Hot Dog on a Stick Founder Dave Barham opened his first Hot Dog on a Stick in Santa Monica in 1946, and the company has since burgeoned into an employee-owned franchise that's more than 100 eateries strong and spans 11 states. Best known for a 100% turkey hot dog dunked in corn-bread batter made from Dave's mother's recipe and cooked in soy oil, Hot Dog on a Stick also pioneered the dipping and be-sticking of mild american and spicy jalapeño jack cheese. Smiling employees in red-, white-, and blue-striped uniforms with, as Dave put it, "a splash of lemonade," hand over cherry, lime, sugar-free, or original lemonade that they make fresh every two hours by squeezing Ventura County lemons until they cry.
Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains in 2010, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces—including vases, flatware, and busts of Elvis—await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln-workers help glaze and fire it for them before customers retrieve the finished piece a few days later.
Bakersfield Magazine is the one-stop read for all the goings-on in California's third-largest inland city. An area staple for more than 30 years, the magazine highlights the community's history, the best new food and wine finds, and helpful hints for the home and garden as well as travel tips.
California Keyboards Music Center has sharpened the ears and tamed the wandering digits of the Southern Valley for more than 35 years. Each weekly 30-minute lesson is taught by instructors whose performance resumés include enlivening Carnegie Hall, marching in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and treading alongside jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald.
Family Music Center is a comprehensive learning hub designed for musicians of all ages, skill levels, and tamborine-gnawing abilities. Part recording studio, part music school, and part Kindermusik classroom, the center offers a wealth of enriching opportunities, from private lessons that guide novice guitar, violin, and drum players to Kindermusik classes that focus on bolstering cognitive abilities. After taking a few classes at the center, students are often encouraged to show off their abilities with the studio’s professional-grade software and gear.
Since 1981, the family behind Special Occasions & Gifts has filled its brick-and-mortar store with accents to decorate the home. Scented candles, centerpieces, and artwork line the shelves, which also tempt browsers with glittering Crislu stud earrings, rustic Bella Toscana marble housewares, and decorative tiles from artist Sid Dickens. In order to meet the demands of out-of-town friends and customers, Special Occasions & Gifts opened an online store in 1993, the same year the Internet was discovered.