The aroma of brewing Downeast coffee drifts through the air, its trail floating over a plentiful helping of Gifford’s ice cream scooped onto a European-style dessert waffle. This chilled yet toasty combination is both the signature and the namesake of Max and Bear’s Ice Cream & Dessert Waffles. Inside the confectionary haven, staff members transform breakfast into dessert by topping the gridded morning dish with frozen flavors such as muddy boots ice cream with salted caramel. They also blend fresh fruit smoothies and thick ice-cream shakes such as the coffee bomb, made with iced coffee, Rhode Island coffee syrup, and a dash of cream.
The chefs at Portsmouth Publick House put their own twist on classics. They douse the bison burger with mango chutney; pair eggs benedict with lobster; and stuff quesadillas with smashed potatoes and filet mignon. The rest of the menu, including piping-hot pizzas and soup, refuels patrons during contests and other forms of entertainment. On Thursday nights, guests put their heads together over trivia questions. Sundays offer a stage for open-mic.
Patti Reslow and Nancy Swanson, the owners of Swede-a-Licious, bake a select assortment of sweet Swedish specialties, all free of added preservatives. Several pastries are reminiscent of coffee cake, such as the cardamom coffee braid and the Berry Berry Licious, a braided sweetbread filled with raspberry and blueberry preserves. The bakers also assemble Scandinavian party cakes, a showy stack of 18 almond-butter cookies that can be customized for seasonal parties or used as a stand-in holiday tree.
The bakers, confectioners, and designers at Sweet Indulgence continually roll out gourmet goodies that are just as appealing to the eye as they are delicious. The staff can prep sprawling color-coordinated tables that gleefully enhance events such as weddings, parties, and celebrations by showcasing treats such as cupcakes, chocolate-covered fruits, and candies. Mounds of frosting pile high on cupcakes in flavors such as apple pie, carrot cake, and lemon-raspberry, covered in extras such as cinnamon, chocolate chips, and fresh fruit. Lines of frosting adorn cake pops in clever shapes such as Santas, football helmets, or simple, pastel patterns of pink and green, and pies, cannolis, and cakes attract the eye and appetite.
When Chill Out Loud Frozen Yogurt threw open its doors on December 21, 2012, the shop didn’t just thank its inaugural customers with words—its first 50 visitors were greeted with prizes. That exuberant introduction is emblematic of the family-friendly eatery, which welcomes diners and their sweet teeth in to sample customized frozen-yogurt creations. A rotating potpourri of flavors, such as white-chocolate mousse, spiced apple pie, and cookies ‘n’ cream, flow from self-serve dispensers before guests crown their treats with toppings from a buffet-style bar.
FroyoWorld fills its self-serve stations with a monthly rotating lineup of 12 yogurt and sorbet flavors, including varieties such as dairy free, no sugar added, and nonfat. A selection of up to 140 toppings include candies, fresh fruit, and drizzles of chocolate and caramel. Between spoonfuls, customers can make use of the free WiFi to check emails and look up holistic brain-freeze cures.