Greek music reverberates into the open air as the rich smell of roasting lamb entices crowds walking into the annual Pasadena GreekFest in Santa Anita Park. Lined with stalls selling Greek wares and traditional Greek food, the fest celebrates Greek culture with three days of socializing, dancing, and lightening-bolt throwing. When not munching on honey-soaked bites of fried loukoumathes or shish kebabs, families can look at the goods for sale or scale the inflatable equipment in the kids’ fun zone.
Although they begin each day pristine and silent, Sauté Culinary Academy's spotless kitchen and gleaming countertops don't stay that way for long. Soon, cooking students of all ability levels fill the room for three-hour classes. Professional-chef instructors guide them through the intricacies of cooking three-course feasts that include an appetizer, main dish, and dessert. Depending on the day, counters may find themselves covered with seaweed and sushi rice as novice chefs learn to roll their own maki or dotted with flour and sugar from a cookie-baking session. In other classes, the instructors may spend their time revealing new ways of using pantry staples, demonstrating twists on the usual mashed potatoes, or alternative takes on cooking with chicken besides placing it on the engine during long car rides.
The certified instructors at Pilates Sculpt Studio forge strong muscles and mind-body connections through the system of exercise developed by Joseph Pilates. Pilates, the son of two gymnasts, devoted his lifetime to studying fitness. He eventually developed his signature Pilates method as a way to help heal old injuries and correct poor postures. His exercises and stretches, using the body as resistance, are especially useful for people who sit at their desks all day or sleep on lava rocks at night.
The percussiveness of Latin and ballroom music resounds through Sonata Room, where founders and decorated dancers Laura Powell and Brandon Kwae lead private and group dance classes. A champion of the International Grand Ball Championships and Emerald Ball Dancesport Championships, Laura brings her hard-earned talent to the classroom, where she has trained up-and-coming dancers for 25 years. Watching a televised dance championship first spurred Brandon onto the dance floor, his quickly developed skills eventually placing him on the podium in competition. Together, the duo now patiently and technically break down each dance step for their students without using intimidating tactics, such as dancing with the time-out chair. Their spacious, dimly lit, and wood-floored studio also hosts occasional events, including bimonthly ballroom-dance parties.
Since wrapping up the contents of their first grande burrito in 1974, The Original Peppers’ crew of chefs have continued to sate customers’ cravings for spicy, south-of-the-border fare thanks to their vast menu of Mexican food. Within the bustling kitchen, chefs can be found wrangling ingredients into traditional Mexican dishes ranging from burritos and enchiladas to fajitas and tostadas, crafting homemade tortillas on Wednesday and Thursday. While many dishes feature meats such as certified Angus beef and deep-fried pork, the culinary team also architects a host of seafood specialties starring jumbo scallops, seasoned halibut, and crab to appeal to the seafaring palates of humans and bears dressed like humans.
On 12 sunny courts at Arcadia Tennis Center, certified instructors help students learn the fundamentals of tennis and hone their playing skills. Under new management as of June 2012, the staff is dedicated to new beginnings, organizing group lessons for both juniors and adults, each with a low student-to-teacher ratio to ensure individual improvement. In addition to the beginners' lessons, Arcadia Tennis Center hosts youth summer camps and regular leagues, which merge healthy competition with the sport's social aspects, much like a football game's halftime debutante ball.