Sylvia Chan loved painting when she was a child, but the only formal training she received was in high-school art classes and while studying fashion design. Her love for the art stayed with her later in life, though, and she eventually founded Picasso and Wine, creating a supportive, stress-free environment where guests could exercise their passion for painting while getting guidance from local artists. These highly social art parties remain open to any skill level, and the studio provides all the paints, canvases, and brushes. Each session presents attendees with an original work—such as a city skyline or a fall landscape—and tasks them with creating a faithful rendition of the piece while using sips of wine, beer, or gourmet tea to jump-start their creative impulses. The instructors offer helpful tips for capturing the light or painting anti-theft symbols into the background, and they allow partygoers to take their pieces home afterward.
The steady rhythm of a chopping knife can be heard from behind the counters at Spooners Frozen Yogurt, where toppings are freshly prepared every day. Customers can decorate their cups of all-natural yogurt with morsels of fresh fruit, chunks of cookies, or nuts. Every flavor of the locally-sourced yogurt is made with no artificial dyes or preservatives.
David "Red" Cohen knows it is an odd combination, but Red's Dogs & Donuts is all about serving his favorite two foods. Hebrew National hot dogs crackle warmly alongside andouille sausages and brats crafted from smoked elk, pheasant, bison, alligator, and other meats. Mole sauce, chili, jalapeños, pickled red onions, and other toppings turn the hot dogs into a feast for patrons or a nightmare for an actuary calculating napkin-insurance premiums. A frosted, sprinkled, filled, and powdered array of more than 60 donuts make use of Red's secret batter recipe, which substitutes in potato flour to add extra fluff and crunch to the house-made treats. The donuts don fixings including maple glaze and bacon, and belgian waffles sport cherries and whipped cream or a sausage-and-egg scramble drizzled in syrup.
On average, it takes one year to invent a sandwich that meets the standards of Jason's Deli—countless combinations of breads and filling won't ever leave the test kitchen. Those that do follow a strict set of rules: no artificial trans fat, no high-fructose corn syrup, and flavors that come from freshness rather than additives. The results can be bitten into at hundreds of locations across America. At each, difficult choices abound between reubens and spicy-ranchero chicken wraps, or between a turkey club and a New Orleans-inspired muffaletta, spread with a family-recipe olive mix. Even those who don't want a sandwich still have to make tough decisions when they approach the salad bar brimming with organic fixings.
Despite the difficulties of selection, Jason's Deli prioritizes convenience. Its stores have organized a list of gluten-sensitive selections as well as healthy kids' meals, which come with sides of organic carrots or apples as opposed to other restaurants' deep-fried lard balls. The company also advocates for emotional health as fervently as it does nutrition—its Leadership Institute hosts workshops for employees on topics ranging from conflict resolution to finances to ethics.
Baristas stationed behind the counters at Maui Wowi Hawaiian pour aromatic mugs of authentic Kona coffee, and blend hormone-free dairy and fresh-fruit signature smoothies. Handpicked from Hawaii’s sprawling coffee plantations, Kona beans nestle inside 1-pound bags to caffeinate tongues with rich, heady flavors such as 100% Kona and Kona-light-roast varieties, perfect for brewing at home or mid-transatlantic flight. Frosty fruit smoothies ($3.50–$7.50) cool mouths with tropical flavors such as mango orange and piña colada, berry blends such as black raspberry and strawberry banana, or the citrus-fuelled power surge of a large lemon wave. Homemade yogurt concoctions brim with immune-boosting live and active cultures, and in-house-brewed sips of authentic Kona coffee ($1.50–$4.50) and espresso drinks ($3.50–$5) warm awaiting palms.