An edible rainbow stretches behind the counter of each Robeks Fruit Smoothies & Healthy Eats, tempting taste buds with a vibrant array of blueberries, kale, wheatgrass, strawberries, carrots, bananas, and other fresh fruits and vegetables. They recently unveiled 20 new additions to their menu, including Age Buster and Replenisher smoothies, the kid-friendly PB&J Delight, and the Fast Break bowl, which blends fruit, pineapple sherbet, and greek yogurt with strawberry and banana slices. Blended into bases such as natural nonfat frozen yogurt and sherbets, these nutritious morsels transform into smoothies and juices bursting with flavor. The menu also extends to coffee smoothies, kid-friendly options, and smoothie bowls.
Rick’s Wine and Gourmet is a locally owned neighborhood shop stocked with fine cheeses, charcuterie, olive oils, pastas, and more. Though this Groupon can only be used toward gourmet foods, shoppers can still grab Zen Wine cookies ($7.99), an all-natural snack specially crafted to pair with certain wines. The Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine blueberry jam ($6.99) allows breakfast eaters to brighten boring pieces of wheat toast without having to burn the Treaty of Versailles into them. Rick’s also stocks more than 50 artisanal cheeses, such as sharp Maytag Blue cheese ($14.99), an ideal complement for snacking on porchetta Italian herb-roasted pork loin ($19.99 per pound).
Growing up, Chakra Café’s owner Monisha lived two different lives. At school, she was known by her given name and spent lunch hours twirling spaghetti on a fork. But at home, Monisha’s Bengali parents only referred to her by her nickname, Hashi–or laughter–and mealtimes meant scooping up lamb curry with a piece of luchi. The duality of Monisha’s two worlds–and the food she was exposed to–left a lasting impression and is the driving force behind the Café’s menu.
Inside Chakra Café’s kitchen, chefs marry Indian flavors with culinary traditions from around the world, using recipes adapted from Monisha’s mother, according to a Patch.com article. Traditional Bengali dishes such as begun bhartha–roasted eggplant flavored with green mango–are served solo or stuffed inside quesadillas with smoked fontina cheese, roasted pine nuts, and raitha yogurt sauce. Other Indian staples are also Americanized, from the tandoori chicken that tops flatbread pizzas to spaghetti paired with lamb meatballs and a whisper of ghee. Each item on the menu is clearly marked as halal, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free, making it easy to decipher the dishes without meat and the ones that require each bite to be chewed 32 times.
All of Bittersweet's enormous cupcakes undergo a delicate upbringing from roots of real butter and other gourmet ingredients. Flavors range from classic chocolate to more inventive tastes such as PB&J, which is loaded with a strawberry filling core and given a top hat of peanut butter buttercream. If you prefer to paint your own cakesterpiece, customize a creation by pairing a cake flavor, such as lemon, coconut, or spice, with a buttercream flavor, such as orange, mint, or cream cheese frosting. Whether you phone in or drop in, be sure to peep through the bakery window on North Alfred Street and say hello to executive bakery chef Angel, who is known for melting the buttery hearts of swooning passersby by reciting romantic passages from the encyclopedia. With a dozen chances to spread your confectioned love, you won't have to play favorites with all the jury members.
Food and wine make for a great tag-team duo, assuaging stress while filling the belly with scrumptious sustenance. At GRAPE + BEAN, patrons can sample wines, small plates, and large plates to satisfy the pickiest of sippers and tasters. A knowledgeable staff helps customers pick out palate-soothing drinks and eats amid an inviting atmosphere that features original brick walls, exposed beams, and rustic wood finishes. Sample tasty bites off the lunch, brunch, or dinner menus, which offer selections such as the rosemary ham with melted aged gruyere ($11), truffled egg toast ($12.50), and duck confit with white-bean casserole ($22). Or, opt for smaller plates, such as artichoke with pecorino, fresh mint, and basil ($9) and organic heirloom tomato with serrano ham ($9).
Though people no longer have to cross continental boundaries to sample exotic flavors, the average spice rack still tends to lack diversity. At the Spice & Tea Exchange of Annapolis, a staff of flavor-seeking specialists stocks gourmet seasonings and spices, cooking herbs, sugars, and sea salts to expand their customers' cooking horizons. In addition to fresh herbs and flavorings, the team designs signature seasoning powders that infuse dishes with medleys of chili, savory hints of cheese, or the essence of smoke. They also carry an assortment of gourmet teas, which are good to keep around the house in case a local king decides to stop by.