Jennifer Best couldn't sleep. A bout of fibromyalgia was keeping her wide awake, and though she experimented with allopathic and naturopathic sleep remedies, it was no use. Then she tried something new: a tea blend called Sweet Dreams. The brew was so effective that not only did it give Jennifer some much-needed shut-eye, but by morning it had inspired her to change careers. She explored the local loose-leaf-tea market and was amazed to find how many good varietals were out there, varietals she thought others might appreciate the way she had appreciated Sweet Dreams.
Jennifer started small, founding Steeped and Infused in 2007 as an online store that sold 20 different teas. But her fan base blossomed, and today the website?which now sells roughly 70 varieties. Like the queen's childhood toy box, her inventory includes everyday black, green, and rooibos teas, but also features yerba mate and pu-erh?a centuries old Chinese blend made from high-quality large leaves. She complements these with a small selection of accessories, such as tea filters and mesh steeping balls.
When coming up with a recipe for The Mad Italian’s gelato, the owner enlisted the help of a Italian family who had been using the same recipe for generations. A selection of more than 50 flavours includes milk-based varieties, such as dulce de leche and pumpkin pie, and an additional reserve of water-based flavours takes on fruitier variations, including blood orange and blueberry basil. In addition to scooping authentic gelato, the staff brews Caffè Haiti espresso, a 100% arabica blend imported directly from Rome.
Owner Eli Turkienicz wondered what he could add to the menu to combat the wintertime slump of gelato sales and frozen tongue syndrome. In true gelateria form, the answer came in a cone: Zazzu hot pizza cones. The savoury treats portably encase toppings such as meatballs and mozzarella or turkey and basil pesto. The cooks also whip up a menu of salads and paninis.
With more than 20 specialty pies on their menu, it's clear there's very little the cooks at Cranky Hank's haven't tried putting on their pizzas. Said specialty pizzas host everything from seasoned gyro beef and ranch dressing to reuben sandwich fixings, whereas personalized pies often sport more traditional toppings, including artichoke hearts. The rest of Cranky Hank's menu spotlights other pizzeria favorites, from customizable calzones to wings tossed in roasted-garlic barbecue sauce.
To complement feasts, bartenders whip up mixed drinks and serve craft beer by the bottle, pint, pitcher, and trough. As adults enjoy their grownup beverages, youngsters can play video games in Cranky Hank's game room. Family karaoke, meanwhile, raises the roof each Sunday. The bar also entertains patrons with 12 televisions broadcasting major sporting events and every flower-arranging competition.
What began as a single store with a single recipe in 1983 has since expanded to coat tongues across Canada with its handcrafted, always-fresh repertoire of premium ice cream. The aroma of freshly baked waffle cones roams freely throughout each Marble Slab Creamery location, luring customers counterside to watch staff members blend nuts, fruits, and candies into a variety of ice-cream flavours atop a frozen slab. Ultra-fresh ingredients, including dairy products from local farms, vanilla from Madagascar, and fine European chocolates with up-to-date passports join forces to infuse each bite with an extra punch of sweetness. In addition to standard cones, Marble Slab Creamery's daily-made ice cream can also be savoured in the form of ice-cream cakes, milkshakes, and floats, and low-fat yogourts offer a lighter, equally delicious alternative.
Mama Mia Place's owner recalls childhood days spent at his grandfather's farm, standing beside the warmth of the clay oven as he watches his grandmother bake fresh bread and empanadas. A point of family pride, empanada recipes are passed down from generation to generation and are crafted through time and expertise; Mama Mia's empanada recipe is no exception. Inside his own restaurant, chefs knead and bake fresh dough inside an open-view kitchen, crafting traditional cinnamon-dusted churros or pastries filled with dulce de leche, homemade cream caramel, which are made following family recipes handed down for three generations. Freshly baked wares travel to the gleaming glass bakery cases under the front counter for display and safekeeping in a warm, cozy environment.
Home to more than 100 varieties of tea, Herbal Infusions Tea Co. immerses visitors in all things tea. Knowledgeable staffers stock the shelves with their own popular blends, including eucalyptus-grapefruit tea and organic cacao tea alongside a fleet of white, green, oolong, and black teas. They also sell tea-making accessories such as teapots and filters. In addition to offering advice on steeping the perfect cup to any customer who asks, they hold tea-themed workshops that range from pairing cheeses to developing pinkie-finger fitness regimens.