Born and raised in Calabria, Italy, Chef Michele Pannia grew up understanding that when it comes to food, it’s often best to do things the old-fashioned way. For nearly 20 years, he has kept this mantra at heart in preparing fresh, homemade pastas each day and sautéing french-cut, bone-in pork chops and organic chicken breasts to order at Trattoria Mediterranea. Through a window that connects the kitchen and dining room, diners gaze at Chef Michele as he prepares his takes on Italian classics. He and his cooks sauté fresh littleneck clams with garlic, tomatoes, and white wine before tossing them with linguini, and they wrap tender veal scaloppini in prosciutto and mozzarella before finishing it with a mushroom sauce. To accompany platefuls of rigatoni, bucatini, and casarecce pastas, Chef Michele encourages his patrons to bring wine from home. Along with the handsomely plated dishes adorning the white tablecloths before them, diners gaze at the ornate drapes, mirrors, and antiques that decorate the neutral-toned dining room. At one end, a red accent wall hosts a still-life painting of a colorful bouquet, while at the other, vintage wooden chests support vases filled with blooming flowers.
The bakers at CocoLuxe Fine Pastries may not use blocks of marble or chisels, but no one can deny that their culinary creations are works of art. Crafted from components ranging from classic chocolate ganache and raspberry buttercream to orange poppy seed sponge cake, their custom cakes add the crowning touch to weddings, birthdays, or séances to contact Marie Antoinette. Inside the bakery, spacious glass cases brim with morning treats such as croissants and scones. Next to them perch cupcakes capped by Italian meringue and chocolate mice with sliced almond ears, which customers can take home to give lethargic housecats some exercise. At midday, CocoLuxe Fine Pastries switches from sweet to savory as it unveils an array of artisanal sandwiches. The bakery’s fresh baguettes and rosemary focaccia become vessels for smoked gouda and cranberry apple compotes, fortifying diners for afternoons filled feeding, watering, and walking their computers.
Red Mango's frozen yogurt has been garnering national attention for more than five years, unlike that musician strumming away next to the foosball table in his basement. The shop earned a place atop Zagat's 2011 lists for Best Smoothie and Frozen Yogurt Chain and Best Healthy Options Among Quick Refreshment Chains. Red Mango showcases its award-winning reputation by dishing up all-natural and gluten-free yogurts—all of which are either low-fat or nonfat—that promote healthy digestive and immune systems with natural probiotics. Friendly staff members are always on hand to whip Ghirardelli dark chocolate, POM pomegranate juice, and seasonal pumpkin spice frozen yogurts into Stevia-sweetened smoothies or parfaits layered with organic granola and fruit. The toppings bar brims with crunchy cereal, cheesecake bits, and nuts, allowing creative customization.
When dining at a Mexican restaurant, everyone expects to see burritos, tacos, and enchiladas on the menu. But you might not expect those enchiladas?flavored with tangy tomatillo sauce?to be stuffed with crab. And you'd also be pleasantly surprised upon scanning the rest of the menu at Mayans Mexican Cocina, where specialty dishes such as broiled salmon in garlic and herbs sit alongside the traditional flautas and fajitas.
Other intriguing entrees include the camarones en pipian, which consists of shrimp in a creamy pumpkin-seed sauce, and an entire red snapper seasoned with spices, Vera Cruz?style. Vegetarians can peruse options from avocado tacos to burritos filled with tasty tofu, instead of just leaves from the sidewalk outside. All meals pair with BYOB drinks.
Blue Sheep Bake Shop's in-house bakers conjure more than 20 cupcake flavors daily, culled from a total of 50 varietals, including red velvet, s'mores, and Guinness beer. They also create giant incarnations that serve as cakes for 10 people or temporary shelters for five. The shop's truffles spring from a mixture of cake and frosting dipped in premium chocolate and sprinkled with peanuts, raspberry drizzle, or stuffed with cream cheese. Vegan, gluten-free brownies, scones, and cookies can accompany Blue Sheep's traditional desserts to corporate events or anniversaries of corporate events.