After earning a master's in sculpture, William Gustwiller immediately put all of those years of education to good use?though not in the way you might expect. He brought his artistic eye and sculptor's hands to the world of exotic chocolates, and he handcrafted enough of the sweets to open up Eclipse Chocolate in 2007.
Now, Gustwiller and his disciples sculpt about a dozen pastries and nearly 100 confections, including "quirky truffles" that were profiled in Food & Wine Magazine. Their artistic media: natural, organic, and sustainable ingredients. With a delicious layer chocolate as its mortar, Eclipse Chocolate has forged a partnership with Guittard Chocolate of San Francisco. The organization works directly with cacao farmers and other agents to source the high-quality, sustainable and fair-trade cacao that Eclipse Chocolate uses exclusively in its products.
Much of that cacao makes its way to Eclipse Chocolate's onsite bistro, where chefs incorporate it into buttermilk pancakes and blend it into what Travel and Leisure called some of "America's Best Hot Chocolate." The bistro, which also won a Silver Fork Award from San Diego Home & Garden magazine in 2013, even finds ways to incorporate chocolate into dinner: just look to the mascarpone meatball, which the chefs serve with a vanilla bean crostini and a cocoa balsamic drizzle.
A science lab calls to mind test tubes, bubbling flasks of chemicals, maniacally laughing men in white coats—but rarely ice cream. But that's exactly where Curt Jones, chairman and founder of Dippin' Dots, came upon the inspiration for the tiny flash-frozen beads of ice cream. A microbiologist, Jones spearheaded the flash-freezing process of cryogenic encapsulation, a method capable of trapping flavor and freshness.
Beginning as a retail shop in Lexington, Kentucky, the ice cream quickly began to quell the tantrums of Fortune 500 CEOs all over the country. Having won numerous awards since he created a new way to enjoy an old treat, Jones stays true to Dippin' Dots’ roots, making the ice cream at the company headquarters in Paducah, Kentucky. New additions to the Dippin' Dots family include Dots ‘n Cream, a treat similar to traditional ice cream.
Frozen yogurt not only tastes good; it's also good for you. Each of Fiji Yogurt's 100 flavors can be consumed guilt free, even if they're not one of the sugar-free, fat-free, dairy-free varieties. Besides classics such as pistachio, vanilla, and chocolate, far-out flavors are inspired by dessert with varieties such as blueberry cheesecake and white chocolate mousse. Once patrons fill their cups at the red yogurt station, they move to the green countertop to choose toppings. Peaks of yogurt can be crowned with candy, cookies, nuts, and fruit, as well as chunks of cookie dough and cheesecake. Customers enjoy their cups while perched on chairs that match the counter or the candy-apple-red leather sofas that match the maraschino cherry bush growing out front.
Yogurt on the Rocks offers almost 30 frozen, premium yogurt flavors with 36 toppings, eight fresh fruits, and 10 dessert sauces in a modern, loungey atmosphere. Your final masterpiece will be weighed at $.38/oz. to determine the final price, much like an extra-delicious tincture from an old-timey apothecary. Pick up a small, medium, or large cup and self-serve your mouth with a vast panoply of flavors such as acai berry, confetti cake, mango sorbet, pumpkin, peanut butter, and more. The yogurt itself also contains probiotic live cultures, so after eating, feel free to accept the homemade thank-you card from your stomach and post it on the fridge of a surprised family of strangers.
Aria Kabob Cafe captures authentic Afghan flavors with a menu of skewered halal meats soaked in fresh spice marinade. Woven patterns from Afghan rugs stretch across the walls as diners dive into a tapestry of flavors in an appetizer such as the medley of turnovers stuffed with potatoes, chives, and special seasoning in the bolani mix, or the Afghan nachos crowned with chili, cheese, beans, and jalapeños. The kebab entree pierces cubes of meat such as broiled lamb and char-grilled ground beef, and arrives at tables with an entourage of rice, salad, and bread. Lunch specials include the plate of lamb shank served with white or brown rice, spinach, and bread, providing ample midday fuel for an evening of howling at the moon. Sips of an espresso, latte, or cappuccino from the café reenergize nosh-weary mouths, and smoothies deliver fresh glasses of strawberry banana, banana, apple, or orange flavors.
One of the original pioneers of the yogurt industry, Golden Spoon has been whirling yogurt since the early 1980s. With six small servings of frozen yogurt to redeem, sweet-teethed customers can enjoy a several of the rotating flavors, including tastes such as just chocolate, peanut butter, café latte, butterscotch, and boysenberry. At 25–29 calories an ounce, health-conscious consumers can enjoy licks without translating each tongueful into the number of jumping jacks or flying-starfish impersonations needed to offset it.