At Bay West Ballroom, students learn how to tango alongside their identical twin, whether they were actually born with one or not. The studio's eastern wall of mirrors stretches for 60 feet, ensuring that students’ reflections are always visible as they spin on the sprung beech-wood floor. On the opposite side, windows admit sunlight and scenic views of the hills, creating an ethereal space where seasoned instructors demonstrate ballroom, Latin, and swing dance styles. Drawing from a diverse curriculum, these instructors cover a broad spectrum of disciplines that range from the cha-cha to the country two-step, encouraging practice in both the classroom and social settings. For example, lessons on popular salsa steps prepare pupils to spin at nightclubs, and wedding courses customize choreography to match a chosen song at elegant receptions.
Directors Mark and Andrea Nelson-Novak have both earned championship titles, and Andrea draws on a degree in biology to better inform her protégés on anatomy, movement, and the location of the body’s rhythm glands. The pair enlists other experts—including US Country and Swing Champion Tony Gutsch and Grand National Latin Finalists Dima and Olga Sukachov—to helm specialized and regular classes. The team also hosts holiday parties each year.
Big Jim’s BBQ entrances diners with a menu of tempting contemporary and barbecue cuisine arranged by chef Jim Modesitt. Like the annual westward migration of wood-smoking grills, the sauce-slathered bill of fare unites gourmet California treats with rustic southern cooking traditions, pairing juicy pulled pork, chicken, ribs, and brisket with hearty risottos, traditional cornbreads and beans, assorted cheeses, and crostinis. As clients sup on the tasty bounty or enroll in courses to learn the dark arts of cookcraft from the kitchen’s professional chefs and caterers, rich flavors and aromas lavish the nose and palate with a sensory celebration of fine food.
The chefs at Falafel Hut man steaming pans to forge a wide range of pita-swaddled sandwiches and hearty entrees, which lead to contented sighs across the dining room and open patio. In lieu of water wings, diners strap beef and lamb shawarma ($8.95) to each arm and dabble in a pool of cucumber sauce. The restaurant's namesake falafel parades onto pita or lavash bread before donning hummus, hot sauce, and fistfuls of crisp veggies ($6.95), and diners drive up napkin demand with two chicken kebabs and rice ($14.95). Pistachio baklava ($2.50) washed down with dark Turkish coffee ($3.50) serves as a mealtime encore more pleasant than a dinner-bell rendition of "Freebird."
Romeo’s Pasta & Pizza's pie slingers orchestrate medleys of toppings atop sourdough crust, which is crafted fresh daily on the restaurant premises. Pore over the menu of create-your-own pizzas and specialty creations, such as the roasted vegetable pie, which sports zucchini, red onions, sweet peppers, and feta. On the playground of the meat combination pizza, canadian bacon, pepperoni, salami, and sausage huddle up for a game of two-hand touch against diner's taste buds. Diners quaff soft drinks, domestic or premium beer, or Salmon Creek white zinfandel and pinot noir to cleanse the palate without having to glide open-mouthed down a slip ‘n’ slide.
It's easy to sum up World of Stereo's wares in seven words: everything you need for a dance party. The electronics shop emphasizes DJ gear such as headphones and mixing equipment from brands such as American DJ, Furman, and Odyssey. Their special effects lighting, meanwhile, runs the gamut from disco balls to laser lights so that no one ever has to stage a salsa contest in the dark again. Want to go the extra mile and record your own dance party soundtrack? World of Stereo covers production needs, too, with a vast array of microphones and recording software.