It’s been Farm-to-Fork insanity here at cavegrrl.com headquarters! Andy and I are scheduled to attend so many events and dinners in celebration of this very special time of year in Sacramento. One of my favorite upcoming events is Farm-to-Fork’s Legends of Wine. I’m am thrilled that my mom will be coming out to visit during that week and will be going to Legends of Wine with us.
Legends of Wine provides the unique opportunity to sample and discover more about some of the region’s most celebrated varietals, as selected by two of Sacramento’s internationally recognized culinary powerhouses—Darrell Corti and David Berkley. Set against the backdrop of California’s majestic State Capitol, guests will sip a wide array of award-winning wines paired and presented with artisan cheeses and local delights.
If you’ve never attended Legends of Wine, here’s a brief look at last year’s event—some of my favorite wineries, along with some pictures of the impressive fruit and cheese arrangements we enjoyed.
First up is Bokisch Vineyards! They caught my attention at the first Legends of Wine in 2013 with their Tempranillo (one of my favorite varietals), and last year they served an Albariño.
I was very impressed with Capay Valley Vineyard’s line up—their sparkling viognier was my favorite. :)
Another notable winery was Casey Flat Ranch—their Estate Red Wine is excellent.
Aaand… always a favorite of mine… Matchbook. Their entire flock of wines are both affordable and delicious. Maybe this year they will bring their Arsonist Chardonnay?
Here’s one of Andy’s picks from last year: Michael David’s Sauvignon Blanc. Looking forward to trying more from them this year, and perhaps they will bring their Inkblot Tannat! :)
Along with the wines, there were fabulous displays of fruits and cheeses for the pairing:
This year’s Legends of Wine is September 17th from 6:00-8:30 p.m. on the west steps of the State Capitol. Tickets are $59 each. To purchase tickets, head over to the Farm-to-Fork website here. See you there!
Last Sunday, I ran into Catherine (of Munchie Musings) at Cochon Heritage Fire Napa (held at Charles Krug Winery). She was happily grazing the wonderful offerings at the annual festival of all things grilled meat, just as Andy and I were. Over full bellies, we discussed some of the upcoming food events in Sacramento. While chatting she mentioned her festival Have an Offal Day 3, and I agreed I would pass the information about the event to you! :)
Have an Offal Day #3 takes place on Sunday, August 16th from 2 to 5 p.m. at Mulvaney’s Next Door (1215 19th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811).
What is Have an Offal Day? Well, it’s a day that honors offal. You know, the nasty bits. The parts of animals that are left when all the pretty and prime parts are butchered and sold. It’s things like hearts, kidneys, blood, intestines, from animals such as lambs, ducks, chickens, beef, and pigs, well, you get the idea.
The lineup of chefs this year includes:
Carina Lampkin (Blackbird Kitchen & Beer Gallery)
Danny Origel (Roxy)
Tyler Bond (Dirty Feet Dining, Kru)
Keith Breedlove (Culinerdy Cruzer)
Patrick Mulvaney (Mulvaney’s B&L)
Brian Mizner (Hook & Ladder)
Brenda Ruiz (Biba’s)
Brock MacDonald (Block Butcher Bar)
Wes Nilssen (de Vere’s Pubs)
Don Dickonson (Yang’s Noodles and instructor at IOT Culinary School)
Andrea Reiter (Capital Dime, soon The Patriot)
Hank Shaw (James Beard winning author)
TICKETS are $68 (no additional fees)
Your ticket price covers the venue and other event expenses, as well as benefitting the Food Literacy Center. Thank you to the chefs that jump at the chance to play with offal for a day and to the audience willing to try it! :) That’s so Paleo! Thanks, Catherine for all the meaty details.
The flavors of summer are in full swing at Piatti!
Andy and I dined there just last night, so in this blog post I wanted to give you a quick peek at some of the items on the menu for the season.
It’s always a great evening on the patio at Piatti with my favorite person by my side and a starter glass of Prosecco.
The beef carpaccio is something we ALWAYS order. Every. Single. Time. We love it’s transformation in summer from a more traditional carpaccio with capers and dressing to a lighter style with blistered tomatoes and green olives. You’ll spot it on the appetizer menu, but next time I might order two of them for my actual dinner!
It happened to be Wine Wednesday, and at Piatti they celebrate by giving customers 50% OFF selected bottles of wine. (They’ll give you a menu with their selected bottles on it.) We chose the Winemaker’s Blend (a red mix of Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Merlot from 3 different California AVAs) made by Schmitz 24 Brix Wines.
For my main course, I chose a duo of plates. First was the ultra-stunning heirloom tomato salad that was so in-my-face-farm-to-fork it almost gouged my eyes! ;) Definitely one of the prettiest plates I have seen in a while, and it tasted just as phenomenal as it looks. I know you might be thinking, “Get a grip, it’s just an heirloom tomato salad,” but the special touches are that tomatoes and basil are REALLY in season right now and the mozzarella is made in house, cranking up the volume on flavor.
My other plate was this trio of pork and ricotta meatballs (on the appetizer section of the menu). Reappearing in this dish was the lovely house-made mozzarella and a crushed tomato sauce. I guess I must really like tomatoes. The sauce was very flavorful and the mozzarella cheese finds a way to steal the show again, this time melted over the meatballs.
Andy ordered the grilled rib eye (rare!) with romano beans and whipped potatoes, topped with blue cheese, mint and roasted figs. He was kind enough to pass over a few bites of his dish, and I was most delighted by the creative mint and blue cheese combination and the sweet touch of the roasted figs. If you didn’t think Piatti was the place to try a steak, think again. This dish was a knockout and the plating was almost as sexy as my date. ;)
Thanks to our server, Alden, Chef Lance, and to Piatti for such an enjoyable meal.
You can find Piatti on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.
Wine lovers, you won’t want to miss this!
Over 7,000 bottles of wine will be uncorked on NakedWines.com road trip across California, and this coming Wednesday, May 13th, the tour makes a stop right here in Sacramento at the Vizcaya!
More than 30 of your winemakers are hopping on the Naked Tour Bus and roaming around California to share their best wines with all the people (like you!) who funded them.
Every wine you’ll taste was crowd-funded by regular wine drinkers, and the winemakers didn’t pay to attend and share their wines. We recommend going up to a table and asking one of the winemakers to explain it. (They’ll be wearing blue shirts).
Who is behind all of this? 300,000 wine drinkers realized they could get better wines at better prices if they supported winemakers to cut out all the costs you can’t taste, like marketing. They weren’t rich enough to do it alone, so they teamed up and invested people like Ken, Tom and Carmen below.
After winning fifty 90+ scores for his wines at Flora Springs, Heitz and Joseph Phelps in a 4 decade long career making Napa Cab, Ken is finally striking out on his own with a personal range of Napa wines at unbelievable prices. Even reserve barrel-aged Napa Cabs for under $30.
One of our first thousand Angels revealed a hidden talent for making world-class wines in his garage at home. 75,000 Angels teamed up to invest in Tom’s first professional range of wines made with award-winning fruit from Pickberry Vineyards.
Carmen is an amazingly talented winemaker, but she had a hard time getting funding as South Africa’s first black woman to graduate in oenology since Apartheid. Angels saw her qualifications and immediately agreed to fund her personal project in exchange for exclusive access to these delicious treats.
To purchase tickets to the event, you can go here. The Vizcaya is located at 2019 21st Street, Sacramento, CA 95818. The event begins at 6:30pm and goes until 9pm.
It was a very hectic weekend over at cavegrrl.com headquarters, so I apologize for no gift idea yesterday. I will make up for this with two blog posts today and two gift ideas (day eight and day nine of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover).
I’ll begin with Day eight’s idea: eGiftcards from Piatti Ristorante and Bar. The best thing about this gift idea is that you don’t even have to get in your car to buy one. You can complete your transaction entirely online and the eGiftcard is delivered immediately into the recipient’s email inbox. You can personalize it and choose your own design like this:
The eGiftcard is the easiest and most convenient way to treat friends and family with the gift of dining at all Piatti locations:
Northern California: Mill Valley, Danville, Sacramento, & Santa Clara
Southern California: La Jolla
Texas: San Antonio: The Quarry
You can purchase a Piatti eGiftcard here.
Last night, Andy and I were treated to a sampling of Frank Fat’s very best dishes in promotion of their 75th Anniversary Dinner Special.
We met Head Chef Mike Lim and he spoke with us before our meal, not only about the food on the 75th Anniversary menu (below), but some other dishes available at Fat’s (a seasonal King Salmon dish and Farm to Fork People’s Choice Award recipient called Forbidden Salmon) and a Peach and Chicken Salad. Chef Lim will also be contributing a dish at this Sunday’s Farm-to-Fork’s Tower Bridge fundraising dinner.
Before I dive into the food we had, I will discuss the wine. I was distracted by making sure we had reported in with social media via Swarm, Twitter, Facebook, etc., Andy chose a 2012 Chateau Ste. Michelle Gewürztraminer. He did this because a slightly sweeter (but not too sweet) wine was going to pair very well with almost all of the food we were going to try (a lot of sweet and sour ingredients). He figured this wine would strike the most balance and it did.
First course on the 75th Anniversary menu is a Chinese Chicken Salad: Shredded chicken breast with pickled cucumber, almonds, and a sweet and sour vinaigrette. The chicken is moist and cut in thin strips and there are crunchy fried wontons on top to give the salad multiple textures. The dressing on the salad was an amazing pairing with our wine (as Andy predicted). :)
So instead of having to choose one main course each (as one would do if ordering from the pre-fixe menu, Chef Mike food bombed us with ALL of the dishes on the menu. Um, OK, twist my arm. (Everything you will see in this editorial except for the Yu Kwoks, Peach Chicken Salad, and Forbidden Salmon were inclusive on the pre-fixe.) Next up was the Honey Walnut Prawns: Lightly fried prawns glazed with honey sauce, walnuts, sesame seeds. This dish is probably one of the most iconic at Fat’s, so no wonder it’s on the 75th Anniversary menu. It’s sweet, crunchy, and tangy. Again, a great pairing with the Gewürztraminer.
Then came the Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry: Chicken breast and mixed vegetables in a Garlic Sauce–the one thing I didn’t feel guilty about eating! :) I love stir fry dishes because of their high protein and vegetables as carb ratio. But of course, tonight would be different and I would have real carbs, as we also sampled the fried rice on the pre-fixe menu.
Next the Fried Rice dish: Young Shew Fried Rice: With barbecued pork, Chinese sausage, lettuce, and shrimp. It was nutty in flavor and had hints of sesame oil. The pork in the rice had been rendered so it was slightly crispy. The shrimp were small but plump and the little peas were bright green and fresh––they burst like little caviar when chewed.
At that point in the meal, I knew it would be extremely easy to write about. I sat there and realized how much I was enjoying the food because I hardly ever eat foods like fried rice or shrimp with carmelized walnuts. And hardly ever eating them makes them taste so much better when you do treat yourself!
Then, the eagerly awaited (and another signature menu item at Fat’s): Frank’s Style New York Steak: A 5-ounce NY steak smothered in sauteed onions and oyster sauce. We ordered it rare, as you really should. You can’t see in the picture, but it really did come out rare. It was tender and juicy and piled high with onions and the sweet oyster sauce. This also arguably went with the Gewürztraminer.
The 75th Anniversary menu ends in Banana Creme Pie, the ever popular classic dessert at Frank Fat’s. At $27.95 per person, it’s a real bargain and a nice sampling of the food that made Frank Fat’s the empire it is today.
Other food we sampled during the evening that was not on the pre-fixe menu:
Yu Kwok Dumpling: Frank’s special beef and pork dumpling, a Frank Fat specialty. I stopped at two of them, but I would have been happy to have them all. I had been craving dim sum for quite a while, and these really hit the spot. They are crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle, and filled with spiced ground beef and pork. They came with an array of dipping sauces–most interesting a chili sauce with some nice heat and a very interesting flavor that Chef Mike told me came from salted back bean. Yum! :)
We were also able to try the Peach and Chicken Salad with honey walnuts and what? Feta cheese. Super seasonal and very Farm-to-Fork–and off the wall, as I have never seen Feta cheese in a Chinese restaurant. Loved it!
My favorite dish of the evening was the “Forbidden King Salmon”: Salmon a la Plancha (grilled on a metal plate) and served with with Black Forbidden Rice, Heirloom Tomato and Lemongrass Veloute, Cilantro. It was with this plate I could truly see what Chef Mike is trying to do (and succeeding in doing) at Fat’s. He is using traditional Chinese techniques to make farm-to-fork cuisine. It’s not really a fusion thing, it’s more of using the methods already in place to elevate our bounty of seasonal ingredients.
The salmon dish was also a great example of incorporating different textures. The fish was perfectly cooked and flakey on top, the forbidden rice was almost a little sticky, but not as sticky as sushi rice, and there was a tomato and lemongrass veloute sauce on the bottom that brought the whole plate together.
It was all makings for a course I will not soon forget. Sadly, it won’t be available much longer, as salmon season is fleeting. So do yourself a favor and stop in for lunch to try the Forbidden Salmon. Take a half day off if you have to. It’s really that special.
Thanks to Frank Fat’s restaurant for hosting us, Chef Mike for stopping in the middle of a slightly busy dinner service to talk to us about the food, and thanks to Rosie, our server, who took very good care of us.
The fortune inside my fortune cookie really summed up the whole night:
Though the 75th Anniversary Menu promotion ends October 31st and from Oct. 1 to Oct. 15, Fat’s will be hiding a $75 gift card in different locations around Sacramento that are noteworthy to the Fat family’s history. Clues for the “15 days of Fat’s” promotion will be posted on the Frank Fat’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts as well as on the frankfats75.com website.