One cupcake looks much like another, which is why Red Velvet Cupcakery's pastry chefs pay such careful attention to what makes them different: the ingredients. Even before a Red Velvet customer takes a bite, they'll probably smell the presence of European butter, Valrhona chocolate, Maldon sea salt, local dairy products, French-style buttercream, and accents made from 24K gold leaf.
That difference was tasted by Washington Post Express, which concluded that Red Velvet's devil's-food cupcake "is sinfully satisfying" with its rich buttermilk cake topped with Valrhona bittersweet-chocolate ganache. It likewise hailed the red-velvet Southern Belle's whipped cream-cheese frosting as "simple, elegant, and too scrumptious for words." To ensure fresh cupcakes—and to keep their wastebaskets available for crumpled-up paper during "writer's block" montages—Red Velvet donates each day's remainders to local shelters and nonprofit organizations.
It was a fateful day that Campus Candy founder Mark Tarnofsky dropped his daughter off at Indiana University about four years ago. On a mission to track down a simple candy bar, the dutiful dad found himself roaming far afield until he finally landed at a distant drugstore. Convinced that college kids want candy within constant reach, Tarnofsky started his first store right there, and soon expanded to the schools in Wisconsin, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. Each outlet sells more than 500 different types of candy, all of which may be repurposed as toppings on a rotating menu of frozen yogurt. By slinging bulk candy at a fixed price, Campus Candy stores make it easy for college kids to load up on diverse desserts without filling their schedules with bonbon-making classes.
You don’t win accolades and awards just for having the best smoothie flavors. The ingredients matter as well. That’s why the blender-operating staff at Xoom eschew the use of high-fructose corn syrup, added sugars, and ice cream in favor of natural, organic ingredients that satiate nutrient levels as well as taste buds. The smoothie menu focuses on 100% fruit juice, blended with organic milk, nutrient boosters, and energizing shots of espresso to ready your body for a fast-paced day of activity or telling the Kool-Aid Man you’re changing the locks on his favorite wall entrance to your house.
Remaining true to its name, Eclectic Cafe introduces taste buds to an array of fresh offerings from both contemporary American and Mexican cuisines. Chefs sizzle up double havarti cheeseburgers and albacore melts alongside international dishes such as sonoran black-bean torta and the carne asada tostada. They offer gluten-free options, as well as catering services to accommodate those hosting special events or congressional summits in their home or office.
Robeks uses the freshest ingredients to craft made-to-order drinks and eats that will make you feel guilt-free about grabbing a quick bite. Join the berry party with berry smoothies such as the Banzai Blueberry, Strawnana Berry, and Cranberry Quest, all of which pulverize fruit together with all-natural juice, non-fat yogurt or sherbet, and ice ($3.49 junior, $4.49 regular, $5.49 large). For more pulchritudinous pulverized pulp, energize your day with power smoothies, including the Cardio Cooler (with a base of passion fruit and mango juice), which blend juices, non-fat yogurt or sherbets, soy or whey protein, and vitamin boosters ($5.29 regular, $6.29 large) into an elixir that that will revitalize even the most workout-withered body. Bites include protein-packed Kim & Scott's Gourmet Pretzels such as tomato parmesan or spinach feta ($2.49 each), and the hair-raising goodness of Lenny & Larry's power muffins or cookies with flavors such as oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, lemon poppyseed, and more ($1.99 each).
The roasters at Coffee X Change ignite peaceful morning rituals with fresh-roasted regional beans procured from the fair-trade market. With a day's notice, customers can order one pound of house, Peaberry, or globetrotting beans from such coffee-rich regions as Costa Rica, Kenya, or New Guinea, and the expert java-whisperers roast the beans overnight. To satisfy the percolating preferences of all patrons, brew maestros can grind the batch of freshly cooked crop or leave the beans whole for personal grinding practice or delicious slingshot ammunition. Though the market price of each bean type varies, batches range from approximately $12.45–$14.45 per pound.