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.
For more than three decades, the course at La Contenta Golf Club has draped over the low-lying foothills that ripple eastward from the Sierra mountains. Course designer Richard Bigler chopped a bentgrass gauntlet into the terrain, painting a 6,425-yard stripe of fairway into the dry and unforgiving land that alternates between valleys and meadow. The signature par-3 13th hole contains the track’s most violent drop-off. An oblong green fronted with water, the obstacle requires golfers to execute long, downhill tee shots or to launch each of their golf balls from a potato cannon. Players can refuel for another game by stopping at the onsite Vista Grille, complete with breakfast and lunch menus that teem with flapjacks, salads, burgers, and sandwiches.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par-71 course * Total length of 6,425 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 69.9 from the back tees * Course slope of 129 from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole
Upon request, portable beer towers can stand as table centerpieces, allowing patrons to refill their own domestic or imported brew from a tap and spigot. All the while, major sporting events play on surrounding televisions as staffers behind the bar shake up specialty cocktails, such as the Joe Cool, whose raspberry and cream vodkas, cranberry juice, and sodas are poured through the sleeve of one of James Dean’s leather jackets. In the kitchen, cooks prepare a lineup of hearty eats that include shoestring fries topped with carne asada, burgers crowned with locally grown tomatoes, and sopes with housemade green salsa.
The bar also hosts special events, such as karaoke nights and the Vintage Challenge, in which diners face off against 6-pound burritos.
Great things often come in simple packages. That's the philosophy behind Fields Family Wines, where wine-making is a rustic process done by hand in small batches, using grapes grown onsite or sourced from other local vineyards. This minimalist approach results in 10 wines that possess notes ranging from rich currant and plum to the crisp pucker of pear and ginger. The flavors come alive when the wines are uncorked at the sleek, contemporary bar in the downtown tasting room or poured straight from the barrel and into guests' mouths at the winery. The downtown location features live music and paintings by local artists, whereas the picturesque winery hosts in-depth tours and games of bocce ball.
Behind Woodbridge Crossing's aged red-brick exterior, a fleet of wooden tables waits. Tucked beside walls lined with antiques and photographs, they stand ready to support hearty meals of American cuisine or provide a resting place for diners' elbows as they listen to live music on weekends. After filling stomachs with well-seasoned steaks or fresh seafood and filling wine stomachs with wine, guests can take a turn on a dance floor dappled with colored light from stained-glass windows.
True to its name, Lodi's Wine Social brings people together over European-influenced small plates and local wines. Gourmet paninis are dressed with ingredients such as creamy brie and dried pears or peppered salami and cilantro-chimichurri sauce. Meanwhile, wines from Six Hands and Sorelle Wineries are poured by the glass and blended into fruit-infused slushies. Accents such as exposed wooden rafters, brick walls, and velvet and leather couches contribute to the rustic feel.