Founded by Michele Chirgwin in her kitchen in 1986, Michele's Chocolate Truffles has grown to a staff of 25 chocolate makers producing 35 varieties of truffles and more. The chocolatiers start at 6 every morning, using Guittard Chocolate and a host of other quality ingredients to craft their confections. Michele's most famous sweets, her truffles, come in flavors as varied as amaretto, lemon zest, and pistachio butterscotch (a truffle map can be seen here). Truffle boxes allow customers to mix and match desired chocolaty bites, from as few as four ($10.35) to as many as 20 ($47). Also available are candy bars ($2 apiece), with flavors such as almond coconut and walnut fudge, as well as assorted sweet morsels such as fudge ($3) and peanut brittle ($5.95)—all sure to make babies smile before weeping as adults greedily steal the irresistible candy away.
From buttermilk fried chicken to herb-crusted prime rib, the chefs at Stanford's find a way to add pleasant surprises to just abut every dish they make. The barbecue chicken pizza, for one, boasts a unique buttermilk garlic sauce and each of the wood fire-grilled steaks sails to tables with parmesan potato wedges and a choice of six savory sauces. But little details like these aren't the only surprises on the menu. There's also a selection of sushi rolls, such as the tempura prawn rolls, and walnut-crusted brie with seasonal housemade preserves. The signature cocktails also have their share of surprises: the lavender cosmo comes with an aromatic lavender-sugar rim and the basil gimlet's balanced mix of basil and sour lime trips across the tongue in an unexpected show of herb-fruit harmony.
At Mix 'N' Match Creamery, the process of getting an ice cream is almost as fun as eating it. After asking what flavor you'd like, a staff member places cream, sugar, and milk in a metal bowl, then blasts the mixture with a splash of liquid nitrogen that creates a sub-zero environment. As the cold, condensed-water cloud over the mixture evaporates, all that's left is wholesome, three-ingredient ice cream. The flavor options that can be added to the mix are virtually endless, as the team blends their many syrups with unique mix-ins, including chunks of cheesecake, bits of bacon, and crunchy Lucky Charms. The resulting treat can be scooped into a cone or waffle bowl to create a dessert that is easily portable and can be eaten in its entirety, much like a tin can of goat food.
Wind Horse Coffee & Tea is a cozy, personable coffee cabana catering to caffeine connoisseurs. Bolster the break of day with an energy-charging chalice of Caffè Umbria brand coffee ($1.55 for 12 oz), or soothe shot nerves from a night interrupted by the boogieman show choir with a latte ($3.20 for 12 oz). Beard wearers can decorate facial hair with dollops of cream from a milky mocha ($3.30 for 12 oz), and pastry pundits can pepper their morning horoscopes with crumbs from a fresh, locally prepared muffin ($2.35). Wind Horse also provides eaters a menu of noshable breakfast and lunch items, including breakfast toasties ($4.50) and paninis ($5.95).
With more than 80 menu items hailing from stir-fried, curried, and benoodled disciplines, Rice runs the gamut of authentic Thai fare, often infusing signature dishes and specialties with its own twist. The wonton pad Thai hurls tradition out the window and into a passing tornado by tossing crispy wontons into a Thai stand-by ($11), while the lemongrass chicken, a house specialty, bathes delicately flavored grilled poultry in a luxurious peanut sauce coating ($9.50). The Indian-style gang mussamun curry, with potato, carrots, onions, and peanuts, stows away a spicy kick just like the other dishes of its kind, while scrumptious stir-fries range from the wholesome veggies delight to the decadent spicy cashew nut. Most stir-fries, curries, fried rice, and noodle dishes come with a choice of pork, chicken, beef, or tofu ($9), although diners can upgrade to shrimp, squid, and scallop ($10.50), or a combination of seafood ($13.50) rivaling the regal bounty of Poseidon's fly rod.
You wouldn’t want a gas station to close at any hour of the day, and you wouldn’t want a coffeehouse to cut off your fuel supply, either. Today’s Groupon keeps the engine running with $10 worth of local brews and treats from open-24-hours-a-day Southeast Grind for $5.Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.