Culinary Gems, Hidden Beaches, Napa Valley Wine

Culinary Gems, Hidden Beaches, Napa Valley Wine
Soterios Johnson unearths a few of California’s best-kept secrets—including some under-the-radar restaurants, secret beaches, and surprising Napa wineries

According to the online media brand Eater, “the Golden State is hands down the best place to eat in America.” In this episode, Eater LA Senior Editor Farley Elliott backs up this bold claim with a deep dive into the many culinary treasures California has to offer. Alongside host Soterios Johnson, Elliot shares where to find authentic ranch cuisine, why Highway 99 has some of the country’s best Mexican food, and which California town he’d choose for his last meal on earth.

More than a few hidden gems are discovered in this episode: Travel writer Ann Marie Brown shares her knowledge of lesser-known beaches up and down the coast, with insights on where to find solitude, starfish, or something totally unexpected. After that, Food and Wine Executive Wine Editor Ray Isle discusses some of the emerging trends in Napa Valley, highlighting winemakers who go far beyond bold Cabernet Sauvignons and buttery Chardonnays.


Farley Elliott, Senior Editor of Eater LA and author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks

Ann Marie Brown, author and dedicated outdoorswoman

Ray Isle, Executive Wine Editor of Food & Wine and Wine and Spirits Editor of Travel + Leisure and Departures


Eater LA’s Farley Elliott highlights the offerings at some of California’s less-heralded culinary regions.

Eater: The Essential Guide to Eating California

David Chang, chef of Majordomo

Santa Monica Farmers Market

Central Coast dining

Central Coast wine country

California ranch cuisine

Splash Cafe in Pismo Beach

Stephanie Mutz, sea urchin diver

Central Valley dining

Mexican food on Highway 99

Gustavo Arellano, author of Taco USA

Fresno chile history

Los Toritos Taco Truck in Selma 

Sacramento dining

Basque dining in Bakersfield

Desert dining

Bill Addison, Eater’s National Dining Critic

La Copine Kitchen in Flamingo Heights/Yucca Valley

Copper Top BBQ in Lone Pine

Los Alamos dining

Bob’s Well Bread Bakery

Full of Life Flatbread


Travel writer Ann Marie Brown explores California’s hidden beaches.

Ray Isle discusses Napa Valley winemakers who look beyond big Cabernet Sauvignons.

Napa Valley

Shafer Hillside Select

Caymus Vineyards

Highway 29

Dan Petroski of Larkmead and Massican Winery

Lang & Reed Wine Company

Ayum Schoner of the Scholium Project

Steve Matthiasson of Matthiasson Wines

Outpost Wines

Farella Vineyard

Matthew Rorick of Forlorn Hope Wines

Cathy Corison, winemaker

Smith-Madrone Vineyards

Silverado Trail


Cade Winery

Joseph Phelps Vineyard’s culinary program

Chef Maria Helm Sinskey at Robert Sinskey Vineyards


About the Host

Soterios Johnson, formerly the local host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on radio station WNYC, moved from New York City to Davis, Calif., in 2016 and is just getting to know his surroundings. By combining his journalistic instincts with his personal curiosity, Johnson will use the California Now platform to develop a deeper understanding of his adopted home.