The Lulu is a French pastry made up of delicate pate-choux dough filled with rich French cream, and Charlie Tola learned to love Lulus in a few short months. First, he learned how to make them at one of the very first pastry shops that ever hired him. Shortly thereafter, he met his future wife, Luisa, and decided to nickname her after the sweet delight—a name that continued with their first daughter. So it only makes sense that when Tola opened his own shop in 1999, he named it Lulu’s Bakery. There, he artfully arranges his confections in glass display cases, allowing customers to eye up the biscotti, black-and-white cookies, cannoli, fruit tarts, eclairs, brownies, cupcakes, and 24 types of butter cookies before they make up their minds. To his traditional bakery repertoire—which, of course, also includes the lulu—the baker has now added special occasion cakes. Using icing as his medium, Tola has turned traditional cake bases into a slot machine, a handbag, a fire truck, and a bottle of champagne, which was soon used to christen a gingerbread yacht.
The Bagel Factory's hand-rolled circlets serve as immaculate foundations for hearty constructions of Boar's Head meats, fresh veggies, and a variety of cream cheeses. Kettle-cooked showstoppers populate the bagelry’s Herculean menu, with a menagerie of exotic bread breeds, including cinnamon raisin, egg, pumpernickel, everything, and infinite nothingness ($0.85/bagel). The selection of specialty sandwiches, available on a bagel, roll, or panini, includes South of the Border, a mariachi mosh pit of pepper turkey, pepper jack cheese, and veggies ($6.99). Or opt for grilled sandwiches available on a bagel or roll, such as the buffalo chicken's miraculous union of spicy dressing, blue cheese, and fiery poultry ($7.99).
Forks are unnecessary at Pop Cake Pops, where confectioners hand-bake and hand-dip decadent cake balls before popping them on a stick. The shop churns out nearly a dozen different flavors, from classic chocolate cake dipped in chocolate frosting to chocolate-and-marshmallow cake coated in graham crackers. Bakers can customize the pops to the customer's liking, filling them with ice cream or using colorful sprinkles and sugar crystals to fit different occasions, such as baby showers, birthday parties, or brazen trips to the dentist.
Though Bud's Ale House lives up to its name—its locations boast up to 80 beer taps, more than 16 bottled varieties, and up to 60 televisions—this versatile eatery has something for everyone. As tasty brews pour from taps, including a daily special of $2 Bud and Bud Light drafts, bartenders deftly mix up top-shelf margaritas, colorful martinis, and classic cocktails. These adult libations wash down a hearty menu that spans the entire spectrum of American cuisine: habanero barbecue wings, steamed local clams, and meaty burgers are served up daily alongside gooey quesadillas and German-style bratwurst. Bud's desserts threaten to steal the spotlight, capping feasts with deep-fried Oreos and tangy key lime pie.