A 2010–2011 recipient of the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce Emerging Business of the Year award, Phoenix Rising Bakery crafts a scrumptious bounty of handmade breads, sweets, and other golden-crusted butter vessels. Each batch of artisan bread dough is kneaded to life over the course of two days using all-natural and organic ingredients, and then baked in a traditional wood-fired brick oven. Accompany morning cups of coffee or tea-time chalices of mead with a fresh and flavorsome cinnamon roll ($3), or practice making kissy faces by puckering up to a lemon bar ($1.50) instead of an already slanderized milkman. Nonsweet breads are available in flavors such as sourdough, rosemary, and whole wheat, and freshly prepared 10" pizza crusts ($7 for a pack of four) make perfect canvases for homemade pies or anchovy haikus.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine’s 2012 Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. As the shop’s reputation grew, so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&Ms, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies, and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real show-stoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
The line between latte and work of art is blurry at Fuego Coffee, thanks to a team of baristas who painstakingly swirl foam into hearts, snowflakes, and paisley teardrops. Though their pouring skills are impressive, their work starts long before the coffee finds its way to the cup. The shop sources its beans from organic growers and roasts them locally to ensure consistency and freshness. Only after the baristas grind these beans do they end up in a cappuccino, Cuban espresso, or one of 20 flavored energy drinks.
But these beverages aren't all that makes Fuego Coffee unique. The shop also features two drive-thru lanes for customers who are in a rush and whose gas tanks accept only premium roast. Those who have a minute can take advantage of the shop's dog-friendly policy, which allows leashed pets to sit with their owners.
It would take months to sample every single flavor of shaved ice at MamboFreeze—after tasting all of the traditional flavors such as lemon and apple, there are still over a hundred imaginative varieties to try. The little shaved ice trailer offers more than 200 varieties of the frozen treat, including unconventional flavors such as jalapeño stinger and buttered popcorn, along with a slew of sugar-free options. Servers top the frosty treats in an array of rich toppings, from cream to caramel. Additionally, guests can indulge in frozen yogurt or smoothies blended into vibrant flavors such as orange creamsicle and strawberry basil.