Even a year ago I never thought I would be the first female across the finish line at a 5K. Or at any race for that matter.
See, I’m a TREADMILL runner. I only started road racing competitively back in May of 2011 (before then it was just a few fun runs here and there). The Hot Pink 5K in Roseville was the first race I remember really trying to run fast. My time was 25:55. And then, I met a real runner (who would quickly become my boyfriend), and oh Lord, did I have something to prove!
The next 5K I ran, I got a race comp in exchange for advertising. It was the Race for Awareness 5K in Lodi. I improved my time by a whole minute (24:55)! Yes, I admit I ran 20 seconds faster per mile just to impress a man. But, I am more of a long distance runner, and I don’t have a lot of natural speed. I am more like a
stubborn determined freight train. Still, my confidence grows with almost every race I run, and I am getting faster. Part of this is honing skills, but I think more of it is just knowing I can do it.
I ran the Carlsbad 5000 in 2012 and my time was 24:59. I was encouraged because the course is a lot more challenging, and I knew the 24:59 would have been worth a 24:50 or so on a flat course. I chose to run the Zoo Zoom 10K after Carlsbad, and my time was 50:31. This is my standing PR for a 10K. I am intimidated to try and best it.
In the fall, I joined the River City Rebels, and I ran their annual Cross Country race “The Rebel Rebellion 5K”. My time on that course was 25:32. It was my first cross country race and one of the first times I felt like a REAL runner. I felt like my ancestors (I am 1/8 Cherokee Indian) running in the wild. The course is rocky and hilly, and the hills are quite steep. I was running with some really fast women: Jaymee Marty, Krystal Buck, Carol Parise, and some of my new teammates Samantha Lawler, Lori Wray and Karen Jeffers (currently the fastest woman on our team). That day, all I wanted was not to suck or come in last place. I didn’t do either.
PS: It’s a great race and I highly recommend you join us for the next one. There is also people’s race for all speeds and fitness levels.
Then last December, I ran the Woodland Holiday Mile, and my time was 7:25. This is not at all an elite time, but this is amazing for someone who used to run a 9 or 10 minute mile at maximum speed. I won 3rd female overall at the race, and my confidence level was boosted so much that I signed up for a race the very next day. The Fit for Girls 5K. I just HAD to try and beat my 24:55 road PR. I improved my time to 24:32 and I won 3rd in my division. I couldn’t believe I was earning things other than finisher’s medals. Surreal.
So, I waited until this month to try and PR again with the Girls on the Run 5K. The conditions were perfect. The race is exactly 1.4 miles from my house, giving me a great little warmup run on my way to the starting line. Looking around at everyone, I never imagined the outcome of the race. Once the race began, all I could think of was Andy telling me to go out fast and that I needed a 7:50 mile. I think I might have run a 7:35 or 7:40. All I knew was that there were only 5 people ahead of me and I could actually see the cyclists. Whaa?
Now, I am sure it was perfectly strange for the kids ahead of me (I’m guessing their ages here, but an 11 year old girl, an 8 year old girl and a seven year old little boy) to have a 35 year OLD lady huffing and puffing behind them. Especially the little boy, who looked back at me strangely and every time I would try to pass him, would cleverly cut me off and keep his lead by a few feet. The other two people ahead of me were: a woman who was pacing the 11 year old (who probably would have beaten me by at least a minute had she not been running for and with the little girl–I’m not sure), and a guy in this 20s who was in the lead for most of the race.
The most surprising part of the race came at around the 2nd mile when the lead runner started walking or perhaps had some sort of shoe malfunction (I’m really not sure what happened) and I FINALLY passed those kids (all three of them, and the pacer). I took the LEAD, and held onto it for at least a 1/4 of a mile. I don’t want to exaggerate, but it felt like longer. Of course, every second of a 5K can feel like an eternity. But, every time I felt like I wanted to slow down, I heard Andy in my head yelling, “If you don’t feel like you’re dying, you’re not running hard enough!!” Well OK then! The cyclists were getting a kick out of me, I think. This short little choo-choo train huffing and wheezing and puffing, running for dear life. Like, “you’re being chased by a knife-wielding lunatic” dear life. Andy says that’s what it feels like when you’re in the lead. Also, never look back!
It was fun for a while, but I was passed by the guy who had previously been in the lead the whole time, and another guy in his twenties. I had no illusions of winning the race, but we were almost 2.75 miles in and it hit me that I could actually be the first female across and win the award. At this point one of the two cyclists stopped to wait for the runners who were behind us, and the other cyclist kept going to lead us home. As I passed about the 3 mile mark, I heard a girl cheering, “Looks like you’re gonna get third!” I was encouraged by this at a time when I was almost out of gas. I looked at the clock and it said “23:59″. I was hoping to break 24 minutes, but I wasn’t crushed I didn’t make it. I knew I was going to PR again, and be the first female across the line, and that was enough for me!
As I finished, I looked at the clock and it said “24:18″. Mission accomplished! One of the race volunteers handed me an award. It was a $50 gift card for Athleta. Wow.
Stubbornness Hard work really does pay off.
I think the shoes (pictured above) I decided to test out that day (Skechers GOrun) helped me take 5 seconds off my total time. They were sent to me from Skechers through the River City Rebels. I was really able to push off every stride and propel myself a tiny bit further. So, a big thanks to Skechers for the shoes. I plan on running my next road mile in them as well.
Well, I got the celebrity treatment from Andy that day. He opened a special bottle of bubbly to celebrate my win, and made scallops for dinner (so the pictures of him and the wine above are from that). Swanky! I need to win more often! LOL. Love that guy.
The truth is, I may never win a race again, but the importance of it all to me is how far I have come, and I know I’m going to get even faster. And if I can do it, you can do it, too!
The Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento‘s 3rd annual 5k spring race was held last Saturday at North Natomas Regional Park. Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, which currently serves over 600 girls throughout Sacramento, Natomas, El Dorado Hills, Elk Grove, Folsom, Rocklin, Roseville and Yolo County. The mission of Girls on the Run is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.
Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento is a curriculum based youth sports program for girls in grades 3-8. The program stresses the importance of equally developing the emotional, mental, social and physical aspects of each girl. The curriculum encourages independent thinking, healthy group dynamics and problem solving and emphasizes the importance of making healthy choices. The girls, led by trained coaches and volunteers, meet two times per week for 12 weeks every spring and fall. The goal of the program is to foster a respect for healthy living while celebrating each girl. Every practice focuses on fitness, character development, positive reinforcement of each individual child, and having fun, while training each girl to run a 5K. Each of GOTR’s 12-week seasons culminate in a 5K run where parents, coaches, teachers, families and friends gather to celebrate and support the girls who, for many, are running their first 5K.
This weekend, the Sacramento Music Festival is back! This year, the festival is celebrating its 40th Anniversary!
As always, it’s one GIANT PARTY in Old Sacramento and surrounding hotel ballrooms pulsing with the rhythms of jazz, swing, blues, zydeco, rockabilly, bluegrass, Latin music and more. There will be dancing in the streets! Music will be running morning, noon, and midnight. There will be specialty concerts and events, like the Saturday Parade, evening lineups of dance and party bands, and a Memorial Day Salute to Service. They’ll also have world class music groups that you don’t want to miss. There’s plenty to do all weekend long. Here’s a link to the full schedule of performers.
NOTE: the PARADE takes place on SATURDAY at 10 a.m. this year. Also, bring the KIDS! FREE admission for those 12 and younger. There’s a FREE SHUTTLE between venues for festival goers.
Along with traditional favorites and festival mainstays, the 2013 Sacramento Music Festival will feature: Los Lobos, Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, Ben Taylor, The Blasters, John Lee Hooker, Jr., The James Hunter Six,Wanda Jackson, Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks, Jimmy Pailer, Johnny “Guitar” Knox and the Beer Dawgs.
I am personally most excited to see Sister Swing and Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers!!
You can visit the website to find information on tickets, music schedule (posted in April), Special Events, food vendors, maps, hotels, venues, travel, and more. http://www.sacmusicfest.com/ You can find the Sacramento Music Festival on Facebook here and follow it on twitter here!
You can buy tickets (ranging from single day to all access weekend pass) here.
Saturday, May 25, 2013 from 3:00 pm-7:00 pm at the California Automobile Museum: 2200 Front St., Sacramento, CA 95818
Participating Wineries: Aliénor Wines, Bell Hill Vineyards, Brassfield Estate Winery, Bullion Creek Vineyards, Cache Creek Vineyards, Chacewater Winery & Olive Mill, Diamond Ridge Vineyards, Gregory Graham Wines, Langtry Estate & Vineyard/Guenoc, Mt. Konocti Winery, Noggle Vineyards & Winery, Rosa d’Oro Vineyards, Shannon Ridge Winery, Six Sigma, Steele Wines, Thorn Hill Vineyards, Vigilance Winery & Vineyards, Wildhurst Vineyards.
During the wine tasting, guests are invited to view the opening of the Elegance in Motion: Cars of the Golden Age exhibit. It will feature luxurious marques from the Roaring 20s and Art Deco Era highlighting over twenty of the most stunning vehicles ever manufactured. The display will include deluxe models such as Stutz, Hispano-Suiza, Duesenburg, and Auburn.
Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento will be holding their 3rd annual 5k race in Natomas on May 18, 2013 at 9:00am at North Natomas Regional Park. The spring run will benefit Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, which currently serves over 600 girls throughout Sacramento, Natomas, El Dorado Hills, Elk Grove, Folsom, Rocklin, Roseville and Yolo County. The mission of Girls on the Run is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.
The race is being emceed by KCRA’s Edie Lambert and her husband Lloyd Lavine. The race start and finish will take place on Via Ingoglia in front of Inderkum High School. The 5k is a designed to be a fun and supportive community event for families. Sponsor booths and kid-friendly activities will be on site, including a face painter and cheer sign booth where supporters can make signs to cheer on their runners. Walkers and runners of all ages, genders and abilities are welcome to register and attend! A pre-race group warm-up will be led by Fitness Rangers of East Sacramento, and prizes will be awarded to the top male and female finishers.
Girls on the Run of Greater is a curriculum based youth sports program for girls in grades 3-8. The program stresses the importance of equally developing the emotional, mental, social and physical aspects of each girl. The curriculum encourages independent thinking, healthy group dynamics and problem solving and emphasizes the importance of making healthy choices. The girls, led by trained coaches and volunteers, meet two times per week for 12 weeks every spring and fall. The goal of the program is to foster a respect for healthy living while celebrating each girl. Every practice focuses on fitness, character development, positive reinforcement of each individual child, and having fun, while training each girl to run a 5K. Each of GOTR’s 12-week seasons culminate in a 5K run where parents, coaches, teachers, families and friends gather to celebrate and support the girls who, for many, are running their first 5K.
Interested in running or volunteering? Registration is still open! Visit www.gotrsac.org site to learn more about the Girls on the Run organization and register! You can also click here to register! You can find Girls on the Run Sacramento on Facebook here.
I was honored to be invited to yesterday’s media tasting of the America’a Classics Menu at Frank Fat’s. Of course, the menu at Frank Fat’s is not a perfect editorial fit for my Paleo/Primal website, but a James Beard award is not something you win everyday. I was happy and excited to attend and celebrate with members of the Fat family (who had just barely returned from the awards ceremony that took place Monday night in New York). It was like being a part of Sacramento history and a great excuse to take a little vacay day from being strict Paleo. Andy and I sat down with one of the most interesting amalgamations of Sacramento food writers and media personalities including Hank Shaw (also a winner of a James Beard award this year), Kitty O’Neal, Tina Macuha, Sarah Singleton, Chris Macias, and Chef Michael Tuohy (bonus)!
We were served family style at a large round table. As servers placed each course in the center, the plates spun around on a lazy susan, and smart phones hastily snapped pictures of each dish before they were
devoured sampled. Even Kitty O’Neal was live tweeting her lunch! It was great. Now, Andy is such a well behaved sidekick. He has been trained in the ways of food bloggery. He is well aware of the “wait, I have to take a picture of the food first before you dive in” rule.
So, without further delay, here’s a rundown on what we enjoyed.*
*Disclaimer: I did try almost everything we were served except for two dishes, a chow mein and the banana cream pie dessert, but only because I don’t react well to wheat or sugar.
The first course was a Char Siu Slider: Honey glazed pork with pickled vegetables served in a steamed “laughing” bun. These sliders could be a meal by themselves, and it would be fun to see variations of this dish with different fillings for the little pockets of dough.
Next was the ever popular Fat’s dish and an award-winning recipe: Honey Walnut Prawns–Crispy shrimp with glazed walnuts and a special sauce. Props to the chef for being light handed with the “mayernaise” (sic), as it is delightful to enjoy the crispiness of the fried shrimp, along with the creaminess of the sauce which includes mayonnaise (too much = soggy), and the sweetness and crunch of the walnuts. The trifecta of delectable was achieved.
Alert alert!! Bacon alarm sounding!! OK, so bacon in everything has come (and actually gone) as a “thing” (and as a food writer I feel like it’s rather silly), but not when it comes to the classic pairings. Bacon Wrapped Scallops were up next. And this dish puts bacon back where it belongs. Wrapped around seafood! The scallops were served with green beans and an oyster cream sauce. I handily gobbled 2 of these, as they were the closest thing to Paleo on the menu, and a combination of two of my favorite foods. What a classic dish, and Fat’s version has such a pretty presentation. The scallops reminded me of little snails on green grass.
The Gai Lan served as a tasty side to our meal. It’s a Chinese broccoli dish, drizzled with oyster sauce. Just love the emerald color on those greens!
The San Gai Shee Chow Mein is comprised of egg noodles with chicken, black mushrooms and snow peas. I passed on it only because I was filling up fast, and I heard there was steak coming. And, yes, I’m a wimp. Well, actually, I was trying to avoid gluten as much as possible. It looked and smelled delicious!
Then it was time for Frank’s Style New York Steak. It’s described on my menu as “smothered” in onions and oyster sauce, and from the picture you can see it’s true. That meat is getting no air at all! It’s practically choking in caramelized onion-y goodness! I was happy to see another gluten-free offering. Kevin Fat, (one of the family members, Director of Business Administration for Fat’s Restaurants, and the main host for the luncheon) remarked that it was one of the original dishes on the Frank Fat’s menu. It’s fascinating to think that “fusion” cuisine began ages before the term was actually coined.
For dessert, we were each presented with a slice of Fat’s Famous Banana Cream Pie which was apparently so good that Andy had 2 slices (one was mine) and even brought a third one home! Fat’s makes 15-25 pies twice per day. Now, that’s a lot of time on the treadmill. If you want to impress your friends, you can bring one of their pies to the next party you attend, as the pies can be ordered as a whole (with a 12 hour notice) if you simply call the restaurant. It’s up to you if you want to slip it in some tupperware and pass it off as your own. Not that you would ever do that!
The James Beard America’s Classics Award has been given every year since 1998 to recognize the most beloved regional restaurants. Characteristics of the nominees and winners include timeless appeal and quality food that reflects the character of their communities. Along with Frank Fat’s, this year’s other nominees included: Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville, TN, C.F. Folks in Washington D.C., Keen’s Steakhouse in New York City, Kramarczuk’s in Minneapolis, MN. The Fat Family was honored and quite taken aback by the nomination and the award win (they did not nominate themselves).
“This award recognizes everything my father believed in – outstanding food, generous portions, caring service and a simple, but deep-rooted desire to make people happy, ” says Frank Fat’s President and CEO, Jerry Fat. “He loved his customers, they all loved him, and I believe that his spirit is what has kept us so successful all these years.”
To celebrate the James Beard award, Frank Fat’s will be hosting America’s Classics Month May 13-31, featuring same menu served at the media lunch and showcased in today’s post. It is priced at $29.95 per person (2 person minimum) and is a dine-in only offer.
To read more about Frank Fat’s history and the Sacramento Bee review by Blair Anthony Robertson, click here. You can find Frank Fat’s on Facebook here and on twitter here.
At the media luncheon, we watched a video about the restaurant that was played at the awards ceremony. I am posting it below because it pretty much sums up the spirit and greatness of the Fat’s empire.
Formerly Stanford Home for Children, Stanford Youth Solutions presents its 8th annual signature event: Vintage 2013 on Thursday, April 25th, from 6-10pm at the North Ridge Country Club. The North Ridge Country Club is located at 7600 Madison Avenue, Fair Oaks, CA 95628,
There will be a wine and food tasting, a live & silent auction and live music.
The event will be filled with themed room experiences with special cocktails and tasty bites from Zocalo’s, Matteo’s, Bella Bru, and Mulvaney’s. Walk in the clouds in the Sky Bar, feel the serenity of the Rain Forest, get backstage access to our version of Red Rocks, and taste exquisite wines while perusing our silent auction packages in the Vintage room & patio.
Red Rocks: A Red Rocks Amphitheatre experience to you in this backstage access themed room.
Rain Forest: Let the soothing sounds of nature sweep over you in this tranquil oasis. Refresh your palette’s with Ella’s famous Gin & Tonics.
Sky Bar: Enjoy the cloud-top bar with martinis, ice sculptures and sushi.
Vintage: For true wine and food connoisseurs, enjoy local and regional wines and taste local restaurant offerings.
Special entertainment will feature Joe Castillo, sand artist and finalist on America’s Got Talent – be one of the first in Sacramento to see him LIVE!
A new addition this year in the Rain Forest room is Stanford’s version of a Giving Tree! They will have mystery bottles of wine placed in the custom made Giving Tree. You can choose 1 wine bottle for $20 OR 3 for $50. Values of the mystery wine range from $10 to $100!!! Take a chance, win some great wine, & GIVE back!
This year’s special honoree is Rob Lynch, President and CEO of VSP Global.
Vintage 2013 goes GREEN! The color green symbolizes healthy relationships, nature, balance, and sustainability. This year, a fun twist on the color green highlights Stanford’s new brand and the lasting evolution of the youth and families they serve.
Compliment your favorite outfit with a bit of green to show your support of Stanford’s mission and your commitment to well being, harmony and a healthy life. By participating in Vintage 2013, you will be giving the gift of healthy relationships to challenged youth and their families.Vintage 2012 was hailed the event of the year and this year’s Vintage promises to be even better.
Tickets are $100 per person and $125 at the door. To purchase tickets, click here.
You can find Stanford Youth Solutions on Facebook here. You can watch highlights of last year’s event below:
Looking forward to seeing 42nd Street this weekend! Here’s a press release from my friends at Runaway Stage Productions. -cg
SACRAMENTO – Come on along and listen to the lullaby of Broadway with Runaway Stage Productions as RSP presents the classic comedy musical 42nd Street, playing April 12 to May 5 at the 24th Street Theatre, located at the Sierra 2 Center.
Based on the classic 1933 movie musical of the same name, 42nd Street tells the story of naive young actress Peggy Sawyer who arrives to audition for the new Julian Marsh extravaganza, set to open on Broadway with aging leading lady Dorothy Brock. A classic backstage story, 42nd Street is a delightful throwback that the entire family will enjoy. The 1980 Broadway production won the Tony Award for Best Musical and became a long-running hit. The show was produced in London in 1984 (winning the Olivier Award for Best Musical), and its 2001 Broadway revival won the Tony for Best Revival.
RSP’s talented cast and crew include both well-known favorites and new talents. Award-winning Darryl Strohl (RSP’s Legally Blonde, Kiss Me Kate and Curtains) choreographs, Andrea St. Clair (Annie, Kiss Me Kate) plays Anytime Annie, Amy Jacques-Jones (White Christmas) is Peggy, and newcomer Timothy Stewart takes on the role of Billy.
“RSP has waited to do this show until the talent was ready, and boy is it ready,” RSP Producing Director Bob Baxter said. “The cast is unbelievable, the dancing (tap, ballet and jazz) is breathtaking. I am excited watching the rehearsals, and I know the audience will enjoy the show!”
Jeremy Bolt directs music, with vocal direction by Deann Golz. They lead the RSP resident orchestra with a score that is full of famous musical numbers, including “Young and Healthy,” “You’re Getting to be a Habit with Me,” “Dames,” “We’re in the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” and, of course, the iconic “Forty-Second Street.”
42nd Street performs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. 4/12-5/5, 2013. TICKETS – Opening Night – $19; Adults – $25; Seniors (60+) – $23; Students/SARTA – $21; Children (12 & under) – $18; Groups of 10+ – $19 each. Tickets can be purchased online at www.runawaystage.com (reservation convenience fees apply) or at the door. For further information or questions, please call the box office at (916) 207-1226. Free parking is available. The 24th Street Theatre is located at the Sierra 2 Center: 2791 24th Street in Sacramento.
You can find Runaway Stage Productions on Facebook here.
PLYMOUTH, CA – March 22, 2013 – Everyone is invited to Enjoy All That is Spring with the Wineries of Steiner Road on Sat., April 27, 2013 11am-4 pm.
This FREE Food and Wine event will delight the senses. Guests can stroll through the beautiful grounds of nine wineries, taste a variety of wines, listen to live music, experience all the blooming flowers and enjoy special treats.
Taste some small bites of spring lamb sausage, turkey and vegetable wraps, asparagus bruschetta, apricot pastry wrapped baked brie, wood fired pizza, Italian fare appetizers, tapenade cheese spread and crostini, tri-tip sliders, and artisan cheese and wine parings!!
Visitors also can enter to win two tickets to the sold out Barbera Festival June 8th, 2013 by visiting at least 5 of the 9 participating Steiner Road wineries: Shenandoah Vineyards, Amador Foothill, Bella Grace, Deaver Vineyards, Driven, Dillian, Renwood, Charles Spinetta and Dobra Zemlja.
Steiner Road Wineries, off Shenandoah Road (Hwy. E-16), east of Plymouth, CA, in Amador County. Questions: Contact Camille Sobon, (209) 245-4455.
The wineries of Steiner Road also have a new Facebook page. Connect with them by clicking “like” here.
As Rock ’n Restaurants approaches, organizers have secured robust support from several restaurants and industry partners that will be integral in making the event possible. The event is slated to kick off with a VIP reception at 5 p.m. April 9 at the the Crest Theatre in Sacramento, with the concert to begin at 7 p.m.
USA Today has called Allen Stone a “pitch-perfect powerhouse” and he’s performed on the Ellen Degeneres Show, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Last Call with Carson Daly and Live from Daryl’s House and was a featured artist on VH1’s You Oughta Know. But the 25-year-old performer from Chewelah, Wash. just sees himself as “a hippie with soul.”
Like many soul singers, Stone got his start in church. He is the son of a preacher, so whipping crowds into a call-and-response frenzy is second nature. Steeped in gospel music and shielded from secular songs, Allen didn’t discover soul music until he was a teenager and started collecting classic albums from the 1960s and ’70s.
“Soul music from that time wasn’t just about bumpin’ and grindin’ at the club – it was a huge part of a cultural movement,” Stone said. “That’s where my inspiration comes from.”
Rock ’n Restaurants will conclude the CRA’s 2013 Lobby Day event, which involves restaurant industry leaders from across the country convening in Sacramento to discuss legislative issues affecting restaurant with lawmakers at the Capitol.
Farm Fresh to You and UBER Cab are also in-kind sponsors.
Several CRA chapters also are lending support to the event, including Sacramento, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Diego County and Orange County.
Event tickets cost $50 and will be available to purchase on calrest.org soon. Proceeds from the event will benefit the CRA Issues Political Action Committee.
For more information about the event or sponsorship opportunities, contact governmentaffairs(nospace) atcalrest(dot)org. You can find the California Restaurant Association on Facebook here. You can register for the event here.
I have to say: I am the luckiest unlucky person I know. I just got the boot from my job, but that allowed me to go on a (pretty much) free trip to Anaheim to attend the Natural Products Expo West. So, I guess when one door slams in your face, another one opens and it leads to Disneyland!
The Natural Products Expo West showcased a record number of new natural and organic product launches, and provided the definitive community platform for brands, retailers and influencers in the natural, organic and healthy living sector.
Natural Products Expo West drew more than 63,000 industry members and 2,428 exhibiting companies at the Anaheim Convention Center, March 7-10, 2013 in Anaheim, CA. Engredea and Nutracon, the ingredient and supply chain’s most comprehensive trade show and conference were co-located with Natural Products Expo West.
Natural Products Expo West provided a unique view into the forces and product trends fueling the growth of the global natural products industry in every category, including food, beverage, supplements, beauty, household and pet products.
Trends prominent at Natural Products Expo West, with significantly more product options launching into the market, include gluten- and allergen-free products, sprouted foods, healthy snacks, non-dairy alternatives, vegan and paleo offerings, and healthier, cleaner kids’ products.
Natural Products Expo East 2013 will return to the Baltimore Convention Center, Sept. 25-28, 2013 in Baltimore, MD. Follow @NatProdExpo or #ExpoWest on Twitter for ongoing conversations or connect on their Facebook page to keep up with their latest developments.
My favorite products at Expo West? Well, I just love the Diestels and their line of deli meats. And I picked Sante Nuts Pistachios as Best of the West. Other favorites were True Bar (Hazelnut especially!!) and the Zing bar. I especially love it when the marketers give me a whole case of their product!! The aforementioned bars are not completely Paleo, but are gluten-free and non-GMO and totally appropriate for an occasional treat. Especially on heavy training days.
During my time in Anaheim, I stayed at Ayres Hotel Anaheim. The hotel is located close to everything! It is directly across the street from the Honda Center (where the Mighty Ducks play) and walking distance from Angels Stadium. It is a short shuttle ride (ART!!) from the Anaheim Convention Center, Disneyland and California Adventure.
I loved staying at Ayres I will stay there every time I visit Anaheim. I enjoyed the nightly wine and guacamole reception from 5:30-6:30pm. You’d think they’d planned this just for me as much as I love wine and guacamole! My room was spacious and was equipped with a refrigerator and microwave. Very useful for Paleo people and having to bring your own food along when traveling. There is free breakfast available daily with fresh fruit, oatmeal, cereals, eggs, sausage, bacon, coffee, tea, milk, juices, and more. I was able to enjoy the eggs because they don’t add any weird oils or butter to them.
One of the best things about Ayres was the staff. They were so nice and accommodating. They allowed me to leave my bags at the hotel during Expo West. I drive a Smart car with no trunk, and I didn’t want things in my car left visible to potential thieves (I had to park at Angels Stadium to shuttle to the convention center). Also, during my stay they explained to me how Anaheim Resort Transportation works to me (and a few other guests), so I was able to save $10 on parking at Disneyland.
I worked out in the gym two days of my stay and discovered a great bike path to run on directly beside the hotel. So, if you like to run outdoors or if you are a cyclist, take note. This is a great place to stay for you! I ran three miles out and back. It’s a semi-hilly and fun run that will definitely burn some calories. There’s also an outdoor pool and a spa.
So Ayres Hotel and staff… thanks. You guys are rad. Follow them on twitter here and like them on Facebook here. They run a lot of deals and do a lot of giveaways. It’s such a great place to stay and I will definitely be back!
Lastly, I want to thank Disneyland. I was able to be a kid again for a day with my press credential. I had so much fun. I rode so many rides! Space Mountain, The Matterhorn, It’s a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Haunted Mansion and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. I was even able to find a Paleo friendly snack at Bengal Barbecue! They have meat and vegetable skewers!!
I think my favorite ride is at California Adventure. It’s called Radiator Springs Racers and based on the Cars movie. I also checked out Mickey’s Fun Wheel and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror while I was there. It was definitely the Happiest Place on Earth for me and my only regret is that Andy or my nieces were not there with me to enjoy it. Here are a few pictures I took while I was there. I got my picture with Donald Duck because we share the same birthday. Thank you so much, Disneyland! Catch them on twitter here and on Facebook here.
Andy and I attended the Mikuni Ignite Party on Tuesday to celebrate the reopening and to get a peek of the David Garibaldi painting that was unveiled (a long mural of Michael Jackson, Elvis and Taro depicted in between the two icons).
It was interesting to hear Andy talk about visiting this location in the late 1980′s. He told me that he and a friend used to come here before there were any other Mikunis. At that time, I was living in Ohio and the only thing I knew about Sacramento was that it was the capital of California. What a difference a quarter of a century makes!
After a two-month aggressive reconstruction schedule, the interior of Mikuni Fair Oaks is completely restored with bright colors on the walls, beautiful flooring, and the sushi bar is full of fish ready to be rolled and served. The chefs and waitstaff are smiling and happy to return to work. The buffet that was put out for the Ignite Party guests to enjoy included gyoza, sashimi, tempura, sesame chicken, and numerous sushi rolls. There were even lamb chops. And you can bet those didn’t last long… especially around Andy. The food was so delicious and indicative of the great spirits of everyone in the kitchen. A cake was served at the end of the event, and Taro’s sense of humor was apparent. It said “Mikuni is on Fire!” I agree completely! Welcome back.
Mikuni Fair Oaks will offer 10% off to Koki Club members, 15% off to Mikuni Blue card holders and 20% off to Mikuni Black card holders from Wednesday, March 6th through Wednesday, March 13th at their Fair Oaks location only.*Please show your Koki Club card to take advantage of this offer. If you are not currently a member of the Mikuni Koki Club, you can join on-site.
PS: Taro Arai will be appearing at the Sacramento Food Film Festival next Friday, March 15th. Join my friend Catherine of Munchie Musings for sushi from Mikuni and Kru and then watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi after, sponsored by Mikuni .
Pretty Muddy is a 5k adventurous obstacle course mud run for any woman who wants to get outside, spend time with friends and have fun. It’s designed to be fun and empowering. It starts: 06/29/2013 08:00 am and lasts 8 hours. It will be held at 8181 Cucamonga Avenue, Sacramento, CA, 95826. Here’s some more details about the event:
- 5k Course (3.1 miles, run or walk)
- Women Only (sorry, guys)
- Mud (lots of it!)
- Architectural Obstacles (much better than shabby hay bales and shaky plywood)
- Pretty Epic Finish Line Party (Entertainment, music, drinks & celebration galore)
What to Wear
Wear whatever you feel comfortable exercising in, as long as you don’t mind it getting dirty.
What to Bring
- A valid ID and a signed copy of your waiver for check in.
- Change of clothes. Bring a fresh set of comfortable clothes (including shoes) to change into after your wave. Don’t forget to include a plastic bag (to stash your muddy gear), waterproof sunscreen (sunburn and mud are not a good look) and a towel to dry off. There will be plenty of bathrooms on site, showers to rinse off and private changing areas so you can get clean and enjoy the day.
- A camera. These are pretty awesome memories you’ll want to remember and share! We’ll also have professional photographers throughout the course capturing all the dirty details.
- Cash and credit cards. We’ll have a variety of food and beverages available for purchase throughout the day, along with some pretty awesome gear.
- Friends and family! We’ll have lots of places for them to cheer you on, take photos and add to the day’s excitement.
And here’s what to leave at home:
- Jewelry. We’d hate for your priceless family tiara to get lost in the mud!
- Pets. Really, who wants to drive home with a wet, muddy dog?
Got more questions? Check out our FAQs page for answers!
Runaway Stage Production’s Avenue Q Opens March 8 at New Venue
SACRAMENTO— The smash-hit Broadway musical and 2004 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Avenue Q comes to the Black Box Theatre at the West Sacramento Community Center March 8. Black Box is a new venue for Runaway Stage Productions, special to this production only. RSP has also added additional performances on Saturdays and Sundays for Avenue Q.
The Black Box Theatre offers a state of the art production venue which will improve the production values for this production: better lights, sound, restrooms, food and drink, heating & cooling, dressing rooms, etc,” RSP Producing Director and Avenue Q Director Bob Baxter said.
Avenue Q, the musical that Entertainment Weekly called “one of the funniest shows you’re likely to see,” revolves around life in New York City as told by a cast of puppets, and people, through a hilariously irreverent Tony-winning book and score.
Avenue Q tells the story of Princeton, a bright-eyed college grad who moves to NYC with big dreams and a tiny bank account. The only apartment he can afford is way out on Avenue Q, where everyone’s looking for the same things he is: a decent job, a stable relationship, and a “purpose.” Eventually, Princeton learns to embrace the ups and downs of city life and realizes that “the real world” isn’t so bad, after all!
“Avenue Q speaks to adult audiences on love, maturing, living life in the real world, and social issues in a hilarious way,” Baxter said. “The puppet characters can say and do things that humans can’t, and the audience will enjoy the puppets and listen and be open to the topics more readily. It is an innovative way to bring the ideas to the audience. Not to mention that is an extremely clever, fun and enjoyable show.”
The RSP Resident Orchestra moves with a talented cast to The West Sacramento Community Center Black Box Theatre, located at 1075 West Capitol Ave. in West Sacramento. The show runs two hours with a 15-minute intermission. Due to adult situations (like full-puppet nudity), Avenue Q may be inappropriate for kids under 13. Parental Advisory: 80% Tony-Winning Hilarity, 10% Adult Situations and 10% Foam Rubber. Avenue Q has not been authorized or approve in any manner by the Jim Henson Company or Sesame Workshop, which have no responsibility for its content.
Avenue Q performs Thursdays and Fridays at 8 .m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. 3/8-3/31, 2013. TICKETS — Opening Night – $19; Adults – $25; Seniors (60+) – $23; Students/SARTA – $21; Children (12 & under) – $18; Groups of 10+ – $19 each. Tickets can be purchased online at www.runawaystage.com (reservation convenience fees apply) or at the door. For further information or questions please call the box office at (916) 207-1226. Free parking is available.
You can find Runaway Stage Productions on Facebook here.
Please join me for the 25th Annual Winter Wine & Food Fest on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at the Sacramento Convention Center. Food, Wine Tasting and Silent Auction take place from 5:00 p.m.- 7:30 p.m, and the exclusive VIP Live Auction is from 7:30 p.m.- 10:00 p.m.
1,000+ people are expected to attend this exclusive event, featuring more than 100 of the best local restaurants and wineries. Guests will enjoy a live and silent auction, live entertainment and delicious food and drink from elite restaurants and wineries. Come hear the compelling stories of two Wish Ambassadors, Chris and Emily.
This year, Joe and Pat Harbison are being honored for greatly contributing to this event.
This elegant Make-A-Wish® event raises funds to grant wishes for children ages 2 and 1/2 to 18 with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich their human experience with hope, strength, and joy. All proceeds raised stay within Northeastern California and Northern Nevada chapter and make dreams a reality for our local wish children. Last year this fundraiser was able to grant 87 wishes to children.
This year, there will be more than 300 silent and super silent auction items and about 35 live auction items including the following:
Admission is $85 per person ($100 at the door) OR $185 per person ($200 at the door) for VIP tickets. No one under 21 permitted. For tickets contact Melissa Arnold at 916.692.3921 or email marnold(at)necannv.wish.org.
Hello, Sweethearts! I have compiled a few Valentine-themed events & gift ideas that l find lovely and delightful, and I would like to pass them on to you!
Casque Wines and Cupid have teamed up to create the perfect gift for your special someone. They teamed up with Chef Joe at the Flower Farm Cafe who is busy baking and decorating these delicious (and beautiful) Cake-Pops. They paired them with some of our favorite wines and added a couple of stemmed glasses for the perfect gift!This Friday, Saturday and Sunday (February 8-10), they will be offering the following special: 2 Cake-Pops, 2 Stemmed Casque Glasses, and Bottle of your Choice ~ Sauvignon Blanc, Calotte Blanc or Vermentino for only $28. The Cake-Pops will also be available individually for $1.50 each. Stop by this weekend for some Cake-Pops and Casque!
With the perfect mix of scrumptious, decadent flavor, SMIRNOFF Kissed Caramel Flavored Vodka possesses a seductive aroma to complement its smooth caramel flavor while its counterpart, SMIRNOFF Iced Cake Flavored Vodka, offers a light, sweet aroma met with a refreshing, smooth iced cake flavor.These luscious and tastefully satisfying new flavors from the world’s #1 premium vodka are sure to add a nice touch of sweet romance to anyone’s Valentine’s Day.
CUPID’S KISS: ½ oz. Smirnoff Iced Cake, ½ oz. Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, ½ oz. Chambord. Directions: Add ingredient in a shaker with ice, shake and pour into martini
glass. Add white chocolate to rim.
He loves me, he loves me not…It’s complicated. If your relationship is dark, yet spicy and complex with many layers, then Sobon Zinfandel Fiddletown is the wine for you! If you thought your relationship was complicated, this full-bodied red will have your palette changing its relationship status.
A stunning multi-faceted wine featuring intriguing aromas and flavors of spice, black currant, plum, smoky oak and a dusty-cherry component typical of the Fiddletown area. Massive and full-bodied, with an impressive, complex finish. Sustainably farmed. Thanks to Total Wine & More for the feature!
Nugget Market is pretty much a one-stop Valentine’s shop! You can pick up these truffles made my Truffle Gateau. Handmade locally, these chocolates are made with fresh ingredients and are designed to be paired with a variety of wines and cheeses.
Natural Vines are made from all natural ingredients and contain no artificial flavors or preservatives and no high fructose corn syrup — the licorice is naturally sweetened with cane sugar. Available in two flavors, Black and Strawberry. They were a big hit amongst my coworkers!
FOR THE COOK
I really dug this recipe for a Chocolate Almond Flour Beet Cake on my friend Julia’s site, The Roasted Root, so I am sharing the link with you. I encourage you to check it out here! If you need a taste tester, I’d be happy to help!
Happy Valentine’s Day to all and thanks to all the product sponsors and advertisers in this post!
Horses, Hope & Healing presents February Hot Crab & Pasta on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 6:30PM at the Sacramento Horseman’s Association: 3200 Longview Drive, Sacramento, CA 95821
To prolong the Valentine’s Day celebration, treat your date to Hot Crab & Pasta the day after. There will also be a live & silent auction, raffles, and music. Join the fun and feast while helping to support a fantastic non-profit! All donations go to support youth and horses! If you cannot attend, please consider a donation for our silent auction or raffle. TIckets are $50 per person or $450 for a table of ten people. You can buy tickets to the event by clicking here!
The Green Boheme is providing a Delicious Raw Vegan Dessert for this event! Chef Brooke will be there showing support (and working in the kitchen!) For guests who wish to enjoy a raw, vegan dinner, The Green Boheme will be providing your a raw dinner option! Please message through Facebook that you have registered (here).
Horses, Hope & Healing is a horse rescue effort combined with an after-school and weekend program for inner city youth.
Horses, Hope & Healing was developed by Tiffany Oreglia. Because of her own life experiences, Tiffany saw the need to keep our youth involved in a program that helps to build self-esteem and instill family values, hard work & dedication. She has joined with other concerned parents, horse owners & volunteers to create just such a program.
Horses, Hope & Healing provides a safe, positive environment for young people; a place where they can learn, lead & develop important life skills. The relationship between horse & child gives youth a sense of value & self-worth. The animals require hard work & dedication from a loving and gentle hand. The organization often takes in horses in need of rescue, and children help with the needs of the abused or neglected animals. With participation in the healing of these horses, the children often find healing in themselves.
The program also provide gang intervention and education, homework assistance and tutoring, and teaches leadership skills along with safe afterschool and weekend activities.
You can like their Facebook page here. Hope you’ll join them at their fundraiser!
This Thursday evening, February 7th from 6:30 to 8:30pm, 33rd Street Bistro & Rick Kushman present Kushman on Wine and Food. He will be educating you about wine and maybe a few other bonus items, who knows?!? Fun, humor, conversation, knowledge are guaranteed. This month’s topic is Chardonnay (How much oak?), Pinot Noir (Rich? Bright? Other?) and Cabernet (What do you really like?). Tickets are $35 (on sale at the door and at 33rd Street Bistro) and include appetizers. I took a class lead by Rick last summer at Lava Cap Winery and it was a lot of fun! Don’t miss out!
The 1st annual San Francisco, CA Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo (www.gfafexpo.com) will be held on February 9 and 10, 2013 at the San Francisco Marriott Airport Waterfront Hotel. Jenny McCarthy’s non-profit organization Generation Rescue is the primary sponsor for the event (www.generationrescue.org). In addition, Dr. Peter Green from Columbia University will be the keynote speaker (www.celiacdiseasecenter.org).
The Gluten and Allergen-Free Expo was started by Jen Cafferty of gfreelife.com in 2008. Jen’s team is excited to include San Francisco as part of their “road show” in 2013. More than 2,500 people are anticipated to attend the Bay Area’s first sizeable gluten-free event in years!
The following gluten-free experts will be at the expo:
Silvana Nardone (www.silvanaskitchen.com), founding editor-in-chief of Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine
Cybele Pascal (www.cybelepascal.com), who has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show
Kyra Bussanich of Crave Bake Shop (www.cravebakeshop.com), who won two episodes of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network
Kathy Smart of Live the Smart Way (livethesmartway.com), who has appeared on the Dr. Oz show and will be the face of GlutenFreeFind.com
Brandy Wendler, Mrs. Alaska 2011 (brandywendler.blogspot.com)
Amy Fothergill (www.amythefamilychef.com), who is a chef in San Francisco
The Gluten and Allergen-Free Expo is the largest and fastest growing gluten-free consumer event in the United States. Their growth continues in 2013 as the GFAF Expo expands its event locations as well as their focused demographic.
The Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo will bring the nation’s leading chefs, best-selling cookbook authors, and highly regarded nutrition and health experts to help people learn how to prepare healthy, tasty meals and baked goods without gluten and some of the most common allergens. With over 100 vendors, attendees can sample products before buying them at the store.
“Living on a restricted diet doesn’t have to mean living without the joy of cooking, baking and eating foods that look and taste great,” said Jen Cafferty, mother of two and founder of the Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo. “There is nothing like this in the area – a place where individuals, parents, and others can spend from a few hours to a full day sampling hundreds of products, and discovering that special dietary needs and cookies that taste like cardboard are not synonymous.”
I can’t wait to connect with other gluten-free people as well as gluten free product manufacturers, and bring some of their products to this website!
Open to the general public, the event features themed cooking sessions that will enlighten both beginners and more experienced home chefs, as well as a vendor fair, where attendees will meet and sample among more than 100 gluten-free companies under one roof. All of the vendors are 100 percent gluten-free and many also will showcase products free of the top eight allergens: milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.
The Expo will include a dedicated area featuring nut-free products. The Expo is not just for those who are gluten sensitive and have food allergies. It is a great resource for those who have celiac disease, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, food intolerances, anti-inflammatory diseases and those who are autistic. The Expo is a perfect platform for athletes and those who are health-conscious. Offerings will include raw foods, supplements, health foods, protein bars and shakes, and detox options.
A variety of experts will give presentations on topics including:
-Pie Crust 101
-The Science Behind Gluten-Free Baking
-Safely Eat Out & Travel Gluten & Allergen-Free
A detailed schedule can be found at http://www.gfafexpo.com/san-francisco/classes
The Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo Vendor Fair will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, February 9 and Sunday, February 10, 2013 at the San Francisco Marriott Airport Waterfront Hotel. The cost to attend the Vendor Fair is $20 for adults and $5 for children ages 3 – 12. Early admission tickets (9 a.m.) are available for an additional fee online. General tickets are available online or at the door. The ticket price also includes an allergen-free arts and crafts area for kids, as well as staged presentations related to gluten-free living and cooking.
To purchase tickets or obtain additional information, including vendors, presenters’ bios and the full schedule of classes and stage presentations for each day, visit www.gfafexpo.com.
There are 45 million people with food allergies and intolerances. More than 18 million Americans are on a gluten-free diet. Over 3 million Americans have celiac disease. Celiac disease is two times more common than Type 1 Diabetes and seven times more common than Multiple Sclerosis. About 1 in every 133 people has celiac disease – a condition in which the body cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and commercially available oats. More than 300 symptoms ranging from digestive issues to depression are linked to celiac disease, and more than 95 percent of people who have it are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. A gluten-free diet is essential for those with celiac disease, which many sufferers erroneously believe or have been told by medical professionals is irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance. In addition, many families with autistic children are reporting a reduction in their children’s symptoms with a gluten-free diet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that an average of 1 in 110 U.S. children has an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
# # #
About the Expo:
The Gluten and Allergen-Free Expo is the premier gluten and allergen free event in the United States. The GFAF Expo serves over 20,000 people with celiac disease, gluten sensitivities, auto-immune/anti-inflammatory diseases and autism as well as athletes and the health conscious community each year.
As founder of the Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo and President of Gluten Free Classes, Jen Cafferty is a nationally recognized expert on cooking and living gluten & allergen-free. She considers it her personal mission to help others who follow a restricted diet learn delicious, nutritious and convenient ways to live a happy and healthy life.
Hey everyone! It’s Wednesday aka “hump day” aka “phone-it-in” day, so that means I am going to simply pass along a press release in the hopes you might read it! Though I won’t be in town to attend, I’d like to share the news about the upcoming Sacramento Food Film Festival, the brainchild of fellow blogger, Catherine Enfield (aka Ms. Munchie). See ya Thursday with another product review!
Media Release, January 23rd SACRAMENTO–It’s fitting that Sacramento, California was named the “Farm to Fork Capitol” when it is located in the most fertile region of the country. It only makes sense, then, that a city of food lovers also has an appreciation for food films. The Sacramento Food Film Festival brings the love of food and films together and mixes them with a bit of discussion and a pinch of activities.
Slow Food Sacramento presents the Sacramento Food Film Festival 2013. Slow Food Sacramento is an active non-profit that hosts a wide range of educational and convivial events throughout the year to introduce people to the producers and creators of some of the region’s outstanding foods, farms, and restaurants.
The second year of the Sacramento Food Film Festival expands to two days, March 15 and 16, 2013. The slate of films runs from bees and sushi making to the history of New York butchers and the plight of the farm worker. Sprinkled throughout the two days are activities to keep the festival interactive, informative, and educational.
These themes fall in line with the two organizations supported from the proceeds: Slow Food Sacramento and the California Food Literacy Center. “California Food Literacy Center is thrilled to be part of this event,” said Amber Stott, Executive Director. “Film is an important way to increase food literacy in our community. We look forward to a full day of fun and learning!”
Friday, March 15th, will be a special event ticket for an evening of food and film. For $40 the ticket includes the screening of locally filmed Quest for Local Honey followed by a honey tasting and discussion with the filmmakers. Everyone then moves to the next door Forty Acres Gallery for a sushi tasting and discussion on seafood sustainability with Taro from Mikuni and Billy Ngo from Kru. The evening will end with the screening of Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
The schedule for Saturday, March 16th includes:
- Scavenger hunt for all ages
- What’s On Your Plate?
- A Community of Gardeners
- Discussion of film with Master Gardener, Bill Maynard
- Meat Hooked! Sponsored by Selland Family Restaurants
- Symphony of the Soil
- American Harvest
- Discussion regarding farm workers and the part they play in agriculture
On Saturday, the concession stand will be run by Whole Foods Market, providing healthy movie snacks.
Saturday tickets are $25. Individual film tickets are $7. Weekend festival tickets, good for both days, are $55. Tickets can be purchased via the website: SlowFoodSacramento.com
For more information, contact Catherine Enfield at 916-595-7822.
Sunday evening, Andy and I had dinner at the newly remodeled Piatti Ristorante on Fair Oaks Boulevard in Sacramento. The restaurant (which had been closed for 4 months) has just reopened after a replacement of the flooring, ceiling, lighting, bar top and furniture.
Piatti has been a long time advertiser of cakegrrl.com and cavegrrl.com, but the staff did not know I was going to visit this time around. I say this because I want you to know we were delighted with a wonderful meal and greeted with fantastic service by our server, Chris.
Andy and I shared a 1/2 liter of chardonnay from the restaurant’s “Barrel to Table” system of wines on tap. Through “Barrel to Table” wines are served through a custom tap and barrel system which eliminates oxidation and brings the freshest, highest-quality wine to the table using the most environmentally sustainable technology – no corks, foils or bottles.
Last Wednesday evening I attended a preview dinner at Seasons 52 with a few other Sacramento food bloggers, as well as a number of local TV and radio personalities. Seasons 52 is located in the former Fresh Choice space at Arden Fair Mall.
The “Seasons 52” name and menu are inspired by the seasons and the fresh appeal of the farmer’s market. Every week of the year, the restaurant (under the direction of Senior Director of Culinary Chef Clifford Pleau and Executive Chef Partner Jeffrey Martell) strives to feature the freshest ingredients at the peak of ripeness and flavor, and offers them in ways that showcase culinary art and creativity. Wood-fire grilling and brick-oven cooking result in meals that are naturally lower in calories with nothing on the menu over 475 calories. The award-winning wine list was created and developed by Master Sommelier George Miliotes (you can find his bio here)– one of over 180 Master Sommeliers worldwide – features an international selection of 100 wines, including more than 52 offered by the glass.
The contemporary-style decor is Frank Lloyd Wright inspired and is highlighted by soft lighting, lush greenery, rich colors, contemporary art, stone and warm wood accents which present dramatic architectural lines that also are organically comfortable. There is a circular piano bar featuring live music nightly, an open kitchen with a brick oven, a chef’s table and a customized, climate controlled wine chateau holding upwards of 2,000 bottles of wine. The restaurant also offers two private dining rooms for private and semi-private business and social events.
When I arrived, I was given a glass of champagne (Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne, Champagne MV) and a short tour of the restaurant, including a walk past the chef’s table, the kitchen (with a view of the aforementioned brick oven and wood-fired grill, the main dining area, the wine cellar, the private dining areas and the bar areas. At the end of the tour, I was seated at a a long table alongside Catherine Enfield aka Ms. Munchie of Munchie Musings and Darrel Ng of Cowtown Eats for a multi-course gastronomical tour of the Seasons 52 menu and wine pairing. Glad I wore my stretch pants. (Kidding!)
To begin, we were presented an amuse of Dungeness crab and Hass avocado on a spoon, paired with Aveleda Vinho Verde, Portugal 2011
The third course served was a salad of organic field greens, grilled mushrooms with toasted pistachios and truffle dressing and a glass of Sinskey Pinot Noir, Carneros 2009.
The next course was a small plate of Sonoma goat cheese ravioli, roasted garlic, basil, organic tomato broth, and I have to admire the culinary team at Seasons 52 for remembering my gluten-free request. Instead of the ravioli’s they brought me a sampling of the delicious tomato broth, and a mixture of garlic, basil, and goat cheese. I was still able to taste the dish in effect without the pasta element. It was dreamy. The wine pairing was a glass of Retromarcia, Chianti Classic 2009.
I applaud the kitchen staff for boxing up most of each course as the dinner was served. I enjoyed making it to the end of the meal without being uncomfortably full. I also wanted to bring part of the salmon dish home so Andy (big salmon fan) could try it.
Our last savory course was a mesquite-grilled Piedmontese striploin & Manchester Farms all-natural quail, mashed sweet potatoes and red wine sauce with a double wine pairing: a glass of Alto Moncayo Garnacha, Campo de Borja 2009 and a glass of De Toren Z, Stellenbosch 2009.
I am pretty sure the sauce must have contained sugar or gluten, because it was omitted from my plate, but the entrée did not need any sauce. I don’t know if you are familiar with grass-fed meat, but it is much more flavorful than standard corn-fed beef. Bonus points for the Brussels sprouts… a personal favorite of mine.
For the dessert course, we were presented a plate of ”Mini Indulgences“, smaller portions of classic desserts such as cheesecake, lemon pound cake, and s’mores, served parfait-style. I opted for the shot of fresh fruit with no added sugar. Yay! The desserts were served with a glass of Selbach-Oster Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Auslese, Mosel 2010.
Shawn Colvin will be performing at Sacramento City College Performing Arts Center Sunday, January 27th, 2013, at 7:30pm.
This tour backs up her latest album, All Fall Down.
Shawn talks about her latest album on her website, “I didn’t have a specific theme in mind when I started writing,” Colvin admits, “but I think the album is imbued with a sense of loss. I had gone through a relationship that didn’t work out. I’m getting older and so are my parents. So it’s a kind of breakup album, if you will. Not quite about reflection as much as it is about working through something painful. It portrays a sense of loss and redemption and “—she hastens to add—“resolution.”
A number of musicians make guest appearances on her latest release including Emmylou Harris, Allison Krauss, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Jakob Dylan as well as fiddle-player Stuart Duncan.
In addition to the Sacramento date, Shawn will play at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, January 23rd, 24th & 25th, as well as make a stop at the Napa Valley Opera House on January 26th.
The concert is presented by: SBL Entertainment.
Sacramento City College Performing Arts Center is located at 3835 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA, 95822.
Sacramento’s Dine Downtown Week is now in full swing and it has been so much fun so far! Andy and I have had the privilege of trying out three different menus from a list of nearly 30 restaurants, and last night’s trip to Blackbird Restaurant and Bar was incredible!
I am only disappointed it took me this long to discover them. Since their opening in April last year, I had heard so many great things about the food and the atmosphere, the art on the walls, and so on. I kept reading Blackbird’s menu and wanting to go because almost everything on it was paleo! Now that I have a few more hours a week (since my work commute time has been drastically cut), it’s fun to be able to spend a little bit more time with Andy and hit some new-ish places like this one.
Here’s the Dine Downtown menu we enjoyed (understatement of the year so far) at Blackbird:
Tip: If you like wine (even remotely), do yourself a favor and spend the extra $15 for the wine pairing. You get three full glasses of wine. If you don’t think you can manage three full glasses, split the pairing with someone. It’s so worth it!
The first course was a Japanese Hamachi. It was some of the best raw fish I have eaten, and reminded me of dishes I have had at both Yoshi’s in Oakland, and at Taro’s here in Sacramento, but this was superior. The hamachi was topped with kumquat, castreltrevano olives, fine herb and maldon sea salt. It was paired with a glass of Forlorn Hope Semillon (2009) “Nacre-Yount Mill Vineyard.” The wine was very dry and the perfect platform for the hamachi. I couldn’t believe how beautifully the flavors paired up. I must have liked it, because it was the first time I ever finished a dish before Andy.
Blackbird Kitchen and Bar is open for business Tue-Thur 11:30am-10pm, on Friday 11:30am-11pm and on Saturday 4pm-11pm. They are closed on Sunday and Monday. Their Happy Hour runs from 3-6pm, Tuesdays through Friday.
It’s that time again! Sacramento’s Dine Downtown week began yesterday, January 9th and runs through January 18th, 2012. For 10 days only, you can enjoy a special three-course dinner menu at some of downtown Sacramento’s hottest restaurants for only $30 per person.
I returned to both of the restaurants I visited last year because I really enjoyed working with both the owners and chefs, and because Andy and enjoyed the menus very much. So, I’d like to present to you: Blue Prynt Restaurant and Bar.
First, here’s what you’ll have to choose from* this year:
*Please note that only the mashed potatoes are available with the Prime Rib.
We chose a 2009 Rosenblum Syrah Vintner’s Cuvée to go with our entrée. Hint: We didn’t choose the tilapia for dinner. The wine was spicy, yet balanced with notes of cherry and licorice, and would pair well with any game meat. The alcohol on this wine is 15.9%.
For our appetizer, we ordered the shrimp cocktail. The shrimp (poached in lemon) were fresh and plump and the cocktail sauce was spiced with lots of horseradish.
We were also brought a basket of house-made foccacia, and though Andy and I don’t normally eat bread, I tasted some and took a photo of the basket so that you will know exactly everything you get for the dine downtown menu. The bread is baked, sliced and then toasted again for your table, and served with butter. A few bites of it made for a good palate cleanser for the wine after eating the spicy cocktail sauce. Another little detail I love about Blue Prynt is their water. Yes, the simple water they pour for you at the table. They flavor it with sliced cucumber. Such a great departure from lemon wedges.
For the second course (by the way, you get more food for $30 here at Blue Prynt than at any other restaurant participating in Dine Downtown), we ordered the seafood chowder and a mixed greens salad.
The chowder is made with a blend of halibut, shrimp, and salmon with bacon and potatoes rounding out the flavor. Andy ordered it, and suggested I try some. I was pleasantly surprised because I am not a chowder or even a soup fan, and I enjoyed it very much. Especially last night. It was a perfect match for the chilly weather we are currently having.
The salad was pretty standard (but loved it). It became more of my main course (so that I don’t overeat). I love ordering an entrée and slicing whatever meat I get on the dinner plate and putting it on top of my salad. That’s exactly what I did last night. The salad comes with cheddar cheese and olives on it. I also ordered blue cheese dressing on the side.
The stars of the meal were the main courses. Both entrée plates were very sizable portions. I ordered the prime rib. It came with blue cheese and bacon mashed potatoes, asparagus and some au jus for the meat. I really loved the spice rub on the prime!!
Andy ordered the pan seared venison also served with grilled asparagus and blue cheese bacon mashed potatoes. The venison was so tender and perfectly cooked. Andy let me have a whole medallion! The particular cut being served comes from the thigh and the meat was sourced from Australia. The venison also comes with a flavorful mushroom sauce. The mashed potatoes were a great little bed for both entrées, and took on some of the flavor of the different meats on the plate. And anything with blue cheese and bacon makes the world a better place.
As if that wasn’t enough food, it was on to dessert. Andy let me have the rest of his wine (thanks, honey) as he moved on to a giant phyllo dough flower with ice cream and both caramel and chocolate sauces. It’s almost becoming a joke with how much food he can get away with and not gain any weight. I actually like having him around because I can order food I would not normally try, have a few bites, and pass the rest to him. The phyllo flower was beautiful, and reminded me a lot of fried ice cream you would get at a Mexican restaurant.
I ordered the chocolate-covered strawberries as I did last year. This time, the chocolate was flavored with a little mint. I really liked them. I had two of them, and Andy must have really liked them as well because he had the rest of them… along with about 95% of the phyllo flower and ice cream.
So there you have it. The Dine Downtown menu at Blue Prynt. You have until Friday, January 18th to enjoy the pre fixe menu above, and Chef Jason reports the main entrées will be available on the regular menu in case you’d like to try them after the promotion ends.
I’d also like to mention Blue Prynt’s all-you-can-eat crab feed on February 9th (yes, please!) for $35 per person. PS: That the price didn’t go up from last year. Call the restaurant at (916) 492-2969 for more information.
Blue Prynt’s Facebook page is located here and you can follow them on twitter here. Here is a link to their Happy Hour page. Join them from 4:30-7:00pm for $4 house wine, $3 well cocktails, $2 PBR, and $2 side-car shot with the purchase of a drink (see shot shelf at the restaurant for options).
For a full list of the Dine Downtown participating restaurants and their menus, you can click here.
Check in here on Saturday for my review of Blackbird Kitchen and Bar’s Dine Downtown menu!