Open 24 hours a day, Amphora's Diner Deluxe and Amphora Restaurant plug yell-holes with tasty eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The eateries share a menu loaded with local and international dishes ideal for feeding a hungry family or Spartan army. Mouths waiting for main courses can munch on appetizers such as pita chips and baguette slices dipped in hot spinach and artichoke dip ($6.95), or spear hunger with thai shrimp skewers smothered in a ginger-soy glaze ($8.95). Treat taste buds with royal deference with a selection of grand plates, including the sloppy joe bake served over screwy rotini pasta ($12.95), Cajun rib-eye steak with mango salsa ($18.95), and two fresh lump crab cakes, broiled or fried ($19.95).
The idea behind Crave Frozen Yogurt's treats is that you should feel good about craving them—most of their 24 flavors are fat free and have less than 120 calories per serving. Self-serve dispensers let people get their fill of options such as orchard peach or sea-salt caramel pretzel, which can then be customized with more than 60 candy, cereal, and fresh-fruit toppings. Whether getting a full-size or kids-size cup, treats are priced by the ounce and can be enjoyed inside any location's futuristic interiors. One look around a shop yields visions of slate floors, neon-green walls, and white tables recovered from the first Martian soda shop.
CakeLove's baking staff, led by owner and Food Network's Sugar Rush host Warren Brown, specializes in cupcakes and cakes, baking batches from scratch daily with fresh, natural butter, sugar, eggs, and more. Each location's rotating selection of vanilla, chocolate, red-velvet, banana, carrot, and pumpkin cake bases is smothered with a variety of flavored buttercreams. Chocoholics can silence grumbling sweet tooths with creative concoctions like Cynthia's sin (chocolate cake dipped in chocolate ganache, topped with peanut butter buttercream, drizzled with chocolate and caramel, and sprinkled with candied peanuts), while those longing for a tropical getaway can abduct their tongue to a farflung locale with the lime on the coconut (shredded coconut and lime zest on a vanilla cupcake with lime buttercream). Cupcakes are $3.25 each, $19.50 for a half dozen, and $39 for a baker's dozen. Other sweet forms of gourmet baked goods ($2–$5), as well as the bakery's six-inch to 12-inch layer cakes ($25–$130), can sugary-up birthdays or candy-coat a van full of Shriner cars.
From foodies to celebrities to trend watchers, the buzz around Pinkberry has been sweeping the world. Excitement was high from the very beginning, when in 2005 Pinkberry opened its first store in West Hollywood, California. The demand for the swirls of yogurt was so great that Pinkberry was dubbed "the taste that launched 1,000 parking tickets" by the Los Angeles Times. Undeterred by parking regulations, people were drawn in by their cravings for the yogurt, the abundance of toppings, the bright and energetic store design, and the kind smiles of the staff. With more than 220 locations in 18 countries, Pinkberry is now one of the most-talked-about premium frozen yogurts in the world.
Starting with a base of nonfat, hormone-free milk and nonfat yogurt, Pinkberry's artisans incorporate live, active cultures into the mix to create a healthy, refreshing treat. The original yogurt is always available, but staffers also swirl seasonal flavors throughout the year, such as strawberry, cookies 'n' cream, and cherry. The selection of fresh fruit also rotates with the seasons and is cut daily in each store. Other toppings, such as honey-almond granola, dark-chocolate crisps, swirl pearls, and italian caramel, allow customers to create an inspired flavor combination every visit.
Wetzels Pretzels takes pride in twisting its creations until they are unrecognizingly delicious. Its talented staff bakes pretzels flavored with everything from jalape?o to cinnamon and can wrap them around hot dogs to create delectable meals. If you prefer traditional pretzels, you can go for the original with or without butter, but options for something a little different include pepperoni twist or garlic that can be paired with a dipping sauce. And to wash the pretzels down, Wetzels Pretzels offers a variety of drinks such as fresh lemonade and frozen granitas.
One cupcake looks much like another, which is why Red Velvet Cupcakery's pastry chefs pay such careful attention to what makes them different: the ingredients. Even before a Red Velvet customer takes a bite, they'll probably smell the presence of European butter, Valrhona chocolate, Maldon sea salt, local dairy products, French-style buttercream, and accents made from 24K gold leaf.
That difference was tasted by Washington Post Express, which concluded that Red Velvet's devil's-food cupcake "is sinfully satisfying" with its rich buttermilk cake topped with Valrhona bittersweet-chocolate ganache. It likewise hailed the red-velvet Southern Belle's whipped cream-cheese frosting as "simple, elegant, and too scrumptious for words." To ensure fresh cupcakes?and to keep their wastebaskets available for crumpled-up paper during "writer's block" montages?Red Velvet donates each day's remainders to local shelters and nonprofit organizations.