Shawn Shay grew up on the East Coast, feasting upon that region’s sandwiches, which rely heavily on meatballs, steak, and other meats. His future wife, Wendy, was enjoying California-style sandwiches, sprinkled with emerald fistfuls of veggies. In Shay’s Café, the two now combine their culinary passions beneath the eatery’s blue and gold walls, which glow in the natural light from floor-to-ceiling front windows. The light pierces the steam that rises from soups wrought from adventurous ingredients such as kaffir lime leaves, leeks, and fresh asparagus. The menu divides signature sandwiches by coast, with Eastern favorites including philly cheese and Western options laden with pesto, brie, and grilled salmon. Glasses of beer and wine form toasts, plinking occasionally like a xylophone player with only one mallet.
Grab an organically pre-packed Numi teabag such as the antioxidant-infused chocolate Puerh black tea blend accented with orange peel, nutmeg, and cinnamon ($9.99 for box of 16 bags), or load your own loose-leaf tea to finely tune the proportional potency of each cup of mint Puerh organic green tea ($13 for a 4 oz. bag). Upgrade from practical yet tasteless Chia Pets with the decorative and flavorful properties of flowering tea that blooms when steeped (from $7.99 for a 27-gram box). Or simplify your drink with an essential teapot such as the classic sage ceramic pot with bamboo handle ($26.99). You can browse the online catalog for a taste of what Numi carries, but your Groupon can only be used in-store.
Although TMix’s bubble teas and smoothies have different consistencies—the former creamy; the latter a bit more icy—, both beverages are anchored by chewy spheres of tapioca. Schools of the darkened pearls swim at the bottom of each drink, playing sharks and minnows as they peek through a variety of hues. The flavor rainbow ranges from the sunny yellow of pineapple to the muted beige of almond.
After catering for two years, Blackberry Soul Bakery and Cafe finally settled in a brick-and-mortar building, where owner-baker Rene prepares her Southern-influenced cakes, cookies, and savory snacks for visitors. The 2004 winner of the Taste of the Bay award and a requested favorite of the 100 Chefs Can Cook United Negro College fundraiser, Rene applies plaudit-earning skills when mixing fresh butter, real vanilla beans, just-harvested wooden spoons, and a few of her grandmother's recipes to whip up delectable, tooth-ready treats. She specializes in sweet-potato pie, pound cake, oatmeal cookies, and cobblers, though the piping-hot menu also includes cakes, cupcakes, and puddings. Red velvet cake supplies means of satiation for sweet teeth, and two types of cornbread furnish the means of satiation for teeth made out of bread. The café takes custom orders for pickup or delivery, and Rene accommodates customers out and about by supplying treats at many local jazz festivals and community events.
Growing from the seeds of coffee beans, Farley's started as a java shop that eventually transformed into a community feeding and watering hole. As a neighborhood citizen, the eatery stocks its shelves with magazines and decks its walls with rotating displays of local art from local artists. Farley's welcomes the morning crowd with a menu of stimulating percolators and hearty breakfast bites. A double shot of espresso ($2.50) or a 16-ounce cup of French-press joe ($3.50) awakens sleepy heads. Utensil-wielding hands are directed toward a basket of Farley's baked eggs with Yukon Gold potatoes and prosciutto ($7) or a cool bowl of house-made granola with yogurt ($4.50).
The clatter of pots and the sizzle of bacon still remind Jennifer Walker of her grandparents—both superb cooks who inspired Jennifer to take up the spatula herself. Jennifer follows in her grandparent's footsteps at Cafe Lizzi, where she whips up Cajun-inspired cuisine from fresh, local ingredients. Early in the morning, you can spot Jennifer at the kitchen stove, frying eggs, stirring grits, and peeking into the oven to check on homemade biscuits. Come lunchtime, she turns her attention to grilling tri-tips, sizzling up hot links, and melting macaroni cheese by simply batting her eyes and blowing it a kiss. She doles out generous portions from behind a counter in the cozy seating area, where colorful red, green, and blue walls are speckled with pictures.