Shesha Marvin was nervous as he gazed out on the dance floor, certain that his pounding heart could even be heard over the booming music. He had always been uneasy on his feet, choosing to lurk by the punch bowl at parties rather than asking girls for a dance—but now, at last, was a chance to overcome his fear. He took a deep breath and stepped out onto the floor, where he was immediately swept away in a rush of lively beats and glimmering lights.
After than fateful night, Shesha was hooked. He began dancing six nights a week at local clubs and, eventually, in Disneyland shows, favoring the lindy-hop and swing styles. He traveled the world to compete in international championships, even performing live on Dancing with the Stars. Today, Shesha brings his years of passion and expertise to his own dance studio, Atomic Ballroom.
Atop the hardwood floors of his spacious studio, Shesha and his instructors lead students of all experience levels through the steps, twirls, and transitions of the East Coast swing, the American fox trot, and the Argentine tango. The instructors can even help couples choreograph a dance for their wedding while providing expert advice on how to sashay gracefully in heels or how to twirl the bride without destroying the reception hall with F5-level winds. Every night of the week, they host a group dance party—from Sunday night tango to Saturday night Ballroom, and belly dance throughout the week.
From a humble beginning as a family business in Tustin more than 25 years ago, Jalapeños has flourished into multiple restaurants throughout Orange County. It's an achievement almost as impressive as the sheer number of burritos on the Tustin menu: 15. And that number could be easily doubled by having each one made mojado-style with melted cheese on top. Classic combinations of beans and meat share the page with creations like the Chile Colorado—beef chunks, red chile, and cheese—as well as vegetarian burritos that are stuffed with the likes of chiles rellenos and veggies instead of just another tortilla wadded up.
Of course, the menu also includes tacos, tortas, and tostadas. Specialty dinners here range from enchiladas to plates of beef tongue and carnitas. To add a little tang to your meal, order an entire marinated jalapeno on the side and douse the spiciness with an imported beer.
A glimmering crystal chandelier and sunset-hued, damask-patterned wall help create a vibrant, yet stately ambiance within Sanaya Indian Cuisine—which is fitting considering the bold flavors inherent in its traditional South Asian dishes. Throughout the room, the intermingling aromas of cumin, ginger, garlic, saffron, fenugreek, fennel seeds, and chilies give diners a brief preview of the menu's rustically refined approach to Indian cooking. These herbs and spices appear in everything from curries to tandoori entrees: chicken, lamb, or jumbo shrimp that marinate in spiced yogurt before being grilled within the cold fusion-powered confines of a clay tandoor oven. The chefs demonstrate equal attention when creating vegetarian-friendly dishes, which include hearty servings of smoked eggplant, lentil stew, or house-made goat cheese simmered in spices.
Taverna Blu brings the Mediterranean coastline to California with its pub-style menu of Greek-inspired cuisine. The chefs fully commit to Mediterranean flavors by importing feta cheese from the Old World. In addition to the favorite Athenian cheeseburger, they assemble hefty sampler platters—laden with everything from falafel and spanakopita to tiger shrimp and calamari—and also create sharable, tapas-style plates of warm stuffed grape leaves and Greek-style tacos loaded with gyro meat that can be paired with international wines and craft beer on tap. For a satisfyingly sweet end to a meal, "be sure not to skip the baklava vanilla ice cream sundae," says Gayot in its review of the Del Mar location, a recommendation echoed by the Carmel Valley News.
Though it serves only desserts, Cherry on Top keeps its customers’ health in mind: each of its frozen-yogurt flavors contains live, active cultures believed to aid in digestion and overall health. The shop also allows for customization. Visitors create their own frozen treats at a self-serve bar, choosing from 12 fruit-tart flavors such as green apple, orange cranberry, and lychee and 33 cream-based flavors such as chocolate-cherry jubilee and oatmeal cookie. Cherry on Top also finishes treats with a long list of toppings, ranging from fresh blueberries, kiwi, and pineapple to gummy bears, cereal, brownies, and M&Ms. These self-serve selections are available at more than 30 locations in the United States, Egypt, Kuwait, and Hong Kong.
Pan of Asia introduces the vibrant colors and intense flavors of beloved dishes from across China and Southeast Asia. Like the cafeteria at the United Nations, Pan of Asia’s menu spans a continent’s worth of delicacies, from spicy-sweet Thai basil with tender morsels of tofu and chicken, to exotic Malaysian curries, to several crowd-pleasing Chinese dishes. Guests can sink their teeth into salt and pepper shrimp, citrus fried chicken, or spicy garlic eggplant. And for dessert, Pan of Asia finishes meals with green-tea or mango ice, or sweet dim sum.