Brothers and business partners James and Adam Roth fill their store with a cornucopia of curated artisan foods, from cheese and chocolate to wine and beer. A chalkboard outside the shop's modern colonial windows introduces visitors to the featured cheese of the week. As visitors enter, wine racks and displays sprawl before them, cradling more than 500 different bottles from across the world. The shelves of vino lead toward the back of the store, where cases of artisan cheese and meats lie in tantalizing splendor. The selection spans the cheese spectrum. Goat's-milk cheeses give tenderly beneath knives, and the tissue-like bloomy rinds of soft cheese split aromatically. Crimson wax cloaks firm wheels of cheddar studded with mustard seeds or Cajun spices, and the resident cheesemongers also marinate their own sheep-milk feta with herbs. Salami and pâtés beg to flesh out cheese plates along with a weekend selection of crusty bread and pastries. An ever-rotating stock of beers generally includes more than 300 varieties of local and international brews. Tartness leaps from lambics, traditional Belgian beers fermented with wild yeasts and aged in barrels, and dark-roasted malt lends a chocolate hue to Duck Rabbit Schwarzbier crafted in North Carolina. On weekends, the tasting room fills with the chatter of patrons learning to detect grassy notes in samples of wine or guess when a sommelier has been rolling around the in the grass.
Outfitted with a slew of fixtures from American Standard, Porcher, and Jado, Bath & Idea Center's spacious show room boasts a variety of full-size displays to help homeowners envision the kitchen or bathroom of their dreams. The American Standard Standard Collection kitchen faucet comes equipped with durable ceramic disc valves, porcelain lever handles, and a limited lifetime warranty on function and finish ($199), and the heavy-duty liquid-soap dispenser ($100) can dole out soap, detergent, or hand lotion in one swift pump. An American Standard three-function showerhead ($120) shoots a variable spray of water, ranging from a conventional or aerated flow to a gentle massage action similar to taking a bath in your hot tub. Meanwhile, the American Standard EverClean toilet seat ($55) guards against the growth of stain- and odor-causing bacteria, and can be used as a flotation device in the event of unexpected bathroom floods. Groupon holders can also schedule an appointment with one of the show room's knowledgeable consultants to discuss plans for a kitchen or bath remodel or pick out the appropriate finish and style for fixtures.
Founder-director Isabel Benemelis grew up in Cuba, surrounded by the mambo tunes and Afro-Cuban rhythms that earned the country its reputation as a musical hot spot. At age 4 she took up the piano, and by 7 she found herself "mesmerized by the music of Beethoven, Chopin, and Bach" whenever it hit her ears. This immersion in multiple genres influenced Benemelis when she built her school from oboe reeds in 1995: faculty members specialize in classical music, but ably veer into jazz and Latin scores if students have an interest. During one-on-one, 30-minute lessons, they teach adults and children older than age 4 to play piano, guitar, saxophone, bongos, and a host of other instruments. In keeping with the school’s multidisciplinary roots, many instructors are also fluent in English and Spanish.
The passionate bike enthusiasts at Bikenetic are biased and they know it. They love bicycles, considering them to be the most efficient mode of transportation on the planet, and work painstakingly to connect each customer with the right ride. Carrying a host of name-brand bikes, staff members point customers to available models that match one's riding style, size, and propensity to wear clown shoes. Customers can take bikes for a test ride, then bring their feedback to sales reps who can make adjustments and send bikers out to test the bike again or to pick up some snacks. Any bike bought at Bikenetic also falls under the protective umbrella of the shop's free lifetime-maintenance policy, which covers services such as brake adjustments, wheel truing, and bearing adjustments. Technicians restore and care for bikes that they haven't sold, as well, offering prompt and expert advice from behind the counter of their shop's service desk. The staff also leads their rallying cry of biker solidarity every Tuesday evening in Wakefield Park, where they lead mountain-biking night rides.
Master Engravers' skilled etchers harness more than 20 years of experience to precisely carve designs and personal messages in more than 130 fonts into glass, crystal, and marble. Chisels immortalize any achievement upon crystal and glass trophies and plaques, or engrave a heartfelt apology for eating a friend's pet rock onto a wine bottle or glass. Alternatively, elegant or playful fonts brand the surface of any gift item, such as coaster sets and wedding presents. Guest can pick up freshly engraved surfaces from the store or have them shipped to their doorsteps.
Listed in the Washingtonian as one of DC's top tile providers, Architectural Ceramics employs trained design consultants to flesh out customers' skeletal designs, creating individualized bathrooms, kitchen back-splashes, fireplaces, and more. Stop by to browse through 25,000 samples with tiles ranging in price from $5 to $40 per square foot, depending on the collection. Oceanside Glasstile ranges from $30 to $40 per square foot, and Sonoma Tilemakers from $20 to $30. Architectural Ceramics's showrooms also feature green options, created by artisans using natural and recycled materials whenever possible. Its consultants stand by to develop prospective redecorators' ideas with conceptual drawings and work hard to make design dreams come true, except for those that involve live bear-skin rugs.