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11 Best Department Store Food Halls

11 Best Department Store Food Halls


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The only thing that could elevate a luxurious high-end shopping experience is the addition of gourmet food. In Europe and Asia, department stores have taken gourmet food halls to new heights by offering an array of sit-down dining options as well as complete food markets that contain everything from freshly baked pastries to seafood markets to steamed dumpling carts.

Click here to see the 11 Best Department Store Food Halls (Slideshow)

The iconic Harrods department store’s food hall in London is one to model all other food halls off of. It boasts stunning, sit-down, high-end restaurants such as Ladurée, The Tea Room, and Caffè Florian as well as smaller, more casual "quick-eats" stalls. If diners can’t choose between dumplings or deli sandwiches, they don’t have to. It also offers countless handmade gourmet food items like tea sets, olive oil, cookware, and more.

A lesser-known department store rival in London is Harvey Nichols, which has a similar setup to Harrods in that it offers a variety of sit-down dining options. It’s also known for a popular bubble-tea stand, a perfect treat to take shopping.

Second to London in the food hall world, arguably, is Tokyo. The city has countless department store food halls that are favored by locals. At the Matsuzakaya department store, diners often run in to grab pre-packaged bento boxes, but can buy everything from rice crackers to chocolate and everything in between. But at Takashimaya, the fresh fish and meat markets are really what draw in the crowds.

And in the City of Light, there are two dueling department store food halls, one on the Right Bank and one on the Left. La Grande Épicerie at Bon Marché is a full floor filled with an extensive pastry section alongside items like cookware and home goods. At the Galeries Lafayette Food Hall, also in Paris, they might sell similar products, but they also showcase Angelina’s famous hot chocolate, which shoppers can either enjoy inside or take to go.

For the world traveler who’s simultaneously fascinated by the underworld of the department store food halls, grab a ticket to a new city and start exploring this exciting gourmet world.


Bowland Food Hall

Bowland food Hall is a wonderful showcase of the finest, the tastiest, and the healthiest food and drink from producers, farmers and growers from Bowland, from Lancashire and beyond.

The Food Hall is part farm shop, part deli, part juice bar and part health food shop. It is also a tasting parlour, a coffee shop, a wine bar and restaurant!

However you choose to describe it the Food Hall is about quality and provenance…if we are what we eat, and more and more people are telling us every day, then we must eat well. The best, the cleanest, the freshest, the least mucked about with…that’s what the Food Hall is all about.

We stock everything you can think of…and lots of things you’ve perhaps never heard of, brought together and displayed with passion and flair to create a feast for all the senses. This really is shopping as it should be!


Famous Department Store Blueberry Muffins

These muffins are a clone of "The Famous Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins" — which were indeed famous up until the mid-1990s, when Jordan's, one of Boston's two iconic department stores (Filene's being the other) was absorbed by Macy's and effectively disappeared.

These overstuffed muffins, with their signature sugary crown, were served in the Jordan Marsh dining room on the top floor of the store, where dedicated shoppers went to rest and compare purchases while sipping tea and enjoying a muffin — blueberry, of course.

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons (113g) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (198g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (240g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup (113g) milk
  • 2 1/2 cups (354g) blueberries, fresh preferred
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar, for topping

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line the tin with papers, and grease the papers.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until well combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl and beating well after each addition.

Beat in the baking powder, salt, and vanilla.

Perfect your technique

Department Store Blueberry Muffins

Add the flour alternately with the milk, beating gently just to combine. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Mash 1/2 cup of the blueberries. Add the mashed and whole berries to the batter, stirring just to combine and distribute.

Scoop the batter by the heaping 1/4-cupful into the prepared muffin pan a muffin scoop works well here.

Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon granulated sugar atop each muffin.

Bake the muffins for about 30 minutes, until they're light golden brown on top, and a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.

Remove the muffins from the oven, loosen their edges from the pan, and after about 5 minutes transfer them to a rack to cool.

Tips from our Bakers

Join pastry chef Gesine Bullock-Prado as she demonstrates how to make Famous Department Store Blueberry Muffins from start to finish. Watch Episode 2 of the Isolation Baking Show now.


Barnes & Noble Kitchen

Grace C./Yelp

Sure, you're probably used to seeing Starbucks inside Barnes & Nobles bookstores, but did you know the bibliophile mega-chain has gotten into the restaurant business for themselves? They now have five locations across the country of their upscale casual restaurant, Barnes & Noble Kitchen. Inside its menu, you'll find a tasty selection of American classics, including a brisket burger, avocado toast, snap pea spaghetti, and chicken Caesar salad.


The Best Grocery List Shopping Apps to Destroy Those Weekend Errands

Sometimes, grocery shopping can feel way more stressful than it should. Long lines, screaming children . SOS! Whether you're short on time or just sick and tired of constant coupon-clipping, these grocery list shopping apps are here to help. Though more major brands are turning to online grocery delivery, there's still a certain satisfaction that comes from a good old-fashioned trip to the market.

So, to help you get your grocery shop on, we've rounded up the best list-managing, meal-planning, and money-saving grocery list shopping apps to make future trips easier than ever.

Free, available for iOS and Android
DOWNLOAD


AnyList makes quick work out of organizing your grocery list by category and translating it into an easily navigable plan of attack. Reviewers particularly love the time-saving Autocomplete feature, which suggests common grocery items as you type them and then intuitively organizes those items into categories.

In addition to creating organized lists, this grocery list shopping app also lets you easily share those lists with your contacts, select and organize recipes according to your designated meal plan, and sync Siri for a hands-free experience.

Free, available for iOS and Android
DOWNLOAD

This all-in-one app helps you create healthy and personalized weekly meal plans, find recipes based on that meal plan, and organize grocery lists around those recipes. Mealime even includes a built-in tool that shows users the nutritional information of each recipe right down to calories, macros, and micros. With the most personalization options of any minimal-waste meal-planner out there, you can cook exactly how you want to eat, from paleo to vegan to gluten-free.

One of our favorite features of the app is its clever built-in grocery list function, which creates and optimizes user-friendly grocery lists based on your personalized meal plan. When you build a new meal plan, a grocery list of all the ingredients you'll need for the week is automatically generated.

Free, available for iOS and Android
DOWNLOAD

Out of Milk allows you to take your grocery list wherever you go &mdash no pen or paper required. In addition to allowing users to create a fun, interactive shopping list, you can also create customized to-do lists and even keep an updated home pantry inventory for reference.

Plan, manage, and share your grocery shopping list with ease using Bring! Whether you're planning an office party with colleagues or making a list for supermarket supplies with family members for a big get-together, this clever grocery-list app allows users to create, sync, and share shopping lists with everyone involved in planning.

Free, available for iOS and Android
DOWNLOAD

Flipp lets users browse, filter, and find the best deals on weekly grocery essentials by matching local circular deals with coupons from your favorite brands. Reviewers describe Flipp as a paperless coupon master source that makes saving money on groceries easier than ever before.

Think of Flipp as a hybrid grocery-list shopping app and mobile deal-finder app to save you valuable time and money.

Free, available for iOS and Android
DOWNLOAD

Clean, simple, and incredibly easy to use, Our Groceries is a favorite grocery list shopping app for families on the go. Ideal for collaborating on shopping lists for any meal or occasion, users can sync up multiple lists to seamlessly check off or add items while shopping in real time.

Free, available for iOS and Android
DOWNLOAD

Although this is technically a recipe app, ChefTap has an impressively intuitive built-in grocery-list organization tool to make your favorite saved recipes come to life. ChefTap automatically clips recipes from any site and saves them into the app's permanent archive without any cutting and pasting, highlighting text, or hidden third-party sites involved.

ChefTap then helps users create grocery lists based on the specific ingredients used in their favorite archived recipes. The app combines like items on the list, figures out what section of the grocery store each item on the list is located, and sorts the whole list by aisle to save you time and energy in the grocery store.

Free, available for iOS and Android
DOWNLOAD

Named a "must-have app" by The TODAY Show, Cozi Family Organizer enables users to keep their family's busy schedules organized, synced, and up-to-date.

With a shared family calendar and a to-do list feature for tasks like grocery shopping, household chores, and more, Cozi is an essential, all-encompassing organizational app for modern families on the go.

Free, available for iOS and Android
DOWNLOAD

With its cute animated touches and easy-to-use interface, Avocadolist will make running errands fun while simultaneously boosting your efficiency as a shopper. Reviewers love the automatic-sort feature, which organizes grocery lists into categories to save time, as well as the built-in calorie calculator for tallying food items.

Free, available for iOS and Android
DOWNLOAD

BigOven simplifies home cooking for busy families and individuals on the fly. In addition to being a super easy-to-use grocery-list organizer, BigOven also comes loaded with more than 350,000 recipes and helpful tips for meal planning. If one of your goals is to cook at home more often, consider this app your motivational sous chef!


(Dallas, TX)

Located on the sixth floor of Neiman Marcus's downtown flagship, The Zodiac has been a favorite for more than 50 years, and while you'll find the name at other Neiman Marcus locations, this is the original. The decor features shiny blue walls and white accents that create a chic yet cheery vibe. Meanwhile, the menu straddles the line between ultra-light entreés like seared salmon and ultra-rich desserts&mdashjust the way you'd imagine a Dallas belle with bouffant hair loves to eat. Try the restaurant's famed mandarin orange soufflé or the butter pecan angel food cake.


Our Best Ham Recipes

Whether you bake it with a simple brown sugar glaze or use the leftovers in sandwiches, salads and frittatas, ham is always a great choice when you need a no-fuss meal the whole family will enjoy.

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Easy Holiday Spiral Ham

Sunny cleans out the pantry and jazzes up a pre-cooked spiral ham with pumpkin pie spice mix &mdash the perfect seasonal flavor you want for the holidays.

Deep-Dish Hash Brown Ham and Cheese Quiche

How to improve on ham-and-cheese quiche? Bake it in an uber-crispy hash brown crust for the perfect breakfast dish for a crowd.

Cheesy Country Ham Grit Balls

Kardea uses a combination of grits and cheese to elevate diced up country ham. The crunchy texture of the fried exterior balances out the ooey, gooey yumminess of what's inside.

Cheesy Gnocchi Casserole with Ham and Peas

Frozen peas and store-bought gnocchi are the keys to a 30-minute dinner that everyone will love.

Ham and Cheese Pinwheels

Sandra's pinwheels are the perfect party appetizer when you're in a pinch. Store-bought refrigerated pizza dough is stuffed with ham and cheese and sliced into adorable bites.

Cheesy Ham and Mushroom Strata

Make this ham-and-cremini strata even more flavorful with a little Parmesan &mdash and a lot of Swiss cheese.

Ham and Peas Frittata

Stir Swiss cheese, ham and sweet peas into beaten eggs for a complete meal in one skillet.

City Ham

Alton felt a little ripped off when he finally got his hands on this secret family recipe since it's only four ingredients. But hundreds of five-star reviews can't be wrong &mdash this is the ham recipe your holidays need.

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

Ree's ultra-cozy scalloped potatoes feed a crowd &ndash perfect for everything from the holidays to big Sunday night dinners.

Ham Sliders with Sweet-and-Sour Pineapple Marmalade

A little sweetness goes a long way! Kate Lee adds pineapple to her sweet-and-sour ham sliders for an extra pop of flavor.

Ham and Cheese Galette

Busy weeknights call for this easy dish &mdash that you can whip up using leftover ham and veggies.

Orange Baked Ham

Ina's brings the "wow factor" with almost no effort. A quick orange marmalade glaze dresses up a pre-cooked spiral cut smoked ham. How easy is that?

Jambalaya with Shrimp and Ham

Ellie's weeknight version of jambalaya is quick, easy and healthy. And because it's a one-pot meal, you have only one thing to clean up afterwards.

Ham Salad

Don't know what to do with all that leftover ham from the holidays? Try this fast and easy ham salad with tangy mustard and crunchy celery. Enjoy it in a sandwich or just on its own.

Skillet Pasta with Ham and Peas

Out of ground beef and sausage? Leftover ham makes a great addition to pasta dishes.

Honey-Glazed Ham

The secret to a moist and flavorful piece of ham? Scoring the surface in a diamond pattern so that the glaze seeps into every bite.

Ham and Cheese in Puff Pastry

Ina gives classic ham and cheese a dinner party-worthy makeover with some store-bought frozen puff pastry. You'll want to serve this snack hot, but we're guessing it won't last long enough to cool off.

Corn and Ham Chowder

Fresh summer corn on the cob does double duty for this comforting soup: the cobs are used to make a flavorful liquid base and the crisp kernels show up in each bite.

Ultimate Ham Sandwich

You might think anyone can make a ham sandwich, but we're pretty sure we've cracked the code on the perfect combination. Homemade mayonnaise is super simple to make and really makes the difference.

Individual Ham Casseroles

These single serving quiches are a better breakfast than a handful of cold cereal &ndash and they take about the same time to grab in the morning. Ree makes a big batch and stores the rest in the freezer for future busy mornings. Freeze them on a baking sheet, then transfer to plastic resealable bags to store. Thaw and reheat in the microwave for mornings done right.

Amazing Glazed Ham

Ree&rsquos glazed ham holds the perfect amount of flavor. It's a little bit sweet and a little bit savory &mdash perfect for using the leftovers in soups, fritattas, sandwiches and more.

Ham and Vegetable Gratin

This creamy, cozy side only tastes decadent: a quick roux made with whole wheat flour thickens up a surprisingly low-calorie dish.

Ham, Apple and Cheese Quesadilla

Quesadillas make the bold move from the appetizer table to an entrée in just 30 minutes.

Baked Ham with Brown Sugar-Honey Glaze

This is the baked ham any cook can master. A brown sugar-honey glaze is the perfect amount of sweet to counterbalance the smoky, savory roast ham.

Smoked Ham, Gruyere and Caramelized Onion Frittata

Tyler&rsquos any-meal frittata provides sweet, salty and nutty flavors from the combination of caramelized onions, ham and gruyere cheese.

Ham and Gruyere Quiche

Want to be a brunch rock star? Us too. That's why we make a quiche &mdash you'll look like you live on a French countryside and this is something you do all the time, when in reality store-bought pie dough saves the day and you only spend 40 minutes in the kitchen. No big deal.

Country Ham Carbonara

Trisha utilizes leftover baked ham in place of Italian cured meat for her take on classic carbonara. Purists beware: she adds a splash of heavy cream, which makes the sauce a little more indulgent than the classic version.

Classic Glazed Ham

Clove-studded glazed ham is usually reserved for holidays and special occasions. But it's a hands-off main that looks impressive and takes little effort. Four different glaze variations &ndash apple-maple, mustard-orange, hoisin-spice and pineapple-apricot &ndash liven things up so you'll never get bored.

Lentil and Ham Soup

This healthy soup is packed with veggies and gets flavoring from a boiled ham steak. Toasted and seasoned leftover baguette makes for crunchy croutons dropped over the top.

Country Ham Breakfast Casserole

Stuff all of your favorites &mdash ham, cheese and eggs &mdash into a casserole dish and you've got the perfect make-ahead breakfast for a crowd.

Ham, Swiss and Apple Wraps

Don't let lunch boredom ruin your day. Switch up your sandwich game with this healthy wrap dressed with a yogurt-honey mustard sauce.

Inside-Out Chicken Cordon Bleu

Food Network Kitchen's take on the cordon bleu is a super simple meal that's ready to eat in less than 25 minutes. No stuffing, breading or frying here.

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

This colorful, extra-cheesy breakfast casserole can be made ahead and baked the next day &mdash perfect for brunch with a large crowd.

Ham and Cheese Loaf

Store-bought frozen bread dough makes quick work of this fresh bread. It tastes just as good at room temperature as it does hot (Ree is a champ at the to-go breakfast), but we're guessing it won't last that long.

Slow-Cooker Ham with Barbecue Beans

The ultimate set-it and forget-it meal, dried navy beans and picnic ham simmer all day in a slow cooker for a cowboy-worthy meal. No campfire necessary.


At the Food Department’s Atlanta bureau, we are on something of a health kick in a heroic attempt to shed our pandemic pounds. Yet I have made two awesome desserts. For Passover, I always try to make a batch of Melissa Clark’s chocolate-caramel matzo toffee because it punches way above its weight considering how relatively simple and foolproof it is. And every Easter I like to make Edna Lewis’s classic Southern lemon cheese layer cake because it reminds me that spring is awesome. Pro tip: Use Meyer lemons for the curd. KIM SEVERSON

Months of winter pastas turned my fresh wedge of Parmesan into a tough little hockey puck of a rind. So I repurposed it in Melissa Clark’s big pot of beans. Such an effortless recipe: Beans, herbs, garlic and other aromatics, water and the cheese heel went into the pot to simmer after three hours, the beans emerged soft and deeply savory. I soaked dried navy beans, but canned will do fine. Go easy on the salt, though, especially if using the cheese or a hambone. PATRICK FARRELL


50 States of Cakes

It’s not a party without cake — and whether you like a simple buttery Bundt or an impressive multilayered confection, there’s no shortage of ways to end a celebration on a sweet note.

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Smith Island Cake at Smith Island Baking Co. – Crisfield, Maryland

In 2008, Maryland designated the Smith Island Cake as the state&rsquos official dessert, paying homage to a treat that originated in a Chesapeake Bay fishing village more than 200 years ago. As oyster harvesters headed out to sea, families would send them off with sizable eight-layer cakes, eventually swapping out buttercream for longer-lasting chocolate fudge.

Cake and Shake at D Bar Denver – Denver, Colorado

As if a slice of chocolate cake weren&rsquot decadent enough on its own, the one at Denver&rsquos D Bar comes with a milkshake. The pairing is one of pastry chef Keegan Gerhard&rsquos many nods to childhood cravings &mdash others include milk with cookies and root beer floats. This particularly gluttonous duo features a slice of Gerhard&rsquos three-layer cake &mdash the layers separated by frosting made from Guittard chocolate &mdash and a shake spun from your choice of housemade vanilla, chocolate or raspberry ice cream.

Pumpecapple Piecake at Three Brothers Bakery – Houston, Texas

Everything is bigger in Texas, include the cakes. Weighing in at 24 pounds, this hefty pastry, from Three Brothers Bakery, is actually three cakes in one (pumpkin spice, chocolate, and apple spice), each stuffed with a matching pie. As if it weren&rsquot indulgent enough, the 11-inch stack is finished with a cream cheese frosting, caramel drizzle and crushed pecans.

Framboise at Chocolate Pi – Tampa, Florida

As a kid, Kim Yelvington celebrated birthdays with cakes from the bakery inside Tampa&rsquos now-closed Maas Brothers department store. When the pastry chef opened Chocolate Pi in 2004, her mom issued a challenge: to re-create Maas Brothers&rsquo signature raspberry cake. Yelvington stepped up to the plate with the Framboise, a layered yellow cake with vanilla bean buttercream, fresh raspberries and a coating of pretty-in-pink frosting.

Cookie Butter Cake at Buttercream Bakeshop – Washington, D.C.

Pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac loves cookie butter as much as the rest of us, but she&rsquos taken her obsession with the addictive spread to new heights. Spotted in the pastry case of her D.C. bakery: a cake laced with cinnamon and Biscoff cookie chunks and layered with both cookie butter and cookie butter frosting.

White Cake with Prickly Pear Cream Cheese Mousse at Honeymoon Sweets Bakery – Tempe, Arizona

Prickly pear cacti can be found throughout Arizona, and the bulbous fruits make for a sweet addition to everything from margaritas to ice cream. At Honeymoon Sweets, bakers Tim and Joan O&rsquoConnor add the desert staple to a cream cheese mousse that gets layered inside white cake.

German Chocolate Cake at Beethoven's # 9 – Paola, Kansas

Beethoven&rsquos #9 has been a Paola, Kansas, institution for 20 years, serving up hearty German classics such as schnitzel and bratwurst. The restaurant is well-known for its generous portions, and that also applies to its signature dessert, a German chocolate cake that pays tribute to co-owner Jeanie Clerico&rsquos dad. She&rsquos been making the pecan- and coconut-enrobed cake since the 1970s, using a secret icing recipe that calls for slow, continuous stirring. When she and daughter Linzi Weilert took over Beethoven&rsquos in 2014, there was no doubt that it needed to go on the menu.

Salted Chocolate Caramel Cake at Shyndigz – Richmond, Virginia

For Richmond&rsquos sweets lovers, Shyndigz is a cake mecca. The dessert-only restaurant churns out so many unique flavors that it needs a calendar to show them off. While most flavors rotate through once a month, the Salted Chocolate Caramel &mdash boasting four layers of chocolate cake with housemade sea salt caramel and chocolate buttercream in between them &mdash remains a daily special.

Doberge Cake at Debbie Does Doberge – New Orleans, Louisiana

The name of the baker behind Debbie Does Doberge, a doberge cake company isn&rsquot actually Debbie it&rsquos Charlotte McGehee, who conjured up the business name over drinks with another local chef, Amanda Toups. In a modern-day twist on the New Orleans specialty &mdash typically made in chocolate or lemon &mdash McGehee offers up multiple variations, each more whimsical than the last. There&rsquos the Fun-Fête filled with rainbow sprinkles the Red Velvet Elvis, made with, yes, peanut butter and bacon and a seasonal King Cake doberge, which combines two of the state&rsquos iconic cakes.

12-Layer Chocolate Cake at Moody Tongue Brewing Company – Chicago, Illinois

As any Chicagoan will attest, beer is the city&rsquos drink of choice, so it makes sense that a standout cake can be found in a brewery, of all places. Each layer of the one crafted by Moody Tongue pastry chef Shannon Morrison is richer than the next. It starts with a pretzel, cereal and graham cracker crust, followed by espresso cheesecake, chocolate cake, a toasted caramel and pecan caramel filling and cocoa buttercream. They all repeat until there are a dozen rows, then the showstopper gets a finishing chocolate mirror glaze.

Turtle Cake at Cafe Latte – St. Paul, Minnesota

Cafe Latte has been a St. Paul fixture since 1984. While the city has changed, one thing has remained a staple: the cafeteria-style restaurant&rsquos decadent Turtle Cake. This family recipe passed down to owners Linda and Peter Quinn consists of three layers of coffee-infused chocolate cake smothered in caramel, chocolate buttercream and toasted pecans.

Coconut-Pecan Cake at Chez FonFon – Birmingham, Alabama

While the rest of the menu boasts classic French dishes &mdash think escargot and coq au vin &mdash Chez Fonfon&rsquos most-popular dessert is a local affair. Two iconic Southern ingredients &mdash pecans and coconut &mdash star in this beloved cake, with the latter showing up in multiple forms (shredded, creamed, liquified as milk) and in all the components (cake, filling, icing) of each towering slice.

Ultimate Coconut Cake at Peninsula Grill – Charleston, South Carolina

The coconut cake at this fine-dining destination made its debut as a Valentine&rsquos Day special in 1997. But the 12-layer cake made such an impression that it&rsquos been on the menu ever since. Available by the slice at the restaurant (or whole for shipping nationwide), the lofty confection &mdash with six thin layers of cake separated by six layers of cream cheese frosting &mdash has won the hearts of locals and celebrities alike.

Gwendolyn's Famous Earl’s Court Chocolate Cake at Cake Bake Shop – Indianapolis, Indiana

Its name may be a mouthful to say, but there&rsquoll be no forgetting it after just one bite of this sinfully sweet chocolate cake. Pastry guru Gwendolyn Rogers of Cake Bake Shop is all about top-notch ingredients, so only the good stuff makes the cut in this case, there&rsquos Valrhona in the cake, Callebaut in the ganache, plus fudge and malted cream, and a sprinkling of fleur de sel from France.

Pucker Up at Muddy’s Bake Shop – Memphis, Tennessee

The aptly named Pucker Up cake is made with real lemons &mdash "lots of them!" according to Muddy's Bake Shop owner Kat Gordon. The tart fruit goes into both the batter and the buttercream, both of which boast top-notch ingredients (real butter, cage-free eggs and organic whole milk) that help produce a tender cake packed with bright citrus flavor.

Champagne with Strawberry at Sin – Providence, Rhode Island

No need for a bottle of bubbly to celebrate an occasion &mdash the Champagne cake at Sin already has its namesake champagne in it. The alcohol evaporates as the cake bakes, leaving a fruity flavor elevated by a fluffy strawberry buttercream filling. And to truly make it occasion-worthy, the top is finished with pretty pastel sprinkles.

Tall, Dark and Handsome at Kyra’s Bake Shop – Lake Oswego, Oregon

Going gluten-free didn&rsquot stop Kyra Bussanich of Kyra's Bake Shop from enjoying her favorite pastries, but the Le Cordon Bleu grad did have to take matters into her own hands. Armed with a special blend of alternative flours, Bussanich has impressed cake lovers of all sorts &mdash including the judges on Cupcake Wars &mdash with creations like the Tall, Dark and Handsome. The 20-pound behemoth boasts multiple layers of chocolate cake, salted caramel and hazelnut crunch buttercreams and a hazelnut-dark chocolate ganache. As if that weren&rsquot enough, each round is frosted with espresso buttercream, then topped with more candied nuts.

Bavarian Cream Cheesecake at Ludger’s Bavarian Cakery – Tulsa, Oklahoma

Ludger Schulz settled in Tulsa after stints at restaurants across Europe and North America &mdash first in his native Germany, then Switzerland, Sweden and Ireland, then Canada and eventually Oklahoma. Once he settled in, Schulz started offering his German-style cheesecake, which features a whipped cream cheese filling in between layers of vanilla sponge cake. Schulz retired in 2009, but his daughter and son-in-law are working to spread the Ludger name (and cake) &mdash they opened a new larger location of the bakery in 2017.

Brooklyn Blackout Cake at Little Cupcake Bakeshop – Brooklyn, New York

Cheesecake isn&rsquot the only famous cake New York has to offer. In the 20th century, the Brooklyn Blackout Cake from Ebinger&rsquos Bakery was a beloved staple, until the sweets shop went bankrupt in 1972. Luckily, the decadent dessert was resurrected by Little Cupcake Bakeshop when it opened in Bay Ridge in 2005. The cake gets its intensely rich flavor from a blend of Dutch process cocoa and semisweet Belgian chocolate, and its beautiful textured exterior from two types of icing.

Coffee Crunch Cake at Yasukochi's Sweet Stop – San Francisco, California

Tom Yasukochi has been selling out of coffee crunch cake since 1974, when the San Francisco native opened his namesake bakery, Yasukochi's Sweet Stop, inside the Super Mira market in San Francisco&rsquos Japantown. Before that, Yasukochi co-owned a bakery in Lakeside with a former candymaker who worked at Blum&rsquos, a now-closed pastry shop once known for its "koffee krunch kake." The rest is, as they say, history &mdash Yasukochi mastered the honeycomb-like candy, adding it to airy cakes that are now as much of a classic as their original inspiration.

Baked Alyeska at Seven Glaciers at Alyeska Resort – Girdwood, Alaska

Visitors and locals alike have been dazzled by the baked Alaska at this sprawling ski-resort restaurant. Alternating between chocolate cake and chocolate and raspberry mousse, the dome is chilled, then covered in a half-inch layer of meringue. The finishing flourish? The ethereal meringue is torched to a beautiful golden brown.

Lemon Curd Layer Cake at Nichole’s Fine Pastry – Fargo, North Dakota

After attending the Culinary Institute of America in California, Nichole Hensen returned to North Dakota, honing her skills at two local businesses before opening a spot of her own, Nichole's Fine Pastry, in 2003. Using local, organic ingredients but European technique, Hensen turns out spectacular cakes like this citrusy number. There's tart lemon flavor in every layer, from the cake to the whipped cream to the bright yellow curd.

24-Layer Chocolate Cake at Strip House – Las Vegas, Nevada

In a city that revolves around over-the-top experiences, you can expect desserts to be equally excessive. The famed cake at Las Vegas&rsquo Strip House is a gluttonous chocolate-on-chocolate creation boasting 24 alternating layers of cake and filling, plus a semisweet glaze.

Red Velvet Cake at Q's Cakes — Albuquerque, New Mexico

This New Mexico bakery specializes in rosette-swirled frosting exteriors. But the cake on the inside as as good as the packing on the outside is beautiful. Flavors include Howie Wowie, a caramel cake with a New Mexican red chile-spiced caramel apple filling. The original is the Red Velvet, with cream cheese frosting.

Caramel Cake at Rhodes Bakery – Roswell and Atlanta, Georgia

This family-run bakery still makes caramel the old-fashioned way. Using a recipe perfected by the bakery&rsquos founder, Magdaline Rhodes, and a candy stove that&rsquos been in place since 1954, third-generation bakers turn sugar, shortening, corn syrup and evaporated milk into a melt-in-your-mouth icing and drape it over rounds of white cake.

Boston Cream Pie at Omni Parker House – Boston, Massachusetts

Despite its name, a Boston cream pie isn&rsquot actually a pie at all. The classic dessert was created at Omni Parker House in the 1850s, when Chef M. Sanzian had the then-revolutionary idea of topping cake with chocolate. Sanzian&rsquos original recipe &mdash two rounds of golden cake sandwiching pastry cream and topped, of course, with that chocolate glaze &mdash is still being served at the historic hotel today.

Huckleberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake at Stacey Cakes – McCall, Idaho

Come August, the city of McCall is overflowing with huckleberries. The tart cousins to blueberries play a leading role in pastry chef Stacey Kucy&rsquos cream cheese coffee cake. The bright burst of fruit shines through every mouthful of the confection, a tender sour cream cake boasting a layer of cheesecake filling, sugar crumble and plenty of fresh berries.

Almond Cake at Jacques Pastries – Pembroke, New Hampshire

The reins at Jacques Pastries have been passed from one culinary couple to another. The bakery was founded by Jacques and Paula Despres in 1973 and later taken over by son Justin and daughter-in-law Tami. The second-generation bakers continue to do their family proud, turning out Jacques classics like the almond cake with amaretto buttercream and rich truffle fudge.

Cheesecake at Suzy's Cream Cheesecakes – Oak Creek, Wisconsin

It&rsquos no surprise that dairy country would be home to excellent cheesecakes. When baker Suzy Strothmann started making them for her husband&rsquos Milwaukee restaurant in the 1980s, only local cream cheese was used, a tradition that continues today even as Suzy&rsquos Cream Cheesecakes has grown from one storefront and flavor to a nationally shipping business with multiple variations on its signature cake.

Burnt Almond Torte at Prantl's Bakery – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The residents of Pittsburgh are almost as passionate about this iconic square torte as they are about football. It&rsquos been an integral part of the city since the 1970s, when baker Henry Prantl &mdash inspired by a trip to almond-producing California &mdash returned home with a vision of a cloudlike cake filled with custard, iced in buttercream and covered on all sides with crunchy slivers of sugared almonds.

Blueberry Cake at Becky’s Diner – Portland, Maine

The secret to Becky Rand&rsquos famed blueberry cake is in &mdash no surprise &mdash the berries. Embedded in each Becky's Diner slice of cake are dozens of wild Maine blueberries, tiny, sweet gems that are harvested for a brief two months every summer. In a departure from most local blueberry cakes, Rand makes hers as a layered one, filling and frosting each slice with a rich cream cheese icing.

Chantilly Cake at Liliha Bakery – Honolulu, Hawaii

In Hawaii, chantilly cream has taken on its own unique form: a silky, muted yellow icing that&rsquos made by simmering together eggs, butter and sugar. At Liliha, a 24-hour diner and bakery in Honolulu, a healthy dollop of chantilly graces the famed cream puffs and covers the signature cake, a light chocolate chiffon that&rsquos adored by locals.

Chocolate Brownie Pound Cake at The Mighty Baker – Provo, Utah

The Mighty Baker&rsquos Peter Tidwell knows his way around cake &mdash he&rsquos won Cake Wars not once but twice, the second time with a chocolate brownie pound cake lauded by the show&rsquos judges. With its rich, fudgy texture, the cake needs little embellishment Tidwell simply pairs the layers with a vanilla Italian buttercream.

Earl Grey Chocolate Cake at Park Avenue Bakery – Helena, Montana

Tea isn&rsquot just for enjoying with cake it can also add flavor to it. At Park Avenue Bakery, pastry chefs started experimenting with Earl Grey and chocolate more than a decade ago, resulting in a cake that quickly became a shop signature. The floral tea goes in both the cake and the creamy chocolate mousse, a combination that&rsquos surprisingly "refreshing," says general manager and pastry chef Melanie Hahlbohm.

Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake at Billie’s Pecans – Crenshaw, Mississippi

A surplus of pecans on the family farm inspired Billie Crenshaw to incorporate the nuts into her coffee cake. The resulting dessert was a hit not only with her husband and four sons, but also at the local market. The business and Billie&rsquos recipe &mdash a classic sour cream, brown sugar and cinnamon-spiced confection &mdash have since been passed down to her daughter-in-law Stacy and granddaughter Bailey, who continue to churn out cakes and other pecan treats.

Red Velvet Cheesecake at The Rabbit Hole Bakery – Lincoln, Nebraska

If its name doesn&rsquot give away its inspiration, then the decor probably will: The quaint Rabbit Hole Bakery in Lincoln, Nebraska, is adorned with antique clocks, teapots and colorful books, a nod to baker Amanda Fuchser&rsquos love of Alice in Wonderland. Her exquisite desserts would be a hit at any Mad Hatter tea party &mdash especially the red velvet cheesecake, a scarlet confection that gets its distinctive tang from buttermilk, sour cream and vinegar.

Bourbon Butter Cake at The Midway Bakery – Midway, Kentucky

Kentucky bourbon isn&rsquot the only local ingredient that goes into The Midway Bakery&rsquos butter cake &mdash the flour comes from nearby Weisenberger Mill and the sorghum from Country Rock. To let the cake&rsquos rich, buttery flavor shine, the 9-inch, two-layer cake is finished with a simple vanilla buttercream frosting.

Citrus Olive Oil Cake at Erie Coffeeshop & Bakery – Rutherford, New Jersey

Owner Renee Faris brought this cake over from across the Hudson. The original recipe came from her time working in New York City with Union Square Events pastry chef Dan Keehner, but the Bundt cake has gained its own devoted following in Rutherford, at Erie Coffeeshop & Bakery. High-quality olive oil and citrus form the base of the fluffy cake, which is garnished with a simple citrus-vanilla glaze, orange peel and, in the winter months, a fresh sprig of rosemary.

Guinness Chocolate Cake at Grille 26 – Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls has been recognized as one of the best places to celebrate St. Patrick&rsquos Day, so it makes sense that Guinness is a key component of the chocolate cake at Grille 26, one of the city's more popular spots. The stout gets mixed in with butter and melted cocoa to make a dense and rich cake that&rsquos finished with an Irish cream frosting. Sláinte!

Old-Fashioned Apple Cake at King Arthur Flour – Norwich, Vermont

No dessert better represents Vermont&rsquos fairy-tale fall vistas like an apple cake. Developed by the recipe testers at King Arthur Flour&rsquos Norwich campus, the cinnamon-spiced squares &mdash loaded with fresh apples and topped with a brown sugar frosting &mdash are pure autumn comfort.

Rum Torte at Iversen’s Bakery – Dearborn, Michigan

Torte making has been an Iversen family trade since the 1950s, and little has changed when it comes to technique, a point of pride for current owner Rick Lesnock. He&rsquos still making cakes the same old-fashioned way his father did &mdash with cooked custard, fruit, freshly whipped cream and, in the case of this holiday best-seller, a generous addition of Bacardi rum.

Hostess Cake at Sweet to Eat Bakery and Cake Shop – Ankeny, Iowa

Looking at the list of Sweet to Eat&rsquos specialty cake flavors will likely trigger nostalgia. There&rsquos Cookie Dough, Banana Split, S&rsquomores and a Hostess number that&rsquos reminiscent of its namesake treat. Owner Rachael Owens&rsquo top-notch version includes housemade chocolate cake, buttercream and the signature glossy ganache.

Very Berry Cake at Sweet Maria’s – Waterbury, Connecticut

Sweet Maria&rsquos most-popular cake is as fleeting as the berries that make it up. Available only from April to October, the three-layer white cake bursts with fresh seasonal blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, all smothered in baker Maria Bruscino Sanchez&rsquos luscious housemade whipped cream.

Green Tea Tiramisu at Hiroki Desserts – Seattle, Washington

Long before matcha became an ingredient du jour, it was already making appearances in desserts at this quaint Seattle dessert shop. When Hiroki opened in 2003, the menu included tiramisu remixed with Asian components. Instead of ladyfingers, the cake is built on fluffy chiffon, and the mascarpone batter â tinged pastel green â boasts the nutty and floral notes of high-grade matcha imported from Japan.

Buttercream Cake at Spring Hill Pastry Shop – Charleston, West Virginia

There&rsquos nothing fussy or complicated about the pastries at Spring Hill, a bakery that&rsquos been operated by the Williams family since 1948. Special occasions call for its classic vanilla cake with buttercream, made from scratch the same way for the last 70 years. While you&rsquore there, don&rsquot miss the "hot dog" &mdash an eclair-like treat filled with whipped cream that locals go crazy for.

Buckeye Bliss at Elé Cake Co. – Dayton, Ohio

Variations on the quintessential Ohio treat &mdash peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate &mdash are as plentiful as the nut that inspired them. At Elé Cake Co. the tribute to the state&rsquos official tree comes in the form of a chocolate cupcake adorned with peanut butter buttercream, a chocolate drizzle and a mini buckeye.

Buttery Bundt Pound Cake at Brown Sugar Bakeshop – Little Rock, Arkansas

The secret to Brown Sugar Bakeshop's light-as-air Bundt cake is in the technique. Ingredients are mixed with a whisk instead of a flat paddle, giving the batter a fluffier texture than its Southern counterpart. Founded by sisters April and Kristi Williams and now run by Kristi's son, the bakery puts a twist on the classics, rolling out fun flavors like moscato, red velvet and glazed caramel pecan.

Chocolate Caramel Mousse Cake at Sweet Somethings – Wilmington, Delaware

An open kitchen lets customers see exactly what Sweet Somethings&rsquo bakers are up to. They could be making any number of the cookies, pies or cakes on the menu, including owner Lee Slaninko&rsquos recommended favorite: a moist chocolate cake with caramel mousse, chocolate ganache and sea salt.

Fromage Blanc Berry Cheesecake at CocoLove – Jackson, Wyoming

Acclaimed chocolatier Oscar Ortega uses his bonbon-decorating skills to make exquisite cakes at this Jackson Hole boutique. This cheesecake layers housemade fromage blanc &mdash swirled with Ortega&rsquos berry compote &mdash on top of a buttery pate sucree crust. It&rsquos doused in a mesmerizing red mirror glaze and finished with some chocolate tuiles.

Gooey Butter Cake at Park Avenue Coffee – St. Louis, Missouri

Gooey butter cake was created by accident in the 1940s, when St. Louis baker Johnny Hoffman used the wrong proportions to make cake batter. The irresistibly delicious mistake can now be found all over town, including at Lafayette Square's Park Avenue Coffee, where siblings Dale Schotte and Marilyn Scull serve up their mom&rsquos recipe. More than 70 flavors are available, including seasonal twists like eggnog and pumpkin caramel, but Mom&rsquos Traditional is a must for those trying the buttery-crusted specialty for the first time.

Moravian Sugar Cake at Winkler Bakery – Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The Winkler Bakery has been slinging this unassumingly rich cake since the early 1800s, when Swiss-born baker Christian Winkler took over the Old Salem shop. The 200-year-old wood-fired dome oven is still in use today, churning out sheets of the eggy cake studded with buttery pockets of cinnamon and sugar.


11 Best Meal Planning Apps for Weight Loss

If you're looking to lose weight, meal planning can be the largest hurdle standing between you and your svelter self. (Not to mention your larger objective to lead a healthier lifestyle and eat nutritiously.) Sure, you could buy a bunch of cookbooks, download PDFs off Pinterest, and hope for the best, but why not let technology help make losing weight easier? Below, whether you're a vegan (ahem, aspiring) or keeping it keto, try these meal planning apps for weight loss to hit your goals with no shortage of satisfying, tantalizing meals along the way.

These are the 11 best meal planning apps for weight loss that are actually worth downloading.

1. MyFitnessPal Premium

Courtesy of MyFitnessPal

This easy-to-use app is a boon for sticking to your healthy meal planning goals, allowing you to create and store your own recipes, share your daily food log with others (like a nutritionist or personal trainer), and more. "This app is perfect for any diet and is especially wonderful for people who are busy and don't have time to track their food all day," says Crystal Malone, MS, CPT & NASM Weight Loss Specialist. She notes that the app's barcode scanner makes tracking the nutrition information of each meal you eat a cinch. "And it's even better for people who don't know how to track their calories. MyFitness Pal is a user-friendly and perfect for those who are looking to lose weight."

$9.99/month (a free version is also available): Apple App Store, Google Play

2. My Food Diary

Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area is a fan of this handy program. My Food Diary is one of the best meal planning apps for weight loss because it goes beyond tracking food choices. You can also track body measurements, blood pressure, cholesterol, and exercise—all important metrics if you're on a health and weight loss journey. "You also get an expert-curated food database, which I love because you'll avoid errors that often occur with user-generated databases," notes Gorin. Another bonus? "The at-a-glance nutritional analysis of your choices helps you make smarter decisions."

$9.00/month (a free version is also available): Online Only

3. My Fitness by Jillian Michaels

Courtesy of Jillian Michaels Fitness

Let Jillian Michaels step into the role of your personal trainer, keeping you on track with your nutrition and exercise. My Fitness provides you with tasty meal plans, whether you're vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, keto, gluten-free, or, gasp, an omnivore. Worth noting: All the meals plans are curated with the help of chefs and nutritionists. The app also features over 800 exercises and workout programs ranging from HIIT to 5K and 10K running with GPS tracking. There's yoga, too, and even custom-tailored plans like Sexy Ab and Booty workouts.

4. PlateJoy

Courtesy of PlateJoy

In addition to being a meal planner in your pocket, this app includes a recipe database, smart grocery lists, grocery delivery, and more. All these assets make PlateJoy a go-to for dietitian Sofia Norton, RD and Ketogenic Diet Expert, working at Kiss My Keto. "The app offers a range of ketogenic meal plans, all of which are highly customizable," Norton mentions. "For example, it can customize meals based on info about what's in your pantry. The app keeps track of your food preferences and offers meals based on those… It is also true to the ketogenic diet unlike apps claiming to offer low-carb meals that aren't truly low-carb." In addition to keto meal plans, PlateJoy has excellent support for vegan, gluten-free, paleo, and pescatarian diets, among others.

5. LoseIt!

Courtesy of Lose It App

Like the name implies, this app is all about helping you lose weight. "What's nice is that this app has an extensive food database and it can track a person's calorie burn and macronutrients. You can track calories consumed and calories burned via exercise. It can even connect to a fitness device to automatically track calorie burn," shares Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, who serves on the advisory board for Smart Healthy Living. If you're dining out instead of meal-prepping at home, the app contains recipes from popular restaurant chains (as well as products you can buy at the supermarket). Like MyFitnessPal, LoseIt! offers a barcode scanning feature.

Free version or premium available for 39.99/year: Apple App Store, Google Play

6. 8Fit

This winning combination of custom meal plans and fitness tips tailored for you uses a sleek user interface with plenty of visuals. "8Fit offers nutrition guidance, exercise plans, and recipes for a healthier meal planning and lifestyle," comments Nicolle Harwood-Nash, a writer for The Workout Digest and a personal fitness coach. She recommends the app for fitness enthusiasts like herself, but those new to working out may also enjoy the 15-to-20-minute workouts that don't need any fancy equipment.

7. 22 Days Meal Planner

Courtesy of 22 Days Meal Planner

Yes, we wouldn't mind looking like Beyoncé. This meal planning app for weight loss is ideal for vegans or those looking to make the plant-based plunge. You simply share your cooking habits, goals, and a few other pieces of information to get custom-tailored recommendations for you. Once you've got your recipe inspiration for simple, tantalizing plant-based meals like creamy garlic cauliflower soup or a Thai-inspired salad, the app whips up grocery lists and can even arrange delivery for you.

8. Cronometer

Courtesy of Cronometer

This comprehensive program allows you to track beyond calories and macros—diving into vitamin and mineral intakes to boot (which may be important if you just went vegan and want to track your B12 intake or trying to conceive, to name two common examples). "Cronometer tracks over 60 nutrients for over 300,000 foods and you can customize foods and recipes," say Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT & Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, The Nutrition Twins, co-founders of the 21-Day Body Reboot. This makes it ideal for those trying to stick to specific guidelines of a new diet and maintain personal nutrition benchmarks.

Free Premium versions from $5.99: Apple App Store, Google Play

9. MOVE! Coach

Courtesy of Move Coach

For veterans, Kostro Miller suggests this app from the Department of Veterans Affairs. "This app can help a veteran track their diet and exercise progress and relates to the concepts that are emphasized in the in-person MOVE! groups at your local VA," she notes. Move! Coach also includes helpful videos, worksheets, and games, to help you reach your healthy living goals.

10. Noom

The Noom program emphasizes incorporating lasting habits into your routine, helping you jumpstart success with personalized meal and workout plans. Nutritionists are big fans of this "in it for the long haul" ethos: "This app focuses on making long-lasting lifestyle shifts rather than encouraging extreme eating styles, like cutting out nutrients or food groups," explain The Nutrition Twins. "It motivates with interactive articles and quizzes. Best of all it encourages whole foods and eating more real, nutrient-dense meals and snacks."

11. Start Simple with MyPlate

Courtesy of Start Simple with MyPlate

"From the US Department of Agriculture, Start Simple with MyPlate…can help people focus on getting all the proper food groups (versus tedious calorie-counting that is found in other apps)," explains Kostro Miller. For people who prefer a simplified approach to meal planning without endless bells and whistles, this might be a great fit.



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