Recruiting and roasting their own beans harvested from Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and Colombia, Caffina Coffee’s owners Allen Bakri and Mahmoud Sareini pour pitch-perfect, world-traveling brews served alongside house-made pastries. Cradled in 1-pound and 12-ounce bags, Caffina’s signature roasts include the full-bodied and slightly wine-tinged flavor of Colombian Supremo, as well as the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, which, like the ancient Egyptian custom of ending chariot races with impromptu scuba-diving competitions, boasts ancestral roots in the Red Sea. Fifteen types of whole-leaf tea, including alpine herbal and organic peppermint, round out the menu and complement fresh-baked croissants, scones, and cookies. Burnished-wood tables nestle into Caffina’s intimate interior, where loungers can play chess or hopscotch atop tables painted with checkerboards.
Crepes and coffee have long gone hand-in-hand, but Sky Crepe Dearborn takes the delicious combination one step further by also throwing frozen yogurt, burgers, flatbreads, and salads into the mix. Chefs create sweet and savory crepes with toppings ranging from fresh berries and cream to smoked salmon with arugula and capers, and top burgers with extras like crispy onion straws and pepper jack cheese. Meanwhile, at the coffee counter, staff whip up frozen concoctions like caramel frappes or hot mugs of espresso and chai tea. But the sweetest treats of all are the shop's specialty frozen yogurt sundaes. Topping combinations vary, but favorites include the Coffee Lover, a mixture of espresso yogurt, Heath bar chunks, caramel, and hot fudge, and the Peanut Butter Panic, a helping of vanilla yogurt served with peanut butter sauce, Reese's Peanut Butter cups, hot fudge, and a paper bag to breathe into if the excitement gets to be too much.
A southern Lebanese village was the first site of Hashems Nuts and Coffee Gallery, started by the current owners' grandfather—Abu Ali Sheik Theeb—in 1959. He roasted coffee and nuts fresh daily, blending spices and cooking falafel by hand that lured patrons from as far as Beirut. While the Dearborn stores are far removed from Lebanon, the Hashem family still mimics the original store's wares with daily roasted Turkish coffee, authentic recipes, and a wealth of Middle Eastern goods. Cooks can stock their pantries with Lebanese olive oil or pickled pepperoncini, and fill their spice racks with Spanish saffron and hand-mixed kibbeh spice blends. Dry-roasted or raw nuts mingle with dates and Turkish dried apricots to create a customizable trail mix. The staff also makes hookahs available for sale—like the art at museums if you bring your art to the museum and start selling it.
Paradise Cafe & Lounge is the kind of place you can hang out for hours. And it is not just because it'll take that long to choose which craft beer to pair with bar snacks such as White Castle sliders and the beer sponge?a pretzel stuffed with jalape?o cheese. It's because there's always something going on. It could be the game on TV, local bands and solo acts, a Monday open mic, Tuesday karaoke, or a Friday comedy show. For those looking for more interactive activities or a very tiny thimble, the bar also has a large selection of board games.
Since 1996, City Coffeehouse has drawn in guests with the scents of freshly brewed arabica coffee, simmering specialty drinks, and ambrosial baked gourmet desserts. Organic and fair-trade beans percolate into cups of specialty Almond Joy lattes and seasonal Mudslide cappuccinos with irish cream after thorough grounding, and 13 types of hot chocolate warm esophagi. The café strives to emulate the communal atmosphere of the traditional coffeehouse, hosting local chess and book-club meetings—as well as confused Edinburgh intellectuals imported straight from the 18th century—amid the vibrant red walls and framed artwork that surround clusters of tables and cushy couches. A 5:30 a.m. opening time accommodates early risers, and free WiFi encourages Internet exploration. Special events and regular open-mic nights give visitors the chance to perform yodel covers of Prince hits before a respectful audience.
Transylvania, Romania, may be Dracula's hometown, but it's also the hometown of something much sweeter?chimney cakes. The cylindrical cakes, which were originally baked on hot coals by the area's Hungarian residents, look a little like ribbon wrapped around a spool. To make them, bakers roll special dough by hand into an even strip, and then wrap the dough around a wooden or steel cooking roll. Next, they coat the dough in sugar and bake it. The result is a fully, soft inside and a crispy outside that is quickly coated in sweet toppings while it's still hot.
They used to be made only for special occasions in Romania and Hungary, but they've become quite popular and are slowly spreading across the world. In 1985, when the Chimney Cake Caf? opened, they officially touched down in Ann Arbor.
In the decades since then, the cafe team has added flair to the traditional pastry. They've started stuffing savory, garlic-and-cheese-covered chimney cakes with fillings such as chicken and feta cheese, and they've improved upon hot coals as their cooking method, upgrading to modern ovens and lasers. They also specialize in chicken and lamb shawarma. However, they still create the popular sweet cakes coated with such toppings as Nutella, Oreos, and coconut.