After catering for two years, Blackberry Soul Bakery and Cafe finally settled in a brick-and-mortar building, where owner-baker Rene prepares her Southern-influenced cakes, cookies, and savory snacks for visitors. The 2004 winner of the Taste of the Bay award and a requested favorite of the 100 Chefs Can Cook United Negro College fundraiser, Rene applies plaudit-earning skills when mixing fresh butter, real vanilla beans, just-harvested wooden spoons, and a few of her grandmother's recipes to whip up delectable, tooth-ready treats. She specializes in sweet-potato pie, pound cake, oatmeal cookies, and cobblers, though the piping-hot menu also includes cakes, cupcakes, and puddings. Red velvet cake supplies means of satiation for sweet teeth, and two types of cornbread furnish the means of satiation for teeth made out of bread. The café takes custom orders for pickup or delivery, and Rene accommodates customers out and about by supplying treats at many local jazz festivals and community events.
The chefs at American Natural Food & Cafe strive to expand American palates with a menu of dishes influenced by foods from all over the Mediterranean basin. A perennial list of French-inspired Moroccan cuisine anchors an ever-changing lineup of specials drawn from many countries, allowing a menu of Mediterranean-Moroccan fusion food. For example, salads and burritos are made with fresh, organic ingredients, and couscous is prepared in the Doukkala Province method, paying homage to the chef's roots.
For those inspired to whip up their own Mediterranean dishes at home, the eatery's grocery-store section provides aspiring chefs with spices and hand-selected, naturally raised foods from around the world. The packed shelves provide a backdrop to intimate tables lit by strings of lights and candlesticks.
Cafe Madrid excites palates with a traditional lineup of Spanish deli selections alongside creative coffees and cold beverages. Embark on transatlantic flavor treks atop the menu’s roasted eggplant sandwich ($8), just the way Columbus did, or bundle a bocadillo with a choice of gourmet meats, cheeses, and zesty condiments ($7.50). Early risers can stop by on morning commutes to employ teeth in the disassembling of tomato-topped andalusian toast ($3) and pair it with a choice of coffee concoctions such as café con leche ($3) or find a tempting treat for after-work outings by sipping sangria by the glass ($6), pitcher ($13), or hollowed-out gold brick.
Growing from the seeds of coffee beans, Farley's started as a java shop that eventually transformed into a community feeding and watering hole. As a neighborhood citizen, the eatery stocks its shelves with magazines and decks its walls with rotating displays of local art from local artists. Farley's welcomes the morning crowd with a menu of stimulating percolators and hearty breakfast bites. A double shot of espresso ($2.50) or a 16-ounce cup of French-press joe ($3.50) awakens sleepy heads. Utensil-wielding hands are directed toward a basket of Farley's baked eggs with Yukon Gold potatoes and prosciutto ($7) or a cool bowl of house-made granola with yogurt ($4.50).
In 1683, Vienna crowned Franz George Kolshitsky a war hero for crossing enemy lines to secure an end to the The Great Turkish War. His first order of business? Buy up the Turkish coffee that opposing troops had left behind and open Central Europe’s first coffee house. More than three centuries later and thousands of miles away, a resident of Oakland, California was inspired by Kolshitsky’s story. The entrepreneur, a musician, decided to pursue his second love, coffee, in a new way—he would only sell coffee within a 48-hour window after roasting it, and use beans that were grown without pesticides, just like special agents in the EPA. Armed with nothing more than a roaster equipped to handle small six-pound batches, the java connoisseur opened Blue Bottle Coffee. Today, Blue Bottle is helmed by several dozen coffee aficionados, and its Ethiopian, Peruvian, and NOLA-inspired coffees hit cups at locations scattered all around San Francisco and New York City, from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) to Rockefeller Center. The masterminds behind Blue Bottle Coffee have even published two books about crafting coffee and desserts. And they’re serious about those desserts—in fact, at their SFMOMA location, they elevate food to an art form by modeling treats after current museum exhibits. In an article written for Food52, Caitlin Freeman (wife of Blue Bottle founder James Freeman) reveals how the concept of food imitating art first gained traction with the arrival of Jeff Koons’ Michael Jackson and Bubbles sculpture. Caitlin created a white hot-chocolate concoction in a gilded Turkish teacup, and embellished it with house-made “bubbles” of Lillet-flavored marshmallows. The whimsical treat was such a hit that similar crafting continues at their locations across the nation.