At Root of Happiness, named for the relaxing properties of the kava root, visitors unwind while sipping kava brew from petite bowls that resemble coconut shells. Baristas also fill shot glasses with potent, concentrated kava that they flavor with cane-sugar syrup, prepare pour-over coffee, and steep exotic teas. Polynesian artwork and hand-carved wooden sculptures lend the cafe the relaxed ambience of an island tiki bar.
Every day at more than 770 locations, Jamba Juice proves that good nutrition can be both convenient and delicious. Since the beginning, the company has based its philosophy on choosing whole fruits and all-natural ingredients over artificial flavorings and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and artificial trans fats, and it makes additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
Although Jamba Juice is serious about using wholesome ingredients, the company is a little more playful when it comes to the palate. Whole fruits and veggies can be blended into an extensive menu of great-tasting smoothies and freshly squeezed juices. But Jamba Juice?s commitment to keeping healthy eating simple informs its solid-food options, too. Customers can kick-start their morning with a steaming bowl of slow-cooked, steel-cut oatmeal, or stay energized throughout the day with six varieties of Energy Bowls: nutrient-rich blends of whole fruit, Greek yogurt or soy milk, and an assortment of dry toppings and fresh fruits.
In addition to nourishing and energizing the human body, Jamba Juice fights childhood obesity by sponsoring Team Up for a Healthy America. The initiative encourages fans to join the Team Up community of celebrities, athletes and other leaders committed to getting kids active?which they can do by visiting the main Jamba Juice website.
Though it's only open on weekdays, Vice Cafe sates its customers with what it considers the classic American lunch: a sandwich and a cup of coffee. For the latter, the baristas brew up coffee and espresso drinks from Java City beans, including lattes, mochas, and the blended cold coffee drinks known as freddos, which save customers from chewing on ice before they take a sip of a cappucino. To pair with these drinks, the kitchen crafts specialty sandwiches and burgers with unexpected touches, such as the garlic-infused olive oil drizzled on rotisserie chicken and the wasabi sauce on the ribeye. Sweet pastries stand alone to start mornings or end meals with a sweet finish.
Dairy Queen offers a cool respite for shoppers tired of fitting-room lines and surly sales clerks. The signature Blizzard Treat's chunky charms are as inescapable as ever, with classic candies and other flavor options blended to unmatched thickness with creamy soft serve (medium, $3.59). The waffle-bowl sundae slathers vanilla ice cream in fudge for an appealingly layered delight ($2.99), and the milkshake puts spoons to shame with its refreshing strawability (medium, $2.99). Alternatively, sizzle-starved denizens can gnash on a mushroom-swiss burger ($3.79) or the crispy-chicken sandwich ($3.89). With a variety of meal options, the Edina location's grilled delectables offer appetites savory samplings worthy of being referred to as the dessert that comes before dessert.
Brownie specialist Debbie Whiteside experiments with heretofore unheard of flavor combinations at her bakery, Bombshell Brownies. While her simplest brownies nail the classic formula with pure cane sugar and gourmet semisweet chocolate, her 13 signature flavors expand upon the chocolaty palette with swirls of cream cheese, caramel, or fresh raspberry pur?e. And she doesn't stop there. The brownie aficionado also creates fresh fruit smoothies and acai berry bowls topped with berries, blueberries, strawberries, and nuts.
Rivers Edge Cafe aims to put a spin on the traditional, Americana-steeped diner by creating a casual neighborhood eatery that serves slightly more imaginative versions of otherwise familiar comfort foods. Tempting diners with the opportunity to enjoy three meals a day, the chefs begin each morning by cooking a number of breakfast staples. Buttermilk pancakes and country fried steak are classics, but they also cook omelets using three farm-fresh eggs and everything from artichoke hearts and kalamata olives to smoked salmon and capers. They even update the traditional side of hash browns by creating a version stuffed with bacon, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. As the sun begins to set, the cafe serves its selection of hearty, home-style dinner entrees, including housemade meatloaf flavored with garlic, onions, and green bell peppers, and penne pasta tossed with crisp vegetables, shrimp, and a balsamic glaze.
Much like its menu, Rivers Edge Cafe's dining room exudes a decidedly casual vibe that is more reminiscent of a bistro than a diner. Gleaming wooden tables and low-backed booths fill the dark floors, which still manage to catch the light streaming through the walls of floor-to-ceiling windows. Tulip-shaped pendant lamps hang above a few of the tables, but, as night falls, the ceiling fans' lights help keep the space illuminated as they lazily spin above patrons' heads and keep guests cool as they sip on one of the available craft beers or wines imported from the future.