Julie Berger's memories are saturated with images of dancers— teachers who inspired her, students she worked with, and professionals she revered. Entranced by the beautiful and transformative art form, Julie practiced dance throughout her life, attending intensive dance programs, performing in competitions, and teaching at local dance centers. Julie discovered salsa dancing while studying in England, and she instantly fell in love with its sultry movements and lively steps. Determined to share the newfound style with others, Julie founded her own salsa-dancing studio.
At Salsa in the Suburbs Dance Studio, Julie and her staff of passionate dancers lead classes in a variety of styles, including salsa, ballroom, and belly dance. The instructors work with students of all levels, helping them master form, technique, and rhythms. The teachers also offer children's classes in ballet, tap, and Zumba, ideal for youngsters trying to be more active or hoping to include a lively dance section in their next chemistry presentation.
An Exotic Ambiance
Bolts of crimson and green fabric embellished with golden patterns adorn the walls of Fez Moroccan Restaurant. Seated atop cushioned stools, diners surround the room's low-slung circular tables as Moroccan music echoes throughout the space and Friday and Saturday evenings herald the arrival of belly dancers. Collectively, these elements create an unmistakably Morroccan atmosphere.
A Feast for the Senses
As evidenced by the swirling aromas of saffron, honey and almonds, and harissa-cumin sauces, the chefs are equally committed to the task of capturing the essence of Morocco. In addition to the selection of kabobs and tagines, the menu features a variety of vegetarian as well as meat-laden couscous dishes. The savory smells mingle with the slightly sweet smoke of the fruit-flavored shisha smoldering in the hookahs.
What Do the Experts Say About Fez Moroccan Restaurant?
At two locations, Top Hat Dance Studio's passionate team of nationally certified teachers inspires dancers of all skill levels to shuffle off to Buffalo while hustling, salsaing, and waltzing across the dance floor. During group lessons, skilled instructors teach guests to untangle left feet while performing intricate, stylized choreography in the Lancaster location's two-step, ballet, and West Coast swing classes or the Philadelphia location's salsa, bachata, and advanced-level chicken-dance classes. Fledgling fleetfooters can supplement group sessions with private lessons, during which feet will learn to tap out Morse-code messages to a far-away dance partner while sharpening skills with one-on-one instruction. In addition to these dance classes, instructors also specialize in preparing engaged couples for their first dance and offer a number of specially designed youth programs.
Countless fiber-optic cables comprise a titanic custom chandelier in Vango Lounge & Sky Bar’s main dining room, casting a glow over tufted-velvet walls and plates of Japanese continental cuisine. During a typical meal, yellowtail and grilled vegetables may top small plates of crostini, and wasabi mashed potatoes sidle up to larger entrees such as braised-beef short ribs in sweet teriyaki sauce. As chefs compose eel and avocado rolls or slice delicate pieces of salmon sushi, bartenders mix specialty cocktails, such as the Sundance with Absolut Raspberri and Godiva white-chocolate liqueur. Luxe decorations—including wall nooks that display sleek bottles of vodka and a wall that holds 200 inlaid fresh roses every night—dapple the 8,000-square-foot lounge. Upstairs on the roof deck, revelers can admire the surrounding skyline from a seat at the bar, boogie on the dance floor to nightly DJs, or secretly read comic books under the covers of king-size lounge beds.
Just about every night at 8 p.m., two musicians take their seats at opposing baby grand pianos, and the show at Jollys Dueling Piano Bar begins. For the next, say, six or so hours, they'll belt out crowd favorites by Billy Joel and Lady Gaga, pausing to take audience requests or serenade a birthday honoree. But even without the rollicking performance, there would be plenty to draw people to the bar—namely, the food and drinks. A rotating list of craft beers and sweet cocktails complements a menu of spicy bacon burgers, goat cheese flatbreads, and housemade guacamole.
The chefs at Aki Japanese Fusion Restaurant & Sake Bar experiment with ingredients and recipes from a host of countries, but the flavors of Japan shine through most noticeably. Traditional Japanese entrees such as tempura-fried shrimp and teriyaki-glazed chicken offer heartier options, though the chefs also demonstrate a commitment to simple, elegant bites. The salmon nigiri "particularly rocked," according to Philadelphia Weekly, "melting on the tongue like pats of butter." Amid these familiar sushi-house staples, the menu also features a handful of items that embrace the fusion theme. Globetrotting menu options include broiled black cod marinated in miso paste and topped with mango salsa, and the tuna pancake—a tortilla layered with guacamole, raw tuna, and a spicy caviar and scallion sauce. Just like the menu, the decor has a similar fusion theme. "Although new Aki, with its red velvet booths and sleek black accents, may feel more nightclub than neighborhood sushi spot, it manages to play both roles relatively well," says Philadelphia magazine. Cherry-wood floorboards and a wall of exposed stonework help convey this homey, neighborhood spirit, while sunset-orange walls and soft lantern lighting create a lounge-like ambiance where sipping one of the bar's numerous sakes or specialty cocktails feels perfectly natural.