Creek Monkey pairs cozy pub fare bursting with fresh, locally grown flavors alongside a roster of more than 20 craft and specialty beers. Blue cheese, bacon, and smoked cremini mushrooms pile atop the Bleu burger ($13.50), and grilled-fish tacos ($8.75) house sea inhabitants and house-made salsa inside corn-tortilla walls. Prime-rib platters ($14.25) arrive bearing hearty helpings of mashed potatoes and sweet white corn and—like a pair of blue jeans—can be enjoyed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Creek Monkey's fleet of frosty brews enchant palates with fresh watermelon flavors, floral hops, or thick, malty sweetness in a brisk outdoor beer garden, which allows diners to enjoy their meal while photosynthesizing their dessert.
In the bright spaces of Jamba Juice, mixers sprinkle mountains of all-natural, low-fat frozen yogurt with choices from seven toppings, such as almond and coconut. Dubbed Whirl'ns, cups filled with swirling, rivulet-etched peaks of frozen yogurt fuse the nutrition of real fruit and natural ingredients with the beneficial circuit training of active yogurt cultures.
Surprisingly enough, the most popular item at Rachel Dunn Chocolates is an apple. The Unbelievable Apple, in fact. A true dessert behemoth, this nearly 3-pound fruit is painted with hearty coats of caramel, chocolate, and fresh-roasted almonds. There’s not even any room left for the stick. Feeding as many as 12 people when sliced up, the apple has earned the attention of celebrity sweets-lovers ranging from Rosie O’Donnell to Williams-Sonoma founder Chuck Williams.
That’s not to say that Rachel, a chocolatier with 30 years of experience, is a one-treat pony. Her beloved dark honeycomb chocolate was selected as one of the 101 Best Bites of the East Bay by Diablo magazine in 2011, and her kitchen has churned out more than 72 million of her addictive Ebird’s perfect peppermint cookies. Though esteemed, Rachel’s hardly secretive about her methods, she personally hosts regular chocolate-making classes in her very own factory.
Little Red Bistro, an idyllic café splashed in vivid crimson accents, suffuses its intimate interior with eyelid-unfurling aromas wafting off three kinds of espresso. As the sun inches over the horizon and the boogeyman dives beneath the bed, the bistro’s chefs fold 17 kinds of crepes, ranging from sweet creations stuffed with peanut butter and jelly to savory pockets piled with green eggs and ham. Golden sear marks color seven piping-hot paninis that swaddle gourmet ingredients such as prosciutto, pesto, and roasted red peppers. Sips of frappes flavored with white chocolate and irish cream forge a fitting accompaniment to the café’s homemade desserts, which rotate daily.
At Mango Star, patrons can lounge on an outdoor patio while sipping sugary bubble teas, fruit-packed smoothies, and thin, flavorful crepes from a menu that overflows with coffee and café fare. Apply $6 per visit toward hot or cold blended tea ($2.75–$3.75), in flavors such as honeydew, jasmine green, and passion fruit, served with optional tapioca pearls freshly plucked from the mouths of seaside tapioca mollusks. Airborne forks can rip open savory crêpes with gusto, revealing chicken, tomato, pesto, and cheese ($5.95), or gourmet avocado, mushroom, onion, tomato, olives, and cheese ($5.25). Sweet crêpes arrive crowned with powdered sugar and whipped cream and boasting coats of strawberry nutella ($5.25), peach and ice cream ($5.95), and the sweet and tart trifecta of strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry ($6.50). Free WiFi and an outdoor patio let patrons browse favorite dog-fashion blogs while sipping espresso ($2.75+) and gourmet coffee ($1.50–$1.75).