What's Cooking

A look at the latest in local food, dining and drinking news

2013

Wahoo's Fish Taco opens in midtown

07/31/14

Wahoo's Fish Taco opens in midtown

More than five years after opening, the L Street Lofts building has hooked its first restaurant—a 3,000 square-foot Wahoo’s Fish Taco, a Santa Ana-based chain that started in 1988 and features an “eclectic Mexican/Brazilian/Asian menu and a Hawaiian north-shore vibe,” according to its website. The restaurant will open this Monday, Aug. 4 at 11 a.m. Bob Clippinger, a Newport Beach-based developer, owns 68 of the 92 lofts in the building, along with the ground-floor retail space, all of which he purchased in May of 2012. Clippinger owns numerous other projects in the region, including the Cathedral Building at 12th and K streets, where the restaurant Ella is located.  This will be Wahoo's first location in the Sacramento region. It has about...

Posted at 03:54 PM | Permalink

Beer mecca Pangaea hires former Mulvaney’s B&L chef to run its expanded kitchen

12/30/13

Beer mecca Pangaea hires former Mulvaney’s B&L chef to run its expanded kitchen

Pangaea was already one of our favorite hang-out spots, but add to that the news that it's expanding their kitchen and just hired Robb Venditti (formerly of Mulvaney’s B&L and Formoli's Bistro) to oversee it, and we may just fall in love all over again. The Curtis Park beer mecca and café is annexing part of a former hair salon next to its existing kitchen, which will more than double its space, and Venditti and owner Rob Archie will be bulking up with a six-burner range, charbroilers and double fryers. (The dining area will remain the same.) Though Venditti doesn’t officially start until Jan. 1, he and Archie have already started coming up with ideas for the casual, seasonal gastropub menu that’s scheduled to debut in late January....

Posted at 09:21 AM | Permalink

Sacramento’s popular Bacon Fest announces first wave of 2014 events

12/27/13

Sacramento’s popular Bacon Fest announces first wave of 2014 events

Look for the region’s foodies to make their third annual pork pilgrimage to the capital city next month, when the 2014 Sacramento Bacon Fest will take place Jan. 19-26. A full slate of events for the upcoming pig-out was announced this morning, promising a range of dining, cooking and even bacon cocktail extravaganzas across the city. An opening night party will take place at Grange on Sunday, Jan. 19, where admission is free and bacon aficionados can enjoy a small-plate menu offered by the restaurant's executive chef Oliver Ridgeway and his culinary partners for the evening, Ravin Patel of Ella and Billy Ngo of Kru. The evening also offers a DJ, photo booth and raffle with prizes including admission to the popular Bacon Fest Chef’s Competition at Mulvaney’s...

Posted at 10:50 AM | Permalink

Frank Fat’s hires new executive chef

12/19/13

Frank Fat’s hires new executive chef

It’s been a big year for Frank Fat’s, the legendary Chinese restaurant in downtown Sacramento that dates back to 1939 and is the flagship of the Fat family’s local culinary empire. Earlier this year, the restaurant was one of only five across the nation to take home a James Beard America's Classics Award in May. And on Tuesday this week, the restaurant welcomed a new chef who is returning home after a decade cooking in New York, San Francisco and Orlando at some of the country’s top restaurants . Sacramento native Mike Lim, 33, takes the helm of the venerable restaurant’s kitchen as executive chef, replacing chef Jimmy Ma. Lim’s experience includes two years at New York’s Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, which New York...

Posted at 10:25 AM | Permalink

New Asian-Italian food truck to hit the streets

12/05/13

New Asian-Italian food truck to hit the streets

Here in the capital city, the food truck trend is on a serious roll, boasting everything from marinated meats to deep-fried treats to farm-to-fork eats to . . . an Asian-Italian hybrid? Yep, come mid-December, we’ll have that too when Ciao Chow, a brand-new fusion food truck, hits the streets of Sacramento and Yolo counties. The vehicular venture was dreamed up by the husband-and-wife team of Stefen Janke and Julie Van Dam, who first met in Los Angeles while working at the Michelin-starred fine-dining restaurant Patina. The couple, who now live in Davis, currently run Gourmet Solutionz, a catering company based in Woodland, which served as the springboard for the creative new project. “With a food truck, it has its own point of view, and you really get to have fun...

Posted at 04:40 PM | Permalink

Former Brew It Up owner signs lease on new West Sacramento brewery to open in February

12/03/13

Former Brew It Up owner signs lease on new West Sacramento brewery to open in February

Just over two years after closing the doors to Brew It Up Personal Brewery in downtown Sacramento, Mike Costello signed a lease last week—on Nov. 26—for an 8,000 square-foot warehouse and office space in West Sacramento, where he plans to get back into the craft beer game in a big way, and he’s “optimistic and pressing” for a late February opening.  The venture, Yolo Brewing Company, will be located at the corner of Terminal and Del Monte streets in West Sacramento’s port district. “We’re taking the good elements and lessons learned from Brew it Up and bringing those over [to Yolo Brewing Company],” says Costello. But he wants to make it very clear that customers shouldn’t expect a new iteration of Brew it Up,...

Posted at 09:22 AM | Permalink

On National French Toast Day, Five Local Faves

11/28/13

On National French Toast Day, Five Local Faves

As if having Thanksgiving fall on Hannukah isn't enough of a cosmic coincidence for one day, today is also National French Toast Day. In honor of this esteemed holiday, we offer up a few of our favorite French toast options around the region.  Tower Cafe This may be the most celebrated French toast in Sacramento. The chefs at this eclectic Broadway institution soak sweet French bread overnight in vanilla custard, and then cook it up in the morning so it’s hot and crunchy on the outside, sweet and impossibly moist on the inside. Insider tip: Even if you're not hungry enough for the hefty full order, get it anyway and take the syrup-soaked leftovers home and put them in the fridge. It will make for an amazing dessert after dinner. 1518...

Posted at 12:20 PM | Permalink

10 Last-Minute Thanksgiving Feasts

11/27/13

10 Last-Minute Thanksgiving Feasts

Still not sure when and where to celebrate Thanksgiving this year? Whether you’re just dining for one or on the hook for a family gathering, consider 10 local options standing by to turn crunch time into turkey time (or perhaps crab-stuffed salmon time, or squash risotto time, or…). The Firehouse The legendary Old Sacramento institution revives its Thanksgiving Day service with not one, not two, but three delectable holiday menus, including one for vegetarians and another just for kids—or rather, “young patrons.” Highlights include a citrus-spiced pork chop with black currant, cipollini onion, pistachio, lacinato kale and fried fingerlings, while even vegans can get in on the act with marinated grilled tempeh boasting toasted pecan-cranberry...

Posted at 11:33 AM | Permalink

Former Grange chef Michael Tuohy returns to Sacramento to lead LowBrau and Block Butcher Bar

11/04/13

Former Grange chef Michael Tuohy returns to Sacramento to lead LowBrau and Block Butcher Bar

At the popular midtown hot spot, LowBrau, whose motto is “King of ze Wurst,” a new leader is now reigning over the kitchen, officially starting today. Michael Tuohy, who was the founding executive chef of Grange Restaurant & Bar when it opened in 2009, has relocated back to Sacramento to take the helm of the restaurant programs at LowBrau and its team’s nascent next-door venture, Block Butcher Bar, which is scheduled to open in mid-December. “He’s kind of one of the godfathers of the farm-to-fork movement out here, so it was kind of like a match made in heaven,” says LowBrau co-owner Michael Hargis of Tuohy. Tuohy was widely lauded for being a leader in the farm-to-fork movement during his time at Grange, and prior to that, he was...

Posted at 05:26 PM | Permalink

Chef Jamie Oliver enlists Sacramento in his food revolution

10/29/13

Chef Jamie Oliver enlists Sacramento in his food revolution

Sacramento’s burgeoning mobile food scene will get a high-profile out-of-town visitor in January when celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and his “Big Rig”—a teaching kitchen housed inside a massive semi-truck—arrive in the capital city as part of a 40-week-long statewide tour that began in September and visits neighborhoods and cities from The California Endowment’s “Building Healthy Communities” initiative. The mobile project’s development was spurred when Oliver was selected for a prestigious TED Prize in 2010 and the Big Rig debuted in 2011 as a part of the chef’s food foundation, which fights obesity through education and hands-on training. The truck was also featured on The Naked Chef’s Emmy-winning reality show...

Posted at 01:55 PM | Permalink

Kids’ recipes score spots on Ten22 menu

10/29/13

Kids’ recipes score spots on Ten22 menu

Here in the farm-to-fork capital, we’re not just growing produce. We’re also growing the next generation of chefs, farmers and foodies. And a few lucky Sacramento kids just landed their recipe on Ten22’s new menu that just launched last week. Last month, the California Food Literacy Center held its second annual Kids Recipe Contest open to all K-6th grade students in the state. The mission: to get kids excited about cooking using farm-fresh food. For instance, the students at Capitol Heights Academy in Oak Park chose the sweet potato to be the contest’s star ingredient on which each recipe submission would be based. The winners were announced at Ten22’s fourth birthday celebration last Tuesday, during which executive chef Jay Veregge prepared...

Posted at 11:51 AM | Permalink

A new gelato food truck rolls into Sacramento

10/15/13

A new gelato food truck rolls into Sacramento

Fall is quickly decorating the City of Trees, but with temperatures soaring into the 80s this week, a cool summertime treat feels just right. Luciano’s Scoop, a new food truck that launched in August, serves artisan, handmade gelato and can now be found roaming the streets of downtown Sacramento or at regional SactoMoFo events. The gelateria on wheels offers 14 inventive flavors at a time, like blackberry cabernet sorbet, Mexican chocolate and caramel sea salt, with a new flavor rotating into the mix each week. Recent weekly specials have included burgundy cherry and honey lavender. The food truck's owner Huy Phan learned the craft of hand-making gelato at the Carpigiani Gelato University in North Carolina from renowned Italian gelato chef Luciano Ferrari, for...

Posted at 01:46 PM | Permalink

Massive Garibaldi Octopus Painting at the Center of Mikuni Midtown's Makeover

10/14/13

Massive Garibaldi Octopus Painting at the Center of Mikuni Midtown's Makeover

Ten years after opening its midtown location, Mikuni co-owner and “chief dreaming officer” Taro Arai decided it was time for a “facelift.” So after closing for a week, Mikuni Midtown will reopen tomorrow with new colors, floors and artwork. When the restaurant launched in 2003, the interior featured an industrial vibe that included a concrete floor. For the 2013 update, Arai “wanted to warm it up a little bit,” so the concrete floor has been replaced by wood laminate flooring and LED lights will now illuminate the bar and back wall, allowing the option for the colors to change every few minutes if desired. The bathrooms were also renovated and a new A/C system installed. But the crown jewel of the new décor will be a new outsized...

Posted at 03:54 PM | Permalink

Midtown's Der BierGarten to open next month

10/08/13

Midtown's Der BierGarten to open next month

After weeks of delay from permit issues and other complications, Sacramentans can finally say “willkommen” to Der BierGarten, a Bavarian-style venture set to open in mid-November in midtown. Tomorrow afternoon, two reclaimed shipping containers—which will house Der BierGarten’s kitchen, bar and other facilities—will be installed in the once-vacant lot next to The Golden Bear on the corner of 24th and K streets. Headed up by Sean Derfield, the owner of River City Saloon in Old Sacramento, Der BierGarten was inspired by similar projects utilizing recycled shipping containers like Proxy, a collection of stylish pop-up restaurants and retail shops in San Francisco. At Der BierGarten, the cladded cargo containers will frame a central 2,500-square-foot...

Posted at 01:57 PM | Permalink

Moderno Italiano Festival celebrates food, drink and culture

10/05/13

Moderno Italiano Festival celebrates food, drink and culture

For a taste of la bella vita, Italophiles can head to Midtown for Hot Italian’s annual Moderno Italiano Festival, which celebrates Italian Heritage Month and showcases the country’s culture through an array of events taking place at the 16th and Q restaurant, and across the street at Fremont Park. The month-long festival features everything from samplings of Peroni beer to an outdoor screening of the 2010 Italian film Diciotto Anni Dopo (18 Years Later), which recounts the ups and downs of a road trip taken together by two brothers who are united by the death of their father after an 18-year-long period of estrangement. That night, festival goers can also take a spin in one of a handful of the boot-shaped-country’s iconic Fiats. And if you miss your chance to...

Posted at 10:49 AM | Permalink

Rudy’s Hideaway to debut new seafood-focused food truck

09/13/13

Rudy’s Hideaway to debut new seafood-focused food truck

Fans of Rancho Cordova's lauded seafood spot Rudy’s Hideaway will have something to look forward to this month as the restaurant rolls out its brand-new food truck, dubbed the Cruzin’ Crustacean. The truck features a commercial kitchen, playful illustrations of lobsters and even a custom license plate that reads “CRZN LOB.” The menu will include some of Rudy’s classic dishes, like lobster bisque or clam chowder in a bread bowl, fish ’n’ chips, deep-fried calamari, a lobster roll on a dense torpedo roll and something called a “Lobi-pop”— flash-cooked, in-shell Maine lobster on a stick served with a side of coleslaw. Most items will be around $10. And those of you who aren’t seafood fans won’t feel like a...

Posted at 03:55 PM | Permalink | Comments

Farm-to-Fork Week's Tower Bridge dinner menu revealed

09/13/13

Farm-to-Fork Week's Tower Bridge dinner menu revealed

On Sunday, Sept. 29, more than 600 people will sit down at a series of table stretched the length of the Tower Bridge for a dinner that represents the highlight of the upcoming Farm-to-Fork week celebrating local food. The dinner, for which details were announced in June, sold out within hours of going on sale on July 1. Chef Patrick Mulvaney of Mulvaney’s B&L in midtown Sacramento has taken a leading role in the preparations for the evening, along with other top chefs from around the region, and is revealing the widely anticipated menu for the event. Mulvaney says the evening will start with about 10 restaurants serving appetizers, and then continue with four main dishes, which will arrive throughout the meal. He’s quick to note that the dishes are all...

Posted at 11:43 AM | Permalink

Former chef of Ella comes back home to open two new restaurants on K Street

09/03/13

Former chef of Ella comes back home to open two new restaurants on K Street

After six months in Mill Valley as the culinary director for celebrity chef Tyler Florence, Mike Thiemann, former head chef of Ella Dining Room and Bar, is returning to his hometown of Sacramento to launch two downtown eateries in the next year. “I am finally laying roots down,” says Thiemann. “I have been all over the place cooking everywhere, and so it is nice to end that journey in a place that I really care about.” A team including Thiemann and his wife Lisa, Edible Sacramento editor Ryan Donahue, Crest Theatre owner Bob Emerick and investor Yulya Borroum will partner on both restaurants. The first to debut will be Mother, a vegetarian lunch spot opening this November on K Street near the Crest. Then Empress Tavern, the larger of the two ventures...

Posted at 04:16 PM | Permalink

Labor Day Brunch!

09/02/13

Labor Day Brunch!

The only thing better than Sunday brunches are Monday brunches, and we’re here to take the labor out of your Labor Day weekend by showing you where to find some of the best Monday brunches in town. Café Bernardo All four Café Bernardos (Davis, midtown, R Street and the newest one at 10th and K streets) are open for Monday brunch today from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Menus vary slightly by location but you can check out the downtown one here.  Capitol Garage Cap Garage at 15th and K has a long history of staying open for brunch for virtually every holiday and this one is no exception. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check out the menu here. De Vere’s Irish Pub Both the Sacramento and Davis locations will be serving up De...

Posted at 09:39 AM | Permalink

Get Shaken and Stirred during Midtown Cocktail Week

08/20/13

Get Shaken and Stirred during Midtown Cocktail Week

Sacramento, get ready to drink and be merry this Wednesday through Sunday during the sixth annual Midtown Cocktail Week. The celebration kicks off tomorrow from noon to 4 p.m. with a liquor vendor expo at The Citizen Hotel, and later that night, from 6 to 9 p.m., LowBrau will host a cocktail competition, where 40 local bartenders from restaurants and bars like The Golden Bear and Shady Lady will to put their mixology skills to the test. Also, famed San Francisco bartenders Neyah White and Martin Cate will be making drinkable concoctions for guests to sample. On Thursday, Hook & Ladder will bring a taste of Tokyo to midtown with Japanese whiskey and sake cocktails, accompanied by Japanese tapas, plus a performance by drumming ensemble Sacramento Taiko Dan. And on Friday,...

Posted at 05:44 PM | Permalink

Hot Italian chef rolls out his own line of pizza dough

08/16/13

Hot Italian chef rolls out his own line of pizza dough

If you, like us, love Hot Italian pizza, then you’ll soon have one more item to add to your grocery list. That’s because Hot Italian’s energetic chef and co-owner Fabrizio Cercatore is embarking on a retail venture to create a line of pre-made pizza dough, crust mix and frozen pizzas, all coming soon to a grocer near you. Called Passione Pizza, the line uses organic flour and the same recipe for Hot Italian’s crispy, chewy thin-crust pies. These include the Organic Pizza Crust Mix—a pre-mixed flour packaged with yeast and salt that requires the home chef to simply add water and roll out the dough—and the Organic Frozen Dough Balls, which come packaged individually (but are also available in larger packs of 15). And for a quicker pizza-making...

Posted at 11:27 AM | Permalink

New sports lounge to open in El Dorado Hills

08/13/13

New sports lounge to open in El Dorado Hills

Just in time for the new Sacramento Kings season, restaurateurs (and brothers) Matt and Fred Haines plan to open a new sports lounge on Nov. 2 called the 30/30 Club next to their Bistro 33 restaurant in the El Dorado Hills Town Center. And this will be no average neighborhood watering hole “with peanuts on the floor,” says Matt. Instead, the cozy, dimly lit space overlooking the lake in the Town Center will boast dark hardwood floors, comfy leather sofas, both indoor and outdoor bars, an airy patio area, and plenty of big plasma-screen TVs throughout. The lounge replaces the former SideBar event space. In addition to playing off of the numbers in Bistro 33’s name, the name 30/30 refers to elite baseball players like Hank Aaron and Willie Mays that have hit...

Posted at 04:48 PM | Permalink

Six Tasty Ways to Celebrate National Farmers Market Week in the Sacramento Region

08/09/13

Six Tasty Ways to Celebrate National Farmers Market Week in the Sacramento Region

Making farm-fresh meals has never been easier with the incredible array of local food at our region’s farmers’ markets. With National Farmers Market Week upon us, here’s the locavore lowdown on when, where and how to shop till you chop. Sacramento Central Boasting about 125 vendors at its peak summer season, this is the largest certified farmers’ market in the region. Look for local produce like strawberries from Antelope’s Saechao Farm and blueberries from Hooverville Orchards in Placerville. Known as a serious foodie destination, you won’t find any bounce houses here. Instead, you’ll find a wide variety of culinary delights, including Asian vegetables, artisan breads, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken and seafood from the Point...

Posted at 12:38 PM | Permalink

Cafeteria 15L launches brunch this Sunday

07/30/13

Cafeteria 15L launches brunch this Sunday

Starting this Sunday, Aug. 4, Sacramento’s weekend-brunch-going crowd can add another destination to the go-to list downtown: Cafeteria 15L, where executive chef Christian Palmos will be churning out more of the restaurant’s signature “American comfort classics, but with a twist.” That philosophy finds its way into whimsical, unique dishes, ranging from an array of eggs Benedicts—like a Southern-inspired variation made with a biscuit and sausage patty—to the “loco moco,” a traditional Hawaiian breakfast dish of steamed rice topped with a hamburger patty, two eggs and house-made veal gravy. Also featured will be a rotating lineup of egg scrambles like chicken chorizo with tortillas or the seasonal veggie (prepared with tomatoes, corn...

Posted at 01:30 PM | Permalink

More Farm-to-Fork Week details emerge

06/13/13

More Farm-to-Fork Week details emerge

More details are emerging for the first annual Farm to Fork Week, coming this September. including news that the tickets for its signature event -- the Sept. 29 Farm-to-Fork dinner on the Tower Bridge will go on sale at 9 a.m. on July 1. Tickets will be $175 per person. The Farm-to-Fork Week will kick off earlier that week, on Sept. 21, at Rancho Cordova’s Soil Born Farms with its 11th annual Autumn Equinox Celebration. In addition to special seasonal menus offered at Sacramento eateries throughout the week, event highlights include a cattle drive down Capitol Mall on Sept. 23, an intimate supper at Passmore Ranch in Sloughhouse, and a wine tasting with grocer and wine expert Darrell Corti on Sept. 26. Tickets for the Corti event will also go on sale on July 1....

Posted at 05:20 PM | Permalink

Former chef of The Kitchen to open new midtown restaurant

06/12/13

Former chef of The Kitchen to open new midtown restaurant

  It’s been two years since L Wine Lounge & Urban Kitchen at 1801 L Street closed, but the empty bi-level space will be reborn within two weeks as Capital Dime, a new restaurant and bar owned by Noah Zonca, previously the longtime chef at Randall Selland’s highly regarded restaurant, The Kitchen, and Rick Lobley, co-founder of local clubs and restaurants like Ink and Empire. The name of the new eatery—which implies the number 10—hints at its price point and ambition, according to Lobley, who says most dishes will be around $10, and he’s aiming for food, service and atmosphere that are “a perfect 10” in quality. “I want to be able to bring farm-to-fork cuisine to people at a price that can be approachable for...

Posted at 03:40 PM | Permalink