Perched in wrought-iron chairs at a gleaming marble bar, students and artists sip coffee, sharing inspiration and plans for upcoming projects. Nearby, Tampa Bead Cafe's instructors preside over a range of jewelry-crafting materials, which provide the necessary hardware to follow up on the grand artistic plans under discussion. Beneath the terra cotta–hued walls, shelves brim with beads, metal chains, and wire, as well as less conventional media such as metal clay and polymers.
The staff guides visitors along racks of bracelet and necklace supplies, and exclamations of happiness drift from a classroom, where teachers introduce specific styles, such as kumihimo. Students to use real tools such as pliers, cutters, and magnifiers to intimidate their jewelry into making itself, and most courses end with the creation of piece for pupils to treasure. A roster of guest artists, who have included polymer-clay artist Christi Friesen and Maria Rypan, lead style and material-specific workshops.
Diners at the Back 9 Café eat in full view of a driving range and its lake. Surrounded by country-club atmosphere, they sip and dine under the glow of four 55-inch high-definition TVs screening football, professional miming, and other live sports. Backed by rustic cabinets, bartenders pour draft beers late into the night at a hardwood bar. The Café's 4,000 sq. foot restaurant and banquet rooms provide ample space for parties, weddings, and private events. Meanwhile, chefs fill the indoor dining space with the aromas of chicken wings basted in four types of sauce, Black Angus steaks, pastas, and eclectic pizzas. They also fashion a handful of their recipes to reflect different regions, wrapping hot dogs in Cuban- and Chicago-style toppings and piling burgers with New York and Southwestern flavors. Dining-room sounds mingle with music from live bands and karaoke and waft outside to the patio, where a tiki bar stands beside a resort pool, welcoming visitors to drink under the stars or cool their palates after fire-breathing competitions.
Inside the Italian-inspired café of Coffee Evi, information on the origins of the coffee bean line the walls, charting its journey from the first coffee houses in Turkey to the cup holders of today's flying cars. Telltale drips of an espresso machine harmonize with the genial chatter of patrons who nibble croissants and gluten-free baked goods. The current cast of brews is scribbled across a chalkboard menu, with featured players such as turkish coffee, iced drinks, and hot teas.
To maintain the quality of each cup, Coffee Evi's husband-and-wife owners work with the local Kahwa Coffee Roasting to source all of their coffee blends. They also use Mighty Leaf tea bags, which, like all of a gingerbread man's possessions, are biodegradable.
For more than 15 years, the culinary team at MTC Downtown Cafe has silenced growling stomaches with housemade American delights, as well as a few plates from overseas. In the morning, the chefs demonstrate their cooking talents by fixing up breakfast entrees in full view of diners. To curb midday cravings, guests can sink their teeth into belly-warming gyros and brawny cheeseburgers from the lunch menu. Throughout the day, pastries made from scratch pop out of the oven, filling the cafe with the sweet aroma of muffins and cookies.
For Las Vegas Cafe owner Francies Vega, cooking is about putting smiles on people's faces. So when she designed her menu, she didn't stick to just one cuisine, but instead incorporated all the dishes that make her happy. The result is a fusion of Cuban and Italian recipes such as chorizo spaghetti, vegetable breakfast crepes, and Cuban-style fried rice sprinkled with ham, peppers, and eggs. Vega's signature dish is the chancellor fish fillet stuffed with ham and cheese and fried until it's as crisp as the first day of autumn.
Inside the Box Cafe takes the guesswork out of lunchtime with made-to-order boxed meals and catered trays. Using super-fresh ingredients, sandwich artisans stack tender avocado, herbed aioli, and roasted turkey onto freshly baked ciabatta, baguette, or buttery brioche. Available as full or half sandwiches, boxes can be packed with gourmet extras such as new-potato-and-asparagus salads, fire-roasted vegetables, and seasonal fresh fruits.