Each year, the SnowBomb Ski & Snowboard Festival steeps NorCal-powder addicts in gear, lift tickets, and mountain-ready swag, all offered for free or at discounted prices. Reps from area resorts such as Heavenly, Squaw Valley, Mammoth, and Bear Valley are on hand to dole out season passes and highlight their most recent facility improvements, such as faster lifts and more advanced yeti warning systems. Meanwhile, mountain outfitters such as Atomic and Burton show off this season's newest gear and winter sport shops such as Lombardi's, Ground Zero, and the Sports Basement offer discounts on repairs and equipment. Amid the flurry of excitement and demonstrations, local breweries and wineries pour their warming libations for festival goers schussing from booth to booth.
Between rounds of a custom four-course meal, the Dinner Detective?s guests set their well-fed brains to sussing out who among them is a murderer. Groups of up to 80 dine on appetizers of vegetable spring rolls and steamed potstickers with hoisin sauce, warming them up for a high-energy, comedic investigation led by skilled improv actors posing as detectives, audience members, and talkative teapots. As guests dine on entrees, such as broiled salmon with lemon-dill sauce or vegetable ravioli with artichoke pesto and fire-roasted tomatoes, additional murders happen and clues are revealed. The best sleuth in the audience receives an award, with a dessert of cheese cake soothing the egos of audience members certain that Colonel Mustard was the culprit.
Diners at Clay Oven get to sample a variety of the kitchen's creations when they order the thali?a multi-plate combo meal laden with three entrees, traditional Indian bread, and a dollop of homemade yogurt. Encompassing a variety of vegetarian and meaty options, thali allows you to tour the menu without wandering to other tables. Dishes come spiced with ingredients such as cumin, chili, and garlic, all of which can be cooled with desserts that include ras malai, mango ice cream, and Indian rice pudding.
Surrounded by a sea of tables drenched in red light, the central stage of Sacramento Punch Line presents a lineup of the country?s top touring comedians. For 20 years, the club has been canning the cackles of audiences, featuring sidesplitting stars such as D.L. Hughley, Dave Chappelle, and Chris Rock before they broke onto the national stage. With a first-come, first-served policy, audience members can arrive early at the intimate theater to snag a table close to the stage. Before the show begins, servers take drink orders for beer, cocktails, soda, or sparkling water.
"It's great having daughters smarter than you," says Robert Smerling, owner of Cabana Winery and Bistro. He runs the dual winery and tasting room with his daughters, who carry on the family legacy. For Smerling made Zinfandel for 17 years in the Sierra foothills. After his long career, he took a beachside vacation, which was the catalyst for what was to become Cabana Winery, an urban winery, tasting room and bistro.
At the beach, he discovered a passion for the laid-back lifestyle of seaside dwellers, and his daughters convinced him to make wine with that lifestyle in mind. So he simplified the entire process to take into account only two factors: the quality of the drink at a reasonable price. After opening the winery, Smerling eventually opened The Bistro to expand Cabana's offerings. The tasting room boasts a menu of scratch-made fare, prepared using local produce whenever possible.
During the all-ages Friday or Saturday ComedySportz show, expect to watch two teams of ComedySportz improvisers fight for laughs using scenes, games, and songs based on audience suggestions. Intended for ages 17 and up, the Thursday show, Mayhem, features three acts of improvised, unexpected juxtapositions and pre-funnied sketch comedy, holding audiences captive until the full ransom of laughter is paid and a Branson-bound aircraft provided.