Since 1977, Let Them Eat Cake Inc. has lived up to its name by combining art-filled cake with cups of freshly baked goodness, which patrons are then allowed to eat. While the menu of cupcakery changes daily, perennial powerhouses are always available, such as Boston cream pie, butter rum, better than sex, and red velvet rose. Complementing the traditional staples is a rotating cast of creations ranging from the Jackson Pollock (vanilla cake injected with butter rum Bavarian cream filling and splattered with buttercream frosting and butter rum) to the cosmos cupcake (lemon cake blasted with buttercream filling and wrapped in a blanket of raspberry and coconut). The variety of flavors and fillings is so vast, it would take a decoding ring on every finger to calculate the total number of combinations. Though one must never underestimate the power of a cupcake, skeptics can ensure sweet-tooth satisfaction by ordering a custom-built cake at a 10% discount—if ordered up the same day as the cupcakes are picked up (allow 7 days notice for the cake order).
Ranch House Grille's menu of hearty, comfort-style breakfast and lunch fare charms the socks off attention-starved tongues with a serenade of eggs and omelettes, burgers, sandwiches, and platters. The award-winning chicken fried steak ($9.50) arrives smothered in house-made pork chili verde, with an entourage of cooked-to-order eggs, while the french toast and eggs (with choice of meat, $7) precariously balance on a sweet and savory seesaw. Weekend plans and skee-ball strategies are best discussed over customizable omelettes ($8.50–$9.50), classic lunch platters such as the top sirloin steak ($13), or a tasty Phil Burger ($10), topped with bacon, avocado, green chili, grilled onions, and pepper jack cheese. All of Ranch House Grille's dishes are served large and in charge, but smaller portions are often available at a reduced price.
At more than 2,600 stores in more than 30 countries, Dunkin' Donuts serves coffee and iced beverages, fresh-baked donuts and desserts, and savory breakfast sandwiches. Since Bill Rosenberg opened the first location in Quincy, MA, in 1950, the donut shop has blossomed into a one-stop coffee and breakfast restaurant familiar to millions of morning rushers and afternoon sippers.
Behind the counter of each location, glazed french crullers twist and curve like Parisian city streets, and Bavarian Kreme donuts are filled with a sweet, golden custard. A cavalcade of meats is available for piling onto breakfast sandwiches, such as sausage, cherrywood-smoked bacon, or ham enveloped with fluffy eggs and melty cheese between a choice of crisp crusts. Health-conscious risers can fuel strenuous bouts of lifting cars in the drive-thru line with a Wake-Up wrap, which offers options such as egg whites with turkey sausage or veggies that add up to as few as 150 calories. Both sweet and savory selections pair well with a freshly brewed cup of coffee or a creamy, frozen Coolatta drink.
Though commuters can snag a quick pick-me-up within minutes, the wafting aromas of baking confections invite patrons to sit inside and embark on nostalgic reminiscences of syrup-coated playground slides. Beyond the bakery walls, the company aims for social responsibility with its support of community volunteer efforts and use of 100% fair-trade-certified espresso beans.
Something about ice skating can make you hungry. Whether it is the cold or the surprising amount of energy that goes into gliding across the ice, it's a good thing that 18 Degrees is tucked into the Ice Den, where the Phoenix Coyotes train.
The menu there focuses appropriately on warm comfort food, from burgers and pork chops to cheese curds and burritos. The ambiance is about right, too, given the eatery's athletic surroundings. A forest of hockey sticks hangs from the ceilings, and the walls are covered with flat-screen TVs, which broadcast hockey and football games. A lounge with a crackling fireplace looks out over the rink, but it is easy enough to sneak out to a quiet patio as well. There, glass of beer click together as patrons toast important anniversaries or the discovery that separating laundry isn't really that important.
Mark Smith and Gary Clark wouldn’t be where they are today without a 50-year-old barbecue recipe. When the two childhood friends started a catering service in college to cover their living expenses, they soon became renowned for their barbecue, made with a Tennessee-style recipe passed down through several generations. Bolstered by demand, they bought a truck and a portable barbecue pit—but soon traded these for a brick-and-mortar location, a rustic storefront on East Van Buren Street. More than 25 years later, the pair are still serving smoked meats at Honey Bear’s BBQ, boosting their output with a second location on North Central Avenue and a separate catering center.
Their recipe has only improved with age, earning them accolades such as the Phoenix’s Best BBQ Sauce 2010 Award from the Phoenix New Times. Inside the Honey Bear BBQ kitchens, chefs brush this signature Tennessee sauce onto pulled pork, shredded chicken, and beef brisket, which they serve by the pound, pile onto sandwiches, or stuff into face-level catapults. They complement the mesquite flavors with traditional Southern sides such as potato salad, cowbro beans, collard greens, and tater tots. For faraway fans, they also bottle and ship their signature sauce around the country.
Though the loaves you buy off the shelves at Wildflower Bread Company might be warm from the oven, they might not have been made fresh that day. That's not because Wildflower uses frozen dough—rather, its bakers are firm believers in slow-rising bread, letting their handcrafted dough rise for 16–24 hours before it ever sees an oven. So every morning, dough mixed and hand-shaped the previous day is worked into one of 18 styles of bread. The house specialties include classic baguettes, rye bread sprinkled with pasilla chilies, pretzels, or loaves worked through with rosemary and sea salt. These breads can be bought by the loaf or enjoyed as the anchors of a gourmet sandwich, an edible soup bowl, or a side for salad or pasta. The bakers also make room in their ovens for scones, tarts, and cakes, taking care of their customers' sweet teeth so they can stop chaining the table sugar to the coffee station.