Whole Foods Market's commitment to the interdependent network of sustainable farms and organic producers can be seen in its carefully selected product lines. The homegrown 365 Everyday Value brand makes it easy to eat naturally, organically, and economically. It features an array of items from all product categories, including groceries, vitamins, household items, and more—each manufactured to meet the rigorous quality standards woven into the fabric of Whole Foods Market, which itself is made from 100% alpaca wool.
Carmela's Bistro & Wine Bar's staff sets up iPad screens displaying more than 300 different bottles of wines. The Wine Spectator's 2011 Award of Excellence–winning restaurant serves its vino in bottles, glasses, and flights. Its huge selection of wine unites with cuisine inspired by the season, like bikinis in the summer and the use of Northern Exposure DVDs in the winter to cover holes in the wall. Inside the kitchen, the chef prepares these seasonal dishes with many gluten-free options, which can accent the flavor notes in the wines. A fruity poached-pear salad with raspberry vinaigrette and mango-ginger stilton cheese, and a savory filet with truffle butter and roasted red potatoes are just two of the kitchen's creations. Carmela's also hosts Sunday brunch that feature crab-cake benedicts with parmesan-cream sauce to pair with sparkling wines. Another testament to the eatery's hospitable nature are the two private dining areas that can seat parties of up to 30 guests celebrating birthdays and anniversaries.
Order a BLT at Upstream Brewing Company, and chances are good you'll taste a tomato picked that morning. Every year, a nearby farmer—amiably known as Farmer Jerry—plants 700 heirloom-tomato plants reserved exclusively for the brewery’s kitchens. Executive chefs Gary Hoffman and Jonathan Draper covet such freshness, and it shows on their menus. Seafood arrives from both coasts at least two to three times a week—throughout the summer, the chefs get even wild salmon harvested during the runs in Alaska's Copper River. And of course there are the cuts straight from Omaha Steaks, which the chefs choose individually from choice-grade, 21-day wet-aged beef.
This dedication to quality echoes Upstream Brewing Company's name. Taken from the Native American word "Omaha"—meaning "upstream" or "against the current" in honor of the settling tribe that traveled up the Missouri River—it reflects the owners' intention to elevate the typical brewpub experience by taking unexpected approaches. The flagship Old Market location also mirrors this dedication to the unpredictable, residing in a converted 21,000-square-foot firehouse built in 1904 that surrounds guest with dining spaces including a patio, two floors with bars, and a rooftop deck. In between the exposed-brick walls, diners may spy charring on the timber beams, marks left by a fire in 1917 during an ill-conceived attempt to domesticate Roman candles.
The basement houses part of the brewery, where brew masters handcraft batches of house beers from the Flagship IPA to cask-conditioned ales. They also continually experiment with seasonal beers—one such creation, the "Johnny" Dortmunder Lager, placed on DRAFT Magazine's top 25 beers of 2010—as well as Bugeater Root Beer, named in honor of Omaha's sports teams before they became known as Cornhuskers. Both the Old Market and Legacy locations encompass billiard rooms, and the staffs encourage guests to linger out the hours by trying a new brew or ordering something off the late-night menu.
Colorful neon signs illuminate The Bar’s staff as they fill glasses with domestic brews, crack open imported bottles, and carefully infuse cocktails with premium liquors. A large outdoor beer garden shelters patrons who dine on free pizza on Fridays and drink in the sounds of occasional live music. Home to summer basketball and baggo leagues, The Bar also opens its doors to private events such as graduation parties and shuts them against pillaging Vikings.
The wine wizards at A World of Wine transport sophisticated sippers to distant ambrosial lands with libations from around the globe. Groups of grape aficionados can gather for a private tasting to sample six different wines, ripened to perfection and aged for the amount of time it takes the bottle to cross the ocean in a paddleboat. During the one-hour session, a vino connoisseur discusses each sample and offers as much tasting tutelage as desired by each group of drinkers. Duos, quartets, and octets can engage their taste buds with three red and three white wines in the comfortable confines of the wine shop's tasting area that allows for an intimate event in which to share opinions, observations, and embarrassing grape-stomping photos.
The Lauter Tun's veteran purveyors of bacchanalian beverages curate extensive lists of rare craft beers and classic and contemporary cocktails. Culled from all corners of the globe and the moon, the ever-expanding selection of draft beers currently features 22 different pours. Chilled bottles house the classic Belgian Delirium Tremens, Pilsner Urquell from the Czech Republic, and Canada's La Fin du Monde, among myriad other stouts, wheat beers, porters, and IPAs. The cocktail list stands out with its old-fashioned drinks, such as Pimm's Cups, Gin Rickeys, and Brandy Alexanders, which haven't been seen since Truman took over as the prime minister of Arkansas. These effervescent pints and deftly shaken cocktails ripple in their glasses in time to the live music of local bands and balladeers who grace The Lauter Tun's stage most nights of the week.
Slattery Vintage Estates takes fermented-grape lovers on a whirlwind tour of more than 50 Nebraska wines and then offers them a convenient place to lay their heads at the end of the juice-drenched day. Like the swanky tent that Queen Elizabeth stayed in during the Buckingham Palace renovation, the B&B Bungalows ensconce overnighters within charming, antique surroundings. Wooden decks with porches that overlook the vineyard elevate the private 10’x14’ tents, sporting ornate rugs, vintage dressers, and softly swaddled, full-size antique beds, accommodating every comfort concern. Each tent is fully equipped with electricity, with lamps, lanterns, and fans or heaters getting a charge from their own brand of juice.
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