Tapas orbit groups, drawing conversation out into long afternoons measured in slowly drained bottles of wine. Chatter drifts toward the ornate paneled ceiling at C’est Le Vin, where the small-plate style of dining leans heavily on those Spanish traditions. Chefs sear spiced-steak kebabs, roast tilapia on planks, and broil artichokes with goat cheese and thyme, which can be eaten at tables or on comfy couches. Soft lighting illuminates a rotating display of artwork and glimmers off ranks of bottles brimming with the rich earthiness of garnacha and tempranillo grapes. Most nights of the week, entertainment may include writers reading their poetry, musicians strumming their guitars, and artists unveiling their work. Tango lessons introduce the dance’s lilting moves and provide a place where people with roses super glued to their mouths can fit in.
Snackwarehouse.com is a collective of crunchables, showcasing under-the-radar snacks at wholesale prices. Snack-sleuths can scout selections from dozens of gluten-free, wheat-free, and organic purveyors, including Beanitos, Deep River, Annie's Homegrown, and more. While kosher in character, tongue-twisting Yogachips (starting at $5.29) contort taste buds with sweet nuances of organic fuji apples and meditative hints of warm, spiced cinnamon. Carnivorous snack lovers maintain rib-sticking resolutions with packs of SnackMasters all-natural, range-grown turkey jerky ($5.50). Peruse dozens of vitamin-hurling snack bars (starting at $1.73 for one bar) or load up on scores of fruit and nut pouches (starting at $1.42), optimal for healthy office snacking or supplementing an intense discus-training regimen.
A beacon of global, ecological, and culinary change, Farm to Family provides local farmers and their customers with a simple, more sustainable means of transporting food from source to stomach. Because of the market's communal roots, the staff is able to keep a keen, green thumb on what's seasonally fresh, what's regionally rich, and what's soon to be needed for noshing, carving, and squashing. The seasonal selection currently includes succulent yellow squash and zucchinis ($1.89/lb.), sweet potatoes ($1.69), and most everything else that can be harvested within the region, including unmodified, unexpressive proto-jack-o-lanterns ($1–$15, ranging from mini to giant and fancy pumpkins). To see a complete list of what's sprouting up in the market, feel free to check out the weekly selection online.
By the time Blue Bee Cider's signature drink is ready in the spring, it's been three seasons in the making. The process begins in the fall and winter pressing season, when baskets upon baskets of Virginia apples, their ripe red skins shocked with gold, are crushed to loose their sweet juice. The juice lies dormant for the winter, undisturbed by the needless addition of sugar or water, slowly fermenting. Finally, come the break of spring, it takes on the fizzy character of carbonation and is bottled, ready to take its place on the shelves behind the tasting bar. Each of the three varieties takes on a different characteristic from its different blend of apples and ingredients, from the Charred Ordinary's dryness lent by heirloom apples, to the Harvest Ration's surprising kick supplied by fortification with brandy.