For two decades, Haute Chocolate’s dual kitchens have worked in tandem to melt down premium chocolate for more than 300 confections. The enterprise began when owner and chocolatier Lisa Cooper Holmes won a local baking contest for her fudge and semi-sweet chocolate brownies. The award not only saved her from the loser’s shameful bath in molten fudge; it inspired her to pursue a life in the dessert industry. Nowadays, Lisa’s brownies remain the shop’s centerpiece but share their display cases with Haute "Pi", peanut-butter-and-chocolate buckeyes, and chocolate-dipped treats.
Wake up with dishes from Giminetti's breakfast menu. Fork through a fluffy stack of syrup-drenched pancakes ($3.50 for stack of three) or opt for a cheesy omelette ($4) with melted sharp cheddar. Brownies ($2), white-chocolate macadamia-nut cookies ($0.75), and monstrous Danishes ($1.50) tempt sweet teeth. For midday meals, try the vedgewich ($5.50), an array of tempting veggies (grilled onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, sprouts, cucumbers) and savory provolone plopped between slices of multigrain rustica and slathered with a liberal dose of horseradish mayo. Subs, hoagies, burgers, and paninis appease meatier palates.
Voted the best stop for chocoholics by Ohio magazine, the Dayton-based Esther Price infuses its old-fashioned chocolate concoctions with dairy-fresh cream and butter—pairing rich cocoa with several fruity and savory flavors. Sample an array of aromas with the 18-ounce light and dark assorted chocolates ($12.30), with each box containing a sampling of Esther Price's most popular pieces—coconut cream, peanut butter cream, caramel pecans, cherries, almond toppers, and more. Other options include the chocolate-coated pretzels ($9.75), which come dipped in light or white chocolate, and the 8-ounce sweetheart mints ($7.55), which offer a decadent way to freshen one's breath before a hoverboat driving test. For those who prefer their sweets minus the sucrose, the confectionary also offers plenty of sugar-free options. Tentative tasters can use the Esther Price candy key to determine what flavors are contained within each morsel before tasting.
Outside of swimming laps in chocolate syrup, smoothies at Smoothie King are the tastiest way to improve your health. Smoothie King smoothies combine fresh fruit, natural juices, and special nutritional enhancers into more than 90 flavors (you can customize, add, and subtract the extras), all of which focus on achieving one of seven nutritional goals. Try an antioxidant-rich Pomegranate Punch with pomegranate, bananas, blueberries, apple juice, soy protein, and Turbinado sweetener to stay healthy. Weight-conscious en-smuthiasts can trim down and float away with the Celestial Cherry High, packed with bananas, black cherry, papaya, Turbinado, and honey, and unpacked with fat. You can also customize any smoothie by adding enhancers or “make it skinny” by cutting out the honey and Turbinado.
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.
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.