Tim Griffin has come a long way from washing dishes. That first job gave set him on a path into the restaurant industry, which led to stints in almost every position including bartender, server, manager, and dish taster for visiting monarchs. He first used his experience to launch a catering company, and then kept evolving and founded his own restaurant, J.Bean's Gathering Place. Today, Tim—along with his wife Ibby and head chef Blair Johnson—welcome guests with a creative menu of dishes ranging from crab-rangoon dip to fish tacos. The two-level dining room evokes a warm, welcoming atmosphere with an abundance of hardwood furnishings and trim anchored by a stone fireplace. The establishment also often hosts special events, such as occasional live music on the patio.
American Tent and Event Rentals helps party planners host memorable events with a wealth of furnishings and decorative accents. Handsome linen cloths drape over buffet and cocktail tables, while spacious pole and frame tents keep guests shady and dry in all kinds of weather. Strands of lobe lights cast a charming glow on wedding receptions, while can spotlights zero in on the teary toasts of best men and sneaky cake thievery of ringbearers. Sturdy hardwood dancefloors host hours of moves and steps, and custom-designed stages support ensemble cast productions, DJ booths, and fashion runway shows with safe, secure construction.
A circular driveway leads to the towering white columns that frame the entrance of Van Noy Mansion, built in the early 20th century for a wealthy railroad family. Two and a half acres of 100-year-old oak trees, manicured shrubs, and verdant landscape surround the estate, and guests are invited to take photos and explore the grounds. General manager James Michael summarizes the mansion's beauty by saying, "You have to see it to believe it. When people walk in for the first time, their jaws drop."
Original woodwork lines the mansion's interior, which is ornamented by stained-glass windows and a series of original murals portraying a courtship. A dramatic wooden rotunda with a second-level landing gives guests space to snap photos or drop buckets of molasses and feathers on late arrivals. Stepping out on the second-story balcony, guests can occasionally hear faint elephant trumpets from the neighboring zoo intermingled with real trumpets carried on the breeze from the nearby Starlight Theatre. The historic 5,000-square-foot mansion plays host to up to 1,000 guests for indoor and outdoor weddings receptions, holiday parties, and charitable events, with food services available from a list of preferred caterers.
For many steakhouses, the art of preparing a tantalizing cut of meat begins in a professional kitchen. But Plaza III The Steakhouse reaches back further, choosing cuts of meat from its own facilities where it ages corn-fed beef inside specialized lockers. Once the cuts reach the restaurant, they are displayed tableside or via limousine motorcade for prospective diners before the chefs char grill chosen selections. To complete the flavor profile, patrons need only peruse a wine list of more than 700 bottles.
This meticulous process of cultivation and presentation embodies the award-winning steakhouse's sophisticated approach to mealtime. Its menu spans ribs, chops, and seafood in addition to Prime aged steaks, and appetizers such as the hand-chopped tenderloin tartare?a dish lauded by Gayot as a "classic rendition ? sprinkled with caviar."
Visitors bask in elegant dining rooms on two floors, which host live jazz and a dancing area on Saturday evenings. Parties of up to 64 guests can set up their fetes in private rooms, enjoying bacchanalias in the wine cellar and other intimate spaces such as the western-themed American Royal Room, which accommodates midsized gatherings.
A woman in a gown runs through a fountain. A little girl wearing Mickey Mouse ears watches an airplane as it rolls up to the gate. The footprints of newlyweds mark a red carpet. The images that photographer Jason Domingues captures aren't always expected. In fact, Domingues seeks out unpredictable angles and hones in on surprising details while snapping shots for weddings, family portraits, engagement sessions, and senior pictures. The memory preservation specialist has been featured in the New York Times for his innovative approach to photography and was named a Fear Less Photographer––1 of about 900 photographers nationwide who create artful, sometimes avant-garde wedding portraits.
Unlike many professional artists, Domingues loves to share his secrets, hosting classes for shutterbugs of all skill levels to learn how to effectively use cameras to generate awe-inspiring photos of landscapes and politicians checking their mail. His in-class lectures acquaint beginners to basic concepts, he also takes more advanced students to the city streets and provides ongoing critique and tips while watching them frame shots.
At Bing Boing Bounce, children aged 12 and younger ricochet like excited electrons through the seven colorful bounce houses situated within Bing Boing Bounce’s high-ceilinged, brightly colored facility. In addition to houses, barefoot tykes gambol through a 40-foot obstacle course, soar down slides, or don a padded helmet and joust in the bounce arena. Once kids have burned off excess energy or perfected Buzz Aldrin impersonations, they can lounge in Bing Boing Bounce’s seating area and sip juice boxes from the concession stand.