CakeLove's baking staff, led by owner and Food Network's Sugar Rush host Warren Brown, specializes in cupcakes and cakes, baking batches from scratch daily with fresh, natural butter, sugar, eggs, and more. Each location's rotating selection of vanilla, chocolate, red-velvet, banana, carrot, and pumpkin cake bases is smothered with a variety of flavored buttercreams. Chocoholics can silence grumbling sweet tooths with creative concoctions like Cynthia's sin (chocolate cake dipped in chocolate ganache, topped with peanut butter buttercream, drizzled with chocolate and caramel, and sprinkled with candied peanuts), while those longing for a tropical getaway can abduct their tongue to a farflung locale with the lime on the coconut (shredded coconut and lime zest on a vanilla cupcake with lime buttercream). Cupcakes are $3.25 each, $19.50 for a half dozen, and $39 for a baker's dozen. Other sweet forms of gourmet baked goods ($2–$5), as well as the bakery's six-inch to 12-inch layer cakes ($25–$130), can sugary-up birthdays or candy-coat a van full of Shriner cars.
An edible rainbow stretches behind the counter of each Robeks Fruit Smoothies & Healthy Eats, tempting taste buds with a vibrant array of blueberries, kale, wheatgrass, strawberries, carrots, bananas, and other fresh fruits and vegetables. They recently unveiled 20 new additions to their menu, including Age Buster and Replenisher smoothies, the kid-friendly PB&J Delight, and the Fast Break bowl, which blends fruit, pineapple sherbet, and greek yogurt with strawberry and banana slices. Blended into bases such as natural nonfat frozen yogurt and sherbets, these nutritious morsels transform into smoothies and juices bursting with flavor. The menu also extends to coffee smoothies, kid-friendly options, and smoothie bowls.
Behind the brick façade of Plush Gelato & Coffee, owners Dinh and Henry Luong handcraft a rainbow of velvety gelatos and sorbets to match a variety of custom-brewed coffee and lattes. Spheres of creamy gelato scooped away from frosty peaks woo sweet teeth with locally sourced and seasonal flavors such as chocolate hazelnut, nutella cookie, and vietnamese coffee ($3.75 for small; $4.50 for medium; $5.25 for large). Blood orange, strawberry, and mango juices freeze into smooth sorbet with a unique texture that comes from millions of microscopic crystals. Rather than licking a car battery, awaken somnolent palates with a large cup of piping hot coffee ($2.25) or a foamy latte ($3.75).
Open 24 hours a day, Amphora's Diner Deluxe and Amphora Restaurant plug yell-holes with tasty eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The eateries share a menu loaded with local and international dishes ideal for feeding a hungry family or Spartan army. Mouths waiting for main courses can munch on appetizers such as pita chips and baguette slices dipped in hot spinach and artichoke dip ($6.95), or spear hunger with thai shrimp skewers smothered in a ginger-soy glaze ($8.95). Treat taste buds with royal deference with a selection of grand plates, including the sloppy joe bake served over screwy rotini pasta ($12.95), Cajun rib-eye steak with mango salsa ($18.95), and two fresh lump crab cakes, broiled or fried ($19.95).
The inside joke behind the name of Lara Stuckey's bakery goes all the way back to her childhood. As she told the Fairfax Times, "When my sister and I said silly things, we would call them 'fluffy thoughts.'" The reference to her youth is appropriate, considering that's when Lara got her start at baking by whipping up treats in her Easy-Bake oven. Her pursuit of culinary skills continued throughout her life, including during a period when she would design cakes at night after returning home from her full-time therapist job. At the urging of her friends, Lara eventually left her job to dedicate herself to her true passion at Fluffy Thoughts Cakes.
The bakery looks as cheerful as the story behind its development. Bright baubles hang from the walls, spotlighting display cases of specialty cakes and cupcakes made with Valrhona chocolate, pure European butter, and fresh fruit. Cupcake flavors rotate frequently, but they typically include inventive creations such as an apple cupcake with bacon bits and a pina colada cupcake that gives you the ability to play the piano if you practice the piano a lot while you eat it. Lara is also a longtime painter and sketch artist, so sculpting towering specialty cakes with intricate designs and imaginative shapes comes naturally to her.