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.
A fourth-generation California grocer, Martin Goodwin has focused his new store on supplying fresh fruits and vegetables and preparing meals free of the chemicals, sugars, and fats rampant in processed foods. Inside the store, shoppers can explore grocery aisles or check the deli counter for organic salads, sandwiches, pizza, sushi, or soups. A juice bar serves up cool, healthy drinks, as well as Goodwin's own line of locally roasted Vitalita coffee. Baristas make each cup with a rare Clover machine, an $11,000 device that the New York Times called “standard equipment at some of the country’s most progressive cafes.”
With healthy, fast fare and drink in hand, guests can slide into one of Goodwin's lounge seats and plug in electronics at nearby outlets, which let students focus on their work rather than spurring on the hamster jogging inside their laptop’s charging wheel.
Dotted with shade from leafy trees, the campground at Glen Ivy RV Park offers a peaceful respite from roadway stresses. The grounds span 350 RV-ready sites with full utility hookups to rest batteries and basic cable so as not to confuse antennae. Additionally, guests have access the campground’s many amenities including an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, a central playground, and a group picnic area.
Hoping to revive the culture of the neighborhood butcher shop, with its personalized service, attention to detail, and artful products, restaurant-industry veterans Justin Rosberg and Jason Parent took a gamble on their first New Hampshire butcher shop in 2003. Dubbed The Meat House, their store quickly earned a foodie following, spawning additional franchise locations across the country. Today, The Meat House’s Mission Viejo location stocks fine cheeses, prepared side dishes, other gourmet grocery items, and hundreds of wines alongside the usual selection of traditional and exotic meats. Butchers also explain how to prepare each hand-carved cut of meat, sharing recipes, best slicing practices, and cooking techniques for giving pork chops the flavor of justice.
Like the four bearded alchemists who adorn their bottle labels, the four brewers at Craft Brewing Company turn their arcane skills toward fermenting magical potions. The welcome center in their workshop is spare, retaining its industrial-warehouse vibe save for a winding bar with kegs for barstools. Visitors may find themselves popping the caps on mystical brews such as the Raven stout, a Poe-inspired concoction with oatmeal and vanilla, or the Four Headed hefeweizen, based on the tale of Cerberus standing next to a one-headed dog.
At Dudley's Wine & Gifts’ laid-back tastings, casually dressed patrons sip vintages to the stereo sounds of rock, soul, and reggae, eschewing the stuffy jacket-and-tie-please attitude of many wine events. At each tasting, knowledgeable staff members obligingly answer all manner of queries—from "What vintage is this pinot?" to "How come it's not spelled 'w-h-i-n-e'?"—helping to cultivate a welcoming and unpretentious atmosphere. Theme nights such as Thursday’s Singles Night and Wednesday’s networking event bring together groups of like-minded drinkers to slap each other’s backs and sip subtle merlots in Dudley’s bright, high-ceilinged tasting room. After swishing a glass, tasters can browse Dudley's cache of gift items, such as its famous tulip corkscrew, or entertain onlookers by reading wine labels aloud in Pig Latin.