With tasteful, subdued décor and floor-to-ceiling windows bathing the space in natural light, Tip and Sip Café paints the cozy picture of a friendly neighbourhood coffee shop. It's breakfast menu brightens morning commutes with savoury plates such as the full breakfast ($5.97)—two eggs, three pieces of bacon or sausage, signature home fries, and toast—as well as handheld treats including fresh-baked muffins ($2.65) and cinnamon buns ($1.77). Keep a clean conscience with fair-trade and organic coffee ($1.33–$1.77) and teas ($1.51) from the drink list, or indulge in specialties such as the pickpocket-free London Fog and the steaming cappuccino ($3.54–$4.56). Come midday, assorted sandwiches ($4.42), a 7-ounce hamburger ($6.46), and classic poutine ($5.97) help balance out lunch plans with the consummate skill of a retired circus seal.
Framed by waterside views of Lake Muskoka, The Blue Willow plates traditional English fare and steeps more than 18 loose-leaf teas, in addition to stocking myriad cups, saucers, and other tea-centric accessories. Lunch guests stabilize shaky palates with Guinness beef stew ($10.29) and revive fruitless stomachs with a grilled-brie-and-cranberry sandwich with a caesar side salad ($7.99).
Zencha Tea Bar soothes sippers with 80 different varieties of loose-leaf teas and a full menu of light lunch fare and desserts. Sample any of the bubbling brews available in a cup ($2.25) or pot ($5.25 for premium teas, $6.95 for rare), or step up to an ever-popular Chai latte ($3.25) with classic black tea, green tea, or black tea with chocolate soy. A verdant bowl of Matcha ($3.50) lends itself to sessions of restful sipping or bouts of full-contact tea ceremonies. A litany of lunches such as a roast beef sandwich with dijon and havarti ($5.95) or a spicy dahl lentil rice bowl ($7.25) tame teatime appetites, and sweet treats such as muffins ($3.25), cookies ($1.50) and biscotti ($1.25) put a dulcet note to a mellow cup of tea, like the customary kiss post-chess match.
Little nuggets of pearl sugar caramelize during baking, making Wanda's made-to-order Liège-style waffles different from the typical Belgian style. The dough is infused with vanilla, maple, or strawberry flavour, and the waffles can be crowned with toppings such as Nutella, strawberries, or caramel. Toasted sandwiches, such as the croque monsieur and the signature chicken with thai sauce, sate savoury teeth, whereas espresso and coffee drinks brewed with beans from Illy wash it all down with more refinement than sucking on a garden hose.
Hy Tea's experienced beverage brewers invite pairs to relax in their teahouse for Hy-Tea Time, an experience based on British High Tea that blends hot beverages with a variety of edibles. Light flickers across patrons' faces as they chat by the main room's fireplace, where hands warm around cups filled with gourmet blends of tea or the rich flavours of strong americano coffee. Blooming tea, a 100% natural green tea, warms esophagi; chocolate-mint tea is reminiscent of an after-dinner-duel mint. Between sips, couples share buttery scones paired with cheeses, jam, and cream. Digits delight at the sight of finger sandwiches, and teeth sink like a defeated battleship into various sweets and fruits. Customers can venture outside during warm weather to sip drinks on the patio, which offers views of Frenchman's Bay Village and the sun's daily strobe-light shows. Call to make reservations for Hy Tea Time, which is offered at any time.
Jennifer Best couldn't sleep. A bout of fibromyalgia was keeping her wide awake, and though she experimented with allopathic and naturopathic sleep remedies, it was no use. Then she tried something new: a tea blend called Sweet Dreams. The brew was so effective that not only did it give Jennifer some much-needed shut-eye, but by morning it had inspired her to change careers. She explored the local loose-leaf-tea market and was amazed to find how many good varietals were out there, varietals she thought others might appreciate the way she had appreciated Sweet Dreams.
Jennifer started small, founding Steeped and Infused in 2007 as an online store that sold 20 different teas. But her fan base blossomed, and today the website—which now sells roughly 70 varieties—gains support from two brick-and-mortar retail stores. Like the queen's childhood toy box, her inventory includes everyday black, green, and rooibos teas, but also features yerba mate and pu-erh—a centuries old Chinese blend made from high-quality large leaves. She complements these with a small selection of accessories, such as tea filters and mesh steeping balls.