The Sweet Shop at 4 Rivers

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Well, I checked off the BBQ aspect of 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Winter Park, FL. But then, I noticed they had a separate bakery, The Sweet Shop, and, well…duh, I had to check that out.

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It’s a common habit, we eat with our eyes first. These desserts were pretty eye catching with their large, grand size and their perfectly confected baked goods. They offer cupcakes, cakes, ice cream and brownie bars, to name their most prominent items.

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They also have some really novel and unique items such as their Cupcake Milkshakes (your choice of a cupcake dropped into a milkshake and blended up into a shake that is sure to bring all the boys to the yard…Kelis…) and their Mountain Dew Dorito Cupcake (novel, yes, but sorry, I wasn’t too interested in eating one). 

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I certainly have eyes a bit bigger than my stomach, and had to get a few things to try. Their desserts are not for the weak, each one is large and hefty. I first had their Double Chocolate Cookie with nuts. So, if you haven’t worked out in a little while, fear not because this cookie can double as a weight for arm curls, weighing in at around 1lb. It’s huge, but the chocolate flavor and sweetness are actually more on the mild side, allowing you to make your way through more of it. It’s also a little fudgy on the inside, almost like a brownie. 

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Next, I got their Kryptonite Brownie (pecans and caramel), another huge portion. The brownie was rich, moist (I hate that word) but also not overly sweet either, allowing the sweetness and creaminess of the caramel to take that spotlight, and adding the pecans for a nice nuttiness and crunch. I think Superman would have been pretty happy eating this one. 

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Last, I got their Texas Bourbon Pecan Bar, which, was hands down, my favorite. The bourbon absolutely comes through, giving it a really rich, warm flavor. And who doesn’t love the taste of a little booze in a delicious treat? The whole pecans were coated in a crisp, sugar crumble coating, giving the bar a sandwich effect of crunch from the pecans and the bottom crust, and the contrast of the creamy, oozy boozy center. 

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And, of course, some wise words to live by.

The Shorts:
Name: The Sweet Shop
Location: 4 Rivers Smokehouse, 1600 West Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park, FL
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure. And hell, I might even get the Mountain Dew Dorito Cupcake. 
Would I recommend it? Definitely, something for everyone sweet tooth, and each item makes great to share among a few people. 

 

Apotheke

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A speakeasy, mixologist doctors, and farm-to-bar practice? Yup, you can find all of these things at Apotheke in Chinatown. 

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In the corner of a quiet street in Chinatown, you’ll see a red sign that reads “Gold Flower Restaurant”. Don’t worry, you’re in the right place. The door through this faux facade is where you’ll find Apotheke. Inside is a sleek mixology den, cozy, and lined with couches and chairs leading up to the bar. All cocktails here are made with local and organic produce from local greenmarkets or picked straight from their rooftop herb garden. Bet you didn’t expect that from a bar, huh?

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All of the cocktails are broken down into categories paying homage to the apothecary theme, like “Healthy & Beauty”, “Stress Relievers” and “Pain Killers”. I went for Kale In Comparison (Aylesbury DuckVodka, Kale Juice, Pineapple, Ginger, Sea Bean, Lime, Digestive Tincture, Agave). I like to refer to this one as a garden party, you feel like you’re having a juice pressed cocktail. It has a salted rim, but the drink itself is slightly sweet with the freshness and flavor of greens and kale. I can safely say I haven’t had a drink quite like it before, and I loved it. 

The Shorts:
Name: Apotheke
Location: 9 Doyers Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Well, I’ve been going since they opened a few years ago, so, yes, I’m going to continue my support.
Would I recommend it? For sure. The cocktails are on the pricy side, but, it’s well worth the experience. Insider tip: commonly mispronounced, it’s “Aah-Poe-Tek”.