Winning a Michelin star is something ambitious chefs spend a lifetime dreaming of and working toward. A star from the world-famous Michelin Guide promises life-changing benefits: Money. Customers. Fame. There’s even a term for it: the Michelin effect.
The solution to one of the wine industry’s most costly and threatening problems may be coming soon from Lodi — and it will trot out on four feet, tails a-wagging, with noses keener than even advanced scientific equipment.
Coffee is a $225 billion industry in the U.S., providing 1.6 million jobs. But are we growing, roasting and making the best cup possible? That’s what an innovative program at the UC Davis School of Chemical Engineering has been working on for the past 10 years.
The first sip of Pila Kava hits like a low dose of novocaine, numbness spreading across the surface of the tongue. This soon fades into a background hum as the flavors bloom. The first note is the earth and spice of the kava itself — the root of a pepper variety native to the South Pacific.
Some moments in pop culture deserve a toast, such as when Season 3 of “Star Trek: Picard” sent critics and “Trekkies” on a warp-speed ride of jubilation, most hailing it the franchise’s best story in decades. Thanks to a small winery in Lodi, enthusiasts who were on that galactic high could pour their pleasure right into a glass.
Chris Gibase, president and chief operating officer of Sky River Casino in Elk Grove, goes so far as to assert that Sky River “is a place for foodies.” And the new casino, which opened in August 2022 and is owned by the Wilton Rancheria tribe, isn’t the only local gambling spot that’s placing its bets on food service.
When the restaurant opens in late spring, you will still be able to get a chili dog or a hamburger griddled to a dark sear on the flat top grill. But you can also order a hot dog called a “Catalina wine mixer”: chicken based and topped with kale, avocado and pungent garlic-anchovy mayonnaise.
Go by the business that recently opened in the former home of Waffle Square Country Kitchen and there are still some remnants from what was there before, such as the brown pleather booths. Otherwise, though, something very different is going on here.
Just as meat alternatives have expanded, so have the eating patterns of people interested in plant-based food. A diverse set of diners are embracing plant-based restaurants, thanks to the proliferation of less restrictive plant-based diets.
From Japanese, omakase translates roughly to “I leave it up to you.” It is a covenant in which the diner cedes all decision-making power to the chef.