From the Heart Pastries' staff bakes each of its rich pastries fresh, and creates oven-born treats including cakes, cookies, and praline candy. The bakery's Signature Series praline candy, creamy, smooth butter and brown sugar embedded with macadamia nuts, walnuts, or almonds ($2), makes the perfect holiday gift or apology to the neighbors for taking a nap on their lawn. Miniature ($2.25) or whole ($12) pecan pies settle squarely onto Thanksgiving tables, and a diverse collection of cookies stars classic flavors such as chocolate chip ($1.25). A luscious german-chocolate cake ($27) crowned with a rosette of pecan halves helps celebrate the season, a birthday, or a successful toothbrush purchase.
Peña’s Donut Heaven & Grill elevates earthbound appetites with a luscious litany of breakfasts and lunches, earning a CityVoter nomination for the city’s best breakfast in 2010. As the sun is carefully winched up and hoisted into the sky, Peña’s bakers craft delicious donuts ($5.79/dozen for glazed; $6.45/dozen for iced) fresh each morning, while plates of bagel, croissant, or biscuit breakfast sandwiches ($2.50 each) and savory chorizo-and-egg stuffed kolaches ($1.49 each; $15.99/dozen) hone in on hunger with surgical precision. At lunchtime, specialty sandwiches such as the 8 oz. california burger ($6.95) pose for pictures in an edible attire of sprouts and avocado, a slice of swiss cheese, and a dollop of tangy ranch dressing. In addition to classic American eats, Peña’s Donut Heaven catapults diners across the border with helpings of ham-and-spinach breakfast tacos ($2.50 for three) and lunches of beef burritos topped with pico de gallo ($6.99).
Guests dally daily between Four Friends Tea Room's bright walls, supping on quality loose-leaf tea and simple sandwiches and purchasing art right off the walls. Chat up a chum in the intimate Gold Room, or reserve the main dining room, which seats up to 30 people, to host an extended pinkie-jousting tournament. The sumptuous selection of sandwiches, soups, and salads includes the triple-decker club ($7.50), the flaky croissant sandwich ($8.50), and a lovingly concocted salad of tender grilled chicken ($8.50). In addition to day-to-day high ($16) and low ($10) teas, the café carefully pours out tea-room samplers ($8) that give guests a tongue-tickling taste of the shop's leafy luster. The community quenchers at Four Friends Tea Room keep fans abreast of the latest menu items, events, and their incipient tradition of murder-mystery dinner theater on the café's Facebook page.
The Cake Lady's bakers have been baking and frosting fresh confections daily since 1979. Batches of cake balls roll from the oven and somersault into sweet coatings before launching themselves into mouths via edible trebuchet. White-cake cupcakes induce barely audible taste-bud cheers with simple, delectable flavor, and chocolate-frosted confections sate tonsils’ cocoa cravings. Patrons can pick and choose their 6 or 12 sweet morsels to create a custom snack for holiday parties or to fuel the post-game celebrations of winning foosball teams. Customers can upgrade to specialty flavors such as strawberry shortcake or coconut for an additional $0.50 apiece; please note that specialty-flavor orders must be placed at least three days in advance.
Scoop wranglers at Piccomolo fashion fresh batches of gelato daily from all-natural ingredients such as fresh milk, which imbues the dessert with lower fat, calorie, and sugar content than its heavy-cream-laced archnemesis, ice cream. A glass display case houses a rotating display of 30 milk-based, fruit-based, and no-sugar-added gelatos selected from Piccomolo’s roster of 150 flavors such as peanut-butter cup, blackberry, and hazelnut. Tykes can finger-paint portraits of their favorite Winnie the Pooh characters with flavorful pigments from kid-size portions ($2.89), and adults collect two to four flavors in single small, medium, or large cups ($3.99–$5.99). Alternatively, customers can choose 6-or 8-inch gelato cakes in signature flavors such as fudge brownie and turtle cheesecake, or create custom cakes for special occasions such as birthday dinners or traditional Arbor Day food fights.
Husband and wife Angel and James are Partners in Cake. Angel takes care of the baking, while James takes care of the decorating and crafting scenes with fondant and gum paste. Completely self-taught, Angel accumulated a wealth of skills while studying under her mother in the kitchen. James, the master sculptor, draws inspiration from his days as a childhood Play-Doh aficionado. Friends encouraged the two to practice their pastry hobby fulltime, and when their creative forces meet, the two craft custom cakes for all occasions, including weddings and graduations. Their creations include edible 3D renditions of intergalactic robot R2D2, the Statue of Liberty, and Michael Jordan's shoe from Space Jam, which was easier to recreate than his heart of gold. At the heart of each creation are pillowy layers of cake in flavors such as red velvet, banana, and lemon zest, with fillings such as cream cheese, coconut cream, and lemon curd.