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.
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.
Blends Soft Serve Creations sets their frozen treats apart and puts the power of invention in the hands of the people by offering them the chance to blend individual flavors into their own new creation. Patrons can choose a base of ice cream or frozen yogurt or opt for a smoothie or fruit-juice freeze to sip through a straw. Next, they can infuse the treat with one or a combination of 30 available flavors, including watermelon, cinnamon spice, and peach, and top it off with candy and fruit mix-ins. Blends also lists its recommendations for tasty treats that have passed flavor-quality and brain-freeze-probability tests, including cake-batter ice cream topped with vanilla-wafer crumbles and sprinkles, and fruit punch with cherry and orange flavors, highlighted by cherry, strawberry, and raspberry mix-ins.
Upon first glance, Tiki Monster H2O looks like your average snack shop—there's shelves packed with colorful candies and bags of chips, coolers filled with frosty soda bottles, and a counter lined with flavored syrups for snow-cones. Examine the inventory more closely, however, and you'll encounter retro, novelty, and unusual treats interspersed with familiar selections of Coca-Cola cans and packets of Cheetos. There are more than 100 different types of gourmet sodas, many in inventive flavors such as chocolate-covered maple-smoked bacon, green-apple jalapeno, and key lime pie. Shelves are also lined with vintage candies and international sweets, ranging from kitschy candy cigarettes to Asian red-bean ice-cream bars.
As guests marvel at the colorful labels of cartoon-character energy drinks and peruse racks of sunglasses, staffers keep busy behind the counter. They blend up simmering specialty Marley coffee beverages and shaved-ice drinks in flavors such as orange cream, chai tea, and salted-caramel cream. They frequently screen old westerns on the shop's TV, transporting viewers back to a time when cowboys still rode horses and regularly dined on tree bark.
Though the chewy boba pearls are the stars at Boba Day, they aren't the only culinary highlight. Staff serve not only bubble tea, but a variety of custom-made drinks including fresh-fruit smoothies, cups of single-origin coffee, and creamy Oreo shakes. The menu also includes Asian-inspired shaved ices made with green tea mochi, fresh fruit, green tea ice cream, or red beans.
"Friendship" is painted above the picture windows at Kaye's on Brookhurst, so that it's the last thing customers see when they walk out the door. The staff aims to make the eatery a welcoming place, where diners enjoy breakfast so much that they return for lunch. In the morning, both traditional and specialty breakfasts tempt palates, such as the house favorite pancakes with a citrus glaze. At lunch, hearty sandwiches and housemade chili fill bellies so customers don't have to inhale as much air. Sunny yellow walls and dark wood chairs complement the bright paintings hanging on the wall, all creating a warm atmosphere.