If the owners of Dessert Oasis Coffee were stranded on a desert island with access to three worldly items, they’d choose a live band, a mountain of chocolate, and their trusty 3-kilo bean roaster. Lined with plush seating and a crackling fireplace, their downtown Rochester shop is cozier than a sun-scorched sandbar or a mattress made of inflated blowfish. Inside, the scents of cream and chocolate melt together as chefs bake fresh desserts and baristas craft more than 300 gourmet coffee drinks. Sourced from exotic locales such as Costa Rica and Papua New Guinea, small batches of coffee beans bask in a US Roaster Corp roasting machine before percolating in the café’s brewer. Throughout the day, groups gather in the fireside reading room to share pots of cheese fondue and slices of house-made cheesecake, which come in flavors such as pumpkin, key lime, and turtle. Musicians filter into the café at night, peppering its soundtrack of fork clinks and steamer whistles with their sweet stylings.
Winner of Oakland Press Best of the Best awards for 2011, 2012, and 2013, Bangkok Cuisine excites diners' palates with the exotic flavors of authentic Thai cooking. Gracious servers present plates prepared by master chefs, one of whom schooled newscasters about noodles on Fox 2 Cooking School. Exotic and nutritious ingredients indigenous to Southeast Asia mingle in each carefully prepared recipe, which have been refined over Bangkok Cuisine's more than 30 years in business. Snow peas, shrimp, napa cabbage, and scallops snap sizzling drumrolls in woks over the stove. Catfish fillets marinate before chefs cover them in breading and garlic sauce, and shrimp, scallops, and squid evoke Thailand?s palm-tree-sprinkled coast. Chefs tailor each dish?s spiciness to individual palates, delighting daring diners with Thai peppers hotter than a fully-suited astronaut in a sauna. Fusion dishes include Chinese staples such as sweet-and-sour sauce.
Carved wooden pizza chefs stand sentry outside Georgio's Pizza & Pasta's white-brick storefront, heads tilted back as if tracking the trajectory of the dough their human counterparts mix fresh each day and hand toss for each order. A brick oven toasts the crusts and melts ricotta and fresh mozzarella over toppings such as kalamata olives, pine nuts, and philly steak. Sicilian-style pies transform their components into thicker, four-cornered mozzarella monoliths that slide neatly into a standard briefcase, and complementary flavors unfold in overstuffed pastas and subs.
In addition to his NASM certification, Jungle Gym Fitness Studio’s owner Jason Schaefer spent six years as the official trainer for Automotion, the Detroit Pistons dance team, helping him helm a gym where patrons can work out and express creativity in innovative classes. The bare-bones studio hosts indoor and outdoor boot camps as well as nightclub-inspired dance and boxing aerobics courses. Class sizes are limited to about 20 students to ensure each student gets ample attention and personalized technique tips. Along with group classes, instructors lend nutritional advice and assist patrons in training for races and sports-specific goals such as improving golf swings and preventing wrist injuries in ping-pong marathons.
The 18-hole, par-71 Springfield Oaks course, with the spatial sprawl of its front nine and the tree-packed tightness of its back nine, offers an ideal habitat in which to improve your swing or battle your broker in an all-or-nothing, x-treme golfing throwdown. The Jerry Matthews–designed Red Oaks, recently re-opened, features a fun and challenging 9-hole course on well-groomed greens. Purchase two Groupons and combine them to play 18 holes of golf at Red Oaks, doubling your chances of hacking away at the course's 31 par.
Mezza Mediterranean Grille stays true to the broad geographical scope of its name by offering dishes inspired by the cooking of France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East. In the kitchen, the chefs showcase their appreciation of tradition by kneading fresh dough for spinach pies and making yogurt from scratch. This dedication shines through on the rest of the menu, which embraces the diverse spices and flavors found across the Mediterranean. Crispy falafel and charbroiled lamb shawarma represent part of the region, as well. Together, these dishes allow patrons to experience a small taste of the Mediterranean's diverse character without the hassle of traveling the world or eating a passport from each country.