Standing in a smoky kitchen, with fine particles of coffee chaff drifting through the air, Darrin knew he had found his calling. It all began with a book, in which Starbucks chief Howard Schultz describes his first taste of freshly roasted coffee. For Darrin, it was as an epiphany: he had to give coffee roasting a shot. And so, standing in his kitchen with whisk in hand, he roasted the first of many batches of coffee.
Fast forward to today, and Darrin's motto is simple: to roast the best coffee possible. At Darrin's Coffee Co., he roasts a handful of different coffees as often as James Bond hires a new martini maker: weekly. Darrin then sells the resulting blends in 6- or 12-ounce bags. Brewed varieties include dark espresso, creamy lattes, and the grasshopper—a blend of green coffee, chocolate, and vanilla.
After graduating from England's Southampton University, Jacqueline Bols began her culinary career in the French and Italian rivieras, serving her creations on private yachts in Cannes, Monaco, and Saint-Tropez. Later, she catered American events, earning the Charles Heidsieck Award for Culinary Excellence and serving her feasts to such famed diners as Oprah Winfrey, Sean Connery, Tommy Hilfiger, and Kevin Costner.
In 2001, Jacqueline opened Jacquie’s Café & Gourmet Catering, drawing on modern French cuisine and local and organic ingredients to craft in-house breakfasts and lunches as well as catered meals. In quarters ornamented with photographs and oil paintings, guests can dine on handcrafted yogurt parfaits, homemade soups, or smoked turkey, brie, and apple sandwiches. The catering arm of the outfit fashions hors d'oeuvres, à la carte items, and boxed lunches for private events, as well as corporate breakfast and lunch dishes, which distract employees from the daily grind of prank faxing competitor companies.
Vanilla Bean Bakery’s ovens constantly churn out moist cupcakes, cakes, and cookies in a lengthy roster of flavors. Once the treats are cool, the bakery’s frosting artists decorate them using glaze, frosting, and fondant. With two to three days' notice, the team can create custom cakes to celebrate anything from baby showers to tax-filing day. Cupcakes come in luscious flavors such as red velvet, lemon, coconut, and peanut-butter cup. The bakery’s gallery of custom cupcakes showcases its decorators' diverse repertoire. They adorn dozens with prom proposals, Butler University bulldogs, and fondant ghosts. In addition, bouquets of cake pops in flavors ranging from pink champagne to butter pecan brighten up parties, or patrons can opt for stickless arrays of cake truffles instead.
Having baked its delicate desserts of destiny for the celebrity likes of Oprah, Jackie Chan, and others, Fancy Fortune Cookies offers a handsome array of crack-openable creations like the chocolate-covered-raspberry fortune cookie ($1.15 each), chocolate-covered cookie ($1.10 each), and cherry-flavored cookie ($0.65 each). You can also make yourself feel tiny by ordering one-pound gigantic fortune cookies ($29.95+) and much more. Check out Fancy Fortune Cookies' larger-than-normal-fortune-cookie-sized selection of flavors here.
Like the rooster that graces Sunrise Cafe’s logo, owners Jim and Lisa Horsfield rise with the sun. They spend the early hours of each morning overseeing the café’s kitchen, where cooks crack eggs, sizzle bacon, and whip up housemade jam starting at 6 a.m. Come lunchtime, the staff shifts gears, sandwiching corned beef between slices of bread and tossing spinach with strawberries and housemade dressing. Though Sunrise Cafe has been around for 24 years, it continues to modernize with the times, blanketing its booths and tables with free WiFi and forbidding the use of phonographs.
Net Heads boasts Xbox 360s, Wiis, and PC gaming stations to let button-mashers of all ages and stripes take on the surrogate personality of a golfing Italian plumber, rock star, extraterrestrial Master Chief, or a four-unit Tetris piece. Inside the large and chicly modern gaming environment, slick lighting, custom furniture, and a plethora of video monitors make any joystick jockey feel as if they've been transported to a video-game mothership. A fleet of 45 gaming stations is networked together to allow adventurers to virtually compete against each other or anyone else across the intertubes. Office workers on a corporate outing can learn the value of teamwork by getting systematically pulverized by a team of hardworking stunt doubles in Call of Duty, and grandma can show off her patented Wii bowling trick shot to her entire church group. The convivial company of fellow gamers makes level-grinding in World of Warcraft far less tedious and also makes it a lot easier to play all the instruments in Rock Band at the same time. The freedom to explore dozens of games is yours to share alongside a playing and snacking friend for what can be a game-changing experience.