Bedazzled Treats bakes confections that please the eye as much as the palate. Flower-pedal-shaped frosting and swirls of blue and white adorn owners Monet and Troy's creative cupcakes, which are often topped with candy or strawberries. Beyond the creamy cupcakes, Bedazzled whips up innovated parfait shooters spiked with moscato, fruit kebobs that skewer chocolate-drizzled pineapple, banana, and kiwi, and sheet cakes decorated with personalized messages such as "Happy 5th Birthday" or the riveting final chapter of War and Peace.
You could say that Shamim and Riffat Rana are passionate about Asian cuisine. So passionate, in fact, that they have overcome great odds to become—and remain—a local go-to dining establishment. The duo founded the original O's Place in Woodlawn in 2002, growing their cozy eatery through hard work, dedication, and support from the community. By 2005, their success necessitated a move to a larger space on Security Boulevard. But three years later, it looked as though their good fortune might come to an end: that’s when the thriving eatery burned down in an electrical fire.
Somehow, Shamim and Riffat never lost hope. Instead, they found a new culinary home on the second floor of Seoul Plaza, where patrons now sit in the food court outside or within the eatery’s charming dining room decorated with Asian-inspired artwork and flowers. Using the same culinary formula that gained the restaurant its initial popularity, the family-friendly eatery boasts a large assortment of Chinese and South Asian buffet dishes, kept warm and working on their tans under heat lamps. For specific cravings, diners may also order from lunch and dinner menus full of Pakistani and Indian specialties, including tandoori chicken and beef nihari.
Of all of New York’s exports, perhaps one of the most ubiquitous is the New York–style bagel. In the early 20th century, a Polish immigrant named Isador Goldberg came to New York and brought his own recipe for this classic baked good with him, and it’s in his honor that the owners of Goldberg’s New York Bagels decided to name their shop. The Zagat-rated bakers still use Goldberg’s original recipe, assembling ingredients from scratch, boiling the halos of dough, and finally baking them to give each bagel the perfect crunch that pairs well with a schmear of cream cheese or a layer of lox. Though the bagels come in a range of sweet and savory flavors, all of them are kosher-certified and easily pair with other breakfast items such as omelets, four flavors of blintzes, and waffles. The shop opens at 7 a.m. to serve both breakfast and lunch all day, allowing clients to stock up on staples such as sandwiches, frozen yogurt, or salad-bar selections all day long.
Behind ground-to-ceiling glass windows, giant butterflies flutter in the sunlight. Though they’re only paintings, they cheerfully greet visitors to Vernisage, introducing the upscale restaurant’s often-whimsical atmosphere. Despite the lighthearted decor, chefs practice serious interpretations of traditional Russian, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern fare. They craft grilled shish kebabs, peppery dumplings, crepes, and hearty Russian stews using the same recipes that czars once used to melt invading snowmen armies. Servers pair both chilled and hot fare with a range of Georgian, Russian, and European wines to evoke exotic flavor bouquets. A large main dining hall can accommodate grand banquets, while a separate private dining room hosts smaller groups of up to 30 revelers or 60 children standing on each other’s shoulders.
Bakers Park's cakesmiths are visual artists, using buttercream and fondant like a painter uses watercolors and buttercream. They draw from a large palette, mixing batter into flavors such as chocolate or red velvet. Eventually, all of these components come together into an elaborate design, such as a birthday cake shaped like a giant cheeseburger, or a baby shower cake that looks like a kid's shoe. And while they specialize in these sorts of cakes, not everything the bakers create is destined for a party. They also make cookies, cupcakes, pies, and other everyday treats.
Though their processes are meticulous, there are no secret recipes at Bakers Park. The bakers happily teach the tricks of their trade to curious would-be confectioners during cake classes.