Monsoon Burgers' convex rotating grill flame-broils its menu of burgers to customers' desired temperatures, and then, it clothes them in California flavors. The signature Monsoon burger hosts a cultural soiree of mushrooms, bacon, and homemade guacamole atop a 100% ground beef patty ($9.79), and the chicken avocado burger sizzles its chicken breast beneath a cool avocado umbrella, topping it in jack cheese or any of five other dairy hats ($8.25). Monsoon Burgers also adds variety to vegetarian diets with three different kinds of garden burger ($6.39–$7.75), best devoured with a side of garlic fries ($1.35+ with burger, $3.59 side) or fried zucchini ($3.99). A condiment bar lets proprietary lunchers put their personal stamp on a burger, minus the hassle of finding a notary public, with two types of lettuce, three types of onions, tomatoes, pickles, jalapeños, and olives.
Slice into the menu with a cool, cold sandwich such as the veggie sub, with your choice of three cheeses and avocado, the salami-turkey-provolone, or the ham-salami-capicolla-pepperoni-provolone. Load a gastronomic cargo carrier with a medium fountain drink ($1.59) or chips ($0.99), or turn on the mouth heat with a stomach-warming griller, such as the 12-inch New York steak ’n’ cheese ($4.99–$8.99) or the 8-inch barbecue pork ($6.99). Any sandwich can also be made into a wrap starting at $5.99).
Equipped with nearly 150 years of candy-making experience, Jelly Belly shapes and sweetens soft bean-size candies that come in more than 50 original flavors. The Jelly Belly University tour escorts guests around the Jelly Belly factory, instructing them in the nuts and bolts of building a gourmet jelly bean. Groups of six candy lovers don lab coats, gloves, and hairnets and scurry down factory lines during the 60- to 90-minute tour, observing as master confectioners cook sweets after harvesting them from a field of underground jelly trees. Unlike Jelly Belly's normal tour, the University tour takes place on the factory floor and allows guests to grab free samples straight from production lines while interacting with candy makers.
When Jim Knudson bit into his first taco during dinner at a friend's house in 1949, he knew he had tasted something special. He added the item?which many diners were pronouncing "tay-co"?to the menu at his restaurant in Grass Valley, California. Determined to introduce the food to as many people as possible, Jim and his wife, Margaret, converted a 16-foot trailer into a kitchen on wheels. They adopted the nickname Jim had earned from one of his longtime customers and drove up to Lake Tahoe, where Jimboy's Tacos found its first permanent home.
Locals, tourists, and even members of the Rat Pack flocked to the tiny taco stand for the uniquely seasoned, parmesan-dusted ground-beef taco, the anchor of a growing menu. The family eventually relocated to Roseville, California, where they set up a small taco stand and began branching out to other locations in and around Sacramento.
Today, Jim Knudson?s daughter Karen, the current president of the company, carries on the legacy of taco obsession at more than 40 locations in northern California and Nevada. Guests who arrive early for breakfast might glimpse the cooks slowly simmering beans, mashing avocados into guacamole, and preparing their signature ground beef with trans-fat-free oil. In addition to classic corn-tortilla tacos, the menu holds the mega-size flour-tortilla El Gordo, golden-fried taquitos, and even a taco burger that fuses Mexican and American culinary traditions.
Wind tousles the broad leaves of vines above clusters of grapes the off-black blue of the dusk sky. Frank and Liz Vezér, owners of Vezér Family Vineyard, originally began growing the fruit to help fill the needs of wine producers including Ravenswood and Sin Zin. More than a decade ago, they also began producing their own wines. “One could call it beginner’s luck,” says Touring and Tasting Magazine, “but their award-winning streak has yet to be broken. Every single wine Vezér has produced has won a top award or superior rating. Of most recent note, the 2007 Vezér Cabernet Sauvignon won double gold at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and a whopping 97 points at a blind tasting at Napa’s Bay Leaf Restaurant.”
The winery adjoins the original Pony Express offices, and one can still almost hear the sound of plodding hooves and hooves frustratedly trying to apply stamps. On a copper-roofed cupola, an equine weathervane twists to face the winds above a sweeping swath of grass that fills with chatter during weddings and other events.
Vezer Stock, the Vezér Family Vineyard's version of Woodstock, will be held at the Blue Victorian Winery on July 13th from 4p.m. to 10 p.m. Attendants are encourage to dress up in their most far out 1969 outfits while they enjoy tunes from the Used Blues Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Band, and Rick Harris & Silverado.