Short Order 

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A Fuller Cup

Caffeine may be the fuel that holds this city together, no matter how slow-moving some parts of our culture may seem. There's a coffee shop within a two-block radius of nearly everywhere downtown -- and not just the corporate kind, but some with more idiosyncratic intentions. Among the newest is Galleria Café in the Wytestone Building at Eighth and East Main streets, in a space formerly occupied by Kari's Café, now reworked into an art space/barista zone.

Douglas Popovich and Tiffany Wood are running things, serving his from-scratch cinnamon rolls, made-to-order breakfast sandwiches, pastries, bagels and espresso drinks. At lunch, a dozen paninis and sandwiches are offered with names such as Babe's Bad Day, a honey ham, bacon and cheddar sandwich served on tomato ciabatta.

"We're here to bring a fresh face," Popovich says, "an alternative part of the day" to the cubicle-bound lifestyle of nearby office workers. "The big thing we're trying to push is localism, something different," he says. They'll show the work of local artists, including Richard Becker, whose opening is set for mid-March. Open weekdays for breakfast and lunch. 447-9162.

Rush to the Beach

From slow foods to oysters and vertical wine-tastings (different vintages of the same wine), there's more than enough noshing for a long weekend at "Taste of the Beach," the Outer Banks food festival March 6-9. Check out the details at www.obxtasteofthebeach.com and go for a spontaneous weekend. If you miss out, read about it later this month on these pages.

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