Early each morning, the devoted bakers at Mini's make their way to the kitchen to help their pint-sized desserts get dressed. The locally owned and operated bakery features eight periodically rotating flavors, each batch made from scratch using fresh, high-quality ingredients. Pineapple upside-down cake is a citrusy, invigorating classic, tempting sweet teeth to scale a sugary snowcap of handmade icing. Mini's red velvet is just as rousing, challenging domestic divas to live on the edge and mix colors with whites in their digestive laundromat. The flavor offerings change to keep cupcake connoisseurs on their feet, so call at least 24 hours in advance to chat with a baker about upcoming creations and to curate a customized order of six ($3.50 each).
Following Baja Fresh’s ethos set in 1990 as a healthy take on fast food, never-frozen meats sizzle atop the grill before they're tucked into made-to-order tacos and burritos. Grilled corn and flour tortillas embrace fish, carnitas, chicken, and steak, and smoky queso fundido sidles onto nachos and into burritos. Between bites, chips scoop up salsa made from farm-fresh produce rather than poured out of a can or fabricated in a space-age replicator. A complimentary salsa bar ensures no mouthful goes unspiced, and guests can scoop up their favorites as they await their dine-in, takeout, or catering orders.
El Rio Bakery & Restaurant's culinary artisans begin baking fresh breads at 3 a.m., and open their doors daily at 6 a.m. to dole out assorted Mexican baked treats. Fresh Mexican classics abound on the lunch and dinner menu, including the chili menudo ($3.50/pint, $6.89/quart), a tripe soup traditionally believed to cure hangovers and temporary grant eaters the power to start fires with their eyes. Combination platters, such as the chili relleno served with rice, beans, and choice of tortillas ($5.59), satisfy aggressive appetites, while individual pastries such as the cochitos—gingerbread cookies shaped like little pigs—eschew refined sugar in favor of molasses and honey ($0.55 each). Among a colorful mural, painted by a local artist, an in-house tortilla factory spins delicate disks of varying diameters, and corresponding likelihoods of representing the different planets in a solar system mobile, with 14-inch burro tortillas ($3.50/ dozen) and 6-inch wheat tortillas ($2/dozen).
Avenue Coffee's certified baristas serve responsible coffee with a level of dedication that shows from the drink selection to their latte art. These bean shamans heat their espresso ($1.75) to 202 ¬¬ºF to achieve quality taste with none of the bitterness that characterizes coffees who never got a reply on their screenplay treatment. Offer a date a choice between a white- or dark-chocolate mocha ($3.25–$4.25) to determine their allegiance to the dark side. Delicious baked goods such as muffins ($2.25) and bear claws ($2.75) arrive fresh daily, but it's always an option to adopt a pastry orphaned from the previous day ($1.25) as well.
The roasters at Coffee X Change ignite peaceful morning rituals with fresh-roasted regional beans procured from the fair-trade market. With a day's notice, customers can order one pound of house, Peaberry, or globetrotting beans from such coffee-rich regions as Costa Rica, Kenya, or New Guinea, and the expert java-whisperers roast the beans overnight. To satisfy the percolating preferences of all patrons, brew maestros can grind the batch of freshly cooked crop or leave the beans whole for personal grinding practice or delicious slingshot ammunition. Though the market price of each bean type varies, batches range from approximately $12.45–$14.45 per pound.