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

Photo courtesy of Arctic Fox Shaved Snow and Desserts
Arctic Fox Shaved Snow and Desserts' s'mores special

In this week's roundup of dining news, a pizza parlor with self-serve beer and wine on tap and a new brewery with house-smoked barbecue are both slated to open in the capital city. Plus, The Firehouse brings on a new pastry chef, a shaved snow desserterie opens in Rancho Cordova and a popular downtown restaurant hosts a farm-to-fork dinner series.

Arctic Fox Shaved Snow and Desserts

Located on Sunrise Boulevard in Rancho Cordova, this new dessert shop that opened Aug. 12 serves up shaved snow—a frozen treat that’s a cross between shaved ice and ice cream. For the uninitiated, the “snow” begins as a flash-frozen block of ingredients shaved into delicate ribbons and comes in flavors that range from traditional—like strawberry, chocolate and coffee—to more unusual, like avocado, honeydew, coconut and Thai tea. Sweet tooths can cap their creations with a selection of 22 toppings, including boba, bananas, Oreos and lychee jelly, or select one of Arctic Fox’s specials, like the popular Filipino dessert halo-halo, with taro snow, jackfruit, coconut and red beans. The shop also makes French macarons that are used to make ice cream sandwiches filled with Gunther’s Ice Cream in flavors like green tea and birthday cake. 2340 Sunrise Blvd. Rancho Cordova. 272-2711. arcticfoxdesserts.com

Arctic Fox's green tea shaved snow (Photo courtesy of shop)

Esquire Grill

This Paragary restaurant is launching a Farmers’ Market Dinner Series Sept. 14-23. Chef Pedro Depina will prepare a seasonal dinner showcasing local produce like microgreens from Watanabe Farms and heirloom tomatoes from Joe Yeung Farm in West Sacramento. The two-course meal, paired with a glass of vino, begins with your choice of chilled gold tomato soup or a starter with summer melons, prosciutto, feta and Jimmy Nardello peppers. The main course options include Passmore Ranch steelhead rainbow trout with house-made choirzo and wood-grilled flatiron steak with little gem lettuce and vine-ripened tomatoes. $1 of the $31 meal will be donated to the American Red Cross to aid Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. 1213 K St. 448-8900. esquiregrill.com

Esquire Grill's flatiron steak (Photo courtesy of restaurant)

The Firehouse

This Old Sacramento institution has brought a new pastry chef on board as of mid-August. Ian Cornelius, a graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona, replaced pastry chef Kam Golightly, who is now an instructor at the International Culinary Center in Campbell. Before joining the Firehouse as a pastry assistant in 2014, Cornelius cut his teeth as a pastry cook at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite. The 28-year-old midtown resident has revamped the restaurant’s dessert menu, which now includes an apple soufflé made with Calvados brandy, creme anglaise and spiced apples, as well as a champagne-strawberry cheesecake and a Kahlua chocolate pavé, with chocolate shortbread and Gunther's mocha chip ice cream. 1112 2nd St. 442-4772. firehouseoldsac.com

Pastry chef Ian Cornelius' apple souffle at The Firehouse (Photo courtesy of restaurant)


This national build-your-own-pizza chain, which originated in Los Angeles and currently has one location in the Sacramento area, on Folsom Boulevard, is opening a new spot in mid-September on Howe Avenue, which will include a self-serve 24-tap beer and wine wall. This suds buffet will allow guests to nab a plastic bracelet with a barcode, scan it at the tap wall and sample up to 32 ounces of vino and brews—including selections from local breweries like Track 7, Bike Dog and Device—throughout their meal. This will be the third PizzaRev taproom concept to open in the country (locations in Los Angeles, Nashville and Las Vegas currently have a beer wall as well). 1441 Howe Ave. pizzarev.com

Forget 99 bottles of beer on the wall. The new PizzaRev on Howe Avenue will have a 24-tap draught wall. (Photo courtesy of restaurant)

Urban Roots Brewing and Smokehouse

Folks craving some Southern comfort with their craft beer can soon grab a seat inside Urban Roots Brewing and Smokehouse, which is slated to open in downtown Sacramento by early 2018 at V and 14th streets. The restaurant and brewery is the brainchild of friends Rob Archie (who also owns the popular Pangaea Bier Cafe) and Peter Hoey (formerly of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company). Their menu is inspired by the restaurant’s custom-made smoker, which Archie says is the size of a small Volkswagen and will be visible from the restaurant’s open kitchen. Expect trays of smoked meat (from brisket and pork ribs to chicken and fish) paired with sides like chicken-fried cauliflower, smoked jalapeño creamed corn and pickled fried green tomatoes. Urban Roots will also pour its house-made IPAs, porters, lagers and pilsners, some of which are aged in barrels that will line the industrial warehouse space. 1322 V St. urbanrootsbrewing.com

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