Upon entering Tuscany Ristorante, guests are greeted by the sweeping country landscapes that pepper the bright-yellow walls, evoking summers spent under the Tuscan sun, sipping wine and dancing the tarantella until the INS showed up. The warm interiors paired with crisp white linens and hardwood floors infuse the restaurant with a casual elegance to match its classic, flavorful fare. The chefs whip up rich Tuscan dishes, including hearty pasta; prime, dry-aged steaks; and decadent housemade desserts. Pasta and risotto entrees showcase carb sculptures such as the rich rigatoni boccelli, which, like any marble statue, comes doused in pancetta and light vodka sauce. As guests dine, they can indulge in a bottle of wine plucked from the floor-to-ceiling wine rack that lines the walls with rustic wood planks and elegantly displays hundreds of bottles.
In 2001, the calzones, burgers, gyros, grinders, and cheesy pies that lived in the entrepreneurial dreams of then-college sophomore Mark Kalmanidis escaped and joined forces to create Crossroads Pizza. Inside the eatery, customers can send their tongue shopping for spaghetti and meatballs ($8.50) and their teeth can busily munch fried chicken served with french fries and cole slaw ($10.50). Or, choose to chew into one of the menu's more than 15 specialty pizzas—taste a small white pizza's doughy disc of ricotta, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and oregano ($9), visit a medium Hawaiian's ham-pineapple fusion ($12.99), or let a small vegetarian pizza refill your food pouch with an assortment of delicious nonmeats ($9.99).
French-American cuisine and sumptuous wines make their home in Epernay Bistro's casual fine-dining atmosphere. Chef and owner Peter Wroe forages for the freshest produce from local growers and irate farmers' carrot patches to craft a dinner menu that highlights seasonal ingredients. Inventive evening entrees include the provence-lamb stew over herbed noodles ($20) and a seared-sea-scallop chowder that marries onions, carrots, and celery with red potato and bacon ($23). Meanwhile, the house-made country pâté with dijon and cornichon represents the more traditional end of the fusion spectrum ($10).
Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries and daisy pineapples in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.