Besides a working kitchen, there are two things a person needs in order to cook: the right gear and the right recipes. The chefs and food aficionados at Kitchen Fantasy supply both with an extensive stock of cookware and a full schedule of cooking classes. Kitchen Fantasy's products run the gamut from tools, like cheese slicers and meatball makers, to accessories, such as chef's coats. Its courses, taught by a team of experienced chefs, touch on general and specific cooking techniques, from knife skills to vegetable-cooking methods less destructive than flooding a garden with boiling water.
Working with local artists, the home decor experts at Skylar's Home & Patio have assembled hundreds of unique furniture pieces and accessories made in the U.S. to fit many interior and exterior home-decor styles. The showroom displays sectionals and a variety of styles that include vintage-like and shabby-chic pieces for the dining room, living room, or bedroom, as well as ultrasleek stands for plasma TVs. Resin-wicker and cast-aluminum patio furniture dominate the outdoor-furniture selection, which includes fire pits that warm up backyard gatherings or make a fine replacement for temperamental office shredders.
In the fall, as the newly risen sun beats down over the Pacific shore, brightening its pristine, ivory sands, hordes of mud-caked runners shout and gambol along the 5-kilometer Del Mar Mud Run. Racers slosh through pits, crawl through steel pipes, and creep down mud slides as they scramble toward the finish line. Dressed in optional—but encouraged—costumes, participants receive numbered bibs for identification, and to prevent sullying their perfectly soiled shirts with water. After completing the run—most finish the course in around 40 minutes—contestants rinse off at private changing areas before joining the Mud Fest, an outdoor celebration where live music provides the soundtrack for beer, food, and games. Past runs have attracted camera crews from reality television shows such as VH1’s The X Life and TLC’s Project DryClean, as well as local news stations such as Fox 5 and NBC.