From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers’ exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location’s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.
At Chrissy's Cocktail Cupcakes, the humble treat contains the usual ingredients—eggs, flour, etc.—plus a little bit extra. The bakers bring alcohol into the mix, with spirits such as Cîroc, Malibu Red, Patron, and Grey Goose finding their ways into the various flavors, and ensure the cupcakes will never be allowed to drive. After the alcohol-infused cupcakes are baked and packed, they're delivered or shipped to clients' homes.
The charm and simplicity of the Maine lobster shack is heaved ashore at Georgetown's Tackle Box, which popped onto Bon Appétit's radar as one of the Best Seafood Restaurants of 2008. Just inside the door on a pocked brick wall, a weathered Old Glory greets diners as they stand before the counter's chalkboard menu to check on the day's fresh catch and wonder if sailors wear their ties in a figure-eight knot. Since Tackle Box shoulders a steadfast commitment to sustainability, each meal can vary, as cooks fry or grill the bounty of fishermen's nets that may swell with haddock or catfish.
Diners can choose smoked trout to pair with hand-cut fries or mac 'n' cheese, all of which they can enjoy at a fire-red picnic table. For an extra kick, fingers may dip fare or put out a burning dynamite fuse in a classic tartar or spicy marinara sauce.
• For $35, you get a three-course Italian tasting dinner, including any small plate or appetizer (up to a $14 value), any entree (up to a $25 value), any glass of wine (up to a $22 value), and any dessert (up to a $9 value), redeemable Monday–Thursday (up to a $70 value). • For $35, you get a three-course tasting dinner, including small plate or appetizer, entree, wine, and dessert, redeemable Friday or Saturday (up to a $70 value). Named one of the 100 Best Restaurants 2011 by Washingtonian magazine Acacia Bistro grounds its healthful menu in Italian-infused cooking. Preface the repast with a small plate such as the baby octopus, grilled and dunked in a basil-based bath, or the perky duck confit, creating a cheer squad with foie gras and caramelized pears. An entree of farfalle frolics under a rainbow of fresh crabmeat, tangy tomatoes, and herbs, splashing in puddles of creamy vodka sauce as contentedly as a leprechaun in a pot of gold, and the veal involtini frolics amid chopped almonds, parmesan, and garlic. The sweets course is ruled by an oligarchy of mousse-cake hybrids, such as the bûche, a Yule log stuffed with candied chestnut mousse and topped with dark-chocolate mousse, made according to traditional French recipes and “nice” lists.
Khepra Anu, the self-proclaimed “coconut king” and chef at Khepra's Raw Food Juice Bar, slips busily among hillocks of fruits, nuts, and veggies. He expounds on the importance of raw foods and fasting in health, comparing the process to that of a mechanic changing a car’s oil or a carpenter maybe buying flowers for his hammer once in a while. Blends of leafy green veggies, goji berries, and citrus fruits pour from a juicer, fueling patrons during fasts or simply augmenting traditional nutrition. The foundation for each beverage is coconut water from Florida-grown coconuts, and the elixirs are intended to give the body a chance to flush itself of toxins with seed milks, citrus blends, and mineral-rich greens. Khepra is also excited about raw foods, which he believes contain more naturally occurring nutrients, and prepares nut-and-hemp burgers, nori rolls, and wraps in the bustling shop.