Hungry Bear Cookies pays homage to company founder Deryl Bear, as well as his bear-sized appetite for fresh-from-the-oven gourmet treats. The preservative free cookies are available in flavors ranging from chocolate chip to sugar dreams, as well as in cake-sized formations perfect for birthdays or rescuing someone from a giant glass of milk. Beyond saving countless tummies from a day without dessert, Hungry Bear has also proudly donated portions of its profits to charitable organizations such as the Children's Hospital of Central California.
Don't you dare mistake Leilani Shave Ice's frozen creations for snow cones. They're far more unique than that. Unlike snow cones, authentic Hawaiian shave?that's shave, not shaved?ice starts with a base of vanilla, macadamia, chocolate, mint chip, or strawberry ice cream. Upon that creamy foundation, staff pile ice that has been shaved down to a super-fine powder and sweeten it with a variety of tropical syrups in flavors such as blue raspberry, red watermelon, and orange dreamsicle. Even then, the delicious flavor layering isn't finished. Staff still need to add a final flourish in the form of toppings like condensed milk, chocolate or caramel syrup, or mini marshmallows.
Upon first glance, Le Roi French Bakery looks a bit like a castle. Roses and metal curlicues line the space, where bakers flit in and out of a pair of saloon doors. Named for the French word for king, this bakeshop’s confections are enchanting and majestic, like a towering mountain of Magic 8 balls. At the counter, a brightly lit case brims with classic European treats such as éclairs, napoleons, tarts, and parfaits. The scent of espresso wafts by as staffers froth fresh milk for lattes and cappuccinos. Like a fairy tale about princes and princesses, these details inspire daydreams as patrons leaf through albums stuffed with hundreds of custom-cake ideas, including tiered wedding cakes adorned with fondant flowers and round delights flanked with fruits, frostings, or ladyfingers.
Amid pale pink walls and white cabinets with chrome counters, a large glass case at Maddie Cakes Cupcake Bakery protects jumbo-size cupcakes perched on silver cake stands from the harsh realities of adulthood. At Maddie Cakes Cupcake Bakery, bakers infuse the desserts with flavors such as salted caramel, pumpkin apple, cherry delight, and at least 10 chocolate-infused options, and cap each cake with fluffy frosting. They also bake cinnamon rolls, fruit tarts, and custom cakes with fresh fruit filling and fondant figures.
Having grown up in the restaurant business, brothers Kyler, Kanaan, and Kavicka Marcelino followed in the footsteps of their parents to open The Lunch Box in 2009. They've amassed a loyal following of locals who frequent the high-ceilinged bistro, where the chefs send out far more than just lunch. Scrawled on a tall chalkboard behind the counter, the menu is home to familiar sandwiches and wraps, and comfort-food dishes inspired by the brothers' mother such as beef stroganoff and hearty chicken pot pie.
Jantz Cafe & Bakery is truly a family operation. It first opened its doors in 2001 under the direction of brothers Larry, Sheldon, and Andrew. Their mother, Margaret, supplied the majority of the recipes, and even their grandmother chipped in some concoctions. The Jantz brothers originally envisioned their shop as a side operation, but when customers began arriving in throngs, they knew they were onto something much bigger.
Since that modest beginning, Jantz Cafe & Bakery has added two additional locations in Mariposa and Merced. At each, the family relies on the freshest ingredients available while churning out batches of freshly baked bread, homemade pies, and other treats such as O'Henry bars and sweet-potato muffins. The business remains in good hands, too, since the next generation of Jantzes has already begun to learn the ropes and prepare to bake the future's edible smartphones. The Merced location is located in the El Portal plaza making it an ideal place to stop by before or after appointments or whenever a craving for good ole' home cooking arises.