A Latte Fun Indoor Playground and Café brims with happy chatter, which drifts from regular classes, special events, and open playtime seven days a week.
Children frolic across multicolored carpeted floors in a 6,000-square-foot playroom, exploring climbing structures, foam pits, and a floor-level trampoline that is kept safe by rounded edges, extensive padding, and declawed teddy bears. The playground eschews video games, prize games, and violent toys, instead letting older children don animal costumes in the dress-up area, while toddlers younger than 2 romp in their own play pit and toy bins. Cool zephyrs of air conditioning sweep contented sighs away from zebra-print sofas or onyx-hued wooden tables, where adults peruse a gourmet café menu. A boutique toy store extends the center's positive attitude toward play into homes with a slew of unique gifts and rare and eclectic toys.
A private room reverberates with the youthful energy of A Latte Fun Indoor Playground and Café's classes, formal functions, and parties, which staff members provide with refreshments, cake, and decorations. At least two assistants remain on hand at kids’ events to provide full setup, cleanup, and supervision to ward off squabbles that arise when imaginary friends show up wearing the same outfits.
The owner of Stacie's Cakes, a mother of six, had little time for time-consuming baking projects while her children were young. Now that they've grown up, though, she can focus on expertly baked, meticulously decorated sweets. Among her specialties are multi-tiered cakes covered with sculpted fondant, sprinkle-dipped cake pops, and cakes that mimic the appearance of high heel shoes, animals, and other whimsical shapes.
The aroma of slow-simmering caramel and chocolate wafts through Hoffman’s Chocolate’s Greenacres headquarters. To demystify its origins, the shop’s chocolatiers have outfitted their kitchen with observation windows, granting customers the chance to admire their delicate handiwork and holiday helper subcontractors. They meticulously lace European truffles with chocolate drizzles, and dunk cherries and pretzels in milk and dark chocolate. This devotion to small batches of handmade treats extends back to the 1970s, when founder Paul Hoffman began peddling treats out of his small Lake Worth chocolate shop. Over the decades, chocolatiers have expanded the bakery’s repertoire to include whimsical confections such as enormous fortune cookies and seasonal treats.
The hookah's natural habitat is not a nightclub with crashing music and empty drinks slamming against tables. The hookah experience, according to Kimm Smith of Hookah House, should be unrushed and mellow. "It's very meditative," she says, "and should be shared with people you care about." This was the atmosphere in which co-owner Zo spent his childhood in Algeria, where people would spend long hours gathering with friends and families in hookah lounges. He and his Bostonian wife, Michelle, wanted to bring that aspect of Algerian culture to the United States, both to spread a feeling of community and as an homage to the marriage of their distinct backgrounds.
As the fruit-tinged smoke of shisha rises from between murmuring visitors, it passes rich fabrics, which drape the exposed-brick walls, and bright lanterns dangling from a marigold ceiling. Stories seem to overflow from the furniture and textiles, gathered during the couple’s travels in Algeria or preserved from Zo's former life as a sommelier in Paris. This is where patrons linger, resting shoeless feet on bright cushions and pillows as they converse or check email on the free wireless internet. Atop inlaid tables, servers place Turkish coffee, house blends of Moroccan tea, and small plates of Mediterranean-inspired dishes.
On some weekend evenings, live jazz stirs guests to twist among tendrils of smoke before a DJ steps up to spin a range of music, from Earth, Wind & Fire to Jimi Hendrix. Belly dancers, with bells and scarves for all to borrow, demonstrate to patrons how to pass lie-detector tests with just their hips. A psychic-in-residence reads coffee grounds most nights, translating the earthy onyx shapes into predictions about the drinker's future.
In 1947, Don Kilwin struck upon the perfect method for making candies and chocolates—and when you discover perfection, you don't abandon it. That's why almost 70 years later, the chefs at their dozens and dozens of locations across the country still use old-fashioned copper kettles, marble slabs, and Howdy Doody puppets. And guests can see the proof of that: the glass-walled kitchens afford a clear view of the delectable goings-on as the dreamweavers conjure cashew brittle, caramel apples, fudge, and 40 flavors of ice cream. A steaming mug of coffee, hot chocolate, or cider pairs perfectly with these sweet treats.