Locally situated and independently owned, Sips Coffee clears bleary eyes with an assortment of caffeinated concoctions and savory pastries. Shake off nightmares of coffee bean uprisings with a tea latte, which melds milk and sugar with a selection of aromatic teas that include passion fruit, earl grey, jasmine, and more ($3.35–$3.95). Try dousing steamy maws with an iced coffee ($2.35–$2.70) or creamy blended smoothie ($3.90–$4.35) before indulging in flaky pastries ($1.95–$2.15), fruit cups ($4.75), and sandwiches ($5.55). Sips Coffee's amicable gang of bean barons also trade their blends in bulk, which can double as paperweights when penning a voluminous coming-of-age tome about a free-spirited West Coast coffee bean ($5.75–$12). Sips Coffee hosts live, local music on weekends, and spirited patrons can utilize free WiFi to stream live videos of their own interpretive dances during each song.
Drawing inspiration from local craft beers, the bakers at Brewcakes combine those same suds with local ingredients to handcraft alcohol-infused cupcakes with flavors that rotate monthly. Boozy creations include the stout beer base, whiskey, and Bailey’s frosting blend of the Irish Cake Bomb, as well as the chocolate-porter base and chipotle-chocolate frosting of the aptly named Chipotle Porter.
Beyond cupcakes, spirits find their way into other offerings—such as the Black & White Russian, an espresso-chocolate brownie topped with Kahlua-spiked chocolate cream, and the beer-braised beef that fills panini-style short-rib sliders at Brewcakes' café. In addition to alcohol-infused eats, café diners can also enjoy plenty of alcohol-free treats, such as veggie flatbreads, hot- and iced-coffee drinks, or water served in shot glasses.
At Naim's Lounge, the chatter of friendly conversation mingles with wisps of fragrant hookah smoke, melting away workday stresses in the midst of friendly company. Guests puff on Lebanese pipes, surrounded by burbling fountains, televisions, and cozy sectioned couches.
Nearly 15 years ago, Lollicup Coffee & Tea founder Alan Yu helped introduce America to a drink popular in his native Taiwan: boba milk tea (a.k.a. bubble tea), named for the chewy tapioca balls known as boba that hang suspended in the beverage. These gummy treats make the drink something of a snack, too?people slurp them up using oversize straws, chewing them between sips or collecting them in their cheek pouches.
Lollicup's specialty is milk tea flavored with almond, jasmine, coconut, or other infusions, but boba can also be added to most of Lollicup's other colorful drinks, from grapefruit green tea to watermelon juice and signature soy pudding. There's food, too: shareable morsels of fried meats and veggies, or rice plates if a well-rounded meal is in order. Thanks to word of mouth and a spot on the Food Network's Unwrapped, Lollicup has expanded to dozens of locations across the country and has outposts opening soon in Europe and the Middle East.
The world is getting smaller every day: you can step into one shop in Riverside and end up looking at shelves full of German bread, Italian prosciutto, and cheese from Holland. Euro International Market & Deli stocks specialty European groceries. preparing deli sandwiches complete with fresh vegetables and spicy meats. Finish off your Russian ham and Moskovska salami sandwich with a cherry or apple strudel and the satisfaction of knowing that you didn't need to change currency to get it.