Jenn and Donny have long accepted their elitist take on coffee. As college students and self-professed coffee snobs who both worked in the food industry, they bemoaned a lack of sophisticated brews and attentive service, finally deciding that innovation would be the best form of protest. They dreamt up their own café where the beans would be freshly micro-roasted, the cocoa would incorporate three types of chocolate, and every drink would be handmade by the same person who took your order. The resulting venue, Coffee Break Cafe, lined its menu with libations of all temperatures and caffeinated creeds.
The café's house blend hails from locales such as Sumatra, Colombia, Africa, and South America and is shipped from specialty roasters who prep the beans in small batches. Jenn and Donny's commitment to coffee quality is matched by their enthusiasm for the natural world—they stock organic and fair-trade options, as well as dairy products from a hormone-free farm. Though they stand by meticulous barista techniques, they are hardly sugar-shunning purists. They readily infuse hot and frozen drinks with dessert flavors, ranging from red velvet cupcake to cinnamon bun, crafting a far superior breakfast sweet than grapefruit pie. Bagels and pastries, delivered daily by neighborhood bakeries, balance out refreshing sips. The morning hotspot's communal spirit is reflected in hanging pictures by local artists, live music, and complimentary story readings for kids.
In more than 1,112 stores worldwide, Edible Arrangements' expert fruit florists arrange pieces of premium fruit in stunning displays for all occasions. Customers can customize their order to suit any occasion, receiving chocolate-dipped fruit such as pineapples, granny-smith apples, grapes, and juicy Albion strawberries that, unlike the sodas found in most mummies' crypts, don't contain any preservatives. Staffers can dip fruit in gourmet semisweet chocolate, white chocolate, or their own special peanut-butter-and-chocolate blend. For birthdays and anniversaries, chocolate wielders can personalize gift baskets with gifts such as plush teddy bears and mylar balloons.
After years of blending her own hypoallergenic soaps to accommodate the needs of her daughter's sensitive skin, Pamela Carousso reserved space at her first farmer's market, attracting an immediate and dedicated fan base. Now, more than 15 years later, she still crafts her own handmade soaps and bath products in small batches. After expanding with the help of business partner Steve Carousso, the company now offers natural products such as talc-free mineral eye shadows, as well as stationery and accessories.
A variety of classes are offered at the shop six days a week and two times per day. Students can concoct their own lathering agents, stirring cauldrons of molten fixings and bubbling essential oils over crackling electric fires. Carousso spins thorough instructions and covers safety procedures that help guests avoid being bitten by a Bunsen burner.
After more than 25 years as a lobsterman, Peter Dawson experienced what many others never see in a lifetime—fishing off the New England coast, he reeled in a blue lobster. Nicknaming it Baby Blue, Dawson couldn't bear to let it see the pot; today, the arthropod lives out its days at the New England Aquarium, turning red only when it blushes from too much attention.
Transferring his love of the ocean to his own enterprise—and energized by a life's worth of bragging rights—Dawson opened The Lobster Stop right along the docks. That proximity to the sea ensures a bounty of fresh, native seafood, from fish, clams, and scallops to live lobsters—a specialty, of course. Comprised of Dawson and his family, the shop's staff also prepares cuisine for takeout, serving up platters and sandwiches behind a large display case, and a large mural behind the counter depicts two whales just waiting for the day when the menu includes bowls of plankton soup.
Ask a bartender to put some muffin in your liqueur and you're probably inviting confusion at best and a horror-stricken look at worst. But the basic idea isn't bad—or so thinks skilled baker Patrick Curley, who flips that equation around and serves liqueurs in his muffins. He infuses the baked breakfast staples not only with fresh fruit such as blueberries, but also with Baileys irish cream, apricot brandy, and blueberry liqueur, among others. He also distills 15 years of experience as a chef into each batch of made-from-scratch muffins, putting some culinary cred behind his crumbly creations.
If one Paramount restaurant is great, two must be better. At least that seems to be the thinking when the Eat Drink Laugh Restaurant Group decided to open a South Boston sister to the wildly popular original Paramount on Beacon Hill a couple of years back. Lines out the door of the 15-year-old original iteration are a testament to a winning formula, which no one messed with in the South Boston outpost, serving three hearty meals a day, seven days a week. Like the original, the caramel and bananas french toast flies out of the kitchen at breakfast, while regular diner favorites – pulled pork tacos and house burgers – fill out the menu. The casual spot has a fierce following, with customers lining up inside the warm diner space for a chance to brunch their hearts out.