BEST BAKERY - 2004
As the name suggests, the place serves not just dessert but the rest of the meal (and though the food is quite good, it's possible to just walk in off the street and get a table, even on weekends, due to its location half a block off Lincoln Road rather than in the middle of the mall's madness). Nevertheless pastries are Icebox's forte. The namesake icebox cakes put chain ice cream cakes to shame. But nonfrozen delights are also not to be missed. Layer cakes (such as lemon raspberry cake or mixed berry shortcake, both $5 per slice) look luscious and, for a change, taste even better than they look due to moist, dense, old-fashioned, home-baked batter; no standard commercial bakery premixes here. Petits fours lack the usual marzipan overkill, and are the most elegant in town -- perfect for parties meant to impress. When impressing others isn't a factor, Rice Krispies treats will evoke the better moments of your childhood. And a drop-dead delicious flourless chocolate soufflé makes religious dietary laws, at events like Seder dinners, no problem.