At The Chocolate Gecko, award-winning chocolatiers swirl together fresh fruit, spicy cayenne pepper, and a splash of rich liqueurs to form decadent treats comprising all-natural ingredients. The shop’s multi-tiered shelves sprout batches of chocolate-dipped fruit and classic sweets, such as peanut-butter cups, turtles, and rich, butter toffee komodo crunches. Molded truffles burst with creamy liqueur-infused fillings and take on a variety of shapes, including Aztec pyramids, tiny Buddhas, and the heads of former Supreme Court justices.
The Chocolate Gecko’s sweet-tooth-appeasing staff shares its confectionary wisdom during one-hour chocolate-making classes, which have covered such sweet-concocting skills as tempering basics, concocting both molded and hand-rolled truffles, and reverse engineering the Cadbury Bunny. The Chocolate Gecko encourages guests to bring along alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverages to complement the velvety morsels of each class.
When Nord Brue and Mike Dressell began perfecting their bagel recipe with the help of a professional NYC bagel maker in 1983, the bagel was still an anomaly in the food world—it was geographically and culturally still isolated in New York City. Fueled by a desire to change that, the duo opened up the first Bruegger's deli with the hope of eventually introducing the rest of the country to the bagel. Brue and Dressell have since realized their dream, sharing their distinctive recipes and culinary traditions at 300 locations spread across 26 states. To this day, they oven-bake their centerless bread rolls every morning and afternoon, populating counter displays that also brim with daily made breads, Vermont cream cheese, and custom-roasted coffee.
Executive Chef Phillip Smith and his network of chefs still use the original five-ingredient recipe for their dough, which they shape into more than 20 bagel varieties. Because they draw from each region's local recipes and from dialogue and Pictionary games with local consumers, certain menu items may vary from store to store across the country. The bagels are often served with Bruegger's eclectic cream cheeses such as bacon scallion or pumpkin, or as sandwiches with meats, cheeses, and veggies often sourced from local or organic produce. Coffe gets just as much attention, with house blends of 100% arabica coffee.
At Hokkaido Asian Bistro, chefs work diligently to ensure that each meal is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds, preparing artistic arrangements of fresh salmon and tuna, crisp carrots and scallions, and sweet-smelling floral garnishes. The menu features savory hibachi dinners composed of filet mignon, lobster, and chicken, as well as adventurous feasts of tuna tartar, oyster shooters, and colorful hand-rolled maki. Guests line up at a sushi bar illuminated with the soft glow of blue neon lighting as they watch chefs skillfully prepare delicate morsels of sea-urchin sashimi or avocado-wrapped Dragon rolls. The bill of fare bursts at the seams with classic Japanese dishes such as teriyaki steak, as well as inventive seafood creations such as spicy shrimp served inside a halved mango, or tuna, guacamole, and tobiko arranged on flatbread and served pizza-style.
Red, white, and blue are the most classic American trio, but you can find the next most classic one at Legend's Field Restaurant & Pub: sports, chicken wings, and Heinekens by the bucket. The sports bar is set inside Clubhouse Race Book?a hot spot for betting on simulcast horse races?but its many televisions aren't the only places to look for entertainment. The bar's staff also hosts trivia nights, DJs, and games of darts and pool, where patrons can showcase their coordination without juggling full beer mugs. When they're not dancing or competing, visitors sip drink specials rotate daily, and nosh on classic bar eats such as burgers and hot dogs.
Simplicity. That's the most important ingredient in all food according to Honest Weight Food Co-op. So to understand what makes their products stand out, it's better to look at what's not on the nutrition label. No artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. No antibiotics, hormones, or other non-food ingredients. The team at Honest Weight Food Co-op works with local farmers and producers to make sure their standards are met in every product.
That's been Honest Weight Food Co-op's modus operandi since its founding in 1976, and the efforts of the members-owned organization have proved successful. The co-op has expanded into bigger and bigger spaces over the years, until they finally arrived at their current Watervliet Avenue location in 2013. The building brims with fresh meats and fish, in-season produce, natural groceries, and household items such as light bulbs and laundry soap (which also come from eco-friendly, responsible suppliers, naturally).
In addition to storing vast amounts of grocery items and prepared meals, this expansive space also makes it possible to host events ranging from juicing classes to reiki sessions. Honest Weight's outreach programs send educators to local schools to teach about healthy living, and the co-op partners with WAMC public radio to host Food For Thought evenings of food, film, and discussion, at least when attendees are done chewing.
Sunset Recreation Bowling Lane’s expansive family-friendly facility offers more than a dozen self-scoring lanes, as well as a full snack bar with cheesy pizzas and sauce-slathered wings. Patrons can also stop by the alley’s full-service shop where local pro Warren Guernsey doles out bowling advice and reminisces about the days when lanes were uphill both ways.