Michael Gomori has always been led by passion. As a young man and recent college graduate, he sidestepped a potential career in biology, a subject for which he'd lost his spark, and joined the Navy. He was eager to see the world, so he spent 27 years seeing, learning, and climbing the ranks.
When Michael reentered civilian life, he was determined to discover his next true passion—as it turned out, his passion was tucked under the crisp linens of fine dining. Joined by his wife, Diane, Michael developed a restaurant to embody his way of life, and the pair fittingly named it Passion the Restaurant.
Inside the romantic restaurant with white linens and crimson accents, couples and friends converse over new york strip steaks, Virginia crab cakes, and deboned chicken cooked under brick. Tapas dishes, such as duck sliders, spring rolls, and a cheese platter, play into the intimate environment under twinkling chandelier light.
Local artists’ works dapple the walls and are for sale, with a portion of proceeds donated to Our House Families, an organization that helps support families in need. Twice a month on the patio, patrons can partake in a cigar social, puffing away and reminiscing about the old days of candy cigarettes.
Carafe's micro-wineries brew and bottle their own grape blood on-site, harvested from the fruit of the world's many vine varieties. Tapping into the thrills of kiddie chemistry experiments, the wine-masters at Carafe custom-mix each bottle of inebriation-fuel at their creation station, imbuing brews with the extra love and care that enables them to mature into responsible citizens of stomachs everywhere.
Neatly packaged in a converted Victorian house, Press626 offsets its shell of Dickensian charm with a cream filling of locally sourced noshables. A small yet diverse menu perks up even the most jaded palates with appetizers such as rosemary sun-dried tomato shrimp ($11.95) and baked chèvre goat cheese ($10.50) before insulating stomachs against stray cannonballs with duck confit in a tart-cherry-cabernet reduction ($19.95) or pumpkin risotto ($13.95 vegetarian, $17.95 shrimp). Those who prefer their meals bookended by bread will gravitate toward the monster steak sandwich, accented with caramelized onions, pepper-jack cheese, cilantro, and chipotle aioli on sourdough ($8.95). For dessert, relive childhood without the early bedtime and constant bogeyman ambushes when you order homemade jumbo cupcakes served with a glass of chilled milk ($5.99).
HomeBrew USA sets soon-to-be brewmasters on a path to filling up kegs and bottles with homemade concoctions, outfitting frothy-art aficionados with all the necessary apparatuses to get started. An ideal Father's Day gift for craft-brew-crazy dads, a comprehensive homebrewing equipment kit should contain all the necessary hardware for fermenting, bottling, and capping, including buckets, siphon, airlock, hydrometer, and a security system that loudly plays "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" to ward off intruders. For a simple-yet-effective setup, the Bare Bones kit employs single-stage fermentation, in which brewing and bottling are done in the same vessel ($49.99), and the Basic bundle boosts brewers to the next level with an extra bottling vessel for clearer beer and easier carbonation, plus a bottle filter, brush, and cleaner ($96.99). More proactive beer-makers can pick up the Plus package, which sports a complete dual-fermentation system, using two buckets and a five-gallon glass carboy for a multi-stage process that reduces yeast sediment and creates clearer beer ($160).
The Boot sources its fresh, seasonal ingredients from local farms to ensure that customers are never faced with a plate of summer squash with frostbite or snow peas with suntans. The restaurant's evolving menu is infused with French and Italian influences, but it maintains its true footing in Virginia virtues. This summer's savory starters ($6–$15) include summer tomato salad with basil, aged balsamic, and mozzarella; the grilled calamari packed with shrimp, orange, black olives, basil, and zucchini; and the Eastern-shore middleneck clams steamed in tomato-pepper broth with grilled bread. For dinner ($17–$26), anchor your mouth bones into the crispy fried chicken leg with a stuffed tomato of fregola, corn, garlic, and basil, or get a meatless mouthful of local veggies as served on the chef's vegetable sampler. For a comforting punch of protein, opt for the grilled rib-eye steak with sweet-potato fries and Boot's special sauce.
Wine & Cake Hobbies provisions partiers, bakers, home vintners, and aspiring brewers with the tools and skills necessary for fashioning mouthwatering baked goods and homemade wine and beer. Cake-decorating classes help assuage artistic sweet teeth while hops, fully stocked winemaking kits, and informative beer-brewing classes can prepare amateur drinksmiths for everything from upcoming barbecues to the return of Prohibition. A wealth of cake decorations and baking instruments turns simple pastries and tortes into multitiered masterpieces bedecked with colorful frosting. And an array of party favors, bridal cake tops, and decorations can add the perfect touch to weddings, anniversaries, and showers.