The cooks at Sips Bistro and Wine Shop use locally acquired and organic ingredients where possible in their classic menu of small plates, varietals, and espresso drinks. The intimate bistro setting—rendered warm by colorful murals of pastoral settings and elegant wood wine racks—hosts guests as they try refined eats such as a chicken, brie, and caramelized onion quesadilla, or a brined and herb-crusted bone-in pork chop. During wine flights, vino sippers may choose their own drinks from a temperature-controlled wine bar or the frigid palms of a grape-eating sprite. The company also occasionally hosts events such as champagne Sundays and special tastings.
After immigrating to America early in the 20th century, Emilio Guglielmo saved up for years before he was able buy a plot of land for his winery in 1925. In the years since, three generations of his family have run the vineyard and kept its Old World style alive. Large wooden beams, stone walls, and terracotta tiles surround guests in the tasting room, where they can sample carefully selected vintages. Each year, the winery produces nearly 40,000 cases, including the award-winning 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and Estate Petite Sirah, each of which took home gold medals in San Francisco’s International Wine Competition.
These days, you'll usually find Chef Ramiro crafting dishes in the kitchen at Tresetti's World Caff?. But before he arrived in downtown Modesto, Ramiro was paying his dues in the most glamorous way possible, working alongside famous chefs such as Wolfgang Puck and cooking for the likes of Bill Clinton, Dean Martin, and Jerry Lewis.
It seems that Ramiro learned a thing or two from catering to the stars. At Tresetti's, the chef transforms locally sourced ingredients into stunning interpretations of global cuisine. Ramiro and his team have a particular knack for pairings; their dinner menu alone features roasted garlic and brie with a crusty baguette and lollipop-style coconut shrimp with pineapple salsa. To help you navigate, Ramiro has even studded his menu with little flags that show each dish's favorite Olympic national team.
Lee Palleschi isn't interested in making a mediocre vodka. That's why he corrals white corn from local purveyors, then distills the mixture five times to transform it into a crisp, clean beverage. His handcrafted Cold House Vodka creations come in a variety of dangerous flavors, from the signature premium to the bloody-mary-complementing cilantro to the java-fueled mocha. In addition, Palleschi and his staff make cocktail crafting easy on their customers thanks to recipes such as Strawberry Bliss, which stars Cake Batter vodka just like grandma's birthday cake.
Barley & Wine initiates beer-lovers into the world of home brewing with a panoply of beer kits, bottling equipment, and thorough classes on the art of brewing itself. Regardless of the medium, students learn the intricacies of the different brewing processes, from fermentation and malt extract to using yeast or choosing the proper equipment. During in-person courses, accomplished home brewers divulge secrets they've learned after living inside a fermentation barrel for three months. Their online shop contains all of the necessary equipment as well, with ingredients, tubing, and books on the subject.
Val Du Vino Winery resides in a nearly 100-year-ol barn at the west end of Murphys's Main Street. The boughs of ancient oaks shade the property, adding to the winery's bucolic beauty. Its quaint exterior conceals a lovingly restored interior with plenty of modern amenities, such as a recently refurnished tasting room and an impressively equipped kitchen. That kitchen serves as the playground of Jeannine Hebel, co-owner, operator, and resident chef at the winery. Drawing on her training in French cuisine, she makes new menus to suit every event that comes through, from simple tastings to full-blown weddings.
The other half the winery's duties??the winemaking itself??belongs to Jonathon Phillips. Phillips selects his grapes by hand from the crops of local vineyards, producing wine only in small batches because he can only carry so many grapes, probably. He shares these creations with visitors as long as stocks last, though members of the winery's wine club are always first in line to get a taste or buy a bottle.