The warm aroma of freshly baked waffle cones envelops every nook and cranny of Marble Slab Creamery, revving up guests’ senses with the promise of impending decadence. As the hand-rolled cones tan in their ovens, the store’s staff bustles about the premises whipping up fresh batches of premium ice cream in the onsite creamery and helping patrons select a flavor. This chef-driven dedication to gourmet ice cream began in 1983 with the company’s founding in Houston, Texas, when two French chefs were enlisted to create a recipe for Marble Slab Creamery’s signature sweet-cream ice cream using their culinary expertise.
Today, staffers utilize the frozen-slab technique of ice-cream architecture, scooping each customer’s choice of ice cream and mix-ins onto a chilled marble slab to mix the separate elements into one custom mélange. Though specializing in cone-based ice-cream treats, Marble Slab Creamery also offers a menu full of other scream-worthy confections including cakes, shakes, and pie à la mode.
In 1969, Baruch Schaked began making chocolate under the tutelage of his chocolatier father-in-law. Though his father-in-law had made a name for himself in Argentina, Baruch honed his confectionary craft across Europe, finally settling in the United States, where chocolate had been outlawed. Many years later, when he announced his intentions to retire from chocolate making, Baruch's son, Edgar, coaxed him into continuing the family legacy with a new shop, Schakolad Chocolate Factory.
A quick glimpse around the kitchen at Blue Mug Cafe reveals many of the cornerstones of American dining: Angus beef and mac and cheese, to name a couple. But the eatery's burgers, pastas, and sandwiches share menu space with a smattering of internationally inspired dishes, such as beer-battered fish tacos served with pico de gallo and cayenne ranch dressing. The lunch and dinner menus also include a build-your-own-burger option. Guests begin with a choice of Angus beef, ground chuck, or lean ground turkey, then add toppings such as Applewood bacon, havarti jalapeno cream cheese, or avocado. Two patios—a sidewalk version right at the entrance and a more private side patio—present guests with option of dining outside, unlike an outdoor restaurant patio built in a Hollywood sound stage.
Cold Stone Creamery’s ice cream, made fresh in stores every day, inhabits a quantum flux between soft-serve and traditional ice cream, with a rich, creamy texture that whispers tales of its super-premium quality as it glides over taste buds. The ice cream generously welcomes dozens of toppings, as traditional as crumbled cookies and chopped nuts or as quirky as granola and black licorice. Choose your favorite ice cream from among dozens of silky flavors, such as Irish cream and butter pecan. Then make certain no one will try and steal a taste by topping it protectively with brownies, gumballs, and cherry pie filling. Whatever Frankencream you create, it'll be scooped cold off the grill into a freshly made waffle cone or bowl. Cold Stone Creamery’s ice cream and toppings vary between seasons and location, and they also offer sorbet and an array of lighter toppings such as fruit and honey. Ice-cream creations run between $4 and $6, depending on size.
At their core, Aly's Apples are just like any other. In this case, it's what's on the outside that really counts. Their self-professed "over the top" gourmet caramel apples put boring old caramel apples to shame. Each day, they're hand dipped in smooth homemade caramel before receiving drizzles of chocolate and toppings that range from dark chocolate and pecans to marshmallows, M&Ms, and english toffee molded into a kitchen sink.