A Fine Bottle from La Bodega
La Bodega, the wine vault, does have a great selection of fine vino. But the place has got more than that. It’s got . . . everything, really, at least when it comes to booze. A gift card here goes along way: specialty imported brews, tequila in machine gun-shaped decanters, oddly infused vodkas, the occasional keg and more bitters, tonics, mixers and drinking oddities than you can shake a wobbly, drunken stick at, all at reasonable prices.
La Bodega Wine 3512, Central Ave. Riverside, (951) 683-3307; www.labodegawine.com. Prices start at under $10. Gift certificates in any amount.
Kosher Eats from Relish
I unabashedly adore the food at Relish deli in Riverside. From the corned beef to the lox, to their amazing deli sandwiches of all kosher cuts, Relish delivers the goods. It’s the perfect catering spot for any holiday occasion or just a bowl of matzo ball soup on a cold winter day. Relish rocks.
Relish Delicatessen, 3535 University Ave. Riverside, (951) 682-7011. Catering prices vary $30-$150.
Hangar 24 & IE Brew
We’ve actually got two great homemade brews in the IE: Hangar 24 in Redlands and IE Brew in Riverside. Both breweries offer refillable growlers that can be well refilled with their sublime and varied brews, while Hangar 24 also offers up half and quarter kegs of amber nirvana.
Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, 1710 Sessums Dr., Redlands, (909) 389-1400; www.hangar24brewery.com. A growler and first fill $35.
Inland Empire Brewing Company, 1710 Palmyrita Ave. Ste. 11, Riverside, (951) 643-7687; www.iebrew.com. A growler and first fill $28.
Pomona Valley Mining Co.
All Sunday brunches are monuments to excess; it’s just that some are a damn deal tastier than others. The version at the Pomona Valley Mining Co. being chief among them. This is a brunch for foodies, gluttons and people who just enjoy a beautiful view on a Sunday. Omelet stations, seafood stations, breakfast stations, pancake stations—fuel up before you spend the rest of the day on the couch watching football.
Pomona Valley Mining Co., 1777 Gillette Rd., Pomona, (909) 623-3515, www.pomonavalleyminingco.com. Sunday brunch $25.95.
Culinary Classes at The Art Institute of California—Inland Empire
You can whip up a quiche in nothing flat, know the best restaurants throughout the Southland, and watch Top Chef religiously. But you’re an amateur in the culinary world, baby. Why not snag yourself one of the three culinary degrees (B.S. in culinary management, A.S. in culinary arts, or an A.S in baking and pastry) offered here?
Art Institute of California—Inland Empire, 630 E. Brier Dr., San Bernardino, (909) 915-2100; www.artinstitutes.edu/inlandempire. OK, an A.S. in culinary arts here ain’t cheap ($8,000+ per quarter), but you can arrange a visit to an open house this Saturday (free) or pay for the “student activity fee” ($50) or “application fee” (both $50).