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Where to Get Loaded in Lodi

Jenna Scatena | November 5, 2014 | Story California Destinations

Not long ago, Lodi was a tourist desert. The region grew truckloads of wine, but offered few tasting rooms and almost no restaurants worth the 1.5-hour drive into the Central Valley hinterlands. But fast-forward to present day and its sycamore-lined downtown is beginning to bustle with locals and curious out-of-towners testing out sleek new tasting rooms and restaurants. Some of the notable newcomers:

Pamplona Tapas and Wine, the only tasting room serving food in town, specializes in Spanish dishes with a Latin bent, paired with local wines from Vinedos Aurora winery. Think paprika shrimp gumbo and five styles of paella. Stop by for their wine and tapas “testing” days, Thursday through Sunday from 1-5pm.

Zin Bistro, which opened last year, is the under-the-radar local spot for dinner. The European Bistro's space is intimate and the menu changes regularly, but some recent examples include tender sweetbreads sauteed in duck fat and beef tenderloin with sauteed mushrooms.

Sip Jeremy Wine Co. has transformed a turn-of-the-century saloon into a modern wine tasting room, replete with large windows and back patio. The centerpiece is the bar, which was sourced from an old saloon in Wyoming. Shelves are stocked with the winery's signature barberas and tempranillos.

It’s not new, but Michael David Winery is certainly worth the trek. Go for the wine tasting, but stay for the country-style bakery, which serves up pies, breads, and cookies, all made using family recipes. Stop by their farm’s fruit stand on your way out.

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