Like all great stories, Cakes by Crème de la Crème's was written through persistence. Pastry chefs Michael Jones and Bart Utz first met when they were taking baking courses together. They formed a partnership, worked at several establishments, then pooled their resources and struck out on their own, starting Cakes by Crème de la Crème. The duo, who have chalked up experience working at venues such as the Washington Athletic Club and the Sunset Club, combine their expertise to craft delicious and visually intricate cakes for all occasions. This expertise has garnered press attention from The Knot, who recently included them in their "Best of Weddings 2013" feature.
Their tiered wedding cakes roll out a spectacle for the eye and the tongue, with romantically elegant designs finished in buttercream icing and fondant. They customize cakes to each client’s specifications by creating a unique border or design, and by giving customers a choice of unique flavors, such as banana cake with strawberry preserves and cream-cheese filling. Jones and Utz also specialize in affordable dessert cakes, tortes, and tarts and custom party cakes, which they can mold into inspired designs such as stacks of favorite books, a college’s logo, or a turntable with vinyl records on top—an homage to the days when every cake was also a record player.
AJ Ghambari was born and raised in the Seattle coffee and food industry. His father owns the Cherry Street Coffee House and taught him how to make and sell quality food. One of its primary suppliers was Seattle Bagel Bakery, which would deliver kettle-boiled bagels to the coffeehouse every morning. When the bakery's owner told AJ he was not sure if it would survive, AJ knew he had to act. He learned the bagel-making process and slowly began taking over at Seattle Bagel, overseeing the process of kettle-boiling each bagel. He now manages the business as it expands into a dual retail and wholesale operation across the city.
Making each bagel from scratch, bakers mix the dough by hand using flour that was sustainably farmed and distributed by a co-op of local farmers. They then form the bagels, plump them, and leave them to mature overnight as the flavors settle, the bread thickens, and the yeast stops throwing temper tantrums. At 4 a.m. the next morning, they throw the bagels into a kettle of boiling water to crisp the crust and leave a rich, chewy interior. Finally, the bakers top the bagels with sesame seeds, cheese, or onions, bake them in shelf ovens, and deliver them to local retailers by 6:30 a.m. The early delivery comes just in time for the morning rush of customers scrambling for bagels flavored with olive oil and pesto, bacon and cheddar, or sweet orange and cranberry—all of which can be smothered with housemade cream cheese or dry-rubbed lox.
Cold Stone Creamery's ice cream, which is made fresh in stores every day, inhabits a quantum flux between soft-serve and traditional ice cream, with a rich, creamy texture that whispers tales of its super-premium quality as it glides over taste buds. Choose your favorite ice cream from among dozens of silky flavors, such as irish cream and butter pecan. The ice cream generously welcomes dozens of toppings as traditional as crumbled cookies and chopped nuts or as quirky as granola, black licorice, and pieces from magnetic poetry sets. Sufferers of premature brain freeze who are unable to invent a creamy concoction can try a Cold Stone Signature creation ($3–$5), such as the almond-studded and caramel-slathered Coffee Lovers Only or the Peanut Butter Cup Perfection with Reese's peanut-butter cups and fudge. The Frankencream you desire will be scooped cold off the grill into a freshly made waffle cone or bowl. Ice-cream creations are priced from $3.50 to $4.50, depending on size.