2015 Winners: BEST OF Food

Best of San Joaquin


Without the plethora of crops and agricultural varieties that grow right here in San Joaquin, our county (and global food supply) certainly wouldn’t be the same. At the very heart of this flourishing industry is Deputy Agricultural Commissioner, Judith Arroyo and her team at the Agricultural Commission of San Joaquin who collectively work to protect our cherished farmland and thriving economy.

From the food to wine, our agricultural strengths are a source of pride for residents, especially Judith. With the Direction of the Agricultural Commissioner, she oversees various programs that help to protect the fruit, vegetable and other important industries in here at home.

Although she traces her roots to Southern California and Mexico, where she spent most of her childhood, Judith has called the Central Valley home for more than 20 years, moving here with her family in 1993. Here, Judith found her passion for leadership and biological science which led her into the agricultural industry. Other than establishing a strong connection with the community as a public servant, Judith finds enjoyment in the diversity of her constituents, and the industry where she is always learning something new.

Through education, enforcement and identification of pests, “Our department oversees the use of agricultural and urban use of pesticides within the county, issuance of required pesticide permits, registration of licensed pesticide and pesticide business registrations,” Judith explains. “Our department focuses on the exclusion of pests that may be introduced into our county through high risk pathways including incoming shipments of plant material and regulated commodities.” This is a major line of defense for growers as these inspections intercept pests to prevent them from entering the county, as she notes. Without these efforts, San Joaquin crops and the community face infestations from pests such as exotic fruit flies and moths that are detrimental to crops. Thankfully, there are pest control experts in california that are able to help protect the crops and preserve San Joaquin’s agriculture.

In addition to pest control, and working alongside local exporters to set standards and safety regulations, Judith helps to set a series of standardization laws that “establish minimum standards for maturity, quality, size, standard container and pack and container markings.” This includes inspecting packinghouses, wholesale markets and retail distribution faculties. “The goals of Standardization are to remove from the channels of trade, fruits, vegetables and honey not complying with minimum standards, to assure consumers that they are purchasing commodities at a level of acceptable quality, and to protect and promote the fruit, nut, vegetable and honey industries of California,” she adds.

Judith and the Agricultural Commission are also focused on adapting California Bill AB 1871, instituted into state law in January 2015. “This bill aims at increasing inspections at the farmers markets to discourage misrepresentation of origin of agricultural products.” Through monitoring and enforcement, she will oversee organic registration and sales within the county, egg quality and safety, and crop reports.

For Judith and the Agricultural Commission, the quality of food that feeds our family is top priority, and for that we thank you!


What do you love most about San Joaquin?

I’m really in love with all the vineyards and how beautiful they are.

How do you spend your weekends in SJ?

A lot of the time is spent with our family, and at the Reserve at Spanos Park, where we go watch the birds.


Deli/Sandwich Shop

Fiori’s Butcher Shoppe and Deli
400 W. Lodi Ave., Lodi
(209) 334-4121

For a handheld, hearty meal that won’t leave you bored, a visit to Fiori’s is a must. This Lodi hot spot lives up to its name as a local delicacy by serving up sandwiches that are out of this world. The deli has claimed this honor with its artfully blended super-sized creations and undeniably fresh flavors. Meat lovers, vegetarians and vegans will be thoroughly satisfied by the shoppe’s luscious menu, crisp veggies and abundant offerings. But the Butcher Shoppe doesn’t stop at sandwiches – salads, cheese plates, espressos and meat marinated to perfection and complimented with local wine make this location a well-rounded delight…is it lunchtime yet?


Dickey’s Barbeque Pit
5350 Pacific Ave., Stockton
(209) 603-7254

If the smell doesn’t draw you in, the succulent sides and meaty entrees surely will. Juicy ribs that fall right off the bone and tenderly cooked brisket complimented by sensational sides is what BBQ is all about. Dickey’s does comfort food right with mouthwatering main course like honey ham, pulled pork or spicy cheddar sausage, and home-style sides like baked beans, fried okra, and baked potato casserole….the options are seemingly endless and positively satisfying! Don’t forget about the free ice cream, and complimentary kids meals on Sundays! With offerings like this, it’s no wonder BBQ is an all-American and San Joaquin favorite.


Chef Michael Midgley
Midgley’s Public House
296 Lincoln Center, Stockton
(209) 474-7700

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Chef Michael Midgley brought a childhood dream to reality in 2014 when he opened his new, namesake restaurant in Stockton’s Lincoln Center. Midgley’s Public House serves up a creative blend of American-fusion plates paired with spirits and fine wine. The national recognized chef, who has been featured on the Food Network’s “Cut Throat Kitchen” and Bravo’s “Top Chef,” has claimed celebrity status in San Joaquin and beyond. Chef Midgley continues to be a source of Stockton pride by sharing his culinary passions.


Angelina’s Spaghetti House
1563 E. Fremont St., Stockton
(209) 948-6609

The restaurant’s famous Genovese style, home grown flavors and original recipes from hors d’oevres, to salads, and entrees to sides, can be enjoyed just about anywhere. Customized to your budget, location and occasion, Angelina’s Spaghetti House offers its fans the option to indulge at any type of event including weddings, business parties, fiestas and more! They will even cater to your theme. It’s no wonder Angelina’s has been voted best in San Joaquin for several years running, with no plans to hand the title over.

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Squeeze Burger and Brew
856 W. Benjamin Holt Dr., Stockton
(209) 473-2222

The epic simplicity of a squeeze burger is far from ordinary, or really anything else you will find in San Joaquin. The freshest ingredients are delivered daily, never frozen, and include a 100 percent ground beef patty, coated and fried in cheese, and stuffed between two Genova Bakery sesame seeds buns to complete the blissful burger. All this and many more American classics can be thoroughly enjoyed while watching a big screen TV, and relaxing with a brew or wine in hand.

Sweets Shoppe

Toot Sweets Bakery and Café
4755 Quail Lakes Dr., Suite D, Stockton
(209) 474-6692

For Stocktonains, there’s no better way to satisfy your sweet tooth than with a visit to Toot Sweets. Chocolate cheesecake, éclairs, coconut macaroons, very berry pies and scones…the list doesn’t end! The restaurant, which so appropriately takes its name from the French meaning for “Sweet Spot,” has been a Stockton staple since 1991. Each of the shoppe’s plethora of artfully decadent pastries are homemade from scratch from original recipes. Top off your visit with a savory meal, or espresso!


Pietro’s Trattoria
317 E Kettleman Ln., Lodi
(209) 368-0613

With an incredibly authentic menu like this, you might want to skip the appetizers and get straight to the entrees! From the freshly baked bread, to the antipasti and desserts, each dish is divine. The ‘farm to fork’ type restaurant highlights homegrown ingredients that can be tasted in every bite. The high quality food is pleasantly complimented by the Tuscan-themed dining experience, which comes complete with terrace, fireplace, flowers and friendly service for an experience that’s truly Italian.


David’s Pizza, Inc.
1744 W Hammer Ln., Stockton
(209) 477-2677

David’s Pizza brings Stockton’s pizza game up to par. But beware, this pizza is beyond compare as quite possibly the best you’ll ever experience. The topping to dough ratio is simply brilliant, as each pie is bountifully topped with gourmet ingredients and a luscious crust that has just the right amount of fluff and zesty sauce. New York pizza? No thanks, we’d rather revel in the endless tastiness that is a David’s Pizza. Also worth raving are the restaurant’s deep friend raviolis, or the Bacon Cheeseburger on a pretzel bun.

Nothing Bundt a Little Indulgence Just for You (Editor’s Pick)

Nothing Bundt Cakes
128 Lincoln Center Stockton
(209) 957-2253

Waiting until a birthday, wedding or other special occasion for cake seems tortuous, however, the idea of picking up a full-size creation for an indulgent treat, might give you a stomachache. Nothing Bundt Cakes solved this conundrum with bite-size bundtinis that patrons can buy by the dozen. Offered in the same decadent flavors as their full-size bundt cakes, bundtinis are just as cute as the name suggests. Stop by the Stockton shop and sample one – or several – signature flavors like marble (swirled vanilla and chocolate cake) or vibrant red velvet. Purchase 12 of your favorite for some of each to share…not. The bakery’s monthly signature flavors allow regulars to mix it up with unconventional tastes like peanut butter chocolate chip and pineapple upside down.

IMG_1255Cinnamon Swirled (Editor’s Pick)

The Dancing Fox Winery & Bakery
203 S. School St., Lodi
(209) 366-2634

The Dancing Fox offers casual dining with up-scale flavors. On a menu filled with American and European favorites, an impressive wine list and an array of bakery items, it’s hard to pick a favorite at the breakfast to dinner eatery. However, if you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth in the morning, the Lodi hotspot’s French Toast, made from homemade cinnamon loaves, is sure to do the trick. The secret to this tasty treat is in the fermentation process – all breads made by The Dancing Fox are leavened with a signature culture derived from the Lewis Family vineyard’s petite sirah grape. Served until 11AM, it is never too early for this cinnamon-swirled treat. The eclectic space offers antique décor, exposed brick walls and elegant paintings that transport you to Belgium, where most of the furnishings are derived.

IMG_3383A Slice of Summer (Editor’s Pick)

The Fruit Bowl
8767 Waterloo Rd., Stockton
(209) 931-1196

Hidden along Waterloo Road sits this charming Farmers Market and Bake Shop, filled with an abundance of locally grown, handmade goodies that serve up the ultimate slice of summer. With a selection of pies that are ‘to die for’ it is hard to choose just one. However, the Fruit Bowl’s Peach Pie wins us over! The customer favorite transcends typical tastes with its flavorful selection of seasonal peaches, grown and picked by the owners themselves, from a variety of more than 60 different peaches. The flawless combination of fruit and crust is addicting, and just plain, well, peachy!

DixielandSouth of Dixie (Editor’s Pick)

Midtown Creperie
2319 Pacific Ave., Stockton
(209) 941-9070

Midtown Creperie and Café offers a splendid menu that’s perfecting fitting to the restaurant’s New Orleans style ambiance. The selection of crepes, sandwiches and omelets is just as eclectic as the décor, giving it all around A+. While any meal choice is satiating, we rave about The Dixie Land Strawberry Crepe. The golden, sweet crepe is beautifully folded, filled with a house made crème and topped with fresh strawberries, Ghirardelli chocolate syrup and whipped cream for an irresistible elegance. But don’t just take our word for it!

ShangriLa Shooters IMG_3375Awh, Shoot! (Editor’s Pick)

Shangri La Asian Bistro
203 S. School St., Lodi
(209) 366-0539

‘Shangri La’ takes it’s meaning from an imaginary place where life approaches perfection. At Shangri La’s Asian Bistro in downtown Lodi, they take their namesake seriously by offering an impeccable menu that will leave you amazed. For the adventurous (or down right curious), try their Oyster and Scallop Shooters appetizer, served in a shot glass with hot sake, quail egg, massago, ponzu, spicy sauce and green onions .

Not Your Kids’ Mac n Cheese (Editor’s Pick)

Market Tavern
236 Lincoln Center, Stockton
(209) 932-8001

Lincoln Center’s Market Tavern lives up to its namesake, providing Stockton with the freshest farm-to-fork food and drinks at both its restaurant and market. A traditional favorite like Mac n’ Cheese has several takes on the timeless dish – all mouthwatering in their own right. However, Market Tavern’s Mack ‘n’ Cheese just might top our list! Their exclusive recipe (without giving too many details away) is elegantly made to impress even the finest of Mac n’ Cheese connoisseurs. You’ve got to try it.

Full List of Food Winners

Market Tavern
Papapavlo’s Bistro & Bar
Midgley’s Public House
Deli/Sandwich Shop
Fioris Butcher Shoppe and Deli
Gian’s Delicatessen
Podestos Market & Deli
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
Tin Roof BBQ & Catering
Royce Farms BBQ (tied for 3rd)
The Waterloo, CA (tied for 3rd)
Michael Midgley, Midgley’s Public House
Buddy, Mezzo
Nicholas DiArenzo, Market Tavern
Chuck’s Hamburgers of Stockton
Ave on the Mile
Bob’s at the Marina
Squeeze Burger & Brew
Market Tavern
Bob’s at the Marina
Angelina’s Spaghetti House
Papapavlo’s Bistro & Bar
De Vinci’s Delicatessen & Catering
Happy Hour
Garlic Brothers Restaurant
Ave on the Mile
Market Tavern
Dave Wongs
Yen Du
Sweets/Chocolate Shop
Toot Sweets Bakery & Café
M and Dutch American Bakery
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Pietro’s Trattoria
Angelina’s Spaghetti House
De Vega Brothers
Casa Flores
Nena’s Mexican Restaurant
Tio Pepe’s
Yogurt Shop
Tigers Yogurt
Parkwood’s Yogurt Shop
Yogurt My Way
David’s Pizza
Michael’s Pizza
Dante’s Pizza and Café
Outdoor Dining
Garlic Brothers Restaurant
Pietro’s Trattoria
Papapavlo’s Bistro & Bar