When Cliff Hodges, the founder and CEO of Adventure Out, graduated from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering, he knew a traditional desk job wasn't for him. According to Technology Review, he quickly gave up his engineering career for the wireless world of the great outdoors, where he began to hike, climb, and surf his way around the world, always staying true to his philosophy of environmental respect and protection.
His travels and business accomplishments have gained some measure of notoriety; he's coached on MTV's Made, consulted for ABC News, and was selected as one of four winners of the 2011 Santa Cruz County Civic Service Award: The Nextie. Adventure Out was also identified for meeting survival skills training standards by The New York Times best-selling author Tim Ferriss in The 4-Hour Chef.
Today, he and his program consultant Tom McElroy lead excursions into the California wilderness to teach backpacking and survival skills, including the tracking of animals and wild ice-cream trucks, and they also guide novices through surfing, rock-climbing, and mountain-biking sojourns. Through fundraising, Adventure Out has helped save Castle Rock State Park from closure and a portion of their proceeds is put directly back into the park.
Iosif and Ella Meluta’s son, Alex, was diagnosed with asthma when he was 6 years old. To combat the disease, the Melutas sought out the therapeutic effects of salty air, taking him on seaside vacations, visiting salt rooms throughout the United States and Canada, and traveling to Eastern Europe’s salt mines. Eventually, Iosif and Ella created a salt-infused microclimate right in the Detroit area, the Salinair Salt Room, which Alex could incorporate into his everyday life. Nowadays, thanks to regular salt-room sessions, Alex is pursuing his dream of playing pro tennis.
The salt room’s healing properties are not just available to Alex. Clients of all ages who are struggling with conditions such as asthma, common colds, and stress can lounge in its zero-gravity chairs as they nap or surf the web during halotherapy. The therapy simply entails breathing the room’s air, which is suffused with salt microparticles and negative ions that soothe respiratory systems. As sessions unfold, adults can enjoy the relaxing effects of dimmed colored lights and music, and kids can play with Alex and his stash of toys.
At La Costanera, Peruvian-born Chef Carlos Altamirano adds contemporary twists to traditional South American dishes that earned the restaurant a 2012 Michelin Star. A variety of ceviches whet appetites amidst a dining room that the San Francisco Chronicle called "breathtaking by day and almost mystical at night," filled with the soft sound of the surf. Free-range chicken and slow-cooked pork shoulder thrive beneath what a reviewer for the Pacifica Tribune applauds as "dramatic presentation.” Imported Peruvian beers and pisco cocktails clink to toast potatoes reclaiming exoticness by arriving in shades of purple and green, and even simple favorites take on the gleeful elegance of a solid-teak waterslide with the aid of truffle oil or saffron. La Costanera’s 10,000-square-foot space opens onto an open-air patio and glass-enclosed rooms. Windowpanes soaring from floor to ceiling arch high overhead, admitting cascades of sunlight as diners gaze out and give each rolling wave a name and backstory.
Run by a mother-and-daughter duo, Generations grants guests an eco-friendly shopping alternative by consigning used children’s clothing, furniture, and accessories to offer affordable options for families in need. A donation closet stores contributions distributed to clans through a variety of community organizations, and a constantly updated online wish list alerts patrons to which items are in high demand. In addition to a free loaning library that doles out tomes and guides on parenting, Generations’ staff of expert teachers lead abundant events, support groups, and seminars for adults and tykes alike. While youngsters discover music appreciation or construct crafts, parents can learn about breastfeeding from a certified lactation consultant, maternal and infant massage from a licensed massage therapist, child-bonding tips, and how to tell their offspring apart from a nest-stealing cuckoo.
Kiddie Mia's Family Fun Center entertains children of all ages in two joy-filled facilities. High ceilings loom jealously above the bright blue floors where games twinkle happily. One building houses the center's coin-operated arcade, which rewards youngsters with tickets that, unlike an armored piñata, actually yield prizes. Alongside the redemption games, families can quell appetites with pizzas, burgers, and a spaghetti buffet, all awaiting charged up maws at the onsite snack bar. In the adjacent all-you-can-play game room, dozens of kiddie rides occupy young children, who can scamper between Disney-themed attractions such as Mickey's truck and Barney's tractor as parents shout parallel-parking instructions from nearby red and blue picnic tables. Older kids can blast computerized foes on a number of arcade games or coordinate hands and eyes with turns at basketball hoops or air-hockey tables.
There are certain accepted rules to constructing maki rolls: They must be round. They generally contain tuna and a handful of vegetables. Chefs at Go Sushi Japanese Restaurant try to throw those precepts out the window and let their imaginations run wild. They build the Arch roll—a deep-fried concoction of spicy tuna and cream cheese—into an actual arch, and they top the Firecracker roll with an explosion of crabmeat and tobiko the color of orange flames. The chefs even have fun naming their creations, such as the Lion King roll, the Black Widow roll, and the George roll, named for the president who famously chopped down his father's cherry tree to make souvenir chopsticks for the Marquis de Lafayette. Underneath the lighted orbs and Japanese lanterns that dangle from the dining-room ceiling, servers also deliver chicken or beef covered in teriyaki sauce or submerged in bowls of noodle soup.