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.
Bad Ass Margaritas livens up events with easy-to-use machines that dispense frosty, refreshing margaritas. Party hosts can choose to serve traditional margaritas or opt for flavors such as grape or cherry and other drinks such as rum runners and hurricanes, adding alcohol to make the drink as potent as they wish. The machines are also popular at children's events, where they can be used to make nonalcoholic drinks in flavors such as orange dreamsicle or pink lemonade.
It was Lily Riesenfeld and Leila Burrows’ respective passions for Pilates and yoga that spawned The Pad, a tranquil wellness center highlighted by geometric mirrors and Victorian-chic accent walls. Featured in SF Yoga Magazine, The Pad caters to men and women of all ages and fitness levels by offering a diverse schedule of private, duet, and group yoga and Pilates classes. Skilled instructors, each with their own set of specializations, lead sessions ranging from Vinyasa power to prenatal and postpartum classes, helping students find balance through controlled breathing, strategic movements, and attempts to drip all sweat beads into a single thimble. The studio is set at a consistent 75 degrees, keeping muscles warm and toxins crawling far away from bodies.