A German and a Puerto Rican walk into a tapas bar. It's the setup not for a joke but for an intensely multicultural cafe: Vineyards of the World. Owner Sascha has a working knowledge of more than 300 beers, to which co-owner Yellymary adds a Latin love of tapas. And then there are the wines—more than 30 by the glass. At least one of the partners is always behind the bar if guests need a little guidance sorting through the tapas menu, perhaps in order to decide which flavor of goat cheese goes with a glass of chardonnay or what kind of dip works best if you accidentally spill a doppelbock into it.
Diners appreciate the pairings in a space designed to be maximally welcoming. Live music is featured every Wednesday-Saturday starting at 8 p.m., and the hand-painted sign hanging from the stucco facade presages an eclectic spirit that continues through the rustic murals and fancy-but-cushy armchairs leaning together under the chandelier inside.
More than 1,200 miles separate Corelli's Pizza and Pasta from New York City, though you wouldn't know from inside. Chefs Joe and David toss together generously sized New York–style pizzas; their medium pie measures 14 inches across and their extra-large pie measures one standard bigfoot foot: 18 inches. To help branch out from the standard pizza shop offerings, the kitchen staff also prepares pasta, sub sandwiches, and calzones and organizes a wine-tasting club.
In 1948, Charles McMillan opened the doors to the home he had built of wood and stone, offering visitors plates of fine, country-style cooking under the name Red Wing Restaurant. Today, this one-time rural residence retains its quaint charm with taxidermied décor—a plethora of birds and animals striking eternal poses against a backdrop of vertical wood paneling. Behind this façade, skilled chefs country-fry steaks they've cut by hand or prepare meals from whatever wild game their favorite hunter might have brought them
Inside Wow Fika—whose name roughly translates to “coffee break” in Swedish—cups of espresso steam atop handmade European wood tables. Though the chefs change up the menu of continental café fare approximately every six weeks, past dishes have included swedish-meatball sandwiches and chicken salad among other comfort-food classics. In addition, a Swedish pastry chef fills the kitchen with sweet confections including traditional Swedish and Romanian cakes and creative ice-cream treats. For catered affairs, Wow Fika's culinary experts can concoct themed prix fixe menus that include all Italian or Greek dishes, or only foods that begin with the letter “Q.”
The Big Easy serves up a vigorous lineup of Cajun and Creole offerings with a smattering of Southern-barbecue favorites. Those searching the lengthy menu for the restaurant's signature dish can stop at the Bourbon Street stuffed jambalaya, a piquant mix of roasted chicken, shrimp, and andouille sausage packed into a crunchy chicken breast and showered with vidalia sauce ($13.95). Strap on a James Carville-shaped bib for a plate of hickory- barbecue thick-cut ribs, served with a side of coleslaw, collard greens, and challah toast ($14.95). Seafood savorers can dig into the shrimp creole, which rests on a bed of Cajun rice ($13.95). To drink, The Big Easy offers an ambrosial collection of red and white wines ($5.95–$7.95 for a glass), and barley buffs can imbibe Goose Island Honker's Ale or one of several brews on draft ($4.95). This deal is also good towards the restaurant's four-course weekend brunch ($13.95), where diners sip orange/strawberry-blended juice, munch on whole-wheat muffins, and fill up on zesty gumbo, jumbo french toast, and more.