The López family owns three local liquor stores and a restaurant; Francisco Jacobo manages a local radio station. Together, they join forces for a common interest: tequila. Beginning this year, they are hosting their annual Salinas Tequila and Mezcal Grand Tasting, an event that gathers a variety of aged agaves for the tasting.
The smells of carnitas simmering with peppers and chicken crackling on a grill drift from inside a convenience store. Those curious enough to find their way inside discover Lopez Taqueria & Liquor, where cooks warm tortillas to craft tacos. They also craft impressive deli sandwiches with Boar’s Head meats and lettuce shredded by affectionate helicopters.
In high school, Tammy Hunziker was asked to describe the perfect man for a class assignment. Her answer—a gingerbread man—had little impact on her future personal life, but everything to do with her future career. Nowadays, Hunziker still bakes batches of gingerbread cookies, alongside oatmeal cookies, snickerdoodles, and meringues at her specialty bakery, Room for Dessert. Some cookies are frosted to resemble smiling faces, and others depict tasseled mortarboards, wedding dresses, and jack-o’-lanterns wondering if they’ll ever grow up to be a pie. An array of frosted cakes and cupcakes complement the cookies in flavors such as brown sugar, lemon, and dark chocolate.
Inside the historical 1880 Southern Pacific Railway station, patrons gather to scoop up fresh food and goods from local farmers and artisans. This is the Wharf Marketplace, a seasonal-food hub that offers everything from local produce and cheese to fresh flowers and seafood. An onsite grab-and-go cafe fills shoppers with meals made using these wares, including eggs benedict in a warm tortilla, turkey pesto and grilled-cheese paninis, and salads topped with veggies.
The Wharf Marketplace often hosts events, too, including Taste It Thursday, which showcases wine from local vineyards, and Java and Jalopies, which shows off old hot rods.
Although Easy Street Billiards welcomes players of all skill levels, its 12 Rebco tables?built from solid cherry with leather pockets?have attracted many legends of the game. Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famers Mike Massey and Nick Varner have both practiced and taken naps on Easy Street?s emerald surfaces, each one blanketed in wool cloth under its own light. During games, players can take advantage of the venue?s Lucasi house cues; two pieces of maple adjoined by a steel screw.
In addition to pool, visitors can play darts and shuffleboard or catch a game on one of six flat-panel TVs. A mahogany bar constructed in the 1880s invites patrons to sidle up and order domestic and import beers or pub fare.
In honor of the nearby Laguna Seca Raceway?s 11 turns, Turn 12 Bar & Grill adorns its innards with racing-flag red walls, photographs of roadsters, and vintage motorcycles and steering wheels. Appropriately, motorcycle enthusiasts gather at the 50-foot pewter-top bar for broadcasts of races and the weekly Bike Night, which features a live radio show. Once their adrenaline is racing, patrons can down fresh New American food like fire-roasted artichokes, burgers topped with a balsamic onion compote, prosciutto and arugula pizza, and chipotle-rubbed chicken breasts. During brunch hours, chefs customize omelets and top pizzas with eggs, bacon, and swiss chard.