Taste: The region's latest food, drink & restaurant news for February 25

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Images courtesy of purveyors

This week, we've got the scoop on a new brewery launching in midtown, a new shaved ice parlor opening its doors in Natomas, as well as a popular pig roast happening at the end of the month, and a recently launched vegetarian haven with a fresh, slow-food menu.

Big Stump Brewing Company

This new brewery is set to open in April in midtown at 17th and L streets. Owner Alex Larrabee, an attorney who moved to Sacramento from San Francisco last year, hopes to make his mark on the local brewing scene by focusing on international styles like Bavarian, Belgian and sour beers. Larrabee began a home brewer, eventually winning best in show at the 2014 California State Fair for Big Stump’s Bavarian Hefeweizen, which will be a menu mainstay along with single and double IPAs, a Russian imperial stout and a Belgian tripel. To create an industrial vibe with rustic touches, Big Stump plans to incorporate the location's existing exposed brick and wooden tresses (the space formerly housed a law office) and add elements like community tables and wood siding repurposed from a farmhouse in Rocklin. Patrons will be encouraged to bring their own food when Big Stump opens, but Larrabee says he is in talks with neighboring Old Soul Co. for a possible collaboration. 1716 L St. bigstumpbrewco.com

Dad’s Kitchen’s Annual Pig Roast

Go hog wild at this fifth annual pig roast in Land Park, which will take place on Monday, Feb. 29, during Sacramento Beer Week. Dad’s co-owner Julio Peix plans to marinate a 100-pound pig in a mojo-style mixture (a nod to Peix’s Cuban heritage) with sour oranges, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, and then slow-cook it for about five hours at 170 degrees. Attendees can pig out on crispy pork rind and make their own pork tacos and sliders, while trying some of Dad’s 25 beers on tap, including suds from local breweries like Sudwerk, New Helvetia Brewing Company and Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co. $55 ($45 in advance). 5-9 p.m. Monday. Dad’s Kitchen. 2968 Freeport Blvd. 447-3237. ilovedadskitchen.com

Vampire Penguin

A new location of this swiftly growing shaved ice franchise has opened in Natomas. Owned by Natomas resident Rosanna Thompson and her sister Lorna Lamure, the latest Vampire Penguin parlor held a grand opening on Saturday, Feb. 20, and serves the same frozen treats as its four other Sacramento-area locations (like the popular S’moreos featuring cookies and cream shaved "snow" with graham crackers, Oreos, marshmallows and chocolate syrup), with the addition of baked desserts from Bella Bru Cafe & Catering like whoopie pies and mini cupcakes. The shop—which also serves drip coffee from Naked Coffee and a few flavors of milk teas like lychee and strawberry—has a softer vibe than Vampire Penguin’s other abstract art-filled locations, with gray walls, lilac bench seating, tufted seats and purple bar stools reminiscent of a neighborhood ice cream parlor. 3620 N. Freeway Blvd. 696-2009. vampirepenguin.com

Veg Café and Bar

This new Asian-inspired vegetarian and vegan cafe opened in midtown in January in the space formerly occupied by Level Up Lounge. General manager Dana Andrak, who works closely with downstairs restaurant Thai Basil (the businesses share owners and a chef), says she was inspired to bring “slow food” veggie breakfast and lunch options to midtown. Guests can grab a seat on one of the cafe’s sofas or at the bamboo bar while noshing on items like sweet potato and lentil soup, naan pizza with coconut green chutney or a tofu veggie burger topped with arugula, carrots and pickled onions. And don’t miss the creative craft cocktails, including the Old Sacramento (an Old Fashioned with spiced persimmon), the Midtown Mojito (with locally brewed Zeal Kombucha) and a spicy pineapple margarita. 2431 J St. 448-8768. vegmidtown.com

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