The aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans lures passersby into Bean There Coffeehouse's two locations, where baristas reenergize sluggish bodies with a menu cascading with traditional brews and seasonal espresso beverages. The coffee shops' thoroughly vetted beans are plucked from the top 20% rated throughout the world, with special attention paid to the country of origin, the altitude, and the astrological sign of each bean. Serving up flavorful coffee is their top priority, and the staff also cultivates a homey, neighborhood feel at each establishment, welcoming guests to events such as coffee tastings, dessert pairings, and poetry slams.
Edible Arrangements offers up more than 50 fresh, artful fruit baskets that combine the aesthetic elements and emotive properties of floral arrangements with the juicy edibility of fruit. The sweetery's designers stud the Delicious Daisy, a bouquet of sliced honeydew, pineapple, and cantaloupe, with strawberries and strings of grapes ($35) that double as a 25th-anniversary gift for a Smucker's jam heiress. Decadent, gluten-free layers of white and semisweet chocolate coat fruit in a 12-piece box of hand-dipped strawberries and bananas ($25). Customers can also put today's Groupon toward a larger centerpiece, such as the Melon Delight, a decorative spray of watermelon wedges, pineapple daisies, cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes, and double-dipped bananas sprouting from a watering can ($76). The preservative-free treats are all handcrafted at the apex of freshness, readying hand-dipped dainties to be hand-shoved into eagerly awaiting mouths.
Perhaps it’s the dining room’s glittering chandeliers that make diners feel as though they’ve stepped back in time, or maybe it’s the silver tea sets displayed atop baroque-style tables that bring to mind a bygone era. Though it’s difficult to single out the one element of First Ladies Tea Parlor that transports diners to the past, it’s evident that owner KJ Jordan has realized her vision. KJ’s passion for all things old-timey manifests itself in the parlor’s varied schedule of events, from historic fashion shows and presentations by authors and historical interpreters to speakeasy dinners that keep the spirit of the 1920s alive via live jazz and free admission for ghosts. Away from the sun-dappled dining room, chef Gabby Bauman and her culinary crew bustle about the kitchen whipping up light lunches featuring entrees named after first ladies, including the Lady Dolley sandwich filled with roasted turkey and avocado and the Lady Betty salad dappled with salmon fillet and apricot-ginger dressing.
The Granby Bistro staff sails classic Mediterranean ingredients and flavors across tongues and into empty tummy harbors aboard dish vessels influenced by Greek, Middle Eastern, and Italian cuisines. Flavorful entrees populate the dinner menu, including the beef, chicken, or lamb kebab ($14.95), broiled until tender, crowned with roasted nuts, and wrapped alongside rice pilaf in a page of One Thousand and One Nights. The vegetarian grape leaves are stuffed with seasoned rice, tomatoes, olive oil, and onions and ignore warnings to wait two hours before leaping into an accompanying sour cream pool ($14.95). Granby Bistro's breakfast menu rouses taste buds to action with a greek breakfast that buries pita bread beneath feta cheese, olives, cucumbers, and two extra large eggs ($6.95). Arriving in the diner's choice of a platter ($6.45) or sandwich ($5.65), house-specialty falafel blends chickpeas and fava beans, stirs in spring onions and parsley, and fries the mixture before slathering it with a secret recipe sauce. The restaurant's caterers travel to locations with heaping helpings that sate guests at parties or celebrations of baby's first Nobel Prize.
“I’m sorry, but our espresso machine is broken.” It was these words—a lie uttered by a server too intimidated to operate the machine—that inspired Larry Epplein to ease espresso service for restaurants and cafés everywhere. Today, he helms Virginia Espresso along with a staff that boasts more than a century of combined foodservice experience. They are a factory-authorized service center for commercial machines and coffee-brewing robots and also tout a map-full of 100% Arabica beans available at wholesale prices to both vendors and the public.
In addition to coffee, a selection of more than 40 loose-leaf teas ensnares shoppers with aromas of white peony and passion fruit. Monin gourmet syrups bloom in more than 50 flavors—all sweetened naturally with agave nectar, pure cane syrup, and kisses from honeybees—and can be used to infuse the showroom’s inventory of soda water and gelato mix.