Lee and Barrye Cohen have been roasting and brewing fresh beans into caffeinated elixirs since 1976, when they first began expanding horizons with then-unheard-of espresso and cappuccinos. Using the same trusty vintage coffee roaster they used back then, they continue to roast aromatic gourmet beans. They brighten mornings and afternoon slumps with traditional coffee or energize lattes, mochas, and chai with rich espresso. Chefs cook up a menu of updated classics daily with local farm-fresh eggs and housemade sauces, stacking egg sandwiches with andouille sausage and deli sandwiches with pit-baked ham.
On select evenings, melodies and spoken words can be heard emanating from the Troy location, which hosts an open-mic night where local artists play music or slam poetry books onto the floor as guests sip cocktails and wine. The Cohens are proud of their local roots, and give back the loyalty they've received by frequently donating to local charitable causes. Daily Grind also has an online store, which outfits kitchens with loose-leaf teas, cappuccino machines, and gelato machines from brands such as Baratza, Gaggia, and Nemox.
Whether it's the size of a dixie cup or enough to fill the bathtub, at Yeh! Yogurt, customers are in control of their servings. Amid fuchsia walls and bright-green accents, customers pull the levers on self-serve machines as the low-calorie, nonfat delight swirls into their containers. Available flavors rotate monthly and seasonally and include options such as fudge and marshmallow, spicy pumpkin, cake batter, and piña colada. More than 40 toppings such as candies, chocolates, nuts, and farthings cascade over yogurt peaks. Other sweet options include crepes, smoothies, and coffee drinks.
Specializing in daily-made cookies, brownies, and scones, Bake For You instills confectionery creations with local and organic ingredients, free-range eggs, and smooth Vermont butter. Cookies ($18 for two dozen) come in six fanciful flavors, including traditional tongue pleasers classic chocolate chip or old-fashioned oatmeal cookie, and free-spirited savorers can succumb to Bake For You's signature white-chocolate-chip butter cookie, which erupts with dried cranberry bursts.
From its roadside location, Flavour2Go woos passing motorists with the aromas of robust coffee brews and velvety café drinks. Roll up to the lime-green façade to pick up a frothy pumpkin-spice latte ($4.80), in which the candlelit smirks of its constituent gourds faintly appear between nutmeg sprinkles. Steamed caramel apples ciders ($3.39) help guests taste fall's crispy splendor without having to chew through a freshly raked pile of leaves. Curb salty-sweet cravings by blanketing the tongue in salted-caramel mocha ($4.53), which blends currents of chocolate and sea salt as wind patterns of turbinado sugar sweep through. Alternatively, an iced Somoa latte ($4.80) capped with fluffy coconut can chill taste buds still hyped up about the new season of Meet the Press.
Named for Herman Melville, Melville’s Mug celebrates the esteemed author with walls the color of the deep sea and a pair of carved, wooden whales. Fair-trade and organic coffee blends from Capital City Roasters top the café's burnished counter, as well as freshly baked pastries illuminated by the soft glow of pendant lights and wall-mounted electric eels. The kitchen staff prepares a light menu of deli sandwiches, which diners can enjoy at a cluster of round, wrought iron café tables.
Times Union food critic Cheryl Clark didn't mince words when describing the Illium Steak Wedge salad at Illium Cafe, declaring it "a revelation." Tossed with the salad's bacon, toasted almonds, fried goat cheese, and blue-cheese dressing were "the most tender, flavorful medallions of beef I've enjoyed in a while."
The salad is one of the many dishes lovingly crafted from local and organic ingredients by the cafe's resident chef, Marla Ortega. Alongside salads, her lunchtime feasts spotlight innovative sandwiches, such as quesadillas filled with seared scallops, bok choy, and local cow's-milk cheese infused with black truffle. That spirit of experimentation remains for breakfast, when Marla mixes seared wild salmon into omelets and pairs banana-and-macadamia-nut pancakes with banana-infused whipped butter.
An entire menu of coffee drinks complements Marla's cuisine, running the gamut from gourmet roasts and frappes to iced drinks, which are made with coffee beans harvested from icebergs. The Times Union also praised the caf?'s elegantly decorated dining room for its "gorgeous woodwork," which complements its painted tin ceiling, pull-down glass windows, and landscape mural.