What happens when an intrepid food critic is asked to consume 13 Michelin stars' worth of cuisine in the space of four days? California Now Podcast Host Soterios Johnson explores this very topic with Jeff Gordinier, Food and Drinks Editor for Esquire. Gordinier ate at five top San Francisco restaurants and shares his observations on this indulgent assignment. The conversation includes references to Prince and The Clash before turning to the idiosyncracies of the Los Angeles food scene. Everything ends, at least for Gordinier, with a few cheeseburgers in Pasadena

Also in this episode, Amanda Frasier pulls back the curtain on Forbes Travel Guide’s influential luxury ratings program. Frasier, who is Forbes' Senior Vice President, Ratings, reveals how incognito experts go the extra mile to evaluate the best hotels in the world, including putting concierges to the test.

Three California properties received Triple Five-Star ratings this year, meaning that they deliver extraordinary quality for their hotels, restaurants, and spas. Fairmont Grand Del Mar and Montage Laguna Beach have held the Triple Five-Star rating for a while now; Meadowood Napa Valley earned it for the first time in 2018.

Plus, author Ken McAlpine shares insights on Channel Islands National Park, an archipelago off the Central Coast that is full of wilderness and wonderful isolation.