When the Embassy of Switzerland needs a taste of home, they call on The Swiss Bakery. Aside from traditional European breads, the bakers here churn out sweets such as biberfladen, gingerbread dough filled with marzipan. They even curate an Oktoberfest menu for those celebrating in the States.
Though rooted in Korean culinary traditions, the dishes at Red Holic might feel familiar even to those foreign to that gustatory language. Seven types of kimbap—a translation of the maki roll—enfold everything from spicy squid to Spam within a soft blanket of white rice and sweetened radish. Similar to blood sausage, soondae encases noodles and veggies within pig intestine, toppoki dishes pair rice cake with egg or dumplings, and Holic meals frame sautéed beef or Korean-style pork as the centerpiece. As if the flavor profiles and colorful ingredient weren’t enough to entice the senses, Red Holic stays true to its name, surrounding guests in a crimson wonderland speckled with white-topped tables and solid black chairs. To fill the wall space, reliefs feature domestic themes, including clotheslines laden with pins and a watering can hanging over flowers, constantly suspended by the cooks’ telekinesis.
Before teaming up in 1953, Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins were seasoned business owners with their own ice-cream shops. The words ?unusual varieties? shone high above each shop, signaling their respective owners? passion for anything but an ordinary dessert experience. When the two got together, it was natural that they?d adopt the theme of ?31 flavors,? one for each day of the month. Since then, Baskin-Robbins has introduced more than 1,000 flavors and opened shops with more than 5,800 franchise owners worldwide. Even their little pink tasting spoon has become a staple as a way to make flavor browsing an event by allowing guests to try specialties without paying cash or chicken-based trade for the privilege.
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.
Each of the 100 cupcake flavors served at Cupcakes Actually was conceived by resident pastry chef and self-described cupcake snob Sue. Sue's mastery of mini cakes actually began in her home kitchen, where she often whipped up treats for family and friends. Word-of-mouth made her cupcakes so popular, though, that she and her sister, Jen, decided to open a dedicated cupcake bakery so they could keep up with the orders without outsourcing work to elves. Today, they run not one, but two cupcakeries where the sweet repertoire includes four original basic flavors?chocolate fudge, flourless chocolate, red velvet, and vanilla bean?and a slew of specialty filled and seasonal varieties ranging from banana split to chocolate Guinness. But while cupcakes are the specialty, they aren't the only sweet treats being churned out: Sue and Jen also oversee a gourmet coffee bar, and make breakfast pastries and creamy gelato in-house.