What's Cooking

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

2019

The 2019 Sactown Nachos Festival promises to pile on the cheese

06/14/19

The 2019 Sactown Nachos Festival promises to pile on the cheese

It’s crunch time, Sacramento. Get ready to go over the top with toppings at the third annual Sactown Nachos Festival, which will take place on Saturday, Aug. 24, at Cesar Chavez Plaza. For the classic nacho aficionado, Chando’s Tacos will offer its fan-favorite traditional take, comprising a pile of crispy tortilla triangles, heaping mound of meat (pork adobada, carne asada, carnitas or chicken), nacho cheese, guacamole, salsa, sour cream and pico de gallo, cilantro and diced onion. Chando's—which will also serve its whole menu of tacos, burritos and mulitas during the festival—will also roll out the "quesataco," a taco shell made from melted cheese that's stuffed with meat and topped with cilantro, onions, guacamole and salsa....

Posted at 10:17 AM | Permalink | Comments

New Japanese restaurant Aji Dori opens on R Street

06/13/19

New Japanese restaurant Aji Dori opens on R Street

Aji Dori, a new Japanese restaurant on R Street, will host its grand opening on Saturday, June 15, following a brief soft-launch phase.  This is take two for the team behind Takata-Ya, a fast-casual Japanese-Hawaiian spot that occupied the same spot, which also formerly housed Italian restaurant Amaro. Joining the ownership group is Russell Okubo, who previously served as executive chef of the Fat Family Restaurant Group before earning a reputation for elevating traditional Asian cuisine at his El Dorado Hills-based eatery Aji Japanese Bistro. The chef aims to bring a scaled-down, informal version of his suburban hot spot to downtown, focusing on an extensive lineup of Asian street food ("aji" translates to “taste” and "dori"...

Posted at 11:51 AM | Permalink | Comments

Shake Shack to open its first Sacramento location

06/07/19

Shake Shack to open its first Sacramento location

Sacramentans will soon be able to weigh in on the great “In-N-Out vs. Shake Shack” debate, when Shake Shack launches its first River City location at midtown’s Ice Blocks later this year or in early 2020. The wildly popular burger chain will inhabit a 3,645-square-foot, ground-floor space inside the complex's Ice Shed building at 17th and R (directly across the street from Beast & Bounty), which will include a large outdoor patio. It is expected to be the group's fourth Northern California location, following Palo Alto in December, Larkspur in Marin County in March, and San Francisco, whose new outpost is under construction in the Cow Hollow neighborhood. While chains have not typically fared well in downtown and midtown, Ice Blocks...

Posted at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments

Celebrate National Doughnut Day at these 8 sweet spots

06/06/19

Celebrate National Doughnut Day at these 8 sweet spots

From midtown's Milk Money to Folsom's BJ Cinnamon, which Yelp calls the best bakery in the country, here are eight sweet spots to hit up on Friday's National Doughnut Day (and beyond).  BAD Bakers         View this post on Instagram                   Tomorrow’s National Donut Day!!!!!!! 🍩😋 *** *** *** Make BAD BAKERS your holiday celebration stop! Slide thru with donut attire and receive a free donut with purchase. If you’re rocking the BAD gear receive a free Mini BAD Bundle with purchase (1 Donut & 5 piece of Spanish Rolls). ** ** Check out our New ALL BAD donut! Best of all donut worlds, flaky,...

Posted at 03:39 PM | Permalink | Comments

A sneak peek at Shangri-La, the retro Palm Springs resort-inspired restaurant

06/04/19

A sneak peek at Shangri-La, the retro Palm Springs resort-inspired restaurant

UPDATE: Shangri-La, the new Palm Springs resort-inspired bistro in Fair Oaks will soft-open Tuesday, June 18, for dinner. Hours of operation wlll be Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30-9 p.m., with the bar staying open until 10 p.m. (The restaurant will be closed Mondays.) Owner Sommer Peterson aims to add happy hour and brunch over the coming weeks, and hopes to host a grand opening in mid-July. Reservations are available through yelp.com. ********** A Fair Oaks native is devising an oasis of creative shared plates, craft cocktails and bocce ball in the Sacramento suburb with the new restaurant Shangri-La, which is set to open later this month. Sommer Peterson, who grew up in Fair Oaks, moved to San Francisco after high school, but over 20 years later, she felt the call of a...

Posted at 11:51 AM | Permalink | Comments

Craving of the Week: Dutchman’s Stroopwafels

05/31/19

Craving of the Week: Dutchman’s Stroopwafels

We don't waffle when it comes to waffles. To us, they're the quintessential breakfast comfort food. But lately, we've also been savoring them for dessert, thanks to a crave-worthy cookie version by Dutchman’s Stroopwafels. Made from two thin layers of waffles glued together by caramel syrup that oozes out with each bite, the stroopwafel—which translates, appropriately, to "syrup waffle"—is decadent and cinnamony (think crispy snickerdoodle). We recommend getting multiples of the regular, which is palm-sized and served in a checkerboard wax paper triangle for easy on-the-go snacking. (If you don't care as much about portability, you can get a giant size of the cookie, which is about the size of a face.) Husband-and-wife team Johan and...

Posted at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Comments

Taste: Milka Coffee Roasters now serving sparkling espresso in a restored downtown Victorian & more dining news for April 26

04/26/19

Taste: Milka Coffee Roasters now serving sparkling espresso in a restored downtown Victorian & more dining news for April 26

Milka Coffee Roasters, located downtown inside a two-story house that dates back to 1861, hosted its grand opening earlier this month on April 13. Owners Samir Benouar and Bree Uston, an interior designer, worked together to renovate the classic building (the couple currently lives on the second floor), accenting the space’s historic Victorian Italianate features—think ceiling-high bay windows and a grand archway—with modern touches, and tearing out old drywall to expose the building’s original brick façade, adding deep green tile columns along the coffee bar and replacing the old carpet with oak wood flooring. Named after Benouar​'s great-grandmother Milka (whose photo adorns an inside wall), the shop serves up the standard third-wave...

Posted at 11:55 AM | Permalink | Comments

Empress Tavern launches a "Top Gun"-inspired cocktail menu

04/23/19

Empress Tavern launches a "Top Gun"-inspired cocktail menu

Do you feel the need, the need for speed? Put on your Ray-Bans and check out a screening of Top Gun at the Crest Theatre this Saturday, April 27. And head downstairs to Empress Tavern, which is debuting its new lineup of cocktails inspired by the 1986 Tom Cruise blockbuster that same day. The seven themed cocktails—which will stay on the menu for about two months—include the “Mach 2 with Your Hair on Fire,” a smoky margarita-style drink with blanco tequila, mescal, spiced agave, mango, lime and tamarind, which harkens to a remark Charlie (played by Kelly McGillis) says to Maverick. It features a paper airplane clipped to the glass that’s made of yellow curry-infused flash paper and is set aflame when served, producing a spicy aroma. There's also...

Posted at 01:21 PM | Permalink | Comments

Craving of the Week: The Cabin's Gimmie S'more

04/19/19

Craving of the Week: The Cabin's Gimmie S'more

Camping season might still be a few weeks away, but The Cabin, which opened in midtown in February, is filling in the gap with a cocktail that could double as a fireside dessert. The Gimmie S’more is made with whipped vanilla vodka, crème de cacao and cream, but its garnishes are what make this libation “pure nostalgia in a glass,” according to bar manager Tajz Wells. The martini glass’ rim is dressed with graham cracker bits and Hershey’s chocolate syrup oozing down the side (reminiscent of melty chocolate dripping down your fingers). Then topping it all off is a full-size marshmallow set ablaze by a torch-wielding bartender. (Pro tip: Be quick about grabbing the perfect Instagrammable shot—once the confection is alight, you only have...

Posted at 09:41 AM | Permalink | Comments

Into the Brew-niverse: Sacramento Beer Week returns with an outpouring of events

04/05/19

Into the Brew-niverse: Sacramento Beer Week returns with an outpouring of events

Sacramento’s beer universe is constantly expanding, and with more than 300 events lined up over 10 days for the 10th annual Sacramento Beer Week—which will take place April 26-May 5—it is on track to keep the region swimming in craft suds for the foreseeable future. Read on for this year’s highlights that include everything from beer and doughnut pairings to beer slushie releases and tap takeovers. Food and beer makers will exchange Kraft for craft on April 26 with the kickoff event, Sac Mac and Brew Review, during which 15 regional breweries, including Urban Roots, Yolo Brewing, Tilted Mash and Bike Dog, will partner with area food purveyors—like Father Paddy’s Irish Pub out of Woodland and Daddy Dave’s Street BBQ based in Elk Grove—to...

Posted at 01:38 PM | Permalink | Comments

The Sacramento Food Film Festival pairs flicks with flavors

04/04/19

The Sacramento Food Film Festival pairs flicks with flavors

Every year, fans of food and flicks—and who isn’t?—flock to the Sacramento Food Film Festival, which returns this year April 10-16 for the eighth time with a lineup of three food-focused screenings paired with themed bites, largely prepared by area chefs. “You’re not just sitting down at another auction or another chicken dinner,” says Amber Stott, founding executive director of Sacramento’s Food Literacy Center, a food education nonprofit that is both host and beneficiary of the festival. “You’re getting some of the best chefs in Sacramento that are having fun outside their restaurants and working collaboratively together.” The food flick festival will kick off April 10 with Dinner & A Movie at Lucca Restaurant...

Posted at 09:41 AM | Permalink | Comments

Taste: Hooby's Brewing serves up creative Belgian waffles and craft beer, plus other dining news for March 27

03/27/19

Taste: Hooby's Brewing serves up creative Belgian waffles and craft beer, plus other dining news for March 27

Fancy a Belgian waffle with your craft beer? Hooby's Brewing has been serving up the breakfast mainstay—either with toppings or as decadent bread for sandwiches—and house beers at its downtown Winters taproom since it opened on Feb. 16.  At Hooby's, the food lineup highlights waffle-centric dishes like a pesto grilled cheese waffle with mozzarella, Parmesan and sun-dried tomatoes, and a pulled pork waffle sandwich, served with house-made Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce, vinegar slaw and spicy aioli, as well as bar bites like nachos, smoked deviled eggs and pretzel-coated bratwurst (served with a mustard-beer sauce made with Hooby's Pardehsa IPA). Meanwhile, Sunday brunch features hearty entrées like a...

Posted at 10:36 AM | Permalink | Comments

The Bank food hall opens for breakfast and lunch

03/25/19

The Bank food hall opens for breakfast and lunch

The Bank, the new downtown food hall that inhabits the 107-year-old D.O. Mills Bank building, has launched its breakfast and lunch service today. Beginning at 7 a.m. on weekdays (brunch starts at 10 a.m. on weekends), The Bank's cafe now offers up coffee drinks using beans from Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters, as well as pastries and baked goods from Bella Bru and Boy’s Bakery, which specializes in Swedish fika buns. The cafe also serves cheese and charcuterie boards, sandwiches and salads from Zia’s Delicatessen, ice cream from Berkeley-based The Latest Scoop and dairy-free gelato from North Sacramento's Conscious Creamery.  Platypus Pizza Company and Sac Poke Bros. will get in on the action starting at 11 a.m.. (Station 8 Burgers will open at 4 p.m. daily...

Posted at 11:53 AM | Permalink | Comments

Federalist Public House team open The Neighborhood Pizzeria in East Sacramento

03/15/19

Federalist Public House team open The Neighborhood Pizzeria in East Sacramento

April 3, 2019 update: The Neighborhood Pizzeria opens today. Hours of operation are Mon.-Thurs. 4:30-10 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., and Sun. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. ******** East Sacramentans are getting a new neighbor with The Neighborhood Pizzeria, a New York-style pizzeria from the owners of midtown's Federalist Public House, Marvin and Bridgette Maldonado, who hope to open on the corner of 54th and H streets in East Sacramento the week of March 24. The new spot from the Maldonados—who opened the shipping-container-bound midtown pizza-and-beer hall Federalist in 2014—will offer a minimalist menu of the rectangular, Sicilian-style pies that are served at pizza joints throughout New York City. “It's...

Posted at 10:26 AM | Permalink | Comments

Eight ways to get your beignet fix on Fat Tuesday

02/28/19

Eight ways to get your beignet fix on Fat Tuesday

Can’t make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras? Get a taste of the Crescent City in the River City at these eight spots around town that are whipping up beignets, a classic French doughnut typically topped with powdered sugar. From traditional takes to uncommon concoctions (beignet burger anyone?), here's the skinny on how to eat your way through Fat Tuesday. Beignyay! On March 5 (aka Fat Tuesday), Beignyay! owner Sammy Schnetz will roll into midtown's Jungle Bird in festive Mardi Gras fashion with her yellow mobile cart and made-to-order king cake beignets, filled with cinnamon cream cheese and topped with multicolored sprinkles. Bite gently—as is king cake tradition, one customer will find a plastic figurine of baby Jesus inside their puffy treat. 4-6...

Posted at 10:33 AM | Permalink | Comments

Eagerly awaited Cider House to open soon

02/14/19

Eagerly awaited Cider House to open soon

March 14, 2019 Update: Cider House will open on Friday, March 15, at 24th and K streets. Hours of operation will be Monday-Wednesday from 3:30-9 p.m., Thursday & Friday from 3:30-11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. ******* The wait will soon be over for gluten-free guzzlers and nibblers, as the highly anticipated Cider House, which was originally slated to launch last fall, readies to open soon. The 1,000-square-foot space will feature exposed rafters, outdoor seating and a live-edge community table fashioned from English walnut, as well as a 26-foot bar with 20 taps pouring a rotating selection of ciders, gluten-free beers and kombucha. Many of the tipples will come from area purveyors like Two Rivers Cider Co., Clarksburg’s...

Posted at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Comments

Taste: Bacon & Butter now flipping flapjacks in East Sacramento and other dining news for February

02/06/19

Taste: Bacon & Butter now flipping flapjacks in East Sacramento and other dining news for February

The wait is finally over for those chomping at the bit to take a bite of Bacon & Butter’s locally famous pancakes at the brunch mecca’s new East Sacramento location, which opened Feb. 5. Chef-owner Billy Zoellin kept the date under wraps for as long as possible, considering the often long lines at his current Tahoe Park establishment, which he launched in 2014. “We wanted to make sure the crowds didn't overwhelm us,” he says. “We want to live up to our own expectations.”   While the 2,600-square-foot locale is expected to offer all of the decadent, seasonally focused B&B signatures—think pear-and-pecan French toast, fried chicken and waffles, and, of course, IOHO the region's best pancakes—the new location...

Posted at 09:30 AM | Permalink | Comments

The region’s favorite pork party, Sacramento Bacon Fest, returns for its eighth year

02/05/19

The region’s favorite pork party, Sacramento Bacon Fest, returns for its eighth year

Get ready to swine and dine at Sacramento Bacon Fest, the annual paean to all things pork, which returns tomorrow and runs through this Sunday. First up: Tomorrow night's 8th Annual Bacon Fest Opening Party ($30) will kick off the festivities at first-time Bacon Fest event host Urban Roots Brewing & Smokehouse whose head chef, Gregory Desmangles, will join other A-List porkovores like Aimal Formoli of Solomon’s Delicatessen, Billy Ngo of Kru, Oliver Ridgeway of Camden Spit & Larder and Patricio Wise of Nixtaco to create bacon-themed bites for attendees using a 105-pound half-hog from Rancho Llano Seco in Chico. Expect a variety of porcine-themed plates, from Desmangles’ pork belly burnt ends to Ngo’s...

Posted at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Comments

First Look: With The Snug, the de Vere White brothers bring an Irish pub with a craft cocktail twist to R Street

02/01/19

First Look: With The Snug, the de Vere White brothers bring an Irish pub with a craft cocktail twist to R Street

“All Irish pubs have one,” says Simon de Vere White, referring to the small, walled-off room inside a bar that Dubliners refer to as a "snug," which also happens to be the name of the new R Street bar he opened on Jan. 2 with his brother Henry. “They were originally for priests and women because it was improper for them to go up to the bar. They were used for meetings—uprisings and revolutions were formed in snugs.” This sense of storytelling is on display throughout the 1,800-square-foot space. As with the brothers’ first pub De Vere’s—which has locations downtown and in Davis and nods to their clan’s past with decor touches like family photos—The Snug is deeply embedded in Irish tradition and history....

Posted at 05:29 PM | Permalink | Comments

Milk House Shakes to open in Old Sacramento

01/28/19

Milk House Shakes to open in Old Sacramento

Kelly Boyles is ready to shake up the Old Sacramento Waterfront—literally—in a couple weeks when she opens Milk House Shakes, a themed milkshake shop and cafe focused on U.S. presidents, on Feb. 12. Why Feb. 12? It's Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, of course. “He’s my favorite president,” Boyles says of the 16th commander in chief. “He just seemed like a good human.” Milk House Shakes—which was the winner of Downtown Sacramento Partnership's 2017 Calling All Dreamers competition, an annual contest that helps would-be retailers launch their first stores—will offer a menu of six shakes, each posing as a tip of the hat to a U.S. president. For example, the Theodore Roosevelt shake is made with...

Posted at 11:53 AM | Permalink | Comments

The Cabin, a cozy camping-themed bar, to open soon in midtown

01/22/19

The Cabin, a cozy camping-themed bar, to open soon in midtown

With a chill in the air, there’s no better time to warm up in a cozy mountain chalet with a steaming mug of spiked hot chocolate. Lucky then, that The Cabin, a new camping-themed bar—think logs, taxidermy and s'mores martinis—is set to open in early February. The Cabin, located on 21st Street between L and Capitol and steps away from Kupros Craft House, comes from the team of Eric Rushing and Bret Bair, who opened the R Street live music venue Ace of Spades in 2011. The prolific pair also own Goldfield Trading Post and Holy Diver, and have a stake with other entrepreneurs in the retro, vinyl-record-themed B-Side. Rushing says the inspiration for the concept for The Cabin came from Los Angeles' Bigfoot Lodge, which is...

Posted at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments

Last chance to nab meal steals at top restaurants on the grid during Dine Downtown

01/18/19

Last chance to nab meal steals at top restaurants on the grid during Dine Downtown

Here's your last chance to eat like a king (or queen) on a less-than-royal budget. The 14th annual Dine Downtown—in which dozens of top restaurants around town dish out three-course meals for $35—runs until this Monday, Jan. 21. For a taste of what's on offer, Frank Fat’s lineup includes pepper steak, crispy chicken and pork fried rice, in addition to its signature honey walnut prawns and banana cream pie, while Chef Oliver Ridgeway’s recently launched Camden Spit & Larder on Capitol Mall makes its Dine Downtown debut with a butter leaf wedge salad, spit-roasted chicken with whipped potatoes and broccoli rabe, and a finale of citrus olive oil cake frosted with mascarpone infused with black pepper. Tiger, another newcomer, is...

Posted at 11:23 AM | Permalink | Comments

The Double Barrel Smokehouse to reopen and quintuple in size

01/04/19

The Double Barrel Smokehouse to reopen and quintuple in size

The Double Barrel Smokehouse is all 'cued up to take over the long-vacant Beermann’s Brewery building in downtown Lincoln on Jan. 9. The restaurant—which opened in 2014 around the corner from its new home and served its last slice of brisket at the original spot on Dec. 22—will soon be serving up its Texas-style slow-smoked meats inside the historic 1865 structure. At 14,100 square feet, the second location is almost five times larger than the first, and co-owner Monte Lokey intends to utilize every inch of the space, including brewing his own house drafts in the big copper mesh tanks left over from the building's former life as a brewery. “We hired Brian Crass, who used to brew for Knee Deep and Out of Bounds—we’re going to start off...

Posted at 12:12 PM | Permalink | Comments