Considering Juan and Alvaro Gorrin studied medicine and business, and went on to forge careers in real estate and banking, it's probably surprising to many that they found their ultimate success in a totally unrelated field: baking. The Gorrins, who were born in Spain but moved to Venezuela in their youth, found there was a demand for European-inspired baked goods in South America. They developed the Don Pan brand in Venezuela in 1982, and eventually relocated to Miami, where they opened their first North American bakery in 1995.
Today, their menu maintains distinctly Spanish and South American accents. A bounty of pastries includes guava danish and tres leches, as well as brazo gitano, a sponge cake rolled with chocolate or cream that's popular in both Spain and Venezuela, as well as the section of Canada that uses cake as currency. There are also plenty of savory menu items, including cachapas—corn pancakes served with meat or cheese—and Venezuelan-style tamales bursting with pork, beef, chicken, and veggies.
Each Cosi locale aims to channel the charm of a small Parisian café by serving up a menu of quality food and an atmosphere suited for conversation. Warm stone-oven-baked flatbreads feature a two-millenia-old recipe and lay the foundation for many of Cosi's sandwiches and pizzas. The clean flavors of the signature tomato, basil, and mozzarella sandwich ($5.99) find a rustic home within warm, crusty walls and the saucy star of the barbecue-chicken pizza ($12.99) travels to mouths with an entourage of smoked gouda, red onion, and cilantro trained in grappling grabby tablemates. Veggie-based bites include the crunchy steak-house salad ($7.79) coated in blue-cheese dressing and fresh-cracked pepper.
The Pasco County gourmet cupcakery boasts custom organic cupcakes, baked from scratch with only the finest local ingredients. Peruse Crave's cupcake catalog to select a flavor for your dozen, and set into motion the conception of your confection. Opt for a dozen nutty peanut-butter cakes, chocolaty treats, or superbly pink, strawberry-buttercream-topped strawberry cakes to complement your tongue’s color. The a lemon-injected lemon-zinger cake will satisfy sour-fruit fans, whereas the classic red-velvet cake is sure to please classic-cake connoisseurs. Vegan and gluten-free cupcakes are available upon request.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
Founded, owned, and run by the Harvey family, Mitchell's is a cozy and convenient spot to grab a coffee and some family cooked fare. Morning caffeine jolts come in the form of cups of joe ($1.75 for a medium), lattes ($3.20 for a medium) and frozen mochas ($3.90). Smoothies ($4.00) are also available in banana, strawberry, raspberry, or any combination of the three encompassable by the meager scope of human imagination. Those who wish to supplement their morning coffee buzz with nourishment can take advantage of Mitchell's breakfast, served Monday through Saturday until 11 a.m. Tastebuds, dormant through the night, will be awakened to joy with the Mitchell's Favorite breakfast burrito ($4.95), a delectable mélange of scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, cheddar cheese, and chipotle hot sauce. Non-carnivores can partake in the Veggie-Tastic breakfast burrito ($4.95), replete with scrambled eggs, spinach, tomato, Parmesan cheese and basil. Lunch is offered on weekdays, serving up a tantalizing collection of soups, sandwiches, and salads. Customers who are attracted, moth-like, to the mysterious might wish to try Mitchell's Famous Chicken Gumbo ($3.99 for a cup, $4.99 for a bowl), a local favorite, made according to a secret recipe bestowed upon the owners in an ancient and esoteric ceremony, deep in the heart of Louisiana. Other lunch opportunities include Chicken or Tuna salads ($5.85) and "Create Your Own" Sandmitches ($5.99), named after the owners' son.
One of the largest locally owned gourmet coffee and tea shops in the U.S., Barnie's offers more than 50 different gourmet coffees with 15 delectable flavors. Barnie's typically brews four different fresh coffees each day, and a ballroom of smoothies and lattes waltzes alongside mochas, espressos, and cappuccinos. Sit and sip a freshly brewed cup ($1.59+) or begin hoarding bags of pre-ground or whole-bean specialties such as Santa's White Christmas ($9.49/12 oz.)—a combination of Barnie's blended coffee with hints of coconut, sweet caramel, and vanilla guaranteed to keep you alert during the season when homes are most vulnerable to invasion by diabolically generous bearded elves. Recently unfrozen British cavemen can warm up with signature teas such as organic raspberry truffle and white-ginger peach, while all others can hose down tongue gardens with summer specials such as the Barnie Palmer ($2.29–$2.59), a blend of strawberry iced tea and mango lemonade.