Setting up shop in a formerly run-down launderette, Lavomatic Cafe provides an opportunity to dine on hearty fare without attracting uncomfortable leers from surrounding shirt-folders. Charming exposed pipes and soft tones accentuate Lavomatic’s décor, which creates a perfect setting for sampling the establishment’s well-stocked wine bar. The menu offers a modest yet satisfying selection of comforting classics with a twist, like when grandma gets tipsy and mixes acids with bases. Start with small bites such as chicken lollipops with honey mustard, bourbon barbecue sauce, and spicy garlic sauce ($8.95) or tater tots with truffle, chive, bacon, and cheddar ($7.49). Warm up with tomato bisque and grilled cheese ($7.49) or a fish sandwich with fennel apple straw on rye ($11.49). Refresh the palate with a fusion of flavors thanks to the meatloaf cupcake with country green beans and mashed potatoes ($12.95) or a pork chop with mushroom hash and red-wine caramel ($18.95). Sharable sides such as cornbread ($3.25) and mac 'n' cheese ($6.95) are also available.
Willie's is a neighborhood eatery dedicated to classic American menu items, with a bevy of comfy-as-a-favorite-flannel appetizers and pub grub such as burgers, pizza, sandwiches, salads, wraps, and more. Adventurous appetites, however, will uncover exotic flavors sprinkled amongst the chicken stir fry ($12.95); the half-pound southwest burger ($8.95) smothered in Monterey Jack and cheddar, barbecue sauce, and pico de gallo; the tropical topical Hawaiian chicken sandwich ($8.95); and ethereal delicacies known as "wings" ($4.95–$11.95). Bulk up for the season's mixed martial shuffleboarding tournaments with the Monte Cristo sandwich ($8.95), a hearty helping of turkey, ham, and swiss in egg-battered bread that's deep-fried and served with powdered sugar and a strawberry jam session. Willie's has also tailored a summer menu meant to be enjoyed on its sunny outdoor patio, along with a slenderizing, sundress-flattering lighter side menu, where all meals are less than 500 calories.
Roxx Electrocafe, located near the UC campus, boasts three 42-inch televisions and a massive 73-inch-wide screen that display heated bouts of digital competition across the café's spacious interior. Fourteen powerful gaming computers ($4/hour) enable activities such as cooperative robotic testing in the depths of Portal 2 or competitive right-clicking contests on the battlefields of League of Legends or Heroes of Newerth. Late-night hours yield to marathon console-gaming sessions of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Halo 3, and Rock Band ($4/hour)—all fueled by iced coffees ($2.50) and smoothies ($4), which ensure proper hydration and appropriate glottal lubrication. As the café's four Xbox 360s, four Wiis, and PlayStation 3 enchant eyes and coordinate drill teams of button-pressing thumbs, comfortable chairs and modern décor invite board games or study sessions.
Essencha's leisurely tea lunch begins with your selection of either a hot pot of tea or a shot of matcha (finely milled green tea). The tea house lets you choose from over 70 varieties of high-quality blacks, oolongs, greens, whites, rooibos, herbals, and organic flavors. Essencha's passionate staff of tea-totalers will help you navigate this voluminous variety until you find the tea you never knew you craved. Next, a soup of the day or miso soup stretches tongue tendons, followed by a fruit salad or a café salad with seasonal greens, veggies, dried fruit, pine nuts, and lemon vinaigrette. After you fill up on finger sandwiches with your non-teacupped free hand, enjoy a scone paired with clotted cream and jam. A cupcake or triple-chocolate-chunk brownie caps off a meal fit for tea tycoons and tea-drinking raccoons alike.
One taste of Aroma’s more than 100 flavors—including chocolate amaretto, green apple, peanut butter, pistachio, watermelon, even earthworm—and you’ll understand why gelato is like ice cream multiplied by itself. Sporting a svelte 10% butterfat content (compared to ice cream’s 18%), gelato is also healthier and made by a process that doesn’t inject air into the mixture, resulting in a dense, delicious flavor that can only be adequately expressed with joyful bursts of Italian gibberish and interpretive dance battles. Aroma’s gelateria keeps 24 of its 100 flavors chilling in the display case at a cozy 5–10 degrees Fahrenheit, which you can sample in a variety of sizes, such as small ($2.75), medium ($3.25), large ($4), pint ($8), quart ($12), 1/2 gallon ($20), full pan (serves 40, $35), and wheelbarrow (party-sized, served with a giant spoon).
The creative culinarians at Aquarius Star’s Om Café transform organic, local ingredients into savory salads, sandwiches, and wraps that pair perfectly with fair-trade coffee and tea. The menu offers meat-free munchers a slew of vegetarian and vegan options, including the shareable organic hummus and veggie plate ($8.75), Om’s grilled blackened-tofu wrap ($8.75), and the Om salad, topped with raw nuts and homemade lemon-garlic dressing ($9.75). Om Café's Double Decker turkey sandwich ($9.25) delights eco-conscious carnivores with its blend of free-range turkey, locally sourced veggies, and organic mustard, mayonnaise, or aioli.