The Spice & Tea Exchange treats taste buds and olfactory sensors to a smorgasbord of hand-mixed seasoning blends and gourmet steepables. Freshly bagged daily, custom-concocted blends and rubs, such as the Moroccan blend or the tandoori seasoning, enliven dull dishes with worldly flavors. Massage Butcher's Rub ($4.29–$16.80) into steaks, burgers, and stressed-out cows prior to grilling for extra-zesty grub, or sprinkle it upon vegetables to confuse carnivores into eating greens. More than 170 spices create piquant provisions sure to tantalize taste buds, including beer powder, a nonalcoholic dehydrated version of the popular brew ($4.89–$19.17), or Dutched cocoa, a mellow chocolate suitable for sprucing up warm beverages or supplying and army of microscopic confectioners ($3.89–$15.25). Sprinkle maple syrup granules ($4.29–$16.82) onto ice cream, fruit salad, or other sweet treats to enhance saccharine delights with a hint of nature.
Chef Thomas blends fresh, local produce and spices into colorful, stick-centered concoctions ready to greet taste buds in need of flavorful resuscitation. Achieve brain freeze without embarrassing yourself on Jeopardy by exploring chilly inventions ($3.50) such as the popular pineapple cilantro or an oxymoron-inspired frozen mexican hot-chocolate pop with cocoa, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. The Banilla Vanana captures pureed bananas in a Madagascar-vanilla embrace, and the refreshing cucumber-lemon-mint pop gives summer heat an elegantly cold shoulder. Chef Thomas flash-freezes his amalgamations in less than 20 minutes, giving the popsicles a smoother, softer texture. These icy indulgences pack a variety of vitamins, making them a far healthier snack alternative to butter on a stick and cheeseburger-ice-cream sandwiches.
Since 1967, Henry and Esther Whetstone, of the aptly named Whetstone Chocolate Factory, have infused bellies with a sweet selection of chocolate confections, from fudge and truffles to decadent bars. Let your cacao-covered dreams become sweet, sweet reality with a 50-minute traipsing through the Whetstone historic facility, which fills hungry minds with saccharine stories and chocolate-based sestinas about Whetstone's past, as well as facts about chocolate manufacturing. The tour also includes a chocolate tasting, a four-tiered affair that mixes and matches flavors of dark chocolate, milk and white chocolate, creams, truffles, and more, all selected for their percentage of cocoa butter, granule fineness, and vocal range. Sweet seekers can learn and taste the subtleties and ingenious customs that define and represent artisan chocolate.
Blenderistas corral fresh fruit and energizing ingredients to craft all-natural smoothies, which get served alongside the sandwiches, salads, and wraps that populate Tropical Smoothie Cafe's menu. Savor a thick, frosty blend of fruits with the Sunrise Sunset ($4.49–$4.99), a mash-up of strawberries, pineapple, mango, and orange that imbues the taste buds with citrusy flavors as sweet as a gingerbread man's pillowcase. The Stress Defender smoothie sprinkles tension-dissolving supplements atop oranges and non-fat yogurt, and the Acai Berry Boost rockets energizing acai, pomegranate, bananas, blueberries, and strawberries up through the straw. Plump sandwiches and substantial wraps wrangle meats, cheeses, and dressings into satisfying lunch and dinner options. Low-fat mozzarella, southwestern rice and corn, and jamaican jerk sauce mingle in the jamaican-jerk-chicken wrap ($6.49), and high-quality ham, turkey, bacon and swiss cheese pile up like moon metaphors in a poetry workshop with each hearty mouthful of the ultimate-club bistro sandwich ($6.79).
Scamper across Gilmon's Bakery's checkerboard floor to view colorful display cases stocked with freshly baked cakes, cookies, and cupcakes, and watch confectioners decorate their wares at a visible frosting station before smuggling home a variety of cakey cups. Each day, batter-whisperers bake 9–12 different flavors for customers to serve at weddings, parties, or successful parole hearings. Chocolate-chip cookie dough nestles next to red velvet, and tangy key lime and sweet strawberry shortcake gossip about the carrot cake's latest frosting hat. Always stylish, cupcakes regularly step out in sugar decorations that reflect the season, sports teams, or aesthetically pleasing psychic visions. Cleanse palates between cupcake courses with coffee ($1.25), bottled water ($1), or a mini cannoli ($1.25), which are not included in the price of this Groupon.
Sippers Coffeehouse's friendly baristas brew hot, iced, and blended concoctions with locally roasted arabica coffee. Steamed milk or soymilk and espresso whirl together to create macchiatos as well as hot or iced lattes in flavors such as almond, raspberry cheesecake, and white-chocolate peppermint topped with snowcaps of whipped cream. Blended drinks send energizing chills down guests' spines, while guests limiting caffeine intake may opt for chai lattes and hot chocolate to keep insides as warm and tranquil as a slumbering bunsen burner. Coffee lovers can keep it simple with a medium-size freshly brewed Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee or enliven their taste buds with the rotating flavor of the day. Posters and local art cling to turquoise, cobalt, and warm violet walls as guests surf free WiFi and lounge on a hodgepodge of bright pink club chairs, plush couches, and tables. Natural light streams into the coffee shop as drink orders are taken through a drive-thru window for tired mine carts on the go.
Artwork, gifts, and feminine white vines line the walls of Ashes' Boutique & Tea Garden, where a cozy tearoom is nestled among gauzy curtains and white-lace tablecloths. Owner and artist Dana Roby serves up pots of leafy brews and assorted nibbles during afternoon tea services, suitable for patrons of all ages and hat sizes. Roby also curates a thoughtful collection of gifts that include candles, jewelry, and attire.