Inside the kitchen of Marcello’s, teardrop chandeliers cast their warm gaze over copper cookware and a dining table that wraps around the stove. Here, Chef Marcello sheds light on the techniques of preparing Italian cuisine during cooking classes and private parties. In such events, up to 12 guests can sip wine while he picks recipes secretly stored in his chef’s hat and demonstrates how to assemble artful dishes, which may include risotto with chicken and spinach or pasta with fresh tomato mozzarella and basil. Although the private dining experience is the easiest way to witness Chef Marcello’s passion for sharing the cuisine of his native Italy, guests can also enjoy his dynamic entrees without front-row seats at the chef’s table. In the restaurant’s dining room, floor-to-ceiling murals depict the Tuscan countryside and ferns adorn honey-colored walls as diners anticipate hearty meals. Atop crisp white tablecloths, servers present platters of housemade pastas and veal prepared seven ways. The knowledgeable staff is also happy to recommend pairings from the vast Italian wine list.
At Westwood Gallery, owners Mike and Lore Fitzsimmons celebrate their love for beautiful artwork with museum-quality preservation and framing of paintings and pictures. Everyone on staff boasts a background in art, allowing them to match a painting's style and period with the perfect frame and also consider the decor back at the customer's house. They can create original oil paintings from photographs, restore weathered paintings and photos, and brighten up bathroom vanities and bedroom walls with custom-framed mirrors. As longtime residents of Westwood, the owners promote the local creative community by hosting gallery parties, setting up photography exhibits, and challenging passersby to define "art" in one sentence or less.
It didn't take long in life for Tiffani Ursillo to realize she loved spending time in the weight room more than her friends, but it took years for her personal passion to transform into a full-blown career. When her job in corporate America disappeared, she decided to earn a personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and pursue her life-long dream of being a fitness guru. She started training her friends and developing new exercise routines with her husband, eventually growing these group sessions into TNT Bootcamps.
Today, Ursillo helps men and women discover fitter versions of themselves via intense boot-camp sessions designed to exhaust and bolster the muscles. She supplements her boot-camp regimens with one-on-one personal consultations and free nutritional counseling, which is the only way to help bruised apples emotionally heal after being plucked from their favorite branch.
The son of an Irish father and a Mexican mother, Jose O'Brien got his first taste of fusion cuisine as a child in New Mexico. While his grandmothers colluded on Mexican-Irish holiday meals, Jose acted as translator, taste-tester, and pint-sized UN Secretary General. The cuisine born in that kitchen lives on today in a restaurant named after Jose and located far from its regions of origin.
As one might expect, the menu features both traditional cuisine such as the casa burrito with shredded chicken, pico de gallo, and guacamole; and slightly more unusual combinations such as the Irlandes burrito, with ground beef, Irish bacon, bangers, mash, and cheddar cheese. It's also punctuated by a huge burger section, brimming with items like the Tijuana Philly, drowning in mushrooms, jalapeños, cheese, and barbecue sauce; or Jose's burger, a house favorite that comes with bacon, avocado, green chili, and the coup de grace, a fried egg. Those with a taste for unaltered Emerald Isle cuisine can get their fill as well: Jose O'Briens makes a mean shepherd's pie and a quite personable bangers and mash.
The track and field training staff at SCI has coached and trained more than 30,000 athletes—and that statistic is always growing. At his training facility, Sports Conditioning Institute, he and his team encourage athletes with sports-specific training, focusing on games including hockey and volleyball, and lead fit-seekers in two boot-camp styles. The common thread running through every workout is Vaccaro’s focus on avoiding overstressing bodies and preventing injuries. He emphasizes short and frequent workouts, for example, rather than long routines that can lead to sustaining injury, becoming burnt out, or accidentally running into another country without your passport. To complement coached workouts, the gym hosts an array of free weights and cardio machines for solo sessions.
Helmed by a team of passionate climbing coaches, both of The Gravity Vault's locations surround climbers with more than 13,000 square feet of climbing space. Walls tower past 35 feet, mimicking such natural rock formations as overhangs, keyhole arches, and slabs, and bouldering areas challenge climbers with a latticework of problems that—unlike most of life's—can't simply be solved with dynamite and a pair of roller skates. Visitors can choose from up to 60 top-rope stations, trusting either the trained staff or a certified fellow climber to man the ropes while they scramble to the summit. When not dangling from a hold or saving lost kittens from a rappel ledge, members can bulk up in the cardiovascular-training area.