Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

Posts tagged “sacramento

The Third Annual Sacramento Food Film Festival is March 20-30

SFFF.art-05%281%29
Happy Saturday! I’m just passing along this press release to all of you… looks great and the California Food Literacy Center is this year’s beneficiary!
-cg
—————————————–

SACRAMENTO – As food and wine pairings continue to rise in popularity, the farm-to-fork capital is offering a different kind of pairing: food and film. The 3rd Annual Sacramento Food Film Festival will take place March 20-30 and will include food, wine and beer pairings with seven films about food. Festival proceeds will benefit California Food Literacy Center, a Sacramento nonprofit providing food literacy education to local low-income children.

“This is a chance for guests to soak up the amazing food and drinks that Sacramento has to offer while also feeding their minds,” said Catherine Enfield, festival founder and food writer.

Movies and Venues:
Ten 22, March 20
The festival’s red carpet premier at Ten22 on March 20 features appetizers, drinks and screening of the award-winning movie, “Spinning Plates.” Cost is $40.

Sterling Hotel, March 22
On March 22, the festival continues at the Sterling Hotel, featuring a sneak preview of the highly anticipated, new Ruhstaller Nugget hop beer, bites from Adam Pechal and screening of “Beer Wars.” Cost is $30.

Lucca, March 25
“Bottle Shock” will be screened at Lucca on March 25 and will include a four-course dinner based on the film. Cost is $40, and $50 if including a wine pairing.

The Guild Theater, March 26
On March 26 the “Cafeteria Man” will be shown at The Guild Theater and will include appetizers, an appearance from the film’s star, Tony Geraci and a panel discussion with local leaders in food literacy education.

Clunie Center at McKinley Park, March 28
Selland’s will offer a family spaghetti dinner on March 28 and screening of “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” at McKinley Park’s Clunie Center. Cost is $15 for children, $25 for adults.

The Guild Theater, March 29
The Guild Theater will screen “The Slow Food Story” for free on March 29.

Sunh Fish, March 30
The festival wraps up on March 30 with a sushi and uni tasting by Billy Ngo from Kru, and Q & A with the film’s producer, Alexander Finden, at Sunh Fish and screening of “Sweet, Sexy Ocean.” Cost is $35.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.sacfoodfilmfest.com.

“We are proud to be the beneficiary of such a creative event that not only gives people the opportunity to enjoy the amazing food of the Sacramento region, but also helps spread food literacy through the creative medium of film,” said Amber Stott, founding executive director, California Food Literacy. “We look forward to good food and good conversations.”

California Food Literacy Center was established in July 2011 to educate and inspire low-income children to eat healthy food. Students learn fruit and vegetable appreciation, how to read nutrition labels, basic cooking skills and environmental impacts of their food choices. The nonprofit also runs the Food Literacy Academy, which trains community members as food literacy teachers. To date, the nonprofit has 60 active volunteers and serves 2,400 kids annually. After just three months of food literacy education, 70 percent of students request the foods they have tasted in class, including broccoli, celery and oranges. Ninety-two percent of K-1st grade students say healthy food tastes good, and 88 percent of children understand how to read a nutrition label. To make a donation: www.californiafoodliteracy.org.


Dawson’s at the Hyatt Regency’s Monthly Wine Dinner Featuring Goldschmidt Vineyards

65901_606988086000696_1788053655_n
Lately, I have been very selective in the events I attend and the restaurants, products, services, et cetera I choose to promote, but last week when I was invited to attend the monthly wine dinner held at Dawson’s at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Sacramento, I jumped at the opportunity.

For a while now, Dawson’s has been one of the most underrated restaurants in town. Andy and I had attended a few of the Dawson’s wine dinners last year and found them to be quite economical (despite a $79 per person price which might seem like a lot of money to spend on a Thursday night). The value is to be found in the quality and amount of the food (4 courses with wine pairings), the wine featured (always a higher-end label) and the service (look for Ardy and tip him well–he’s terrific). Dawson’s even offers free valet parking to wine dinner guests upon arrival. I am not sure you can get a better deal anywhere else.

Before dinner, we were treated to a charcuterie, cheese, fruit, and sparkling wine reception. Andy and I were then introduced to the chef (Jason Poole) and the wine representative (LT Nedjar) Mr. Nedjar was there representing the label featured that night: Goldschmidt Vineyards. Follwing our introduction, both gentlemen returned to going over the menu and the wines one last time to make sure the experience would be seamless for the dinner guests.

IMG_3831
Upon seating, we were presented with the menu. Typically, the menu and the pairings get published online and via an email blast before the dinner. I love the email blasts because I can sit at my desk at work and daydream about what I am going to eat that evening! ;) Below is the menu from Thursday night’s dinner:

IMG_3834
Just before our seating, the sous chef  Michael Grande walked us through the menu. Both times I have seen Chef Grande, he has been so enthusiastic about the wine dinner’s course line-up and his excitement is contagious. :) Soon, we were invited into the dining room for the meal to begin.

IMG_3833
The first course of the evening was a Hamachi Crudo with baby coconut, Rising C Ranch Melogold Grapefruit, Blood Orange and Avocado Oil, Yuzu Emulsion, and it was paired with the Boulder Bank (a label owned by Goldschmidt) Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2011. The acidity and fats in the dish balanced very well with the Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand-style, high acidity, though not a complete grapefruit bomb. I was actually reminded more of canned peaches, as the wine was a touch sweet.) Still, it was a perfect compliment to the hamachi and the fruit essences in the dish.

IMG_3835
The second course was a Coke Farms Baby Beet Caprese Salad with house-made mozzarella (yes!!), an herb salad, morel ash, and finished with double Solera Vinegar. It was paired with the Chelsea Goldschmidt Merlot, Dry Creek Valley 2011. We were told that the grapes that go into this particular merlot are literally on the front of the property at the winemaker’s residence, so they get extra attention. My only complaint about this course was that I wish I had been served a little more of it. :) The cheese had the wonderful elasticity that fresh mozzarella has, with just a hint of salt. The beets were earthy and al dente. The merlot was a delightful pairing for this course.

IMG_3836
And then the third course happened. And I was officially wowed. It was a Cranberry Bean Cassoulet with a Confit Duck (leg), house-made boudin blanc, Tails and Trotters Pork Belly, and County Line Farms Baby Mustards. It was paired with two different wines to highlight the different proteins and flavor profiles in the bowl. The first wine was the Forefathers Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2009, and the second wine was the Hillary Goldschmidt Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville 2011. The last time I had duck as part of an entrée was back in the fall at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. It was a grilled breast and braised leg served with roasted wine grapes. As memorable as the main course was at Chez Panisse, I will say without hesitation that the cassoulet at Dawson’s was the better dish. I am still thinking about the slice of crispy pork belly that topped the cassoulet at Dawson’s. For me, it was the best bite of food of the night, and I will be daydreaming about the cassoulet for a long time to come! I could have used an extra slice of that salty, rich pork belly instead of the sausage that was nestled underneath the duck. I am not sure how the dish was intended to eat, but I enjoyed its components one at a time. Maybe I was doing it wrong, but everything tasted oh so right! ;)

IMG_3838
Ultimately, to me, the food was more remarkable than the wine (sorry, Goldschmidt!), but there are some really great things going on in the kitchen at Dawson’s. However, the wine made a terrific impression with Andy, as he purchased a case of Cabernet that evening before we left.

But before our exit, we were served coffee and one last course, the dessert. Usually, there is a dessert wine presented at the Dawson’s wine dinner, but this time it was suggested we save a little of the Forefathers Cabernet to pair with our dessert. The dessert was a Dark Fruit Consommé (interesting concept there!) with a Crispy Hazelnut Cake, Dark Chocolate Pave, and Toasted Fennel Oil.

IMG_3839
I loved the texture of the cake–it was spongey and soaked up the fruit consommé’s vibrant flavor. The chocolate on top served as a ganache-type frosting. It was a well-executed part of the meal and a memorable finish.

About the winemaker: Nick Goldschmidt, originally from New Zealand, gained international notoriety as winemaker at Simi Winery. Since 2007 he has been a consulting winemaker for several premium brands around the world, and is very well known for his single vineyard, handcrafted, small production artisanal wines that consistently score in the 90s in most wine publications. In fact, all his wines are 100% single variety, 100% single vintage, 100% single vineyard. You can find more information on their website here, or find them on Facebook here.

Dawson’s wine dinners are held every third Thursday of the month and have featured labels such as Alpha Omega, Far Niente/Nickel & Nickel, Jordan Vineyard & Winery, Hall Vineyards, Palmaz Vineyards, and Rodney Strong.

Tip: Check into Dawson’s using your smartphone and receive special perks for being a loyal customer. A free glass of select draft beer using Foursquare or a free glass of select wines using Yelp!

Dawson’s is now one of only two Sacramento restaurants to carry the prestigious AAA four diamond designation.

You can follow Dawson’s on twitter @DineDawsons and find them on Facebook here.


Total Wine & More’s Local Favorite: My Rosé Picks for August

winelabel
A few weeks ago, I was chosen by Total Wine & More for their Total Wine & More “Local Favorite!” program. This program features a local media “influencer” each month and allows them to pick their favorite wines to recommend to customers. For the next month, I’ll be pictured next to my wine selections (with a tag that will resemble the one above) in the Sacramento (Arden) store with a link back to this website.

I was very honored to be approached, and I quickly decided I would select some rosés for the month of August. I couldn’t think of a more perfect wine for summer––a wine that pairs well with almost anything. I feel rosés are overlooked, slightly under appreciated and all too often confused with that sickly sweet white zinfandel stuff that was first made by mistake, (but a serendipitous one for them at that) by Sutter Home in 1975.

No, the rosés I am talking about are so much more than their cloying white zin “dopplegängers”. These wines have finesse, refinement and are fruity and flavorful, yet much drier. I discovered I truly did like pink colored wines again (and the difference between a white zinfandel and a rosé) a few years ago (2008 to be exact) when I tasted the Valley of the Moon Rosato di Sangiovese at the California State Fair’s Grape and Gourmet event. Since then, the rosé thing has been slowly catching on. I have tried and enjoyed several since: Bray Vineyard’s Rose of Barbera and Nichelini’s Rose of Cabernet to name a few.

Since that Grape and Gourmet event, every time the thermometer rises, my go-to wine is a rosé. And I think this summer especially, I am completely obsessed with interested in them and want to try as many as possible so I can learn even more about them.

Andy and I met up with Total Wine’s (Arden Store) Wine Manager Theo Snyder last Friday evening to taste an assortment of French and California rosés, so I could personally recommend three of them to you and the customers at Total Wine & More, Arden.

My first selection is a French rosé, Domaine Rabiotte Aix Provence Rosé 2012 ($11.99). It would fall into the “very dry” category, and it’s almost apricot/peach in color. It’s great appetizer wine, but I would be just as happy drinking it with sushi, a light fish dish, or even pork loin. It’s everything I look for in a rosé and it’s French, so it has sex appeal, no? ;)

IMG_3131

My second pick is the Sobon Rose Rezerve 2012 ($11.99). This rosé is a special blend of grenache, syrah and carignane and another great food wine. I could really smell the fruit when I examined the wine, and I could taste some minerality (I tend to love a little bit of earthiness in my wines) present. I wasn’t shocked that this rosé made my top three, because I have been a Sobon fan for years. Check out their Cougar Hill Zinfandel and their Barbera for more tasty adventures. :)

IMG_3130
My third choice is the Truett Hurst Zin Rosé Dry Creek 2012 ($17.99), which I feel is the perfect rosé wine for red wine lovers who might think they aren’t a fan of rosés. It delivers a burst of flavor and settles in between a Goldilocks-esque not-too-sweet, yet not-too dry flavor. This one works with or without food and if I stuck with straight rosés through a whole dinner, I would have this one for dessert with fresh fruits and cheeses.

IMG_3129
I’d like to thank Total Wine & More for asking me to take part in their “Local Favorites” promotion. You can find them on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.


Summer Survival Wine Kit Giveaway Sponsored by [yellow tail] Wines

“Feel the heat burning you up, ready or not…”

I feel extremely lucky right now. I live in a small one bedroom condo and the air conditioning works great. I have access to a pool. I might not have a lot of money, but I am counting my blessings now that I have a steady job and the financial bleeding has stopped (until something else dastardly happens). ;)

This week’s temperature predictions top anything I have ever seen since I have been here (it’s my 9th summer) and according to Andy (a life-long Sacramentan) anything he has ever lived through as well. It’s supposed to be 109° today, but rather than bitch about it (like most people) I am going to swim, tan, sweat, drink water, eat ice and just get through it with a smile on my face. I’d like to apologize for said face in advance: melted, smeared and greasy! Ah, the fresh look of summer! Also, there will be lots of bad, half fixed hair (wig) days. Again, sorry. :(

summer

To help YOU make it through the swelter, [yellow tail] Wines has sent me this lovely beach kit, which I am going pass on to one lucky reader. I want to help [yellow tail] introduce their latest wines: The [yellow tail] Pink Moscato (with notes of strawberry and watermelon) and Sweet White Roo (flavors of tropical fruit and lemon sorbet)! They’re a perfect match for your backyard BBQ or bringing to the beach (screwtops!)

The Summer Survival Wine Kit (pictured above) Contains:
One bottle [yellow tail] Pink Moscato
One bottle [yellow tail] Sweet White Roo
One huge beach towel
One pair sunglasses
Set of plastic wine glasses
One straw hat
One pair of sandals
…All in one big pink tote! (sorry, ice cubes not included!)

OK wine lovers (especially you sangria people out there, because this wine makes a great base for sangria or summer cocktail!) :) The Summer Survival Kit is up for grabs for anyone local to Sacramento!

To win, please share this post via twitter or Facebook and leave a comment below. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR 4th of JULY? :) Feel free to share a link to your favorite recipe or blog!

I’ll pick a winner on the morning of July 3rd, so you can have your bag o’ fun by the 4th of July! Stay cool out there. xo

You can find [yellow tail] on Facebook here and on twitter here.


Mikuni Sushi Highlights Gluten-Free Awareness Month with Special Gluten-Free Menu

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


May is Celiac Awareness month and Mikuni Sushi has created a special Gluten-Free menu for people seeking to avoid wheat.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by the ingestion of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.  An estimated 1 in 141 Americans has celiac disease, yet 83% of those who have it are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (also known as NCGS or gluten sensitivity) is a non-specific immune response to gluten that presents with symptoms similar to celiac disease. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity does not result in damage to the intestine, according to preliminary research. It is estimated that about 6% of the population has this condition.  Researchers don’t fully understand the long-term effects of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, but a strict, lifelong gluten-free diet is the current recommended treatment.

The demand for gluten-free food has skyrocketed in the past few years, I think as a result of more being discovered about Celiac’s and NCGS. Also, many diets have shown increased weight-loss results by cutting back on wheat or cutting grains out altogether (as we do in the Paleo diet). Let’s face it. It’s hip to be gluten-free, and if you manufacture a product that contains wheat, it’s a great idea to have a gluten-free alternative.

Also, I am of the belief that eating rice is ok in moderation or as a treat. Andy and I might eat at a sushi restaurant once every couple of months, and sometimes we eat rolls/dishes with rice in them and sometimes not. :) I wanted to showcase a variety of dishes with and without rice, even if not completely Paleo.

I sat down with the Executive Chef of Mikuni (Midtown), Daniel Schmoock (who is heading off to Japan this weekend to keep up-to-date on the latest food trends happening in the Far East) to talk about the gluten-free menu and its development. Chef Daniel has been with Mikuni’s for about 15 years and began his tenure with the restaurant group at the Fair Oaks location.

It turns out the gluten-free menu was born from customer demand and a rather lagging economy. The challenge was to make the menu interesting and fun like some of the unique rolls on the established Mikuni menus. A lot of those rolls contain gluten because they have tempura shrimp or vegetables in them. Chef Daniel told me it was also tricky because some of the ingredients used in a normal menu (such us the fish roe or tobiko) had been cured in soy sauce that contains gluten, making the ingredient unsuitable for use in a gluten-free menu. One contaminated ingredient spoils the whole dish. Chef Daniel also commented on the labels of some imported products (frequently used in restaurants) stating that some ingredients are not always entirely listed.

Before our chat was over, he recommended a few of his favorite dishes on the gluten-free menu–The Aerojet Roll and the Gluten-Free Kyushu Hamachi–for us to try first.

aerojet
The Aerojet Roll contains hamachi, tuna, avocado and rice, wrapped in cucumber and a soy wrap.

kyushu hamachiThe Gluten-Free Kyushu Hamachi is Yellowtail sashimi, minced garlic, thinly sliced jalapeños and a special gluten-free citrus sauce.

Andy and I decided on a few other items and a bottle of Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay to celebrate #Chardonnay Day :)

chardonnayday

GF Black and WhiteOur server recommended the Gluten Free Black and White (pictured above): Lightly seared, buttery Albacore tuna toro (belly), topped with thinly sliced jalapeños, gluten-free citrus sauce and sesame seeds.

GF Sea SteakProbably the most Paleo item on the menu: the Gluten-Free Sea Steak: Seared rare tuna in Mikuni shichimi gluten-free soy dressing on top of daikon radish with sesame seeds. I could probably eat this “allday errrday” and not tire of it. ;)

tekka makiI ordered this roll, the traditional Tekka Maki (tuna roll) because it’s on the regular menu, too. And, it’s just plain good.

gluten free 3 rollFor our last dish, we ordered the Gluten-Free 3 Roll. There’s ebi, fresh salmon, hamachi, tuna, and a little wasabi inside a soy wrap. This was my favorite dish besides the Sea Steak!

There are several other creations on the menu including nigiri and sashimi options, a few other rolls (1,2, and 4 in addition to the #3 we tried) as well as a few salads, gluten-free miso soup and there are non-raw options like Gluten-Free Shioyaki Salmon, Teriyaki Salmon, Teriyaki Chicken and Teriyaki Beef.

On June 1st, the “Oh Snap, Let’s Eat! Mikuni Photo-a-Day Instagram Contest” begins. Each day of June, there will be a theme (like “This is How I Roll” or “Chop it Like it’s Hot”) and a daily prize. To enter, you’ll need to follow @mikunisushi on Instagram and post a photo that best represents the theme of the day with the #mikuniexposed hashtag and mention @mikunisushi. There are no limits to the number of entries per day and you can be as creative as you like!

I also wanted to point out that Mikuni even offers a Karui (Lite) Menu featuring Mikuni dishes that are 500 calories or less, but are not necessarily gluten-free. It’s great to have so many choices. I love it that I could go to Mikuni and splurge with a deep-fried creation on a special occasion (like the recent Here We Stay roll), or just keep it lean on a normal day.

You can find Mikuni on Facebook here and on twitter here. Thanks to Mikuni Midtown for the inside scoop on the gluten-free menu and thanks to Chef Daniel for taking time out to sit down with us before our meal. :)

amazonbanner


The Party Begins at the Sacramento Music Festival this Friday, May 24th!

554953_610548022296053_1162209183_n
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.

amazonbanner


Congratulations to Sacramento’s Frank Fat’s, Winner of James Beard America’s Classics Award

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.

charsiu_sliders

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.

prawns

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.

baconscallops

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!

GaiLan_chinesebroccoli

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! :)

Chowmein

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.

steak

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! :P

pie

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.


Runaway Stage Productions’ 42nd Street Runs Through May 5th at 24th Street Theatre

Looking forward to seeing 42nd Street this weekend! Here’s a press release from my friends at Runaway Stage Productions. -cg

42nd
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 BlondeKiss Me Kate and Curtains) choreographs, Andrea St. Clair (AnnieKiss 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.


Rock’n Restaurants Event at the Crest Theatre on April 9th

The second annual Rock ’n Restaurants Event benefiting the California Restaurant Association Issues Political Action Committee will take place April 9th.

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.

Singer-songwriter Allen Stone will perform. Stone is a soulful performer who The New York Times has compared to Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers. Since the digital release of his self-titled album, Stone has since signed to ATO Records, which brought the album into wide release in 2012. The album has hit Billboard’s Top 10 Heatseekers and entered the Top 5 on iTunes’ R&B/Soul charts.

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.

Sacramento restaurant sponsors donating appetizers for the reception include: Grange, Morton’s Steakhouse, Lucca, Pizza Rock, Museo Mayahuel and McCormick & Schmicks. Alcoholic beverages will be provided by Miller-Coors, Pinnacle Vodka (yes!) and Jim Beam.

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.


Mikuni Fair Oaks Reopens!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My friends at Mikuni Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar are pleased to announce the reopening of their original Fair Oaks location!

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 5K Comes to Sacramento June 29th!

sacramento

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!

You can like Pretty Muddy on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here. Register for Pretty Muddy Sacramento here!


Runaway Stage Production’s Avenue Q Opens March 8 at New Venue

I’m so excited to see a local production of Avenue Q! Here’s a press release from my friends at Runaway Stage Productions. -cg

aveq 009

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.


Make-A-Wish’s® 25th Annual Winter Wine & Food Fest, Saturday, February 23rd

logo-2013-233x300

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:

BE A YACHT OWNER FOR A WHOLE WEEK: Go where you want, do what you want.  It’s your boat.  Ninety feet of luxury afloat in paradise. Navigate to the white sandy beaches with breathtaking views of the most incredible aquamarine and sapphire blue-green water you ever imagined of the Exumas chain in the Bahamas. Up to four couples will join the yacht in Nassau where you will be met by Captain Mark Capozucco and his crew. This crew of four will take care of your every need for the next seven days.  Expertly prepared meals by the on-board chef to your liking, and by your schedule.  Your schedule can include a ride across the Bahamas Banks to the Exumas where you will be able to swim with the sharks (if you choose), enjoy the unique swimming pigs off the Big Major Island, marvel at the large local Iguana population, and enjoy endless water activities including the clear “see through” kayaks, jet skis and other on board “toys”. Dining under the stars or in the comfort of the dining salon will be your choice. Maybe a little fishing or a visit or two to the small nearby marinas will fit the bill, or maybe you just have a little reading you want to catch up on.  Curl up and enjoy, lay out and enjoy the sun.  What the heck, do it all! It’s your adventure on Solstice 1!The Yacht is equipped with three comfortable staterooms – a smaller fourth stateroom – a certified Captain, CIA trained Chef and crew. Travel dates to be mutually agreed upon. (airfare to Nassau not included)

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.

Piatti Sacramento: Welcome Back!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

pronti-salad

I ordered one if my favorite dishes on the menu, the Pronti salad with grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, salami, chickpeas, olive, peppers and capers.

Andy tried the crispy skin half chicken with charred Brussels sprouts, bacon and three herb pan jus. I love Brussels sprouts, but I don’t ever remember them tasting that good. The chicken was exactly as advertised. Crispy skin and tender/juicy on the inside.

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.

The new head chef is Lance Carlini, formerly of Scott’s Seafood Grill and High Steaks steakhouse at Thunder Valley Casino. I can tell you the menu has not changed much, and many of the appetizers are exactly the same as before. To all my gluten-free/Paleo readers, I can safely say there are many of options for you, even though Piatti is well known for it’s classic pizza and pasta dishes. To get a peek of the Piatti menu, click here then click on “menus”.

On February 25th Piatti will be having a 20th Anniversary party. Proceeds from the event will benefit Assistance League of Sacramento. Come down for the great food, wine, beer, cocktails and live music – it’s for a great cause! The event features a creative menu by Executive Chef Lance Carlini, distinctive wines, craft beers, a special cocktail bar plus live music from Natalie Klempau & The Knockouts. You can purchase tickets here.

Piatti in Pavilions is one of eight restaurants in the California-based group, and the only one in the Sacramento area. For more information or to make dinner reservations, you can call (916) 649-8885 or go to Open Table here. You can find Piatti Sacramento on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.

Seasons 52: Fresh, Healthy, Seasonal and a Destination for Wine Lovers

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

IMG_2566
Our first course was a duo of organic salmon, lemongrass sea scallop, roasted on a cedar plank with a glass of Mer Soleil Chardonnay, Central Coast 2010
IMG_2568

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.

IMG_2570

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.

IMG_2571

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.

IMG_2572

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.

IMG_2574

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.

Seasons 52 opens tomorrow, January 28th. You can make a reservation on Open Table. You can find Seasons 52 on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.


Shawn Colvin Comes to Sacramento City College January 27th

image4-extralarge_1334243951952

Photo credit: Michael Wilson.

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.

To purchase tickets, you can click here. For a list of all tour dates, you can click here.

The concert is presented by: SBL Entertainment.

Sacramento City College Performing Arts Center is located at 3835 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA, 95822.

You can find Shawn Colvin’s Facebook page here, and follow her on twitter here.


Dine Downtown 2013: Blackbird Restaurant & Bar: a Field Mark of Sophistication

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:

photo-28

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.

photo-25

Next up was the Roasted Beet Salad. It was another perfect plate of food. I got really into beets in 2011 when I enjoyed a course made by Pajo Bruich (while he was at Lounge on 20). Then, I had another remarkable beet dish at Place Pigalle in Seattle. Lately, I have bought them at the Farmer’s Market on Sunday. A little bit about beets… in my opinion, the whole vegetable should be used in some way. The greens on top can be cut and sautéed with onions and bacon, just like kale or spinach.
At Blackbird, the beet salad was served with burrata (a soft and stretchy cheese), ver jus (the pressed juice of unripened grapes), pistachios and upland cress (which is different and less bitter than watercress). The pistachios really made the salad, providing a little bit of crunch. It was paired with a French Sauvignon Blanc: Patient Cottat, 2009, Menetou Salon. I am usually not a big lover of Sauvignon Blanc, but I liked this less grapefruit, more grassy selection.
photo-26
I was already in heaven, but there was more to come. Our wine for the third course was brought to our table (Folk Machine Pinot Noir, 2011 Potter Valley) and then our plates were presented shortly after. The third course was a braised short rib, also known as Winnemuca Will, with hay roasted parsley root, whiskey laquered pearl onions & toasty oats. The meat was so tender and rich–again, the portion size was perfect. The toasted oats on top were such a treat and added another level of texture to the meat. And what is my favorite vegetable that makes a cameo? That’s right! Parsnips!! I think I was dancing in my seat at that point. :)
photo-27
Overall, this was the best meal we have had during Dine Downtown because of the level of flavor and elegance with the finest (yet fewest) ingredients. I love that the menu didn’t allow any substitutions. It was like: “Welcome to our house. Let me show you what we do best and what we think you will like, and here’s the wine that goes with it.” At the end of a long work week, I was ready for that. I was happy to not have to make any decisions and just be delighted course after course.
Blackbird made me feel like I was dining in San Francisco or New York, but I am right at home and I love that. I love that Sacramento has more than a few restaurants/food trucks/eateries to brag about. It’s so hip to eat here now!

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.

Join Blackbird Kitchen and Bar tonight for Dine Downtown by making reservations on Open Table here or you can call them at (916) 498-9224.

You can follow Blackbird Kitchen and Bar on twitter here and find them on Facebook here.


Dine Downtown Sacramento 2013: Blue Prynt Restaurant and Bar

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:

Blue Prynt

*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%.

IMG_2521

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.

IMG_2522

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. :)

IMG_2520

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.

IMG_2524

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.

IMG_2525

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!!

IMG_2527

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. :)

IMG_2526

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.

IMG_2529

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. :P

IMG_2530

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.

Join Blue Prynt for Dine Downtown by making reservations on Open Table here.

Check in here on Saturday for my review of Blackbird Kitchen and Bar’s Dine Downtown menu!


Dine Downtown Sacramento 2013: January 9th-18th!!

Dine-DT-logo-wsacmag-1024x664

Sacramento has really come a long way in the restaurant world in the nine years I have lived here. It’s been an exciting progression to see, especially because one of the reasons I moved here is because of all the different cuisines available within a 10 minute or less drive, or even a walk or bike ride. What’s even more exciting is that I am now working downtown near Old Sacramento and I can afford (financially) to try a few places this year (and also calorically–as long as I run a few more miles on the day I choose to dine out) ;)

Every year in January, the Downtown Sacramento Partnership teams up with downtown area restaurants to showcase their menus for a 10-day dining extravaganza. For $30 per person, you can visit restaurants like Biba, Mayahuel, Blackbird Kitchen & Bar, Blue Prynt, The Broiler Steakhouse, etc. for a 3-course pre-fixe meal that highlights their very best offerings. Some restaurants have included a wine pairing option for an additional fee. (For example, the wine option at Ella is an added $15, but the fee varies from place to place).

This year, I’ll be returning to Mayahuel to sample and report on their menu. It looks like their MIND BLOWING chorizo-topped steak will be a pre-fix option again. ¡Dios Mio! :) For a little trip down memory lane, you can read my review from last year here. Oh, and here’s a little picture of it for old time’s sake:

I’m also considering visits to The Broiler as well as Blackbird Kitchen & Bar. Why? Because one of the restaurants is a Sacramento institution, and one of them is fairly new, but I have heard great things about it. What restaurants would you most like to try and why?

Below is a full list of participating restaurants with links to their menus:

4th Street Grille | 400 L Street | 916.448.2847 | Menu | Reservations

Biba | 2801 Capitol Avenue | 916.455.2422  | Menu | Reservations

Blackbird Kitchen & Bar | 1015 9th Street | 916.498.9224 | Menu | Reservations

Blue Prynt | 815 11th Street | 916.492.2969 | Menu | Reservations

The Broiler Steakhouse | 1201 K Street | 916.444.3444 | Menu | Reservations

Cafeteria 15 L | 1112 15th Street | 916.492.1960 | Menu | Reservations

Capitol Garage | 1500 K Street | 916.444.3633 |  Menu  (V) (GL) | Reservations

Chops Steak & Seafood Bar |1117 11th Street |916.447.8900 | Menu | Reservations

Dawson’s at The Hyatt |1209 L Street | 916.443.1234 | Menu | Reservations

Ella Dining Room & Bar | 1131 K Street | 916.443.3772 | Menu  (V)| Reservations

Esquire Grill |1213 K Street | 916.448.8900 | Menu | Reservations

Fat City | 1001 Front Street | 916.446.6768 | Menu

The Firehouse Restaurant |1112 Second Street | 916.442.4772 | Reservations Menu  (V)

Frank Fat’s | 806 L Street | 916.442.7092 | Menu | Reservations

Grange | 926 J Street | 916.492.4450 | Menu | Reservations

Il Fornaio | 400 Capitol Mall | 916.446.4100 | Menu Coming Soon | Reservations

Mayahuel | 1200 K Street | 916.441.7200 | Menu (V) | Reservations

The Melting Pot | 814 15th Street | 916.443.2347 | Menu  (V) (GL) available upon request

Mulvaney’s B&L | 1215 19th Street | 916.441.6022 | Menu | Reservations

Paragary’s Midtown | 1403 28th Street | 916.452.3335 | Menu

Pilothouse at The Delta King | 1000 Front Street | 916.444.5464 | Menu | Reservations

The Porch | 1815 K Street | 916.444.2423 | Menu | Reservations

The Red Rabbit Kitchen and Bar | 2718 J Street | 916.706.2275 | Menu

Restaurant Thir13en | 1300 H Street | 916.594.7669 | MenuReservations

Rio City Café | 1110 Front Street | 916.442.8226 | Menu

River City Brewing Company | 545 Downtown Plaza Suite 1115 | 916.448.7153 | Menu  (V)

Spataro | 1415 L Street | 916.440.8888 | Menu | Reservations

Ten22 | 1022 Second Street | 916.441.2211 | Menu | Reservations

Tuli Bistro | 2031 S Street | 916.451.8854 | Menu

Dine Downtown Sacramento runs January 9th (Wednesday) through January 19th (Friday). You can find the Downtown Sacramento Partnership on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.


Christian Brothers Wine, Beer & Food Extravaganza is September 7th!

Right before RB and I take off for Napa again this year!! <—excited!! :), We’ll be attending the Christian Brothers Wine, Beer & Food Extravaganza on September 7th from 7pm-10pm at the Christian Brothers Campus. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the event.

The Christian Brothers Wine, Beer & Food Extravaganza is the premiere food and drink event in Sacramento. It features hundreds of California’s finest restaurants and wineries, and showcases the best of local breweries throughout the state. The Christian Brothers Wine, Beer & Food Extravaganza has raised millions of dollars to put towards tuition funding and community outreach programs throughout the area.

Tickets are $70 today only, and then tomorrow the price goes up to $80 per person. You can buy tickets here. This year’s event features special add-ons like transportation and a cigar lounge.

Featured wineries and breweries at the event will be:

August Anthony VineyardBerryessa Gap VineyardsBogle WineryBrother Timothy Mont La Salle Vineyard EstateCannonball Wine CompanyCartlidge and BrownCarvalho Family WineryColumbia Crest WinesCorralitos Wine CompanyGirard WineryGreystone WinesHarbison WinesHarney Lane WineryJeremy Wine Company, Josh Cellars, Klinker Brick WinesLine 39McConnell EstatesMadrona VineyardsMumm NapaMichael-David WineryMoniz WinesOakstone WineryPacific Wine and SpiritsPadis VineyardsPedroncelli WineryPeirano WinesRodney StrongRevolution WinesRombauer VineyardsScheid WinerySchug WineryScribner BendScott Harvey WinesSenders – Wine with a CauseStama WineryTerra d’Oro WineryThorny Rose WinesTroubadour CellarsWente VineyardsWreckless Blenders, and ZD Wines

Auburn AlehouseFirestone WalkerGuinnessHoppy BrewingKnee Deep BrewingLockdown BrewingLost Coast BreweryMendocino Brewing CompanyMiller-CoorsNew Belgium BrewingPyramid AlehouseRubiconRuhstallerSierra NevadaThe ShackSutter Buttes BrewingTrack 7 BrewingTwo Rivers Cider Company

Click here for a list of restaurants.

Through the proceeds from this event last year, the alumni association was able to net over ninety thousand dollars, which went to the school’s tuition assistance program.

Due to the generous efforts of our sponsors and vendors, along with the hard work of the Alumni Board and volunteers, students who would not have been able to attend Christian Brothers High School were able to do so.

Please mark Friday, September 7, 2012 on your calendar and plan on joining us for what promises to be another fantastic event.

You can follow Christian Brothers Wine Beer & Food Extravaganza on twitter here. Cheers! :)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,001 other followers