The wine connoisseurs at the independently owned Cork & Olive Lake Mary franchise introduce visitors to international wines, most of which originate from small, family-owned vineyards. In addition to pouring samples at a broad, wooden table, Cork & Olive’s team hosts events that range from in-home tastings to the monthly Sip&Dip, where wines come paired with select appetizers. Besides the many bottles of wines, the shelves also display craft beers, sake, chocolates, and cheeses, as well as gourmet olive oils and spices. Specialty services include custom wine-bottle labels for events, special orders for hard-to-find wines, and gifts such as wine aprons and holders and memoirs from picked-over grapes.
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For 35 years, downtown Gainesville's Wine and Cheese Gallery has held court in a quaint white wood house that INsite Gainesville writer Jennifer Coleman calls "reminiscent of a classic French bistro.” Owners Bunky Mastin and Wade Tyler curate a larder with more than 3,000 varieties of wine, an international selection of cheeses, rich chocolates, and gourmet lunch items served on the charming patio bistro or inside at Panache, the shop’s restaurant.
Panache's chefs pull from the Gallery’s stock to harmoniously blend flavors in sandwiches such as The Normandy, which combines brie, apples, and cinnamon on french bread and is garnished with a miniature beret, and the turkey and havarti, which is balanced by an Adriatic fig spread. Patrons can also nibble on the quiche du jour or hide their faces from exes in soups that vary depending on the whims of the chef, with one recent creation involving sage matzo balls in the affairs of a ginger-chicken broth.
In 1948, Charles McMillan opened the doors to the home he had built of wood and stone, offering visitors plates of fine, country-style cooking under the name Red Wing Restaurant. Today, this one-time rural residence retains its quaint charm with taxidermied décor—a plethora of birds and animals striking eternal poses against a backdrop of vertical wood paneling. Behind this façade, skilled chefs country-fry steaks they've cut by hand or prepare meals from whatever wild game their favorite hunter might have brought them
A German and a Puerto Rican walk into a tapas bar. It's the setup not for a joke but for an intensely multicultural cafe: Vineyards of the World. Owner Sascha has a working knowledge of more than 300 beers, to which co-owner Yellymary adds a Latin love of tapas. And then there are the wines—more than 30 by the glass. At least one of the partners is always behind the bar if guests need a little guidance sorting through the tapas menu, perhaps in order to decide which flavor of goat cheese goes with a glass of chardonnay or what kind of dip works best if you accidentally spill a doppelbock into it.
Diners appreciate the pairings in a space designed to be maximally welcoming. Live music is featured every Wednesday-Saturday starting at 8 p.m., and the hand-painted sign hanging from the stucco facade presages an eclectic spirit that continues through the rustic murals and fancy-but-cushy armchairs leaning together under the chandelier inside.