The ice-cream engineers at Cold Stone Creamery spread frosty concoctions over cold marble slabs and fold in candies, brownies, and fruit to form deftly blended ice-cream treats. Signature creations, such as the Birthday Cake Remix—cake-batter ice cream mixed with chewy brownie bits—and the Oreo Overload, which is packed with chocolate cookie crumbles, make excellent piñata filling. Custom creations allow patrons to build towers of sprinkles, pecans, and cake bits atop mounds of frozen cream in flavors including chocolate, french vanilla, and mint. Shakes slowly surge through straws carrying fudge, caramel-latte, and cherry-cheesecake flavors, and smoothies dole out healthy sips of real fruit and vitamin boosts. Ice-cream cakes packed with candy and favorite mix-ins adorn the tables of birthday parties, anniversary bashes, and 10-year preschool-class reunions.
A stay-at-home mom founded Chelsea TreeHouse, a 9,000-square-foot indoor ?unplugged? play space free of any distracting video games or other electronics. The play area is outfitted with slides, swings, bridges, and a multilevel climbing structure, and basketball hoops allows aspiring players to practice slam dunks within eyesight of parents or guardians lounging in leather seating. During birthday parties, groups of kids can take advantage of amenities such as pizza, balloons, and lemonade. For everyday nourishment, TreeHouse?s full-service cafe replenishes energy with healthy bites such as veggies, yogurt, and cheese while parents enjoy more adult fare, such as sandwiches, salads, soups, and Zingerman?s Coffee.
At The Waffle Gourmet, a waffle isn't just a breakfast item. It's the foundation for creatively topped desserts, sandwiches made with Boar's Head meats, and ice-cream sundaes made with more than 30 flavors. After devouring crispy chicken with a waffle or another savory option, guests can pick from sweet waffles coated in toppings such as peanut butter, Nutella, and cream-cheese frosting, or choose waffle ice-cream sandwiches or sundaes tucked in waffle bowls. The wafflesmiths also use dedicated equipment to craft their special gluten-free vegan waffle, made without wheat, dairy, soy, corn, or yeast. As diners linger to chat or use the free WiFi to check in on their virtual pet rocks, they can also sip smoothies, french-pressed coffee, and organic milk.
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.
Whites and yolks are the stars of the menu at EggShells Restaurant, a little breakfast and lunch spot nestled in the Pine Ridge Courte Shopping Center. Chefs whip up four-egg omelets laden with meats, veggies, and cheeses, as well as stuff breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs and spicy chorizo. They make their own donuts, bagels, and papier-mâché chef hats in house, and receive daily deliveries of bread from LaBriola Bakery. These soft, fresh slices bookend build-your-own deli sandwiches at lunchtime, while housemade chips and other sides accompany 10-ounce steak burgers.
Before establishing Couture Cupcake Cafe, owner Cathi Volante was submerged in the world of public relations and marketing. But a desire to do something sweeter in life drew her to the world of desserts, where she now churns out handcrafted cakes, cupcakes, and savory pastries from the kitchen of her gourmet shop. Cathi’s lengthy menu of collections packs in more than 60 cheekily named cake flavors—the Jimmy Choo honors the designer’s decadent styles with rich layers of Belgian chocolate, and the 24 Carrot Cake’s orange cream-cheese icing pops like its golden namesake. Cathi also whips up such delicacies as savory cakes made from lobster and caviar, entices kids with s’more and donut flavors, and crafts men-centric treats including a BLT cake filled with bacon and flannel shirts. Dedicated to her customers, Cathi will even whip up gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, organic, or 100-calorie versions of her cupcakes or crown regular treats with whipped-cream icing.
The boutique shop also pleases sweet teeth with more than 600 Italian-gelato flavors at the adjoining Ciao! gelato bar and pours out glasses of Arabica gourmet organic coffee and custom-blended iced teas. To keep the good karma coming in, Couture Cupcake Cafe also donates 10% of its proceeds to local churches, charities, and organizations.