One couple commands the hardwood dance floor, strutting under colored lights and glass chandeliers as well-wishers cheer them on from iron-wrought balcony railings, or wander across the foyer’s marble floors on their way to the intricately carved dark-wood bar. The Sofia ballroom, one of the many venues at Noor, host the reception hall’s memory-making parties, which range from weddings to performances by Pasadena Symphony pianists. The hall’s attentive staffers also oversee gatherings beneath the Ella ballroom’s crystal chandeliers or on the terrace patio, where a circle of white curtains and climbing ivy surrounds a starburst-shaped mosaic-tile fountain that gurgles compliments to passing glasses of champagne.
A resident culinary crew feeds the hall’s hungry revelers with Mediterranean-Californian fusion dishes. Noor's chefs devise many of their tapas-style dishes in the reservation-only Ella restaurant, and frequently feature seasonal, locally grown ingredients. Eclectic seating varies throughout Noor's rooms, from lounge sofas and armchairs to high-backed formal dinner chairs, blending modern and vintage aesthetics more smoothly than photos of Benjamin Franklin wearing a Members Only jacket.
Magical Playground gathers play structures, toys, games, and kid-friendly activities within an indoor, socks-only facility. Tykes can bound about in the Magical castle bouncer, navigate their way through the jungle gym, ascend levels in challenging video games, or compete against their pals in rounds of air hockey or foosball. In between frolicking sessions, they can reenergize with healthy meals and snacks in the eating area. A separate baby-development center accommodates visiting toddlers with an age-appropriate bouncer and slide, as well as educational toys such as dolls that quote Nietzsche whenever you squeeze their toes.
Alongside regular open-play sessions, Magical Playground hosts weekly events including Tuesday arts and crafts, a complimentary Wednesday-afternoon story time, and free Spanish lessons every Friday. As their kids bounce between activities, parents can surf the web via free WiFi or leave their children at Magical Playground for supervised games, movie nights, and playtime between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. any night of the week.
During the 90-minute techniques class, you and another person will have the rare opportunity to observe a chef in its natural environment as the culinary wizard offers a demonstration on a given subject. Each class concludes with a small tasting at the end, offering a response to the puddles of mouthwater that will have gathered on the floor by that time. Upcoming mini-skills class topics include summer-baking techniques on May 23, offering a solution for cooks long crushed by the quandaries of cobblers, crumbles, and crisps; canning on June 20, to help preserve summertime treats from the advances of time and army ants; and tomatoes on July 25, with tips on sauces, chutneys, preserves, and recipes using the apple's cooler cousin. Groupon users can also apply this deal toward two spots in one of Old Town Cooking School's wine-styles classes ($50) and pay the $24 difference out of pocket.
Rather than engraving offerings in a block of unforgiving granite as most restaurants do, Happy Trails Catering keeps eaters on their phalanges with a weekly rotating menu of fresh, eclectic entrees, sandwiches, and salads. Previous patrons have enjoyed delicate quiches (tomato, basil, and parmesan or roasted vegetables and goat cheese, $9.50), hearty lasagnas (basil pesto or beef and marinara, $9.50), and a delectable meatloaf sandwich on ciabatta ($9.50). Mindful masticators wishing to achieve a Zenlike meat-and-bread balance can indulge in gourmet sandwiches ($8.50) such as the Nordic sage-roasted turkey breast with lingonberry cream cheese and caper mayonnaise or the herbivore-friendly roasted vegetable with lemon-dill mayonnaise and provolone cheese.
The Nose Wine Bar collects rare and unusual vintages from across the globe, pairing bouquets with a range of hot and cold small plates amid the soft light of flickering candles. A rotating wine menu culls the creations of French, Italian, and Californian vintners and includes three-wine-tasting flights to tempt indecisive diners and three-headed wine critics alike. Rows of gleaming bottles line the walls as creamy leather seating surrounds intimate two- and four-person tables. On Friday and Saturday, live musicians vibrate wineglasses and awaiting eardrums with solo melodies.
For over 30 years, Kilroy's Sandwich Factory has delivered hot entrees, sandwiches, salads, and boxed lunches—all made from scratch—to events, parties, and a sprawling list of clients. House-baked breads house toppings such as turkey, ham, or roast beef to create personal sandwiches or massive 6-foot subs. Other options include hot entrees such as carne asada, lasagna, and tilapia, and cheese, meat, or vegetable platters.