A teapot dangles from the ceiling, poised to pour tea into the three cups waiting beneath it. It's not a quirky new way to enjoy tea, but a light fixture in the homey space at Harmony Tea House.
Eccentric, yet charming, with mismatched chairs and tableware, teatime here is reminiscent of an afternoon spent in a cozy home, which is likely why the readers of Bergen Health & Life magazine named it Best Tea House 2013. Fragrant pots of tea in 23 loose-leaf varieties accompany just-baked scones, finger sandwiches, and sweets during tea time, which may also include servings of the two seasonal soups and salads offered every day.
In addition to traditional afternoon tea, Harmony Tea Room hosts events such as Mommy and Me teas and brunch every third Sunday of the month. And of course, it's a relaxing setting for baby showers, book clubs, and birthday parties for stuffed animals dressed in their finest tutus.
Nestled inside a Victorian home, Blooming Hearts Treasure Shop, a winner of Bergen Health & Life magazine's 2012 Readers' Choice Award for Best Gift Shop, tempts the quaint and the whimsical with shelves and cases full of heart- and flower-themed gifts for women, children, and the home. A kaleidoscope of color and cornucopia of scents, it offers handmade and wearable art and accessories, as well as indulgent bath and body products and garden tools. To put a finishing touch on each gift, the staff offers free giftwrapping, and the shop's tables and vividly colored play space for kids welcome guests to linger, relax, and enjoy the scenery.
At Bing’s Burgers, cooks focus their grilling talents into crafting flavors not found at a typical drive-thru joint. While diners at the newly opened Fort Lee location can indulge in four types of slider and Bing's own beer-battered fish and chips, the menu centers around a lineup of burgers topped with combinations of unique ingredients. The Cali Burger sports a dollop of fresh, homemade guacamole and low-fat ranch dressing, and Bing's Signature Burger layers sauteed onions, gouda, and garlic aioli while also signing for incoming shipments.
The pen stroke of a poet. The flourish of a painter's brush. The tangled staff notes of a musician. The baker and owner of Yummy Bakes, Iris Rodriguez, likens the way she narrates celebrations through custom cakes and cupcakes to the works of any other artist. She sculpts 3-D desserts to reflect the focus of festivities, commemorating nuptials with four tiers of a ribbon-adorned cake in Tiffany blue and birthdays with an edible castle of bubblegum-pink turrets inhabited by princesses. Cartoon characters from Angry Birds and Sesame Street emerge in colorful twists of frosting and fondant, delighting birthday celebrants and confusing Martians trying to understand Earth’s food chain. Iris sometimes weaves her stories by embellishing sweets with edible photographs and images.:m]]
Chef Gwynn Galvin combines her culinary craftsmanship with the entrepreneurial guidance of her son Bryan Mueller to churn out more than 30 varieties of homemade, artisan cupcakes. Gwynn shrinks her signature cheesecake into a microcosm of goodness with cheesecake cupcakes (a $29 value/dozen), dishing out decadent meal-sealers in flavors such as cappuccino cheesecake, peanut-butter-cup cheesecake, and classic Italian cheesecake. Regular cupcakes ($23/dozen) include perennial tongue-pleasers such as red velvet, mochachino, and blackout brownie, a palm's worth of brownie cake with milk-chocolate ganache topping and the ability to erase one's memory. Fruity flavors such as lip-smacking lemon, caribbean coconut, and orangesicle make a light, fluffy treat for brunch dessert or a pre-marathon snack.
Now an international brand of premium ice cream, Häagen-Dazs began as a humble, family-owned business in the Bronx. In the 1920's, Reuben Mattus sold his mother's fruit ices and ice-cream pops out of a horse-drawn wagon. For decades, the family business thrived, and around 1960, Reuben officially founded Häagen-Dazs. He chose the name to evoke Old World traditions and quality craftsmanship, the bedrocks of the brand. Originally, the ice cream came in just three flavors—vanilla, chocolate, and coffee—made from fine ingredients gathered from around the world, such as Belgian dark chocolate, hand-picked vanilla beans from Madagascar, and ice shaved from lunar glaciers. The resulting confections so delighted sweet teeth that the brand grew exponentially, leading to the creation of dozens of flavors and forays into sorbets and frozen yogurts.
Though Häagen-Dazs ice cream was immensely popular in grocery shops, their first parlor didn't open until 1976. Not far from the Mattus family's original ice-cream beat, the Brooklyn store sold ice cream as well as treats such as sundaes, shakes, and cakes. Shops eventually dotted the country and globe, wherein friendly ice-cream scoopers fill waffle cones, blend frosty coffee and ice-cream drinks, and wrap ice-cream cakes in bright ribbons.