Dining News: How Cask & Barrel Are Succeeding When Others Have Failed


Cask & Barrel seems to have done the impossible - be a successful restaurant in a space where so many others have failed. Rick Kushman tells us how, in Comstocks Mag.

Cask & Barrel has 40 seats, and has been averaging about 75 people a night. The duo says there is a list of advantages that come with a smaller size, starting with the obvious: A slow night causes less financial damage.

First, it means fewer people on the floor and in the kitchen. When they opened in February, Cask & Barrel ran with two people cooking. Now they’re up to three. All are experienced chefs who’ve worked with Glasier before...

Second, the smaller size addresses a huge factor in any restaurant’s success — managing food costs. Cask & Barrel projects within a tighter range, and that slow night doesn’t leave crates of food spoiling in the walk-in cooler.

The menu is either small bites or shared dishes — no traditional entrees — which Flores says makes their costs more predictable, gives prices the air of affordability while actually driving the average check up, and keeps customers satisfied with the variety those dollars provided.

Read the entire story in Comstocks Mag.

Disclosure: Cask & Barrel advertises on Cowtown Eats. I also find the owners Gabriel Glasier and Kristel Flores a delightful couple and chose their event space to host a baby shower. If you haven't given their restaurant a try, you NEED to go. At a minimum, check out their happy hour.

Cask & Barrel is located at 1431 Del Paso Blvd. and can be found online at http://caskandbarrel916.com/.

For those who (like me) find Rick Kushman insightful, he also hosts a successful podcast Bottle Talk with co-host Paul Wagner. This is how they describe their show:

Wine does not have to be a mystery. It doesn’t need to make you feel you’re being tested to join some secret Skull & Bones Society. The stuff is, after all, wine. All you really need to know is how to get it open and which end of the glass to drink from. (We’re pretty sure it’s the open part.) Most of us drink it because it’s fun.

Learn more at RickandPalWine.com.

More News:

Boiling Avenue - Arden-Arcade’s newest neighbor might just be the hottest thing on the block—literally. Open since September, Boiling Avenue specializes in personal Taiwanese hot pots. Antoinette Ranit in Sac Mag.

Device’s collaboration beer a reflection of Sacramento’s reputation - When Device owner/brewmaster Ken Anthony was at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver in September, he met San Diego-based Alpine Beer Co. co-founder Pat McIlhenney. Anthony earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in structural engineering at the University of California, San Diego, and has been a big fan of Alpine’s beer. “Alpine was one of the breweries I really looked up to and I went there quite frequently,” Anthony said. “When I met Pat at GABF, we struck up a conversation and he said, ‘We should do a collaboration.’ I told him, ‘Don’t tease me like that,’ but he said he was serious.” Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Counter Culture: Tiny T.M. Noodle is big on choice and quality - Such a customer-friendly price-to-portion ratio is rare in our travels ($5 to $11, with one seafood-based dish at $17). Factor in the quality of the ingredients, and you’ve got a bargain. Catch it while you can. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Sacramento's Chipotle-ization of slices and pies continues - I hate on Pieology as much as the next person. But that doesn’t mean I think a Chipotle of pizza business model can’t work, just that Pieology is lame. Enter Sacramento Pizza Co. (2700 East Bidwell Street, Suite 500, in Folsom), a local business capitalizing on what has become a very popular concept nationwide: customizable, made-to-order personal pizzas. Choose crust, sauce, cheese, toppings, then wait a few minutes and eat. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Forget the PSL: Ginger Mocha, Yellowbill Cafe and Bakery - I'm a ginger junkie, but I never thought coffee and ginger could be a thing. A quick Google search reveals that I'm uneducated, though, because that's definitely a thing, and it's done real well at Yellowbill Cafe and Bakery with its Ginger Mocha ($4.25 for 12 ounces, $4.75 for 16). Anthony Siino in Sac News & Review.

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Dining News: Sac Bee Critic on 'The best meal I have had in ages'


There seems to be a critical consensus - there's something special going on with the food at Localis. This time, the Sac Bee's Carla Meyer gives her thoughts:

I’ve tried so much game at Localis during its four months in business that I expected my skin to erupt into camouflage. And although all of it was good, none stands out as much as the deceptively simple “farm plate” crudité dinner starter.

Ingredients vary, but on our visits, the farm plate contained turnip, radish, apple, pomegranate seeds and a few types of carrot and beet. Variations in texture and crunch levels, and pickling elements (including a rice vinegar-forward mix and one with red-wine vinegar and peppercorn) individuate the vegetables and fruits to such a degree that each bite differs from the next.

With this dish and others, Barnum carefully balances sweetness, salt, brightness and acidity for ultimate palate pleasure. The only element missing, out of many Barnum creations we tried, was heat. But heat is easy. The balances Barnum achieves are hard. And his flavors work altogether or in pairs.

Meyer did find fault in some of the non-food items at the restaurant, including their choice of music and their uncomfortable, at times, dining area.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

Previously, the Sac News & Review's Ann Martin Rolke said their "food is worth seeking out."

Localis can be found at 2031 S St. and online at http://www.localissacramento.com/.

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Craft Beer Summit to return for a second year in Sacramento - The California Craft Beer Summit will return for a second year in Sacramento, building on the success of the inaugural event in September that attracted the top brewing talent in the state along with scores of beer enthusiasts looking to taste and learn in a lively setting. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Lou’s Sushi: Religion in a rainbow roll - If there are two things that separate Lou’s from the drudging sameness of most other sushi joints, it’s the clarity of flavor and ingenuity applied to each dish...Lou’s constantly surprised me. When most sushi joints seem to deliver the same ol’, same ol’, I found new flavors and ideas here, and look forward to visiting again. Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

How to summon your car from valet parking as you finish dessert - A new online service could make valet parking even easier, allowing drivers to summon their cars by text message before they even step outside. Sacramento-based USA Valet Parking has the exclusive use of the system in Sacramento, which uses technology from a Dallas-based software company. It's already in use at the restaurant Ten22 in Old Sacramento. Mark Anderson in Sac Biz Journal.

A new pizza option in Elk Grove - The build-it-yourself pizza craze has officially entered Elk Grove. Blast 825 Pizza opened Tuesday at 7701 Laguna Blvd., according to an announcement on the company's Facebook page. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Three new breweries coming to Placer County - Moonraker Brewing Co., Dueling Dogs Brewing Co. and Crooked Lane Brewing Co. will join the ranks of taprooms such as Goathouse Brewing Co., Knee Deep Brewing Co. and Loomis Basin Brewing Co. on the burgeoning ale trail in Placer County in 2016. Jessica Rine in Sactown Magazine.

Continue reading "Dining News: Sac Bee Critic on 'The best meal I have had in ages'" »

Dining News: Owners of The Cinders to Open Oak Park Taqueria


Brothers Tom and David Schnetz grew up in Sacramento. The former went on to open five successful restaurants in the East Bay. The later became a successful Sacramento construction expert.

Now, the two brothers have partnered on a second Sacramento establishment - an upscale taqueria and cocktail bar in Oak Park, reports Bob Shallit in the Sac Bee.

The menu will likely include a mix of tacos with Niman Ranch meats, tortas, tamales and soups along with beer, wine and cocktails using tequila and mezcal...

He worked for a couple of San Francisco restaurants, then opened his own place – Doña Tomás – in the Temescal district of Oakland in 1999.

His next venture, in west Berkeley, was an upscale taqueria called Tacubaya, which will be the model for the Oak Park operation.

Schnetz has three other restaurants – Flora, Fauna and Xolo – clustered at 19th Street and Telegraph Avenue in Oakland.

The restaurant does not yet have a name. Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

* Photo via Google Street View.

More News:


Taqueria to Inhabit Historic Oak Park Building - A successful Bay Area restaurateur with Sacramento roots is preparing to open a taqueria in a now-vacant building at Broadway and 35th Street in Sacramento's Oak Park neighborhood...Schnetz is partnering with his brother, David, in the yet-to-be named business...A specific date has not yet been set, but Schnetz is planning on a February 2016 opening. Dennis Shanahan on FOX 40.

Sacramento’s Oak Park Neighborhood Seeing Revitalization - Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood was once one of the most popular neighborhoods in Sacramento with local shops and businesses within walking distance from homes. Then Oak Park experienced a downturn as many businesses and homeowners left. Now the neighborhood south and east of Downtown Sacramento is experiencing a revitalization. An old building will soon house a new space, home to a new taqueria run by Dave Shnetz and his Bay Area restaurateur brother Tom. Kelly Ryan on CBS 13.

Sacramento bartender spent months making nocino liqueur - Not only is Ryan Seng the head bartender at the four-star Grange restaurant inside the Citizen Hotel, he’s also an accomplished alchemist. The proof is his handmade batch of nocino, more than three months in the making. “I played around with it for awhile,” Seng said. “I’m really happy with how the flavor turned out.” Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Feast gift guide: 15 (mostly) local ideas ready for wrapping paper - The holiday gift-giving season will be out of the oven shortly, a merry post-Thanksgiving feast of hunting and gathering that somehow seems to arrive at the table each year before we do. It’s not too early to cook up ideas for stocking stuffers, host gifts and under-the-tree presents for your favorite food enthusiast. To help, we’ve prepped some dishy ideas. In the Sac Bee.

Pizza restaurant plans Howe Bout Arden location - A build-it-yourself pizza chain is coming to the Howe Bout Arden shopping center, where a massive redevelopment plan is in the works...The address posted on Facebook says MOD Pizza will fill suite 180, an address that previously belonged to Baja Fresh. The Mexican restaurant closed its Arden Way location this past summer. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining News: RIP Tamaya Sushi, to Close on Dec. 4


Tamaya Sushi at 22nd & J is closing after 10 years, reports Bob Shallit in the Sac Bee.

Mary Mesa, lease manager with building owner Eleventh & L Properties, said one of the original Tamaya partners had sold his interest in the business but stayed on as the primary lessee.

When the lease expired, that person – David Leung – said he wished to sign a new lease for a new restaurant he planned to open at the Tamaya site, at 2131 J St., Mesa said.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee. (Second item.)

Shallit reports that it will likely be replaced by another Japanese-influenced restaurant. As for Tamaya, the owner will likely look for a new spot.

Tamaya Sushi is located at 2131 J Street and can be found online at http://www.tamayasushi.com/.

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Good, cold news - It’s that unfortunate time of year when the weather starts getting legitimately chilly and Ginger Elizabeth removes frozen treats from its menu...For the first time, Ginger Elizabeth is offering its salty caramel macaron ice cream sandwiches year-round. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review. (Third Item.)

Homey haven for Thai delights - Thai restaurants abound, some fancy, some not so much. For down-home cookin’, our favorite casual-Thai destination is the unpretentious Thai Hut. There, we always find husband-wife owners Ten and Tuck Siri hard at work turning out complex and artistic dishes that belie the size of their tiny kitchen. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

A healthy beautiful - Beautiful veggies: Liquidology started serving food last month in addition to its cold-pressed juice. No surprise, chef Jackie Howard says the food and drink options pair together exquisitely. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

VIDEO: Best of Sacramento: Dawson’s - Bethany is in the kitchen with Executive Chef Jason Poole from the award winning restaurant Dawson's Steakhouse. Today, Chef Poole is making Garlic Shrimp with shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with a Lemon Anchovies Vinaigrette. He also has information on Friday's Silver Oak Wine Dinner on November 13th. A fundraising five course dinner paired with wines. On FOX 40.

Continue reading "Dining News: RIP Tamaya Sushi, to Close on Dec. 4" »

Dining News: Chef Jason Azevedo to Lead Hock Farm's Kitchen


Chef Jason Azevedo has been tapped by the Paragary empire to be the chef de Cuisine at Hock Farm.

According to his Facebook page, he started the new gig on Wednesday.

Most recently, Azevedo was executive sous chef at Esquire Grill, where he and executive chef Pedro Depina teamed up for Hotgoberfest. The event/promotion celebrated the whole hog by serving every bit of a Rancho Llano Seco hog, including porchetta, chicarrones, terrine and more.

Prior to that, Azevedo was the chef at Mighty Tavern in Fair Oaks, chef de cuisine at Nuggett Market and the chef at Old Soul.

He's probably best known for his skills as a butcher and in making charcuterie.

In addition to that, Azevedo has been very generous with his time. I ran into him at a Sac Bacon Week event, and he talked to me for more than 15 minutes about the economics of running a restaurant and things chefs have to consider as they create their menus. It was very classy of him.

I've not always been a fan of the food served at Hock Farm. I have confidence Azevedo will remedy that.

A Twitter direct message to Azevedo and a phone message left at the Paragarys corporate office seeking comment in recent days were not returned.

Hock Farm is located at 1415 L Street and can be found online at http://www.paragarys.com/sacramento-restaurants/hock-farm.

Photo via Facebook.

More News:

Ready, set, gyro - State workers have yet another Mediterranean lunch option. The former owner of Gyro Supreme is back downtown with Vela Cafe (1000 I Street), which opened last week. In addition to gyro and falafel sandwiches, Vela Cafe offers several egg-based breakfasts, deli sandwiches, soups and a hot-food-slash-salad bar. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review. (Second Item.)

Sandwich or ‘hamwich’? - We got a craving for one when we spotted the sign for the HoneyBaked Cafe outside the HoneyBaked Ham store in Fair Oaks. You know HoneyBaked ham, right? It’s the applewood-smoked spiral-cut ham (topped with “sweet honey crackling glaze”) that’s so often a guest at traditional holiday dinners. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Roots Creative Kitchen - This combination grocery store, kitchen and café focused on farm-to-fork values will open in Oak Park in early 2016. Intent on serving those with dietary restrictions and promoting healthy living and sustainability, Roots will feature neutral colors and an earthy décor, indoor and outdoor dining areas, take-out and delivery options.Heather Kemp and Johanna Pugh in Sactown Magazine. (Third Item.)

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10 Places to Order Thanksgiving Dinner in Sacramento


Not everybody is a skilled cook, and even fewer can cook for a dozen of their closest friends and family members as they descend upon your house over the holidays.

Or in my case, you have a one month old daughter which means you never know how cooperative she'll that day so it's safer just to make other arrangements this year.

Here are some options for you to feed your holiday visitors without having to slave over the stove for 12 hours.

Pre-Cooked Meals:

Generally, you pick up these meals 24 or 48 hours ahead. All of the food is cooked and all you have to do is heat it up.

Taylor's Market: For $185, the Land Park neighborhood market provides a meal for 8 to 10, including a 12 lb cooked Branigan turkey, 2 quarts of mashed potatoes, 2 quarts of stuffing, 1 pint of Taylor's Cranberry relish, 1 quart of gravy, 1 quart of green beans and a pie. When I ordered my family's Thanksgiving feast from Taylor's earlier this week, the butcher told me he thinks they'll sell about 100 this year. If it's good enough for 99 other neighborhood families, it's good enough for mine. (Menu not online. Order at the store.)

Selland's Market Cafe: Have a more modest sized gathering? Selland's features a traditional turkey dinner for four with turkey breast, stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce and soft rolls for $125. Want something different? Selland's also lets you build your own holiday meal package. Visit Sellands.com for more information.

Partially-cooked Meals:

Continue reading "10 Places to Order Thanksgiving Dinner in Sacramento" »

Dining News: Now Open - V. Miller Meats Butcher Shop in East Sac

V miller meats

V. Miller Meats, owned by Eric Veldman Miller, who had been Chef de cuisine at Mulvaney's and Matt Azevedo, who had been Chef de cuisine at Restaurant Thir13en and Tuli, opened in East Sac on Tuesday.


The butcher shop will focus on whole animal butchery and all of their poultry will be sourced from local farms. They'll also feature fresh and cured sausages, charcuterie, cold cuts, stocks and other creative cuts. 

I stopped by today on my way home from work and found a store with a steady flow of traffic. Since they've said they will have less popular cuts of meat, I went specifically to try to buy materials to make roasted bone marrow at home for dinner. A Bon Appetite article I found said I should find beef femur bones since they're the straight and have a large amount of marrow. (I had previously visited Taylor's, but the items were out of stock.)


I was helped by Eric himself and he quickly produced a femur, sliced it in half lengthwise via his band saw and sold me .73 pounds at $4.99 a pound. Eric said that they were actually selling many unusual cuts of meat, but hadn't sold many pork chops yet on their opening day.


Work was still being done on the butcher shop, and shelves in which they could make charcuterie had not yet been installed. It was evident, though, that the modestly-sized shop was clean, paid attention to detail and will become part of the East Sacramento community.

V. Miller Meats is located at 4801 Folsom Blvd. and can be found onine at http://vmillermeats.com/.

More News:

Better than Hostess: Hand pies, Nido by Magpie - If you grew up with Hostess fruit pies and fried McDonald's pastries, you might hanker for a healthier version now. Hightail it to Nido by Magpie on R Street. Ann Martin Rolke in Sac News & Review.

This company thinks Sacramento diners need a new breakfast option - There's been talk of a cupcake bubble. A sushi bubble. Even a brewery bubble. But at least in Sacramento, a breakfast bubble has yet to arrive. That's according to Robert Maynard, CEO of Famous Toastery, a North Carolina-based eatery. Maynard wants to eventually have 10 Famous Toastery locations across Sacramento, Placer, Yolo and El Dorado counties. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Orchid Thai - The midtown outpost of the original Lincoln location began serving a one-of-a-kind brunch menu on Oct. 10. Stop by on a Saturday or Sunday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to try one of their eight Thai-influenced American brunch favorites like chicken and waffles with seasoned panko-crusted chicken on a fluffy waffle topped with palm syrup and mangos, or the two eggs cooked in an omelet-like fashion wrapped around fried rice. Heather Kemp and Johanna Pugh in Sactown Magazine. (Second Item.)

Counter Culture: Q’bolé in Historic Folsom - The trio of chicken street tacos was a delish snack, the moist and tender pieces of fowl topped with cilantro and onion, squeezes of lime and spills of salsa. A simpler but equally satisfying dish was by special request – a plate of cilantro rice and black beans. Lime and salsa added more yum. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

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