Having lived in Ripon for two decades, Jake Parks had a good idea of what his hometown lacked: a warm, welcoming café where friends could sit and converse and commuters could stop in for lunch on the go. He took it upon himself to fill this empty niche, founding his eponymous café and basing its menu around premium drinks and gourmet sandwiches. Today, the first thing one notices when entering Jake’s Coffee, Tea and Sandwiches is the aroma of coffee, which starts brewing at 6 a.m. Jake and his team pride themselves on crafting a wide range of caffeinated drinks, from mochas flavored with Monin syrups to red-eye blends that keep customers awake as they attempt to set the world record for most dictionaries read in one sitting. The shop’s many blends of tea, available hot or iced, pair nicely with freshly baked pastries and a selection of savory wraps and paninis that incorporate the shop’s signature cream-cheese pesto spread.
In the fresh breeze of the outdoor patio, guests savor Harvest Moon Restaurant’s full breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes, which draw inspiration from the sea’s multitude of flavors, mixed with classic Southern influences. The restaurant’s bright, cheery walls create an energizing atmosphere for meals, inspiring guests to seize the day or the potted plant that’s taking up the last patio table.
When it came time for the team at Johnny Carino’s to come up with some new recipes, they began rifling through their personal cooking histories. Executive chef Chris Peitersen took his first kitchen job at a barbecue joint when he was 14, so he was primed to create italian baby back ribs. By infusing brown sugar barbecue sauce with balsamic vinegar imported from Modena, he’s given the marinade a more acidic bite than typical barbecue sauces. As the ribs slowly roast and char on an oak grill, he bastes on his creation before finishing the dish with a dusting of parmesan.
The ribs are one of Carino’s many menu items that follow the restaurants’ approach of classic Italian preparations modified by forward-thinking flavor combinations. Diners will find a Black Angus burger capped with mozzarella and fried pepperoni, or sautéed tilapia spiced with garlic and jalapeño. Other signature dishes include the 16-layer lasagna, Skilletinis that sizzle with spaghetti and a choice of meat, and tiramisu made from scratch.
Anne and Jonas Beiler never meant to create the pretzel juggernaut that is Auntie Anne's. When they bought their first farmers' market stand, they intended it to fund their community-counseling outreach. Instead, they just happened to craft pretzels that were "better than the best you've ever tasted!" Twenty-four years later, the company has risen faster than dough baked on the sun, with 1,200 locations in 46 states and more than 23 countries. While rolling more than 500,000 pretzels every two days, the company has stayed true to its original menu of pretzels with a twist. Today the varieties span from original salt covered to cinnamon-sugar, garlic, or pepperoni pretzels, and baking kits are available so that customers can have them at home or the cruise-ship engine room that’s currently serving as home.
Every day, the cooks at Rancho Fresco Mexican Grill craft fresh batches of salsa and handmade tortillas to accessorize their menu of south-of-the-border favorites. Burritos, tortas, and tacos overflow with tender morsels of barbacoa, carnitas, or shredded chicken, and another authentic meat, tripe, makes a cameo appearance in menudo on the weekends. The eatery cultivates a casual, laid-back atmosphere, like a retail outlet that only sells sweatpants and hospital gurneys.
As both a licensed esthetician and massage therapist, Sandra has relaxation in the bag. She customizes each European facial to one’s skin type, and erases signs of aging with microdermabrasion scrubs and chemical peels. To soothe muscles, Sandra performs long, fluid Swedish strokes or quickly loosens knots with expedited chair massages. Sandra also offers a variety of waxing services for clients, including Brazilian.