Beneath a basil-green awning, Cellar Door Market fills with the universal clatter of a happy kitchen as chef Paul LaLone brings 26 years in the culinary industry to bear on heaps of regional ingredients. Guest chefs lead hands-on classes in specific cuisines and techniques, which may introduce pupils to the art of baking bread, preparing healthy food, rolling sushi, and remembering that sushi is the one food that should not be roasted on a campfire. Each session is rated according to the knife skills required to complete the meal, and pupils bustle past the kitchen, laden with completed dishes for their friends and families.
Beyond the kitchen doors at Cellar Door Market, chefs create meals from scratch, quick-cooling them to preserve integrity. Whenever possible, meals are made with local products including meats and produce from nearby sustainable farms. The rotating menu has included dishes such as red beans and rice with Zenner’s sausage, smoked pork loin with a peach and bourbon sauce, and zucchini manicotti, and each item comes with instructions for easily reheating it or taking it to a dragon’s surprise party.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
Pinot's Palette combines wine and art to create an enjoyable night out with friends or a date. The painting sessions encourage adults' inner artists whether they have any painting experience or not, encouraging light-hearted conversation, fun, and good cheer while painting and sipping BYOB beverages. Each session's painting of the night may feature anything from landscapes and wine-inspired art to known classics such as Van Gogh's Starry Night, and each painter tackles from their own artistic angle under the guidance of an experienced instructor. At the end of the night, painters can take their painting home with them and ring a "Gong of Awesomeness" on their way out to signify a good time.
The taxidermal animals at Trophy Room help to create an ambiance that toes the line between a lodge and a natural-history museum. In addition to a bighorn sheep and a bear, the space includes terrariums with everything from deer to foxes. The bar actually rests on a line of these terrariums, allowing visitors to enjoy their drinks beside posed scenes with pheasants and iconic copies of National Geographic.
The dedication to hunting culture extends to the menu, which features hearty burgers and sliders with buffalo, elk, and venison patties. Familiar finger foods round out the selection and include beer-battered onion rings and hand-cut tortilla chips with roasted-tomato salsa. Bartenders augment meals by siphoning off sudsy pints of domestic and imported microbrews.
Between bites and drinks, Trophy Room invites guests to demonstrate their skills on red-felted pool tables, dartboards, or scattered arcade games. The bar stages free Texas hold’em tournaments throughout the week, and high-definition televisions and a jukebox keep patrons entertained with live sports broadcasts and hidden birdcall tracks.
It's hard to pigeon-hole the cuisine of Texas into just one style of food. The large state is home to people from a wide range of cultures, and its cuisine reflects these Mexican, German, Creole, African, and Native American influences. In order to show off the true flavors of Texas, Texas Mesquite Grill's owner, Austin Yates, opted to serve everything from rib eyes hot off the mesquite grill to sizzling enchiladas to chicken-fried steak.
Whether it's a Texas quail kissed with a chipotle glaze or fish tacos flecked with a creole sauce, no dish truly evokes the flavors of Texas until it's paired with a beer, so Texas Mesquite Grill serves up 21 different beers on draft. The bartenders even make a version of their classic margarita with a splash of Corona, creating a beachy drink that's more refreshing than a tall glass of water with salt poured into it.
Though the chefs at Babaloo International Cafe & Bar were inspired by the sharable small plates of Spain, they didn't limit themselves to just Spanish dishes. Instead, they craft appetizers and down-sized entrees of cuisines from around the world. This creates a varied menu, with prosciutto-wrapped asparagus appearing beside miniature beef wellingtons and Cuban crab cakes made with plantains. These dishes pair well with wines selected from the vineyards of Spain, Portugal, Argentina, and Australia, to create meals that are both light and filling, much like four courses of flavored heliums. When evening turns to night, the restaurant becomes a hotspot for dancing, with theme parties, hip-hop nights, and salsa dancing.