Bakers at CREAM - an acronym for Cookies Rule Everything Around Me - craft 10 cookie varieties entirely from scratch using a special family recipe. Available in flavors such as double chocolate chip and cappuccino, these sweets are sold by the dozen or used to assemble gourmet ice cream sandwiches in more than 16 different ice cream flavors. Staff members can also make 16-ounce floats, milkshakes, and malts.
CREAM's tasty treats are available seven days a week and until 2 a.m. every Thursday through Saturday. Along with catering to the late-night crowd, the crew caters events using either pre-assembled frozen ice cream sandwiches or live on-site ice cream sandwich assembly.
A chrome espresso machine whirs in Nefeli Caffe, where baristas brew illy coffee drinks as the kitchen staff whips up an array of Mediterranean dishes. Chalkboard menus announce entrees such as moussaka made with Niman Ranch ground beef, as well as tapas such as hand-rolled dolmades and mushroom-fennel “cigars” wrapped in filo pastry and served with tiny guillotines. Nefeli Caffe serves its dishes both indoors amid plants in rustic terra cotta vases, and outdoors at wrought-iron sidewalk tables.
A massive selection of frosting, toppings, and gourmet cinnamon rolls await treat-seeking shoppers at Cinnaholic, where everything is 100% vegan and made with soy, beet sugar, and nonhydrogenated oils. The menu features specialty rolls such as fudge brownie chunk, mocha almond, and rocky road. Or, customers can design their own: starting with a freshly baked cinnamon roll, they can adorn it with frosting available in flavors such as lemon, orange, raspberry, or hazelnut. Then, they can pick out toppings such as gingersnaps, jam, apples, or pecans, before sampling their custom creations.
Since debuting in Taiwan in the 1980s, sweet tapioca pearls have traveled the world, jockeying for the title of America’s next taste sensation upon landing in California. Made of sweet potato, cassava root, and a hint of brown sugar, each pearl is soft on the outside and chewy on the inside, much like a nerf ball filled with creamy mashed potatoes. Tea Leaf Bistro captures the gems in more than 100 frosty, fruit-flavored bubble drinks and velvety milk teas—crafted from authentic ingredients imported from Taiwan and hand-selected tea leaves—in flavors such as mango, lavender, almond, and strawberry. The pearlescent bubble drinks pair with a menu of Taiwanese snacks, including garlic fried chicken, crispy calamari rings, and an assortment of potstickers.
Founder and chef Rebecca A. Bernstein operates Cioccolata di Vino with the belief that her delectable desserts and enticing antipasti taste particularly divine in a laid-back, warm setting that resembles a hammock made of cocoons. The soft lighting envelops patrons in a gracious embrace, where it's perfectly acceptable to stop by just for the blissful dessert menu. Choco-hounds flock to the succulent molten lava cake ($6.95), where a moist, spongy coating covers a warm liquid chocolate, generating a cocoa magma stream down Mt. Esophagus. Candy up your kisser with the award-winning, gooey chocolate-chip cookies (three for $3.95), which arrive packed with rich Callebaut Belgian chocolate and slivers of pecan. The light but feisty lemon tart ($6.95) is crowned with a fresh whipped cream, while the rich gelati and sorbetti ($4.95) rotate their flavors daily and their buckskin capes fortnightly.
Alegio Chocolaté uses cocoa made on a plantation, eschewing anything but the most basic ingredients, and sends palates halfway around the world—to a small African island, for instance. The volcanic São Tomé and Príncipe houses the plantation of Italian born agronomist Claudio Corallo. He and his family raise plants that are descended from Africa's first cacao population, which arrived in 1819. Their traditionalist methods eschew using additives such as vanilla or soy lecithin. Claudio, who has been featured on the BBC's Full on Food, is the main subject of Alegio Chocolaté's tours, since he sends the shop his storied creations to accompany its other handmade wares.
A Time Out San Francisco Critics' choice, Imperial Tea Court provides leaf lovers with access to some of the world's most desirable teas as well as unrivaled expertise in the ways of steepery. Park your carcass in one of its highly regarded teahouses for a 45- to 60-minute primer on the world's most popular beverage and its steamy history, including its medicinal roots in ancient times as an alternative to Tommy John surgery. Pouring hot cups of tea and tepid earfuls of facts, the teahouses' resident sip savants will help guests understand tea's various categories and acquaint them with the traditional Chinese gaiwan, a covered teacup developed for use on turbulent dragon flights and birthday party bounce houses. The tasting includes two samples of your choice of teas, leaving you with a pleasant aftertaste as well as a fully brewed headpot of knowledge with which to douse tea-loving coworkers at the dream factory.