Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries and daisy pineapples in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
After vacationing in France in the early 1970s, retired physicist Carl Sontheimer was inspired to go back to work. He?d seen a new gadget?a mechanized food processor for restaurants?and wanted to retool it for passionate home cooks like himself. His machine was efficient and versatile: mixing eggs into puff pastry took 15 minutes for a human, 10 minutes for a trained chimpanzee, but just 15 seconds in the food processor. Immediately, revered chefs including Julia Child, Jacques P?pin, and James Beard applauded the invention, and Beard even wrote an entire cookbook dedicated to the machine. Decades later, Cuisinart?s line of innovative products ranges from waffle makers and rice cookers to eco-friendly nonstick pans.
Behind a glass partition, The Sand Witch’s cooks drape colorful ingredients across sourdough, wheat, and white bread. Paninis slip with a sharp hiss onto a grill, melting pepper jack across fistfuls of jalapeños, or causing chipotle pesto to ooze warmly around red peppers. Staff add and remove ingredients such as pepperoncini peppers and sun-dried tomatoes as desired, leaving patrons to make leisurely decisions without anyone yelling about which wire to cut.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Puddingstone's panoramic views provide eyefuls of the San Gabriel Valley's rocky ranges from every perspective, whether it's the mountains' natural grandeur or their reflection off the placid waves of the resort's namesake lake. While its picturesque plateaus set breathtaking scenes for weddings and other special events, the resort's 20 semiprivate hot tubs are its premier attraction. Nestled within its own cabana?complete with a private changing room, CD player, and controls for water temperature and light?each of the open-air hot tubs instantly conjures romance and relaxation. As candles flicker on the surrounding deck, bathers take in beautiful views of the sun setting over Puddingstone Lake and the valley below. Hot-tubbers may bring a cooler and basket of snacks to enhance the evening, so long as containers aren?t made of glass and patrons wait at least 30 minutes before swimming laps.