While living in New Zealand for eight months, Art Hauptman fell in love with the country's thriving café culture. At Cassatt's Kiwi Cafe & Gallery, he captures that spirit with New Zealand–inspired items such as meat and vegetable pies complemented by homemade tomato chutney. Chefs also toss salads with warm roasted beet and goat cheese, sauté pan-roasted chicken breast in a curry coconut sauce, and craft homemade desserts such as pavlova. To help wash down dishes, staffers whip up specialty drinks such as the flat white—a New Zealand-style latte—with coffee brewed in-house and pour imported New World wines from countries such as New Zealand and South Africa.
Named for impressionist painter Mary Cassatt, the café surrounds diners with monthly showings of work by local artists from the Arlington Artists Alliance. Along with visual art, the cozy bistro hosts live musicians every Saturday night, who play everything from Appalachian tunes to American blues.
Cafe Sazon's cooks whip up signature dishes from scratch in 5–10 minutes, adding just enough "sazon," or seasoning, to give them mouth-watering flavor. Freshly made jalapeño hot sauce and beef-cube-laden pique macho alike are crafted from high-quality ingredients, which patrons can savor while seated on chairs or sofas. Unlimited internet access allows wireless modems to soak up radio waves until they get an even tan, and bilingual staff are on hand to help explain the menu or translate any novels patrons bring in.
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.
South Block Smoothie & Wrap Co. draws from a lengthy menu of flavors to blend a wide assortment of fresh, vitamin-packed fruits and juices. Organic açai berries swim with mango and strawberries in the Amazon Smoothie’s pool of passion-o-guava juice, and the Bluenana Chill fuses together the rich nutrients and fashionable color schemes of bananas, blueberries, and non-fat raspberry sorbet. Soymilk and non-fat vanilla frozen yogurt perform their best hula dances to impress chocolate-tinged Hawaiian coffee in the Kona Mocha. A diverse mix of health-enhancing additions come swirled into booster smoothies such as the Peanut Blast, an amalgamation of bananas and peanut butter with an extra protein kick from 10 grams of whey or soy. Brand new, South Block scoops its nutrient-rich nectars from within a sleek, glass-fronted corner storefront.
Beyond the warm, neighborhood atmosphere, Java Shack's many varieties of java, brewed from local Virginia roasts, have a much richer flavor than the corporate brews, as proven by favorite drinks like the Java Shack House Blend coffee ($1.90 for a medium) and classics like the creamy latte ($3.50, medium), rich espresso ($2.20, medium), cappuccino ($3.50, medium), and café mocha ($3.95, medium). You'll have no trouble learning your personable barista's name if you order a specialty Java Shack creation such as the Dale Special, an iced Americano with dashes of vanilla, caramel, and half-and-half. Java Shack’s many regulars also regularly gulp the Korinator, a latte with a bit of vanilla and caramel, and Java the Nut, a latte with hazelnut, vanilla, a drizzle of caramel, and several intergalactic bounty hunters in its employ. While the drink titles will help you learn their names, Java Shack employees rely solely upon their own social natures, and perhaps some light Facebook stalking, to learn yours. Baristas make the effort to remember not only customers’ names, but also favorite drinks and even backstories if you’re up for sharing without over-sharing.