Somewhere inside Hook & Ladder, among the rustic wood paneling and industrial aluminum trim, Whitney Johnson has hidden a small dinosaur. The prehistoric beast could be embedded in a custom painting or serve as a magnet behind the bar.

The food runner at Aji Japanese Bistro in El Dorado Hills recently got a nasty earful from a customer. How dare this restaurant charge $20 for bringing in a bottle of wine from home?

The Sacramento region is in the midst of celebrating its self-designation as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” with a variety of food-related festivities running through Sept. 28.

Local eateries must pay to participate in the “Restaurant Weeks” portion of the upcoming celebration of Sacramento as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital.” Flying the official “farm-to-fork” flag during the event, which runs Sept. 12-28, will cost $100 or $200.

Billy Zoellin is banking on Tahoe Park for the new location of his Bacon and Butter.

Sommelier Jeremy Reed is sharing his sentiment that some food is so good that he wants to eat it rather than photograph it for social media.

Bartenders are challenged to balance craftiness and good service to the waiting customer.

Amador winemakers wonder what effects the Sand fire will leave on the upcoming harvest.

Our region certainly grows some of the best bounty anywhere, but there’s no reason to get pretentious about a peach.

Jason Poole awaits the kitchen where he’ll make his award-winning Bloody Mary mix.

Just about every month on Sacramento’s calendar features some kind of food week.

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

Foie gras was meant to be forbidden following a ban that went into effect two years ago. But as many foodies know, this bit of fatty duck or goose liver can still be scored at restaurants if you’re in the know.

A much different business plan now shapes the Del Paso Boulevard restaurant.

Andrew Calisterio opened a package of fresh cod, eager to whip up some ceviche for dinner. But an uninvited guest quickly foiled those plans: A small, thin, wriggling worm found inside the packaging.

A zero-taste ice is designed to pair with craft cocktails.

The parody of the “third-wave” coffeehouse experience goes something like this: You step to the counter while some know-it-all hipster who can’t wait to get off work for band practice takes your order. Ask for a drink like some Starbucks simpleton and expect plenty of eye rolls.

When it comes to shocking reversals, few stories rival that of California’s so-called “glove law.”

In Sacramento, McDonald’s will be testing if consumers want Shakin’ Flavor with their fries.

One of Sacramento’s landmark eateries can be yours for the proper amount of cash. Trails Restaurant, which has served meat-centric comfort foods to generations of Sacramentans, was recently put up for sale. The asking price: $500,000 for the 1,663-square-foot restaurant near Broadway and 21st Street.

Ramiro Alarcon was supposed to be preparing for his busiest dinner rush of the year: Monday’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

Welcome to Sacramento, a town saturated with sushi spots, tacos and enough craft beer to seemingly fill Folsom Lake. Sacramento isn’t just the self-proclaimed City of Trees, but a town that teems with food options.

Cinco de Mayo’s less than two weeks away, but the thought of serving a small ocean of margaritas leaves bar and restaurant owners feeling especially sour this year. A lime shortage has quadrupled the price of this key citrus fruit, leaving business owners scrambling for backup plans and other ways to make do with less.

If you’ve ever sampled sushi in the Sacramento area, chances are the seafood industry’s caught you in some bait and switch.

Despite recent rains, the great parching of California continues, with much of Folsom Lake still resembling Burning Man’s craggy Black Rock Desert and Central Valley farmers preparing for a dust-bowl spring and summer.

Across Northern California, tiny buds are growing on grape vines and showing that spring has definitely sprung. Budbreak has arrived, signaling the yearly kickoff of a wine grape’s growing cycle.

Napa wine country will soon get a mighty pour of music, with the return of the BottleRock festival and the retooling of a historic venue.

Wine Buzz has bumped into Joe and Pat Harbison a few times over the past year, but didn’t quite realize how much of a splash their Harbison Estate Wines were making in the highly competitive world of Napa cabernet sauvignon.

Sacramento emerged as a star of Unified, and not just for hosting the event for more than a decade.

The queries come to “Wine Buzz’s” email each January: Where’s a good place to grab a bite and pop a bottle with a client during the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium?

The second installment of UC Davis’ ‘Vintage Wine Tasting’ will focus on top wines of Burgundy.

Two zinfandels, a tempranillo and syrah grapes from the region earn year-end praise.

Beyond the filling tucked in a bed of masa, the beloved tamale tempts in a variety of styles, flavors.

The San Francisco Chronicle has released its Top 100 Wines of 2013, a list culled by the esteemed Jon Bonne, and a round of cheers must be going around the Sierra foothills. A number of greater Sacramento-area producers – and wineries that sourced their grapes from the area – made the cut.

Last week’s Wine Buzz offered a rundown of Black Friday events in Amador County, including a tasting of the Easton 2011 Zinfandel Amador County at Terre Rouge/Easton (10801 Dickson Road, Plymouth).

Just thinking about the annual paean to consumerism that is Black Friday makes Wine Buzz want to hide from the frenzied crowds and curl up with a good glass of grape.

The Thanksgiving table’s set, the Raiders vs. Cowboys game is on in the background, and everybody’s ready for one righteous, all-American turkey feast.

UC Davis’ research winery may have all the latest equipment – including stainless steel fermenting tanks with high-tech sensors that download data in real time – but the vintages being poured there last week represented a blast from the past.

Here are some ideas to take local food to the next level.

The wines were bottled around the time the Beatles rocked “The Ed Sullivan Show” and Lyndon Johnson was president. Now they’re about to be uncorked to reveal how they’ve evolved over the decades.

Mile Wine Co. opens near UOP with 2,000-bottle inventory.

Sacramento's underground rappers have sold millions of CDs and you probably know little, maybe nothing, about them. Bee pop music critic Chris Macias and photographer Josť Luis Villegas spent five months exploring the south Sacramento hip-hop scene that is known across the country for its extreme lyrics, gangsta images and big beats.

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