It's hard to miss the aroma of coffee when walking into Bad Ass Coffee of Virginia Beach's shop. Brewed with quality roasted beans gained from direct-trade farmers in the Kona Valley of Hawaii, Bad Ass Coffee's expansive drink menu ranges from a simple cup of joe to a wide variety of tasty, gourmet lattes. The menu's diversity even earned Bad Ass Coffee a place in the top three of the Virginia Pilot's Best of the Best Reader's Choice Award in 2012.
Bowls of granola or hearty breakfast burritos are served alongside cups of steaming coffee in the morning, and at lunch, the kitchen tosses salads and wraps with chicken and veggies in tortillas. The coffee shop itself embodies a Hawaiian beach house, with wood floors and bamboo window treatments.
Azar's Natural Foods caravans the Mediterranean to bring back healthy recipes drawing from Spanish, Italian, Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, and Moroccan lands. The menu includes a vast variety including ample vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and seafood dishes. An earthy and relaxing décor sets the tone to dine on dishes such as maza—an appetizer plate overflowing with hummus, baba gannouj, tabbuli, stuffed grape leaves, plus dip-worthy olives, tomatoes, pickles, pita bread, ($12.95)—and stuffed eggplant, which encapsulates ground beef, pine nuts, and onions under a smooth tomato sauce ($13.95). Other delectable edibles include kebab dinners consisting of two skewers threaded through grilled vegetables ($8.95), chicken ($13.95), beef ($14.95), or a combination of all three ($15.95).
The aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans lures passersby into Bean There Coffeehouse's two locations, where baristas reenergize sluggish bodies with a menu cascading with seasonal brews, such as strawberry cupcake and neapolitan lattes. The coffee shops' thoroughly vetted beans are plucked from the top 20% rated throughout the world, with special attention paid to the country of origin, the altitude, and the astrological sign of each bean. Serving up flavorful coffee is their top priority, and the staff also cultivates a homey, neighborhood feel at each establishment, welcoming guests to events such as coffee tastings, dessert pairings, and poetry slams.
Husband-and-wife team Tim and Jennifer Shockley draw together the influence from both their baker mothers to tackle impressive feats in confectionary innovation. Shockley's Sweet Shoppe's architecturally and aesthetically sound creations have earned the shop mentions in several press outlets, as well as Weddingwire.com's Bride's Choice Award for 2010–2012. Their signature half-and-half cakes are divided into two hemispheres with related, yet disparate themes, such as traditional white wedding swirls juxtaposed against a tropical golf course. “The bride’s side is covered in white fondant,” a writer for Food Network UK noted of one such cake, “and the groom’s side is smothered in rich chocolate fondant. Smart.”
Past custom cake creations bring together frosting, batter, and fondant into impressively realistic works of sculpture. The bakers have crafted a semi-truck, a roulette wheel, and a bucket of beers for various celebrations. The shop’s cupcakes are equally artful, and they come in the same flavors as full-sized cakes and dentists’ hands, including maple-caramel, cinnamon, and root-beer float.
Colorful lollipops and myriad candies line the counter at Chill Ice Cream Shoppe, where a glass display case readies ice cream, frozen yogurt, and fruit ices for the scooping. Dishes and cones don more than 20 flavors, such as key lime pie, raspberry truffle, cotton candy with miniature M&M's, and Bear Claw, whose dark chocolate, caramel, and cashew mixture can only be eaten safely while making oneself appear very small. Chill complements its frozen confections with savory snacks, such as hot dogs and pretzels, and warms icy tongues with cups of coffee.