Getting a rock-solid restaurant rec from an in-the-know dine-around-towner?
It can be as valuable as an expertly made braised leek salad, served with a drizzle of lemon-rosemary oil, and topped with croutons baked in a light bath of 10-year-old balsamic vinegar.
But we don't always personally know in-the-know dine-around-towners, and dine-around-towners don't always reveal their gourmet go-tos.
Michelin does, and has, via its iconic MICHELIN Guides, since the very beginning of the last century.
It's an appetizing, illustrious, and elegant tradition that continues today, when receiving that coveted Michelin star, following a visit from an incognito inspector, can mean everything to an up-and-up eatery (or the reverse to a longstanding eatery that had a star previously, then lost it, a devastation for many dining destinations).
Now, in a first for the venerable guidebooks, there shall be a tasty tome devoted to a single state, "the first statewide edition" of Michelin and the "first U.S. Regional Guide" for the cuisine-smart company.
Did you just guess California?
If so, you're right: MICHELIN Guide California 2019 is on its much-anticipated way.
Look for it to "... include restaurants in greater Los Angeles, Monterey, Orange County, Sacramento, San Diego, and Santa Barbara," among other places.
Not only is this a major boost for foodies in the state, and visiting the state, but you can bet those spots that make the starry cut will feel the love, both from the prestige of inclusion and the newcomers that will stop by to check out what the fuss is about.
The 2019 star selection, by the by, will be announced in the summertime.
"With access to many of the world's best farms, food producers and vineyards, California cuisine is respected worldwide, not only for the quality of its ingredients but also due to the creativity displayed by its chefs," said Gwendal Poullennac, International Director of the MICHELIN Guides.
"In addition, our inspectors have been impressed with the talent and innovation within the gastronomic community across the state. Michelin's partnership combine's Visit California's strength in tourism with Michelin's 120-plus years of experience in gastronomy."
MICHELIN Guide California is a major development for those that adore fine dining, fascinating foods prepared in expert fashion, and fresh, tableside adventures. And, of course, for all of the Golden State fooderies that will make the star-important cut in this inaugural edition.
Call it a stunning feather in a restaurant's cap, or, rather, a mustard-bathed asparagus spear standing in a generous cup of light Hollandaise sauce.