Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

Posts tagged “farm-to-fork

A Trio of Upcoming Food and Wine Events

Harvest time is approaching and with that it seems there are also a flurry of food and wine events during the next few months. To give you a heads up on what’s happening and to help you decide which ones to attend, here are a list of three of my favorites. Two are local to Sacramento, and one is in Santa Rosa.

Photo by Visit Sacramento

Legends of Wine
Did you know the largest crop coming out of Sacramento County last year wasn’t rice OR tomatoes? It was wine grapes! Come celebrate the bounty of our county at the California State Capitol on Thursday, September 19th from 6-9p.m. during the 7th Annual Legends of Wine, one of Sacramento’s yearly Farm-to-Fork Festival’s keystone events.

Guests of the occasion can expect to explore unlimited tastes from over 30 regional wineries selected by Darrell Corti and David Berkley (both internationally known food and wine experts). You can buy tickets to the event online by going to http://farmtofork.com.

 

 

 


Pinot on the River
Pinot on the River
moves from Healdsburg to Santa Rosa this year with more than 40 small-production artisanal wineries joining with guest artisan food vendors. The event takes place on Saturday October 5th, 2019 from 11a.m. to 3p.m. at the Old Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa. At the event, you’ll be able to meet the winemakers as well as mingle with other Pinot Noir-loving consumers.

Proceeds from the event benefit Sonoma County Pride, an organization dedicated to enhancing the lives and well-being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI) people. Sonoma County Pride serves as a liaison with government, businesses, and other organizations on behalf of the LGTBQI community, as well as recognizing and celebrating their history, achievements, and contributions in Sonoma County. The event’s main sponsor is Roadhouse Winery. Tickets are $50, and you buy them online at pinotfestival.com.

29th Annual Curtis Park Wine Tasting, Silent Auction and Beer Garden

The 29th Annual Curtis Park Wine Tasting, Silent Auction & Beer Garden returns on Saturday, October 12th, 2019 from 4-7pm. I’ll also be returning to this year’s planning committee, rounding up my favorite restaurants and wineries for your enjoyment.

Returning to support this year’s event are Buffalo Pizza, Casa Garden, Freeport Bakery, Gunther’s Ice Cream, Miso Japanese Restaurant, La Famiglia, Seasons 52, Sacramento Co-op, Sugar Plum Vegan, and more. Featured distributors/wineries are Epic Wines, BellaGrace Vineyards, Bogle Vineyards, Casque Wines, Ironstone Vineyards, Sean Minor Wines, and Wise Villa Winery.

J.J. Pfister Distilling Company will be sponsoring our VIP early entry and providing a spirits tasting as well as a special cocktail for VIP attendees, and Urban Roots Brewing will be sponsoring the VIP area for all the beer lovers out there. The VIP restaurants will be Dawson’s Steakhouse and Seasons 52. The VIP winery will be Silt Wine Company and they will be featuring another label called Fellow Wines of Clarksburg.

Proceeds from the SCNA Wine Tasting, Silent Auction and Beer Garden help support upkeep and maintenance of the historic Sierra 2 Center and Senior Center, community events like the Spring Egg Hunt, Music in the Park and Curtis Fest.

We are still looking for restaurants and wineries who want to showcase their food at the event, and particularly restaurants/wineries to represent different cuisines/wines throughout the world. If you are interested in participating, please contact me by calling 916-612-0035 or email me: misscavegrrl at gmail.com!

For information about participating, donating or volunteering, you can also contact Terri Shettle at the Sierra 2 Center, 916-452-3005. Cheers!
Tickets are now onsale here!


Legends of Wine Returns to the State Capitol on September 16th

1469769_714198055327065_7603323090107620337_n

Farm-to-Fork events are kicking into high gear all around Sacramento as noted by the Farm-to-Fork regional events page. Farm-to-Fork Restaurant Week begins on September 8th and takes place for 18 days, along with the Farm-to-Fork Festival on the 24th of September and the Farm-to-Fork Gala (Tower Bridge Dinner) on the 25th of September. But if you’re a wine lover, Legends of Wine (on Thursday, September 16th from 6-9pm) is the hallmark affair of the Farm-to-Fork celebration.

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.

uvaggio rosato

Each year of Legends of Wine, Lodi wine has been well represented. I have always been a bigger fan of the region for its Zinfandels (over Amador who I feel produces better Barberas). I bring up the Lodi region because this year it is the home of the Wine Blogger’s Conference taking place next week, August 11th-14th. I am looking forward to learning more about Lodi and revisiting the wineries and taking part in the many seminars planned for the weekend, so that during Legends of Wine, I can chat more in depth with the winemakers about their craft as I try the wines.

fruit cheese 2

random crowd shot 3
This year’s Legends of Wine is September 16th from 6:00-9:00 p.m. on the west steps of the State Capitol. Tickets are $65 each. To purchase tickets, click here. Hope to see you there!

To keep up with all the delicious Farm-to-Fork events, click here, “like” Farm to Fork on Facebook here, or follow them on Twitter here.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


My Legends of Wine Favorites

capitol building
It sure has been a wonderful past two weeks and another successful Farm-to-Fork celebration here in Sacramento. I feel especially grateful to live here during this time of the year. One of the key events during Farm-to-Fork Week is Legends of Wine, which took place last September 17th on the steps of the Capitol building.

I attended with Andy and I brought my mom with us, who was visiting from Ohio that week. It was a gorgeous, classic Sacramento September night, and we had a great time. We caught up with many industry friends and tasted dozens of labels—some familiar, some not so familiar—but all chosen by wine experts Darrell Corti and David Berkley to be at the present.

corti and berkley

As always, I took pictures of my favorites and am presenting them to you here. I am not being compensated for my opinion, I just really like the wines you’re about to see, and I encourage you to try them if you have not already! 🙂

andis semillon
First up is a 2013 Semillon from Andis. If you attended Legends of Wine, you probably tried this wine, because they were one of the first booths of the event near the entrance. It’s a great wine to begin the evening. Bright, fruity and readies the palette for more!

My second favorite from Legends of Wine was the 2013 Séka Hills Viognier (shown below). Speaking of bright and fruity, this wine has the same descriptors. It’s a crisp, flavorful wine straight out of Capay Valley.

seka hills viognier

Near the Capay Valley lies Esparto and my good friends at Matchbook. Their Rosé of Tempranillo is currently my favorite domestic rosé. It will probably be on my table this Thanksgiving, it goes with almost anything.

matchbook rose tempranillo
Another favorite wine of mine is the 2014 Chenin Blanc from Revolution Wine in Sacramento. Craig Haarmeyer is the winemaker there and is making Chenin cool again. Check out Revolution’s tasting room and restaurant over on 29th and S. In their tasting room, don’t miss their Albariño and Malbec. They are by far my two favorite wines that Craig makes. 🙂
revolution chenin blanc

 

This Vermentino from Lone Acre (Simone Giusto Cellars) was one of Andy’s favorites. Vermentino is one of the most popular white grapes in Italy and is becoming more popular in California. The grape tends to do really well in warmer regions just like Amador! It might be time to roll out the red wines, but keep this one in mind for a starter glass before dinner.

Vermentino Giusto

We also liked this rosé by Uvaggio (Lodi). It’s a blend of Primitivo, Barbera and Vermentino, which is like the Italian grape version of The Three Musketeers!

uvaggio rosato

For all you red wine folks, my last choice is Michael David’s Ancient Vine Cinsault. It’s very similar in body/taste to a Pinot Noir (cherry/berry). The Cinsault was planted in all the way back in 1885 by Joseph Spenker, which pretty much qualifies it as ancient vine, as it is Lodi’s oldest producing vineyard. I wish there were more Cinsault planted and produced!

michael david cinsault
I am already looking forward to next year’s Farm-to-Fork celebration and another Legends of Wine. To keep up with all the delicious Farm-to-Fork events, click here, “like” Farm to Fork on Facebook here, or follow them on Twitter here. Cheers! 🙂


Farm-to-Fork Pear Bridge Dinner on the Delta September 27th at 4pm

Bridge
If you didn’t get tickets to the Tower Bridge Farm-to-Fork Gala dinner, I have an alternate dinner (also on a bridge!) for you to attend at the same date and time!

On September 27 at 4 pm, a dinner coordinated by the California Pear Advisory Board will take place on the historically-named Dead Horse Island Bridge on the Delta near the community of Walnut Grove. Attendees will mingle with other guests and local California pear farmers while enjoying a scenic view in the heart of one of the largest pear-growing regions in California.

The event will include locally-raised meats, Delta-grown crops such as corn, tomatoes, endive, and, of course pears. The dinner will be catered by Giusti’s Place, a great local restaurant located next to the bridge. An appetizer and cocktail from the Farm-to-Fork Pear Recipe Contest that was held in August will be featured: Grilled Pear Bruschetta from Taste Restaurant and Jay Yoon with Dawson’s Steakhouse at the Hyatt will be serving his House Pressed Bosc Pear Martini (shown below). Delta area wines and local beers will also be served.

DSC_0149-1024x683

Each person will be allowed to reserve no more than four tickets at a price of $125 each. To reserve tickets, please send an e-mail to the California Pear Advisory Board at info@calpear.com. Please note the event is for people over the age of 21.

The California Pear Advisory Board is a non-profit organization made up of farmers who grow pears in California. The cost of Pear Bridge Dinner tickets is meant to cover expenses only. Any money remaining after costs are covered will be donated to a local charity.

If you’d like to try some special pear dishes at local restaurants you can CLICK HERE to find out what’s being served and where.

You can find the California Pear Advisory board on Facebook here, follow them on Twitter here, on Instagram here and on Pinterest here. See you on the bridge on September 27th!


Legends of Wine Returns September 17th, 2015

1469769_714198055327065_7603323090107620337_n

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.

Bokisch
capay wines
I was very impressed with Capay Valley Vineyard’s line up—their sparkling viognier was my favorite. 🙂

 

cfr
Another notable winery was Casey Flat Ranch—their Estate Red Wine is excellent.

 

mathcbook
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?
michael david
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:

fruit cheese 1 fruit cheese 2 fruit cheese 3

 

random crowd shot 3
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!

To keep up with all the delicious Farm-to-Fork events, click here, “like” Farm to Fork on Facebook here, or follow them on Twitter here.


Recipe: Chili Lime Shrimp with Vegetables and Quinoa

11902312_10205588852213895_8145394520592943427_n
Last Monday, Andy and I attended a hospitality professionals meeting and I won a bag of groceries from Whole Foods Arden (Sacramento). They are also members of the group and brought the bag to give away at the meeting through a raffle of business cards of all the attendees.

We rarely buy quinoa, because it is a grain and not technically Paleo, but since it is a gluten free grain that is high in protein and the box was in the bag of groceries, I decided to make good use of it and post the recipe here as my thanks to Whole Foods! 🙂

Chili Lime Shrimp with Vegetables and Quinoa
Inspired by a Kaiser Permanente recipe
(serves 4)

Shrimp Marinade:
2 tsp chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Tbs teaspoon cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes (this will make the recipe moderately spicy, omit if you don’t prefer heat)
1 clove garlic, crushed
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper
20-24 uncooked, peeled and deveined medium-sized shrimp (roughly one pound)
Note: If you can’t find peeled and deveined shrimp, it’s pretty easy to do at home, it just takes about 15 more minutes to do it. After you peel back the shell, use a small knife to make an incision right on top of the vein and down to the tail. The vein will come practically on its own under running water. I also removed the tails for this recipe.

Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the shrimp, tossing them in the bowl until they are coated. Set aside and work on your vegetables.

Vegetable Sauté:
2 Tbs olive oil or coconut oil

1/2 of a large red bell pepper
1/2 of a large yellow bell pepper
1/2 of a large yellow squash
1/2 of a large zucchini squash
1/2 of a large eggplant
1/2 of a large onion
1 1/2 cups of your favorite tomato (I used some cherry tomatoes left over from a veggie tray and one large heirloom tomato)
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 of one bundle of cilantro

After you wash and chop up the vegetables (cube or cut each into bite sized pieces), set them aside and prepare the quinoa.

Quinoa Base:
1 1/2 cup 365 Organic Quinoa
Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 11.50.50 AMFirst, for a nuttier flavor, toast the quinoa in a skillet until it turns a little brown in color. Then prepare according to package directions. For even more flavor, cook the quinoa in a vegetable or chicken broth (substituting the water and using the same amount of broth in the directions on the package).

Prepare Vegetable Sauté:
While the quinoa is cooking, begin your vegetable sauté by heating the olive (or coconut oil) in a skillet and cooking the onion until it is translucent and then adding both the red and yellow bell peppers. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, then add the squashes, and then the eggplant. At this point the pan will be getting dry, so add a little water or white wine (1/2 cup), add the tomatoes and the garlic powder, and cook until vegetables are tender and the alcohol has cooked out of the mixture. Lastly, remove the pan from heat and add the cilantro leaves allowing them to wilt into the vegetables.

By this time the quinoa will be done or nearly done. Drain any excess water (or broth) out of the quinoa and set aside.

Cook the Shrimp:
Heat a pan big enough to accommodate the 24 shrimp and get the pan really hot. Place your shrimp in the pan, along with all the marinade and cook the shrimp 3-4 minutes (until they sear and turn color). Then add the shrimp to the vegetable pan, and place the vegetable pan back onto low heat. Fold all the ingredients together until everything is well combined and heated through.

To Serve:
Begin with the quinoa, and place the amount of your liking in a circle shape on a large plate. Make a nice big crater in the center of the plate, and fill it with the shrimp and vegetable sauté. Then garnish with a little more cilantro if you’d like.

You can also make this recipe with chicken if you don’t like seafood. I would marinate and cook it in the exact same fashion. 🙂
You can find Whole Foods Arden (Sacramento) on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.


Piatti’s Flair for Summer Fare Shines!

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.

Summer Menu

Carpaccio
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!

24 Brix Label Front
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.

24 Brix Label Back

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.

Heirloom Tomato Salad
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.

pork 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. 😉

Grilled Rib Eye
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.


Salmon with Hazelnut Shallot Butter and a Cauliflower Sweet Potato Mash

I love September and October in Sacramento. There are so many fun events to celebrate Farm-to-Fork and harvest time. There’s an intoxicating energy all around. The wineries are busy harvesting their grapes and there gets to be a little chill in the air in the mornings and when the sun goes down.

Though the Farm-to-Fork celebration has officially come to a close, it’s certainly not over. So many local restaurants and grocery stores have adopted this theme, and it’s exciting to see the concept take off locally just in the past two years. (Even though Alice Waters was practicing Farm-to-Table 40 years ago!! and Sacramento is not doing anything new.) 😉

I know that ever since I went Paleo (3 ½ years ago), I have made it a point to eat non-processed, local and organic foods when at all possible. I was extremely blessed to meet a partner who had adopted the same healthy eating habits as me and we have continued to be Paleo/Primal in the three years since.

We have made some incredible Paleo meals together with the best ingredients from two of my sponsors: Nugget Market and Whole Foods. We have also used other purveyors: Taylor’s Market and Sunh Fish for our meats and fish.

This Salmon dish is only an example of the kinds of things we prepare on a weekly basis. There is almost always something this special, so many times, it is more tempting to stay in than to eat in a restaurant. Don’t even get me started on all the eclectic wine that we have to pair up with whatever we make. 😉

The recipe was adapted from the Salmon Hazelnut Recipe from the book It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. The cauliflower and sweet potato mash was done on a whim and is all my own.

I hope you continue to practice Farm-to-Fork/Farm-to-Table at your house and when dining out beyond this month and celebrate this incredible agricultural paradise we are lucky enough to call home. 🙂

salmon
The star of this recipe is the compound butter that tops the salmon after it has been baked. You can use all or some of it, but we had a lot left over (even after using 1/2 of it on 20 ounces of salmon).
Make the compound butter ahead of time (recipe below) and use the freezer to re-solidify it if you happen to be short on time.

For the salmon

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp melted butter
salt and pepper to season
20 ounces wild-salmon (it was easier for us to portion after cooking)

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 400.  Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with salt.  Place salmon in the middle, skin side down. Brush salmon with melted butter and season again.

Place salmon in oven and roast it about 10 min. Be careful not to overcook. To serve, portion your filets and top each with slices of hazelnut butter and additional toasted hazelnuts.

compound butter
Hazelnut compound butter

Ingredients:
1/2 stick of butter
4 Tbsp hazelnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 small shallot and 1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, finely minced

Procedure:
Toast hazelnuts over medium heat until golden, then set aside to cool.
Sauté shallot and garlic in 1 Tbs of melted butter until shallot is translucent. Remove from heat.
Then add shallot mixture to the toasted hazelnuts, along with the remaining butter, thyme, and some salt and pepper.
Place mixture into the freezer for about 10-20 minutes.

Then place a large piece of plastic wrap on flat surface and transfer the butter mixture (after it has set up a little in the freezer) to the center of plastic. Form a log shape like above. Wrap tightly in the plastic and chill until solid. This will take 2 hours in the refrigerator, or about 45 minutes in the freezer.

salad
Spinach salad with red and yellow bell peppers, avocado, mushrooms, and salami from Taylor’s Market.

caulflower mash
For the Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Mash

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower (cut into small pieces)
1 large white sweet potato (cubed)
1 shallot
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs chopped garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
Salt to taste

Procedure:
Cook cauliflower and sweet potato in boiling water until fork tender. Drain water and set aside.
Chop shallot into thin slices and sauté in melted butter in a small pan. Add the garlic. Cook until shallot is translucent.
Place cooked cauliflower and potato into a food processor with the shallot mixture.
Add the garlic powder and chicken stock and pulse until completely smooth. Season to taste.

 

bellagrace
Last but certainly not least was the wine pairing. A 2010 reserve Pinot Noir from one of our favorite (and super local) wineries, BellaGrace Vineyards. The grapes are sourced from Sangiacomo Vineyards in Carneros. It is a fairly ripe Pinot Noir, but with the distinctive strawberry flavors unique to the region. The wine is fairly acidic, which perfectly compliments the fatty characteristics of Pacific salmon.

You can find BellaGrace Vineyards on Facebook here or visit them in person at the winery (complete with a cave cellar) at 22715 Upton Rd in Plymouth from 11:00am to 4:00pm,  Fri-Sun. They also have a tasting room in Sutter Creek (73 Main St, Sutter Creek) open from 11am-5pm daily.

Cheers! 🙂


Frank Fat’s Celebrates 75 Years with a Special Pre-Fixe Menu until October 31st!

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.

chef mike

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.

image
First I will highlight the 75th Anniversary Menu items. Instead of trying the most Paleo friendly items on the menu and skipping the Banana Cream Pie, I took one for the team and tried them all! 😉

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.

wine pairing

 

chicken salad
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). 🙂

 

honey walnut prawns
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.

chicken stir fry
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.

fried rice
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!

signature steak
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.

pie

Other food we sampled during the evening that was not on the pre-fixe menu:

Yu Kwok dumplings
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! 🙂

salad
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!


forbidden salmon
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:

IMG_4494

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.

The special anniversary pre-fixe menu only lasts until October 31st, so make those reservations ASAP! You can find Frank Fat’s on Facebook here and follow Fat’s Restaurants on twitter here.


Farm to Fork Wine Dinner Series: Supper Club Fine Catering Presents Todd Taylor Wines–The Digest

table setting

flowers
Last Thursday evening turned out to be pretty uncomfortable (weather-wise) at the start of the Todd Taylor Wine Dinner at Vierra Farms, but soon enough The Supper Club Fine Catering refreshed guests with a slightly chilled Tempranillo (2012 “Holland Landing” to be exact) and a trio of appetizers: Delta Crawfish Corn Dogs with Lemon Tarragon Dijon Aioli, Bruschetta with Local Fresh Tomato Tartar, Basil, and Olive Fig Tapenade, and the Supper Club’s classic Baby Red Potato Skins with Caramelized Shallot Mascarpone and House Wild Boar Pancetta.

crayfish corn dogs

 


bruschetta

potatoes with boar
shannin

people 1

We sat down to one of the biggest menus I have ever seen for the $75.00 per person asking price. Look below and you’ll see what I mean:

menu
We were seated family style at two long beautifully decorated wooden picnic tables to enjoy the first course of the meal called: “There’s a Fungus Among Us”: Wild Mushroom Latte in Demitasse with White Truffle Crema Shacking up together with Grown Up Grilled Cheese with Smoked Portobello, Gruyere, Oven Dried Tomato, and Arugula Pesto

The soup and sandwich course was paired with Todd Taylor Pinot Noir Reserve “Corotto Vineyard” 2012

soup and sandwich
Some of the guests around me were very excited about the mushroom latte, because they had enjoyed it many times before at Matteo’s (the brick and mortar restaurant owned by Supper Club Catering). The “soup” was indeed everything they described, earthy and creamy, and looked just like a small cup of cappuccino. I gave the bread on my sandwich to Andy, but not before I scraped the goodness inside. Pesto is one of the most incredible things!

Next up was the first family style course: Duck Duck Goose #5: Potato Gnocchi, Shredded Grimaud Duck Confit, House Made Duck Prosciutto, Goose Pancetta, Roasted Vierra Farms Squash, Poblanos, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Light Sage Cream Sauce, paired with Todd Taylor Zinfandel “Clockspring Vineyard” 2012.

gnocchi
So, being gluten-free (95-98% of the time), I never miss pasta at all, except for gnocchi. So, I took a little delight was incredibly happy 😉 to cheat on my diet with this dish. It had a myriad of textures and flavors and the soft little pillows of pasta were the star of the show!

Following the gnocchi course, we were served the second family style course:
“3 Little Piggies went to the Farm”: Crispy Pork Belly, Smoked Tenderloin and Braised Shoulder paired with Todd Taylor Primitivo “Blue House” 2012.

pork 3 ways
Above is the Colossal Runner Bean, Tomato, Fennel and grilled Fig Salad served on the side of the pork dish. This was easily my favorite dish of the night. It had all my favorite ingredients: pork, fennel, pork, fig, pork… 😉 You get the idea. I am pretty sure I could just live on pork alone, and I am pretty sure I am not alone in that sentiment!

Following the pork trifecta was the third family style course:
“Not your Momma’s Steak and Potatoes”: Grilled Lucky Dog Skirt Steak basted with Secret Recipe House Butter, served with White Truffle Asiago Russet Frites, and Garlicky Green Beans. The third course was paired with Todd Taylor Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 337 “Hagen Heights” 2012.

steak
The fries came on a separate platter, so I apologize for not capturing them. They were the tiny matchstick kind and had a distinct truffle flavor. I really enjoyed the steak, which was sliced thin and slathered in the aforementioned “house butter”. I knew people were probably watching, so I didn’t take a second helping…although I would have really liked one! 😉

And the surprisingly savory finale:
“Waiter My Cheesecake is Stinky”: Stilton Cheesecake with Rosemary Walnut Crust and Local Stone Fruit Ginger Chutney (paired with) Todd Taylor Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Clone 8 “Alphawolf Ranch” 2010.

cheesecake

So I was fully prepared to just give my entire dessert to Andy after having a few bites (like I normally do at the food/wine pairing dinners we attend, but I liked this “dessert” so much, that I ate over half of it! It was not a traditional dessert or pairing for that matter. The crust and the filling of the cheesecake were quite savory and the chutney was the only thing on the plate that yielded any sweetness. And that’s why I liked the final course so much!

Finally, I asked a server to help me line up the bottles so you could see a shot of everything we were served that evening. I think the Pinot Noir was my favorite! 🙂

wines

I want to send a thank you to  the staff at The Supper Club Fine Catering for having Andy and I as guests for your inagural Farm-to-Fork Wine dinner! Chef Matt is so creative with the food pairings and everything down to naming the dishes on the menus. It was fun to meet diehard fans of The Supper Club and Matteo’s and we hope to be back again soon. 🙂
If you are interested, there are other Farm-to-Fork dinners by the Supper Club Fine Catering coming soon:
10-23-14 Farm to Fork Dinner Featuring Sean Minor Wine Dinner at the Crocker Art Museum
11-20-14 Farm to Fork Dinner Featuring Pruett Vineyards at the Crocker Art Museum
12-18-14 Farm to Fork Dinner (Winery TBD) at the Crocker Art Museum

About Todd Taylor Wines:
Todd Taylor produces single vineyard designated red wines. Napa Valley Cabernet Savingnon, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir. Amador County Zinfindel and Primitivo. Clarksburg Tempranillo. Aged in New Cooperage. Available for tasting Saturday and Sunday 12-5. You can find them online here, on Facebook here, and on twitter here.

For more information on the wine dinner, click here.
You can find Supper Club Fine Catering on Facebook here.