Twenty-four wine bottles line the circumference of two stainless-steel cylinders, both of which add a futuristic flourish to the middle of the room. With the touch of a button, the machine dispenses a 1-ounce sample of any of the wines—red at room temperature, whites at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Praised on Foodbeast, this self-serve tasting bar, called the Enomatic wine system, lets guests sample an array of wines before committing to a long-term relationship with a single—or several—bottles. This method is just one of several ways OC Wine Mart & Tasting Bar owner Julie Lim takes the intimidation out of wine buying.
At her boutique wine store, Julie fills the shelves with vintages from both well-known and under-the-radar vineyards, with some of her favorites including Silver Oak Cellars, Caymus Vineyards, and Cakebread Cellars. She and her team thrive on helping guests find the best bottle—whether they're hunting for wine, craft beer, or a fine liquor. Once guests feel confident in their selections, the staff can help them compile gift baskets for holiday parties or year-end performance reviews. Committed to green practices, the staff eschews foam packaging in favor of molded-pulp shippers, derived from 100% recycled materials. Such practices earned Julie a place on OC Metro's list of 20 Women to Watch, plus her boutique a place on Gayot's Top 10 Wine Bars in the United States.
With 40 years of sandwich-making expertise, Togo's gives party planners an extensive catering menu from which to choose their spread. Sandwich trays ($45 regular size, feeds 10), the Endless Combinations platter ($65, feeds up to eight with 16 half sandwiches of four different varieties, plus a regular salad), and a 3- to 8-foot Party Footer (feeds up to 32 people; prices vary depending on sandwich type and size) will supply sustenance for Valentine's Day group gatherers, enthusiastic Presidents' Day celebrators, and supporters of early-February professional American football championships.
Fit Foods 4 Life's team of chefs and nutritionists prepares well-portioned healthy meals daily, using only fresh, preservative-free ingredients. Breakfast items, entrees, and snacks in small, medium, and large portions populate Fit Foods’ extensive menu, which is filled with lean proteins, low-glycemic carbohydrates, healthy fats, and preternaturally talented fibers, with plenty of vegetarian and low-carb options available. Start off with a Newport egg-white breakfast—scrambled egg whites topped with turkey bacon, roasted potatoes, and green onion ($4.75–$6.75)—before enjoying a day interspersed with hassle-free meals such as the grilled fiesta chicken, served over zucchini, yellow squash, and brown rice ($6.75–$10.25), or the balsamic beef tenderloin, served with a garlic, red wine, and balsamic reduction and roasted red potatoes ($6.75-$10.25).
Even though Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has locations throughout the world, it still maintains the small-town candy-store feel envisioned by its creator and CEO, Frank Crail. Crail founded the original location in his adopted hometown of Durango, Colorado, filling the sweet-smelling space with homey accents, such as candy-making demonstrations and games of Pin the Tail on the Chocolatier. Behind the counter, staffers roll fresh granny smith apples in dense caramel and mold lumps of rich fudge on old-style marble slabs. Other fresh confections include mint bark, chocolate-dipped pretzels, and boxed chocolates
Satisfying meals and handcrafted beer intersect with premium sports viewing at Lamppost Pizza and Backstreet Brewery, founded in 1976 by Angelo Barro and his sons, Dan and Tom. Today, the franchise welcomes patrons to 37 locations in three states, and the philosophy remains the same at all of them. Seven big-screen TVs broadcast football, basketball, and baseball games from around the leagues to entertain patrons sipping small-batch draft beers brewed onsite. Fans munch on traditional sports-viewing snacks, such as jalapeño poppers, potato skins, and buffalo wings. Chefs also prepare heartier entrees including garlic-chicken pasta, Pesto Supreme pizzas covered with artichoke hearts, and The Linebacker, a pizza loaded with pepperoni, salami, ground beef, sausage, and two types of bacon.