Between the open mic nights, art shows, and caffeine-fueled student study sessions, you might say there's a bit of a buzz at Blend Coffee. But that's nothing compared to what goes on in the cafe's kitchen. There, chefs spend hours perfecting dishes that are made entirely from scratch and with local ingredients. Morning see the staff whipping up breakfast popovers, maple wraps, and muffins while lunch brings their focus to the crafting of paninis, barbecue pork tacos, and bacon-encrusted fried zucchini sandwiches. A few specialty items even take all day, such as the raspberry chipotle wings, which staff brine, smoke, and sauce in-house. Of course, between all this, the baristas never stop brewing up premium cups of coffee, which helps ensure that the shop's chefs, patrons, and espresso machines stay productive.
Pearls are often prized for their exquisite appearance and oystery aroma, but Boba Cha values a different sort of pearl?bubble tea's chewy spheres of tapioca. This cozy shop in downtown Cincinnati specializes in creamy concoctions that combine sweet flavors with the tapioca pearls' satisfying chewiness. Aside from the signature bubble teas?which can be prepared hot or cold and with or without milk?the shop whips up frozen snow treats flavored with fruit and yogurt.
Founders of Huntergreengrass Edward and Barb ousted meat from their diets more than three decades ago. Their conversion to vegetarianism launched them on a journey to wellness with many pit stops: they opened a health-food store and helmed a vegan catering company, and Edward penned a vegetarian cookbook. But the defining moment of their foray into health and understanding of compound words was when Barb began training under Dr. Ann Wigmore, a pioneer in the wheatgrass movement. As Barb learned about healthy living and the wheatgrass diet and began to adhere to it, she and Edward had their freshest idea yet: Huntergreengrass. Recently named Best Wheatgrass Fix by Cincinnati CityBeat, Huntergreengrass brings to Findlay Market a menu of juices, smoothies, soups, and vegetarian fare more health-focused than a multivitamin wrapped in kale and stuffed in a carrot. The flavorful beverages and noshes hail from Edward and Barb's organic, nutrient-fortified soil, where wheat berries flourish until they ripen to the peak of nutrition and sweetness at 6–10 inches. Then the couple snips all the stalks from one tray and stows them in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. The healthful shots brim with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and digestion-aiding enzymes. Shots can be swirled into sweet juices of antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies such as carrots, apples, beets, and oranges.
At Happy Chicks Bakery, Jana and Jessica craft sweet pastries and desserts with the mission of bringing joy to their patrons. But the bakers aren't churning out the same old treats: everything they create is vegan. That means the dairy, eggs, and tiny t-bone steaks typically found in baked goods have no place at Happy Chicks. Instead, the specialists rely on fresh seasonal and local ingredients to build a menu that includes cakes, cookies, macarons, pies, and croissants. Their seasonal flavors?which might include orange-blossom apricot cupcakes in the summer or carrot pistachio sheet cakes in the spring?are complemented by intricate design work, such as buttercream roses or fondant foxes.
Students in 60- to 90-minute classes at the Cheesy Gourmet learn how to make bagel-ready spreads, sliceable block cheeses, and crumbly feta using nothing but cheesecloth and a splash of milk. Participants can snack on provided cheese and crackers or sip wine they brought themselves as they watch Cheesy chefs demonstrate techniques inside a quaint kitchen painted robin’s-egg blue. After the class, guests leave with enough cheesecloth to make their own cheeses or dairy-based paper-maché art projects at home.
A rainbow of Adirondack chairs stands guard outside Beans, where a blue- and white-striped roof caps the bakery and caf?. Each morning, donuts and egg-and-cheese sandwiches greet the dawn alongside cups of coffee. By lunchtime, multigrain tortillas envelop the Cheyenne Clubhouse wrap?s smoked turkey and bacon, ham, and vegetables. Staffers also top cones with hand-dipped ice cream and craft banana splits, ice-cream floats, and other cold confections.