Espresso Metro's homey lounge space has something of a do-it-yourself feel, meaning you won't find the predictably replicated furniture of coffee chains. The owners have honed their aesthetic sense since 1988, and their eclectic collection of mismatched chairs that circle each table grants a good view of a hand-painted mural that runs the length of the counter. The mural depicts abstract figures with elongated arms folded over their heads, because they haven't had their morning coffee yet. But the baristas are as serious about their coffee as they are playful about their decor, evidenced by a sleek La San Marco espresso machine and its neighboring burr grinders, each filled to the top with beans. On any given day, the bakery counter might showcase freshly baked cookies, lemon cake, or croissants. These pair well with lattes with such foam art as hearts, bunnies, and lips.
Brewing coffee at home is a crapshoot of ratios, freshness, and equipment. Instead of waking up to smell the home-brewed coffee, start leaping out of bed in a streaking sprint to the Coffee Garden to expose your nostrils and fuzzy slippers to the flowerful fragrance of roasted bean juice. Perk up in the midmorning sun amid a potted jungle of greenery on the back patio with a signature cup of coffee ($1.50 for 12 oz.) or an indulgent mocha ($3.25 for 12 oz.). When high noon hangs above, halt sweat beads in their browed beginnings with an iceberg's worth of iced tea ($2.25 for 24 oz.) or a cold café au lait $3.50 for 24 oz.).
When all seats are claimed at three indoor tables, diners spill out to two outdoor benches to compete with the sun in a race to devour ice cream. Two fiddle-leaf fig plants stand guard over the interior and reach toward the ceiling alongside steam from simmering burgers. Ron Rekcar of Here's the Scoop aims to prepare all of his grill-garnered entrees and frozen treats from local ingredients and brands. Crunch drinks, named after the sound they make when whipped with ice in the blender, marry espresso crafted from local Coffee Works beans and scoops of Gunther's ice cream in a brief ceremony untouched by Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Quarter-pound beef patties and locally made Morant's dinner franks develop a seared coating on an outdoor grill. Soy-cream desserts and green-tea-infused smoothies cater to diet-conscious clients, including those who are vegan and lactose intolerant.
As a humble, scratch-minded shop, Freeport Bakery isn't exactly a secret in Sacramento. Along with garnishing the Best Bakery award from the Sacramento chapter of the California Restaurant Association in 2007, Freeport has also managed to lock down Best Bakery from Sacramento CityVoters for the past four years straight.
The locally owned and operated purveyor of icy treats provides a nutritious alternative to mean-spirited ice cream. On average, its extensive roster of frozen yogurts and sorbets ($0.39 per ounce) contains about 30 calories per ounce. Other nutritive benefits of Cultivé's fro-yos include the presence of live and active cultures, which have been shown to delight digestive tracts, encourage insecure immune systems, and help fight lactose intolerance with love, acceptance, and tempting jimmies.
Roughly 2,500 miles separates Sactown from The Big Apple, but that doesn't stop Sacramento Bagel from perfecting their New York-style bagels or baking ones that look vaguely like Woody Allen. More than 20 flavors fill the eatery's baskets, including a New York Style boiled bagel, cranberry orange, chocolate chip, and sun-dried tomato. Once eaters make a choice, they're met with yet another: a topping, which can be peanut butter and jelly, honey, or flavorful cream cheeses such as scallion, honey walnut, or seasonal pumpkin. For lunch, the kitchen staff shifts their attention to bagel sandwiches that have East Coast names such as the Bronx Bomber with roast beef and jack cheese.