Greg Daniels' introduction to the culinary world wasn't a romantic one: he started working at a fast food restaurant at age 15, followed by a stint as a bartender. Nevertheless, these jobs ignited a passion for cooking that would guide his entire life. The Le Cordon Bleu graduate now works as the executive chef at Haven Gastropub, where he has designed a menu of gourmet American and European comfort foods inspired by his travels to England, New York, and San Francisco.
The eatery is an across-the-pond extension of the gastropub movement, which began in London in the 90s. Gastropubs differ from traditional pubs in that they specialize in high-quality eats and permit only the most beautiful drinking songs. Haven, for example, serves lamb burgers on rosemary brioche buns, fries sprinkled with house-made truffle salt, and whole roasted suckling pigs.
Of course, the "pub" part of Gastropub still implies a lively bar. Bartenders pour more than a dozen draughts as well as a selection of bottled beers, red and white wines, and craft cocktails blended with house-made mixes.
Nestled inside the Bonaventure Hotel, experienced masseuses maintain 10,000 square feet of pure serenity spread across 11 treatment rooms. Cordoned off into sections for men and women, the facility flaunts amenities such as hydro-jet showers with seven pulsing showerheads and saunas fogged with soothing vapor instead of fog machines stolen from middle-school dances. Bonaventure Club plucks massage techniques from all over the globe, including Thailand where therapists stretch frames with their hands, knees, and feet to amplify the client's flexibility and energy. Pre- or post-treament, clients can unwind in a relaxation lounge stocked with Perrier water, jasmine-rose tea, and snacks, while flipping through magazines or watching a big-screen TV.
Named 2009 Micro Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine, Klatch Coffee's casual coffeterias celebrate some of the world's highest quality coffee, carefully sourced to international farmers under direct trade ethics. Roasted in small batches for maximum freshness and minimum inter-bean squabbling, Klatch's java pleases patrons with a drip coffee of the day ($1.95–$2.20), as well as designer drinks such as the Mexican mocha ($3.40–$4.30), infused with spicy Ibarra chocolate. Discerning slurpers can also sate barking bellies with a hammy, cheesy eggel sandwich ($3.99) from the breakfast menu, or train teeth on heartier lunch fare such as a cranberry walnut salad ($3.75) or turkey pesto panini ($5.95).
The California Beer Festival continues its tradition of celebrating craft beers by bringing the festivities to San Dimas. For a September afternoon, the lakeside expanses of Frank G. Bonelli Park host breweries and their enthusiasts. Attendees will have the opportunity to wander the grounds with their souvenir tasting cups and sample 3-ounce pours of more than 60 craft beers on tap, including perennial favorites from Golden State breweries such as Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Karl Strauss Brewing Company, and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., a craft-beer pioneer that spoke to the Groupon Guide.
Participating eateries are also on hand to quell hunger pangs with hearty burgers, tacos, pitas, and Indian cuisine. Guests give their tongues a break from tasting, clearing their palettes etch-a-sketch-style as they bob their heads to the music broadcast by the festival's lineup of live bands. Proceeds from the festival support the Gen Giammanco Foundation, which provides student athletes with financial assistance.
While the rest of the natural world prepares to hibernate for the winter, Enchanted Country Trees & Pumpkins has been at its most active since 1983. Farmers pick the plumpest pumpkins from their patches, displaying them next to bounce houses and trundling John Deere tractors. Barnyard animals deign to be petted in exchange for palmfuls of feed, and ponies accept small riders for afternoon trots. Come winter, the lots fill with Christmas trees.
Once an actual storage facility, Packing House Wine Merchants converted the novel space into a comfortable wine bar, shop, and lounge stocked with high-quality vintages from around the world. Silky libations like the Godspeed cabernet from Napa Valley ($11 per glass) seduce the senses with a complex balance of black cherry infusions, mineral hints, and spices. Opt for the chilled sweetness of Germany's Armand Kabinett riesling ($7.50 per glass) and be rewarded with the mingled pleasures of apricot, musk, melon, mango, and brown-spiced persimmon. The adventurous and mathematically inclined can pair a thematic tasting, each with two to six samples ($5–$17), with one of four specialty cheese plates ($15 each) for an endless permutation of tasty tippling. Packing House also offers live music entertainment on Saturdays to entertain the wine while it awaits its inevitable fate.