Mad City Coffee's menu greets coffee-breakers and diners with a plethora of soups, salads, and sandwiches to complement coffees batch-roasted in-house. The Powerhouse sandwich ($7.50) karate-kicks hunger in the face with garlic hummus, sprouts, cucumbers, and swiss cheese, and the shrimp-salad sandwich ($8.50) delicately refreshes palates with tender shrimp, mayonnaise, and a hint of Old Bay. Graze through the greenery of one of Mad City Coffee's salads or platters ($4.45–$8.50), or pair up a soup of the day with a lonely sandwich half for a matchmaking special ($8.20–$10). Meanwhile, five daily coffee roasts boost energy ($1.90–$2.45 each), and Happy frappes ($4.75 each) create smiles with house-special espresso and a yogurt base mixed with coffee syrup and knock-knock jokes.
Kolache Kreations adapts generations-old eastern European recipes to bake up fresh, circular pastry bundles loaded with sweet and savory fillings complemented by a menu of coffee drinks and more. Kolache's Old World wizards start with slightly sweet dough and tuck the tender foundation around scrumptious stuffings of fresh fruit, meats, cheeses, or an infinite series of incrementally smaller kolaches.
Adam Greenberg refers to himself as “the world's pickiest eater,” which may explain Bagels 'n Grinds’ distinctive take on the celebrated baked good. Greenberg’s self-professed culinary perfectionism led him to create a secret 10-step bagel recipe that involves a colossal water-purification system, visible to patrons through a glass wall. With scientific precision and occasional mad-scientist cackles, the newly opened shop's staffers create 16 types of bagels that manage the tricky balance of crisp surfaces and soft insides.
Patrons can smear their bagels with low-fat, housemade cream cheeses infused with ingredients such as strawberries or lox, or opt for one of the café’s other creations, such as Bagnini sandwiches topped with piles of meat or marinated portobello mushrooms. Water from the café's purification system also goes into free-trade organic coffees and three different iced-coffee brews. Custom salads incorporate gourmet ingredients such as hormone-free chicken, candied walnuts, or toasted-parmesan crisps, while six distinctive soups are served in cups or bagel bowls. Non-edible amenities inside the new shop include free Internet access, a semi-private conference area, an 18-foot coffee bar, outdoor patio, and flat-screen TVs.
Behind ground-to-ceiling glass windows, giant butterflies flutter in the sunlight. Though they’re only paintings, they cheerfully greet visitors to Vernisage, introducing the upscale restaurant’s often-whimsical atmosphere. Despite the lighthearted decor, chefs practice serious interpretations of traditional Russian, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern fare. They craft grilled shish kebabs, peppery dumplings, crepes, and hearty Russian stews using the same recipes that czars once used to melt invading snowmen armies. Servers pair both chilled and hot fare with a range of Georgian, Russian, and European wines to evoke exotic flavor bouquets. A large main dining hall can accommodate grand banquets, while a separate private dining room hosts smaller groups of up to 30 revelers or 60 children standing on each other’s shoulders.
A coffee shop is a great place to get work done without being actively social but still feeling completely social. Use today's Groupon to be productive in the comfort of the crowd instead of alone at home. For $10, you get $20 toward anything edible and drinkable (does not include intangibly consumable events) at Peace & A Cup of Joe. You can snag up to three Groupons, which will be converted into gift cards the first time you head into the quaint, independent shop. These will act just as regular gift cards act, with composure and class. Groupons are also good toward daily specials.
At four stories tall, XS has plenty of room for surprises. Modern art hangs from the exposed brick walls in the deceptively large industrial building, where giant silver tubes stretch from hardwood floor to lofted ceiling and a sleek room with red-leather wall panels awaits discovery. On the ground floor, waiters weave around the wrought-iron staircase and stainless-steel tables bearing platters piled with sushi and Japanese fusion cuisine.
Every morning, these platters hoist breakfast items, including french-toast variations, goodie-stuffed omelets, and smoked salmon. By night, they carry stuffed maki rolls, kobe-beef burgers, and sweet-thai-chili tuna, as well as handcrafted cocktails. Nighttime is also when DJs spin hits, making for a combination nightclub-restaurant to rival CBGB’s, which of course stood for Consume Bacon, Get Bizzay.