No matter how much you love making cookies, cupcakes and other sweet treats, sometimes it's nice to leave it to the experts. This gourmet French pastry shop gives you plenty of tasty reasons to ditch Betty Crocker and save room for dessert.
Co-chefs and co-owners Dimitri and Keli Fayard combine "classic European traditions with modern flavors for the contemporary palette," which translates to pure ecstasy for dessert-lovers. Though Vanille Patisserie specializes in custom-made cakes (check out the pictures inside; they're incredible), there are several, simple selections to choose from, too. Bakery items include cinnamon rolls and almond, cheese or chocolate-filled croissants, all for less than $3. You can also find your favorite hand-made chocolates, starting at four pieces for $4.80. Or, try the pralines or macaroons for a new spin on classic fruit and nut ingredients. Mixing and matching ensures that you'll discover a new guilty pleasure. In the mood for something different? Try one of eight unique tarts, starting at $4.25 for the individual size. These little dishes are quite rich, so don't be afraid to split one with a friend. With flavors like the tarte vanille, tarte citron and tarte banana, you're sure to find a winner. To experience French pastries at their finest, try the entremets ($4.75), which are delicately crafted small cakes. These come in classic flavors like tiramisu and brownie, which features a chocolate brownie base, praline cream and chocolate-caramel mousse. For fruit lovers, there's the Amelia: chocolate mousse, passion fruit cream, pineapple confit and coconut sable.
The aromas inside the cozy shop are reason enough for multiple visits with a favorite someone. Seating is limited inside, but it's a great spot to sip on a latte and enjoy hand-made sweets. Sink into one of the plush, leather chairs and drift away into dessert heaven.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: John Kristoff