Taste: The region's latest food, drink & restaurant news for Feb. 2

Images courtesy of purveyors; ice cream photo by Christine Amorose via Instagram
Clockwise from top left: a Gorgonzola rib-eye burger at Flaming Grill Cafe; a scoop of mint chocolate chip at Vic's Ice Cream; the signature salad at the new Papaya Spot; a classic margherita pie from Bella Familia Pizza

Hope you're hungry, Sacramento. In this week's food news, we've got the scoop on a locally famed ice cream parlor's 70th anniversary party. Plus, Blackbird's chef-founder has moved over to Oak Park Brewing, FoodJets and a popular mobile pizza company have expanded their fleets, a Laotian restaurant opens in Elk Grove, and a popular burger launches an outpost in West Sacramento.

Bella Familia

This mobile pizza company, which has been dishing out wood-fired pies to the region since it launched in 2004, has added a massive new truck to its fleet, made from a repurposed shipping container. Owner Scott Thorson dreamed up the idea, then purchased the shipping container from Woodland, hauling it via a Freightliner chassis to Rancho Cordova where it underwent its conversion. Unlike most food trucks, this one is low to the ground, allowing customers to peek into its windows at eye level and watch pizza slingers prep their meals. Bella Familia stops at local breweries and food truck events in Sacramento and the foothills throughout the week. Along with pies like its classic margherita, the new food truck will serve appetizers such as chicken skewers and homemade pretzels. 759-4566. bellafamiliapizza.com

Flaming Grill Cafe

This local burger joint specializing in exotic meats—think elk, wild boar, venison and camel—opened a third location Dec. 20 in West Sacramento in the space that formerly housed a Squeeze Inn. The restaurant, which seats about 70 people and boasts a mural of flames on one wall painted by a longtime customer at one of the other outlets, is still in its soft opening stages, but owner Jose Silva plans to host a grand opening by mid-February featuring food and beer specials. Fans of the other two outposts on El Camino Avenue in Sacramento and in Elk Grove will find the same lineup of towering burgers with topping combinations ranging from classic, like bacon and blue cheese, to epic, like chorizo, homemade pickled jalapeños and sunny-side-up eggs. The menu is rounded out with signature dressed fries (the carne asada-topped spuds are a fan favorite) and starters like fried frog legs and gator bites, which can all be washed down with a beer pulled from one of 32 taps featuring rotating selections from local breweries, including West Sac’s Bike Dog and Jackrabbit. 1350 Harbor Blvd. 520-0142. flaminggrillcafe.com


This locally-based food delivery company expanded its service range to Natomas, Rocklin, Roseville and Granite Bay as of Feb. 1. FoodJets relaunched in November, after pausing deliveries in June (following a five-month initial run) to fine-tune its app, website and operations. The company now offers curbside deliveries in less than 30 minutes, throughout the day, and features menu items from nearly 150 area restaurants, including Umai Savory Hotdogs, Pizzeria Urbano, The Porch and Kupros Bistro. The delivery options also include novelties like flowers, beer and wine, along with chocolates from Ginger Elizabeth, all delivered curbside within an average of 23 minutes. foodjets.com

Meals on wheels: Bella Familia's new pizza wagon

Oak Park Brewing Company

This Oak Park beer mecca recently announced the addition of chef Carina Lampkin, formerly of downtown’s Blackbird, as its new vice president of restaurant operations. Oak Park Brewing Company co-founder Tom Karvonen met Lampkin through Blackbird’s alleyway parties, and now Lampkin, along with her sous chef James Brush, plans to elevate the brewery’s gastropub fare, beginning by finding ways to incorporate the company’s beer into all aspects of the spot’s menu, like braising Brussels sprouts and mussels in Ropeswing Cream Ale, dousing French fries in gravy made from Aerostat Amber Ale, and even creating a signature beer-smoked salt. Eventually Lampkin also aims to throw street parties to celebrate Oak Park Brewing’s seasonal beer releases, offering foods paired with the suds and connecting with local artists and musicians, as well as area charities. 3514 Broadway. 660-2723. opbrewco.com

Papaya Spot

This new restaurant opened on Jan. 7 in Elk Grove’s Laguna Village shopping plaza, dishing out a menu inspired by the traditional cuisine of Laos and Thailand and the meals that partners P.K. Keovonzsa, Soriya Chhuom and Chanthou Khun remember from their childhoods. Papaya plays a key role in many of the dishes, like the signature papaya salad, a sweet-spicy mix of the shredded fruit with lime juice, cherry tomatoes and long beans. The dish can be ordered Laos-style (with crab and shrimp paste) or Thai style (with fish sauce and peanuts). The restaurant also whips up classics like pad Thai, red curry, drunken noodles and chicken larb. 8785 Center Pkwy. 799.3307. papayaspot.com

Vic's Ice Cream

This classic Land Park ice cream parlor is celebrating its 70th anniversary Thursday, Feb. 2, with 70-cent scoops and giveaways. Owner Ash Rutledge opened Vic’s in 1947 as a place for families in Land Park to gather, and his son Craig now operates the parlor, which will host prize giveaways on Thursday for customers to win T-shirts and bumper stickers until closing time at 8 p.m. Vic’s will also offer kiddie scoops for 70 cents from now through Sunday, Feb. 5, for any of the flavors, which include butter brittle, maple nut, raspberry ribbon and seasonal offerings like Jik Jak—a chocolate, almond and fudge malt ice cream. 3199 Riverside Blvd. 448-0892. vicsicecream.com

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