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California Now Podcast

  • California Theme Parks Summer 2024

    4 JUN. 2024 · On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson talks to two insiders about the latest and greatest happenings at California’s theme parks. Along the way he also discovers tips and tricks for extracting maximum value from a theme park visit, as well as recommendations for tasty treats you can only get on the other side of the turnstiles.  Johnson first interviews Robert Niles, founder of Theme Park Insider. Niles shares the newest developments in California’s theme parks, including thrilling new rides, special anniversary celebrations, and exciting park expansions. Niles also highlights his personal favorite theme park attractions across the Golden State—roller coasters, live shows, and more. After that Johnson chats with family travel expert Katrina Hunt, who offers wallet-friendly tips for optimizing your theme park experience. Hunt discusses ways to unlock the best deals, shares money-saving strategies, and explores when it might make sense to pay extra to skip the lines. She also reveals some of the must-try theme park treats, from beloved classics like Disney’s Dole Whip to limited-edition snacks.
    Escuchado 52m 51s
  • The Beach Boys: Fun, Fun, Fun

    21 MAY. 2024 · On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson speaks with Mike Love and Al Jardine, founding members of the most California band of all time, The Beach Boys. The two share insights into the band’s legacy and discuss the brand-new documentary, The Beach Boys, streaming on Disney+ beginning May 24th, 2024.   “So much of our music was inspired by California itself,” Love explains during the first segment of the episode. Reflecting on the essence of the California Dream, Love highlights how The Beach Boys’ lighthearted and carefree music resonates across generations and geographic boundaries. “Those songs evoke such good vibrations and such positivity. It’s just miraculous that we’re still able to create that good vibration to this day,” he shares.  Johnson then chats with Jardine, who shares stories about the band’s early days and comments on the group’s continuing appeal more than six decades after they started out. “[It’s] without a doubt the songwriting genius,” Jardine says, adding that the band also owes much of its success to “the wonderful comradery and the family connection.”  Both stars conclude their interviews by taking the California Questionnaire, answering a lightning round of questions about their love for the Golden State.
    Escuchado 30m 47s
  • Exploring Tuolumne County

    7 MAY. 2024 · On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson delves into the wonders of Tuolumne County with insights from three area insiders. First, Johnson chats with Madi Broxham, co-owner of Local Collective, a vibrant shop in downtown Sonora that showcases more than 50 makers from Tuolumne County. Broxham describes her inviting boutique/eatery, and offers recommendations including the Cookies and Confluence, an Oreo-espresso milkshake. Broxham goes on to describe Sonora, a one-stoplight mountain town nestled among green rolling hills and steeped in history. Offering insider tips, she highlights must-see attractions, family-friendly activities, and dining and lodging options in the area.  Next up, Johnson explores Columbia State Historic Park with interpreter Caleb Masquelier. “If you walk into the park now, you're going to see the largest collection of Gold Rush–era buildings in the state of California,” Masquelier explains. The immersive state park experience features a historic stagecoach and staff who wear period-correct attire. Masquelier also discusses the park's educational programs, from captivating gold mining demonstrations to immersive historical tours.   Lastly, Johnson speaks with Elisabeth Barton, co-owner of Echo Adventure Cooperative, which offers socially and environmentally sustainable guided adventures in Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada. Barton highlights the county’s diverse terrain, from its lush valleys to towering peaks: “You go all the way from 1,000 feet of elevation to 10,000 and above.” She goes deep on Echo Adventure Cooperative’s bespoke outdoor experiences, including fly fishing, backpacking, rafting, snowshoeing, and more. Barton passionately discusses their dedication to accessibility through their adaptive tours, specifically designed for individuals seeking accessible activities and community building.
    Escuchado 46m 20s
  • A Local’s Guide to Orange County

    23 ABR. 2024 · On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson learns about Orange County’s wide range of travel offerings from three locals. First, Johnson engages with Chris Epting, a seasoned travel writer and historian known for his extensive works on Orange County. Epting sheds light on a few lesser-known attractions, from live oak forests to the county’s only grove of redwoods, each with intriguing histories. Epting also shares insights on local beach culture and the charming towns that dot the coast. “Every beach city here has such a different personality... Each one of them is really worth a visit," he explains. Epting also shares his favorite eateries, as well as a few quirky attractions from the past—including the tale of a fake ski mountain. Next up, Johnson talks with Chelsea Raineri, style and home editor at Orange Coast Magazine and the host of its podcast, The Zest. Raineri discusses Orange County’s standing as a premier shopping and fashion destination, highlighting everything from luxury shopping malls to local boutiques. She raves about South Coast Plaza as a world-renowned shopping destination: “They have more than a dozen West Coast–exclusive boutiques. It's incredible,” she remarks. Raineri also explores alternative shopping experiences, from bargain hunts to vintage finds, and shares her personal favorite shopping spots in the area. Lastly, Johnson chats with Leslie Liao, an up-and-coming stand-up comedian with Orange County roots. Liao shares her unique journey from corporate life to comedy, influenced by her upbringing in an Asian household amid local skater and surfer culture. She recommends comedy show venues and secret pop-ups for catching a show, and expresses her love for performing in her hometown: “I love an O.C. crowd. They are there to laugh and drink and smile, and I couldn't love them more,” she enthuses. Liao wraps up by sharing her go-to restaurants in the area.
    Escuchado 54m 46s
  • Discovering Lake County

    9 ABR. 2024 · On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson procures local insights on Lake County with three knowledgeable guests. First, Johnson is joined by Melinda Price, co-owner of Peace & Plenty Farm, one of California’s few saffron farms. In addition to highlighting what makes Lake County ideal for saffron farming, Price tantalizes listeners with descriptions of some of the saffron-infused treats available for purchase—including saffron lemonade, a local favorite. She details the experiences visitors can enjoy on her Kelseyville farm, including a picturesque seasonal lavender field that draws visitors from all over. Price concludes by sharing tips for exploring other great attractions in her community. Next, Johnson speaks with Angela DePalma-Dow, the Water Resources and Invasive Species Coordinator for Lake County, who also writes a column for Lake County News. DePalma-Dow elaborates on the freshwater lake’s ancient origins, noting, “there's been water at this site for about two million years.” She then dives into Clear Lake’s ancient ecosystem, which helps make it a world-class fishing and birdwatching destination. Lastly, Johnson talks with Tammy Lipps, owner of Ripe Choice Farm & Catering in Lakeport. Lipps offers a glimpse into the visitor experience at her six-acre property, which boasts a 1904 farmhouse and an abundance of organic fruit trees and vegetables. Delving into Lake County’s growing wine scene, the chef and farmer shares insights into the region’s wine history: “This was all wine country before Prohibition,” she reflects. Lipps recommends a handful of nearby wineries to visit, including one where visitors can hunt for Lake County diamonds in rich volcanic soil.
    Escuchado 54m 37s
  • Ways to Play in California

    26 MAR. 2024 · California offers endless ways to play, and on this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson explores some of the reasons why California is The Ultimate Playground.  First up, Johnson is joined by Andrew Nelson, award-winning writer and editor for National Geographic Traveler. The Here Not There author discusses one of this year’s biggest travel trends, destination dupes, with a focus on where to experience them in California. Nelson explains why the Golden State is such a hot spot for destination dupes from all over the world. “[There are] so many different geographical features, so many different lively and vibrant cities of all sizes,” he says, “it seems only natural that so many of these destinations can be found here.” He shares several alternatives for the Riviera, Tuscany, the Galapagos Islands, and more that can be found in California. A seasoned traveler, Nelson also name-drops a few of his favorite unique travel destinations, from the Bay Area to the desert. Next up, Johnson talks with Jordan Kivelstadt, winemaker and founder of Bohemian Highway Travel Company, a tour operator crafting personalized wine country excursions in Sonoma County and Napa Valley. Kivelstadt sheds light on the historic origin of the company's name and shares some of the experiences guests can expect on his custom-crafted tours. “I’m going to get you out in a vineyard on an ATV with a winemaker hearing about the process, learning why grapes grow here, what the process of harvest is, all the way to the bottle,” he shares. One remote corner of wine country receives special attention on the show: “The Sonoma coastline is spectacular, and we have some of the best creameries in the world,” he enthuses. Beyond wine, Kivelstadt adds his picks on where to eat, stay, and play in Sonoma and Napa. Lastly, Johnson speaks with Martin Cate, owner of Smuggler’s Cove, an acclaimed tiki bar in San Francisco. A driving force behind the resurgence of tiki culture, Cate cites the history of tiki in California dating back to the 1930s. “It was just kind of a wild experiential setting that people weren't used to, and it became a sensation overnight,” he explains. The tiki expert lists several must-visit tiki bars in California and gives a rundown of what to expect inside, from tropical decor to a crash course on what to order. Moreover, the tiki mocktail scene is thriving, and Cate explains how tiki drinks lend themselves to being served without alcohol.
    Escuchado 51m 38s
  • Local’s Guide to Marin County

    12 MAR. 2024 · On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson heads across the Golden Gate Bridge to talk with three local experts about where to eat, shop, and play in Marin County. First, Johnson talks with Alex Fox, owner of Food & Farm Tours in West Marin. Fox delves into Marin’s history of sustainable and regenerative agriculture, tracing its roots back to the Gold Rush era. “A lot of people don't know Marin County was actually the very first agricultural hub of California,” she explains. Fox then elaborates on the experiences guests can expect on her tours, like shucking oysters, tasting local cheeses, and getting up close and personal with baby cows. Fox also shares her top picks for what to eat and do in the area, including where to find the best mozzarella gelato. Next up, Johnson is joined by Lauren Harwell Godfrey, an award-winning luxury jewelry designer based in Marin County. Her handcrafted, ethically sourced designs draw inspiration from ancient textiles and patterns of the African diaspora, and are highly sought after by collectors. Reflecting on her journey in building her brand, the designer mentions some notable individuals who wear her jewelry. “Kamala Harris actually has worn a lot of my pieces,” she reveals. Lauren also discusses Marin’s vibrant food scene, great local shopping, and her favorite places to spend time outdoors. “It's just a very special place,” she remarks.  Lastly, Johnson talks to John Finger, the CEO of Hog Island Oyster Company. Finger dives into his background as a marine biologist and what motivated him to establish his very own oyster farm in Marin County. He then shares the factors that make Tomales Bay ideal for oyster farming. “It's really about that exchange with the ocean, that nutrient-rich water, good tidal cycle in and out through the bay that really creates a great oyster,” he explains. Finger also recounts eating his crowd-favorite barbecue oysters with celebrity chef Roy Choi and director Jon Favreau on an episode of Netflix’s The Chef Show. Finger also shares a handful of his go-to outdoor activities and neighborhood spots around Marin County.
    Escuchado 50m 52s
  • Margaret Cho’s Iconic California

    29 FEB. 2024 · On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson speaks with five-time Emmy-nominee Margaret Cho. A lifelong Californian, Cho shares how her upbringing in San Francisco helped shape her career in comedy. “I was seeing comedians like Robin Williams, Paula Poundstone, and Dana Carvey all the time, and it was a really incredible place to grow up within comedy,” Cho explains. Cho also discusses getting back on the road for her Live & LIVID stand-up tour, showcasing iconic venues like The Largo in Los Angeles and San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall. “I'll do a show at the Comedy Store, and the other people on my bill are people like Sebastian Maniscalco, Tiffany Haddish, Arsenio Hall, Iliza Shlesinger,” Cho notes. “You'll see only heavy hitters because everybody comes to these clubs on a weeknight just to work out new material.” Cho also dives into her favorite offstage activities, including eating late-night Korean BBQ, attending cat shows, sampling omakase in San Francisco, and dining at Hollywood’s historic Musso & Frank Grill. “All of the wooden booths contain all of the stories of the old movie stars,” she says. “You can really almost feel the history in the booths.”
    Escuchado 39m 55s
  • Samin Nosrat’s California Love

    13 FEB. 2024 · On this, the 100th episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson interviews James Beard Award–winning author, chef, and Netflix star Samin Nosrat.  The San Diego native and Oakland resident shares how she began her culinary career in Alice Water’s kitchen at Chez Panisse: “I started, and I was pretty much immediately just enchanted by this place,” Nosrat recalls. “I'd never worked anywhere like that, where everybody cared so much and was just such a perfectionist.” It was there that she came up with the idea for her New York Times bestselling cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, which would later become a hit Netflix series. “I saw that it was really these four elements, salt, fat, acid, and heat, that were kind of the points on the compass. And I even went up to one of the chefs at one point, and I said, ‘I think I understand now.’” Throughout the interview, Nosrat highlights recipes from her cookbook, names some of her go-to East Bay eateries, and celebrates the state's vibrant food culture, from local farmers' markets to ethnically diverse restaurants to her favorite spot for a bean-and-cheese burrito. Finally, Nosrat takes the California Questionnaire, offering insights into her culinary and travel favorites across the Golden State. 
    Escuchado 47m 9s
  • Locals Guide to San Jose

    23 ENE. 2024 · On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson explores the vibrant city of San Jose alongside four lifelong locals, creatives, and business owners.    First, Johnson talks with sisters Be'Anka Ashaolu and Jeronica Macey of Nirvana Soul Coffee. The co-owners share how their business has grown into a much-loved cornerstone of San Jose’s burgeoning coffee community. “There are just so many different types of people who feel comfortable coming into our shop, which was exactly what we wanted,” shares Ashaolu. The dynamic duo give Johnson the full Nirvana Soul experience, from taking in the shop’s vibrant atmosphere to a quick study in ordering off the extensive menu. “We have a honey lavender [coffee], but you can also get a banana chai or a white rose,” says Macey. Ashaolu and Macey also name a handful of their favorite local restaurants and black-owned businesses in the area.  Next up, Johnson talks with Jo Lerma-Lopez, the chef and owner of Luna Mexican Kitchen. Before delving into her restaurant, Lerma-Lopez shares stories from her time owning a neighborhood record shop and independent music label. “For us, it was really about making a change in the music industry and continuing to keep control of how Latino artists at English radio stations are represented,” she voices. The Michelin-lauded chef then discusses her holistic approach to cooking. “I just wanted to take food back to what was,” she says, “and we went thousands of years back to the foundation of our ancestors, which is corn.” Lerma-Lopez guides Johnson through Luna's must-try dishes and offers recommendations for other noteworthy restaurants and stops in San Jose. Finally, Johnson talks art and culture with Daniel Garcia, photographer, founder, and creative force behind Silicon Valley’s Content Magazine. As an artist himself, Garcia explains what moved him to create the publication. “I started Content Magazine in 2012 because I started running into a lot of artists that I felt like weren't getting recognition…so I was like, let's just tell the stories,” he says. The two discuss San Jose’s thriving creative scene, during which Garcia reveals the indie art galleries, under-the-radar museums, and unique live performances he frequents. Garcia adds, “I'm just really blessed to be saturated in a community where I can take in all these kind of different expressions from other people, and that really gets me going.”
    Escuchado 49m 49s

The California Now Podcast explores the people and places that make California a unique travel experience. Host Soterios Johnson, veteran radio journalist and former host of NPR’s Morning Edition on...

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The California Now Podcast explores the people and places that make California a unique travel experience. Host Soterios Johnson, veteran radio journalist and former host of NPR’s Morning Edition on WNYC in New York City, has recently moved to California and is using his journalism skills to learn every fascinating thing about his new home state. He interviews travel experts, chefs, local guides and many others on his journey of discovery. For more ideas on California travel, go to www.visitcalifornia.com
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Autor Visit California
Categorías Cultura y sociedad
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