The blossom bundlers at Northlake Flowers and Gift Shop gather fresh flora and festive gifts into eye-catching arrangements that cater to a full calendar of holidays and special occasions. The Tie a Yellow Ribbon bouquet ($39.99+) rallies patriotic-hued blossoms such as red roses, white daisies, and blue delphiniums in a ribbon-wrapped vase fit for a Fourth of July barbecue or a date with Uncle Sam. Deliver birthday how-do-you-dos with a sextet of shiny mylar balloons ($29.99) in your choice of designs. Or, send sweet wishes with a cupcake in bloom, in which a layer of white carnations frosts a cake-shaped vase and cradles a wish-ready candle ($24.99). For the romance-ready set, the a-dog-able basket ($54.99) affords the colorful cuteness of a carnation puppy without the exorbitant vet bill, and a modern rectangular vase of pink roses ($59.99) arrives topped with a stylish butterfly pick to woo the heart of any nature lover or hungry praying mantis.
Over the past four decades, Seattle’s Best Coffee has built strong, ethical relationships with coffee farmers around the globe. Taste testers sample each coffee shipment a minimum of three times before putting it into rotation, which is an effective way to ensure quality flavor and to stay awake for five days straight without blinking. Other parts of their process are equally perfectionistic: once a blend joins the repertoire, it's classified into one of five levels of intensity—ranging from mild and light to dark and bold—so that customers can swiftly select the flavor profile they prefer. Before they're packaged for retail or ground and brewed in shops across the country, the beans take a long, slow tumble in a roaster whose heat is controlled via a carefully calibrated roasting curve. In store, the toasty base might be topped by hazelnut cream, caramel, or sprinkles and paired with quick-serve breakfast sandwiches and baked goods.
So established is Circle K that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for?fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Fresh Caf?, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including sandwiches, fruit cups, and fresh-cut vegetables. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with premium coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
Gary Poppins's popcorn proprietor draws upon the tongue-pleasing know-how he garnered at the Culinary Institute of America to outfit freshly burst kernels in classic coatings and creative flavors, dreaming up creations that have been praised by New York's Daily News and snatched from the shelves of specialty stores. The shop mixes up 24 different flavors, from traditional Chicago-style favorites such as cheddar to honey-mustard popcorn that combines stone-ground mustard and the tears of a dramatic queen bee. The shop also purveys roasted nuts, available plain or frosted with a blend of cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla that spreads its heavenly scent without the bitter taste of a pine-tree car air freshener.
Mike Semerau and the instructors at Chicago's #1 Drum Lessons have a trick up their sleeve. In addition to in-person tutelage, they provide professional pre-recorded take-home videos of proper drumming techniques for students to refer to while practicing. This kind of constant visualization and repetitive watching is what the instructors claim makes their students so successful as they drill new techniques such as double bass, ostinatos, and stick control. During lessons, teachers also cover subjects such as soloing, learning a student?s favorite song, creating original beats and fills, and teaching yourself. Chicago's #1 Drum Lessons has a play-along machine stacked with more than 1,000 songs, all of which have no drum track so that students can provide their own percussion and experience the sensation of playing and keeping time with other instruments.
In order to manage a collection of almost 10,000 libations, the staff at Sal's Beverage World must know their stuff when it comes to wine, spirits, and beers. The massive shop stocks shelves with bottles of wine from popular labels such as The Naked Grape and Snap Dragon, as well as 90+ point wines from Chateau Angelus. The inventory also boast more than 2,000 beers artfully brewed by domestic and foreign companies including Hoppin' Frog and Bear Republic craft breweries, while down the liquor aisles shelves are lined with a hearty collection of whiskeys, cognacs, and aperitifs, such as the Italian Cynar and Pernod 80 Proof. Sal's drink specialists also provide party planning services, regular beverage tastings, and run the Bacchus Wine Club, which offers members access to exclusive tastings of wine and ambrosia.