Hoping to revive the culture of the neighborhood butcher shop, with its personalized service, attention to detail, and artful products, restaurant-industry veterans Justin Rosberg and Jason Parent took a gamble on their first New Hampshire butcher shop in 2003. Dubbed The Meat House, their store quickly earned a foodie following, spawning additional franchise locations across the country. Today, The Meat House’s Mission Viejo location stocks fine cheeses, prepared side dishes, other gourmet grocery items, and hundreds of wines alongside the usual selection of traditional and exotic meats. Butchers also explain how to prepare each hand-carved cut of meat, sharing recipes, best slicing practices, and cooking techniques for giving pork chops the flavor of justice.
Staff members at Performance Nutrition fuse their training in nutrition and fitness with a broad knowledge of the science of protein powders, multivitamins, and nutritional oils. After listening to clients explain their fitness goals, staff members flip through the encyclopedia in their skulls to pick out products—gluten-free supplements, herbal remedies, workout-recovery bars, and more—that match individual needs.
A seafood dinner does not have to be a jacket-and-tie affair. At Milford Fish Market, the dress code is casual, but that doesn't mean that the seafood's not succulent. From the steamers emerge bright red lobsters and Alaskan king crab legs, which fill the room with the cracking sounds of shells being split. The fryers turn the breaded crust on clams and fish a golden brown, while seafood also stuffs both hot and cold sandwiches. House specials include baked fish and market-priced lobster pie, plucked fresh from a mermaid's oven.
In more than 1,112 stores worldwide, Edible Arrangements' expert fruit florists arrange pieces of premium fruit in stunning displays for all occasions. Customers can customize their order to suit any occasion, receiving chocolate-dipped fruit such as pineapples, granny-smith apples, grapes, and juicy Albion strawberries that, unlike the sodas found in most mummies' crypts, don't contain any preservatives. Staffers can dip fruit in gourmet semisweet chocolate, white chocolate, or their own special peanut-butter-and-chocolate blend. For birthdays and anniversaries, chocolate wielders can personalize gift baskets with gifts such as plush teddy bears and mylar balloons.
Melt Cafe and Gelato Bar grounds its recipes and preparation techniques in Italian tradition, creating desserts that are low in both fat and calories. The franchise encompasses brick-and-mortar storefronts and kiosks across five states. In each, staffers craft the classic whipped Italian ice cream, gelato, in more than 30 flavors such as cappuccino, pistachio, and swiss chocolate. Dessert cups also brim with silky-soft sorbetto, which is made entirely from sugar and fresh fruits. Though Melt focuses on frozen treats, it also lives up to the café portion of its name with hearty panini sandwiches and sweet or savory crepes. Tuscan-style espresso and drip coffee wash down bites of food and give you the energy to finish that screenplay about the lost dog who, by finding his owner, also finds himself.
Three generations strong, Tilly & Salvy's Bacon Street Farm offers fresh organic produce as well as the atypical knowledge of its wares' origins. Browse the shop's selection for local treats such as heirloom tomatoes ($4.99/lb.) and new york strip steak ($12.99/lb.), which supply loads of flavor to tongues as a way of showing gratitude for having not been packaged in a faceless factory or a used pillowcase.