When they craft their seasonal menu, the cooks at AVA Restaurant and Wine Bar aren't looking to impress diners with unfamiliar dishes. Instead, they wow taste buds with rich, robust flavors, roasted duck breast to meatloaf kicked up a notch by chipotle cream sauce. For vegan and vegetarian visitors, AVA's culinary team draws on organic and local fruits, veggies, and grains to create meals such as vegan chicken and waffles. Meatless or not, each feast can be accompanied by pours from an award-winning wine list curated by the eatery's onsite sommelier. Bartenders also serve plenty of beer, as well as custom, exotic tea blends.
Ben & Jerry's has double-handedly transformed ice cream from a dreary and dreaded after-dinner chore into a dazzling treat that can be easily stored in pants pockets. The shops offer a variety of frozen confections, from milkshakes to large ice-cream cups and cones, hot-fudge sundaes, and signature pints. Spoon the cuddly depths of Ben & Jerry's famous original flavors, such as Cake Batter, Cherry Garcia, Imagine Whirled Peace, Triple Caramel Chunk, Peanut Brittle, Chunky Monkey, Half Baked, Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz!, New York Super Fudge Chunk, and more.
The frozen creamery is also a proficient cakery with a proud stock of frozen cakes to help spoil supper. For social ice creaming, ready a band of spoon-armed eaters and dive into the Vermonster Sundae, a heaping pail of 20 scoops, hot fudge, bananas, cookies, brownies, and toppings of your choice.
Donut dignitaries Matt Rohdie and his wife, Jen Downey, craft their delicious morsels from scratch using high-quality organic ingredients and sell them out of their Allied Lane location as well as Gypsy, their red donut wagon. Fried to order in less than five minutes, each donut sates ravenous sweet teeth with a sumptuous mixture of organic eggs, apple cider, and spices deep-fried in pure soybean oil and dusted with cinnamon sugar ($10/dozen or redeem the Groupon for a prepaid $10 punch card). The nirvana-inducing circles are devoid of hydrogenation, trans-fats, and performance-enhancing sprinkles. Carpe Donut's organic coffee, Italian cioccolata, and freshly mulled hot cider ($2 each) blend ideally with their succulent donuts ($1 each). Matt and his family proudly display the Arbor Day cards that Mother Nature sends them for converting all of the used oil into green biofuel.
Kirt's Homemade Ice Cream showcases a wide variety of rotating flavors that staffers churn and chill onsite. Stop in for cups and cones mounded with seasonal varieties, including egg nog and peppermint stick during cooler months or raspberry-lemon sorbet and red velvet during the summer. Kirt's also constructs homemade ice cream cakes and cupcakes, which are ideal for special occasions or birthday parties in Antarctica.
If the round, pastel-colored tables at Lynchburg’s Sundae Grill could speak, they might regale listeners with stories of their earlier life, spent at a Disney World café frequented by the park’s most animated characters. Given the same chance, the pink and baby-blue booths would not speak but rather sing; though they now host a continual stream of diners come to sample the restaurant’s famous burgers and sundaes, they once belonged to pop sensation Celine Dion. With more than 101 choices of ice cream and desserts—including a staggering 56 sundae options—Sundae Grill lives up to and continues to build on the legacies of its own furnishings. Though the diner’s marinated, seasoned, and charbroiled burgers have won local awards throughout the years, owners BH and Mrs. K insist on rounding out their menu with recipes culled from across America—BH personally traveled the country looking for the most interesting hot-dog recipes from each region. This same dedication to variety informs Mrs. K’s lengthy list of so-called super sundaes. Local favorites include a caramel-pecan combination topped with whipped cream and a Death by Chocolate selection served with a napkin that doubles as a last will and testament.
Each Bloop Frozen Yogurt location keeps a lineup of frozen yogurt machines churning out 10–16 rotating flavors in nonfat, low-fat, and no-sugar-added forms—not to mention nondairy sorbet options such as watermelon and pink lemonade. Cups pile high with Godiva dark chocolate, cake batter, and real strawberry yogurt and a wide array of toppings such as M&Ms, gummy worms, and seasonal fruits. The frozen treat innovators encourage enthusiasts to submit their own outrageous flavor ideas in hopes that one day, wishes for a yogurt inspired by Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey can finally be fulfilled. Every Bloop cup of yogurt purchased provides a cup of clean drinking water to areas in need through the A Cup 4 A Cup initiative. So far, the Bloop chain has donated more than 42,000 cups, and a goal for each new store is to provide a new drinking well to a needy community.