Jenn and Donny have long accepted their elitist take on coffee. As college students and self-professed coffee snobs who both worked in the food industry, they bemoaned a lack of sophisticated brews and attentive service, finally deciding that innovation would be the best form of protest. They dreamt up their own café where the beans would be freshly micro-roasted, the cocoa would incorporate three types of chocolate, and every drink would be handmade by the same person who took your order. The resulting venue, Coffee Break Cafe, lined its menu with libations of all temperatures and caffeinated creeds.
The café's house blend hails from locales such as Sumatra, Colombia, Africa, and South America and is shipped from specialty roasters who prep the beans in small batches. Jenn and Donny's commitment to coffee quality is matched by their enthusiasm for the natural world—they stock organic and fair-trade options, as well as dairy products from a hormone-free farm. Though they stand by meticulous barista techniques, they are hardly sugar-shunning purists. They readily infuse hot and frozen drinks with dessert flavors, ranging from red velvet cupcake to cinnamon bun, crafting a far superior breakfast sweet than grapefruit pie. Bagels and pastries, delivered daily by neighborhood bakeries, balance out refreshing sips. The morning hotspot's communal spirit is reflected in hanging pictures by local artists, live music, and complimentary story readings for kids.
Planet Smoothie actually does cover a significant portion of the planet, with locations all over the east coast and as far west as Hawaii. In their expansive geographical quest, they seek to change dieting habits for the better with their products. The team behind this fruit haven lays down exactly what their smoothies are made from and what they will do for your body so that clients can make informed decisions about their smoothie choices.
Their full menu catalogs fruit-filled drinks, with options to add protein powder for faster muscle growth than when Arnold Schwarzenegger synchronized his bicep flexing to a hip-hop beat. They also mix in fat-burning blasts to suppress appetites and immune-system blasts to keep bodies healthy. The shop accommodates clients’ food allergies and dietary restrictions with gluten-free and dairy-free options. In addition, they only use natural, low-calorie sweeteners composed of agave and stevia to offer a healthy alternative to chemical sweeteners while avoiding the excess calories associated with traditional sugar.
The executive chef at Zendo Asian Bistro & Lounge flavors the menu's Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thai dishes with 25 years of Far Eastern culinary expertise. Moo shu pancakes swaddle roasted peking duck, cucumber, scallions, and hoisin sauce ($22 for half) as lemongrass and chili rain down on a flavorful fillet of pan-seared tofu ($18). Servers deliver the sizzling Thai sirloin steak ($25) with a side of noise-canceling headphones, grilled veggies, and spicy gravy, and top tables with plates of grilled salmon on mein, coated in spicy tomato sauce and cilantro ($22). Diners can dock the sushi boat for two ($46), whose manifest includes an artistically arranged assortment of nigiri, sashimi, and maki passengers.
A hodgepodge of truffles, caramels, fudges, and ice cream treats greets confectionary cravers and ice cream screamers at Hilliards House of Candy. Peruse fine chocolates as soft as hazelnut figaro ($11.75 for 8 oz.) or as hard as peanut-and-caramel jazz squares ($11.75 for 8 oz.). The buttery cashew brittle ($9.50 for 8 oz.) gives teeth a challenge, and the Grand Marnier truffle ($2.20) intrigues the taste buds with orange liquor flavor and chocolate ganache. Hilliard's serves its ice cream cones, sundaes, and frappes until October 31, but after that you can still pick up a pint ($5.95) or a quart ($8.95) to take home or bring to a lonely mailman.
Brazilian-born owners Vagmar Stoffel and Rubiano Aguiar sought to create a community dining experience at Rio's Steakhouse, evoking gustatory memories of their hometowns. Rodizio-style dining allows guests to remain seated while attentive churrascaria waiters continually fill empty plates from skewers of slow-cooked beef, chicken, and pork, which they gingerly carve tableside. In between platefuls, diners can temporarily stop the flow of cuisine with either a color-coded coaster or a cleverly placed soccer ball, buying themselves time to visit the ever-changing buffet of hot sides and salad fixings.
Inside a historical downtown Quincy home that dates back to the 1850s, chef and baker Lisa Tavakoli crafts signature dishes and scones for guests to savor in a Victorian tearoom. Lisa gathers 8–15 students around her countertop to demonstrate how to top plates with multiple courses and drinks. She emphasizes the gustatory roles that all senses play, creating visually appealing dishes and steeping teas that appeal to the drinker's sixth sense. Curricula include Persian cuisine, Italian cuisine, and courses on raw cooking and seasonal ingredients.