Judging by his daring attitude toward fusion cuisine, head chef Michael Schiffer probably tried to fry the rule book before throwing it out the window. He founded Maximillian's Grill in 1991 with humble aspirations: it would be a 32-seat pizza restaurant where guests could enjoy quiet meals. In four months, however, he had amassed magazine awards and a clientele that would line up outside the restaurant for an hour before he opened the doors. They were there, waiting patiently, to see what delicious fusion food would sail out of the kitchen that night—Michael hand wrote a new menu every day and often invented new dishes on the spot, fusing Italian flavors with creole and Asian influences.
Unfortunately, in 1998, a fire closed Max’s for good. Though he and his wife Gayle later opened a gourmet deli, it wasn’t until 2001 that they opened Max’s once again, this time in a roomier location with high ceilings, soft light, and tinted windows. The new joint even has a wine bar in the back separated from the dining room by a partition.
In the kitchen, Michael devises fresh takes on fusion cuisine while holding onto many of the dishes that made Max’s famous, classics as the grilled caesar salad—prepped by grilling the actual lettuce—and the peppercorn-encrusted Voodoo tuna. Michael has also archived his old menus on the restaurant's webpage, viewing them as a timeline for his culinary evolution and a way to remember how to spell "bouillabaisse."
Laced with elements of yoga, Pilates, and gymnastics, the women-only classes at Aradia Fitness sculpt lean, toned physiques. And though physical fitness is a cornerstone of the studio, it's not the only one. Classes such as Striptease and Lap Dance foster a certain amount of unrestrained confidence that, as Aradia puts it, “teach[es] women to unapologetically love their body and themselves.” At 17 locations across the country, Aradia's staff of certified instructors, including world-record holder Amanda, lead women of all shapes, sizes, and experiences through sessions ranging from pole-dancing classes that teach aerial lifts and holds to Sexy Fit classes that forgo the pole for yoga fusion, boot camp, and lap dancing. No matter the class, the environment at Aradia is always light hearted, nurturing, and more supportive than a stainless-steel hammock.
The pintsize artist considers her canvas, pintsize fingers encircling stocky pastel sticks and paintbrushes' lanky handles as she unleashes a deft slash of color. This isn’t a description of Georgia O’Keefe’s 10th birthday party—it’s just another day at Time For Art Kids' bustling studio. Attached to the home of founder Dina, the studio welcomes children aged 6–11 for eight-week art classes, wherein kids are encouraged to express their thoughts and feelings through creative visual images. Year-round art camps combine arts and crafts with show-and-tell and games. Time For Art Kids also sets up face-painting stations at birthday parties and other celebrations, and welcomes large groups for children's birthday parties and ladies' and parents' nights out.
Each of the Monkey Joe's bounce houses and fun parks located in 17 states draws its inspiration from its eponymous mascot. Legend has it that the furry purple monkey discovered bouncing by accidentally falling out of a coconut tree, and he decided then and there to spread the fun with inflatable bounce houses and obstacles, slides, and jungle gyms.
Kids aged 12 and younger can split their time among the inflatable play center, and toddlers aged 3 and younger seek binky-laden treasure chests in special play areas. With an eye toward sanitation, the staffers oversee regular wipe-downs with Swisher Hygiene formulas. They also host parties, where video monitoring and identity bracelets keep track of guests to ensure safety.
Lead by Dr. Daniel Bannard, a national lecturer and holistic expert with 25 years of experience to his name, the team at The Bannard Center uses a range of treatments to promote full-body wellness. The staff specializes in holistic chiropractic work, augmenting healing with sauna sessions and acupuncture treatments. During massage work, a certified specialist rubs clients' muscles to release pent-up stress and loosen the gnarled knots of shoulder anxiety and misplanted back saplings. All visits take place in a professional office space, recently renovated with hardwood floors and warm colors.
Located a stone’s throw from Symphony Lake, Koka Booth Amphitheatre emerges out of 14 acres of hardwoods and pines to offer up its stage to traveling national acts, theatrical productions, and movie screenings. Although its wood and earth-toned beams camouflage the venue within its natural surroundings, passersby can notice its sleek exterior glistening in the moonlight during nighttime performances. The outdoor amphitheater––designed by William Rawn Associates of Boston, which also constructed the Cambridge Public Library––seats up to 7,000 people on its spacious lawn, crescent deck, or loft bird nests.