When their daughter, Kai, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Tracy and Patrick Watkins knew they needed to provide her with as much love and care as possible. They quit their jobs as engineers and launched a bakery named after their little girl and her favorite treats. In the kitchen at Kai’s Kookies and More, the couple ices custom sugar cookies by hand, transforming circles into edible basketballs and rectangles into festive American flags, all of which can be dipped into house-brewed coffee or bundled into baskets, boxes, or bouquets. Sweeter than a kiss from Cap’n Crunch, mangoes and strawberries fill several varieties of cupcakes and 3-inch cheesecakes.
In addition to packing their display case with handcrafted confections, Tracy and Patrick supply desserts to eight local restaurants and four Monkey Joe's bounce playgrounds. Visitors can also book Kai's for special events such as tea parties and international summits disguised as children's birthday bashes.
The dedicated musicians at Falls River Music help students create beautiful notes during private weekly music instruction with a brigade of professional instruments. During 30-minute drum, guitar, violin, bass, or trumpet lessons, children or adults work toward personal goals, such as learning how to read music or mastering solos that erase “Freebird” from minds. Falls River Music provides instruments for use during classes, which, though not required, students may rent for home practice at an additional cost.
When not practicing their tuneful arts, musicians can send in their stringed instruments for expert repairs or test out new sounds plucked from the shop's large selection of acoustic and electric guitars, amplifiers, and effects pedals. Falls River Music offers a 14-day trial period after purchase of new equipment, encouraging musicians to fully explore their new sonic possibilities before declaring themselves satisfied.
The musical menagerie also hosts a full coffee bar and lounge area, where parents may relax during children's lessons. Falls River Music also allows intermediate-level students to put their skills to use each Saturday at 1:30 pm at a two-hour jam session ($10/hour), which may include performances or recording with other musicians and note aficionados.
Selim Oztalay had been having sweet dreams of opening his own Italian gelato shop for many years. Growing up in Germany allowed him to not only be exposed to a variety of cultures, but also a variety of artisan gelato flavors that he missed when he moved to the United States. Hoping to expose American tongues to fine Italian flavors, he opened Gnam Gnam Gelato & Bistro. Named after the Italian saying for "delicious," Gnam Gnam makes visitors say just that with a rotating selection of more than 80 inventive gelato flavors made fresh and onsite daily. Servers heap scoops of the bistro’s namesake treat disguised as eggnog, tiramisu, and Nutella, and the spaghetti gelato reimagines its savory counterpart with vanilla gelato, strawberry syrup, white-chocolate shavings, and a longing for the old country. Those with larger hankerings can be sated with entrees from the full menu which features made-to-order artisan paninis, fresh salads, and combo meals.
Endorsed by financial author Dave Ramsey and highlighted on Oprah Winfrey's Life Lift blog, eMeals charts out a week's worth of dollar- and health-savvy dinner recipes to relieve the burden of kitchen-related stress. Each week, organized grocery lists based on food style, family size, and even grocery store showcase flavorful culinary creations for discerning palates. Plans developed by working parents capitalize on sale items at stores such as Walmart, Publix, and Kroger, and an "any store" list can be used to navigate the aisles of other favored grocers. Family meal plans serve seven meals for three to six people, whereas plans for two are tailored to singles, couples, or a pair of sock puppets on a date atop a chest of drawers.
Special paleo, gluten-free, clean-eating, low-fat, and portion-controlled meal-plan options aid nongeneric eaters in assembling targets for their teeth and fitness regimens. The classic version of the Walmart family plan supplies culinary sustenance to families of three to six for an average weekly cost of $75?$85 and takes advantage of the store's regularly discounted prices. A duo can fill a Publix cart for $50?$60 a week, including side dishes.
Born of founder Jane DeLaney's desire to feed her family stress-free dinners provisioned from an organized list without coupons, eMeals allows shoppers to spend more time at the table and less time wandering about the grocery store uttering monophonic 10th-century chants in dismay.
While flipping through television channels, you might spot Chuck Hayworth slicing up spaghetti squash or sculpting a vegan meatball on his own cooking show, Thankfully Local. The skilled chef is a passionate proponent of eating locally sourced foods, having overcome stomach cancer on a diet of farm-fresh produce and fruits. In the kitchen of Worth It Café, Chef Chuck works with a colorful array of fresh ingredients—95% of which originated from local North Carolina purveyors. To craft his signature "stuffwiches", Chuck packs hollowed-out farmhouse bread with barbeque pulled pork, crispy chicken, and house-roasted beef.
Diners gather around tabletops in the cafe's airy seating area, sipping freshly brewed iced tea and lingering over last bites of freshly baked brownies. Some opt to grab one of Chuck's takeaway dinners—such as chicken pot pie or spinach lasagna—to bring home and enjoy with their family or the pack of wild dogs they've come to love like a family.
Realizing the region's dearth of Indian eateries, the owners of Shalimar Tandoor Grill and Bar opened their doors to give their friends and neighbors a first or umpteenth taste of the subcontinent's cuisine. The decadent dining room of deep red booths and walls hosts a panoply of vibrant spices and rich aromas that emanate from curries, kebabs, and tandoor-grilled dishes custom-spiced to four levels of heat. To cool down tongues and thwart the growth of uvula cactus patches, the owners added a full bar stocked with domestic and Indian beers and an impressive list of classic and house cocktails infused with an Indian twist.