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A Sense-sational idea

Karen Dodd | 3/18/2009, 5 p.m.

Los Angeles, CA - With endless opinions on whether our economy will rebound this year, doubts that a stimulus package is the answer to the nation's deficit problem, and thousands unemployed, it is no wonder families are continuing to scale back even more. Spending extra money for healthier meals versus picking up a quick, prepared dinner from Jack In The Box, McDonalds, KFC, etc., for a little over $10.00 is more appealing and financially manageable for most households.

Melody Rhynes, entrepreneur and owner of Toffee Sensations, says cheaper is not always better and adds, "you have to eat for the future or you'll pay for it later in medical bills." She agrees the choice to ingest unhealthy foods is a major contributor to the vast number of South LA residents who are suffering with or dying from high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

According to the Los Angeles Department of Health, a recent study showed that 30% of adults in South LA are obese and a disturbing 45% of the neighborhood restaurants serve fast food. Rhynes is troubled by South LA's poor health epidemic and its relation to the junk food available on almost every corner. "I was saddened by the fact that in order to find a good salad, I had to travel outside of my community to another area" said Rhynes.

Rhynes launched Toffee Sensations online in 1999 out of her love for toffee candy. "Peanut Button," "Raz Sensations," "White Out," and "Heaven Sent," are some of the flavors Rhynes has created. "We do not use preservatives or additives in our foods" exclaimed Rhynes. Besides her passion for making toffee candy, Rhynes wanted to bring variety to South LA's options for wholesome eating.

In 2008, the visionary took her sensations to the community and opened her gourmet toffee café which is family owned and operated Tuesday through Saturday. Toffee Sensations presents a smorgasbord of healthy, mouth-watering sandwiches, salads, wraps and desserts to choose from at affordable prices.

One favorite is the "Turkey Pastrami Wrap." Rhynes uses fresh pastrami, mozzarella cheese, lettuce, tomatoes wrapped in a honey wheat tortilla. The "Grilled Jerk Chicken Wrap" is a great selection for chicken lovers. Turkey chili is available every Friday.

For coffee, latte or tea, Rhynes' "Sensational Warmers" can brighten any day and the "Fruit Blends" for a scrumptious smoothie, is also on the menu. Need a frappe pick me up, energize with Rhynes' "Sensational Coolers."

Rhynes stresses the fact that her café is not a fast food restaurant. "We don't microwave pre-made food but we serve fresh meat daily, bake our own flat bread and use the finest ingredients available. I believe in eating healthy and enjoying a little dessert. There is a way to balance what we eat" says Rhynes firmly.

Desserts are a specialty and made from scratch. Many of Rhynes' customers find it hard to choose between the cupcakes, cakes and cookies such as the "Chocolate Dream Cupcake," Hummingbird Cake" or "Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies." The most popular of Rhynes' original recipes is the absolutely make you wanna slap yo'. . you know who and anybody around you "Toffee Red Velvet Cheesecake." You get major kudos on this one girl!