Beneath the colorful toques on their heads, hibachi chefs flip and sauté meat and vegetables on their tabletop grills, smiling as they conjure the occasional bursts of flame during lively cooking routines. That’s just one scene at SooWoo Japanese Steakhouse—across the restaurant, sushi chefs slice ribbons of fish and vegetables and roll them into California and spicy tuna rolls. Basketball fans can celebrate the city’s 2012 NBA championship with the specialty Miami Heat roll, which includes slices of shrimp tempura, crab, and cream cheese. SooWoo also whips up Korean dishes, such as bulgogi and pork belly.
It's hard to imagine that there's a libation out there that Crown doesn't carry. With a selection that spans vineyards, distilleries, and breweries from around the world, the bottles lining each location come from both small, artisan makers and those universally famed for their grapes or techniques. Home mixologists can cull inspiration for cocktails from a selection of top-shelf-brand mixers or pair their tipple of choice with gourmet snacks, from bush-pepper macadamia nuts to dirty martini party dip. But tastings may be the most distinctive thing about Crown Wine & Spirits. Whether customers stop in to try each location's daily offerings of wine or spirits—or for special tastings that cover dozens of wines, bourbons or beers—Crown's staff makes it easy to find a new favorite or to make up to your tongue for forgetting so many of its birthdays.
When Ronni Delvalle grabs ahold of one of her mirrored studio's chrome poles, she feels more graceful, beautiful, and self-assured than when she's practicing any other type of dance or fitness. Fueled by a drive to share this empowering form of sensual exercise with women of all shapes and sizes, Delvalle and her a team of female instructors lead a variety of fitness and instructional pole-dancing classes designed to build confidence, tone muscles, and burn calories.
The team also conducts an aerial-yoga course that incorporates soft cloth hammocks suspended from the ceiling, offering a practical alternative to equestrian yoga, which requires students to form downward facing dogs on the backs of speeding Clydesdales.
There's a lot to see at Piano Hollywood: rows and rows of wine glasses glinting above the bar, classic Rat Pack photos stretched along the wall, and a bar floor built to resemble piano keys. But the attention generally drifts to the back of the room, where a stage hosts a rotating lineup of jazz, blues, rock, and spoken-word performances. Music programmer Brendan O'Hara often plays here, and when he's not, he's inviting top-notch musicians he met while spending more than a decade touring throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean.
But if you listen closely, underneath the blare of a trumpet or the beat of a snare drum you'll hear the rhythmic, metallic rattle of cocktails being shaken behind the bar. There, bartenders blend classic old fashioneds and capahrinhas with the exacting nature of a piano player keying an intricate jazz solo. They also prepare locally sourced seasonal drinks—such as a brown-sugar daiquiri with 7-year-aged rum—which are ferried to candlelit tables surrounded by chic white-leather chairs.
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Chef Federico Elkarout traveled across the Mediterranean Sea to hone his culinary skills in Italy. At Sirocco Mediterranean Restaurant & Lounge, he fashions local produce, tender meats, and fresh seafood into a menu that fuses the cuisines of the two countries. He grills halumi cheese infused with basil, tomato, and balsamic vinegar, tosses spaghetti with seasonal vegetables and lamb ragu, and serves fillets of wild-caught salmon with persimmons and seaweed salad. Careful presentation makes each dish appetizing to the eyes, which may fill with saliva rather than tears.
The restaurant's subdued lighting casts a glow over persimmon-orange walls, and white ceiling tapestries frame a central chandelier. Sips of wine and mixed drinks complement dinners and desserts such as housemade cheesecake and baklava.
Seasoned comedian and teacher Brad Trackman, whose resume boasts appearances on NBC, ABC, MTV, CBS, Spike TV and Comedy Central, guides burgeoning chuckle-inducers through the finer points of laugh acquisition in his four-hour workshop, Comedy A through Z. Students learn to develop and write for performance persona, as well as sharpen their wit and enhance their abilities to care for newborn microphones. In addition to leading students through material-crafting exercises, Trackman will sling out advice on the business of comedy and what it takes to pursue a career in it, including tips for acquiring representation and landing TV roles. Students will dissect the ins and outs of the standup circuit, as well as hone their joke-crafting skills by observing actual chickens crossing actual roads.