From a total of 12 shops on both sides of the Atlantic, Potomac Bead Company supplies the artistically inclined with everything they need to craft DIY accessories, ranging from the elegantly simple to the intricate and ornate. Beads, wiring, ribbons, and other materials are peddled wholesale, while regular jewelry-making classes educate first-timers, preventing them from accidentally crafting a magical Lasso of Truth instead of a necklace. Though the teachers recommend starting at the most basic level and working up, customers may attend any class, taking advantage of literally endless possibilities for personalized bangles, chokers, and earrings.
With wholesome, home-spun dishes prepared daily, Tabora Farm and Orchard cultivates a back-to-basics feel that extends beyond its 19th-century barn confines. Start the day with a sweet, delicate pastry, such as a pinwheel or a turnover ($1.29 each), still less indulgent than being spoon-fed oatmeal by a corgi butler. Pies come in 13 flavors, enveloping raspberries, blackberries, cherries, and strawberries inside doughy first-class packages ($11.99 each). Remind spoons to be patient when stocking freezers with homemade ice cream in classic and palate-bending palate flavors such as lavender, chocolate maple bacon, and rosemary lemon thyme ($2.99 for a scoop, $4.99 for a pint). Commune with your food source via an extensive schedule of U-pick options, including green beans, blueberries, cucumbers, apples, and more. Lunchtime browsers can avail themselves of farm-fresh meat roasted on-site and crowned with fresh bread, lettuce, and tomatoes in sandwich form ($6.50+), and Fresh-made mac 'n' cheese, pickles, and salads can round out or give self-improvement tips to any meal.
Bensi co-owner Genci Previzi helms an immense menu of classic Italian cuisine, including hearty homestyle dishes with roots in Calabria, Italy. Entrees, joined by a house salad or cup of comforting housemade soup, range from spaghetti and meatballs to gluten-free grilled chicken in a lemon-garlic marinade served over a veggie medley. The chefs also prepare an array of specials such as pignoli-crusted goat cheese and arugula salad, barolo-braised veal osso buco, pan-seared Chilean sea bass with eggplant caponata, and nutella chocolate pizza with fresh strawberries. The dishes are served in a modern dining atmosphere where minimal table settings and simple dark-wood furniture keep the focus on the vibrant cuisine.
Nestled in the New Britain Village Shopping Center, Gourmet Wok unfurls a pan-Pacific spread of Chinese, and Southeast Asian cuisine that spurns the use of MSG. Guests tote their own beverages to pair with a dinner menu of sumptuous dishes—try chef specialties such as the tangerine beef ($11.95), marinated and tickled over a high flame, or the sizzling subgum wor ba ($12.95), a slumber party of lobster, shrimp, chicken, beef, and veggies gossiping about the uninvited pork. Edamame appetizers ($3.75) make way for the mock chicken with chinese eggplant ($9.95), a seitan-based dish trained as a body double for chicken's grill-jumping stunts.
Bacco welcomes diners with warm confines and a menu brimming with hearty Neapolitan cuisine. Appetizers such as the brick oven-roasted long hot peppers, stuffed with beef, pork, and veal, provide tongues taste of Italy without licking a passport ($8). Pasta lovers may partake of platters such as the baked-ziti-al-forno entree, mixed with ricotta, mozzarella, and pomodoro sauce before being blissfully baked in the restaurant's brick oven ($16.50). Dishes such as the pollo florentino, pasta-topping poultry sauteed in a white-wine lemon broth ($17), flavorfully hint at why the chicken crossed the road, and the bistecca filetto's grilled duo of bacon-wrapped sirloin filets swiftly satisfy the most carnivorous of appetites ($23). Patrons can entwine fingers and fork tines amid Bacco's dining room, or may sip wine ($5–$8 a glass) or beer ($1.75–$4.75) on the outdoor patio.
Tongues savor the flavors of Il Giardino Pizza Cafe's lunch and dinner menus in a dining room where Pavarotti and Bocelli's arias waft past a traditional tuscan décor of potted plants and roman columns. White garlic sauce or, if it's after Labor Day, marinara sauce drenches an oceanic starter of mussels or clams ($9.50), and lunch's meaty quartet of capicola, salami, pepperoni, and ham stacks muffuletta paninis ($8.50) with piquant protein. Crème fraîche and yellow peppers ornament the spinach-ricotta-dolce pizza ($10.75), and the grilled-salmon salad's ($12.99) title character waltzes atop a stage of leafy spring-mix greens. Veal marsala ($20.99) joins up with the BYOB eatery's house-made bread, and the spaghetti pescatore ($22.99) yields more pasta than Strega Nona's magic pot.