Pump It Up's indoor inflatable arenas launch socked striplings into the air with a plethora of kid-friendly bounce pads. Staffers supervise fun-filled visits, during which adult counterparts leap around with their kids through gargantuan bounce houses, skip down air-filled slides, and slither like snakes covered in bacon grease through an inflated obstacle course.
The colorful venue also hosts custom birthday parties and private team parties, each themed to please the partygoers in question. These soirees immerse children in a schedule of interactive activities befitting a pirate or a superhero while melting off youthful energy faster than ice cubes thrown into a running DVD player. The birthday boy or girl even gets to blow out the candles on their cake seated in their blow-up throne. Occasionally, the staffers switch off the lights, arming the roomful of players with glow sticks and bracelets as they navigate the air-cushioned obstaclescape. Relying on the staffers' vigilant, watchful eyes, guardians can rest assured that their charges will stay safe, and each piece of the inflatable playground is held to the floor and ceiling by a complex series of anchors installed according to strict safety standards.
Although Arka Indian Restaurant is named for the sun, it's more directly powered by the vision of its consulting chef, Sachin Chopra. Named in Esquire's Top US Chefs to Watch in 2011, he works with his culinary team to devise classics from India's Northern flatlands and Southern coast. The North is reflected in tandoori kebabs and biryani with with bone-in goat, whereas the South gets a lift from rice and lentil dosas stuffed with tangy potatoes or eggplant. To top it all off, the house's specialty cocktails—such as the Tropical Sun-Ray with tequila, Midori, and pineapple juice—tend to evoke the feeling of warm climates, just like a glass full of mini-umbrellas.
Since 1941, the Dickey family has been churning out Texas-style barbecue and tasty family-style sandwiches, sides, salads, and baked taters. Dickey’s lets customers choose from eight USDA-prime meats—all cooked slowly to smoky perfection over a hot hickory-fire pit every night—including Southern pulled pork, tender turkey breast, and Virginia-style ham. Start by slamming a quick cow workout with some sliced beef brisket on The Big Barbecue Sandwich ($4.75), served with pickles, onions, and Dickey's famous sweet-and-spicy barbecue sauce, which took three years, two fist-fights, and one small kitchen fire to develop. Otherwise, go with The Quarter Plate ($7), a quarter-pound of your favorite meat served with pickles, onions, a roll, corn on the cob and one other homestyle side (which are $1.95 each when purchased separately). Choose from options such as fried okra, green beans with bacon, or mac & cheese. Diners with more than one mouth to feed can play hot potato with a giant stuffed baker ($3.50) before stuffing their head's two other mouths with the picnic pack ($19), which includes a pound of meat, two pint-sized sides, four rolls, and barbecue sauce.
In 1946, John Kinder opened his first meat market in the Bay Area town of San Pablo. More than 65 years later, Kinder continues to oversee daily operations at more than 15 neighborhood locations. He owes his continued success, in part, to the second- and third-generation family members who have leant their own tireless dedication to the company.
This dedication has certainly paid off. The Kinder family’s barbecue sauces, marinades, and rubs consistently take first-place ribbons from judges across the country and have earned the market a loyal following of cowboys and outlaws alike. In a 2008 article on what to order at Major League ballparks, the New York Times hailed the ball-tip steak sandwich and its "mess of Kinder's smoky-sweet sauce" as a much-welcome relief from the fried menu items at McAfee Coliseum. :m]]
For 10 years, Mona Personius worked as a personal chef for Los Angeles's elite, including Annie Potts and Tim Curry, as well as denizens of San Francisco's posh Pacific Heights neighborhood. Wanting both a bigger kitchen for her catering business and a homey space in which to actually witness patrons' enjoyment of her cooking, she opened Mona's Table. A cross between an old-fashioned diner and a chic French bistro, the restaurant serves thick sandwiches, soups, and a different flavor of quiche every morning. Among Mona's signature dishes, the vanilla-brined pork-loin sandwich won a Fearless Fork award from the Alameda Sun in 2007, and locals have gossiped about the corned-beef hash ever since the mayor was seen sharing a cup of coffee with it. Every dish is made from scratch; even the coffee is brewed on a by-order basis. Daily specials are a mystery until guests take a seat in the warm space, but a critic at the East Bay Express shares an insider hint: the "best dishes have a subtle glow … a combination of simple ingredients layered simply together by an innately talented chef."
Creative light crystallizer Marc Zimmank of On the Marc Photo freezes precious moments for later perusal with on-location photo sessions. Each picture process begins with a consultation to find the combination of location, clothes, and style that suits the subject, be it the pastoral glow of a grassy park or the subtle shadow play of a Wendy's walk-in freezer. Once on location, Marc guides each photographee through the session to create individualized, stylistically sound shots. After a brief digital enhancement, Marc posts the images online for customers' perusal, and they may ponder their choice to have five 4"x6" and one 8"x10" prints enshrined in their filmy glory or to have the entire session hand carved into a CD for future printing.