Every day, the staff at Boba Smoothie blend fresh fruits and other ingredients to create smoothies, teas, and non-dairy milk teas. But the sweet flavors of fruit and tea aren't the drinks' only feature?the cups fill with chewy boba pearls, which add a burst of texture to every taste like a lego made of candy. Staff members also serve up fresh scoops of gelato in such flavors as mango, coconut, and cupcake.
At Kona Kai Coffee, floor-to-ceiling windows flood the space with natural light. As they perch on chairs astride sun-drenched dark wood tables, customers sip steaming cups of espresso and dig into fresh-made sandwiches and salads.?
In step with their Hawaiian name, the coffee shop was founded in the spirit of aloha. It's operated as a nonprofit, with the primary goal to help homeless, at-risk youth, and other disadvantaged people learn life skills and on-the-job training. Through this endeavor, they seek to empower and inspire, and have earned themselves a 2011 Good Neighbor award from the National Restaurant Association.
Shnoo Yogurt isn't your run-of-the-mill frozen yogurt stand. Instead of serving pre-made treats churned out in a factory, the staff makes non-fat, gluten-free yogurt in small batches, using minimal sugar and milk from a local dairy??a practice that helps preserve all the nutrients and live cultures that make frozen yogurt healthy. But Shnoo Yogurt's Full Tilt brand ice cream is also good for you; made from all-natural, local ingredients, it's available in 28 flavors, including vegan-friendly varieties. And the health-conscious options don't stop there. One you've chosen your favorite frozen yogurt or ice cream, a full bar of at least 30 nutritious toppings awaits to be mixed in, including fresh blueberries, coconut, granola, honey, and even marshmallows, which count as a vegetable if eaten on Thanksgiving.
The well-traveled pastry chef at Royale Cafe & Bakery's daily, scratch-made selection of pastries fits neatly beneath a small glass counter. The presentation, though, incorporates culinary techniques learned from across the globe via seven years of training and travel. The chef rises early each morning to bake everything from savory souffl? to mini chocolate cheesecake tarts and nutella-filled croissants. These treats come alongside homemade soups, hot paninis, and gourmet salads. Baristas also prepare artful espresso drinks to accompany them, such as mochas and lattes topped with foamy images of flowers, leaves, and hot milk in coffee.
Although the cupcakes at hello, cupcake are served from behind a pristine white counter, the staff isn't afraid to get its hands dirty. The cupcakes?which come in classic flavors such as?chocolate, vanilla, and red velvet?are baked from scratch each day and topped with handmade buttercream frosting. The bakery also offers seasonal varieties and features a different cupcake each month, with flavors such as caramel apple, peanut butter and jelly, and root-beer float making appearances on the menu. And that's not counting the staff's limited-edition cupcakes, such as a vanilla-blackberry version whose proceeds benefited YWCA Pierce County's domestic-violence services.
Metronome Coffee's founders built their business around the idea of fresh coffee, tasty foods, and good music to sooth both cravings and consciences. They acquire their coffee through direct trade with farmers, each cup benefiting the people who did the hard work of growing it. They stock their pastry case with treats from local Corina Bakery and serve up hot pancakes made from scratch. They even squeeze their orange juice fresh. And they pair their food and drink with the tunes of local artists, helping customers discover new music.