later, when her business had grown to nine locations.
Megan uses the "most ordinary" ingredients to whip up her extraordinary pastries, which include chocolate-chip and iced oatmeal cookies, brownies, lemon bars, and a variety of cupcakes and full-grown cakes. Signature cakebites don coats of chocolate or white chocolate flecked with sprinkles. Flavors of baked goods rotate monthly, with some favorites available on a daily basis. Gluten-free options are available, as are frosting shots designed to save time usually spent licking every drop of frosting off the top of a full-size cake.
Founded by ice-cream enthusiasts Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone Creamery has grown to more than 1,400 locations across North America. Each day, the shop's scoopers mix up fresh batches of ice cream and sorbet, which are served by the scoop, piled high in sundaes, and blended into shakes. After customers choose their desired flavor, the staffers toss the chilly sustenance upon a slab of frozen granite and fold in a smorgasbord of candy and nuts to achieve the ideal ice-cream-to-add-in ratio. Customers can dream up their own creations or opt for a signature masterpiece, sampling one of more than 11.5 million possible flavor combinations, which still await a brave conqueror to unlock them all. To accommodate sweets cravings at celebrations, staff members also dish out premade treats, such as ice-cream cakes and baked goods.
Roman literature describes how Emperor Nero enjoyed the rarest of all treats: fruit juices and wines chilled in mountain snow. Several thousand years of technological development have unlocked the ability for everyone to enjoy what was once a snack fit only for royalty and to do so in a health-conscious way. Planet Yogurt serves a daily rotating cast of 12 flavors of frozen yogurt, which is low in fat and rich in probiotics. More than 50 toppings—from fresh-sliced fruit to crushed classic candy—wait to dust the tops of self-served-yogurt mountains.
The walls match the vibrant colors of the snacks and toppings with lime greens, warm reds, and bright oranges. As visitors scarf down their frozen treats, wall-mounted flat-screen TVs keep them entertained with sitcoms and the weatherman’s fanciful tales of good and evil.