Herb & Soul chefs B. Taylor and David Thomas operate under a simple mantra with several implications. When they say their mission is to "feed the soul," they mean that their fried chicken, short ribs, and Georgia bread pudding are more than just items on the menu—they’re nourishing reminders of the home-cooked meals of childhood.
They also mean that they do their best to foster long-standing relationships with local farmers and stock their small, down-home establishment with organic produce, grass-fed meats, and sustainably sourced fish. Herb & Soul's support of sustainable agriculture benefits the environment as well, since the restaurant converts its waste into compost and recycles its oil on the kitchen’s slip 'n' slide.
Gitan Bistro Cru has the personality of a romantic neighborhood gathering spot, plus the food and drink to match, making it a great destination for dates. Its wood floors and mustard-colored walls envelop visitors, who stop by to fill up on the restaurant's French- and Lebanese-inspired dishes. The menu features sandwiches, soups, and a roster of Lebanese-style small plates, including hummus accompanied by warm pita bread. From behind the bar, servers dish out specialty cocktails, as well as rare, hard-to-find wines.
For $10, oenophiles can enjoy a DIY wine tasting in a laid-back setting at Chesapeake Wine Company instead of spending the usual $20. With this Groupon, choose up to eight wines from a list of 25, or ask a server to choose for you, Pepsi-challenge style. Baltimore Magazine rated the Canton "bar-in-a-wine-shop" Best Wine Bar in 2007.
While studying flute performance and classical dance at the University of Wyoming, Michelle Shaw's endeavors were hampered by constant back pain. She sought relief through massage therapy and yoga, and this holistic care soon developed into a passion, inspiring her to attend the Baltimore School of Massage. She now helps others revel in muscle relief at Mount Vernon Wellness. Within a private treatment room overseen by a serene painting of Buddha, she eases sports- and work-related injuries, which are often caused by repetitive motion, poor posture, and pole-vaulting over cubicles. To treat these ailments, she draws on an array of modalities such as Swedish, deep-tissue, and reflexology massage. She also employs traditional Thai-massage techniques, which incorporate pressure-point therapy, energy work, and yoga-like stretching to regain bodily balance.
Housed in a grand townhouse, the Mount Vernon microbrewery offers patrons a carefully curated menu of imported sips, scotches, and brewed-on-site beers. For food, Chef Dave Newman keeps diners guessing with a menu that rotates with the four seasons practiced in the United States. For starters, try the house-made artichoke ravioli, glazed with Meyer lemon-infused butter and pistachio-mint pesto ($10). When you're ready to move on to more filling adventures, entrees include the inventive, crispy Utz-crusted cod with baby clams and smoky mountain bacon ($24), grilled shrimp with spring pea and mint risotto ($16), and grilled lamb loin ($28).
The clinks of wine and cocktail glasses echo in Sascha's 527 Cafe's decadent 19th-century townhouse, adorned with cascading red velvet curtains and ever-changing displays of artwork. Illuminated by flickering candles and prismatic glints from a crystal chandelier, shareable small plates introduce the menu's New American flavor with an emphasis on quality ingredients. Entrees include grilled and sautéed cuts of seafood, chicken, and steak, bathed with dynamic sauces and paired with wholesome produce. Patrons can whisper décor compliments into the ears of painted portraits residing on the eatery's walls, and then dig into a homemade dessert for a sweet jolt proven to be safer than drinking hot cocoa from a plugged-in toaster.