Visitors to the 2014 California State Fair, which runs Friday through July 27, will likely come out to Cal Expo for the same reasons that people always have: interesting exhibits, cool rides and fried food.

A burger chain with outposts in Sacramento, Davis, Elk Grove and Granite Bay was just named best in America by Consumer Reports, beating out better-known burger vendors In-N-Out and Five Guys.

A German ale takes top honors in a student competition.

Here are excerpts from a live chat hosted by Mike Dunne focusing on the state of wine and this year’s State Fair wine competition, along with other food- and beverage-related issues.

Use this database to see all the 2014 California State Fair beer winners. Sort by type, brewery or city to see how your favorites scored or find a new beer to try.

Authors says it’s time to rethink what you eat around the campfire.

Sugar and safety: Those are the two big concerns of home cooks when it comes to canning.

Just what is a sommelier and how do you use one? It’s important if you’re having dinner in an elegant restaurant with your boss, future in-laws or new squeeze you’re trying to impress.

My wife, Holly, loves seafood. I was wondering if anyone had a recipe for stuffed bell peppers using fish or shellfish instead of ground beef as the main ingredient.

This is the best time of year for people who love food because fresh corn, tomatoes, green beans, squash, blueberries, watermelon and cantaloupe are plentiful. They’re delicious by themselves, but they can taste even better with a sprinkle or two of fresh herbs.

Two ingredients – that’s all you need to make these cookie cups.

See what Mike Dunne, one of the most knowledgeable wine experts in the country and former Bee food critic,had to say about wine and the 2014 State Fair wine competition.

Track 7 Brewing Co., a Sacramento-based craft beer brewer, has signed a 10-year lease for a 35,000-square-foot facility to increase production and house its marketing and accounting offices. The facility is at 826 Professor Lane off Del Paso Road, just east of Sleep Train Arena. A tasting room also is planned for the site.

Cake highlights fundraiser for Sacramento Self-Help Housing.

Winemakers with one grower in common explore the reach of the vineyard and their thoughts on ‘terroir.’

It’s the height of the summer barbecue season, but the smokey arts aren’t for everyone. Our quiz will test whether you’re ready to square off with your gas- or charcoal-powered little buddy.

Californians can start sipping wine at farmers markets.

Track 7 is expanding.

Grilling is a passion ignited by smoke, sizzle and fire. The grill has evolved into a backyard shrine where, instead of sweating over it, devotees weep droplets of undiluted love and patty-cake humble hamburger into a James Beardian din-din.

Tools and accessories for the home grill are as numerous as unemployed millennials. Store displays can fill entire walls, TV commercials yak about the latest, must-have accessory, and the Internet is a tool-buyer’s paradise.

As the saying goes, the latest food festival to debut in Sacramento ain’t no thing but a chicken wing.

As much as a well-slathered rack of ribs, smoked salmon or beer can chicken sounds great right about now, let’s not limit the grill to items that once walked or swam. From fruits and vegetables to pizzas and even desserts, plenty of foods benefit from outdoor grilling.

Use this database to see all the 2014 California State Fair cheese winners. Sort by type or brand to see how your favorites scored or find a new cheese to try.

Oh that Sacramento summer heat ... the kind that makes you stick to your car seat ... when a 90-degree day in July feels like relief, and the Delta breeze causes a collective “Ahhhh!” around the region.

We’re in the early days of summer in Sacramento, but already we’re in the throes of beating the heat. Misters, pools, AC, a great big shade tree. They’re all good. But there’s nothing more fun, satisfying and, more than anything, super-cool than a delicious frozen treat.

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of a story published by The Bee in February.

In an annual ritual, hundreds of thousands of the California State Fair faithful line up to binge on fair fare from 125 vendors.

We arrived for an early dinner on a recent Saturday, and already Auburn’s Tre Pazzi Trattoria was hopping.

This year’s focus is on farm-to-fork at the Farm and in California’s Kitchen.

Coffee roasters collaborate to establish a Specialty Coffee Week in Sacramento.

Try some cool and crunchy treats, plus a great new gadget.

Sacramento-area chefs have learned to read their Yelp reviews, both good and biting.

Curtis Mann has a job with West Sacramento-based Raley’s that is unique. Mann, 35, is the wine, beer and spirits buyer for Raley’s, and his job involves the tasting of scores of alcohol products, all vying for shelf space in more than 100 Raley’s, Bel Air and Nob Hill Foods stores in California and Nevada. But it’s the craft brew segment that is seeing the most growth.

When it comes to chopped salad, borrow an idea from Israel: Persian cucumbers.

There has been plenty happening on the local craft beer scene in recent weeks. This column missed a rotation while I was on vacation (and enjoying some great beer while relaxing), but now we’re back and scrambling to play catch-up.

Old Soul, the popular coffee roaster with cafes in midtown, Oak Park and the Sacramento International Airport, announced expansion plans Thursday that will see the company spend close to $500,000 renovating two properties and hiring 32 full-time employees.

Enotria’s recent hosting of (yet another) “grand opening” left many wondering about the status of the restaurant’s former chef Pajo Bruich, that maestro of molecular gastronomy with Michelin-star ambitions who’s culinary brio and poise made the Del Paso Heights eatery one of Sacramento’s best-reviewed spots.

The good times roll on with the return of the annual Napa Valley Festival del Sole, featuring more than 60 events at various venues around wine country, July 11-20. It’s described as “a celebration of the art of life,” which means that fancy foods and precious wines will meet world-class music, dance and theater.

Let’s celebrate this most American of holidays – the Fourth of July – with a classic American dish – pizza.

GQ magazine’s motto is, “Look sharp, live smart.”

The Travel Channel has long been a faithful companion, accompanying viewers around the globe and introducing them to vicarious adventures they wouldn’t ordinarily experience.

Returning in what has become a n yummy tradition, the folks at Nestle Crunch have partnered with the Girl Scouts of America in their joint “reinvention” of the classic Girl Scout cookie (manufactured in Chicago).

These English muffins are baked in coffee cans.

In creating 20 tasting rooms along and about the main drag through the old gold camp of Murphys, Calaveras County’s vintners have made wine exploration fun, convenient and relatively safe.

If you think fried chicken is a purely Southern thing, think again.

Bring the flavor of Florida to any summer gathering with a key lime pie, one of the most counterfeited of all desserts. Make it today, chill it in the refrigerator overnight and surprise your guests tomorrow. Then wait for the applause.

Three-pronged device safely holds vegetables and fruit for peeling.

You know George Washington and John Hancock as founding fathers. But what about George Washington, successful whiskey distiller? Or John Hancock, fortified wine importer?

With stone fruit in season, an appetizer salad is just the trick when the grill is already going.

Davis Co-op demonstrates how to make syrups.

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