Named Best Honey in 2008 by the Dallas Observer, Round Rock Honey's 100% natural local wildflower honey is harvested from more than 90 sites by owners Konrad and Elizabeth Bouffard and their crews of trained beekeepers. With precision, they remove the liquid gold from hives by centrifuge, ensuring that pollen, trace minerals, and complex sugars are never compromised during the honey harvest. They then pour the honey through a stainless-steel sieve to remove potential bee legs and wings, wax caps, and miniature tiaras before bottling it and selling it to specialty stores, farmer's market visitors, and online customers.
A similar procedure happens in other parts of the country at Round Rock's beekeeping schools. During classes, Konrad Bouffard and Beekeeping Academy teachers impart their beekeeping knowledge upon suited-up students while they extract honey from a live beehive. Along the way, novices learn about the finer points of raising bees and keeping them healthy, as well as bee handling and lullaby-buzzing.
Humor, song, and drama all unfold at the ACT's historic theater—originally opened in 1910—which blends austere neoclassicism with the occasional baroque flourish. The theater was built during the reconstruction after the 1906 earthquake, only to be struck by 1989's Loma Prieta earthquake, surviving significant damage and undergoing an extensive renovation and seismic stabilization that have enabled it to continue staging fine drama and overcome its reoccurring earthquake nightmares.
The staccato beat of conga drums rises over the deep voice of a bass guitar and the higher trills of the timbales and piano. Head dancer Evan Margolin and his bevy of experienced instructors lead students in classes that take beginners through basic footwork and salsa rhythms, with intermediate and advanced sessions offering salsa aficionados more challenging instruction. The social class structure—partners rotate throughout every session—creates a low-pressure learning environment and keeps dancers from scrambling to locate a partner or human-shaped tupperware container. The one-hour beginner classes are mostly filled with salsa novices and new dancers, and Dance SF's experienced and engaging local salsateers are patient and friendly when showing new students how to bust well-timed moves. During intermediate classes, which require six months or more of social dancing experience, students focus on timing and cross-body leads with turns. After some evening classes, new dancers are invited to join an all-night salsa party where they can put their new moves in practice. Students should wear comfortable clothing, which includes dancing shoes, but does not include rear-flapped onesie pajamas.
A 2010 Best of the BayList coffee-shop nominee, Sugar Cafe's daytime, caffeinated digs mellow into a moody lounge by night. Mornings buzz on fresh brews by Bicycle coffee, an organic and sustainable brand of South American beans. Lunch favorites skew from flavorful egg-salad sandwiches ($7.95) to the Mangia! salad, a toss up of salami, chickpeas, roasted red peppers, red onion, and kalamata olives ($8.25). Blow up inflatable brunch dates for plates such as pancakes fully loaded ($7.95) or stuffed french toast, aptly shoved with lemon cream cheese, fresh blueberries, whipped cream, and seasonal fruit ($7.50). After 5 p.m., Sugar switches gears, crawling into its less-than-dark hole with help from a fireplace seating area and very important conversations. Watch wall-projected movies as you nosh on house sliders ($10) or the vegetarian-friendly truffle mac 'n' cheese ($8). Stay late to sip an array of freshly shaken martinis beneath the ethereal, purple glow, which attracts a cultural crosscut of art students, doctors, entrepreneurs, and people eaters.