When they’re not blending imported leaves into 120 tea varieties, the tea gurus at Tea Time lead tasting classes that empower sippers to explore the 3,000-year-old beverage’s origins, aromas, and health benefits. The classes reflect Tea Time’s mission to make its tea room a welcoming community hub. In the shop’s “sniffing corner,” staff members help customers sift through 150 glass jars of tealeaves in search of their ideal blend. Free WiFi, bamboo tables, and a menu of French-style pastries and English-style sandwiches furnish tranquil afternoons, and a slew of teatime accessories line solid oak shelves.
A joint venture by AOL and Stanford Student Enterprises, Ground Up satisfies hard-to-please palates with painstakingly crafted cups of local, artisanal coffee from the Blue Bottle Coffee Company. All of Blue Bottle Coffee's beans are organically grown without pesticides and are shipped to suppliers within 48 hours of roasting, ensuring each drink is fresh, flavorful, and free of boring stories about its brief success on Star Search. Because they hold their drinks to such a high standard, Ground Up’s staff take care to prepare each brewed potion with the extra time needed to make every sip exceptional, providing patrons an opportunity to warm up their mouths on a full menu of flaky croissants, fresh sandwiches, and Strauss organic ice creams.:m]]
In the days before baguettes were popularized as day-old jousting batons, the dignified breadform was utilized as a sandwich vessel. To preserve the antiquity of the baguette, the friendly bakers at Cocola fetch them straight from the oven on a daily basis and build graspable sandwiches of the highest quality, such as the albacore tuna nicoise (with a lemon vinaigrette, $9.90) and the hearty grilled eggplant (with fresh veggies, mozzarella, and an olive oil and balsamic blend, $9.90). A sandwich is an intelligent way to get the hunger ball rolling down the hill until it crashes into an array of sweet menu treats. Indulge in tri-colored mousse cups ($4.60) and whipped and stacked hazelnut cakes ($4.60), or nourish your petite palate with pear tarts ($2.80) or bite-sized tiramisu ($3.10).
Tucked away in the kitchen of each Paris Baguette, bakers trained in French techniques craft buttery, flaky croissants and tart crusts, and their success at this has earned attention from the likes of the New York Times. In addition to pastries and sweets such as mocha rice balls, the bakers knead bread for their namesake baguettes and yeasty creations that hold an Asian twist, such as red-bean-paste-filled donuts. The experts also create fondant-cloaked cakes that venture beyond classic flavors into green tea, cappuccino, and sweet potato, delighting partygoers bored of the same laminated sheet cake that makes its appearance at each year’s birthday celebration.
To wash down these treats, patrons sip cups of java or more exotic drinks such as wheatgrass and black-sesame lattes, persimmon smoothies, and bubble tea. At lunchtime, many locations layer sandwiches, filling hungry stomachs with croque monsieurs and baguettes stuffed with chicken and pesto.
Summit Coffee starts brewing pots from flavorful beans in the wee hours of the morning, encouraging guests to jump-start their days with a steaming cup and hearty breakfast from 5:30 a.m. onward. Alongside signature coffee drinks and energizing shots of espresso, baristas serve up eye-opening breakfast items such as waffles topped with fruit and whipped cream, classic omelets, and alarm clocks in hollandaise sauce. Once diners are ready to take on the day, they can get to work using the shop’s free WiFi and continue to fuel with fresh mugs from the coffee counter.
Making a good sandwich, like removing a child’s head from between stair balusters, requires delicate handling and a lot of mayonnaise. Marvel at skilled condiment usage with today's Groupon: for $7, you get $14 worth of sandwiches and bagels at Izzi's To-Go East-Coast Bagels & Smokehouse in Redwood City.