GROVELAND - Along with Yellowstone and Grand Canyon, Yosemite is one of my favorite national parks. Unfortunately, more than 3 million annual visitors share my sentiments.
Just before Y2K, and even during the early years of the new millennium, Stockton and Modesto were the nearest places to go for a Japanese sushi or sashimi experience if you happened to live in the South San Joaquin County area.
When it comes to sushi, everybody has their favorite place and go-to dish.
Restaurants come and go in the downtown Modesto scene, but Raw Sushi Bistro seems to be making an impression on locals since its establishment on I Street just eight months ago.
Upon entering Sushi Garden II in Turlock, customers are immediately greeted with the smiling faces of diners past. A wall covered in pictures of locals who have enjoyed the cuisine at Sushi Garden II are framed near the entrance, a testament to the good service and quality food that keeps customers coming back.
The first thing that grabs you is the décor.
RIPON – What do you think of when you picture a garden?
Gardening is a popular hobby in the Central Valley where the ideal California climate is conducive to growing. The Greenery Nursery and Garden Shop in Turlock is largely responsible for cultivating many locals' "green thumbs."
MODESTO – For more than 30 years Westurf Nursery has been a mainstay in the Modesto gardening landscape, and with 10 acres of trees, shrubs, roses and more, it's hard to miss.
When was the last time a nursery was called "Super Awesome?"
ISLETON – People get territorial when you talk about steak.
Locals looking to satisfy their cravings for a quality steak dinner won't need to look far as The Fruit Yard Restaurant & Country Market is well versed in providing not only quality beef but quality service.
DELHI – A porterhouse or a rib eye. Sautéed or broiled over an open fire. With French fries or a baked potato. The Elegant Bull in Delhi offers its customers the ultimate dining experience when it comes to steak.
OAKDALE – Nestled deep in the Cowboy Capital of the World, House of Beef ropes in its guests near and far with a tantalizing steak selection.
Nobody does steak better than the El Rancho Inn in Stockton.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Onetime 007 Pierce Brosnan embraces a darker take on spycraft in Roger Donaldson's "The November Man," playing a former CIA agent whose autumnal nickname acknowledges his tendency to leave few alive when he passes through a town. A familiar string of dark secrets, shifting allegiances and (wo)man-who-knew-too-much pursuit propels the storyline (adapted from one in a series of Bill Granger novels), giving Brosnan the opportunity to prove his cool remains intact, sans tux and gadgets. "November Man" won't do anything like Bond's box office, but will satisfy the actor's fans and moviegoers ...
LOS ANGELES (AP) - "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here," is the inscription uncovered by a gang of 20-something treasure hunters in the catacomb-hopping horror flick, "As Above, So Below." But the warning could easily apply to viewers checking out this rather hopeless mash-up of "The Descent" and "(Rec)," not to mention a dozen other found-footage movies that have clogged the screens over the last five years.
One of the most magical rides in California can be taken on the 206-mile long Highway 120 that runs from Manteca in the west to Benton in the east.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A gay couple who have been together for almost four decades are separated - at least physically - by factors beyond their control in "Love Is Strange," the latest tender and meandering exploration of human relationships from indie darling Ira Sachs ("Keep the Lights On," ''Forty Shades of Blue").
After being clonked over the head in 1944's "Murder, My Sweet," Raymond Chandler's immortal private eye Philip Marlowe wryly narrated the experience of being knocked out: "A black pool opened up at my feet. I jumped in."
In its third incarnation, "The Expendables" has become, well, expendable.
'Tis clearly the season for exceedingly attractive young adults in mortal peril.