At Pizza Factory, handmade pizzas boast thin or thick crusts and as much or as little cheese as the customer wants. Fresh and savory toppings including mushrooms, green peppers, Canadian bacon, and Italian sausage decorate the pies, while sauces such as pesto and barbecue join traditional tomato as choices on the plentiful menu. But Pizza Factory isn't all about pizza, or even pasta, calzones, and soups, which it also whips up. The eatery houses a game arcade and bounce house where a No Bully Zone is established, allowing children a safe space to play and eat.
Exposed bricks form one wall of Clark's Corner's open, column-marked space, and cattle-brand marks cover a nearby wooden wall as patrons feast amiably on pastries, coffees, sandwiches, and salads. Content to let its guests take breaks from the wild efforts of everyday life, the café promotes itself as a center for friendly relaxation. A calendar of events alludes to fun-filled trivia or open-mic nights, and a gallery of previous happenings details visits from classic cars and talks with athletes.
Castle Oaks Golf Club’s 18-hole, par 71 course carpets 6,739 yards of rolling, oak-studded California countryside. Architect Brad Benz designed the scenic layout, which runs along Sutter and Mule Creeks as it winds through the Preston farmland and cozies up to Preston Castle, a landmark that dates back to 1894. At the beginning, middle, and end, the course sets treacherous obstacles in players’ paths. The first and 10th holes—which are positioned parallel to one another—are buttressed by a quintet of ponds that make tee shots harrowing endeavors, and four ponds hug the 18th fairway to ensure each round ends with dramatic flair.
Before taking to the first tee, clubbers warm up their swings at Castle Oaks’ driving range. Indoor and outdoor dining is available six days a week at Caddy’s Restaurant and Caddy’s Bar, allowing guests to enjoy air conditioning after a particularly hot round or attempt to count each blade of grass on the course’s fairways.
The inspiration behind Alebrijes Mexican Bistro is the stuff of nightmares?Pedro Linares? nightmares, to be specific. At the age of 30, the Mexican artist fell deathly ill. As he lay in bed, unconscious, he dreamt of a strange world filled with brightly colored monsters?a donkey with butterfly wings and a rooster with the head of an eagle among others?all shouting ?alebrijes, alebrijes, alebrijes!? When he awoke, he wanted to show his family and friends all that he had seen, so he replicated his first alebrije from brightly painted papier-m?ch?. To this day, his family still crafts these strange creatures to serve as unusual home accents.
Pedro Linares' monsters inspired Alebrijes Mexican Bistro's name, as well as its decor, which showcases brightly colored paintings of his nightmarish beasts. In 2012, the bistro also won the Lodi News Reader?s Choice award for Best Mexican Restaurant, thanks to its gourmet burritos and regionally inspired dishes such as oaxaca mole, guanajuato bacon-wrapped prawns, and guacamole prepared in the style of Mexico City. The restaurant also infuses their own tequilas.
Chef Iradh Herrera is very particular about the ingredients that enter his kitchen. He bans canned vegetables or dried herbs from passing through the door, working only with organic local produce and fresh herbs. When discussing his reasoning with reporters from Lodi News-Sentinel, Herrera explained, "fresh herbs brings out more essence in the dish. Dried [herbs] you have to use more, and [they don't] have the same taste. You can tell." The skilled chef peppers free-range beef and natural meats with fresh basil, thyme, and mint to whip up a variety of seasonal American dishes, such as a decadent bacon-wrapped meatloaf and a succulent roasted lamb rack. He favors eco-friendly seafood as well, preferring to cook with fish that were sustainably caught on fishing lines rather than deceitfully coaxed onto boats with "free algae" signs.
While Herrera bustles about the kitchen, bartenders squeeze fresh juices into specialty cocktails and uncork bottles of fine wine. Diners chatter animatedly at white-clothed tables, while others bask in the sun on the outdoor patio. On weekends, the elegant eatery often plays host to live music performances.
Don't be fooled by the name?owner Lauren Valle is doing much more than just transforming sandwiches into crispy, melty paninis behind the bright fa?ade of Panini Factory. She's also pouring rounds of batter onto the hot, flat surface of a grill, and spreading it into a thin layer before she carefully flips what has transformed into a super-thin, golden-brown pancake. Because in addition to paninis, Valle makes both sweet and savory crepes, filled with fresh ingredients that range from sweet saut?ed bananas to fresh basil and mozzarella. Each Saturday, she keeps her restaurant open late, doling out housemade tacos to the nightlife crowd until 2 a.m.