At The Cupcake Kitchen and Luncheonette, owner Jennifer O’Connel shows off her cupcake making skills. Mixers churn locally made butter and natural extracts into batter, creating delectable flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, and red velvet to bake into individual puffs. After pulling pans from the oven, the baking team swirls on frosting and sprinkles toppings, dressing each pastry for attendance at parties, holiday dinners, or liquid diet breakdowns. Before patrons come by to claim their frosted dozen, the pastries take up temporary residence in the 1950s-themed shop, basking in the glory of an artificial-additive-free existence.
Now an international brand of premium ice cream, Häagen-Dazs began as a humble, family-owned business in the Bronx. In the 1920s, 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.
Outside of swimming laps in chocolate syrup, smoothies at Smoothie King are the tastiest way to improve your health. Smoothie King smoothies combine fresh fruit, natural juices, and special nutritional enhancers into more than 90 flavors (you can customize, add, and subtract the extras), all of which focus on achieving one of seven nutritional goals. Try an antioxidant-rich Pomegranate Punch with pomegranate, bananas, blueberries, apple juice, soy protein, and Turbinado sweetener to stay healthy. Weight-conscious en-smuthiasts can trim down and float away with the Celestial Cherry High, packed with bananas, black cherry, papaya, Turbinado, and honey, and unpacked with fat. You can also customize any smoothie by adding enhancers or “make it skinny” by cutting out the honey and Turbinado.
Though the experts at Silver Tips Tea take tea seriously, they eschew traditional notions of the Victorian teahouse. Instead, they strive to “democratize” teatime, educating patrons on tea origins and preparation methods, which, at Silver Tips, are meticulous. Staffers scrupulously steep their selection of 150 organic and fair-trade teas to order, carefully gauging steep time, water temperature, and harmonies on “I'm a Little Tea Pot” to ensure an optimal cup. Additionally, they strive to foster a homey, welcoming space, outfitting their pumpkin and honey-wheat walls with local artwork.
As lively Latin music plays, guests—including celebrities such as P. Diddy—sidle up to white-clothed tables to eat large portions of Sofrito Puerto Rican Cuisine’s authentic oxtail soup, fried green plantains, and skirt steak with chimichurri sauce. They can also visit the bar area, where bartenders make specialty cocktails out of fresh fruit in front of a blue-backlit bar. DJ sets and live music keep guests entertained every night of the week, and a strict dress code—no sneakers or hats—ensures that diners do not impersonate professional baseball players.
When not busy stocking its shelves with imported Italian pantry staples, The Iron Tomato's kitchen whips out authentic dishes of fresh fare crafted using house-made mozzarella and fresh ingredients culled from the in-house produce stand and butchery. Engage in midday munching with offerings from the market's full-service salad bar, or exchange amorous glances with an eggplant and prosciutto sandwich, which spans the distance between two halves of a bastone with fried eggplant, prosciutto, mozzarella, and broccoli rabe ($10.75). Diners can pledge their undying devotion to pasta by diving into bowlfuls of homemade cheese ravioli ($13.95) or creamy pancetta-laced fettuccini alfredo ($12.95), or the can feign loyalty to its arch nemesis, antipasti, by surrendering to bites of baked little-neck clams rolled in seasoned breadcrumbs ($8.50). Come dinner time, stuffed pork chops envelop a melodious mélange of broccoli rabe, roasted peppers, and fresh mozzarella ($17.95) to silence boisterous stomach pains, and the Giant Iron Tomato burger anchors appetites with 24 ounces of sirloin topped with cheese, sautéed mushrooms, onions, and a small wrecking ball ($10.95).