Utilizing 17 years of plant-rearing expertise, Farmhouse Flowers & Plants thrills discerning nostrils with an olfactory smorgasbord of locally grown blossoms, perennials, bedding plants, and herbs. Peruse one of the farm's four booths at area farmers' markets, and encounter year-round and seasonal offerings dazzling enough to brighten the day of the Harlem Globetrotters' perpetually doomed opponents. Seventy-five varieties of plants clamor for your green thumb's attention, from zinnias ($0.75/stem) to sunflowers ($1.50 each) and lilies ($4/stem). A mid-May peony harvest ($4 each) peppers chlorophyll-based arrangements with the kaleidoscopic buds, and potted rosemary ($3.75/4" pot) and basil ($2.75/3" pot) add a professional touch to home cooking without the hair-flattening effects of a chef's toque.
While cake isn't always a health food, it can be under the guidance of the bakers at Caked Up. They gather their ingredients from local sources to ensure a dessert's freshness as they create classic indulgences such as cakes, cupcakes, and bite-size lolli cakes. But their fresh ingredients are only half the equation. When something a little healthier is desired, they can swap out traditional flour for gluten-free grain or remove all traces of eggs, milk, and butter from the batter to cook up completely vegan desserts.
No matter what ingredients they use, the bakers always ensure that desserts bear beautiful designs. They can make easy swirls and flowers in frosting, or create custom designs that utilize fondant, cake shaping, and piped frosting. This allows every dessert, no matter if it's a tray of cupcakes or a tiered cake, to be the perfect centerpiece for a party or slapstick open-mic night.
Bottles populate the menus at Mannequin Pis, advertising the extensive selection of Belgian beers and primarily French wines that lines the dining room's shelves and windowsill. Originally founded by Belgian chef Bernard Dehaene, the restaurant "feels as if it were plucked from a cobblestone street in Brussels" according to the Washingtonian, which awarded Mannequin Pis a spot on its list of the 100 Best Restaurants in 2011.
Although the menu includes pan-seared trout and roasted pork loin, the spotlight is reserved for its mussels. Kilograms of bivalves bask in one of the chefs' 17 signature broths, waiting to be opened by deft hands or sincere compliments in wine- or beer-based mixtures that incorporate bacon, coconut milk, or lobster bisque.
Chefs at Taste Mezze craft small plates of Mediterranean fare laden with meats, seafood, and veggies—all based on the owner's family recipes. Flaming kasseri cheese and feta cheese whipped with chilies appear on tables alongside gyros, pan-seared scallops, and spanakopita. Smaller portion sizes enable patrons to share dishes or slip them into pants pockets where they keep a tiny but constantly hungry black hole.
Wasabi Zen's chefs slice, dice, and coil savory morsels of crab, eel, salmon, and fried shrimp into more than 50 sushi rolls splashed with mild and spicy sauces. Pay homage to Mother Nature without building her another recyclable spice rack by sampling the Green Tree roll ($10.95), an epicurean jungle lush with crab, cucumber, eel, and masago. The Hawaiian Sunset roll ($11.95) invokes tropical vistas through its plethora of salmon and pineapple, and the Hot Knight roll ($14.95)—an off-menu item available by request— jousts taste buds with fried shrimp and spiced shrimp and crab. Alternatively, dishes of traditional aged tofu ($5.95) or edamame ($4.95) offer meat-free options that forgo the tossing and turning of salads and soy-tracked rollercoasters.