At Sizzling Bombay, the vibrant orange walls and glimmering chandeliers are nearly as bold as the spices that infuse each of the dishes leaving the kitchen and leave their stamp on diners? tongues. Kebabs skewer pieces of chicken, shrimp, and lamb as curry clings to bite-sized morsels with the grip of a great-aunt?s cheek pinch. An Indo-Chinese menu section parades around with pad thai selections, and desserts end meals on sugary notes, filling plates with rice pudding or milk balls soaked in rose-flavored sugar syrup?instead of a heap of sugar cubes begging to be turned into a fort.
Since Bella Pizza first opened its doors in 1992, shortcuts haven't been a part of the chefs' repertoire. Instead, they personally hand-make each disc of pizza dough from scratch, and begin every morning by simmering sauces out of fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, and spices. From that quality start, the pizza experts can create one of their specialty artisan pizzas?sized to feed two people or one black hole?or customize thin-crust pies to guests' specifications. And the toppings are just as fresh as the dough they adorn, ranging from bacon and grilled chicken to sausage and black olives. The menu of Italian-American favorites also features hot sub sandwiches, pasta dishes, and wings served with one of five house-made sauces.
The warm, homespun vibe of the cuisine is echoed in the pizza parlor's decor. Reclaimed barn wood adorns a portion of the cozy space's walls, alongside framed photographs and accent mirrors. A handful of small tables invites pairs or groups to gather and share a slice, along with some lively conversation.
After emigrating to Baltimore from Palermo, Italy, Gioacchino Vaccaro wanted to share the pastries of his homeland with his new neighbors. In 1956, he founded his eponymous pastry shop, an establishment that has since expanded to include four locations. The culinary team dishes out cannoli that ensconce homemade ricotta filling, three-tiered rum cake, and crunchy biscotti cookies.
Beyond pastries, the eateries toast paninis and stuff classic mufalato sandwiches with Italian pepper ham, mortadella, and salami. To complement their meals, visitors can sip hand-crafted espresso drinks, such as cappuccinos in traditional “Italiano” style and house style, served with a dollop of whipped cream. For more adult pours, patrons can opt for assorted martinis, beers, and dessert wines.
Inside the savory-scented digs of Honey Baked Ham & Cafe, spools of hardwood-smoked, spiral-sliced ham entice carnivorous palates. Here, chefs uphold the same traditions that Harry J. Hoenselaar created more than 40 years ago. Back then, he chose individual hams, cured them in his secret marinade, and smoked them over hardwood chips before offsetting the earthy flavor with a crisp, sweet glaze. To this day, the staff still makes the signature bone-in hams one at a time and glazes them in the shop.
The hammery's kitchens also whip up classic side dishes and desserts, such as the sweet-potato soufflé. For less formal feasting, party trays and packed lunch boxes fuel business meetings, backyard grad parties, and lengthy end-zone celebrations.
At You Say When Yogurt, the customer is in control. They first choose their 16- or 12-oz. cup and fill it with any combination of 12 yogurt flavors, which are often inspired by fruits and desserts. The flavor lineup regularly changes, and may include such varieties as New York cheesecake, cotton candy, and no-sugar added coffee, along with seasonal favorites such as pumpkin, a required sacrifice to the Great Pumpkin. Then customers scatter toppings into their cups, choosing from more than 72 candies, fruits, and nuts. The colorful dessert creations are matched by the vibrant shop's bright aqua walls and lime green and orange accents.
From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers? exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location?s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.