Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

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Gluten Free Menu Shines at Siino’s Pizza, Pasta and Grill in Lincoln

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A few weeks ago, Andy and I visited a restaurant in Lincoln called Siino’s Pizza, Pasta & Grill. We were originally going to sample the gluten free pizzas as a part of National Pizza Month in October, but instead we decided to go with other items on the gluten free menu.

Siino’s story began in February 2011, when Annalisa Siino opened the doors of her first restaurant as a franchisee. When Annalisa took over, the restaurant was an Original Pete’s, and in just three years Annalisa turned it into her own community establishment and gave it her own name: Siino’s Pizza, Pasta & Grill. The rebranding took place in May of 2014.

Siino’s concept is to partner with local growers and feature their produce/products within the new menu. The menu also includes baked goods from Divine Desserts in Loomis, and hand-crafted brews from Loomis Basin Brewing Company & Roseville Brewing Company.

But back to that great gluten free menu. I am not sure of the inspiration for that, but I was pleased to see a restaurant with a whole section of their menu devoted to gluten free items. Patrons can order pizza, burgers and pasta sans gluten.

Gluten Free Menu
Siino’s also has a succinct and approachable wine list and an even more impressive beer selection. They offer a happy hour from 2-5pm, and an all day happy hour on Mondays, with a $1 off pints and $2 off wine by the glass. Then there is Wine Wednesday, that involves half off bottles and $2 off glasses of wine. Sign me up for that! :)

We chose a bottle of 2011 Chateau St. Jean Merlot, because of its versatility. We decided within a few minutes of looking at the food menu, we were going to both order a burger, so this wine was appropriate.

merlot
Our “appetizer” was a salad— the Balsamic Chicken salad. The salad was composed of mixed lettuce with grilled chicken, julienned salami and mozzarella cheese, red onions, roasted bell peppers and pepperoncinis. It was served with balsamic vinaigrette (easily ordered on the side). Another note: the picture below depicts half of the serving. The kitchen staff kindly split the salad between the two of us.

salad

I loved the local touch on the menu of the Zebra Burger (lovingly named after the Lincoln High School mascot), so I ordered it. It came topped with pepper jack cheese, sliced avocado, applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo and a spicy brown mustard.

Zebra burger

Andy ordered Siino’s Mushroom Burger with sautéed red onions and mushrooms topped with melted Swiss cheese. I actually liked this burger more than the Zebra burger. The mushrooms and the Swiss cheese were an incredible combination. We both enjoyed sweet potato fries with our burgers. Sweet potato fries were a nice touch and an interesting alternative to regular fries.

mushroom burger
Siino’s has many great characteristics as a restaurant: a very local gem, family friendly, great beer selection, fun wine list, lots of gluten free options, and I did not mention this previously, but the service at the restaurant was also very good. My only suggestion is for Siino’s to incorporate some local wineries into their wine list, since they are already using local purveyors for their produce.

Thanks to the servers and management team at Siino’s for a fun Friday evening. You can find Siino’s Pizza, Pasta & Grill on Facebook here and on twitter here.


Farm to Fork Wine Dinner Series: Piatti Presents Matchbook Wines, Spectacular from Beginning to End!

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rose
If you missed Piatti’s last wine dinner for the year featuring Matchbook Wines, I feel really bad for you! It was even more than I thought it would be––even though I knew it would be amazing. Piatti is one of my long time advertisers, and I have always been a fan of their food, but I never knew it could be pulled off like this. This dinner was probably one of the best meals I have eaten there. I think it’s mostly due to Chef Lance Carlini who combines his take on Italian cuisine with Farm to Fork/seasonal and brings it to a whole new level.

And then there were my wonderful table mates. So, at the Piatti wine dinners, patrons are sat 6 to a table, so you prepare to make new fellow loving wine friends–at least for the night! I was lucky enough to sit with Sharon, Tamara, Eduardo, and James and be a fifth wheel. :)

servers ready
We were sat fountain side with illuminated trees surrounding us. We had been welcomed with an opening glass of Matchbook’s Rosé of Tempranillo as John and Lane Giguiere (owners of the winery) were making the rounds and introducing themselves to each table.

Then it was onto the opening dish: A wood fired spot prawn with Grass Valley polenta and a hatch chili chimichurri. It was paired with the wine we were already enjoying: Matchbook’s 2013 Rose of Tempranillo, Dunnigan Hills.

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As you can see. the plating was flawless on this dish. My favorite element was the chimichurri (a green sauce made of chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and white or red wine vinegar) which I love on anything from seafood to chicken to beef or pork.


The second course presented to us was a Riverdog Farm Potato Gnocchi served with fall squash, Apple Hill apples, lacinato kale and cream. It was served with the 2012 ‘Arsonist’ Chardonnay, Dunnigan Hills. The upfront nose on the wine revealed aromas of toasty oak, caramel apple and crème brûlée. It was an automatic match with the plump buttery gnocchi and apples in the cream sauce. Gnocchi is the only pasta I even missed post-Paleo, so this was like eating dessert for me!  Also, lots of wonderful comments from my table mates––they also loved the squash and apples in the dish. It was the essence of fall! Great pairing, Chef Carlini! :)

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Then it was time to get serious. The third course presented to us was a Tinto Rey Red Braised Short Rib with Thyme Toasted Mushrooms and fresh Horseradish paired with the 2009 Tinto Rey Red Blend, California. The Tinto Rey is a red wine blend of Tempranillo, Syrah, Graciano, Tannat and Cabernet.

So, if you didn’t gather from the course description, the short rib was actually braised in the wine with which it was paired. We didn’t even really need a knife on this one, just a fork to pull apart the meat. Again, the plating was gorgeous and the pairing was genius.

short rib copy

Dessert came soon after that: A Milk Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate Cake, Sea Salt Caramel and Hazelnut––topped with Pomegranate arils. It was paired with the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake County. I boxed up the dessert to take home to Andy, but took full advantage of the Cabernet. :) The Matchbook Cabernet Sauvignon has vibrant ripe red fruit characteristics followed by layers of spice and earth and chocolate and that’s enough dessert for me!

dessert copy

I was completely wowed by this wine dinner and I was seated with the best company! Thanks to the marketing and management at Piatti for the great partnership we have had over the years. And thank you, Chef Lance Carlini! Amazing job. :)

As of October 25 this year, Matchbook now has a tasting room located in Zamora here.  GO VISIT THEM! :)

You can learn more about Matchbook Wines here. You can find them on Facebook here and their parent company on twitter here. You can find Piatti on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.


Nike Women’s Half Marathon Entry Winner #2: Congrats to Karla!

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Last month, Whole Foods Market, Nike and I gave away 2 entries to the sold out Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco.

I wanted you to meet the entry winners, so you might perhaps comment below and cheer them on for the upcoming race on October 19th! Maybe you’ll even look them up in the race results following the race.

The second entry winner is Karla Euler from Jackson, GA. I asked Karla to share a little bit about herself, her daily diet, and how she is preparing for the race:

I am a 52 year old US Army Vet, mother of 3 grown daughters and grandmother to two beautiful grandchildren, both age 5.  I grew up in Southern California and now live in Jackson, GA.  I work as a Deputy Court Clerk so I spend most days inside a building which drives me to spend my off days outside as much as possible!  I enjoy yard work, hiking, swimming, biking, pretty much anything that will keep me outside and spending time with my family :)

karla 2

 I have always tried to maintain a healthy life style and I did up until my 2 grandchildren were born. I found myself making many excuses not to eat right or exercise just so I could spend all my spare time with my grand kids. The Nike Women’s Half Marathon will be my first and has given me the motivation and determination to get myself back into a healthy life style. I have ran numerous 5k and 10k’s in the past, but I am super excited about the SF Half!!  I have been diligently training for this and have loved getting back into exercise and healthy eating. I have more energy overall and feel better physically and mentally both.

The following is a typical day of eating for me:

A Cup of Black Coffee and then out for a run; I find that I do better when I don’t eat before a long run as I tend to eat dinner pretty late at night.

Breakfast:
Bowl of Oatmeal and a Banana, Black Coffee

Lunch:
Deli sandwich on wheat bread, cottage cheese with fruit

Dinner:
Baked Fish, yellow rice, garden salad, glass of milk

Additionally, I do take a multi-vitamin, fish oil, calcium supplement, and glucosamine tablet daily as well as drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

karla 1

Thanks to Karla for submitting her story to cavegrrl.com. I am hoping to meet her on the day of the run and wish her luck in person! :) Thanks to Nike and Whole Foods for allowing me to give two other women the chance to run in the race.

You can find Whole Foods on Facebook here and on twitter here. My local store is in Roseville on Facebook here.

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You can find the Run Nike Women’s Series and more information on the race on Facebook here.


National Pizza Month: Gluten Free Options Galore at California Pizza Kitchen!

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Happy National Pizza Month!! Yes, October is National Pizza Month, and to celebrate, Andy and I are selflessly sacrificing being strict Paleo ;) to try out some gluten free pizza options available in the area.

I can’t think of a more iconic place to begin the celebration than California Pizza Kitchen!

It’s been about 6 months since the renovation of California Pizza Kitchen at Arden Fair. This location of California Pizza Kitchen features The Next Chapter menu–updated with fresh and exciting dishes. We were invited to the event along with other local writers and were so impressed by the improvements that I decided I should eventually do a solo feature on their gluten free menu.

Of course, gluten free is a growing trend and a tasty gluten free pizza is in high demand. Especially for a pair of distance runners like Andy and me! :)

Here’s are the pizzas that now come gluten free (including the CPK classic BBQ Chicken pizza:

menu
Andy and I decided to order two salads and two pizzas. Hey, I had planned (and completed) a 10 mile training run the next day! :)

There are several salads on California Pizza Kitchen’s menu that are gluten free. We chose the Cobb Salad: Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon, avocado, chicken, tomatoes,
chopped egg, beets, fresh basil and Gorgonzola with housemade bleu cheese dressing (on the side). OK, so I love Cobb Salad and pretty much order it whenever possible. I have said in the past that a Cobb might possibly be my choice for last meal on Earth. I know that might sound a little odd, but the combination of chicken, avocado, bacon, and blue cheese crumbles is pretty much my favorite thing. New pizza variety perhaps? ;)

cobb

We also tried the Moroccan Spiced Chicken Salad with Roasted butternut squash, dates, avocado, toasted almonds, beets, red peppers, chopped egg, cranberries, and tossed with housemade Champagne vinaigrette.

moroccan chicken
The Morroccan Spiced Chicken salad was a refreshing take on a dinner salad. I loved the fall notes (cranberry) with the perfectly cooked butternut squash. The salads we ordered were the smaller size on the menu, so I can assure you, the portions are very generous.

Speaking of generous portions, the pizzas came out next! We ordered the Margarita pizza with Italian tomatoes with fresh Mozzarella, basil and Parmesan. Now, I haven’t had real pizza dough in as long as I can remember, but I have had about 10-20 different gluten free doughs since adopting a gluten free diet 3 1/2 years ago. I was pretty impressed with the texture and chew of the dough and the almost crispy edges of the crust. I also liked the sauce and cheese ratio on the pizza–as in, there was plenty of it! (See the slice on the lower right with the extra tomato? Mmmm. That’s the first slice I took! Sorry, Andy!)

margherita
And because we are meat lovers, we couldn’t pass up the Mushroom Pepperoni Sausage pizza with Cremini mushrooms, rustic pepperoni, spicy Italian sausage, fresh torn basil, Mozzarella and wild Greek oregano. I loved the huge chunks of sausage on this pie. Andy liked the fact that the pizza was cut into real wedges as opposed to squares. I was just having fun eating pizza with my best friend, no matter how you slice it. Pizza is something we just don’t get to have a lot of anymore, so it’s a pleasure to find a good gluten free alternative.

pepperoni sausage mushroom
For our wine pairing, we ordered a Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina. A reasonably priced, full bodied red wine that reminded me more of a Cabernet. That was not an insult to wine, because typically a Cabernet is a finer wine than Malbec. Andy is always puzzled by my wine tastes and why I like a cheaper Malbec, but my taste in Cabernet is ultra expensive. :) Bodega Tamarí is part of Viña San Pedro Tarapacá, Chile´s second largest group in the wine industry, selling over 27 million cases of wine yearly and exporting wine to 80 countries worldwide.

malbec
I really loved the gluten free pizza at California Pizza Kitchen and I am so happy this restaurant is now giving gluten free people an option besides salad. With the revamped menu and new choices available along with the updated interior, California Pizza Kitchen is a perfect choice for parties or large groups of people. There’s really something for everyone on the menu and it no longer feels like a cafeteria inside the restaurant. Everything on the menu is reasonably priced, making it a good spot for family night out or even a first date.

California Pizza Kitchen has also recently begun a rewards program called Pizza Dough. For every $100 you spend, you get $5 in rewards, redeemable on your next visit. Also, as an incentive to join the program, you get a FREE small plate when you register.

Special thanks to the marketing team I worked with to produce this piece and to Brendon, the Assistant General Manager of California Pizza Kitchen at Arden Fair. I’ll have to try some of those New Zealand Pinot Noirs you told us about. :)

You can find California Pizza Kitchen on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.


Farm to Fork Wine Dinner Series: Piatti Presents Matchbook on Wednesday, October 8th!

I am very excited to share this event with you put on by my long time advertiser, Piatti Sacramento.
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Matchbook
I’ll be attending the dinner and writing about it afterwards. I am really looking forward to the pairing of some of my very favorite wines with food by one of Sacramento’s best chefs, Lance Carlini! If you want to attend, call 916-649-8885. Hurry, space is limited and will sell out!

You can find Matchbook Wines on Facebook here and on Twitter here. Piatti Sacramento is on Facebook here and on Twitter here.


Nike Women’s Half Marathon Entry Winner #1: Congrats to Cathy!

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You might recall a few weeks ago that Whole Foods Market, Nike and I gave away 2 entries to the sold out Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco.

I wanted you to meet the entry winners (I’ll be featuring one today and one next week), so you might perhaps comment below and cheer them on for the upcoming race on October 19th! Maybe you’ll even look them up in the race results following the race.

The first entry winner is Cathy Wiggs-Hong from the Los Angeles, California area. I asked Cathy to share a little bit about herself, her daily diet, and how she is preparing for the race:

photo

Hi my name is Cathy.  I am a 34 year old mother of 3 girls ages 9, 4 and 1.5.  I am a stay at home mom with the girls now, but I previously worked as a pediatric physical therapist.  I love to be active, and enjoy all outdoor activities.  As a family, we love to go to the beach, the pool, and Disneyland.

The Nike Women’s half marathon will be my second half.  I’ve completed many shorter distance races, but have actually come to enjoy the training and actual race of the 13,1 miles.  I try to eat pretty healthy in general, as I am still nursing my youngest child, but I often find it difficult to keep it as healthy as I’d like because of how busy I am.

I find that when I food prep I eat much healthier, that is something I am striving to get more consistent with.  I’ve also noticed that when I “eat clean” I feel so much better both physically and mentally, that is real motivation for me to try and keep it up.

The following food journal is what I ate today and is pretty typical of what I normally eat.

Breakfast: Yogurt with strawberries and blueberries
Snack: Baked mini flat pretzels and dill havarti cheese, honey crisp apple (shared with the littlest)
Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with side salad
Dinner: BBQ’d hamburger with lettuce and avocado, baked sweet potato fries

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Water throughout the day, as well as a multivitamin, glucosamine supplement, calcium, and a broad spectrum antioxidant supplement.

On days that I run, I also have a protein bar or shake following my runs.

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Thanks to Cathy for submitting her story to cavegrrl.com. I am hoping to meet her on the day of the run and wish her luck in person! :) Thanks to Nike and Whole Foods for allowing me to give two other women the chance to run in the race.

You can find Whole Foods on Facebook here and on twitter here. My local store is in Roseville on Facebook here.

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You can find the Run Nike Women’s Series and more information on the race on Facebook here.


River Run for Youth Wrap Up

finish line
Last Saturday, I ran the River Run for Youth in West Sacramento. I wanted to circle back and report on what a great time I had at the race, and give a little bit more about its beneficiary, Collings Teen Center.

I asked Gary Fox, executive director of Campus Life Connection (the non-profit organization that administrates Collings Teen Center) for some more information about the center itself and about how the idea for the River Run for Youth began.

Cavegrrl:
Can you tell me a little more about the services Collings Teen Center provides?

Gary Fox:
The Teen Center offers afterschool options including: tutoring, recreation, field trips, camps, competition, free afternoon meal and service projects. The age for the teen center participants is middle school through high school. The program is for any young person in the West Sacramento area and it is free.

Cavegrrl:
How did the idea of a 5K come to mind as a fundraiser?

Gary Fox:
The idea started with a group of people who wanted to do something to support the center and the next steps included talking to several people who have been doing runs to find out how to put one together, who should we talk to about managing the event and helping with logistics, where should we hold it and who should we talk to about participating.

Cavegrrl:
How did you get Capital Road Race Management and Fleet Feet involved with the race?

Gary Fox:
Both groups have been very helpful and responded with coaching and ideas when we approached them to do a run.

Cavegrrl:
Are you hoping to make the race an annual event?

Gary Fox:
We are planning our next year’s event now, having learned so much from this first year we are excited about the possibilities for the next one.

Cavegrrl:
Besides running the race, how can people donate to Collings Teen Center? Also, do you take volunteers?

Gary Fox:
We encourage people to visit and see what is going on and how the program impacts young people, we accept donation of cash, but we also accept food, clothing and other items as needs arise. We are always looking for volunteers who will be consistent and build relationships with young people.

Thanks, Gary!

dinger 6 min mile
I mentioned that I ran in the race (3.1 miles) as one leg of 11.25 miles I ended up running that day. I finished 2nd in my division (30-39) and took home a nice glass tumbler and medal for it :) Below is my Garmin readout from the race with a map of the course.

river run

 

Speaking of the course, I will say it’s a not a flat one.  There are some hills in there. And if you’re a good cross country runner, you would really like it, as only about 1.5 miles of the race are on paved roads. The rest is gravel and dirt. :) And you finish right on the baseball field, which is again, dirt. :) Below are my official results:

race results

Here’s the link to the rest of the official race results: CLICK HERE

raley field
If you have the chance, come out and run with us next year!

The Collings Teen Center invests in the lives of young people in the West Sacramento Community. Our purpose is to Embrace, Engage and Empower.

Designed to be a safe place where young people will always feel welcomed to hangout after school, a place where computers, basketball, games and activities are blended with tutoring, community service, educational seminars, and trips outside the area, job training and connection to men and women who are leaders in the community.

Young people need caring adults in their lives that will be a positive influence, listen to their issues, encourage good decisions, and celebrate their successes.

You can follow the River Run for Youth on twitter here and find them on Facebook here.


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