Versed in vintages from around the globe and down the block, Vino 100's aficionados personally curate the shop’s collection of more than 150 wines. Blond wood shelves display bottles stacked into tidy pyramids and sporting labels from wineries such as Oberon, Coppola, and Toad Hollow. In addition to gracing home wine cabinets with new vintages, the shop rewards oenophiles with membership to the grapenutz Wine Club, which unlocks perks including discounts and complimentary bottles. In addition to special events such as live music, wine-pairing dinners, and Bartles and Jaymes look-alike contests, Vino 100 invites patrons to informative wine classes covering topics ranging from tasting tips to wine-production secrets. In the spirit of Dionysian goodwill, the shop helps support a roster of community partners such as schools and animal rescues.
Once a week at Urban Beans, the sounds of a jazz band fill the room. As they listen, customers perch on mismatched chairs that give the space the kind of quirky charm that's usually attributed to a baby wearing a crossing-guard uniform. A look around the room yields visions of guests sipping coffee and munching on fresh pastries as they chatter or work, or ordering beer or wine to go with sandwiches and salads.
The cucina at Va Bene pampers palates with the authenticity and fresh flavors of classic Italian cuisine. Starters set tongues wagging with the pan-seared sea morsels served with pesto sauce and crostini in the scallops Va Bene ($12.95 dinner). The melanzane ripieni wets whistles for melodic grazies with baked eggplant dressed in mushrooms, squash, mozzarella, and homemade marinara ($6.50 lunch, $7.95 dinner). Dressed in herb-crust armor, the new york steak ($28.95 dinner) carries roasted potatoes and french beans at the ready to trounce hunger with a porcini-sauce body slam, and pollo alla pizzaiola douses chicken breast with fresh tomato, capers, and olives ($8.95 lunch, $15.95 dinner). Desserts ($6) incite sweet dreams and meaningful fork-collisions with tiramisu, New York–style cheesecake, and chocolate-espresso crème brûlée.
Every day, the chefs at Allen and Traci Thompson's award-winning The Grind cook their organic burgers in coal-fired ovens. At Chick Rotisserie & Wine Bar—the duo’s other restaurant, located just next door—the culinary team relies on an alternative means of preparation. Here, Chef Bevin O'Neil cooks free-range and organic meats on rotisserie racks before brushing them with homemade glazes such as peach barbecue and mandarin orange chutney. He supplements these meats with American comfort staples that include breads, soups, cinnamon buns, and whipped potatoes.
Guests can monitor the rotating rotisserie racks from an open-air dining room with floors of Aspen wood. They might be distracted, however, by a wine list with more than 40 varieties of reds and whites. Along with in-house meals, the Chick Rotisserie team sells entire to-go chickens that, unlike a middle-school dance, are entirely free of hormones.
A plug-and-play wine-tasting service, Raising Glasses LLC helps local nonprofit organizations, sports teams, and individuals navigate the choppy waters of today's economy with professional wine-tasting fundraisers. The Raising Glasses staff handles all aspects of each event, including securing a venue, providing the wines, and developing a marketing campaign to get the word out. In addition to its fundraisers, the company draws from a deep barrel of knowledge to pour wine education into open ears at in-home tastings and informative series. Customers can also use Raising Glasses for party-planning assistance, during which an expert will help chefs pair wines with meal courses and explain regional differences in tastes so hosts know what language to speak when asking a bottle to attend the party.