Encorecake's bakers turn dessert into an art form. In a kitchen filled with the smells of fresh baked treats, they craft colorful cakes and cupcakes covered in fluffy frosting, in unusual flavors ranging from green tea and s'mores to jellybean and German chocolate. Ovens churn out French macaroons and warm cookies each morning, perfect for pairing with their freshly grounded coffee or Thai tea with boba. Customers can also request made-to-order 8-inch cakes layered with buttercream or chocolate, commission a customized multi-tier cake for a wedding, or project a hologram request for a 3D cake for a birthday celebration.
There is no rush at Kiks Café. The cozy, bistro-style tables and complimentary WiFi encourage passersby to stop, sit for a while, and enjoy a mocha made with organic coffee beans and Ghirardelli chocolate. To complement these drinks, the cooks deftly assemble sandwiches atop pieces of french, wheat, or sourdough bread, covering the slices with everything from black forest ham to pureed kalamata olives. The casual menu also includes salads with bits of grilled chicken, feta cheese, or croutons scattered amid leaves of romaine lettuce.
Teance bags a dizzying array of 65 tea varieties from countless countries on any given day, which means your three-tea flight will move across your tongue's chessboard with an eclectic gambit of flavor. Before you and your guest commit to specific blends, the veteran tea teachers at Teance will happily provide you with a breakdown of each varietal's origins, ingredients, benefits, and likelihood of it causing one's Beanie Baby collection to appreciate in value. A theoretical flight can start with a floral-scented sip of the year's first flush of Darjeeling before plunging into the smooth, creamy depths of wako matcha, which is made by stone-grinding green tea leaves into a fine powder, then whipping it into a thick, frothy, healthy soup. Cap your taste buds' heavenly ascent with the honey-like, chocolate-infused, monkey-picked tikuanyin medium roast, which only grows on the steep, misty slopes of Treasure Mountain. With so many white, green, oolong, red, black, premium, herbal, and loose-leaf teas, the possible combinations are as endless as a drive across Nebraska. And if you stop in on a weekend or lucky weekday, your tasting will also be paired with a complimentary, handmade, seasonal treat
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.
Zazou's simple but powerful selection of café fare includes savory eats and fresh sweets. Stumble out of an ear-buzzing alarm-clock stupor with an Italian dark-roast or an organic, fair-trade medium-roast coffee before diving into a classic Nutella, chocolate, and banana crêpe ($6) or a hearty vegetarian crêpe stuffed with roasted red pepper, tomato, pesto, and monterey jack ($6.95). The hot pressed sandwiches see that cuts of pastrami, ham, turkey, or grilled chicken are lovingly squished between ciabatta or baguette halves with grandmotherly intensity, after receiving a number of pinches on the cheek and savory fillings, such as roasted red pepper, pesto, and swiss cheese ($7.50¬–$7.75). The meal-worthy Lebanese salad woos ravenous leaf-loving appetites with organic mixed greens, fresh tomatoes, and kalamata olives topped with feta cheese and pomegranate dressing ($7.25). Zazou’s also features a fresh soup du jour, with past offerings that include North African lentil ($3.50 for cup, $5 for bowl).
The owners of Honeyberry derive a sense of pride from their local-mindedness; it's why they plaster their café's walls with illustrations of Berkeley life, and infuse each of their creations with locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. They also supply the community with tried-and-true local favorites, from frozen yogurt topped with chopped fruits and candies to crispy golden waffles. Despite all of the boosterism, the café's menu also has its international corners; gelato, bubble tea, and freshly baked roti buns all draw upon culinary traditions from far-flung cultures. These elements combine to create an experience that's both familiar and novel, like returning to your childhood home to find that it's been converted into a paintball arena.