"To be honest, when I opened DISH I was just looking for a place where I could get a good grilled cheese sandwich for my kids, and a decent cup of coffee for me," says Kevin Finch, the founder of DISH. The idea grew exponentially over time; Kevin had spent the late 1980s working the culinary boom of Sonoma County, so he naturally was inclined to include great wines and slightly more sophisticated menu items. But not too sophisticated: the hallmark of DISH that it's comfortable, a place where you can eat food that might remind you of what your grandmother used to make. In that spirit, the restaurant itself has an antique vibe LA Weekly described as "an old-fashioned, slightly rustic feel, like a farmhouse kitchen in an orange orchard, 1925."
The magazine went on to say that, "At breakfast, the room is as bright and sunny as a conservatory." The dishes are bright, too, such as yellow omelets studded with avocado and red potatoes and made from cage-free eggs from the smartest chickens. The five-page breakfast menu is also popular for the jonnycakes––cornmeal cakes that conceal whole kernels of sweet corn. Later in the day, guests can order an old-school cobb salad adored by LA Times food critic Merrill Shindler, Black Angus sirloin burgers, and pork belly paired with macaroni and cheese. The dishes are made using ingredients from local farmer's markets and food purveyors, a touch that no doubt helped the restaurant land its Three-Diamond Award from AAA.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a Californian mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play & Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children’s’ cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beck to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
In February of 1999, Rose Malmberg, owner of Bikram Yoga La Cañada, woke up without back pain for the first time in years. The day before, she had taken her first Bikram-yoga class in an effort to alleviate a number of back problems, including the results of a car accident years before. From that day forward, Rose devoted herself to Bikram yoga, and experienced full relief of her painful symptoms. After years of taking classes, she achieved Bikram teacher certification, and eventually bought her own studio to share the practice that had helped her heal. Bikram Yoga La Cañada, set against a mountainous backdrop, draws students into its carpeted confines for 90-minute classes heated to 105 degrees. Bikram postures build on each other in a carefully arranged series to work muscles all over the body in addition to the cardiovascular system, allowing practitioners the lung capacity required to help a centenarian tortoise extinguish his birthday candles.
The meaning of art may be subjective, but Mission: Renaissance believes that the basic, technical skills needed to create art are learnable, regardless of a student’s age or experience. The instructors at the studio, which was originally founded in 1975, illuminate the Gluck Method, which focuses on the classic rendering techniques that the great masters used on their first computers. The classes can accommodate students as young as 5, and they explore a number of different mediums—including charcoal, watercolors, and oils—while giving attendees the experience they need to appreciate art, as well as create it. Spread across 19 studio locations in southern California, attendance is capped at around six students per instructor, which allows them to offer artists more personalized feedback and more fitting nicknames.
Upon entering YogaHop's boldly colored confines and hearing vibrant pop and hip-hop tunes blasting from the classrooms' speakers, exercisers know they're not in a typical yoga studio. At both the Pasadena and Santa Monica locations, students immerse themselves in energetic classes that, like the Taj Mahal after hours, blend the ancient practice of yoga with pulse-pounding dance music that forms a workout InTouch magazine dubs ?insane? and Maxim calls ?inspiring? and ?spiritual.? No matter the ability level, students find their stride thanks to patient and effervescent instructors who lead them through a continuous flow of poses, stopping only to gently correct a position or ask occasional student Reese Witherspoon for her autograph.
Winter-sports enthusiasts have coasted the slopes of Mt. Waterman since 1939, and today the venerated mountain sports more than 30 runs for skiers and snowboarders of all experience levels, including a sizeable number of advanced areas. Located just 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, the resort's three chair lifts transport visitors to runs across the 325-acre grounds, including well groomed slopes for beginners and yeti-infested wilderness for seasoned pros. Non-skiers are welcome to take advantage of the views from the lifts or lounge at the warming hut. The hut soothes exhausted skiers with a cozy fireplace and a restaurant, which serves up hot burgers, sandwiches, and poached snowmen.