Montreal native Tony Bianco teamed up with executive chef Enzo Addario to create Hot Tomatoe, a traditional Italian bistro boasting a menu that brims with house-made, cooked-to-order pastas, flavorful meat dishes, and full- and light-bodied Italian wines. Their regional cuisine typically integrates up to seven essential ingredients—oil, garlic, basil, tomatoes, pasta, and olives—from which Snow White’s seven dwarves drew their names. In addition, the staff goes shopping for fresh ingredients three to four days a week to supplement both seasonal compositions and year-round dishes, which include veal parmigiana, filet mignon, and penne norma.
Fernanda's International Market, a treasure trove of rare ingredients and made-to-order gourmet sandwiches, bakes robust breads and fine pastries. Among a troop of hearty sandwiches, the Martorano ($8.99) stands out for its spicy temper and muscular blend of sopressata and cappacola meats. The Churchill ($8.99) loads its taste gun with Branston pickle relish and fights hunger pangs on ham-coated beaches, cheddar cheese fields, and hot mustard streets. Fernanda's also sells prepared food by the pound and hard-to-find international groceries like Thai lemon grass.
With it's staple pizza named Grandma, it's pretty clear that Carmela's Pizza & Wine Bar is steeped in familial tradition. Executive Chef Adam Fatigate expanded on the idea of his late father's Carmela's Brick Oven Pizza and Wine Bar, located in Stuart, and opened his own high-end pizzeria. Here, along with several varieties of New York?style pizzas baked on a subway rail line, Fatigate and his team create the signature Grandma's pizza, a 16-inch square, thin-crust pizza with a slightly tangy sauce and light cheese. Grandma's pizza can stay as simple as a plain cheese pie or go puttanesca-style (with olives, anchovies, and chili oil) or basil-pesto (with sun-dried tomatoes and chicken). Classic Italian dishes also populate the menu, including lasagna bolognese, veal parmesan, and seafood risotto.
While diners can carry-out food, those who stay can imbibe at Carmela's full bar, which pours 80 wines and 25 craft, imported, and domestic beers, and also whips up cocktails with its selection of 100 spirits, such as bellinis and martinis. And the restaurant also offers entertainment: guitar-violin duo Nouveaux Honkies on Tuesday, two pianists on Friday, and jazz on Saturday.
Jesse Rijos and Daisy Rullan purchased Inlet Wines in 2010 and immediately began revamping the retail space’s vibe. Though the shop remains true to its original purpose—pairing customers with craft beer, cigars, and wines from Argentina, Italy, Spain, and Napa Valley—it also now houses a lounge area where customers can listen to live music each weekend. In addition, the space hosts once-monthly comedy shows and Wednesday-evening happy hours to counteract the bad mood that results from inadvertently tossing your dirty dishes in the dryer. All gatherings at Inlet Wines spill out onto a patio where guests can puff on purchased cigars.
Equipped with in-depth product knowledge and bottles from all over the world, the consultants of PRP Wine International waltz into homes ready to answer nearly any question a novice oenophile may have. As they pour samples for small groups, they explain everything from the intricacies of flavor profiles and the correct pronunciation of “pinot noir” to the most dramatic way to throw a glass of red at a mortal enemy. After tastings, guests can select any of the wine varietals sampled, all of which are chosen by PRP consultants after thorough scrutiny.
Though the staff at The Brass Tap take beer very seriously, they've nevertheless turned drinking it into a game. Customers get a single point for each of the pub's 300 craft beers that they try. At certain milestones, they'll receive gift cards or a t-shirt with a new title, all the way from rookie to beer guru?and, if they conquer the challenge three times, they can win the coveted Repeat Offender 900 shirt.
Thankfully, the bar makes it easy to sort through its 300 beers. The menu is divided up into different beer types, which go deeper than the basic delineation of ale vs. lager vs. water that's been dyed amber. Guests can peruse listings of bottled barleywines and porters, or have a resident beer aficionado fill their mug with an imported brew on draft. Beer even permeates the food: the chipotle mustard on the house-baked pretzels is made with pale ale, just as the cheese dip is made with Samuel Adams. All of the burgers, sandwiches, and pretzel pizzas also have recommended drink pairings.
As for entertainment, each Brass Tap books a variety of local bands throughout the week. Trivia and happy hours find regular spots on the schedule, and some locations have outdoor patios and cigars for purchase.