Miel's gourmet chocolates and baked goods are handcrafted from fresh, upscale ingredients to please taste buds and sight buds alike. Designer cookies, cupcakes, and desserts are stuffed to the sugary gills with unusual, imaginative flavors, such as lavender almond shortbread, as well as American classics like vegan peanut butter and Henry David Thoreau's Walden. With their palate-pleasing complexities, Miel's decadent chocolates could make for a dentist-taunting meal of savory sweets. Drop a few triple espresso chocolates in a steaming cup of morning brew for a luxurious eye-opener, or suck a sea salt caramel for a taste of swashbuckling adventure, minus the wooden limbs and scurvy. Lemon-basil white chocolates and raspberry-rose dark chocolates lend botanical notes to the roster, while the truffle de whiskey promises to become the favorite of besotted uncles across the incorporated township. Mix and match a crock o' chocs at Miel's candy counter, or purchase a pre-arranged pantheon with six-piece ($15), nine-piece ($20.50), or 12-piece ($25) chocolate boxes. Any exiled member of Russian royalty is sure to be the toast of the office party with a bundle full of Miel's sumptuous sweets.
The anytime meal house originated as a natural-foods grocery in the late '70s, a time when you could still find lettuce that wasn't in a can. Since moving the store to a bright, capacious space with high ceilings and massive windows, owner Mimi Pearson has expanded the shop to included a kitchen and dining room. Stop in for breakfast and enjoy a bowl of organic vanilla yogurt swimming with fresh fruit ($5.95) or a quiche of the day made with free-range eggs and served with pineapple, grapes, and a meat or veggie selection ($5–$5.50). Midday grub includes salads, such as a Greek starring crostini with tapenade ($7 for a large, $5 small) or organic leaf garden salad ($5 large, $4 small). Diners can also expect to find sandwiches, served on bread of choice (black Russian, Vienna white, rye, sunflower, multi-grain wheat, or sourdough). Try the smoked turkey and provolone ($6.25) or veggie-friendly avocado club (smoked mozzarella, red onion, tomato vinaigrette, and avocado, $7.75). Dinner, served every night excluding Sunday, includes the famed burritos made with brown rice, black beans, white cheddar cheese, and your choice of salsa ($11–$13).
For more than 40 years, Robert Roskind had a vision of opening a caf? that would serve as a community gathering space. That dream came to fruition with Oasis in Carr Mill. Visitors read or converse over cups of Counter Culture Coffee or organic beer and nibble locally baked pastries, vegan burritos, and sandwiches from Foster's. Local speakers often deliver better-living presentations in the evenings, musicians play acoustic music on weekend nights, and the cafe shows spiritual movies from their Movies-That-Matter series on Friday nights. The caf?'s decor is elegantly rustic, with wooden floors and ceilings, a beaded chandelier, and a lounge area with luxuriously large pillows.
A red bicycle hangs on a wall at The Red Bicycle Coffee Café and Catering. Its perpetual stillness contrasts the bustling activity of the café's baristas, who grind single-origin beans for bold cups of coffee and creamy lattes. Though the beans are imported from exotic locales such as Hawaii, Ethiopia, or India, the local coffee artisans at Joe Van Gogh in Hillsborough check the expiration dates printed on each bean before roasting them to ensure a fresh taste.
In addition to steaming cups of joe, guests can sip Mighty Leaf whole-leaf teas, nibble locally baked pastries, and chomp into sandwiches loaded with deli meats and cheeses. The Red Bicycle's light morsels and laid-back atmosphere also attract local artists and musicians, who display their work on the walls and swing by to strum a guitar or perform Brahms's Second Concerto on the kazoo.
From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers? exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location?s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.