Even as they sliced fish ceviche and sizzled taquitos at La Parrilla, their popular Mexican restaurant, Alejandro Lule and Subarna Bhattachan often dreamed of opening a noodle house. Subarna longed for the plump momo dumplings and egg-noodle soups of his native Nepal, whereas Alejandro craved the Thai curries and Vietnamese pho he remembered from his years working in San Francisco. Combining their extensive culinary experience and shared ambition, the duo spearheaded Zen Zero, setting up shop directly across the street from La Parrilla.
Deep within Zen Zero’s kitchen, chefs fold fresh ingredients and spices into critically acclaimed dishes from countries across Asia and the Pacific Rim—from Thailand to Nepal and China. Their seafood, meat, and vegetable curries simmer, and pots of thai glass noodles, japanese udon, and vietnamese vermicelli bubble on stovetops. When discussing their cooking techniques with reporters from the Lawrence Journal-World, Subarna reported, “we use a lot of spice seeds: cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, cardamom pods.” These seeds add a distinctive concentrated flavor to their dishes, which servers carry with glasses of specialty cocktails and chilled sake through the dining room. Around them blown-glass lamps, wooden tables, and an absence of giant foam shrimp costumes create an elegant atmosphere.
Mother-daughter team Juli and Breanna, who just graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in metal smithing, share their love of artistic expression at Bee Creative Studio, where they invite guests to join them in painting pottery and fusing glass. Visitors browse the ranks of piggy banks, plates, and figurines of frogs and dragons before picking up paintbrushes or the end of their braids to dip in paint. Finished pieces stay at Bee Creative while the experts glaze and fire them, and their creators can pick them up in five to seven days.
Those who want to wear their art can paint designs that Bee Creative transfers onto T-shirts, baby’s onesies, or aprons for keeping clothes clean while cooking or performing mad, mad science. Or, guests can delve into the world of fused glass, layering colors for jewelry, plates, and sun catchers that the studio experts fire and ready for pickup in a week. In addition to its open studio hours, Bee Creative hosts parties for birthday celebrants and brides-to-be.
Sunlight streams in through Westside Yoga's floor-to-ceiling windows, bathing the studio in light as expert instructors lead small groups through relaxing and tranquil yoga classes. Views of swaying, outdoor prairie grasses inspire students as they bend to elongate and strengthen muscles through various poses and deep-breathing exercises atop the room's smooth bamboo floors. Gentle yoga classes couple traditional postures with holistic ideas of aligning and grounding the body for those more interested in yoga's relaxing and restorative properties. Intermediate and advanced classes explore more rigorous routines designed to challenge students and their notions of what a cobra would look like with arms.
Passionate about creating a sense of community, Westside Yoga also offers yoga camps for kids from preschool to high school, welcoming them to stretch and grow in playful, age-appropriate sessions. Instructors also lead family yoga classes for all ages and seniors yoga specifically for guests over age 55.
Nearly a half mile from the main road, down a hilly driveway lined with prairie grasses, sprawls a 500-acre ranch intersected with hiking trails, fishing ponds, and gardens that bloom with daylilies, peonies, and roses in the spring. This setting is the home of the Circle S Ranch & Country Inn, a quaint bed and breakfast modeled after an old-fashioned Kansas barn and complemented by a lean-to and silo. In the latter—built from the same designs the owner’s great-grandfather used to build silos during the great grain boom of the 1800s—steam from a hot tub fills the room as a staircase leads to the third floor. Old, natural wood fills every corner of the ranch, from the furniture in the inn to the stripped logs comprising the railings on the Grand Room staircase. In the summer, guests can wander the verdant grounds by foot or horseback, gathering outdoors at night to watch the twinkle of angry, torch-bearing fireflies, and in the colder months, an onsite spa serves as a warm retreat made all the more relaxing with a hot-stone massage or sugar scrub.
Since the age of 6, Fernando Rodriguez knew that fitness and athletics would play a big role in his life. While most kids his age were busy at play, Fernando was swimming four hours each day and eagerly counting the hours until his next meet. His hard work paid off, earning him a spot on the Mexican Olympic swim team and instilling him with a passion for fitness that would continue into his adult life.
Today, Fernando draws from his years of athletic and coaching experience to guide others toward their fitness goals in his own private training studio, The Underground Lab. Alongside his staff of fellow certified trainers and fitness aficionados, Fernando leads group workouts that combine traditional exercises with imaginative and innovative techniques. The team also conducts personal-training sessions, employing a variety of cardio and strength-training equipment, and designs a unique 19-day nutrition program to help clients lose weight rapidly in preparation for special events, such as a wedding or an outing in a flimsy rowboat.
Snap Fitness's around-the-clock gyms enable members to work on their physical well-being with a cornucopia of fitness equipment. With 24-hour access, members don't have to let The Man tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength and cardio equipment, which features built-in TVs and other media diversions. For those who exercise during conventional hours, Snap's friendly, unintimidating atmosphere welcomes patrons of all ability levels, unlike schoolyard dodge-ball squads. Members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations, ideal for working out while traveling. For a dose of custom advice, patrons can seek out a personal-training session with a certified coach, who helps them assess and address their fitness goals. Clients reap the benefit of individual attention as a personal trainer helps them tackle weight loss, prepare for an arm-wrestling competition, or unveil the mysteries of arcane cable-weight machines.