What's Cooking

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

Annual 2012

What's in a name? The Dime or Capital Dime?

06/18/13

What's in a name? The Dime or Capital Dime?

Sactown broke the news last week that the former star chef of The Kitchen, Noah Zonca, will be opening a new restaurant shortly called Capital Dime at 1801 L Street. But there's been plenty of confusion since then about the official name of the restaurant. Some, including Noah and the staff, refer to the restaurant colloquially as The Dime, even though the actual name of the restaurant, as it appears on the actual logo above, is what will appear on the outdoor signage and all the menus, according to co-owners Rick Lobley and Zonca. "It's like The Sacramento Bee," Lobley explains. "It's called The Sacramento Bee, but everyone calls it The Bee." And there you have it.  In other news, Zonca, who will be overseeing the chefs and menus for more...

Posted at 05:29 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, which will be held this September, including news that the tickets for its signature event — the Sept. 29 dinner on the Tower Bridge — will go on sale on the Farm-to-Fork Capital website at 9 a.m. on July 1. Tickets will be $175 per person. Farm-to-Fork Week will kick off the previous weekend, 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...

Posted at 05:22 PM | Permalink

Former chef of The Kitchen to open new midtown restaurant

06/13/13

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 everyone,”...

Posted at 12:49 PM | Permalink

Firehouse party to raise funds for California Musical Theatre

06/05/13

Firehouse party to raise funds for California Musical Theatre

Old Sacramento's Firehouse restaurant, long the city's largest repository of fine wine, is pouring its efforts into a fundraiser for California Musical Theatre in the form of a Magnum Party on Saturday, June 22, from 7-10 p.m., with live music in the courtyard. Attendees will be asked to bring a magnum of their favorite wine (one per couple) to imbibe and share, and The Firehouse will provide hors d’oeuvres such as Dungeness crab cakes, smoked salmon profiteroles, Hawaiian ahi poke with pickled mango, and caviar with crème fraîche. There will also be a carving board station with chimichurri leg of lamb, prime rib and suckling pig; a cold bar station with oysters on the half shell, Cajun spiced jumbo prawns, a Dungeness crab sushi roll, and a...

Posted at 01:54 PM | Permalink

Easter Brunch Ideas Around the Region

03/28/13

Easter Brunch Ideas Around the Region

Easter is upon us and if you, like us, have put off your brunch plans for this Sunday, now is the time to hop to it. And we're here to help. We’ve scouted out some of the region’s best Easter brunches, from egg-ceptional entrées to bunny-shaped sweets and everything in between.  Old Sacramento favorite, The Firehouse, is whipping up hearty brunch selections like a Dungeness crab omelet with asparagus and roasted red bell peppers or the fennel pollen and pistachio-crusted chicken. Leave the chocolate bunnies at home and sink your teeth into the dessert menu, featuring a very grown-up, two-layer chocolate cake with apricot jam, decadent chocolate icing and apricot coulis. Plus, a separate Easter brunch kids' menu with pint-sized plates like the sweet...

Posted at 01:32 PM | Permalink

Sacramento Bacon Fest Jan. 20-27

01/18/13

Sacramento Bacon Fest Jan. 20-27

Dedicated to this delicious meaty treat in all of its salty, finger-licking goodness, this annual pork-packed affair returns to the capital city January 20 to 27, bringing another round of bacon-themed events and activities to over 30 local eateries like Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar, The Golden Bear and Grange. The hog-heavy extravaganza features local chefs who wiil be slicing, curing, smoking and frying up the event’s namesake ingredient in custom-created dishes all week long, beginning Sunday night at 5 p.m. at midtown’s Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co. with a kick-off party featuring handmade, bacon-tinged cocktails. Events range from a bacon-focused prix-fixe dinner at North Sacramento’s Enotria (Thursday, Jan. 24) to a bacon brunch with items like a...

Posted at 03:21 PM | Permalink

Honors for Davis’ farmers market cookbook; signings in December

11/30/12

Honors for Davis’ farmers market cookbook; signings in December

The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook—penned by Georgeanne Brennan (Davis’ former mayor and a Davis Farmers Market cofounder) and longtime cookbook author Ann M. Evans—was released in April and has already nabbed the national limelight, winning first place in the regional cookbook category at the 2012 National Indie Excellence Book Awards, and first place in the non-fiction category at June’s Writer's Digest Contest for Self-Published books. The latter honor includes a story in the March 2013 issue of Writer's Digest magazine. The cookbook features lush photography and over 85 recipes Brennan calls “simple and accessible” that are organized seasonally by fresh ingredients found year-round at Davis’ ample farmers market. Think savory...

Posted at 02:43 PM | Permalink

Eat a Sandwich, Build a Playground

08/03/12

Eat a Sandwich, Build a Playground

When the playground at East Sacramento’s McKinley Park was destroyed by arsonists on July 28, the neighborhood immediately rallied to help rebuild it. And now, for the entire month of August, you too will have the chance to put your money where your mouth is by eating the popular Summer Sandwich at either of downtown’s two Ambrosia Cafe locations. That’s because the cafe is donating 10 percent of the proceeds from the sale of every sandwich, which costs $6.95, to the Friends of East Sacramento to help rebuild the playground. The panini-style sandwich is made with fresh mozzarella, local heirloom tomatoes and house-made pesto sauce on ciabatta bread. Ambrosia’s goal is to sell 1,150 sandwiches during the month, raising at least $800 for the playground....

Posted at 12:43 PM | Permalink

Republic launches brunch service

07/28/12

Republic launches brunch service

Republic Bar & Grill, the downtown restaurant that started as an extension of Andrew Blaskovich’s popular food truck Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen, kicks off “Sacramento’s most twisted” brunch service tomorrow, July 29, with a menu that, like his truck, follows the culinary road less traveled. With service running from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday (and soon Saturdays, too), Blaskovich will serve up items as diverse as biscuits and gravy with jalapeno and honey biscuits; the “15 Car Pile-Up” with “deconstructed breakfast tots” pan-fried with ham, bacon and sausage, two eggs and cheese topped with wasabi aioli; and a thick-cut French toast stuffed with sweetened cream cheese and berry compote, drizzled with Nutella and an...

Posted at 11:04 AM | Permalink

Last-Minute Father’s Day Eats

06/15/12

Last-Minute Father’s Day Eats

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach (and if you can line that path with bacon and beef, even better)—so we’ve rounded up some of the meatiest ways to give back to Dad this Father’s Day. Cafeteria 15L downtown offers some manly ways to take back the brunch with its grilled tri-tip sandwich (slow-smoked in-house and thinly sliced) with caramelized onions, arugula and horseradish cream served on a French roll, or barbecue baby back ribs with a house spice rub, house barbecue sauce and red bliss potato salad. 492-1960. cafeteria15l.com Another meaty brunch is at Hawks in Granite Bay. They’re featuring a scrumptious twist on biscuits and gravy—a buttermilk biscuit and scrambled eggs with smoked bacon and aged...

Posted at 02:04 PM | Permalink

Last chance for world’s priciest hot dog?

06/05/12

Last chance for world’s priciest hot dog?

Sacramento, you may have just a few more days to take a bite out of history. Capitol Dawg in midtown, which set a Guinness World Record last Thursday for the planet’s most expensive hot dog, is featuring its newly famous California Capitol City Dawg (aka The Triple C Dawg) on the menu only through this week. The $145.49 culinary sensation, created by Capitol Dawg owner Mike Brown, beat a record previously held by Vancouver’s $100 Dragon Dog and features an 18-inch premium all-beef frank, which is grilled in drippings from applewood-and-cherrywood-smoked bacon, topped with epicurean delights, such as sautéed shallots, dried cranberries, mixed baby greens and—wait for it—a rare Swedish moose cheese, all nestled in a herb and focaccia roll that is...

Posted at 04:50 PM | Permalink

Memorial Day Brunch Options

05/28/12

Memorial Day Brunch Options

  Memorial Day Brunch The only thing better than Sunday brunches are Monday brunches and thanks to the three-day weekend, there are a few eggs-ellant options around town today. Here are some of our faves. Café Bernardo All four Café Bernardos (Davis, midtown, R Street and the newest one at 10th and K streets) will be open for Monday brunch 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. Hoppy Brewing Company The East Sacramento brewery and restaurant is having special...

Posted at 10:15 AM | Permalink

Fowl Food Faire at Davis Farmers Market

05/23/12

Fowl Food Faire at Davis Farmers Market

  Does your idea of happiness taste like chicken? Then head to Davis this Saturday, May 26 for the Fowl Food Faire kicking off at 8 a.m. at Central Park during the Davis Farmers Market. For breakfast, there will be omelets, quiche, breakfast pizzas and breakfast sandwiches, and for lunch, indulge in chicken sausage, chicken wraps, chicken curry and chicken tamales. A silent auction will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. that will offer up “chicken-, barnyard- and bicycle-themed wares and art.” And it’s all for a good cause. Proceeds from the auction will go to the Davis Farm to School program which aims “to create an educational and cultural environment in our schools that connects food choices with personal health, community, farms and land.”...

Posted at 03:30 PM | Permalink

Mikuni's 2nd Annual Street Festival

05/17/12

Mikuni's 2nd Annual Street Festival

  Celebrate Mikuni’s 25th anniversary at the second annual Japanese Street Festival at the Fountains at Roseville tonight, May 17, from 5 to 8 p.m. The action-packed evening includes live music and dance performances from the likes of Sacramento’s Taiko Dan drumming ensemble, expert martial arts demonstrations by Kovar’s Satori Academy and the samuri-style, sword-wielding Sacramento Kendo Club, and a full lineup of games and activities for kids like origami, tattooing and fan coloring. Plus, get your fill of Japanese fare from Mikuni’s popular Sushi Bus, which will be dishing out sushi hand rolls and green tea smoothies. Hungry for more? Mikuni Kaizen will be serving until 9:30 p.m. Once inside, don't miss the orginal artwork from...

Posted at 01:55 PM | Permalink

Strawberry Mania Hits Roseville

05/11/12

Strawberry Mania Hits Roseville

Ever wondered what strawberry flan tastes like? Or perhaps strawberry salsa? This is the weekend to find out at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville when Berryfest kicks off, celebrating the juicy red fruit. If you want to get an early start, there’s a Boy Scout pancake breakfast (topped with berries. of course) from 8-10 a.m. both days for $8, but save room for the real stars of the shows. Among the delicacies: Strawberry pizza, strawberry tamales, strawberry kettle corn, strawberry beer, strawberry fudge and yes, deep fried strawberry pie. Other events include a classic car show, a Little Miss Strawberry Pageant, a petting zoo and kids rides, and a strawberry shortcake eating contest. The festivities run 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days at 800 All...

Posted at 11:40 AM | Permalink

Davis Farmers Market Cookbook authors to sign books

05/10/12

Davis Farmers Market Cookbook authors to sign books

  The Davis Farmers Market has always been one of the best in the region (and apparently the country) and now two of its biggest champions, Ann Evans and Georgeanne Brennan, will sign their new book, The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook, this Saturday, May 12 at the market from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. And the authors certainly know their subject. Brennan, who lives in Winters, has published 30 books on food and wine, winning both the prestigious James Beard Award and the Julia Child Award for her work. Evans, a former mayor of Davis, is an organic food consultant. The two authors also lead the Slow Food Yolo movement. The book also features a foreword by none other than Alice Waters, chef and owner of the fabled Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley. In it, she writes,...

Posted at 01:28 PM | Permalink

Food bank to host chef cook-off

05/08/12

Food bank to host chef cook-off

The annual national Stamp Out Hunger food drive is this Saturday, but Sacramentans can help bring awareness to the cause by attending tomorrow’s Celebrity Cook-Off at 2:30 p.m. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of locally based California Emergency Foodlink, the culinary competition (think Iron Chef meets Project Runway) will feature three regional top chefs—Robb Venditti of Mulvaney’s B&L, Aimal Formoli of Formoli’s Bistro and Danny Origel of Roxy Restaurant and Bar)—who will be whipping up delish dishes in just 20 minutes using 20 ingredients, such as canned peaches, bacon and peanut butter). Judges include Café Vinoteca owner Janie Desmond and Chris Macias of The Sacramento Bee. Want a taste? About two dozen lucky attendees will have...

Posted at 11:26 AM | Permalink

Old Sacramento’s Fat City gets a menu makeover

04/26/12

Old Sacramento’s Fat City gets a menu makeover

  Fat City Bar & Cafe is one of the oldest outposts of the Fat’s empire, but it’s also unique in that the menu serves up more American fare than Chinese, including burgers, pasta and even Sunday brunches (in fact, it’s open later than almost any brunch spot in town, with a luxurious 3:30 p.m. cutoff for weekend sleepyheads). And while the restaurant refreshes its menu a bit every year, the crew at Fat City, led by matriarch and chef Lina Fat, introduced a slew of new menu options this week. Among them: a pesto turkey burger with provolone and cranberry mayonnaise, and a shrimp and artichoke heart fettuccine with tomatoes in a white wine butter sauce. The brunch menu also got an update, with a new biscuits and gravy dish, along with a...

Posted at 03:13 PM | Permalink

Mobile Food Mania at Sacto MoFo this Saturday

04/20/12

Mobile Food Mania at Sacto MoFo this Saturday

The growing mobile food scene in Sacramento is getting another boost tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. as dozens of food trucks from Sacramento and across Northern California roll on into the massive parking lot under the freeway at 6th and X streets downtown for Sacto MoFo #4 -- the 4th Mobile Food Festival in town and the first since last December. It’s the same spot where the weekly farmers’ market takes place. What can you expect? Tons of great food, with vendors as varied as Chairman Bao, Addy’s Paella, Seoul on Wheels, Chando’s Tacos, Treatbot Ice Cream, Mini Burger, Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen, Heavenly Dog, The Pasta Queen, Curry Up Now and the Volkswaffle. Bonus: Get free entry into the parking lot if you bring canned or packaged food for...

Posted at 10:25 AM | Permalink

Eat a Cupcake, Save the Earth

04/19/12

Eat a Cupcake, Save the Earth

With Earth Day upon us this Sunday, April 22, how will you celebrate? Here’s one sweet idea: Head over to the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Sacramento between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and participate in the Sacramento Vegan Challenge’s “1,000 Vegan Cupcakes for Charity” sale. Proceeds will go to three organizations tied to Earth Day: The Sacramento Tree Foundation, The Humane Society and the Winters-based Center for Land-Based Learning. About a dozen local companies will provide the cupcakes, including: Sugar Plum Vegan Bakery, Bicycle Bakery, Sweet Stuff Cakery, Vanilla Bean Bakery, Busy Bees Cupcakery, Baagan, Live Food Academy, Sun Flower Baking Company, Capitol Garage, Tower Bridge Bistro and Sacramento’s Whole Foods Market. The Tower Bridge...

Posted at 01:26 PM | Permalink

Old Sacramento’s Firehouse hires new pastry chef

04/18/12

Old Sacramento’s Firehouse hires new pastry chef

  The Firehouse restaurant has a new pastry chef. Nichol Santisteven was most recently a pastry sous chef at the acclaimed Citizen Cake in San Francisco, which closed in December after 14 years in the SoMa district. Prior to that, Santisteven worked in Sacramento at venues like Lucca, McCormick & Schmick’s and Ella.  A graduate of UC Davis and Le Cordon Bleu, Santisteven started at The Firehouse on March 4, just in time to create some unique desserts for the Easter brunch menu (a “Chocolate Easter Egg” dessert, comprised of white chocolate mousse with a passion fruit “yolk”) and the upcoming Mother’s Day brunch menu, which will include a Black Forest cheesecake with an Oreo cookie crust and a “cherry kirsch...

Posted at 02:55 PM | Permalink

Contents of Napa's COPIA to be auctioned off this weekend

04/16/12

Contents of Napa's COPIA to be auctioned off this weekend

  It closed in 2008, but “COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts” was a small treasure in Napa, with a restaurant named for Julia Child, an amazing gift shop, regular tastings and lectures, and some fascinating art exhibits about the confluence of wine, food and art. And now much of its content will be up for auction this weekend, including “spectacular interactive museum exhibits, works from the COPIA art gallery, antiques, vintage food and wine memorabilia, a Tiffany stem and flatware collection, and almost 4,000 bottles of wine,” according to the auction house Great American Group that is handling the sale. There will be a preview day this Thursday, and the auction itself will be held Friday and Saturday. Details can be...

Posted at 02:35 PM | Permalink

Auburn author to sign new cookbook Saturday at Roseville's Nugget Market

04/13/12

Auburn author to sign new cookbook Saturday at Roseville's Nugget Market

In our new issue, we have a Q&A with cookbook author Joanne Neft, an Auburn resident who created the Foothill Farmers’ Market and the incredible Mountain Mandarin Festival. Neft will be signing copies of her new book “The Art of Real Food” at the Roseville Nugget store (771 Pleasant Grove Blvd.) tomorrow, April 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. To read about Neft’s incredible passion for eating and cooking locally grown foods, along with some tasty recipes (like red wine stew and a lemon and blueberry tea cake) that are specific to foods at their peak of flavor in April and May, pick up the latest issue of Sactown.

Posted at 04:01 PM | Permalink

New lounge-style cafe opens near 7th and K

04/13/12

New lounge-style cafe opens near 7th and K

The K Street Mall just got a bit brighter last week when the new Plaza Cafe Coffee Lounge opened its doors at 715 K Street in the old Starbucks Coffee space. In a spot that’s been empty for four years, 25-year-old Zack Alemi wanted to create a modern, lounge-type space. As such, there are plenty of sleek black leather chairs and sofas to kick back on, along with amenities like free Wi-Fi and five flat-screen TVs playing channels like CNN, Fox News and ESPN.   This was a spot that Zack picked out with his dad, who had been suffering from cancer. “The night before we opened, he passed away,” says Alemi, noting that his dad’s passing makes him want to work even harder to make the cafe a success. Aside from the usual coterie of coffee drinks, the...

Posted at 02:22 PM | Permalink

Grange bartender in 1st place in statewide cocktail contest; still time to vote

04/09/12

Grange bartender in 1st place in statewide cocktail contest; still time to vote

Grange Restaurant & Bar's bartender Andrew Calisterio is currently riding atop the leader board for a cocktail contest sponsored by Alameda-based Hangar One Vodka, beating out dozens of other bartenders up and down the state for his "West Bengal Cocktail" that uses the company's Mandarin Blossom vodka. But the contest isn't over yet. Voting continues for 19 more days, so check out Andrew's recipe and video presentation here and vote for his creative concoction should it strike your fancy. Inexplicably, the video title page places Grange in San Francisco instead of Sacramento, but no matter. Andrew sets things straight in the video. The prize: a write-up in a beverage magazine called The Tasting Panel and, of course, bragging rights for this...

Posted at 04:49 PM | Permalink

Easter of Eden: Last-Minute Easter Brunch Ideas

04/06/12

Easter of Eden: Last-Minute Easter Brunch Ideas

It’s not too late to make Easter brunch plans at one of the region’s better restaurants, and if you’re a brunch lover like us, you know that Easter Sunday is like the Super Bowl of brunches, where chefs get a once-a-year chance to conjure up creative concoctions to sate your appetite regardless of your religious persuasion. So as our Easter present to you, here are a handful of regional eateries that make us want to skip the search for Easter eggs and get right down to eating them. The elegant Firehouse in Old Sacramento will be serving one of its only two brunches of the year (the other is on Mother’s Day, of course), and chef Deneb Williams has dreamed up breakfast entrees like Pork Chops & Eggs and a Tuscan Eggs Benedict (with sliced prosciutto and...

Posted at 12:26 PM | Permalink