Taste: The region's latest food, drink & restaurant news for Oct. 6

Photo courtesy of Meadowlands
Chow down on barbecue dishes at Meadowland's grand opening party in Sloughhouse.

This week in local food news: two new breweries open in the region and a popular Sloughhouse restaurant celebrates its grand opening with a backyard barbecue party. Plus, Empress Tavern takes top prize at the Sacramento Burger Battle and El Dorado Hills hosts a farm-to-fork feast under the stars.

El Dorado Hills Farm-to-Fork Dinner

Dine under the glow of stars and twinkling lights at this inaugural farm-to-fork dinner, held in El Dorado Hills. Start the evening with a glass of hard cider from Wofford Acres Vineyards or nonalcoholic apple cider from Rainbow Orchards in Apple Hill, and settle in for a three-course meal using local produce, prepped by some of the region’s top chefs, like Russell Okubo of Aji Japanese Bistro, who will be serving up seared Bluefin tuna with a honey soy glaze made with local honey from El Dorado Honey Co. and Tom Lucero, corporate executive chef of Sienna and Folsom’s Land Ocean, who is dishing out beef tenderloin with roasted red peppers from 24Carrot Farm and Jollity Farm’s chèvre goat cheese. Pair each course—or bite-sized desserts like fruit tarts and cookies from Bella Bru—with a glass of vino from wineries in El Dorado and Amador counties and sway the night away to soft jazz provided by instructors at Folsom’s Bach to Rock music school. $175. Oct. 8. 4-8 p.m. La Borgata at Serrano. 3909 Park Dr. El Dorado Hills. 933-1335. eldoradohillschamber.org

The El Dorado Hills Chamber's inaugural farm-to-fork dinner will take place at La Borgata. (Photo courtesy of El Dorado Hills Chamber)

Empress Tavern

Co-owner Ryan Donahue and executive chef Mike Thiemann of downtown hot spot Empress Tavern beat out 14 other competitors at the sixth annual Sacramento Burger Battle on Sept. 14 for their creation coined the Empress Burger. This was the pair’s first time entering the contest, and they had spent the past few months developing the burger, which sandwiches two grass-fed, brisket-and-chuck-steak patties topped with one slice of melty sharp cheddar, shaved iceberg lettuce, fried mortadella and onion relish between two toasted brioche buns. It also contains a smear of the “drive-through” sauce used in the popular po’ boy sandwich at Empress’ neighboring sister restaurant, Mother. The beefy burger wowed the event’s star-studded judging panel, which included Sugar Ray’s personal chef Sean Andre, Ella pastry chef Jane Anderson, and award-winning British food writer Richard McComb. If your mouth is watering at the photo (below) of the Empress Burger, fear not. Donahue says it’s now a permanent menu item at Empress Tavern. 1013 K St. 662-7694. empresstavern.com

The mouthwatering Empress Burger (Photo courtesy of Empress Tavern)

Dreaming Dog Brewery

This new Elk Grove brewery—which takes its name from husband-wife owners David and Liz Brown's dearly departed pup Mason, who was an avid dreamer when he slept—will host its grand opening Saturday, Oct. 7. While the Fido-and-family-oriented brewery (think hand-built wood bar, seating around a fireplace, and games and coloring books for youngsters) will stay open until 10 p.m. each night, the opening day festivities from 1-4 p.m. will feature pet adoptions, free microchipping, and vendors like the mobile dog groomer Dog Gone Purrfect and Raquel's Pet Treat Shop, which makes pup-appropriate sweets like cinnamon rolls and cannoli. Folks can also take professional photos with their four-legged family member, or grab a dog of a different type from Doggiestyle Hot Dogs (like chicken asiago sausage or German bratwurst) to pair with Dreaming Dog's American Chesapeake Bay Retriever pale ale or English Black Lab porter. Free for entry. Sat. Oct. 7. 1-4 p.m. Dreaming Dog Brewery. 2501 West Taron Ct. Elk Grove. 714-2735. dreamingdogbrewery.com


On Oct. 14, nearly a year after Ron and Terri Gilliland revamped the Sloughhouse Inn into a modern steakhouse, Meadowlands will host its official grand opening party with backyard-style barbecue, replete with live country music from Sacramento artist Brian Lee Bender, line dancing, signature cocktails—like the Rye-Tai made with Bulleit rye, curacao, amaretto, pineapple rum, lime, grenadine and tiki bitters—and a menu comprising slow-roasted pork shoulder and brisket, a burger bar, and sides like coleslaw and house-made cheddar biscuits. Proceeds from the $50 ticket will benefit the Elk Grove-based nonprofit Horses Healing Heroes, which offers horse therapy programs for individuals like veterans and law enforcement officers with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and abused women and children. $50. Sat. Oct. 14. 5 p.m.-12 a.m. Meadowlands. 12700 Meiss Rd. Sloughhouse. 525-1575. meadowlands.restaurant

Super Owl Brewing

On Sept. 22, husband-and-wife founders Joe and Rachel Vida opened their new 10-barrel brewery to the public in a shopping center in eastern Davis that also houses Mandro Teahouse and Lamppost Pizza. The Vidas’ diverse tap lineup includes the tropical, smooth Mr. J IPA, the Wired to Fly pale ale with notes of grapefruit and lemon, and the chocolatey Ignoramus oatmeal stout. The leftover grains from each brew are repurposed as compost and pig feed for House Hogs farm in Davis. Eventually, the Vidas are planning to make organic brews with seasonal ingredients like plums. Inside, the inviting neighborhood brewery strikes a balance between industrial and laid-back, with exposed ductwork, lantern lights strung above the bar, a blackboard wall equipped with chalk for budding artists and an assortment of board games for family gatherings. While Super Owl doesn’t serve food, the Vidas invite folks to bring in meals from nearby restaurants like Chuy’s Taqueria or nearby Westlake Market, the latter of which will deliver sandwiches to the brewery. 1260 Lake Blvd. Davis. 530-746-5992. superowlbrewing.com

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