Chill Berry of Harlem's wall of up to 10 frozen-yogurt flavors swirl sweet and frosty peaks beneath an array of more than 40 decadent toppings. Patrons sidle up to the self-serve stations with cup in hand to engulf frozen varieties such as pomegranate-vanilla swirl with a kaleidoscope of fresh fruit, rainbow sprinkles, vanilla wafers, and cookie crumbs. A quintet of flat-screen TVs emblazon plum-hued walls to complement the treat tailoring, as an array of pendant lamps illuminate every inch of the berry-colored sweet shop. Customers can indulge in their creamy concoctions as they rest weary legs on Chill Berry's cushy chocolate-leather booths or crabwalk on the slate gray ceiling.
The bakers at Sweet Melissa Patisserie have drawn acclaim from the New York Times for a combination of fresh French-influenced American pastries and epic wedding cakes. During the afternoon tea service, twosomes enjoy a choice of fine teas served with a fresh scone, delicate finger sandwiches, and petit fours in the softly lit pastry-filled shop. Tea sippers can stretch pinky fingers at four-top tables with flower centerpieces or in the lush fenced-in garden outside, where shady umbrellas shield them from the untoward leering of dandies in passing zeppelins.
There’s a simple cup of tea that helps you to relax in the evening, and then there are the bubble teas at Tbaar—tall glasses in vivid pastel colors that look like a cross between a smoothie and a lava lamp. Plump tapioca beads sink to the bottom of teas in 12 flavors, which range from mango and strawberry to almond and mocha. Smoothies blended from fresh fruit keep the emphasis on texture with big chunks of pineapple or peach or the tailor-made combinations in Tbaar’s constellation smoothies, each recommended for 1 of 12 zodiac signs and giving drinkers the ability to know their horoscope several seconds in advance. There’s also a hot-drink menu stocked with East-meets-West collisions such as red-bean lattes.
With locations in six states, 16 Handles is carving out a delicious space for itself in the self-serve frozen-yogurt world. In addition to rewarding customers’ cravings with a rotating daily selection of 16 flavors—each packed with protein, probiotics, and calcium—the healthy-dessert emporium sets itself apart from its competitors through its eco-friendly practices. 16 Handles not only arms its patrons with biodegradable cups and spoons crafted from cornstarch, but it also works with Trees for the Future, an organization that assists global communities in growing trees for agriculture, food, and animal habitat. Through their partnership, 16 Handles has planted 91,284 trees so far, one-quarter of which grow frozen yogurt instead of leaves.
For the bakers of Fay Da Bakery, slices of fruit are just as much decorations as they are ingredients. Their menu of more than 24 cakes features vanilla cakes with elaborate fruit tops, such as the fruit decor cake top with swirling patterns made from strawberries and kiwi. The bakers also customize cakes for a variety of occasions, with hand-piped designs and congratulatory messages. Patrons can pick up Fay Da's cakes at locations throughout NYC, and conveniently order cakes online and pick them up a few days later when their clown car is out of the shop.
Traditional Thai dishes get a bold, modern twist at One Thai Chef, where culinary veteran Taweewat Hurapan artfully plates entrees for lunch and dinner. Panang curry gets an update with the addition of tender lobster meat, and glasses of fresh lychee juice pair with beef short ribs braised in massaman curry. Hurapan serves his signature roasted duck with bao buns that are round and fluffy, just like the tiny pillows upon which ancient kings rested their forks between bites. Chefs apply equal attention to desserts, which they adorn with caramel drizzles and fresh fruit.