Actor and comedian Russell Brand frees chortles from belly prisons with his unique style of manic, irreverent humor. Riffing on the nature of fame and celebrity, Brand regales audiences with edgy observations and outsized characters to delight audiences grown bored with tamer comedians and telephone time-of-day services. Visiting a series of colleges, the tour filters the eccentricities of American universities through Brand's singular wit. George Mason University's recently renovated Patriot Center contains the glee in arena-style seating, ensuring everyone has a clear view of both Brand and the cricket whispering jokes in his ear.
Even from outside, where the red-orange door and window frames pop against the dark-gray façade, it’s clear that Marotta's takes contemporary eating to a new level. Inside, patrons immediately notice that their traditional menus have been replaced with Apple iPads. And once minds are made up, attentive servers place orders through iPods Touch, feeding tickets immediately into the kitchen. Even credit and debit cards can be conveniently swiped right at the table. Though traditionalists can still pay at the register or place their orders with Old-World Italian robots, owners Chris and Dee Marotta hope the digital options broaden and improve their customers' overall experiences.
To ensure their 50-seat bar-risto is steeped in just as much traditional flavor as technological convenience, Chris and Dee hired Executive Chef Edward Bradt. Chef Bradt brings his culinary experience as the former head chef at The Van Dyck Lounge to classic offerings such as juicy filet mignon, veal, and seafood in a cornucopia of sauces, from a tart, sherry-infused marinara to a peppery madeira demi-glace. A full wine menu assures a complementary pairing with any of the 12-inch red or white pizzas, each slow baked in a wood-fired oven with pancetta, goat cheese, and fresh basil. Patrons can two-hand signature sausage burgers as they attempt to ask muffled questions of Marotta's tech guru, Joe Leverett, about the restaurant's other wireless wonders, including tabletop children's games and iPad-accessible valet service.
Legend has it that in 1901, on his way from the Adirondacks to Washington, where President McKinley had just been shot, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt made a pit stop in Ballston Lake. There, he allegedly ate a meal at Carney's Tavern—then known as the Ballston Lake Hotel—and used its telephone, one of the area's first. Historians aren't totally convinced of Roosevelt's appearance, but none dispute the rich heritage of the restaurant, which has nourished diners since 1877.
These days, chef Michael Pallozzi continues that legacy as the head of the tavern's kitchen. Along with timeless options such as grilled reuben sandwiches and veal parmesan, he creates more contemporary dishes, such as pizzas topped with shrimp and wild-leek pesto. Chef Michael's feasts unfold in a spacious dining room enhanced with historical touches, including an original tin ceiling and a trolley rail now serving as a bar footrest.
One step inside The Epicurean Bistro & Wine Bar and visitors are transported to a French village complete with tiled awnings, lampposts, and yellow-brick walls that ascend into a sky-like ceiling. The authentic French atmosphere was created by founding partner Claire, a French-Canadian and consummate traveller, and French-born executive chef Dominique Brialy, whose training has taken him all over the world. Working together, their restaurant was named named Best French by Metroland in 2012, won the Award of Excellence in 2013 from Wine Spectator, and earned a mention in the inaugural edition of Best Chefs America. They pour attention into the eatery's details, from the rustic wall sconces to the sage-scented parsnip purée that accompanies the roasted venison. Claire's husband and business partner Sandy has curated a wine cellar filled with 2,200 bottles from every region of France and internationally sourced varietals that complement every meal. Guests may also order from a full bar that features an extensive craft and imported beer selection, as well as an array of whiskeys, single malts, and bourbons.
Chef Chad Konopasek and Sous Chef Daishawn Wade share a taste for the flavors of New England. Each of the seasonally inspired dishes at Potters Restaurant at Sterup Square is filled with northeastern charm, whether it’s the organic Berleberg cheese from Berle Farm in Hoosick, the fresh Vermont vegetables, or the handmade Bennington pottery upon which they’re served. The restaurant’s menus reflect the changing of the year, spotlighting parmesan-crusted salmon and double-battered fried chicken with homemade gravy in the summer, and hearty stews and Vermont mac 'n' cheese in the winter. While an outdoor patio shelters patrons beneath umbrellas and mood-setting firefly orchestras whenever seasonally appropriate, Potters Restaurant's interior treats guests to carpeted flooring and a toasty stone fireplace year-round.
Since 1981, Lorraine-Michaels Dance Centre's cast of passionate instructors has been helping students of all ages and abilities confidently express themselves through the art of dance. They lead these students through sashays, shimmies, and kicks with an exhaustive roster of dance and fitness classes that ranges from ballroom dancing to Hip Hop to kickboxing. During dance classes, they teach students to perform fundamental moves with confidence and musicality, covering a variety styles—including the Argentine tango, waltz, swing, and salsa—tending to bites from the dancing bug or disgruntled dance partners. They motivate students into performance shape in dance-inspired fitness classes such as Zumba, a regimen of easy-to-follow dance moves set to high-energy Latin tunes. In kickboxing sweat sessions, they inspire students to kick and punch their way toward their fitness goals, effectively toning muscles and scaring away the ghosts of gladiators past, while pole dancing classes build strength and teach students how to spin and climb.