The smell of baking cookies wafts out into the street, enticing guests inside to pick out their favorite cookie from 1 Smart Cookie’s row of 13 cookie jars. The clear glass, still steamy from the freshly baked fare, lets guests peruse the selection before choosing and mull over the benefits of classic, chewy chocolate chip over a seasonal flavor such as pumpkin spice or a unique variety such as Coconut Paradise. If clients desire something for a special occasion, baker Cindy Hoehner can craft the cookies into larger cookie cakes, shape cookies into themed treats, or even provide premade dough for at-home baking bonding sessions. She also hosts birthday parties for little ones during the week, allowing girls to dress up, ice their own cookies, and play games while chowing down on homemade cookies.
Baking is a science that requires exact measurements and timing. Perhaps that is why Emeline Bauder, a former environmental chemist, always knew she would return to the kitchen. At Nibbles Cafe, she now combines that precision with an armory of fresh ingredients to forge sweet pastries. Still warm from the oven, scones made with real milk and eggs drop next to teacups, whose delicate shape and bright hues bring to mind a tulip blossom. The bread that encases the café’s sandwiches bakes fragrantly in house, and eyes wander to impressive ranks of cakes. From delicate swirls of batter and frosting, Emeline has drawn forth a reproduction of an Italian castle, a groom’s treasured Jeep, and other elaborate sculptures.
High tea is served on gilt china in the midst of red velvet couches that capture the sensation of lounging in a Victorian salon or sitting on a stuffed trophy fire truck. A gleefully mismatched crew of chairs encircle wrought-iron bistro tables, and the light from the crimson chandelier brings to life the colors of cut flowers and the goldenrod walls.
A single step inside Teaoli transports tea timers and culinary explorers into an international showcase of extra-virgin olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and loose-leaf brews. Commence visits to Teaoli’s Spring Creek Village market by sidling up to the tasting bar, where knowledgeable staffers combine the emollient know-how of seasoned grovemasters with a bartender's flair for service and obsession with tiny paper umbrellas. Guide taste buds through the winding flavor trails of Teaoli's olive oils, testing samples ranging from mild arbequina or manzanillo to robust fantoia or Mission Gold Medal. Teaoli's gourmets import all of their oils and vinegars directly from the source, filling their own 375-milliliter bottles ($14.95) to ensure freshness and the presence of inspirational haikus under every cap.
Pieces of split hickory tumble into the bottom of the smoker. On the racks above, chefs lay on freshly trimmed cuts of meat—including beef brisket, pork shoulder, and tenderloin—to braise for up to 12 hours in the velvety smoke. A veteran of the pipe-fabrication business who builds his own smokers in his spare time, Steve Ohman knew what he wanted when shopping for his two commercial smokers, which have anchored Stone Mill BBQ and Steakhouse since it opened in 2003.
But other aspects of the restaurant also bear his personal stamp. All of the menu's meats and seafood come spiced in Ohman's own blend of seasonings, and he built the restaurant's wood tables from scratch with the help of his wife and kids. The restaurant's rustic yet elegant decor of exposed wooden trusses, split-log furnishings, and a wagon-wheel-turned-chandelier complement the main dining space's stone double fireplace.
While the walls’ crimson mosaic tiles glitter in the sunlight that filters in through large windows, CherryBerry’s guests pump out rotating flavors of frozen yogurt and lounge on puffy, mod-style furniture. With each creamy bite, it becomes more evident that the yogurt was made from all-natural ingredients: the strawberry contains tiny chunks of fruit, and the chocolate’s rich flavor could never have come from a powdered mix.
With more than 50 fruit, nut, and candy options overflowing from its bins and canisters, the topping bar plays home to fresh berries and healthful granola as well as candy-coated chocolates and sprinkles. Like a tag-team dance-off at the U.N., the yogurt itself features four types of live and active cultures, all of which aid in digestion. Low-fat, fat-free, and gluten-free flavors abound, as do sorbet options with no dairy and Splenda-sweetened yogurts with no added sugar.