Today's culinary triumphs are the product of thousands of years of experimentation. The staff at Annona Gourmet doesn’t see any reason why that march of innovation should end, so they fill the shop’s shelves with exotic twists on staples such as pasta, sea salt, and vinegar. 20 varieties of olive oil pour from large stainless-steel tanks called fusti, their straw-hued droplets hinting at everything from Sicilian sunshine to Persian limes. After tasting balsamic vinegar infused with cinnamon and pears or figs, patrons peruse the inventory of pastas beneath coastal murals that give one the feeling of being at a beach free of sailors with boring albatross stories. Jars of sauces and dressings hint at a spectrum of flavors with earth-tone hues, and sea salts take on the flavor of black truffles or ghost peppers in an escape from seasoning conventions.
For 30 years, Sweet Chocolat has been a wonderland of handmade chocolates and caramels made onsite each day. The chocolatier has been known to fill the kitchen with song as she lovingly crafts her confections, which infuses each piece with extra sweetness and the uncanny ability to harmonize. In addition to traditional caramels and unorthodox bites such as chocolate-covered potato chips, Sweet Chocolat dispenses boxes of traditional and themed truffles and chocolates and more than 10,000 custom chocolate molds.
Mad Jacks Sports Cafe serves a spread of eclectic eats amid rustic décor marked by high-tech accents. Diners dig into a regular or gluten-free menu of steaks, cedar-plank-grilled fish, and sandwiches under the glow of LCD screens and individual TVs stationed within every high backed booth. These flickering devices cast light across the log-cabin-themed space and tables filled with freshly spun pizzas and grill-kissed entrees. As they eat, diners can watch flames dance inside the fireplace, lament a dropped pass or an ill-purchased vowel on one of the looming TV screens, or drink in the fresh air on an outdoor patio.
When Doug and Jane Oyen founded C. McGee's in 1987, their goal was "to be the Cheers of the deli business." Given their restaurant's friendly atmosphere, dependably tasty food, and secret tunnel to Boston, it's clear that the Oyens achieved their dream. Chefs at C. McGee’s build sandwiches and soups from scratch, creating meaty works of art such as the cheddar-laden avocado turkey and the Cowboy, stuffed with hot horseradish and medium-rare roast beef. Box lunches pair sandwiches with sides, such as clam chowder and cream of broccoli soups, and breakfast burritos bundle morning meals.