Loic Barnieu, the executive chef at La Belle Epoque, entertains taste buds of all types with authentic French cuisine for lunch, brunch, and dinner. Dormant appetites awaken to sizzling soupe a l'oignon, the chef's adaptation of french onion soup blended with swiss cheese and gratin toast. Tempting entrees fill the expansive lunch menu, such as the delectable french dip, stuffed with thinly sliced roast beef and served with a side of au jus for dipping or dabbing on as cologne. Savory La St. Jacques crêpes warmly envelop pan-seared scallops, prepared in the Brittany tradition with buckwheat flour and a leek-sauce reduction.
Founded in 1994 as a recording studio, the MilkBoy brand has since burgeoned into two bustling cafes and an all-ages venue for live music and artistic events. MilkBoy Coffee's multifarious menu brims with snacks and drinks for vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores alike. Morning munchers kick-start the day with a big breakfast burrito, packed with scrambled eggs, black beans, sausage, sour cream, cheddar, and yawn-eradicating salsa ($5.95). For lunch, hands can happily encircle the bruschetta-chicken wrap, with a savory sleeping bag of shredded chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta ($6.25), and teeth can burrow into the herbivorous depths of the veggie burger, served with a vegan thousand-island dressing, named for the number of islands ruled by Oprah ($5.25). MilkBoy’s PB&J sandwich whisks customers back to a simpler time when blanket capes were de rigeur ($3.95). To drink, sip on a steamy café au lait ($2 for a small) or a frosty mint-chocolate-chip milkshake ($4.95).
Since it was built in 1890, Cynwyd Station has survived three fires, water damage, and even a nest of Richard Geres in the walls. Thanks to the renovation efforts of the Lower Merion Historical Society, it has found new life as a sustainable storm-water reclamation site and education center?and an undeniably quirky cafe. As a nod to its home's heritage, Cynwyd Station Cafe and Tea Room is filled with steampunk-tinged Victorian imagery, a playful and boutique twist on the culture of a bygone area. It also has an eye on the future, relying almost entirely on biodegradable materials, composting, and recycling. This environmental focus also spreads to the seasonal menu.
Artificial ingredients are nowhere to be found in the nearly 20 loose-leaf teas that range from the traditional but complex to more adventurous, spicy blends. Six rotating ice-cream flavors go into old-fashioned ice-cream sodas and chocolate-egg creams, as well as European-inspired sundaes and pockets. Meanwhile, Benjamin Franklin would swell with pride at the whimsical shop of curiosities, such as Fee Brothers botanical waters and handmade wooden games.
Vgë Café makes no less than seven commitments with their health-conscious menu, including putting a ban on frying and using ingredients with no cholesterol or refined sugars. To accompany certified-kosher dishes such as seitan reubens and tofu banh mi, there’s a soda fountain filled with cane-sugar beverages.
Saxbys' rich array of caffeinated ambrosias, crafted from grade-one arabica beans, joins a bevy of teas and smoothies on the shop's extensive menu. Espresso drinks ($1.70+) include exotic cinnamon lattes and basic cappuccinos, which can be cloaked in frothy crema and 18 dulcet syrups. Two seasoned brewsmiths forge Saxbys' wide selection of roasts from single-origin, fair-trade, and organic beans, which undergo a European roasting process that pampers future mug fillers in cast-iron air-cooled cylinders, preparing cocoa-noted Tanzanian peaberries and italiano blends for beverage Valhalla. Frolattes ($3.70+), a frozen breed of latte rarely found in nature, exist in such flavors as white-chocolate mocha and flank a throng of teas ($1.30+) and fruity smoothies ($3.45+). Stomach-equipped cyborgs can bask in the soothing aura of the shop's free WiFi while noshing on one of the café's fresh pastries or paninis (food is not included with this Groupon).
After Vernon Rudolph acquired a closely guarded yeast-raised Krispy Kreme Doughnuts recipe from a New Orleans pastry chef, he shared his appreciation for delectable disks by opening shop in 1937 and selling the first Krispy Kremes to grocery stores. The wafting aroma of glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnuts increased demand for the sweet treats and caused Rudolph to redesign his building's layout to include a walkup window, Rudolph was able to sell them directly to any passing customer who demanded a snack. Later, he joined forces with equipment engineers, creating baking equipment that guaranteed uniform shape and dough consistency.
Rudolph's departure to a pastry-filled afterlife in 1973 did not stop Krispy Kreme from expanding into a global sensation and continuing to innovate. In recent years, the company enhanced the treat-retrieving experience by introducing a Hot Light that, when illuminated, indicates when Krispy Kreme Doughnuts are fresh off the conveyor belt.