As the heir apparent to three generations of cooks, Rose Foote’s decision to follow in their footsteps was no surprise. Her journey started when she worked at her parent’s restaurant at the age of 9, and it continued in 1995 with her catering service, and, eventually, a culinary tour throughout Tuscany. All of these influences can be found in her inventive breakfast, lunch, and brunch menus at Bella’s Café—Rose describes the resulting theme as “European roots with contemporary flair.” An illustrative example is the eggplant ciabatta, a unity of grilled eggplant, fire-roasted red peppers, gooey melted mozzarella, and spicy arrabbiatta sauce.
The food isn’t the only aspect of Bella’s Café that blends a classic European aesthetic with contemporary influences—the décor adheres to that theme. Burnt yellow hues give the walls a rustic look, and framed prints and paintings remind guests that they don’t have to sculpt their French toast into a bust of Napoleon playing with his food to see beautiful art.
Purple tablecloths bloom with vases of cut flowers as petal-like fans whir overhead. Their regal hue symbolizes one of Zaroka Bar & Restaurant's guiding principles: that guests are akin to royalty. Inside the dining room, traditional Indian meals unfold amid ornately carved picture frames, vibrant music, and colorful conversations. To explore India's nooks and crannies, chefs craft dishes from far-flung regions such as Punjab, Gujarat, and Bengal. House specialties range from spiced chicken kebabs baked in a clay oven to curried shrimp simmered in a coconut pot. The kitchen also prepares an array of vegetarian dishes, such as savory garlic naan and three types of lentil dal. An ideal dessert or palate cleanser, the rosewater lassi teems with sweet, floral hints, like a game of charades with a potpourri sachet.
Book Trader Café stacks more than 16,000 titles of gently used books on its shelves, combined with second-hand DVDs and CDs that transform the inventory into multimedia brain food. Literary works and academic books on art, architecture, and paper towels line the store, their spines inviting readers to sink into their vivid and educational worlds. A cult-fiction section assembles an apocrypha of fringe scribes, photography books tempt eyes with their luscious pages, and a children's-book section tempts kids to burrow into a fort of words. Most titles average $4.95, and staff carefully curates each one to ensure a quality recycled collection sans fraying bindings or torn pages. While Book Trader Café's inventory rotates frequently, the online store lists troves of its selections and lets bibliophiles reserve books by phone. With new old books in hand, patrons can stroll over to the café to enjoy them and further sate their appetites for letters by reading the menu.