The bride stood under the photographer’s lights, resplendent in her wedding gown, as her family looked on from a distance. As she and her photographer, M. Chen, prepared for the shoot, she was handed a package—a prewedding gift from her soon-to-be husband. When she lifted the lid, she immediately burst into tears. Inside laid a photo of a great dane puppy—the dog she’d always wanted, which her husband planned to give her on their wedding day. As she ran to hug her mother, Mr. Chen ran after, shooting image after image, capturing the exact moment she fell into her mother’s arms. These quick reflexes have been honed through his nearly 30 years as a sports photographer and professional fly swatter, and he draws on photojournalistic techniques to compose a traditional portrait or snap once-in-a-lifetime, candid moments.
Regardless of specific approaches, he consistently draws from the landscape style of Ansel Adams and the dramatic lighting techniques of Monte Zucker. His work as a photojournalist and private portrait photographer has earned him more than 300 publications in the glossy pages of New York Daily News, Popular Photography, ESPN Magazine, and Professional Photographers of America magazine. When not snapping on-location engagement shoots, family portraits, or boudoir sessions, he passes on his technique through traveling photography seminars, hands-on workshops, and by gently tapping the heads of his students. Though formerly designed only for professional-level photographers, these classes instill confidence and camera basics in beginners. As he frequently finds new class examples and takes feedback from his students, Mr. Chen frequently fine-tunes the curriculum after each seminar.
El Hefe combines the best of two worlds—the rhythmic dance tracks and drinks of a lively nightclub, and the meaty, peppery cuisine of Mexico and the American Southwest. Quesadillas filled with shredded chicken tinga and prime steak tortas pair perfectly with sports on flatscreen TVs or icy chelada cocktails. Revelers lounge in wraparound booths covered with funky floral prints and gold lamé, helping themselves to pints of beer from the tableside taps, which eliminate the long waits and intricate hand signals required to order at a noisy bar. And as diners chat, servers carry out rustic wooden trays bearing treasures of angus beef burgers topped with jalapeno marmalade, tacos filled with duck carnitas or pork al pastor, and Sonoran-style hot dogs wrapped in bacon and smothered in tomatillo avocado salsa.
Nighttime finds DJs spinning club music as lights swirl above the dance floor, bathing revelers in rhythmic beats and streaks of neon. Party guests toast potent house tequila cocktails or fishbowl glasses of beergarita--garnished with a dusting of salt and an upside-down bottle of beer.
If the name 5th and Wine doesn’t give away the restaurant’s specialty, maybe the wine barrel guarding the front door might. Or possibly the selection of more than 40 wines available by the glass, including reds and whites from around the world and 5th and Wine’s very own sangria. Those libations––along with specialty cocktails such as a black-cherry manhattan or root-beer martini––complement a menu of seafood, steaks, and burgers made with beef, elk, and bison patties.
Inside the 60-seat dining space, arched beams frame the room and a chalkboard wall displays daily drink specials and upcoming sets from local musicians. In front of the floor-to-ceiling windows, comfy couches and chairs carve out a post-meal lounge area, along with a murphy bed for guests who know which window to punch. Additionally, a 40-seat tasting room indulges guests with red leather chairs and the aroma of an old-fashioned popcorn machine at work. Diners can also enjoy their meal on the courtyard patio where an awning shades meals during the day and strings of lights brighten up the night.:m]]
UltraStar Cinemas cossets moviegoers in cushy seating as they enjoy Hollywood hits alongside buttery servings of popcorn. Film buffs can peruse the current showtimes by location to handpick an action-packed flick, romantic comedy, or chilling thriller featuring inexplicably aggressive hamsters. The concession stand outfits moviegoers with snacks, drinks, and buckets filled with warm kernels, keeping stomach grumblings to a minimum during showings and providing crunchy projectiles in case of sudden younger-sibling attacks. UltraStar Play it Again Cinemas also offers a selection of Hollywood hits for patrons to enjoy in high-back reclining chairs alongside snacks from the concession stand.
Competitive poker player Kevin O'Donnell leads a menu of American all-stars to freshly prepared culinary victory amid 23 flat-screen TVs at K O'Donnell's American Bar & Grill. Rugged baby-back-rib terrains steep in barbecue sauce and hickory smoke ($15.95 for a half rack, $19.95 for a full rack), and blackened poultry rests on the Cajun chicken alfredo's fettuccini mattress ($14.99), recuperating from the grill's heated verbal attacks. Ko's grilled wings celebrate sauce with a variety of slathering solutions like buffalo, volcano, teriyaki, and Ko's secret sauce ($9.49). A Hawaiian conga line of shredded pork, canadian bacon, jalapeños, pineapple, and mango sways in tangy barbecue atop the scratch-made Pork Lovers Luau pizza ($10.95+), delighting fun-loving taste buds. Meanwhile, the El Diablo burger reigns over tonguescapes with fiery jalapeños, pico de gallo, and chipotle ketchup ($9.99).
Within Studio Movie Grill's expansive auditoriums, towering screens enrapture audiences seated in plush leather recliners and at dining tables. As the familiar celebrity faces in blockbuster and cult-classic features deliver Oscar-worthy lines, sneakily quiet waiters deliver meals from a full menu decorated with more than 100 items, including gourmet pizzas, smoked ribs, and cocktails infused with the spirit of Daniel Day-Lewis. Bartenders at the lobby bar dole out glasses of premium liquors, wines, and draft beer before and after shows.