The Tea Smith owner Tim Smith searches out loose-leaf teas from all over the world—and he says he has to consciously limit himself as he fills the shops' stock of about 150 teas. But it wasn't long ago that Tim didn't even like tea. "I thought tea was brown water and a bag," he confesses.
It took a gift for his wife to change that. "I was traveling for business, it was around Valentine's day, and I was married long enough to know that you don't come home empty-handed," he says. So he bought her some loose-leaf tea and the right accessories to brew it. "She made me try it, and it was surprising," he says. "It was not that stuff in a bag. It had some character and some taste to it."
He began researching, and realized that tea—already the world’s most widely consumed beverage after water—was experiencing a resurgence in the United States. While many tea spots have British or Japanese themes, Tim decided to open a tea shops with a "comfortable contemporary" vibe, where people could enjoy hot, iced, and bubble teas with friends. For at-home brewing, visitors can shop for classic teas such as Earl Grey, sample more unusual flavors such as the “Iron Goddess of Mercy” (an oolong), or browse seasonal blends such as pumpkin spice, cranberry cream, and fireside chat. The shops also stocks travel tea mugs, teapots equipped with infuser baskets, and unglazed Chinese YiXing clay pots that enhance the tea’s flavor.
Tim knows that many people who walk into the shop are unfamiliar with loose-leaf tea and may not be sure what they'll like—which is why he only hires tea enthusiasts. "Part of their training is to come in and drink each of the teas, and make notes on the flavor profiles," he says. That way, the staff can recommend blends suited to each customer's palate, rather than having to analyze a Rorschach tea-blot test. In addition to events including an annual blending contest, they also run periodic Tea 101 sessions that introduce attendees to the "history, the myths, the legends, and the lore of tea," says Tim.
The confectionery conquistadors at Maggie Moo's Ice Cream and Treatery whip up fresh premium ice cream daily for their herds of loyal followers. Guests can choose one flavor from the shop's 15-variety repertoire of ice-cream cupcakes. Simply enjoy or practice shooting hoops with Basketball cupcakes, a sporty version of chocolate cupcake filled with Better Batter ice cream, or order Pink Flower cupcakes to express love to a mime.
Juice Stop uses fresh, nutritious ingredients to whip up their low-temperature, high-energy smoothies and protein shakes. Make over your morning routine with a Coaches' Choice smoothie (skim milk, chocolate, yogurt, and cappuccino mix), or jog through a Marathon (orange juice, bananas, and strawberries). Protein-packed options such as the World's Cup (skim milk, chocolate, peanut butter, and yogurt) are hearty enough to replace a meal or glue the legs of a G.I. Joe onto a Barbie. All smoothies are blended from scratch (no mixes are used) and can be spruced up with added nutrient blends to boost energy, metabolism, and the immune system.
Bliss Old Market Bakery tempts baked-goods collectors and one-off sweets samplers alike with an assortment of delicately crafted pastries and desserts. This deal hooks up handheld treat lovers with a dozen of Bliss's small cupcakes, which they can choose to turn into as many flavors as numerical potential will allow. Softly bite into cake flavors such as red velvet, ginger peach, and spiced chai, or propose a toast "to the marriage of flour and sugar" with the pink-champagne option before ending that marriage abruptly with your incisors. After the cake is chosen, add your choice of frosting, with sweet, fluffy options such as Bailey’s buttercream and strawberry meringue supplying the tastiest toppings since King Phillip III donned his whipped-cream crown. The bakery also offers its carrot cake, red velvet, and other flavors as gluten-free alternatives.
After several years spent honing her hair artistry, stylist and color specialist Summer took over a corner of Salon Z Studios and founded Summer 110. When she isn’t cutting hair for women and men of all ages, Summer revitalizes looks with color treatments, organic straighteners, and protein-reconstruction treatments that fortify locks against frizz and feral clippers. Though 100% human-hair extensions and decorative feathers round out her styling services, her menu extends to the face with waxing sessions that remove unwanted hair from the lips, eyebrows, and chin.
Since opening for business in 2010, Summer has gradually converted her stock of professional salon products to entirely organic lines—just one example of how she looks out for her clients’ health and well-being. She also offers and array of complementary beverages and hot-towel treatments with every service.