Serene Teaz’s herbal outfitters dress up waiting cups in international teas, rooibos, infusions, and matés. Toast sunrise over a breakfast campfire with a mug of smoky lapsang souchong black tea ($10 for 4 oz.) or train crosshairs at midafternoon fatigue with a restorative shot of gunpowder green tea ($10.50 for 4 oz.). Steeped like tea, South African rooibos transforms into a drinkable dessert when paired with fruit or chocolate. One of Serene Teaz’s most popular rooibos brew, Sweet Sin ($10 for 4 oz.) sifts together vanilla, rose petals, and freeze-dried raspberries to elicit a decadent aroma capable of transporting drinkers toward serene moments or back to their days as a chocolate-rabbit breeder. Herbal infusions dance across nose buds with scents blended from fruits, herbs, and flowers such as hibiscus ($10 for 4 oz.) and peppermint ($9 for 4 oz.).
Owned and operated by longtime Carol Stream entrepreneur Sindy Rogers, Manhattan's gives customers a place to relax and enjoy classic American specialties. The menu includes classics of the American kitchen such as beef stew ($10.99, $8.99 for seniors), as well as inventive takes on old standbys such as the Flaming burger—8-ounces of angus beef steak burger topped with saganaki cheese and lit on fire table-side, much to the delight of carnivorous pyromaniacs ($11.99). The restaurant itself is handsomely outfitted with wood paneling, featuring a large dining room and full bar with several flat-screen TVs hanging majestically above it like so many twinkling stars in the depths of the firmament.
On a sunny afternoon spent wandering amid The Berry House Shops, you see a bright flash of green out of the corner of your eye. Intrigued, you turn to stare at a green awning speckled with pink polka dots shading a bright pink door and decide to see what lies inside. The eye-catching decor may have drawn you in, but it’s The Latest Crave’s rows of cupcakes topped with creamy peaks of frosting, stacks of english toffee, and clusters of frosting shots that make you want to stay. Shop owners Elaine and Nancy craft these confections using their original recipes, which detail how to make both milk- and dark-chocolate toffees and cupcakes in a variety of sizes. More than two dozen cupcake flavors including such varieties as cookies 'n' cream and strawberry shortcake to key lime and peanut butter and jelly, rotate throughout the month, and additional seasonal flavors, such as pumpkin and gingerbread, make an appearance when their ingredients are freshest. Some of the cupcakes they create sound as extravagant as a limo made from dinosaur bones; witness the Jack-n-Jill, a milk-chocolate cupcake stuffed with a marshmallow and topped with a hardened layer of chocolate ganache. Even more innovative are the frosting shots—petite chocolate cups brimming with irish-cream, piña-colada, and marshmallow-infused buttercream frostings.