Fernanda's International Market, a treasure trove of rare ingredients and made-to-order gourmet sandwiches, bakes robust breads and fine pastries. Among a troop of hearty sandwiches, the Martorano ($8.99) stands out for its spicy temper and muscular blend of sopressata and cappacola meats. The Churchill ($8.99) loads its taste gun with Branston pickle relish and fights hunger pangs on ham-coated beaches, cheddar cheese fields, and hot mustard streets. Fernanda's also sells prepared food by the pound and hard-to-find international groceries like Thai lemon grass.
Montreal native Tony Bianco teamed up with executive chef Enzo Addario to create Hot Tomatoe, a traditional Italian bistro boasting a menu that brims with house-made, cooked-to-order pastas, flavorful meat dishes, and full- and light-bodied Italian wines. Their regional cuisine typically integrates up to seven essential ingredients—oil, garlic, basil, tomatoes, pasta, and olives—from which Snow White’s seven dwarves drew their names. In addition, the staff goes shopping for fresh ingredients three to four days a week to supplement both seasonal compositions and year-round dishes, which include veal parmigiana, filet mignon, and penne norma.
microbrews to complement its Italian-American bistro-style menu. Brewmaster Fran Andrewlevich—whose past work has won gold and silver medals at the Great American Beer Festival—whips up lagers, pilsners, and seasonal beers right onsite. In the open kitchen, chefs feed flatbread bruschetta and hand-stretched pizza dough to a hungry brick oven, and craft ranch burgers filled with Angus beef, bacon, monterey jack cheese, and dreams of running away to join the circus concession stand.
At Bryson's Irish Pub, lucky patrons peruse a menu packed with belly-friendly comfort foods, as well as a full bar brimming with frosty brews and tasty spirits. Those dining during mild conditions can sit on the covered patio with a hoppy Dogfish Head ale and scrumptious mahi-mahi fingers fried to golden goodness ($6.25). A basket of fried clams ($5.95) tempt white wines to join the flavor party, and hefty appetites are quenched by the broiled grouper ($10.95).
Vineyards in 22 countries throughout Europe, South America, and Australia bottle some of their boutique wines exclusively for PRP Wine International—but the company specializes in more than wine. It also lets customers personalize wine bottle labels, and proffers skincare products infused with vitamin-rich leftovers from grape mashings. At the warehouse and during tastings, wine consultants pour familiar wines as well as unusual ones: late-harvest cabernet sauvignons, German wines made from regent grapes, and sangiovese. They also educate customers about unique blends such as true rose wines made in the Old-World tradition—by which red and white wines are fermented separately, then immediately blended together without staging any ice-breaking games.
Wine consultants hold open houses and public wine tastings for their member clients, and also travel to homes for private tastings. Each tasting is custom, sometimes including popular wines such as the medium-red Chevralier de Bayard and medium-white Duca d'Amalfi. As the oenophiles pour and dispense anecdotes, they field questions about how to differentiate between wines, pronounce names of varietals, or tell when you’ve spilled wine on your shirt. Most events are open only to PRP Wine International's members, but staffers also host food-and-wine pairings at local restaurants, special warehouse sales, and other public tastings.
At Decor Art'z Wine & Café Boutique, the smell of lightly fried sandwiches mingles with the taste of fresh vegetables, fruit juices, and rich coffee. In the kitchen, chefs brown the sides of croque-monsieurs—grilled sandwiches that pair fruit, meat, and seafood with various cheeses—serve up a multitude of cold wraps and sandwiches, and create entrees of chicken breasts and beef tenderloin smothered in cheese and mushrooms. Decor Art'z also brews its own fine wines and encourages customers to do the same. Using the café's equipment, patrons choose blends of fruit and spend time brewing the mixture at the store, then return for bottling once the wine accepts the fact that yeast has changed it forever. After eating or brewing, guests can peruse the eatery's boutique and florist for something to give to the kitchen as a peace offering for not using its appliances.
Maison Gourmet's culinary artists channel French cooking techniques to craft cuisine cataloged on an extensive menu. Saturday and Sunday brunch rewards early-rising appetites with delectables such as Maison's omelet stuffed with ham, mushrooms, and swiss cheese ($7). Limber chomping muscles with sweet and savory crêpes, or munch on meal-prefacing portions of ham and cheese croissants ($3.95). A glass of Cotes de Rhone red wine from France pairs well with escargots en persillade ($10.95)—snails under a blanket of garlic-parsley sauce—and hearty helpings of beef bourguignon ($15.95) erase hunger pangs faster than the speed of light: 28 mph. Postmeal cool downs begin with crème brûlée, rich custard cream cloaked in a layer of crispy, warm caramel that sneaks into mouths to goose unsuspecting sweet teeth ($6.95).