Generally speaking, there's not a bubble to be found in bubble tea. Instead, the "bubbles" that the cold Taiwanese drink takes its name from are chewy tapioca pearls or jellies resting at the bottom of the glass, waiting for a straw to suck them up. The tea is there, however—but it's not alone. Mixed with it is the flavor of mango, matcha, or peppermint. In fact, at Steepery Tea Bar—owned by the same aficionados as the Tea Garden—more than 30 flavors combine with 10 bubble varieties to exercise creative muscles and comfort anyone who's afraid of repeating themselves.
Bubble tea is just one of the drinks at Steepery Tea Bar. And it's not even the only drink that can contain bubbles. Shakes and coolers can also hold the chewy treasures in their depths, as well as the cafe's signature drinks such as the royal tea latte. Of course, being a tea bar, Steepery brews up hot drinks too. More than 50 kinds of green, black, white, and herbal loose-leaf tea—most of which are fair-trade, organic, and inclined to give only positive fortunes to tellers—fill cups and pots.
In a 2600-square-foot shop saturated with red and black hues, clients hold still as Defiant Tattoo’s artists override their natural flesh tones with elaborate designs. Five ink artists boast diverse styles, from Keith Hieserick’s elegant Japanese work to Scot Neverdahl’s painstaking attention to detail. Two piercers are also on staff and can adorn almost any place imaginable with sleek metal jewelry or meaningful holiday ornaments.
Spectators can settle down at the attached coffee shop and sip flavored lattes or cold-pressed coffee. The coffee bar sources its beans from the local roaster B & W Specialty Coffee Co., which is committed to fair-trade practices. A patio in the front of the building, dominated by a stone fire pit, offers visitors a pleasant place to enjoy drinks or gaze upon new tattoos.
The menu at Café Cravings, sister restaurant to Cravings Wine Bar & Grille, is in essence an encyclopedia of classic American cuisine. There are the sandwiches, which run the gamut from crisp BLTs and triple-decker clubs to the sizzling, strawberry-kissed Monte Cristo. There are the soups, which fill sourdough bread bowls, and the rotating selection of quiches. But most impressive has to be the breakfast. The 25-strong selection is served all day, ensuring that even those who wake up late or have their watch on backward get a bite of fluffy, ham-stuffed Denver omelets and apple-walnut pancakes topped with maple butter.
The eight-page dessert menu is no slouch either. Those who call ahead get their pick of whole cakes, tarts, cobblers, pies, cheesecakes, and other sugar-laden delicacies, which they can pick up inside or at the convenient drive-through window.
Bean Buddy's bright-eyed coffee-bean mascot, Bean Buddy, welcomes guests into the WiFi-equipped cafe, where coffee pots percolate and beans are ground fresh. With a five-drink punch card, customers can bring along a jazz quartet and still ensure that everyone enjoys their own cup (up to $4.89 each) of Buddy's hazelnut divinity, a swirling vortex of hazelnut and almond roca. Augment flavor absorption by partnering warm sips of german-chocolate-cake coffee—infused with chocolate and coconut—with The Mean Bean, an extra shot of espresso, chocolate, caramel, and hazelnut. Baked fresh by a local pastry chef, cupcakes ($2.45 each) of red velvet and chocolate add extra morsels of saccharine goodness to an already-rich culinary affair, and a Bean Buddy cartoon coffee mug ($9.95) acts as a sentimental souvenir of your visit or lightens up the moods of dark cupboards.
A silvery wand dips into a carafe of fresh milk, which will be used to form the foam that tops a steamy cappuccino. The smell of freshly brewed Arabica beans wafts through the air, countered by the buttery aroma of a crepe cooking on a circular griddle. Serving up sandwiches at lunch as well as sweet and savory crepes for breakfast, the staffers at Brix Coffee offer visitors a taste of Europe without the unpleasant aftertaste caused by chewing on a map. After meals, the café's daily-made custard can be blended into shakes and smoothies or scooped into sundaes or waffle cones.