To present a revolving ensemble of more than 100 gourmet, organic, loose-leaf varieties, Urbàna Teas & Tonics vigilantly combs through more than 3,000 teas worldwide. The Macaroon Oolong decadently complements vanilla and chocolate desserts with its zesty balance of coconut and floral flavors ($11.40 for 4 oz.). Spicy and sweet flavors blend like an amorous rendition of the “Macarena” with Ginger Pu-erh, a mild and medicinal herbal tea ($17.10 for 4 oz.). Individuals craving fruits, flowers, and earth tones can feel satiated with Urbàna's selection of black, green, white, chai, rooibos, and other teas. Tea cravers can use this Groupon online or at Urbàna Cityspa & Teabar’s New York-style lounge, where beverage-sippers can relax with soothing music and heal their wounds from losing the World Series of snowball fights in Antarctica.
Lead licensed massage therapist Summer Plum will use her years of experience and superhero name to seek and destroy ailments of the muscle and mind. You'll receive a deliberate Swedish massage, a light- to medium-pressured technique, which also happens to be the most popular type of knead. It uses long, connected strokes and kneading to improve blood flow, stimulate the lymphatic system, relieve physical tension, and melt stress into a puddle of biodegradable papier-mâché.
Winner of Creative Loafing's Best Coffee award in 2009, Julia's serves fair-trade coffee and café bites to sluggish bodies and minds while raising money for Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte in the process. As patrons browse the shop's sprawling collection of used books, baristas fill drink tanks with frothy lattes ($2.85/regular; $3.35/large), iced americanos ($2.05/regular; $2.35/large), and steaming mugs of brewed coffee ($1.65/regular; $1.85/large). Legume lovers can savor the grilled veggie-and-hummus wrap ($5.75) and the refreshing spinach, fruit, and nut salad ($7), whereas those looking to pack on protein after an afternoon of bench pressing bench-press salesmen can scarf down a cuban pork sandwich ($6).
Cold Stone's ice cream, made fresh in stores every day, inhabits a quantum flux between soft-serve and traditional ice cream, with a rich, creamy texture that whispers tales of its super-premium quality as it glides over taste buds. The ice cream generously welcomes dozens of toppings, as traditional as crumbled cookies and chopped nuts. Choose your favorite ice cream from dozens of silky flavors, such as cake batter and mint. Then make certain no one will try and steal a taste by topping it protectively with brownies, gumballs, and cherry-pie filling. Whatever Frankencream you create, it'll be scooped cold off the grill into a freshly made waffle cone or bowl. Cold Stone's ice cream and toppings vary by season and location. The store also offers sorbet and an array of lighter toppings, such as fruit and honey. Ice-cream creations run between $4.59 and $5.29, depending on size.
Chickadee's Cafe's expert meat stackers craft a menu of appetizers, homemade chips, and specialty sandwiches layered between one of eight varieties of bread, including whole wheat, rye, and basil focaccia. After conquering a defenseless table, guests can warm up their taste buds with an appetizer of chicken wings—accompanied by mild, hot, honey-mustard, or barbecue sauce—before tongue trekking toward a classic Reuben or a pita-bound greek-chicken sandwich piled with marinated chicken, feta cheese, veggies, and tzatziki sauce. Otherwise, signature dagwoods compile hot and cold toppings between a hoagie, evidenced by Chickadee's steaming catalog of salami, roast beef, turkey, and white cheeses. Cold glasses of sweetened and unsweetened tea, as well as bottomless soda, ease throats parched from swallowing succulent meats or boisterously proclaiming their love of sandwiches in the style of Theodore Roosevelt.
When their daughter, Kai, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Tracy and Patrick Watkins knew they needed to provide her with as much love and care as possible. They quit their jobs as engineers and launched a bakery named after their little girl and her favorite treats. In the kitchen at Kai’s Kookies and More, the couple ices custom sugar cookies by hand, transforming circles into edible basketballs and rectangles into festive American flags, all of which can be dipped into house-brewed coffee or bundled into baskets, boxes, or bouquets. Sweeter than a kiss from Cap’n Crunch, mangoes and strawberries fill several varieties of cupcakes and 3-inch cheesecakes.
In addition to packing their display case with handcrafted confections, Tracy and Patrick supply desserts to eight local restaurants and four Monkey Joe's bounce playgrounds. Visitors can also book Kai's for special events such as tea parties and international summits disguised as children's birthday bashes.