To say Capital Teas? founders, Manelle and Peter Martino, know tea might be a bit of an understatement. Fifth-generation tea merchant Manelle?s great-great-grandfather, Francis Van Reyk, was a Dutch tea planter who immigrated in the 1870s to present-day Sri Lanka, where he planted and managed the Diyagama Tea Estate, from which the Martinos now source their Great Grandfather?s tea. Manelle?s family has been in the tea trade ever since, a tradition she has carried to her own specialty tea business, which has boutique locations throughout the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland area. Additionally, Peter has become a popular speaker at World Tea Expos, where he frequently educates and inspires the tea world.
In addition to tea from Sri Lanka, Capital Teas carries more than 200 loose teas and herbal infusions from 18 countries including India, China, Japan, Malawi, and Kenya. A sniffing wall dispenses wafts of black, oolong, and green teas, and knowledgeable employees drift around the store?s tasting stations to explain each flavor?s nuances.
Capital Teas also pairs customers with accompaniments such as teapots, infusers, treats, and artisanal honey. In-store patrons may sample free tea samples?which are brewed fresh daily?while online purchasers receive a free sample with every order.
Natural light streams through the windows of Hair Cafe, dancing off the lightly colored mottled walls and illuminating a team of savvy stylists. A charming mural engages the eyes as the stylists, armed with shears, fly through manes, shaping face-framing coiffures that serve as works of art themselves. In addition to creating fetching cuts, the stylists imbue locks with pigment, enhancing eye color or matching the client's hair to his or her favorite wig.
Behind the brick façade of Plush Gelato & Coffee, owners Dinh and Henry Luong handcraft a rainbow of velvety gelatos and sorbets to match a variety of custom-brewed coffee and lattes. Spheres of creamy gelato scooped away from frosty peaks woo sweet teeth with locally sourced and seasonal flavors such as chocolate hazelnut, nutella cookie, and vietnamese coffee ($3.75 for small; $4.50 for medium; $5.25 for large). Blood orange, strawberry, and mango juices freeze into smooth sorbet with a unique texture that comes from millions of microscopic crystals. Rather than licking a car battery, awaken somnolent palates with a large cup of piping hot coffee ($2.25) or a foamy latte ($3.75).
Smoothie King smoothies combine fresh fruit, natural juices, and special nutritional enhancers into more than 90 flavors (you can customize, add, and subtract the extras) of icy delight, all of which focus on achieving one of seven nutritional goals. Try an antioxidant-rich Pomegranate Punch with pomegranate, bananas, blueberries, apple juice, soy protein, and Turbinado sweetener to stay healthy. Weight-conscious en-smuthiasts can trim down and float away with the Celestial Cherry High, packed with bananas, black cherry, papaya, Turbinado, and honey, and unpacked with fat. You can also customize any smoothie by adding enhancers or “make it skinny” by cutting out the honey and Turbinado.
The story of Cakes by Happy Eatery begins with a family who appreciates good food. Today, sisters and second-generation owners Victoria and Emily Wu continue to uphold the bakery's classic baking traditions while giving it a modern twist. It's here where a team of dedicated bakers and pastry chefs spend their days whipping up a staggering selection of pastries, cakes, and desserts. The baking gurus excel at showcasing both sweet and savory flavors; Chinese-style roast pork buns, hand-held chicken pot pies, and chicken salad sandwiches with seasonal champagne grapes rank among their most popular items. The bakery is best known, however, for its European genoise sponge cake, a light, never-cloying style of cake exuding a blend of signature sweetness. While Cakes by Happy Eatery prides itself on making old-fashioned creations using only real butter and sugar, those with restrictive diets will also find vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free delights.
To ensure farm-fresh ingredients for their East African dishes, the culinary team at Manna Bistro & Bakery goes a step beyond shopping at local farmers’ markets. They cull their meat and produce straight from their affiliate farm, Mena Farm, where lambs and goats graze freely and fresh vegetables sprout from the gardens, rather than from test tubes in the goats’ labs.
In a similar DIY spirit, bakers knead their own bread at an on-site bakery, in styles ranging from round loaves to injera, the slightly sour flatbread served with most Ethiopian stews and sautéed meat dishes. Diners also have the chance to try Manna's take on a menu of Mediterranean dishes: salads tossed with feta cheese, veggie sandwiches slathered with hummus, and paninis with a choice of three different pestos. There's also a full breakfast menu, introducing sweet and savory traditional dishes of spiced bread, buttery crushed wheat, and eggs given a kick from jalapenos, tomatoes, and onion.