Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries, daisy pineapples, and tomatoes getting in touch with their fruit roots in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
After years of running a successful contemporary art gallery, Stefano Campanini couldn't shake the feeling that something was missing. While many people enjoy contemporary art, even more people enjoy drinking wine while looking at art or drinking wine while looking at wine. Through this realization and with the aid of other enophiles with wine-business savvy, Campanini merged his passions for art and wine under the moniker Wine by the Bay, where he chooses wine like most people choose art. ?I am looking forward to offering something that everyone enjoys and in an environment where the art can be appreciated by many and in an unintimidating way," Campanini says of the new, modern, 1,200-square-foot fine-wine and art boutique located in Downtown Miami, which Miami New Times named 2013's Best Wine Store and Details Magazine called one of the five best new wine stores in the nation in 2012. "At art openings, wine is like a sideshow, but now, it will take center stage."
Similar to identifying great art or choosing the perfect shampoo, finding the ideal wine to enjoy on its own or paired with cuisine involves intensive looking, sniffing, and tasting. Campanini personally samples every wine before approving it for his ample inventory of fine Italian, French, and Californian wines that appeal to a diversity of preferences?ranging in price and varied in origin. The selection is tailored to meet any wine-lover's needs, whether they're looking for an everyday wine, a first-growth Bordeaux, or a high-end rare wine?and the knowledgeable staff are always eager to assist. In addition to selling wine, Wine by the Bay offers classes that focus on the ?must know? varietals and wine regions of the world, taught in a casual and laid-back atmosphere.
During World War I, Greek immigrant Louis Pappas served in the Army as a personal chef to General John Pershing. To give the hungry general some extra nutrition, Louis began adding scoops of potato salad to his traditional greek salads. When Louis returned to the United States, he opened up his own restaurant, Louis Pappas Riverside Caf?, where he would re-create this signature dish using fresh produce from his own ranch in Tarpon Springs.
Today, Louis Pappas's grandson continues his grandfather's old Florida family tradition at Louis Pappas markets and cafes. There, he and his kitchen serve up a new menu of fresh seafood, poultry, sandwiches, street tacos, hand-cut steaks, and barbecue dishes whose "family flair" has been lauded by Metromix Tampa Bay. They continue to scoop savory housemade potato salad into their internationally renowned Louis Pappas Famous greek salad, tossing it in massive bowls that serve as many as four diners. Bartenders dole out glasses of locally brewed craft beers and wine or mix cocktails and martinis at the full center bar with flat-screen TVs.
The restaurant's decor channels that of the original Pappas family ranch. In the dining room, spacious booths are surrounded by rustic wooden walls, and outside is a covered outdoor patio.
With more than 30 sweet and savory olive oils and vinegars to choose from, Kalamazoo Olive Company may overwhelm the shrewdest gourmand. That?s why the shop?s expert staff members happily lead customers on tasting tours, pouring small samples from the gleaming fustis that line wooden shelves. Customers can taste oils infused with exotic ingredients such as chipotle peppers or persian limes and lap up sweet, syrupy dessert vinegars. Oil experts are also happy to recommend complementary food pairings from their shop?s selection of Italian pastas, antipasti, and stuffed olives. Once customers have honed in on their ideal oil or vinegar, staff will bottle and seal them onsite to ensure they stay fresh and free of genies.
In the outdoor mall, tables and stages stand in a ring under the open sky or beneath white tents. People drift around the circle, clutching cocktails in plastic cups and eye-catching Vietnamese sandwiches on their paper plates as they spy more must-grab food-and-drink samples from the area's best hotels. Though it started 26 years ago, Bacchus Bash hasn't drifted from its original aim to let the populace revel in the offerings of local hospitality establishments while funding high-school and university students studying in the industry. Since its inception, the festival has grown from 20 vendor booths with one entertainment stage to encompass 100 booths helmed by upscale local restaurants and bars alongside six entertainment stages.
Among the must-experience flavors of the fest is the tongue-wilting bananas foster by Chef Jean Louis of the Royal Plaza Hotel, which has won Best Dessert at the fest for the past 10 years. Other restaurants' teams showcase flavors such as American and Vietnamese barbecue, which are up for fest awards such as Best Original Drink and Most Interactive Booth. Live music from talents that include local barefoot folk singer Alan Byrd and country-western rock quintet Think Big streams from the entertainment stages, as well as the dueling ivories of two pianists from Howl at the Moon. The organizing party, Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Foundation, further immerses guests in its services with a travel, tourism, and dining silent auction, offering up more than 200 prizes to further raise funds for its students.
Equipped with in-depth product knowledge and bottles from all over the world, the consultants of PRP Wine International waltz into homes ready to answer nearly any question a novice oenophile may have. As they pour samples for small groups, they explain everything from the intricacies of flavor profiles and the correct pronunciation of “pinot noir” to the most dramatic way to throw a glass of red at a mortal enemy. After tastings, guests can select any of the wine varietals sampled, all of which are chosen by PRP consultants after thorough scrutiny.