Baker Adie Sprague, who made a splash as a participant on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, showcases her meticulous dessert designs at Treat Cupcake Bar. She crafts at least a dozen flavors every day, including seasonal goodies such as candy apple—an apple cake smothered with cinnamon frosting. Adie also whips up separate batches for gluten-free and vegan patrons, such as chocolate cake crowned with mint cookies ‘n' cream frosting.
Rather than hog all the decorating fun for itself, Treat invites guests to make their very own creations at its namesake bar. There, you’ll find four varieties of both cake and frosting, plus more than 20 other toppings, such as Pop Rocks and chocolate-covered pretzels. To refine your decorating skills, sign up for one of Treat’s holiday-themed classes and learn to make seasonal shapes such as turkeys for Thanksgiving and smashed calculators for National Do Long Division by Hand Day.
Joel's at Needham Square proves that “penny candy” isn’t a myth, unlike $0.25 haircuts and dollar automobiles. The quarter-century-old cornucopia of gourmet sweets brims with buckets of bulk gummies, jellybeans, and hard candies that complement a selection of seasonal sweets and fine Vermont chocolates. Joel's latest owners took over the store in 2006 with the goal of upgrading and expanding its selection, resulting in the store’s gourmet candy baskets, as well as a collection of plush dolls, stationery, and kitchenware. Satiated sweet teeth can step aside for Joel's more savory selection of gourmet grilling sauces, fragrant teas, and hand-bottled jams.
Founded by longtime friends Jonathan Schwarz and Christopher Robbins, Stone Hearth Pizza builds its gourmet pies from organic, local, and sustainably produced ingredients. The casual pizzeria has expanded to six locations since opening in 2005—a pace of growth made possible by the popularity of chef and general manager Michael Ehlenfeldt’s Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizzas. New England craft beers complement the pizzas and pastas with a pleasantly bitter taste that reflects their conflicted attitude toward out-of-towners.
Guests at Fuji Japanese Steak House marvel at flame-filled performances, where chefs in red hats cook up shrimp, steak, and veggies at tableside hibachi grills. Amid the spectacle, servers weave between tables to deliver an array of Chinese, Thai, and Japanese dishes such as kung pao chicken, pad thai with beef, and seafood tempura.
Pomodoro’s owner and chef, Kevin Ryan, graduated with a degree in culinary arts and studied with renowned chefs Julia Child and Jacques Pepin before perfecting his own menu of cooked-to-order comfort food from southern Italy. Gleeful gestators can sup from many of the homemade entrees, including chicken marsala ($16.95), fettuccine carbonara ($14.95), and shrimp scampi ($19.95), served atop linguini and sautéed in lemon, garlic, and butter. Pint-sized patrons dive headfirst into ziti ($5.50) from the kids’ menu or tax discourse from The Economist.
Masala Art's dinner menu brings the culinary traditions of India to the mouths of Bostonians with an expansive selection of vegetarian, seafood, lamb, chicken, and tandoori barbecue dishes from all across the subcontinent. Appetizers such as tandoori chicken tacos ($8) showcase Masala's contemporary influences, and traditional, freshly baked breads, including keema naan, bread filled with seasoned ground lamb ($4.50), provide authentic companionship for lonely entrees.