Executive chef Jack Rickey brightens up his dishes at Billy Jack’s Bar and Grill by packing every recipe with crimson tomatoes, yellow sweet corn, and other colorful southwestern ingredients. The fiery flavors of chipotle peppers and chiles stimulate tongues when blended into the poblano-cream sauce poured over sizzling steak and shrimp or the aioli drizzled over sweet and spicy pork medallions. Bold ingredients find their way into seafood dishes as well, from the peaches that sweeten the BBQ roasted salmon to the jalapeno sauce that coats the restaurant's crab-stuffed tilapia and crab-stuffed piñatas.
When Debbi Fields opened the first Mrs. Fields in 1977, it wasn’t all sunshine and cookies. Between her lack of business experience and the unorthodox business model—selling only cookies—not many people believed in her. More than 30 years and a global franchise later, it’s safe to say the doubters are eating their words, at least when they're not busy stuffing their faces with one of Debbi's signature semisweet chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin and walnut cookies.
The wild popularity of Mrs. Fields's cookies can be attributed to the richness of their basic ingredients: real butter, whole eggs, and special blends of chocolate. Classic flavors include chewy fudge, peanut butter, and white chocolate macadamia, and seasonal flavors complement the lineup throughout the year. Select varieties can also be made into cookie cakes of various sizes and shapes that add a delicious twist to any celebration or milk-truck spill.
With more than 700 locations, Jamba Juice proves to the masses that nutrition can be speedy and delicious. Since the beginning, the company?s product philosophy has revolved around choosing whole fruits and other natural ingredients over artificial flavorings, sweeteners, and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats, and it offers additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
This naturalistic approach is fully realized in Jamba Juice's selection of smoothies. Made with 100% fruit juice, sherbet, and frozen yogurt, the frosty delights range from all-fruit smoothies such as peach perfection and strawberry whirl to more indulgent creamy treats, including peanut butter moo'd, an enticing blend of peanut butter, bananas, nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt, and milk chocolate.
For those with heartier appetites, steel-cut oats steep in soymilk before being enhanced with toppings such as apples, cinnamon, and brown-sugar crumble. The lunch hour presents protein-packed mini wraps, toasted bistro sandwiches and artesian flatbreads that pack only about 320?420 calories each.
The Wetzel name wasn’t always a source of pride. As a kid, Rick Wetzel grew accustomed to hearing, “Hey Wetzel, you pretzel!” on the playground. But the teasing inspired a quest for the tastiest soft pretzel, one that eventually blossomed into Wetzel’s Pretzels. After years in Nestle’s marketing department, Rick and coworker Bill Phelps channeled Rick’s soft-pretzel recipe into a chain of shops. They make hand-rolled, oven-baked pretzels that sit for only 30 minutes before being sold or chucked, an example that might be in the dictionary under "fresh," if Babe Ruth using his bat as a pool cue weren't already there. And though the buttered and salted Wetzel’s Original still occupies a spot on the menu, a flurry of imaginative flavors fills its other slots, from Sinful Cinnamon to Jalaroni, a cheesy pretzel scattered with pepperoni and jalapeños.
The amphitheater at Fair Oaks Farms doesn?t host agriculture-themed theater productions, or talks by resident farmers and cheese-makers. Instead, it?s the stage for an astonishing real-life drama. Before a giant wall of glass, audience members hold their breath as they watch a dairy cow give birth atop a bed of hay. Its calf enters the world in full view, rising up on its wobbling legs and hearing the sound of dozens of human hearts melting at once for the very first time. It all happens approximately 80 times each day.
The birthing barn anchors the farm's Dairy Adventure tour, giving families and school children a literal window into the world of sustainable dairy farming. At Fair Oaks Farms, the sustainability is as important as the milks and cheeses. As the New York Times recently reported, the farm creates natural gas from livestock waste. This ever-replenished source powers 10 barns, a cheese factory, an ice cream parlor, and everything else at the farm. It even becomes fuel for delivery trucks, which take raw milk to processing plants in three different states.
A lot of the dairy products stay right on the farm, however. At the onsite caf?, staffers serve countless glasses of chocolate milk and plates of grilled cheese sandwiches, the most popular items on the menu. The dining area overlooks the farm's cheese-making and milk-bottling facilities, so diners see exactly where their snack comes from. Fair Oaks Farms also features two brand new facilities, The Market & Bakery and the Farmhouse Restaurant
As for the cafe's produce, it comes directly from the farm's Green Garden Gate, a collection of gardens that sit in the shadow of a 25-foot milk bottle. The oversized container, known as "Udder Heights," is actually a climbing wall complete with belay systems and footholds. It stands at the center of Mooville, an outdoor play area that also contains train rides and a giant jumping pillow for when someone orders a milkshake.
Filling their kitchens with the freshest ingredients, the bakers of Branya's Bakery craft made-from-scratch treats, for casual consumption or custom order. The cake reigns supreme in this confectionary, adding its moist texture to cupcakes and specialty cakes that can be decorated with sculpted fondant or powdered sugar buttresses. These desserts can be topped with a variety of frostings and injected with fillings including fresh fruit, buttercream, or custard, allowing every bite to blend a trio of complementary flavors.
In addition to traditional baked goods, the bakery offers a line of made without gluten goodies crafted from rice flour rather than wheat flour. The line includes bread, muffins, doughnuts, cakes, and chocolate chip and butter cookies as well as soup, jelly, and jam.
Expanding beyond party-ready sweets, the pastry chefs also create hearty breakfast offerings with their in-store selection of biscuits and gravy, danishes, almond-filled bear claws, and muffins, with toppings of streusel or a light layer of frosting adding a touch of sweetness. During the lunchtime hours, a range of flavorful, homemade soups fill the shop with their aromatic scents, allowing guests to mix savory and sweet like the food pyramid during its rebellious teen years.