Yes, Hill Country is a restaurant, but no hostess will seat you and no server will come by to take your order. Instead, arriving patrons are given a meal ticket, which they carry into a Texas-style market. At one counter, they order meats by weight, watching as pitmasters pull their selection from smoking pits fueled with Texas post oak and the menus of lesser barbecue restaurants. The menu includes the signature moist brisket—juicy, fatty morsels that New York Times’ reporter Pete Wells is said to order a pound of every time because it shows “Hill Country’s rotisserie barbecue pits at their finest.” Whatever meat guests choose, it’s carved onto sturdy sheets of butcher paper they carry with them as they stop at additional counters to collect sides and desserts.
Though all meat is served with white bread or crackers, a lineup of sides includes corn pudding, Longhorn cheddar mac ‘n’ cheese, and sweet potato bourbon mash. The dessert case displays temptations such as banana pudding, which Wells gushed is “built upon a custard so thick with eggs and cream it brings Paris to mind.” Guests can return to the counters as many times as they like; each item ordered is noted on their ticket, which they turn in to the cashier at the end of the meal. The menu has some devoted culinary fans—renowned food critic Frank Bruni named Hill Country one of his five favorite restaurants, for instance—but the eatery attracts a musically inclined audience as well. Downstairs in the Boot Bar, a state-of-the-art stage hosts nationally touring blues, alt-country, and honky-tonk acts that have included Dale Wilson and Roseanne Cash. The shows take place Tuesday–Saturday nights, and are often free of charge.
At New York Fencing Academy, expert instructors tutor sword swingers of all levels, aiming to help them develop both technical skill and physical fitness. Head coach Misha Mokretsov even helms a staff that has already launched several students to national fencing ranks. Prodding protégés can take a stab at a variety of classes that range from beginner sessions all the way up to a competition class, which prepares seasoned duelers for national events and experimental bouts on the floor of the Hudson River. Additionally, the academy fosters future jousters with its renowned youth and cadet epée programs. Free parking and a spectator area complete with WiFi, a TV, and murals by Ian King make the facility accessible for both cars and family members alike.
When Ray went to college, he followed in his father's footsteps and studied for a career that would have kept him at a desk all day. But Ray has always been active, and he realized he needed to find a career that would allow him to interact with people. Initially, he trained in physical therapy—but when he discovered athletic training, he knew he'd found his true calling. For more than 13 years, he's dedicated himself to helping people achieve their fitness goals. Now, as the fitness-programming director at Seek Fitness, Ray is passionate about helping members get results with an effective training system. But even as he and his trainers encourage clients to push themselves, they still aim to make classes fun and a little crazy.
Seek Fitness focuses on three types of classes. During Zumba, trainers pump up Latin music, '80s and '90s throwbacks, and current dance hits, then throw themselves into easy-to-follow choreography that gets everyone sweating together as they party away calories. The trainers change up boot-camp routines for each class; on any given day, students might be swinging kettlebells or using TRX suspension bands. Energy-packed Fusion classes are designed to keep students moving for a full 50 minutes, whether they're taking jabs at focus mitts, pummeling punching bags and piñatas, or going through kickboxing combinations. At the end of class, trainers want everyone to be tired and sweaty but liberated from stress and proud of their workout.
Since 1861, the Buffalo Society of Natural Science has culled more than 700,000 specimens and artifacts from around the world. These treasures now reside in the Buffalo Museum of Science which opened its doors in 1929. The museum allows visitors to explore anthropology, paleontology, and zoology, with an emphasis on the Greater Niagara region.
Special exhibits inspire curiousity in guests by exploring the world around them through hands-on education. Nano, for example, explains the basics of nanoscience and the way it impacts our lives. Opened in March 2012, the Explore YOU health science studio teaches visitors about their own bodies as they study recent medical technologies that help keep the human race healthy. Our Marvelous Earth, on the other hand, focuses on geological phenomena, extreme weather, and alternative forms of energy via displays and interactive exhibits where guests will have a chance to experience tornado-force winds. The newest exhibit to explore is In Motion which motivates children to learn how things move by interacting with gravity machines, car races, and a fluid dynamics simulator. Elsewhere, Seymour (a 10-foot tall mastodon) and Stanley (a 16-foot long albertosaurus) give kids a glimpse of some really, really, really old bones. For a more relaxing experience, visitors can check out the National Geographic 3D Cinema presented by M&T Bank for rotating titles. During the next few years, the museum will continue to add new exhibits and improve others with interactive technologies.
Lovin’ Cup’s owners had a dream of creating a place that celebrates life’s pleasures and offers the unique and personal experience each of their customers seeks. And to achieve that dream, it took the combined efforts of all five owners to truly fill Lovin' Cup to the brim, each one specializing in a different area of the culinary arts or entertainment. The crew started with a simple, delicious menu of familiar eats made right, such as Angus beef burgers, gourmet pizzas, and hearty sandwiches. They paired these, with an array of craft beers on tap – plus more than 50 varieties in bottles – and a carefully curated list of international wines.
To entertain the brain's higher functions, they host game nights every Monday, open mic performances every Tuesday, and live music of every genre on Thursdays. Performances rotate between jazz, alt-country, indie, and rock groups as often as they change out their drafts on tap and, presumably, their socks. And finally, the owners paid similarly close attention to the artistic décor of their space, from the polished wood of their wine racks and tables to the mutable collection of art that peppers the walls.
Toes tap, soles crisscross, and ankles point and flex as pairs of dancers whirl across Arthur Murray’s smooth floors, where Sacramento-area hoofers have practiced steps since 1947. A specialized curriculum imparts basics such as foot position and rhythm, as well as how to lead, follow, or trot across the ceiling during beginning classes, and eventually ushers students into bronze, silver, and competition-level gold classes. Graceful instructors certified through the World Professional Dance Teachers Association lead classes and events such as private lessons, group formation practices, core rhythms reviews, and weekly practice parties.