Food for Thought

Acuity with Chris Jarosz

Chris Jarosz is the founder of Broderick Restaurant & Bar and co-owner of the Wicked ‘Wich food truck. This year, he also took on the overhaul of midtown’s Capital Dime restaurant and its sister eatery, Trick Pony, which have been folded into the Broderick Roadhouse family of restaurants. It’s not all glamorous, but it is pretty tasty.

Dec 15, 2014 Christine Calvin
Stuart Spencer is the owner of St. Amant Winery in Lodi. He and eleven other local winemakers have joined together to launch the Lodi Native Project, an effort to produce all-natural Zinfandels that highlight the truest flavors of Lodi’s oldest vineyards.

Going Native

A breakdown of the Lodi wine scene

Zinfandel from Lodi’s Mokelumne River American Viticultural Area comes in two main styles: west side and east side. West-side vineyards, with their shallower soil, have lusher growth and tend to be earthier or loamier, sometimes pungently compost-like. East-side vineyards have a lower water table, producing smaller clusters and smaller fruit, which generally have more color, tannin and acidity.

Dec 9, 2014 Russell Nichols
(Shutterstock)

Taste the Vineyard

Lodi vintners are taking a minimalist approach to create all-natural Zinfandels from heritage vines

You might say the old grapevines look otherworldly. With their contorted limbs and thick trunks, these Zinfandel vines look more like squat alien-trees, twisting up out of a sandy 3-acre spit of land in southwest Lodi. “Look how this vine is growing here,” says Stuart Spencer, owner of St. Amant Winery. He’s standing in the dirt at nearby Marian’s Vineyard, pointing to a vine with a hole as big as a fist. “The vine just splits over time.”

Dec 9, 2014 Russell Nichols
(shutterstock)

Wine Tunes

Family-owned and operated Harmony Wynelands in Lodi is musically motivated

The wine tasting room at Harmony Wynelands in Lodi was built with a far different purpose. Bob Hartzell, an aficionado of old-fashioned theater pipe organs and former president of the California Winegrape Growers Association, built the hall to house his pride and joy – a 1921 organ that was once installed in the Castro Theatre in San Francisco. The room’s acoustics are specially designed to show off the organ’s commanding sound.

Dec 8, 2014 Lisa Renner

Shaken or Stirred?

Cocktails with local flair

Bartenders around the region have provided us with their best bets for holiday cocktails featuring gin, rye and bourbon — spirits that are now being produced locally by craft distillers.

Dec 5, 2014 Shannon Haslinger
(Shutterstock)

Drop by Drop

After 81 years, microdistillers are gaining ground against Prohibition-era laws

In a makeshift distillery tucked  into a Rancho Cordova business park, Greg Baughman mashes and ferments batches of his Wheel House American Dry Gin using a still he designed and built himself, a gleaming vision of stainless steel and copper. But actually sell you a bottle? For that he needs to hire a middleman due to regulatory hurdles dating back to Prohibition.

Dec 5, 2014 Michelle Locke
(shutterstock)

Speed Isn’t Everything

Snail of Approval Awards celebrate local business and the slow food movement

Sacramento is America’s Farm-to Fork capital for many reasons: fresh, seasonal food available year-round, almost 8,000 acres of boutique farms, and the largest Certified Farmers’ Market in California. Last month, Slow Food Sacramento recognized seven local businesses for their commitment to providing products and services that use regionally grown seasonal produce, honoring them with the Snail of Approval award and decal.

Nov 19, 2014 Shannon Haslinger

How Do You Brew?

Make sure you get the best out of every beer festival

Pick your poison, find a pairing, and let us know your favorite local brewery in the Capital Region. 

Unfortunately, you cannot participate in this poll, because your browser is not enabled for Javascript and/or cookies.
Oct 30, 2014 Lily Therens
Berryessa Brewing Co. is as much a community center as it is a taproom. Patrons can regularly find fresh produce for sale near the food truck and pickup Wiffle ball games.

Winters Brew

Berryessa Brewing Co. reaps the benefits of committed regulars but may soon face growing pains

On hot summer weekends, a 20-barrel brewery west of Winters overflows with patrons. They flood the taproom and crowd around shaded picnic tables, sipping beer while soaking in live music. A few kids play baseball in the gravel lot. Others pull wooden blocks from an oversized Jenga set by the food truck. Some are locals, but many come from Davis, Sacramento and beyond to get a taste of whatever Berryessa Brewing Co. has on tap for the week.

Oct 20, 2014 Russell Nichols
Todo un Poco co-owner Marie Mertz is an art lover and collector. All of the restaurant’s paintings are original works she commissioned.

A Little Bit of Everything

Delightful global fusion in a faceless Elk Grove bistro

Todo un poco means “a little bit of everything,” and that’s exactly how co-owner Marie Mertz describes her strategy. She runs the bistro’s operations, cooks, builds menus, chooses the daily specials, buys fresh produce, trains staff, handles community relations and hand-selects her wines. She’s proud of being in business for so many years, but “who’s counting when you’re having fun?” she says.

Sep 9, 2014 Laura Coyne Steel
Summer hops and amber malt

(shutterstock)

Go Brew Yourself

Video: How to make homemade beer away from home

The whole DIY video tutorial trend might be good if you want to concoct a hair conditioner with condiments, practice putting on lipstick with crayons or make pencils float in midair. But if you’re trying to brew your own beer at home, you’re going to need a bit more than a six-minute YouTube clip.

Aug 12, 2014 Russell Nichols