If customers arrive at Mrs. A’s Cupcakes & Cookies at the right time, they may meet the owner’s 5-year-old grandson, who greets them with a hello and an eager recitation of his favorite cupcakes. Mrs. A runs her namesake bakery along with her two youngest daughters, making it a true family-operated business. Each morning, they arrive bright and early to bake the day’s goods from scratch using fresh ingredients.
Although the bakers also make cookies and donuts, cupcakes are their specialty. Varieties change daily based on seasonal and available ingredients, such as the apple- pies and pumpkin- cream- cheese cupcakes they whip up in the fall. One mainstay, the red- velvet cupcake, is crafted using traditional Depression-era techniques, adding a smidge of cocoa to the batter and shredded stock certificates to the frosting. Other offerings echo the family’s Filipino heritage, such as the ube cupcake, made from purple yam, and the made-to-order buko- pandan cupcake, created from coconut meat, condensed milk, and the fragrant extract of pandan leaves.
The sweets at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory taste all the sweeter after witnessing the hard and delicate work that goes into their creation. During engaging visits, staffers entertain guests by hand-dipping crisp apples into burbling vats of caramel or fashioning silky bricks of fudge atop traditional marble slabs. They don't just tease the eyes, though. They also treat tongues to free samples, and even lead chocolate-tasting classes in which they provide mint- and sea-salt-infused samples of chocolate from around the world.
In addition to tastings, chocolate-making classes encourage customer participation, with instructors offering up the fresh ingredients stored on site to students who wish to learn the fine art of chocolate making. During these classes, they walk guests through the delicate process of making clusters infused with nuts or fruit, or melting milk or dark chocolate to fill a mold.
Betsy Braack lovingly constructs cookies, cakes, and pies by hand that are reminiscent of the sweet treats of her childhood. Her signature bite-size butter melts cookies ($4/dozen, $10/three dozen) come with crowns of powdered-sugar icing, and hand-decorated cut-out cookies topped with buttercream are available in hundreds of shapes ($1.75+) such as seasonal, sports, or occasion-specific motifs such as baby’s first thumbs up. Cupcakes ($1.85–$2.15) come in rich flavors such as red velvet with decadent cream-cheese icing, or can inflate to the shape of a full-sized cake ($30.50+). Crowd-pleasing pies give hosts the opportunity to put their hard work into chewing instead of baking and come in distinct flavors, such as cherry with a hint of almond and dutch apple with crumb topping.
With more than 50 years under its belt, Minelli Meat and Deli constructs hearty sandwiches and complements savory bites with traditional Italian pastries for dessert. The deli counter flaunts large helpings of italian sausage ($3.79/lb.) and italian roast beef ($8.99/lb.) for patrons to take home and share with their families and displaced sasquatches. A fresh meatball sandwich ($5.50) harmonizes well with homemade soup ($2.99). Sub sandwiches can be stuffed with specialty prosciutto, genoa salami, corned beef, and various sliced cheeses (5" for $4). Homespun sweets such as cannoli, cream puffs, and cookies adequately prep sugar testers for midnight chess battles with the Sugar Plum Fairy ($1.50+).