Wide World of Bagels uses traditional bagel-making techniques that have been perfected and practiced by passionate owners Elliot and Scott since 1999. Choose from plain, sesame, poppy, onion, cinnamon raisin, pumpernickel, egg, rye, blueberry, garlic, whole wheat, eight-grain, and the everything bagel, which is a welcome alternative to other bagel shops' nothing bagels, created by kettle-boiling air and pipedreams. Hand-select a dozen stalwart bageley companions to compliment a tub of creamy store-made schmear and finally complete the circular union of flavor and nutriment. Stop by Wide World of Bagels and gaze through the cavernous aperture of a fresh-baked bagel to reveal the light at the end of the chewy tunnel.
It's always flattering when your dessert is the party's favorite. Carousel Cakes—and its bite-size offshoot, Cupcakes by Carousel—knows this feeling well. The bakeries' creative confections have received commendations from every corner of the media, from Time Out New York and InStyle to The View and, perhaps most notably, Oprah, who featured their red-velvet cake in O Magazine and named their blue-velvet cake one of Oprah's Favorite Things in 2012. "Gayle fell hard for this blue velvet cake with cream cheese icing and sugar snowflakes," the media icon gushed. "Just add coffee, milk, or a flute of champagne." The treats also sweeten meals at more than 1000 restaurants, including Zabar's and the American Museum of Natural History in New York and Aldo & Gianni Ristorante and Sear Restaurant in Closter, New Jersey.
As a sister company to the family bakery that Martin Lefkowitz opened in 1965, Cupcakes by Carousel specializes in handheld versions of the treats that won all this acclaim. Besides a mini adaptation of the famous red-velvet cake, the staff creates confections such as the Curious George—a vanilla cake filled with banana custard and topped with peanut butter buttercream frosting and chocolate ganache—and its version of Hostess’s Pink Snowball. All the shop's cakes and pies are certified kosher, and staff can even fill up glasses with swirls of their famous frostings and toppings for clients who like their cupcakes sans cake. Cupcakes by Carousel also lends its hand in local communities. Recently, the Englewood shop raised money for girls' education in developing nations through the nonprofit organization She's The First.
What began as a traditional German konditorei nearly 80 years ago has transformed a lot—by changing its name, adding an espresso machine, and hiring French Culinary Institute grad Cristina Nastasi as pastry chef—but when it comes to the essentials, not much has changed. Rudy's Bakery & Cafe still packs its gleaming display cases with cookies, danishes, cupcakes, and cakes, the latter of which can also be customized for weddings, birthdays, and baby showers for mothers or rain clouds that are expecting. But the spot also features more novel treats, such as gelato and cake pops, along with a range of specialty espresso drinks.
Artful twists on classic recipes reign at Rose Valley Cafe and Grille. Charred octopus shares a plate with lentil salad and herbs. Grilled polenta pairs up with braised beef short ribs. Spicy avocado, pickled tomato, and ginger add a piquant flair to cured salmon. When the elegant meals draw to a close, customers' dessert-trowels dip into housemade ice cream and cheesecake, the varieties of which change daily, unlike the pope's fashion statements.
The peanut-butter slathered sandwiches at the Peanut Butter Blues Cafe happily swim in a sea of thirst quenchers and open-mic sound waves. Nutty connoisseurs can expand their palates with sandwiches including the Junglicious, which partners peanut butter with honey, cinnamon, and fresh bananas ($5), or the Guitar Hero, a concoction of peanut butter, wild honey, and blackberry jam ($5). The café also outputs heftier sandwiches, such as the Smoked Salmon BLT ($9) and the Hungry Man From Siberia, comprised of meat dumplings, mushrooms, sour cream, and dill ($10). For liquid fuel, open-mic enthusiasts can snag steamy espressos ($2), chilled orange-chocolate shakes ($5), or the too-cool-for-simple PB Blues house shake, which unites bananas, peanut butter, chocolate, and walnuts ($6).
On a warm August day in 1938, a father and son unveiled the first sample of what was to become Dairy Queen, selling 1,600 samples on the first day, a feat as unheard of as a dragon that breathes ice. Its ensuing prolific expansion was fueled by its frozen treats, which propelled the dessert shop from 100 stores in 1947 to 1,446 in 1950. Today, their dessert recipes remain largely unchanged, and Dairy Queen has added hearty grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, and fried chicken to its menu. Dairy Queen's enormous dessert menu boasts treats ranging from soft-serve cones and blizzards filled with cookies to takeaway ice-cream sandwiches and cakes.