Jose Cuervo tequila with fresh lime. Kahlúa mixed with Baileys Irish Cream. Captain Morgan with Coke. At After Hours Cupcake Bar, you can't drink these concoctions, but you can eat them. These familiar cocktails are the ingredients for alcohol-infused gourmet cupcakes that serve as unique desserts to match with after-dinner drinks or to celebrate the anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal. To sate the sober crowd, After Hours also crafts a selection of virgin flavors that, while a shade more traditional, still surprise. Playful flavors include peanut butter and jelly and root-beer float, which comes coated in marshmallow buttercream frosting pierced with a miniscule straw.
Brother-sister duo and third-generation dairy farmers Casey and Alison Stechnij grew up climbing haystacks and getting up at 5 a.m. to feed the animals. After they graduated from college, Casey returned to the dairy business and Alison left for the corporate world—but she yearned to return to her roots after more than a decade. Today, Casey and Alison have opened Superstition Farms for tours so that everyone can get a taste of the rural life and sample treats that garnered the business Edible Phoenix’s Local Hero Award in 2011 for best Food Artisan.
Casey, Alison, and their team transform their farm-fresh dairy products into homemade farmer's cheeses and delectable desserts available inside Udder Delights, the farm's "tastery." Handcrafted butter comes in flavors such as local honey, chocolate, or bacon, based on which TV dinners the cows chose the night before. The culinary team concocts small batches of ice cream using short lists of local ingredients to yield flavors such as sweet potato, cherry sorbet avocado, and chocolate birthday cake. When the New Times awarded Udder Delights their 2009 award for Best Chocolate Milkshake, they said it "hits every mark—chocolate taste, creaminess, and richness—on our checklist." Guests can order sea-salt-caramel cupcakes or request custom ice-cream cakes for birthday parties, graduation galas, and welcoming new freezers into the family.
With more than 700 locations, Jamba Juice proves to the masses that nutrition can be speedy and delicious. Since the beginning, the company's product philosophy has revolved around choosing whole fruits and other natural ingredients over artificial flavorings, sweeteners, and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats, and it offers additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
Blended drinks dominate the menu, with options including fruit refreshers—made with naturally hydrating, electrolytic coconut water—and pre-boosted smoothies that can fill nutritional gaps with infusions of protein, immunity boosters, or antioxidants that neutralize accidentally swallowed pool water. The drink list also includes organic house-blend coffee and Talbot Teas, including Paris Breakfast and SOHO Earl.
For those with heartier appetites, steel-cut oats steep in soymilk before being enhanced with toppings such as apples, cinnamon, and brown-sugar crumble. The lunch hour presents protein-packed mini wraps, toasted bistro sandwiches and California Flatbreads that pack only about 320–420 calories each.
After making desserts at Vincent on Camelback and La Dolce Vita, Le Cordon Bleu London–trained pastry chef Rachel Saunders became the co-owner of TopIt Cupcakes, where she handcrafts a rotating variety of cupcakes. Standards, such as salted caramel on chocolate cake, are available every day, and special-guest confections, including pancake maple and bacon, french toast, and s'mores, make cameos on the menu once a week. She can finish cupcakes with special designs upon request, or leave them bare for patrons to frost and top their treats with an assortment of candies or IOUs spelled out in sprinkles.