Dishing out 17 cupcake flavors to sugar-craving customers—including a special cognac-infused creation for rapper Ludacris—the patisserie artisans at Gimme Some Suga satiate sweet teeth with elaborate confections constructed daily with rich icings and fresh fruits. Soak up advice about life, love, and frosting from a bona-fide pastry chef in a 90-minute cupcake decorating class that includes a complimentary beverage and a Gimme Suga apron along with a batch of class-created goodies to take home. This dessert-adorning tutorial teaches students how to permeate sweets with flavorsome filling, shape fondant into ornate designs, and bedeck icing with simple items such as candy to create believable characters for edible renditions of Citizen (Candy) Kane. Those seeking abdominal edification over culinary education can select from a wide range of signature cupcakes, including the red velvet, a cream-cheese-topped delectable crafted from a secret family recipe, and the cookie-and-cream cupcake garnished with Oreo buttercream frosting (available individually for $2.75 each).
Boasting four consecutive Best Barbecue awards from Best of Gwinnett, the chefs at Dillards Barbecue take pride in their zesty Southern cuisine. As their ribs marinate in tangy barbecue sauce, they whip up the fried chicken, savory pork, and tender catfish sandwiches that have been winning over taste buds since 1998. If it’s too early for hushpuppies or mac 'n' cheese, they usher in the day with Southern breakfast staples such as homemade biscuits with sausage gravy and eggs. They also cater heaping helpings of Southern eats for large parties, such as family gatherings, corporate meetings, and jury-duty reunions.
Named for the historical hacienda in Mexico once owned by Don Miguel Hidalgo—the father of Mexican independence—and known for its artisanal tequila, Corralejo Mexican Flair proffers south-of-the-border eats and tequila-based libations. Chefs in the kitchens of all three locations whip up traditional dishes, hand-mashing fresh avocados for batches of rich guacamole and flash-frying sun-dried-tomato tortillas to serve as a base for chimichangas. Having perfected the science of mixology during rigorous training sessions, Corralejo’s expert bartenders sling tequila-based beverages down the bar along trajectories they've carefully diagrammed on cocktail napkins.
Porto Bello sustains true Italians and pot-melted Americans alike with its hearty fare, thorough wine list and homey atmosphere. Owner and experienced chef Victor oversees the family-owned outpost, quelling taste-bud mini mutinies with three-course prix fixe dinners that include a first course of antipasto, any appetizer or soup or salad; one of three entrees; and any dessert. Warm up jaw squares with a platter of prosciutto-packed antipasto (an $8.95 value) before choosing from the triple threat of entrees: chicken francese in a lemon-butter sauce (a $13.95 value), classic eggplant parmiggiana (an $11.95 value), or the sole Contadina sautéed with tomatoes and onions in a garlicky sauce and crowned with fresh basil (an $18.95 value). A slice of creamy ricotta cheesecake (a $3.75 value) or a ladyfinger-laden slab of tiramisu (a $4.25 value) ends edible expeditions sweetly and keeps mouths from swallowing sugar packets whole. Porto Bello woos patrons with relaxing meals in an intimate setting that’s perfect for soliciting friendly investments for a mail-order cool-uncle business.
The instructors at Masterpiece Mixers Paint & Party Studio supply the canvases, paints, and brushes, requiring visitors to bring only their creativity. At studios located around Georgia and Florida, they lead all-level painting classes that last up to 1.5 to 3 hours and focus on subjects ranging from the natural, such as birds and flowers, to still-life guitars, vases, and wine bottles. In some themed sessions, instructors also teach groups to paint abstract pieces or create their own variations on famous landscape paintings that, unlike the originals, can include dinosaurs. Some sessions follow a special date-night structure, whereas others occur off site at a winery retreat. At some locations, the staff members encourage visitors to bring their own wine and beer if desired—and they always allow snacks.
Cheeky rouses a sizzling flavor fiesta with its fresh menu of made-daily Mexican favorites, signature salsas, and vast drink directory. Diners can sink tortilla chips into one of Cheeky's five vibrant salsas or wield crispy plantain wedges when chomping through an authentic shrimp-and-calamari ceviche ($9) to the rhythm of the Mexican national anthem. Paw-ready sandwiches include a crispy torta asada ($9), and custom-built tacos can be crafted from signature crab-cake fritters, steak, shrimp, and fish ($3). Grumbling bellies are hushed by piping entree plates, such as a shrimp-and-spinach quesadilla ($10) or a poblano pepper stuffed with melted mixed cheese and topped with a cherry tomato sauce ($8+).
Chin Chin-Mu Lan tempers the raw rage of growling stomachs with a menu of specialty sushi rolls and saucy Chinese plates. Traditional dishes such as general tso's chicken provide the comforting familiarity of a heated blanket embroidered with your family portrait ($6.75 lunch, $11.00 dinner). Mu Lan specialties include the Happy Family—a crowd-pleasing compilation of meat and seafood sautéed with mixed vegetables ($6.75 lunch, $14.45 dinner). Sushi rolls such as the Chin Chin crunch roll wrap up an assortment of seafood with land-based treats including asparagus and chili mayonnaise ($10). Chefs happily customize the hotness level of any spicy dish to each customer's unique tongue print.