Since 2006, Mt. Baker Candy Co.'s chocolatiers have used a secret 50-year-old recipe as the blueprint for more than 40 flavors of fudge, all handmade in small batches. Now, through SendFudge.com, their gourmet confections can reach chocolate lovers in 48 states, including the ones where chocolate is illegal. Made with milk and soy, the rich, gluten-free fudges range from classics such as butter pecan and rocky road to lemon-meringue cheesecake fudge and caramel-infused fudge topped with sea salt. The dessert wizards also whip up 12 diabetic-friendly flavors of sucrose-free fudge, including mint-chocolate swirl and peanut butter.
Crusty Tasty Bistro's artisanal bakers and sandwich constructors craft a menu of Hungarian-American fusion fare and fresh baked goods. Steamy Hungarian goulash ($7.99) dazzles palates with a spicy paprika swirl, and fried dough sings under a shower of sour cream and garlic ($3). Sandwiches ($7.29) swaddle a variety of hearty, just-cut meats, and are available au naturel or grilled, and pastries ($1.39–$3.50), such as linzers, burst with sweet almonds and fruit. Bread loaves ($3.60), ranging from pumpernickel to challah to sandwich rolls, donate a just-baked smell to the atmosphere, giving noses a glimpse of the old country without the inconvenience of attending Renaissance fairs or ceasing to pay the electric bill.
Occasionally, the ground shakes at Karl's Bakery & Cafe, sending ripples through cups of coffee. These trembles occur throughout the day, but they're not the result of an earthquake or a T. rex playing hopscotch. Rather, they originate from the Everett train tunnel, located just below the café.
Since its inception, Karl's Bakery & Cafe has had a unique relationship with transportation. In the 1960s, it found a permanent home at Wetmore Avenue, earning the nickname "drive-through bakery" courtesy of a driver who crashed through the front window.
Perhaps the driver had a hankering for the café's glazed cake donuts or tightly coiled cinnamon rolls—they're freshly prepared daily according to time-honored recipes. Customers can peruse these baked goods as well as apple fritters, cherry danish, and other buttery delicacies in the bakery's display cases.
In addition to baking sweets, cooks prepare hearty breakfasts and lunches. Stacks of pancakes measure about three fingers tall, and four strips of bacon add a second deck to saucy cheeseburgers. Cooks bundle theses entrees with sweets for well-rounded meals, served in the café or catered to designated locales.
Before teaming up in 1953, Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins were seasoned business owners with their own ice-cream shops. The words “unusual varieties” shone high above each shop, signaling their respective owners’ passion for anything but an ordinary dessert experience. When the two got together, it was natural that they’d adopt the theme of “31 flavors,” one for each day of the month. Since then, Baskin-Robbins has introduced more than 1,000 flavors and opened shops with more than 5,800 franchise owners worldwide. Even their little pink tasting spoon has become a staple as a way to make flavor browsing an event by allowing guests to try specialties without paying cash or chicken-based trade for the privilege.