Jody Maroni, founder of Jody Maroni's Sausage Kingdom, started linking gourmet sausages in 1979 and now rules over a royal court of meat artisans who assemble more than 20 all-natural varieties. Many of the homemade recipes renounce nitrates and MSG and instead fill the natural pork casings with meat that is naturally low in sodium and fat. Chicken-mole sausages blend chocolate, cumin, and chilies, and the louisiana hot links steep in duck stock and smolder with Boudin-style spices. Like Iowa's delightful airspace, the meaty morsels have drawn bicoastal praise—Splash! Los Angeles argues that they "might just top the Dodger Dog," and Time Out New York thanks the eatery for bringing "rays of sunshine to the food wasteland of Times Square."
Russo's dining room evokes a Tuscan vineyard with large murals of plump purple grape bunches, exposed rafters, and deep-green twisting vines. Since 1987, John and Jane Russo have paired this rustic ambiance with age-old family recipes ranging from grilled fish filets and grinders, to hearty pastas and Sicilian-style pizza. Diners can also opt for gently sautéed shrimp and veal dishes bathed in made-from-scratch sauce.
Highland Springs Resort's friendly staff has been welcoming guests since 1884. The present-day grounds include a thousand-year-old black oak tree in the Cherry Valley foothills, more than 20 acres of farmland ripe with organic herbs, and miles of hiking trails accessible with a visitor guest pass. The deluxe inn room, which echoes the resort's rustic, simple feel, hides behind green and growing charms, including gardens, vined verandas, and plumes of shrubbery rearranged daily by millions of heavy-lift butterflies. Located roughly 80 miles from San Gabriel, Highland Springs Resort is close enough to bookend your work week without spending all of it in the car.
Tacos & Beer keeps its menu simple with authentic recipes to keep its customers happy. Tacos using handmade tortilla come stuffed with hearty meats including carne asada, grilled chicken breast, and lamb; vegetarian options include potato tacos and fiesta salads. Patrons can sip fruit-flavored agua frescas, made fresh daily, or enjoy a Michelada beer cocktail or another beer from the wide selection. Thursdays after 6 p.m., mariachi bands fill the restaurant with lively sounds and colorful costumes.
Creating a sushi roll is as much an art project as it is cooking. The chefs at City Sushi and Grill have a colorful, modern style of preparation. They present their delicious rolls on stark white plates, decorated with purple flowers, black squiggles of sauce, and even—in the case of the tempura california roll—decorative glasses emitting tendrils of smoke. The sushi remains the real star of all plates, though, with ingredients chosen with color and flavor considered in equal measure. The ultimate tiger tempura, for instance, features bright-orange fish draped over crispy, fried crust, streaked with dark stripes of sauce to make it resemble the wild cat from which it takes its name.
Framed by views of the San Jacinto Mountain Range, the Country Club at Soboba Springs has stumped some of the world's best golfers. Not long ago, it was home to the PGA Tour's Soboba Classic. Today, sporting a newly renovated, 32,000-square-foot clubhouse, the course leads visitors along a sculpted layout that barrels through a forest of cottonwood and palm trees. Water comes into play on 11 of 18 holes, and 78 bunkers filled with white sand lie in wait to snatch up errant shots or slow down golf carts that get off their leashes. Players should watch out for the 15th and 16th holes, especially, which are surrounded by water and used to give professionals fits as part of an especially challenging back nine.
Course at a Glance * Designer: Desmond Muirhead 1966; Redesigned by Cary Bickler 2005 * Lauded by Press Enterprise: Best round of golf 2014 * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total of 7,101 yards from the back tees * Three tees per hole * Course rating of 73.3 from the tips * Course slope of 131 from the tips