Give your nostrils something to smile about and your eyes something to chew when you pull up a chair to one of The Tasting Room's wine-laden tables. Your evening of wine-tertainment guest-stars a lineup of five or six boutique wines that are hand selected by the grape-washed hands of The Tasting Room's knowledgeable staff. Wine flights vary from week to week, but many of the selections hail from California's rich Central Coast, which, as the connoisseurs already know, has lands more fertile than a rabbit drinking oyster smoothies. The cozy spot also offers appetizers delivered from local restaurants for purchase while you sip.
Moravia Wine's Howard Hammond is the patriarch of the family vineyards. For Howard, farming is a family tradition that stretches back to the late 19th century, when his Danish ancestor, Hans Jacob Jeppesen, arrived in America aboard a Norwegian vessel named "Moravia." Today, Howard, his wife Barbara, and a new generation of Hammonds carry on that tradition at the family's vineyards, a 400-acre estate in West Fresno. There, they produce Moravia wine inside a World War II-era farm and equipment barn. The barn's interior has undergone major changes to accommodate the production process and frequent tasting events. But its exterior still uses the original brickwork, maintaining the building's character.
The impressionist painters who inspired winemaker Bion Rice raised shimmering mirages in which soft-edged daubs of paint seem to grant motion to ballerinas or swaying river rushes. At Artiste, Bion draws inspiration from their work, attempting to raise distant landscapes with grapes rather than rough brushstrokes. Cabernet sauvignon and merlot grapes call up the sun-steeped fields of the Napa Valley, and chardonnay grapes carry one away to the Russian River Valley on straw-hued sweetness. Bion calls the blends “impressionist cuvees,” and he produces small batches of them, their corks sealed beneath thick, hand-dipped cloaks of crimson wax.
The bottles are labeled with colorful impressionist paintings, and in a tasting room and studio, the harmonious relationship between wine and art is even further cemented. The whisper of brushes on canvas drifts from paint-dappled tables, where guests bring to life sweeping forest vistas or criminal lineups of pine trees. A rotating array of paintings lines the walls, including works from artists such as Aldo Luongo, an Argentinian artist whose contrasting colors and rippling brushstrokes seem to gaze up from a clear lake. Wine glasses chime together, punctuating the lilting rhythm of classical guitarists or the constant weeping of trombone players during live music events.
Grab a local brew, and take a seat. This brewery has everything you’ll need for a great night out. Try the Centennial Ale (6.5% ABV), which takes the traditional IPA and turns it on its head with a spicy hop flavor. If you’d like something a bit stronger, the Zeus Imperial Ale (9.7% ABV) is aged to perfection in empty bourbon barrels to add a unique, smoky flavor. Why not grab a bite with your brews? A full menu of delicious entrees are available. Check out the Stinky Chili Mac n Cheese, which is a spicy all-meat chili on top of a layer of homemade macaroni and cheese, covered with the house specialty Stinky Fries.
BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse is the place to go for a pizza and a craft beer in Bakersfield. Of course, pizza isn't all BJ's has to offer: you can find fresh salads, juicy steaks, and winsome appetizers, too! Serving up deep dish pies in the Chicago style, BJ's offers a hearty meal for a decent price. Pair your pizza with one of the many beers that BJ's offers, or try a specialty cocktail or the refreshing signature sangria for something sweet and different. BJ's has a sizeable kids' menu, too, making it the perfect place to bring the family for an evening of good food and good times.