At Green Lemon Cafe, ceramic salt- and peppershakers masquerade as pairs of flamingos, crabs, and dairy cows. The figurines mirror the café's harmonious atmosphere: on any given day, patrons munch Fresh-inspired café fare, chat with owner Amanda Volence, or sprout goatees while browsing original artwork.
In the kitchen, chefs pack Boar's Head meats into savory crepes and paninis such as the black forest ham and swiss panini or the raspberry-chicken crepe with jack cheese and spinach. Alternately, cooks fill the apple-crisp crepe—1 of more than 30 crepe options—with cinnamon, apples, caramel, and graham-cracker crumbs.
The earthiness of freshly ground espresso mingles with the buttery scent of crepes cooking on the griddle all day at 407 Cafe. Chefs fold the lacelike golden circlets of batter around fillings such as roast beef and sharp cheddar cheese or Nutella and strawberries. With a sizzling drumroll, a panini press shuts on sandwiches until mozzarella cheese melts perfectly around grilled chicken, fresh spinach, and sweet yellow raisins. In the kitchen, cooks craft gelato, a delicate process of folding together eggs, milk, sugar, and loads of fruit. Glass vases on the white dining-room tables brim with coffee beans and bright-green stalks of bamboo like the diorama a biologist makes to get a PhD.
Blue Lemon Cafe quells hunger pangs morning, noon, and night with café cuisine of the sweet and savory variety. The menu of crepes, fruit smoothies, ice cream, and hearty sandwiches won the admiration of Metromix in 2010, earning the eatery a Best Café nod. Like John Wayne’s impersonation of Charles de Gaulle, the café blends American classics with a French twist, inviting diners to sip glasses of wine alongside their cheeseburgers, or dive into Francocentric food such as niçoise salad and quiche Lorraine. Between lime-green walls, circular tables and streamlined eggshell-white chairs create a hip, laid-back atmosphere permeated by free WiFi.
While there's no exact English equivalent of the word "bodegón," it roughly translates to "tavern" or "wine cellar"⎯a place where neighbors and friends sip wine and share laughs over plates of Spanish tapas. So at El Bodegón, head chef Alexis Marinez uses his decade and a half of restaurant experience to whip up a menu featuring dishes from the Iberian peninsula, such as small plates of cheese and charcuterie, pan-seared chicken, grilled skirt steak, and light, flaky mahi and grouper. He also stocks imported wines and beers to pair with his food, to ensure an authentic dining experience. Far more than a trendy tapas joint, El Bodegón prides itself on its warm, family atmosphere and wealth of potential material for a heartwarming sitcom, with Alexis' sister Jackie Mendez and mother Nadine Lopez serving as co-owners and managers. As guests dig into pots of seafood or chicken paella and savor imported Spanish olives and Manchego cheese, musicians set a relaxing mood by strumming harps and classical guitars, while clay tile floors, brick walls, and arch-bordered alcoves exude a charming, rustic air.
To craft their tapas and upscale dinner entrees, Galopin Winter Park's chefs visit numerous local farms to select healthy, organic produce and protein. With those natural ingredients, they whip up small plates including skewers of coconut- and lemongrass-braised veal and cremini mushrooms stuffed with eggplant and garlic ragout. For mains, they crust tuna in curry and assemble a duck tasting of pan-seared breast and roasted glazed leg. Meals unfold in a chic dining room aglow in red lighting where the upbeat tunes of live jazz musicians and DJs coax diners onto the dance floor every weekend.
At Smart Coffee HD, each new season brings new batches of java from fair-trade cooperatives around the world. The shop's baristas incorporate those environmentally conscious blends into classic beverages like cappuccinos and frappes, though they happily steep herbal teas and craft fruit smoothies, too. Cooks, meanwhile, assemble local, organic ingredients into house-made comfort foods, from veggie wraps stuffed with portabella mushrooms and saut?ed onions to homemade chicken and waffles, while desserts and pastries end meals on sweet notes.