With graduations, weddings, and whale-wrestling season fast approaching, a customized party cake serves as a tasty treat for groups of gathered revelers. A 10-inch party cake from Maribelle serves about 30 people, and the cakery's abundant bounty of flavors and fillings will please even the most picky cake connoisseur. Plump a lemon almond cake with red raspberry filling, or infuse a rich German chocolate cake with fresh sliced strawberries or Frangelico cream. Any combination of bakery beautifying extras—be they fresh-cut or frosting flowers, chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate curls and shavings, or curly ribbons—are included in the price, so pile on the ornamentation to construct a memorable masterpiece.
Voted the best stop for chocoholics by Ohio magazine, the Dayton-based Esther Price infuses its old-fashioned chocolate concoctions with dairy-fresh cream and butter—pairing rich cocoa with several fruity and savory flavors. Sample an array of aromas with the 18-ounce light and dark assorted chocolates ($12.30), with each box containing a sampling of Esther Price's most popular pieces—coconut cream, peanut butter cream, caramel pecans, cherries, almond toppers, and more. Other options include the chocolate-coated pretzels ($9.75), which come dipped in light or white chocolate, and the 8-ounce sweetheart mints ($7.55), which offer a decadent way to freshen one's breath before a hoverboat driving test. For those who prefer their sweets minus the sucrose, the confectionary also offers plenty of sugar-free options. Tentative tasters can use the Esther Price candy key to determine what flavors are contained within each morsel before tasting.
One taste of Aroma’s more than 100 flavors—including chocolate amaretto, green apple, peanut butter, pistachio, watermelon, even earthworm—and you’ll understand why gelato is like ice cream multiplied by itself. Sporting a svelte 10% butterfat content (compared to ice cream’s 18%), gelato is also healthier and made by a process that doesn’t inject air into the mixture, resulting in a dense, delicious flavor that can only be adequately expressed with joyful bursts of Italian gibberish and interpretive dance battles. Aroma’s gelateria keeps 24 of its 100 flavors chilling in the display case at a cozy 5–10 degrees Fahrenheit, which you can sample in a variety of sizes, such as small ($2.75), medium ($3.25), large ($4), pint ($8), quart ($12), 1/2 gallon ($20), full pan (serves 40, $35), and wheelbarrow (party-sized, served with a giant spoon).
Artrageous's chef Teri Scheff has award-winning backgrounds in both ceramic sculpture and the culinary arts, using her dual talents to mold, chisel, and hew only the most scrumptious, statuesque sweets. Snag cute custom cupcakes ($0.65––$3.50 each) topped with icing poodles, ladybugs, or sunflowers to add character to bare cupcake trees. Or choreograph flavors such as chocolate turtle, opera cream, and peanut-butter cup into numeric arrangements to commemorate a birthday, anniversary, or improved credit score. Rich tortes such as the apricot- and raspberry-filled amaretto stone sour refine blasé dinner parties in petite 6-inch ($20) and buff 8-inch ($37) varieties, and the ganache-covered chocolate-mousse bomb makes a perfect visual aid for schooling young CIA agents in the art of defusing an explosive with your mouth.
The creative culinarians at Aquarius Star’s Om Café transform organic, local ingredients into savory salads, sandwiches, and wraps that pair perfectly with fair-trade coffee and tea. The menu offers meat-free munchers a slew of vegetarian and vegan options, including the shareable organic hummus and veggie plate ($8.75), Om’s grilled blackened-tofu wrap ($8.75), and the Om salad, topped with raw nuts and homemade lemon-garlic dressing ($9.75). Om Café's Double Decker turkey sandwich ($9.25) delights eco-conscious carnivores with its blend of free-range turkey, locally sourced veggies, and organic mustard, mayonnaise, or aioli.
Roxx Electrocafe, located near the UC campus, boasts three 42-inch televisions and a massive 73-inch-wide screen that display heated bouts of digital competition across the café's spacious interior. Fourteen powerful gaming computers ($4/hour) enable activities such as cooperative robotic testing in the depths of Portal 2 or competitive right-clicking contests on the battlefields of League of Legends or Heroes of Newerth. Late-night hours yield to marathon console-gaming sessions of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Halo 3, and Rock Band ($4/hour)—all fueled by iced coffees ($2.50) and smoothies ($4), which ensure proper hydration and appropriate glottal lubrication. As the café's four Xbox 360s, four Wiis, and PlayStation 3 enchant eyes and coordinate drill teams of button-pressing thumbs, comfortable chairs and modern décor invite board games or study sessions.