Safari Coffee Roasters' expert baristas brew more than 75 varieties of Arabica coffee with a keen and unrelenting attention to flavor and caffeine levels. The team ensures freshness by roasting each coffee-based thirst quencher on site and never using beans discovered in a Ziploc bag that was buried in the ground. Beverages range from $1.75 to $4.95, but Safari offers a "think green" discount, encouraging coffee sippers to bring in their own cup by offering their liquidly wares for $1 for those who do so. Pour a Dancing Bear concoction down a parched gullet and enjoy dual-flavored African and Central American beans roasted at two levels ($16.95/lb.), or sample the Continental, a unity of French and Columbian beans ($15.95/lb.). Coffee service usually takes fewer than five minutes, like the time it takes to mash potatoes with a cinder block. The café cuisine department at Safari also brings an armada of cupcakes, scones, cookies, and bran and cake muffins to taste apparatuses.
At Cafe Lily, the vibrant, house-made fare mirrors the pastel storefronts of the Old Poway Village outside. The eatery was described by the Pomerado News as "an energetic hub brewing social interaction and creativity, as envisioned by owner Sean Sassani." A blend of Sean's artistic inclinations and his mother, Lily's, culinary talents, the café doles out steaming cups of Divine Madman coffee, a flavorful, organic java that's roasted in 1-pound batches via eco-friendly and socially responsible techniques. Loose-leaf black, green, chai, and herbal teas hail from global gardens, but breakfast and lunch menus claim roots in Lily's own kitchen. Cold sandwiches and colorful paninis, some stuffed with Boar's Head meats⎯like a deli owner's bed pillow⎯serve as savory precursors to pastries and cakes baked onsite.
Patrons can entertain themselves around a fragmented puzzle, or absorb euphonic sounds during open-mic sessions and sets by live musicians. Creativity continues to run abound in the form of colorful artwork by local artists. Coral walls and a fireplace add to the coffee shop's warm ambiance, which extends to an outdoor deck and induces a sneaking suspicion that you might secretly be on fire.
In the morning, the café whips up various savory selections for bleary-eyed breakfasters. The green eggs and ham ($7.50) features two any-styled eggs and ham served open faced on toast with pesto and are best eaten while in a box with a fox. Wake up your sweet tooth with the powdered-sugared cinnamon french toast on swirl bread ($7); add bananas or berries for an additional $1.50. Compliment a.m. eats with a hot tea ($2), organic coffee ($2, large), or coffee and espresso-powered hammerhead (large, $3.50), among other sips.
At 6:15 a.m. Monday–Friday, Lush Coffee & Tea’s baristas start passing hot and iced coffee, espresso, and loose-leaf teas through the window to drivers on the go. The speedy drive-thru window opens a bit later on weekends, but guests can still choose from the same selection of coffee drinks made with organic, fair-trade beans or sniff loose-leaf teas from their car to decide which to drink and which to use as cologne. Lush also offers quick snacks in the form of pastries and fresh fruit.
The name Annapurna, which means to be filled completely with food in Sanskrit, hints at a sprawling buffet and busy kitchen. Jumbo shrimp and boneless chicken marinated in a spicy yogurt cook inside a traditional Indian clay oven, and bite-sized bits of lamb simmer in a curry infused with Andhra spices and herbs. Chefs simmer milk, crafting it into thick paneer cheese, which pairs with a spiced gravy to fill out the range of vegetarian items. The scents of cardamom, cumin, chili, and pickled mangos fill the air. At the lunch buffet, heated pans hold mounds of rice, creamy sauces, and frozen popsicles that won’t give up information.