Solvang, California used to be a paragon of kitsch, corny architecture and lots and lots of butter cookies. When last we visited a little over ten years ago, it was at the tail end of its “outlet store phase” (as one local put it to us), and the Danish bakeries barely outnumbered the vacant storefronts – which is really saying something. These days, a great ableskiver, cheese Danish, or thin, Danish pancake accosts your waistline on almost every corner, but the real reason to come here is that this (formerly) sleepy little hamlet – known affectionately for decades as “Little Denmark” – has quietly become the wine capital of central California.
ELV note: This article is from the current edition of John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet and originally appeared on Esquire.com. We re-publish it here on the slim chance that a few of our loyal readers do not already subscribe to Mariani’s essential Web publication. Read away in either format and prepare to get hungry.
It’s been a bad month for bad pizza. First, Sbarro announced the closing of 155 of its 400 U.S. stores, then declared bankruptcy. Again. Then, in one of the few conservative judicial decisions I actually applaud, Justice Antonin Scalia, born in Trenton, NJ, declared that Chicago-style deep-dish pizza “shouldn’t be called pizza. It’s very tasty, but it’s not pizza.”
Item: Honey Salt Expanding Empire.
As predicted on these pages over a year ago, the entrepreneurs behind Summerlin’s Honey Salt are set to open two new stores in northwest Las Vegas. If our sources are correct, one will be called Honey Q and will be taking over the old Hops & Harvest space. (Good luck with that.) The other, we hear, will be called Honey Salt Steak and will be located in the new Red Rock Mall. (Another steakhouse in Vegas? What an original idea?)
Here’s hoping all this brand-expansion doesn’t result in another episode of “Honey, I Shrunk the Profits.”