Vida Y Vino's dedicated wine experts work to accommodate aspiring sommeliers with perfect pairings of artisanal cheeses, entrees, and boutique wines from around the world. Duos or quartets of diners can sample flights or glasses of wine and their artisanal dairy counterparts while eye tasting an array of intriguing paintings or letting ears gobble up the sounds of the bistro's baby grand humming to itself. The cheese selections vary, with options including brie, goat cheese, cheddar, swiss, and provolone, all of which accompany sippable varietals including shiraz from South Africa or sauvignon blanc from Napa. Light entrees such as the brie-and-olive-tapenade panini or the ham-and-swiss crêpe also refresh taste buds between wines, preventing rival grapes from quarreling over tongue territory.
Drop into hip-hop (Tuesday, 8–9 p.m.) to energize your stale disco moves; materialize in tap (Wednesday, 7–8 p.m.) to invigorate your toes with rhythm; dance and shake off the calories, Latin-style, with Zumba (Thursday, 8–9 p.m.); or open up a can of grace with ballet (Saturday, 12–1 p.m.). With five gleaming studios and a full squad of certified dance instructors breaking the beat together under a single roof, this much dance has not been gathered in one place since the release of YouTube as a DVD box set. The drop-in classes are designed to accommodate dancers of all skill and experience levels. The small class size ensures the type of personal attention formerly only children longed for upon the arrival of a newborn baby brother. Sign up with a few friends to gain new moves and lose a few pounds in the process.
The heart of the Kinara Lounge kitchen is its fiery clay tandoori oven, which crackles with baking naan breads and sizzling tandoori meats from noontime until dusk. Chefs bustle about the oven, seasoning pans of chicken, lamb, and seafood specialties with flavorful spices while peeking into pots filled with bubbling biryani rice. Servers transport plates to the dining room, where hanging red lights casts a glimmer on bottles of premium liquors and a flat-screen television. Come lunch time, the servers stack a sweeping buffet with simmering platters of fresh Indian specialties, enabling diners to sample a diverse selection of curries, tandoori dishes, and sauces.
Having helped shape the rock landscape, Yes, Styx, Kansas, and the Greg Kihn Band continue to flex their honed and toned musical muscles as they infuse the KFOX Kihncert 2011 with memory-stirring classic rock. The virtuosos of Yes flaunt their titanic talents as they crack the spine on a songbook that includes showstoppers such as “Roundabout” and “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” as well as material from their newest album, Fly From Here. Styx, responsible for tunes such as “Come Sail Away” and named for the most popular water park in ancient Greece, invites listeners to hitch their ears to its litany of hits, many of which have been re-recorded for the band's Regeneration series. Filling out the rock-chocked day, the wayward sons of Kansas carry on with orchestral opuses about philosophical dust, and Greg Kihn serenades cochleae with gems such as “Jeopardy” and “Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em)” from his Kihnsolidation: The Best of Greg Khin box set.
Sizzling up an appetizing gamut of British and American fare, Redcoats is an indoor/outdoor social destination that will attract Tories and Whigs alike. The menu brims with delectable seafood options such as the fish 'n' chips ($12.95) to complement its pub fare. The main dining room bustles with a robust energy during the evening, but the upper dining room and the flower-laden outdoor patio offer more relaxed settings in which to enjoy a plate of crab cakes ($8.95) and make origami out of an original copy of the Magna Carta. To drink, Redcoats serves frosty libations such as Boddington's, Newcastle Brown, and Fuller's ESB, as well as an array of wines, including the locally produced Livermore Valley brand.
A native of Paris, Executive Chef Christian Nam-Hee sharpened his knife skills and his palate at l'Ecole de Paris des Métiers de la Table. Today he lets his know-how blossom and wander in the kitchen of Bijou Restaurant & Bar, blending the culinary traditions of his homeland with the flavors found in northern California's seasonal organic ingredients. From his pans and cutting boards spring forth sweet-potato frites, quail stuffed with napa cabbage, and other dishes that embody the menu's inventive fusion spirit. To complement such an aesthetically poignant dining experience, the space itself—designed by DesignPlus's Pia Thomas—remains sleek and focused. The centerpiece is the bar, which glows a dreamy, iridescent amber that's complemented by ring chandeliers and absorbed by Italian leather chairs, a lounge area's plush velvet cushions, and tabletop black holes.