The Chocolate Bar's menu contains a veritable cornucopia of house-made chocolates, dessert plates, small bites, specialty cocktails, and expertly chosen wines. If you opt for the prix-fixe wine flight, you'll get three wines ($12) and your choice of three truffles ($5), three assorted popcorns ($12), or three cheeses ($13) to sample this chocolate cabin's wares. Otherwise, you can branch outward like a curious and hungry poltergeist tree with $25 worth of treats. Turn your palate to a culinary cocktail such as a summery beer float ($6), Leinenkugel's sunset wheat poured over a scoop of orange sherbet. Offset a liquid treat with some solid comestibles, such as smoked sockeye salmon ($10) in truffle and shallot vinaigrette. If you stopped by with a gaggle of friends, sweet-feast on a large dessert plate of peach melba ($8), a treasure trove of almond-vanilla sponge cake, peach sorbet, and raspberry mousse.
The rich aroma of roasted nuts and the sugary smell of freshly made candy waft around bright green striped walls and collect in the lofty ceiling of Greene's Fine Foods. The shop's specialty, Georgia mammoth pecans, comes in a flavor rainbow of chocolate amaretto, mesquite barbecue, praline, and more ($7.50 for a half pound). New crop pecans are available after the fall harvest. A more bounceable gift, the "Please do not feed the gummi bears!" 1-pound gift bag ($8), can be customized to tote gummi critters such as butterflies, jet fighters, army men, and rattlesnakes rather than the standard bears. Business gifts and frozen yogurt are also available.
When customizing a frozen dessert with toppings, many people reach for chocolate chips, sprinkles, or a barrel of whipped cream. Swirlin Twirlin has those classic add-ons in spades—but its toppings selection ventures into unexpectedly gourmet territory, as well. Pomegranates dipped in dark chocolate, bites of cheesecake, and Andes mints join the lineup alongside chilled blackberries, mangos, and watermelon. All of the fresh fruit and crumbled candies are cut daily, and taste-tested by the staff themselves before being added to the bar, which offers more than 50 topping choices.
These add-ons require a foundation, of course. Swirlin Twirlin houses a wall of self-serve machines that fill cups with frozen yogurt in a variety of low-fat, non-fat, and non-dairy flavors. The sweet spirals range from original tart to red velvet, and contain probiotics that aid the "friendly" bacteria that already exist in the digestive system. There are even no-sugar-added flavors, including mango and chocolate, which offer delicious bites without the addition of sucrose.
The monogramming mavens at Melrose on Ponce personalize property with embroidered initials, customizable with an array of colors and fonts. Mark your towel territory, or delineate his-and-hers jean overalls, with a single-color, machine-stitched monogram ($12), or emblazon less stitchable material, such as floor mats or pet lap giraffes with a vinyl monogram ($12). Embroidered paraphernalia makes a great gift for baby showers, housewarming parties, or attempts at bribing unscrupulous judges.
Furnishing vases with fresh floral arrangements since 1947, Maud Baker showers flower fanatics with a bevy of blossoms. Maud's artistic arrangements help express emotions fit for a range of occasions, and creations can match whatever color, type of flower, or childhood phobia you have in mind. Pick petal arrangements for occasions from birthdays to weddings to the first of many joyous snipe hunts.
Marcia Langford Perez's brother Gene once owned a small farm in north Florida. Here, each season, he would plant a few vines of rare grapes. When it came time to harvest, he chose his brother Philip as the vintner. This family affair quickly pulled in Marcia and her husband Gerald, who joined in tending the vineyards and making wine. After Gene passed away, Marcia decided to honor his legacy: she opened Wine Workshop and Brew Center, a polished craft store and urban winery dedicated to the art of independent brewing and winemaking.
Today, Marcia and her staff explore the ins and outs of winemaking during in-store classes and slumber parties in the fermentation tanks. They help visitors choose their grape or juice, blend the yeast, and?after a few weeks?collect, bottle, and label the finished wine. They also teach beer brewing in a series of weekly workshops, highlighting the partial-boil process and the uses of hops, yeast, and specialty malts. For those who want to try brewing on their own, the store also supplies ingredients and equipment such as fermentation containers, extract kits, base and specialty grains, and full wine kits from popular producers.