Ben Chen has experienced his share of success in his nearly 30-year photography career?his work has been published in such publications as Cosmopolitan, The Los Angeles Times, and ESPN Magazine, and he has lent his expertise to some of the nation's largest corporations, including Procter & Gamble and The American Red Cross. In 2006, the photographer began to notice that more and more novices were purchasing complex DSLR cameras, and that gave him an idea. Chen decided to share his wealth of knowledge with aspiring photographers by creating the 4-Hour Newbie Photography Boot Camp, which teaches students how to shoot manually with their DSLRs and create artistic, professional-quality photos. Since then, more than 5,000 students in 20 cities throughout the country have benefited from these classes. In 2013, he acquiesced to student demand and created Part II of the class, which goes beyond photography basics by diving into post-production techniques. Nowadays, students can take both Part I and Part II in the same day, helping them go from student to master in less time than most action-movie montages.
Nestled within Sacramento Travel Plaza—a truck wash and repair center with laundry machines, WiFi, and a game room—Silver Skillet Restaurant churns out meals 24 hours a day every day of the year, fueling guests who are driving cross-country, harvesting crops, or just strolling down the streets where they live. Both the food and the decor draw inspiration from the diners of the 1950s, harking back to a time when life was simpler and math hadn’t yet been invented. That being said, modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs help members of the current generation feel at home as well. After sliding into one of the purple booths, guests peruse a menu filled with more than 150 items, including barbecued ribs, build-your-own beef burgers, open-faced sandwiches, and classic, down-home breakfasts. Root-beer floats and old-fashioned sundaes conclude meals, evoking memories of yesteryear soda shops and the three-malt business lunch.
Every day since ?Daddy Dave? Leatherby Sr. and his wife, Sally, opened the first Leatherby?s Family Creamery 30 years ago, the shop has been churning out fresh ice cream layered in sweet sauces straight from the candy kettle. Milk, cream, and sugar form the base of Leatherby?s more than 45 flavors, which range from staples such as chocolate and strawberry to more exotic varieties including mocha almond fudge and spumoni. Inspired by family recipes that date back a half-century, these frosty treats come in cones, shakes, malts, and sodas, as well as in heaping sundaes and banana splits, the largest of which tips the scales at 54 ounces. Leatherby?s menu has expanded over time, and includes savory options such as sandwiches, burgers, soups, and salads.
Perry and Sophia Potiris opened the Original Perry's in 1968 at the local Arco station. The eatery, then known as Trukadero, was the first of Arco's coast-to-coast chain of truck-stop diners. When lines began to form for their fluffy omelets, fried chicken, and gravy-smothered meatloaf, Perry and Sophia opened Mr. Perry's in 1973. They placed it just across the way, preferring to compete with themselves than a brood of pancake-flipping octopuses. While both eateries have similar menus, Mr. Perry's has a more upscale edge. When Perry and Sophia decided to retire from the restaurant world, they turned over the reins to a longtime employee who began his own career with them as a busboy at age 16.
The cooks at Eggie's Restaurant have become known over the decades for the downhome diner fare they serve up daily for breakfast and lunch. Since 1977, the crew's been slinging hearty four-egg omelets stuffed with fillings such as avocado, chicken apple sausage, or chili con carne, and flipping signature buttermilk pancakes. As lunchtime patrons filter in to sit at the restaurant-long counter, the cooks swap out sausage patties for burgers on the grill, or build club sandwiches and leafy salads. Diners can grab their meals to go, or cozy up to one of the plush booths that line the enormous windows.
When VIN12 held their first event nearly five years ago in San Francisco, it heralded a new golden age for Californian wine connoisseurs. An age of monthly tastings held across Northern California. An age of parties with themes such as sparkling wine, zinfandel, and pinot noir. An age of enough empty bottles to cast an entire Charles Dickens novel into the sea. With expert curation by 650 vintners, VIN12 has held more than five dozen tastings since its inception and has entertained more than 21,000 wine enthusiasts.