Dorset Café caters to tea-lovers and coffee connoisseurs alike with a plethora of warm, caffeine-laced beverages, as well as flaky pastries and gourmet sandwiches. Replenish the energy zapped by rapid eye movement and sleepwaltzing with a hearty choice from the breakfast menu, such as whole-wheat waffles ($8.95) or a hot pizzette with chevre goat cheese, bartlett pear, and maple ($8.95). Sippers can soothe their mouths from the stress of early-morning chewing with a steamy beverage, such as a large cup of special-reserve, single-origin coffee ($2.35) or a personal pot of loose-leaf black tea ($3.50). The stomach’s midday grumblings turn into afternoon applause thanks to selections from Dorset's lunch menu, which includes vegetarian quiche ($8.95) and gourmet sandwiches (starting at $6.95) that allow diners to choose their bread, fillings, and toppings, creating a lunch as unique as the snowflake fingerprints snowmen leave at their icy crime scenes.
Named Best Cupcake by Boston magazine in 2010, Five Bites Cupcakes sates voracious sweet teeth with a creative selection of petite pastries prepared with fresh ingredients. Simultaneously appease finicky uncles ravenous for red velvet and picky preschoolers pining for pumpkin with a customized assortment of delectable treats, each one sporting a thick tam-o'-shanter of luscious and ornate frosting. Mouths homesick for native Massachusetts will find comfort in the boston-cream cupcake, a hand-sized dessert filled with sweet cream custard and basted with dark-chocolate ganache, and candy connoisseurs hungry enough to lick the wellington boots of a Candy Land cropper can sample the lemon-drop cupcake. Those with an irresolute palate can stay perched atop the fence with a marble cupcake, a treat that brings together the polarizing flavors of white and chocolate cake for a therapeutic hug before undergoing a healing session of delicious mastication.
Fresh out of college, Vince Petryk took a job as a dishwasher at an ice cream shop. It was just a temporary gig…or, so he thought. As Petryk climbed through the shop’s ranks—he rose from dishwasher, to scooper, to ice-cream maker, to manager—he was awe-struck by the way ice cream seemed to make people feel happy. From that point on, he knew that he wanted to continue to share that joy with others and that the best way to do it, was to own his own ice cream shop. He perfected his from-scratch ice cream recipe before opening J.P. Licks, named for Jamaica Plain, the neighborhood where he opened his first location. The flavors were immediately a hit and continue to win loyal fans for their intensity and ingenuity––at any given time, guests might find cake batter and chocolate peanut butter ripple on the menu, alongside unusual flavors like tomato basil or beer and pretzels. Since those early days, Vince has also added from-scratch hard and soft frozen yogurts, sherberts, and sorbets. He has even been known to develop flavors to suit the tastes of the area's different ethnic groups, and dairy-free ice creams to provide relief to the area's overworked cows. Beyond serving traditional cones, Petryk and his staff also pack chilly scoops into house-made cakes and pies, blend them into shakes, and transform them into decadent sundaes topped with homemade hot fudge or butterscotch. The icy treats have proved so popular, J.P. Licks now has 10 area stores, leaving them ample wall space for awards: readers of The Phoenix voted it the city’s best ice cream parlor in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.
You can grab a slice of quiche and a glass of wine at Susu Bakery Boutique, but the real specialty here is dessert. Coffee complements flaky croissants, frosting-heaped cupcakes, and decorated butter cookies cut into fun shapes. Lemon tea cakes pair well with the bakery's tea list, and brownies make for delicious follow ups to sandwiches. Bakers will even aim their talents toward custom cakes for parties, And customers wanting to learn how to decorate desserts themselves need only enroll in one of the bakery's cupcake classes.
Over at the boutique, colorful candy buttons and penny candy share shelf space with rock candy. Sea salt glitters atop caramels, and truffles blend chocolate and raspberry flavors. You can even pick up a bag of granola.
The dining room at Pantry Restaurant feels like a home kitchen; that is, if home kitchens typically had walls made of rolling pins and muffin tins. The decor takes quaint Americana and puts it through a spin cycle, ending up with silverware dangling like chandeliers. The same approach to Americana can be said of the cuisine. There's a traditional bacon cheeseburger, but also a bacon burger with a patty made of scallops. There's a 10 oz. aged striploin, but also grilled salmon with risotto verde and preserve lemon crema. If you can't decide what to order, maybe the dining room's TVs will provide serendipitous direction. They run episodes of cooking shows such as Julia Child's The French Chef, Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals, and Graham Kerr's The Galloping Gourmet, all of which might inspire a craving for a particular dish or a desire to remodel your kitchen into a TV set.
Baker Adie Sprague, who made a splash as a participant on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, showcases her meticulous dessert designs at Treat Cupcake Bar. She crafts at least a dozen flavors every day, including seasonal goodies such as candy apple—an apple cake smothered with cinnamon frosting. Adie also whips up separate batches for gluten-free and vegan patrons, such as chocolate cake crowned with mint cookies ‘n' cream frosting.
Rather than hog all the decorating fun for itself, Treat invites guests to make their very own creations at its namesake bar. There, you’ll find four varieties of both cake and frosting, plus more than 20 other toppings, such as Pop Rocks and chocolate-covered pretzels. To refine your decorating skills, sign up for one of Treat’s holiday-themed classes and learn to make seasonal shapes such as turkeys for Thanksgiving and smashed calculators for National Do Long Division by Hand Day.