Each day at dawn, piping-hot circles made from fresh ingredients appear on the horizon, enchanting eyes and noses before popping into mouths. Unlike the sun, these rounds teem with sugar, spice, and in some cases, chocolate. Bakers craft each batch from scratch, using original recipes but not a pinch of preservatives. Their cookie roster beckons sweet teeth with everyday flavors such as M&M chocolate chip and day-of-the-week varieties such as Wednesday's almond joy and Friday's mint-chocolate fantasy fudge. Customers may also opt for custom wedding treats and personalized photo cookies, which serve as memories tastier than crepes rolled from diary pages. In addition to building cookie cakes for parties, the bakers construct cookies for celebrants to embellish with frosting.
At Sizzling Wok, chefs wield fiery-hot woks chock-full of stir-fry dishes from a menu of Chinese specialties such as peking pork, chow mein, and kung pao chicken. Combination plates grant the power of choice to hunger-havers, helping them pack plates with their choice of two stir-fry entrees, chow mein, fried rice, and a crispy fried drumstick ($7.99). Sizzling Wok's cooks learn to juggle up to two quarts of tender chicken breasts, aromatic spices, and crisp vegetables, which they toss into piping-hot woks for dishes such as the peanut- and jalapeño-laced kung pao chicken ($5.99/pt.). Pan-fried pot stickers burst with a filling of tasty meat and vegetables ($3.99 for six) and, when paired with fried tempura shrimp ($4.99 for six), demolish international side-dish-specific cravings.
You won't find Let Them Eat Cake!'s indulgent cake recipes published anywhere, since founder Paulette Coffman and her daughters Brittany and Chelsea fiercely guard their culinary secrets from competitors and town criers. But an interview with Sacramento Press in 2010 reveals three signature flavors that are served each day: red velvet, Guinness Stout chocolate, and vanilla. "We’re really kind of geared towards childhood favorites,” Paulette divulged. "But we’re also a little bit more innovative…You can find your standard red velvet here, but you can also find a margarita cupcake here."
In fact, the mother-daughter trio's three staple flavors are joined by a weekly rotation of 24 flavors, and customers can also commission more than 80 other flavors—including vegan and gluten-free options—via special order. These desserts always include real butter, fruits, and pure vanilla, and forgo preservatives since they're baked fresh each morning. Paulette, Brittany, and Chelsea stack the cupcakes into towers, line them up in boxes, and fashion them together as specialty cakes, donating $2 of their Flavor of the Month sales each Wednesday to charity. Alongside steaming mugs of Ritual coffee and Mighty Leaf tea, the Coffman women also dole out scones, breakfast sandwiches, and gourmet cookies that, like hand weights divvied up in a divorce settlement, weigh in at a 1/4-pound each.
Run by a duo of longtime friends with a mutual love for baking, Cupcake Craving rocketed to popularity from its modest beginnings?within a year of the first store?s grand opening, Sacramento Magazine awarded it the Diners? Choice Award for the area?s best cupcake. Since then, the bakery has become a mainstay on CityVoters and KCRA 3's top-five dessert lists, and its handcrafted creations continue to earn new fans. Artful swirls of buttercream or cream-cheese frosting top the bakery?s diminutive cupcakes, which come in more than 20 traditional and signature flavors. The bakery can also handle orders for large parties and special occasions; an on-site artist designs custom cupcake cakes with special flavors and decorations to celebrate birthdays and welcome new gallons of milk into the home.
At first glance, Ciocolat appears no different than the cozy homes it neighbors. But a few steps closer reveals aromas of melting chocolate, baking pastry crusts, and fresh fruit fillings, not to mention views of french macaroons arranged in gleaming cases. During lunch and dinner hours, servers transport plates topped with creamy pasta dishes, vegetable frittatas, and wild-mushroom lasagna to dining customers, who can end their meals on a sweet note with éclairs, entire pies, or seasonal fruit tarts. The shop also accepts reservations for four-course high-tea services, which transport groups to another era with mini sandwiches, berries with Chantilly cream, flux capacitors, and gourmet teas served with Miss Match china.
Ciocolat donates a portion of its profits to local nonprofit agencies. The staff takes charity suggestions into consideration at the beginning of each month.