Blossom Trail Cafe's head chef, Peppino Caracciolo, whips up piquant, Italian-inspired cuisine in a charming, casual café setting perched among the Blossom Trail's picturesque orange and plum orchards. Delve into the creative concoctions and fresh ingredients peppering the dinner menu with the fried calamari ($8.99) or the bruschetta ($5.99). Entreewise, the Salmon Fantasia ($15.99) arrives baked and adorned with fresh tomatoes, capers, and kalamata olives, and 16 ounces of capital-lettered flavor lumbers in each T-bone steak ($19.99). Sip a frothy domestic beer ($3) and take in the view from the outdoor patio as you nosh the half-pound Italian burger and fries ($8.99), or let pasta pirouette around your fork with an order of spaghetti ($8.99), served with fresh marinara or meat sauce.
With baskets full of hand-plucked, wild blueberries, Vincent Colombet and his cousins happily crammed into their Alsatian grandmother's tiny kitchen. In that quaint room, equipped with only a wood-burning cast-iron stove, Vincent learned over the years how to tuck berries into pies, prepare meats sourced from neighboring farms, and eventually produce elaborate meals for his entire family.
Driven by his passion for French family-style cuisine, he traveled to Paris before a longing for experiences abroad tugged him across the pond and into the arms of the Windy City in 2004. The following year he opened Cook Au Vin, where he leads three-hour BYOB cooking classes centered around classic techniques and organic ingredients. Patrons may also enlist the Cook Au Vin team to cater special events, or swing by Colombet's Logan Square bakery, La Boulangerie, for butter-infused inhalations, freshly made crepes, and crusty baguettes.
A smiling sunflower beams from Lollicup’s walls, menus, and cups. It’s an appropriate emblem for a teashop that specializes in whimsical drinks flavored with cotton candy, bubblegum, and passion fruit. Drink slingers pour more than 170 tea- and milk-based beverages and anchor them with tapioca, pudding, jelly, and tiny anvils. Though the drinks may be kid-friendly and colorful, Lollicup’s curators take the ingredients seriously: they select only the freshest cassava root for their boba and brew green and black teas from high-quality leaves.
Teazer World Tea Market uses only fresh, all-natural ingredients to flavor its teas, ensuring that the beverage's health benefits don't get lost like a cabbage in a mound of Cool Whip. Connoisseurs can select from more than 200 tea varieties to satisfy their picky palates. Rooibos rookies are in luck, as Teazer's friendly, knowledgeable staff can play matchmaker for any open-bellied customer looking for love in a leaf. This Groupon is good for loose-leaf tea to bring home, or for any hot or iced tea beverages made in-house. Loose-leaf teas range from $1.95/ounce to $12/ounce, and in-store sippables range from $3.75 (medium, iced) to $6.95 (large, hot) depending on size and temperature.
The team at HCK - Hermosa California Kitchen knows the recipe for a good time: tasty food, frosty brews, and good company. That's why the chefs cook up a menu of Mexican-American favorites such as grilled burritos, tri-tip tacos, and burgers slathered in barbecue sauce. At the bar, the staff keeps glasses filled to the brim with beer or made-to-order drinks such as their famous speciality fish bowls, which flow throughout the night as visitors socialize and watch sporting events such as pro football or MMA fights.
Wipe the summer dew from your glistening brow at Little Leaf Tea, where over 150 tea varieties await your casual, laid-back selection. Teas are lovingly poured out hot ($4–$5 per cup) or chilled on the rocks ($3–$4) with blends that span the rainbow, globe, and time itself. Wake up to an across-the-pond favorite such as English breakfast or Earl Grey, or unwind your mind and wristwatch with a cup of lavender and chamomile calmly complemented by a pinch of licorice root. Pair any brewed beverage with a Japanese green-tea roll cake ($2.50 for two pieces) or any other sweetened selection from the food menu to turn your tea party into a ragingly calm meal.