Tucked away in the kitchen of each Paris Baguette, bakers trained in French techniques craft buttery, flaky croissants and tart crusts, and their success at this has earned attention from the likes of the New York Times. In addition to pastries and sweets such as mocha rice balls, the bakers knead bread for their namesake baguettes and yeasty creations that hold an Asian twist, such as red-bean-paste-filled donuts. The experts also create fondant-cloaked cakes that venture beyond classic flavors into green tea, cappuccino, and sweet potato, delighting partygoers bored of the same laminated sheet cake that makes its appearance at each year’s birthday celebration.
To wash down these treats, patrons sip cups of java or more exotic drinks such as wheatgrass and black-sesame lattes, persimmon smoothies, and bubble tea. At lunchtime, many locations layer sandwiches, filling hungry stomachs with croque monsieurs and baguettes stuffed with chicken and pesto.
In 2008, four sisters started Bambu Desserts & Drinks as a hobby. Today, the San Jose–born brand has established a major presence in the Bay Area, and has expanded to other states including Hawaii, Nevada, and Texas. Bambu’s success can be traced to the quality of its treats, as well as its variety: the menu is packed with about 100 Asian-inspired desserts and beverages. Tapioca balls float in their milk teas, which range in flavor from lychee to coconut to jasmine, and their dessert drinks combine such intriguing ingredients as coconut, pandan jelly, longan, basil seed—which form the Bambu special. Various hot and cold coffee drinks, such as Vietnamese coffee, café mochas, and lattes, put a spring in guests' step—more convenient than filling your shoes with jumping beans. The staffers also concoct blended coffees and smoothies, which come in flavors including strawberry, coconut, papaya, and avocado.
The leaf-savvy baristas at Tenju Tea House craft a variety of tea and tea-fusion beverages steeped to order with loose tea leaves hailing from around the world. Black, green, herbal, and other specialty blends release their aromatic flavors beneath steaming pours of water, infusing libations such as milk teas, iced teas, and traditional hot concoctions with natural ingredients that bolster health like a romantic jacuzzi session with a beloved multivitamin. Toasty bagel sandwiches, hot dogs, and savory Japanese snacks fill out the café's menu, each made to order for noshing on the go or while surfing the free WiFi from an array of Asian-inspired seating.
Entrepreneur Smita Salgaonkar has crafted Indian-inspired ice creams for more than 10 years at the brightly pigmented Saffron Spot shop, scooping more than two dozen exotic flavors into cups and cones. The signature saffron silk flavor sings notes of rose and pistachio as it melts in mouths, while fruity blends such as guava and jackfruit roll around the edges of the tongue like flavorful marbles. Milk shakes join any ice-cream flavor with milk and straws, while hot drinks include coffee beverages and almond-flavored badam milk.
Max Bloom's treats customers to classic café fare in an old-timey 1940s ambience, as vintage film posters, black-and-white photographs of glamorous starlets, and other remnants of pulp past line the walls. Max Bloom's menu percolates with caffeinated cups of house-blend coffee ($0.89–$1.80) and café lattes ($2.70–3.85), as well as vintage sodas ($1.85) and milkshakes ($4), which are concocted by a 1940s commercial mixer to impart the wholesome taste of postwar America. Diners can don their swellest petticoats and order a roast-beef panini as fuel for future foxtrot competitions ($4.75), or wake up with the breakfast burrito before imparting on a noir-esque detective hunt to find out who murdered the department store's mannequins ($3+). Max Bloom's also has a swinging calendar of events, including open-mic nights, film showings on Mondays, and live music.
After their personal experience with juicing revolutionized their lives, the husband and wife behind Drinkbar. Juicery decided to share their story with the public. The self-described “flexetarians” respect all food choices but choose to imbue their cleanses with raw juices, local coffees, and smoothies that help flush the body of toxins while flooding it with nutrients. Crafted from all-natural ingredients such as fresh carrots, apples, lemons, and kale, the juices can help customers shed pounds, evict harsh chemicals and toxins from the body, and even gain more restful sleep.