To say Capital Teas? founders, Manelle and Peter Martino, know tea might be a bit of an understatement. Fifth-generation tea merchant Manelle?s great-great-grandfather, Francis Van Reyk, was a Dutch tea planter who immigrated in the 1870s to present-day Sri Lanka, where he planted and managed the Diyagama Tea Estate, from which the Martinos now source their Great Grandfather?s tea. Manelle?s family has been in the tea trade ever since, a tradition she has carried to her own specialty tea business, which has boutique locations throughout the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland area. Additionally, Peter has become a popular speaker at World Tea Expos, where he frequently educates and inspires the tea world.
In addition to tea from Sri Lanka, Capital Teas carries more than 200 loose teas and herbal infusions from 18 countries including India, China, Japan, Malawi, and Kenya. A sniffing wall dispenses wafts of black, oolong, and green teas, and knowledgeable employees drift around the store?s tasting stations to explain each flavor?s nuances.
Capital Teas also pairs customers with accompaniments such as teapots, infusers, treats, and artisanal honey. In-store patrons may sample free tea samples?which are brewed fresh daily?while online purchasers receive a free sample with every order, in addition to earning rewards points by using the Capital Teas mobile app.
Gathered around Shaquille O’Neal in front of the chalkboard scribbled with the day’s ice cream flavors, the staff of Taharka Bros. is positively beaming. While the visit from a basketball legend brings a crowd of admirers into their shop, Taharka’s ice cream wizards have no problem attracting throngs of fans sans the help of Shaq’s presence. Voted one of Baltimore's "Great Milkshakes" by The Baltimore Sun in 2011, and crowned "Best Ice Cream" by Baltimore Magazine in its Best of Baltimore 2010 edition, devotees are drawn in by the eatery's "irresistible ice-cream menu," which includes decadent flavors such as honey graham and salty caramel. Adding to the draw is its ability to "satisfy [your] ravenous social conscience" with its management training program that "offers the chance for urban youth to get a foothold in the workplace." Throughout the day, the entrepreneurial young staffers hone business skills as they hand-make batches of frozen confections using fresh ingredients such as fruits and magic beanstalk beans plucked from local farms. The sense of community and teamwork that goes into the creation of every scoop reflects Taharka Bros.' support of initiatives that uphold civic involvement, social justice, and cultural exchange through the arts.
Chocolate has no limits at COCOVA, where the indulgent product is held in the same high regard as a fine wine or single-malt whiskey. It forms the basis of truffles and bars sourced from around the world, as well as drinking chocolate and baking chocolate. In each instance, it makes its way from bean to finished product through a carefully developed process that culminates in a treat for all five senses. COCOVA's chocolate boxes are the subject of interactive chocolate classes, and also serves as good gifts for people curious about the chocolate-making process. Guests can learn proper appraisal techniques and the industry lingo in a chocolate-tasting session or create their own dainties in a truffle-making workshop.
Find your favorite morning staple at Bagels and Baguettes, a delicious bagel spot too good to pass up.
There are no low-fat options here, though, so save a few extra calories for your next visit.
Save money on a sitter — kids are welcome to join the table at Bagels and Baguettes.
Bagels and Baguettes offers patio seating in the warmer months.
Always five minutes behind schedule? Pick up your food to go instead.
For those who wish to avoid traffic, Bagels and Baguettes is also accessible via public transportation, with a close stop at Union Metro (Red).
Bagels and Baguettes patrons can find street parking at the Massachusetts Ave NE location.
Prices don't get much better than this, either, with typical meals running under the $15 mark.
It’s the little touches that count when dining at Odeon Cafe, an Italian bistro. The dark-wood accents, upstairs loft seating, and wood-burning oven lend the restaurant a European vibe. The Washington Post says you’ll note the “savory aromas” right away, which “confirm the decision to stay and sample the Italian cookery.” Some of those scents come from Odeon’s famed lobster dishes—part of several entrees made with seafood fresh from the docks. While you’re waiting for your main course, you can munch on complimentary Italian rolls, marinated olives, and pepperoncini. The restaurant also has a fine selection of Italian and American wines available by the glass or bottle.
Don’t let Bourbon Coffee’s boozy name fool you; the L Street coffee shop in Washington DC only serves cups of joe. But not just any old black sludge – Bourbon Coffee’s name comes from a special variety of Arabica coffee produced only in Rwanda, a fact that becomes clear the moment you step inside the comfortable café space. With plenty of seats, a small bakery selection and lots of spots for little handmade trinkets, Bourbon Coffee is an overt attempt to put the nation of Rwanda’s best food forward. Acting as a joint eatery and outreach program, the shop is filled with Rwandan artwork and bits of information on the nation’s growing coffee crop.