Michelle is a Bay area-based freelance writer who reports frequently on wine, food and travel. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, and she is a wine and spirits columnist at palatepress.com.
Once upon a time, a quarter- century ago, mischievous twins David and Phil Ogilvie and their friend Tom Merwin played on their family farms in bucolic Clarksburg. Time and circumstance eventually led all three back to the family farms and, in March of 2014, they decided to do together what all three had dreamed of separately: open a winery.
New Yorkers Jim and Tessa traveled west from New York to California. They met up with friends in the capital who gave them a tour of Old Sac, pointed out Indo Cafe and mentioned casually that the owners were looking to sell. It was kismet.
Gochujang, as you may or may not know, is Korean chili paste. It’s surprisingly delicious in chocolate, at least when in the hands of Puur Chocolat owner Ramon Perez.
It’s a rainy Wednesday, and Chef Michael Warring is mulling over the night’s menu in his eponymous restaurant, enjoying a moment of calm before seating begins in an elegantly appointed dining room that gives nary a hint of its former life as an ice cream parlor.
The menu you get at the onset of your dining experience is much more than a laundry list of food and prices; it’s the opening volley in a courtship dance between your taste buds and the kitchen.
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.
Imagine you’re a successful businessman, but what you really want to be is a professional baseball player. You’re so sure of yourself that you begin spending nights and weekends studying and training as if Major League Baseball will soon be calling. And then they actually do, and at your first at-bat, you clear the bases.
That’s pretty much how things happened when Granite Bay pharmacist Dr. Grover Lee decided to become an award-winning winemaker.
On a warm afternoon, soft spring winds are blowing across the campus at UC Davis. In a building on the university’s west corner, Cindy Garcia is hosing pools of blood down a drain. She places a pig skull on an inspection table, washes her hands and steps into the sunlight just as the parking lot is beginning to fill with shoppers toting grocery bags.
In the past two decades, bucolic Sonoma and Marin counties have been at the center of a cheese renaissance that has seen the rise of dozens of artisan and farmstead products, including cheese made from the milk of sheep, goat and water buffalo. With nearly 30 cheesemakers and creameries opening their doors to visitors, exploring curd culture has never been easier.
If the words “corporate retreat” conjure up visions of falling backward into a trust catch, fervently hoping that Bob and Sally from accounting step up to prevent your impending head trauma, you’re a little behind the times.
Pulling up to the bland business park that is home to La Tourangelle’s nut oil bottling facility gives no indication of the nexus of culinary artistry housed inside.
But step through the doors and start talking to Matthieu Kohlmeyer, the energetic founder and CEO of the Woodland company, and you’ll discover that this quiet farming town is home to a vibrant French connection and a business that’s ridden the wave of consumer health trends and successfully plugged into the farm-to-fork movement.
On a late afternoon in the Caraccioli Cellars tasting room, the scrape of bar stools on the concrete floor signals the arrival of yet another couple exploring Monterey’s thriving wine scene.
At first glimpse, online classes sound like a revolutionary cure for numerous problems plaguing California universities. They allow scores of students to enroll in college for a nominal fee and gain access to top-notch professors from elite schools.