Roman literature describes how Emperor Nero enjoyed the rarest of all treats: fruit juices and wines chilled in mountain snow. Several thousand years of technological development have unlocked the ability for everyone to enjoy what was once a snack fit only for royalty and to do so in a health-conscious way. Planet Yogurt serves a daily rotating cast of 12 flavors of frozen yogurt, which is low in fat and rich in probiotics. More than 50 toppings—from fresh-sliced fruit to crushed classic candy—wait to dust the tops of self-served-yogurt mountains.
The walls match the vibrant colors of the snacks and toppings with lime greens, warm reds, and bright oranges. As visitors scarf down their frozen treats, wall-mounted flat-screen TVs keep them entertained with sitcoms and the weatherman’s fanciful tales of good and evil.
Working out of a postal truck repurposed as a mobile bakery, Street Sweets & Eats’ owners Stacey and Jake bake and deliver a menu of cake pops, creatively flavored cupcakes, and sandwiches. Raspberry-filled lemon cake, chocolate chips and cookie dough, and coconut-topped vanilla cream stand out among 11 other inventive cupcake flavor combinations which, along with their other snacks, can be purchased directly from the truck or ordered in bulk for catering.
At Yogurt Stop, over 70 flavors of frozen yogurt come together with over 50 toppings to make delicious, customized treats. Each day, customers will find a rotation of ten flavors, such as strawberry, chocolate, cupcake, and pineapple. Then, they can coat the low-fat and non-fat treats with fruits and other toppings, or select a fruit smoothie or bubble tea.
Just above the gelato-and-coffee counter in Paula’s Eatery hovers what looks to be an enormous wire bird’s nest. The hyper-modern chandelier kind of sums up the whole feel of the café: disarmingly stylish, but comfortable and family-friendly.
The tone is fitting for a shop that has made a name for itself based on its unorthodox take on comfort food. The bakery whips up plates of homespun classics with a gourmet twist. The banana bread is roasted, zucchini cake is made with Tuscan olive oil, and the improbably enormous Rice Crispy treats are shot through with marshmallow chunks. Their signature Belgian waffles get a similar upgrade, served with pure maple syrup or the shop’s homemade gelato. For midday meals, cooks press fresh paninis, such as the Hawaiian Hula Ham, smothered in provolone, honey cured ham, and zesty pepper spiced apricot relish. At the coffee bar, baristas tamp out a slew of espresso drinks, from classic drip coffees to exotic affogatos—a scoop of gelato drowned in espresso and served with an improvised sea shanty.
Founded by ice-cream enthusiasts Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone Creamery has grown to more than 1,400 locations across North America. Each day, the shop's scoopers mix up fresh batches of ice cream and sorbet, which are served by the scoop, piled high in sundaes, and blended into shakes. After customers choose their desired flavor, the staffers toss the chilly sustenance upon a slab of frozen granite and fold in a smorgasbord of candy and nuts to achieve the ideal ice-cream-to-add-in ratio. Customers can dream up their own creations or opt for a signature masterpiece, sampling one of more than 11.5 million possible flavor combinations, which still await a brave conqueror to unlock them all. To accommodate sweets cravings at celebrations, staff members also dish out premade treats, such as ice-cream cakes and baked goods.
Annie Defa learned a lot in her 10 years in the coffee-shop industry, including how to select the choicest beans from among thousands. She puts this knack into action on a weekly basis, consulting with her local roaster to supply the shop with the aromatic blends she brews into steaming mugs or transforms into specialty drinks. She and her crew also bake up croissants, cookies, and muffins fresh each morning. In the summertime, an outdoor patio supplements the café’s intimate indoor space, and free WiFi ensures that clients stay up-to-date with emails, news, and the latest styles of cappuccino-foam mustaches.
The potation crafters at Beans & Brews Coffee House whip up hot and cold beverages from perk-proffering coffee beans, relaxing tea leaves, and sweet decaf alternatives. Hot coffee drinks, such as the cappuccino ($3.60 for 12 oz.) or eye-opener brew ($2.80 for 12 oz.) gently jolt the brain awake with mountain-roasted goodness, and the dulcet notes of iced chai ($4.10 for 16 oz.) and B&B frappes ($4.05 for 16 oz.) cool off summer-scorched palates with their sweet, icy taste. Roasters get the most out of each coffee bean with Beans & Brews’ trademark high-altitude roasting, which imparts each batch of grounds with a smooth flavor that, like an angst-riddled teddy bear, maintains a high level of complexity.