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.
The charm and simplicity of the Maine lobster shack is heaved ashore at Georgetown's Tackle Box, which popped onto Bon Appétit's radar as one of the Best Seafood Restaurants of 2008. Just inside the door on a pocked brick wall, a weathered Old Glory greets diners as they stand before the counter's chalkboard menu to check on the day's fresh catch and wonder if sailors wear their ties in a figure-eight knot. Since Tackle Box shoulders a steadfast commitment to sustainability, each meal can vary, as cooks fry or grill the bounty of fishermen's nets that may swell with haddock or catfish.
Diners can choose smoked trout to pair with hand-cut fries or mac 'n' cheese, all of which they can enjoy at a fire-red picnic table. For an extra kick, fingers may dip fare or put out a burning dynamite fuse in a classic tartar or spicy marinara sauce.
Since opening their first location in 1996, Robeks' associates and franchise owners across the country have been passionate about the benefits of healthier eating, and what they can do to help guests maintain active and healthy lifestyles, all through portable smoothies. Customers can step up to the counter and order from a menu of fresh, premium ingredients in unique, made-to-order combinations. Robeks Premium Fruit Smoothies aims to create innovative ways to reach the daily recommended 9-13 servings of fruits and vegetables without compromising on flavor. Each Robeks Premium Fruit Smoothies location makes a concerted effort to support the neighborhood it resides in, through local organizations, such as Save the Children.
Sisters Frances and Ginger Park share a love of chocolate passed on from their mother, and that shared passion has been on display at Chocolate Chocolate for nearly 30 years. In their cozy sweets boutique, the pair collects an array of artisan confections, from imported Swiss Laderach chocolates to house-made truffles, that have earned accolades from The Washington Post, Washingtonian Magazine, and other national outlets. Their DC Monument line—featured in the March 2012 issue of Food Network Magazine—showcases white, milk, and dark chocolate treats shaped like famous DC monuments so that customers can live out their fantasy of biting the Capitol Dome without the hassle of reverse-engineering a shrink ray.
Tucked into the front section of the Macomb Street location of Jetties, an around-town sandwich and salad shop, Something Sweet’s counter offers a minimalist selection of cookies, brownies and cupcakes. Decadent cheesecakes and looming layer cakes round out the offerings, along with a classic hummingbird cake and immense whoopie pies. Filled with light wood touches and lots of natural light, the minimalist space only seats a few, but that means more room for filled bakery cases. Check out the occasional one-off or special items from the hanging chalkboards or order online to select custom-made desserts and cookies. If you do happen to swing by the small space, at least you can enjoy the sunshine from one of several benches out front.
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.