While cake isn't always a health food, it can be under the guidance of the bakers at Caked Up. They gather their ingredients from local sources to ensure a dessert's freshness as they create classic indulgences such as cakes, cupcakes, and bite-size lolli cakes. But their fresh ingredients are only half the equation. When something a little healthier is desired, they can swap out traditional flour for gluten-free grain or remove all traces of eggs, milk, and butter from the batter to cook up completely vegan desserts.
No matter what ingredients they use, the bakers always ensure that desserts bear beautiful designs. They can make easy swirls and flowers in frosting, or create custom designs that utilize fondant, cake shaping, and piped frosting. This allows every dessert, no matter if it's a tray of cupcakes or a tiered cake, to be the perfect centerpiece for a party or slapstick open-mic night.
Though they sound like names for Paul Bunyan's fists, redwood and burlap are two of the key components for crafting bagels at Ize's Deli & Bagelry. When Angie and Lee Greenberg move their bagels from a broiling kettle to a stone oven, the two materials work to form a pleasantly crispy bagel exterior. Angie and Lee also prepare handmade spreads and cream cheeses to schmear their doughy creations in flavors like strawberry and scallion. This process is a family endeavor—Angie's parents assist in the kitchen to ensure that all bagels are prepared in small, fresh batches.
Guests seated in the cozy dining area reap the benefits of the Greenbergs' lunch and breakfast labors. In addition to their New York–style bagels, the owners serve up omelets, knishes, soups, and deli sandwiches stacked with savory meats. On some of the sandwiches, they swap bread for the venue's namesake: the Empire, for example, features layers of hot roast beef, cheddar, and horseradish mayonnaise on an onion bagel.
Though the staff delights in passing out meals to their countertop customers, they also arrange artful platters for catered events. The gourmet smoked-fish platter nestles lox, whitefish, and tuna salad amid lettuce and imported cheeses, and party servings of bagels and subs accommodate feasting groups.
While the bakers at The Cakery at King Farm are known for the beautiful designs of their wedding cakes, that’s not their main focus. Armed with only fresh fruits, natural butter, and fresh whipping cream, they put most of their effort into crafting treats that taste even better than they look. They can fashion custom cakes that embody multitiered decadence or craft dozens of cupcakes ready for immediate sharing. The shop’s bakers are skilled at creating a range of classic and seasonal flavors, including options like chocolate mint, rum cake, and mandarin orange that can be accented with fresh fruit and buttercream fillings.
As a natural complement to the cakes, the store offers ice cream by the scoop and the carton, selling brand name options in a range of changing flavors. As a courtesy to allergen-sensitive clients, the bakers also keep all of the shop’s baked goods free from nut products and packing peanuts, allowing every customer to eagerly bite into their dessert.
Run by an ex-dentist who turned to sweets, Larry's Cookies doctors up delectable, homemade baked delights that fill teeth with joy. The cookie shop works with a special gourmet cookie compound to create cookies that are free of trans fats and hydrogenated oils. Cookie monsters from all over can enjoy a baker's dozen of crispy and chewy Heath Bar cookies, snack on chunky, buttery white-chocolate Oreo cookies, or choose the classic chocolate-chip option ($23 each). Fans of brownies and bars can stock up on tasty building blocks for their bellies by ordering a dozen raspberry preserve-infused cream-cheese brownies or caffeinated espresso brownies ($28 each). Larry's biscotti ($28 for a box of 16) come in four varieties and are handmade, butter-free, and won't drown if you dunk them in coffee and tea.
On a hot summer day, the interior of Mr. Smoothie & Frozen Yogurt Bar looks a bit like paradise. Staff members man blenders whirring together non-fat yogurt and a choice of two fresh fruits into their signature smoothies, allowing customers to cool off with treats that are refreshing, healthy, and able to put out a very small fire. Everything made at Mr. Smoothie is customizable, and guests can opt to pare down the sweetness by only drinking freshly squeezed juice or creating fruity freezes from the same juices blended with chunks of real fruit. Eleven flavors of coffees are used to make frappes, with skinnier versions available for those desiring less calories and more protein. In fact, staff members can add a range of supplements and boosts to any smoothie or drink, adding ingredients that build muscle or nutrients that aim to improve hangovers.
From asiago cheese to orange cranberry, Bethesda Bagels has a flavor for every bagel eater to pair with spreads such as chive or lox cream cheese. The handmade bagels can be ordered one delicious bagel or mini bagel at a time or by the baker’s dozen. Along with the namesake menu item, Bethesda Bagels also serves all-day breakfast, plus overstuffed sandwiches, pizzas, and other snacks, including fancy cookies and their more casually dressed cousin, the muffin.