Sweet sounds and spicy flavors permeate the annual Taste of San Joaquin, which attracts local merchants and bands for a cook-off under the summer sun. During the fest, a BBQ competition will feature smoky creations. Patrons can sample pork ribs, loaded baked potatoes, and beef brisket off the grill while sipping on frosty beers. Kids can play in the activity area with face paint and activities, while live bands cover everything from blues classics to lively Latin tunes.
Proceeds from the event go to stimulate the local economy and support nonprofits, with $0.80 of every dollar spent going to the locally owned business that sponsored the food and $0.20 going to a local charity. In the past four years, the Taste has donated more than $10,000 to local nonprofit organizations such as the San Joaquin Bike Coalition and the Child Abuse Prevention Council.
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-mâché. 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.
At Wines of Wine OT’s polished, granite-topped wine bar, wine connoisseurs pour small sips of vintages from Six Hands Winery and Sorelle Winery. Catering completely to diehard oenophiles, the storefront stocks a vast inventory of handmade wine-barrel furniture. Artisans dismantle barrels and reassemble them into Adirondack chairs, cocktail tables, and fire pits. Additionally, they stock hundreds of white oak wine barrels, which customers can repurpose as home decor or fish-shooting galleries.
Automatic scoring screens hover above West Lane Bowl's polished hardwood floors, allowing players to focus solely on sending balls on a collision course. Inside the spacious facility, families and pros alike compete during 10-frame series as the coffee shop serves wings, burgers, and pizzas and the sports bar welcomes players into its TV-filled enclave for a cocktail or a game of billiards. Those celebrating a birthday or successful weaning off of bumper bowling can gather in the private party rooms for cake and festivities between games and send guests home with swag-filled goody bags purchased from West Lane Bowl's pro shop.
Yoga Center of Lodi fosters healthy living through gentle yoga classes designed to marry physical fitness to reduced stress. Students new to the mat and yogi practitioners alike find accommodating classes in the various levels of Hatha yoga. Newbies flex through fundamental techniques of linking breath with movement, and gentle yoga opens up the practice for students recovering from injuries or who experience limited mobility. Advanced yogis hone challenging balances, inversions, and high-fiving their own feet in Vinyasa flow, a more rigorous style that bolsters muscles and increases flexibility with continuous posture sequences.
Fitness Evolution's gyms span the country, from California to Maryland, hosting hassle-free workouts on their high-quality equipment or in a wide range of group classes led by upbeat instructors. The staff strives to maintain an open, inviting atmosphere at all times, whether helping clients operate free weights or offering encouragement to Aqua Fit and indoor cycling classes. Fitness Evolution conveniently offers some nutritional guidance and exercise training online with goal-oriented workouts, meal plans, and recommendations on the best strategies for going outside.