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Even though Portuguese explorers couldn't pronounce the Swahili name for the African bird's eye chili—pili-pili—the sailors fully embraced its flavor shortly after landing in the region known today as Mozambique. Intrigued by the small, fiery pepper, they combined it with aromatic doses of herbs, garlic, and lemon to create the first peri-peri sauce. That sauce eventually became a wildly popular marinade for poultry, and the tasty concoction made its way to South Africa over the next several centuries. There, in 1987, two friends decided to honor this culinary legacy by founding the first Nando's Peri-Peri restaurant. The eatery continued to remain true to its South African roots, even while expanding to encompass locations in 24 countries across four continents.

Beginning with fresh chickens that never see the inside of a kitchen freezer, the chefs furtively marinate the birds in a secret peri-peri sauce for 24 hours before grilling them over an open flame. Diners dictate the heat level of their order, requesting that the grilled chicken arrive relatively mild or that wings be slathered with even more incendiary spices. The succulent chicken can be plated with hearty side dishes—such as Portuguese-style rice with herbs and peppers or peas with mint—or served in the form of a sandwich, wrap, or pita. To complement the menus' African flavors, Nando's worldwide locations collectively feature more than 4,000 pieces of African artwork.

924 Ellsworth Dr
Silver Spring,
MD
US

At Jamachi Plastic Surgery & Medi-Spa, a diverse team of practitioners helps beautify clients from head to toenail. At the helm is plastic surgeon Dr. Emeka Onyewu, who has performed thousands of procedures—with a specialty in breast surgeries and liposuction—earning him a level of expertise that's been shared on news programs such as NBC 4. He's joined by Dr. Adaku Onukogu, a board-certified internist who administers flu shots and assists patients with managing their weight, overall health, and well-being. 

Nail technicians, massage therapists, and aestheticians head up Jamachi's spa services, which are performed at mani-pedi stations or in treatment rooms. Aesthetician Trina McIntosh draws upon postgraduate training at the International Dermal Institute when revivifying faces with custom blends of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. April Parnell softens hands and feet with such specialty ingredients as champagne, olive oil, and happy unicorn tears during mani-pedis, and massage therapists Nmaku Onyewu and Joel Price lure stress out of bodies with customized techniques.

8716 Georgia Ave
Silver Spring,
MD
US

Alexander C. Nnabue knows that caring for eyes is really about caring for people. After earning doctor of optometry degrees from both Imo State University in Nigeria and the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Dr. Nnabue found his own company to help restore patients' ocular health. What began in 1994 as a single storefront has blossomed into six Visual Eyes locations throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Today, the caring doctor leads biannual medical mission trips to Africa, including one trip that, according to a 2006 Nigeria World article, put thousands of eyeglasses and medications in the hands of those in need.

At Visual Eyes, he and his fellow optometrists use advanced technology to diagnose and treat various conditions. A trained technician manufactures lenses at an in-house lab, and Dr. Nnabue specializes in orthokeratology, a vision-correcting process that eliminates the need to wear glasses, contacts, or a sign that says, "Sorry for walking into you; I forgot my contacts or glasses." The team also prides itself on showcasing the latest designer frames, including Marc by Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, and Guess.

10313 Georgia Ave
Silver Spring,
MD
US

It's a charity race with a back story like none other: bloodthirsty demons have been working in your community's offices, living in its homes, attending its schools. And now they're on the hunt and people are running for their lives. Citizens might be booking it across a field, seemingly far from the chaos, when shapes emerge on the horizon dressed head-to-toe in vampires' telltale black clothes. If you're a citizen, be prepared to run. If you're a vampire?lock in your target.

That's just part of what you might experience on the Vampire 5K, a twilight fun run where participants can register as "citizens" or "vampires" and take off from two separate starting lines. Both camps eventually converge in a chase that finds vamps trying to convert their mortal counterparts to the dark side. Citizens, dressed in white, sport two garlic flags; if the flags are taken before runners cross their finish line, they switch to a black tee and chase citizens. After the race, a moonlit party finds both camps sipping bloody marys during a dance party and award presentation. The race benefits the Mission to Hear Foundation, which provides hearing aids to underprivileged children, adults, and whatever they're calling the age group that comes in between these days.

8200 Meadowbrook Lane
Chevy Chase,
MD
US

Supplying all materials, Art By The Glazz's artist-led painting sessions kindle brush-wielding talents during three-hour classes held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. New artists capture shapes and shadows inspired by a number of pastoral- or wine-themed templates, with step-by-step instruction from pigment professionals. One complimentary glass of wine emboldens the pigment-shy, and those with a thirst for more can visit an onsite cash bar. Aprons protect against stray paint, wine drops, and the tears of fruit trapped in a beautiful but airless eternal present, although Art By The Glazz recommends wearing old clothes. Finished masterpieces chaperone each artist home, ready to be mounted on a wall or hung from the dining-room chandelier.

During Cookies and Milk sessions, kids or teens settle down with a complimentary dessert amid canvases ripe for realizing 2-D tableaux. During each session, one featured painting of a subject, such as the beach, Green Eggs and Ham, or Mickey Mouse, is perched mid-studio to kindle students’ imaginary fires. The company also hosts corporate team-building events, small groups, and birthday parties, giving guests an enjoyable ice-breaking activity.

12521 Prosperity Drive
Silver Spring,
MD
US

In the dead of night in 1976, the Abi-Najm family boarded a cargo ship bringing only what they could carry; an escape from Civil War in Lebanon called for a quick getaway. They traveled across the ocean to safety in Arlington, Virginia, where they were able to open a small cafe in 1979. To save money, they changed the eatery?s name from ?Athenian Taverna? to ?Lebanese Taverna? so that they only had to update one word on the eatery?s marquee.

From these modest beginnings grew a series of eateries that today comprises of six cafes and four quick-service caf?s, all still operated by the Abi-Najm clan. One look at the menu explains the success: chicken shawarma, spicy hummus, lamb tartare?all Lebanese staples that helped the restaurant earn a spot on Northern Virginia magazine's list of 25 Iconic Eats. There's even kibbeh, or stuffed meatballs, which blend ground beef, lamb, almonds, and pine nuts into fried spheres suitable for felling miniature bowling pins on top of the table before entrees arrive. The decor is as striking as the cuisine; inside the Bethesda location, light filters through the colored glass lanterns that decorate the dining room.

933 Ellsworth Dr.
Silver Spring,
MD
US

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