India Kitchen?deemed Hartford County's Best Indian Restaurant in 2011 by readers of Connecticut Magazine?piles family-style offerings from North and South India onto its menu, concocting entrees with imported ingredients and an authentic tandoor oven. Patrons can play games of solitaire with 11 types of traditional breads, such as the raisin- and nut-filled khandari kulcha ($3.95). Jumbo shrimp slip into robes of lemon juice, yogurt, and spices before sizzling in the clay oven, only to emerge as tandoori shrimp ($15.95) or, in rare cases, a single giant shrimp with crime-fighting ambitions and mastery over fire. The chicken chutney wala surrounds poultry morsels with tangy pools of curried mango and mint sauce ($12.95), whereas cashew-and-almond sauce varnishes vegetable-and-cheese dumplings in the vegetarian malai kofta ($11.95).
In addition to its classic menu offerings, India Kitchen hosts a daily all-you-can-eat lunch buffet seven days a week as well as a Wednesday and Sunday night dinner buffet. Featuring a catering menu for larger groups, the restaurant's chefs portion out party-sized servings from a limited menu that includes naan ($32+) and vegetable biryani ($40+). For heartier mealtimes, they also simmer orders of lamb or fish curry ($90) that can either feed 30?40 people or one insatiable garbage disposal.
In 1909, Frank Pepe immigrated to the United States from his native town of Maiori, Italy. He was poor, illiterate, and just 16 years old?but he had a strong work ethic. After a stint in a New Haven factory and service as an Italian solider in World War I, he settled down for good in New Haven with his wife, Filomena, and started a bakery delivery service. But because he couldn?t read, he had trouble deciphering the orders. So he started having his customers come to him, and in 1925, he and Filomena added a simple item to the menu: Neapolitan-style pizzas.
To this day, the staff still heats up coal-fired ovens to bake the original tomato pies that Frank and Filomena first made famous. They can also add toppings such as bacon, Italian-imported anchovies, and house-roasted red peppers to their pizzas, or create specialty pies such as their signature white clam with olive oil, fresh garlic, and oregano. Diners can pair their pies with Pepe?s salad, tossed in balsamic vinaigrette, or have the server tap draft brews such as Sam Adams Boston Lager and Peroni. They?ve served Foxon Park soda since 1925, so diners can request bottles of cream soda or diet white-birch beer made from only the sveltest birch trees.
Women needn’t feel intimidated by anything—especially exercise, according to Kelly Kohler, the 17-year fitness instruction veteran who helms Totally Kickin’ Fitness. At this female-focused studio, ladies work out in small groups as a seasoned instructor demonstrates moves and doles out tips and encouragement. Students of all fitness levels are welcome, from brand-new exercisers to those who can outrun a cheetah while carrying a bag of rocks.
Classes range from kickboxing routines filled with punches and kicks to total-body workouts teeming with resistance bands and bodyweight exercises. To help women build confidence as they burn calories, Kelly leads sensual dance classes that pair sexy struts and pole-based maneuvers with elements of yoga, Pilates, and low-impact aerobics. These moves can also be taught in private or during fitness-themed parties complete with decorations, invitations, and a gift for the guest of honor.
The studio’s one-on-one programs revolve around custom workouts with a fitness trainer. Those trying to shed pounds in a healthy way can enroll in a custom weight-loss program filled with nutritional supplements, education, and more support than a corset made of get-well cards.
Muvement is as much a gym as it is a physical-fitness lab. Certified strength and conditioning specialist Michael Houle and Jill Houle, who holds a BS in nutritional science, team up to invest clients with practical workout regimens and an intimate knowledge of how the body works on a physiological level. Before new clients lift their first weight at the studio, a personal trainer consults with them about their exercise and health history and runs physical assessments and lab tests to identify potential obstacles related to the immune, digestive, hormonal, and detoxification systems. Next, Jill draws on her background as a professional nutritionist to recommend a diet suited to the client’s unique metabolism, and explains how the body breaks down calories and nutrients. Even their fitness regimens take a holistic approach. Whether in group or personal-training sessions, functional movements using resistance bands, TRX suspension, and kettlebells incorporate multiple muscle groups and joints into each exercise, building a physique more balanced than two eggs riding a seesaw during the spring equinox.
Though Lauren Cooksey started out with just a Salvation Army camera in hand and three children in tow, the photographer and single mother was determined to fulfill her dream of achieving a successful career in her chosen art. Her talent and sheer willpower paid off; today, Lauren continues to snap shots under the moniker Cooksey Photo and has even enlisted one of those aforementioned toddlers, Tracy, to join her mission.
With 20 years of industry experience behind them, the mother-daughter photography team captures candid images of individuals and families, crafting prints with warm, sepia tones brushed with custom color. During photo shoots, the duo uses handmade sets and props to coax out the personality of each baby, graduating high schooler, or beloved mannequin. Afterward, they select the best image to edit before dressing it up with daubs of digital color. Finished prints from a family session spruce up a lonely end table, or a print from a pet photo shoot can enliven a mantel in a doghouse. The new in-home studio, which opened in June 2011 is also child-friendly.
For a decade, Anne and Matthew Falkowski have been transforming rookie stretchers into professional yogis. The lessons at Samadhi Yoga Studio usher guests, regardless of age, flexibility, or experience, into a community whose leaders emphasize the growth of bodily awareness. The 40 yoga classes per week encompass Beginners, Moderate, and Vigorous sessions, which gradually widen students' understanding of postures and breath work. Rather than spending hundreds of hours searching for inner peace in the national phone book, those yearning for further enlightenment can attend a 200- or 500-hour teacher-training program. The nationally certified curriculum has passed more than 150 graduates, steadily expanding the reach of its art to Manchester and beyond.
Though yoga is the main focus, Samadhi Yoga Studio rounds out its class roster with other dynamic offerings. Festive Zumba workouts showcase heart-healthy twirls, and specialized workshops combine yoga with other disciplines, such as dance and running.