Seasons 52

Dining News: Blackbird to Reopen by Oct. 23


Blackbird Kitchen & Bar, which closed in late May, plans to reopen by Oct. 23, it said on social media this week.

Blackbird officially says it will reopen in the month of October, but has been inviting followers to a West End party on 10/23, which means they plan to open before then.

Blackbird closed in May due to water damage from a broken pipe. Wrangling with their insurance company and additional renovations have delayed its targeted July 17 reopening.

** Update 9/29/2015 - Carina contacted me over the weekend to say that the West End Wonderland party will serve as its grand re-opening and does not expect to be open prior to that date.

In essence, this will be the third iteration of Blackbird. After the first iteration closed in Oct. 2013, it reopened with a slightly different ownership group surrounding founder and chef Carina Lampkin in Feb. 2014.

That iteration ended with the Flood of May 2015, and Blackbird 3.0 will reopen next month.

I stopped by Blackbird a week ago, and it looked like extensive work still needed to be done before reopening. Let's hope their reopening date doesn't slip again.


Blackbird Kitchen & Bar is located at 1015 9th St., and can be found online at

More News:

A new restaurant to serve up classic American fare with a heaping dose of nostalgia - Milestone Restaurant, the second endeavor from the owners of Aji Japanese Bistro, is expected to open this fall in the El Dorado Hills Town Center. Nick Dedier (whose “hard-core fine dining” background includes stints as GM of Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville and manager of San Francisco’s Gary Danko) and chef Russell Okubo (whose own impressive résumé includes serving as executive chef for Fat’s Family of Restaurants) opened Aji together in December 2013, and are teaming up again—this time, with another industry veteran Alexa Hazelton, with whom Dedier worked at Auberge Resorts—for Milestone, which plans a late October opening. Jessica Rine in Sactown Mag.

Sacramento Kings and JMA Ventures announce 3 new restaurants for Downtown Commons - Today, the Sacramento Kings and JMA Ventures announced three new restaurants that will open in the newly named Downtown Commons -- formerly known as Downtown Plaza -- adjacent to the new Golden 1 Center arena. The three restaurants are Pour SocietySauced BBQ and Spirits and Punch Bowl Social. In Sactown Mag.

Fruity, hazy ‘Harvest wine’ arrives in Sacramento - A European tradition whereby the grape harvest is celebrated with a glass of partially fermented juice is coming to Sacramento. Starting on or about Sept. 21, the restaurant Seasons 52 at Arden Fair will offer by glass and carafe its version of “Harvest wine,” a richly aromatic, fruity, sweet and spritzy sauvignon blanc by Mauritson Wines of Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley. Mike Dunne in the Sac Bee.

VIDEO: Ginger Elizabeth’s Chocolates - Cody and Melissa scarf on some delicious chocolates provided my Ginger Elizabeth’s in honor of national chocolate day! On Good Day Sac.

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Dining News: 'Great Pancakes' at Bacon & Butter

Bacon and butter

I still haven't braved the long lines to make it out to the new Tahoe Park location of Bacon & Butter. From Ann Martin Rolke's recent review in Sac News & Review, it sounds like I'm missing out.

Owner/chef Billy Zoellin, previously of Golden Bear, has put a lot of thought into this new version of the restaurant. The interior is like a diner, but updated. Sleek subway tiles and metal surfaces balance huge wooden ceiling beams and communal tables.

The food is even more noteworthy. For Sacramentans used to subpar pancakes with a side of clowns, Zoellin’s version of breakfast is a revelation. If you’re wondering how much can be done with bacon, eggs and toast, pull up a chair and prepare to be schooled.

It’s not just that the pancakes (“flapjacks” here) are thicker or the eggs fresher; Zoellin excels at the details that make the food stand out.

The flapjacks are served as enormous disks with a buttermilk tang, topped with diced apples and pure maple syrup. In his take on the benedict, poached eggs top four cheeses grilled on buttery challah bread, with thick-cut Beeler’s bacon and silky hollandaise sauce.

Read the entire review in Sac News & Review.

Bacon & Butter is located at 5913 Broadway, and can be found online at

More News:

Blaze Pizza: A speedy pizza revolution? - Masullo, Hot Italian and Il Pizzaiolo all have a much more obvious enthusiasm for pumping out quality pizzas which Blaze appears to lack with its mind-numbingly repetitive production line. While the fast-casual pizza concept of Blaze is a great idea for picky eaters with very specific topping preferences and families with several growing kids to feed (and without much spare time), there are much better options for quality Neopolitan pizzas in the Sacramento area. Jonathan Mendick in Sac News & Review.

These are the most common restaurant suggestions for Cesar Chavez Plaza - The survey received 191 responses, according to Carlos Eliason, a creative outreach specialist with the city manager's office. Locally sourced food, outdoor dining and lunch service were among the most common requests for the space, Eliason said. Which type of food should be offered? Popular suggestions included Mexican, "California fusion" and Greek/Mediterranean food, according to Eliason. He said there was an emphasis on fast-casual and healthy options. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Five things to know about the Sacramento co-op's big move - It's a little easier to envision a new Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op location, thanks to renderings of the store's interior...The new store will be in a space bordered by 28th and 29th streets on the west and east, and R and S streets on the north and south. It's near Temple Coffee and the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining News: Hits & Misses at South


South has gotten a lot of buzz since their opening several months ago. But now that they've settled in, how's the food? Sac News & Review's Garrett McCord has the scoop.

We started the night with the corn bread. I grew up with a sweet, cake-like corn bread. Tasting South’s, I found myself suddenly transported back to a sweltering Missouri summer in my grandma’s kitchen. Big, hearty and slathered with honey. The table was all a-titter.,,

And the fried chicken?

My fellow Argonauts, the golden fleece has been found! If I could eat it every day, I would, and my days on this earth would be fat and happy.

And if you're wondering what the misses were? Dessert was "simply inexcusable."

Read the entire review in Sac News & Review.

More News:

The 4th Sacramento Food Film Festival is just around the corner - Four and a half years ago I had a small idea. Have a film festival for all the food documentaries that I never seemed to catch in Sacramento. At the time I figured I would need funding, so if I could get one big sponsor to say it was a good idea, I would pursue. Luckily my friends at Whole Foods Sacramento and they agreed to sponsor. That first year was one day's worth of films and I pretty much handled the entire thing on my own. Catherine Enfield on Munchie Musings.

Pop-up restaurant Roaming Spoon hits the town with secret dinners and more - The Roaming Spoon—a vegan pop-up dining experience that hosts special culinary occasions at galleries, coffee shops and other destinations around the city—is shaking up the Sacramento food scene this month with four events. Nicole Yi in Sactown Mag.

VIDEO: Seasons 52 Serves up Delicious Valentine’s Day Dish - Not sure where to take your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day?  How about Kona Crusted Lamb Chop? Seasons 52 Executive Chef Scott Florio whips up the delicious dish for Paul Robins to taste. On FOX 40.

VIDEO: Stir it up for Valentine’s Day with Sweet & Sinful Cocktails - How about a cocktail to help set the scene for romance this Valentine’s Day? Bar Manager Brad Peters of Hock Farm whipped up some fabulous cocktails that will get you in the mood for love. On FOX 40.

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Dining News: Seasons 52 is 'Eminently Mediocre'

Seasons 52 is a restaurant that I've enjoyed on multiple occasions. Their concept is that they're an upscale chain restaurant that serves appropriately-caloried portions (unlike a restaurant like Claim Jumper's) at the Arden Fair mall.

Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson seems to take issue with both the portion sizes and the quality of their cooking.

During that same dinner, three of us ordered main dishes that simply didn’t hold up – for flavor, for cooking technique, for quality – at this level of dining and at this price point. The grilled shrimp with cavatappi pasta ($19.50) was the best of the bunch, mostly because the ample shrimp had a tasty sear that imparted additional flavor. The pasta was average and there was little seasoning or sauce to pull it together.

The lamb dish whetted my curiosity, for I wondered how they could pull off something rich and possibly decadent like this with a calorie limit. Thanks to a little bit of magical misdirection, the kitchen balanced the plating by stretching out the asparagus (overcooked and limp) across the plate, tucking the tiny serving of lamb on one end, then plunking down a dollop of mashed potatoes and a sweet balsamic reduction. It was a noble effort to trick the eye, but for $26.95, it added up to one of the dullest and skimpiest lamb dishes I can recall.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

I went back and re-read my blog post on the place after my initial visit, and after multiple visits, I think it still stands. The restaurant's at the mall, and it's good for what it tries to be.

More News:

Addio, Michelangelo - This columnist wasn’t able to reach the new owners, Mark and Carol Hoyt, but word is that they are restaurant industry veterans who plan an American bar and grill called Easy on I at the midtown location. This will include corned beef and other marinated meats for salads and sandwiches. Cathie Anderson in the Sac Bee. (Third Item.)

Diners mourn closure of Greek Village Inn - Restaurateur Leo LaGesse reluctantly closed his Greek Village Inn at 65 University Ave. in November as a weak dollar and slower traffic made the cost of imported foods prohibitive. LaGesse told me: “We couldn’t expand. We were disappointed when Swanson’s renewed their lease next to us. We were going to take over that space and open up a bar, get another 1,400 square feet. That would have given us the potential to put a full bar in there. ... If you look into the places at Fair Oaks Boulevard now, just look at Ruth’s Chris when they did their cocktail hour. Their business has really increased with cocktail bars.” Cathie Anderson in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: Trails is 'a Source of Bewilderment'


Trails is a restaurant on 21st just south of Broadway. I've driven by the place, but when I've thought about eating there, the online reviews have steered me clear of the place.

In this week's review, Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson fills in some of the details on why nobody I know has ever actually eaten there.

Trails is not a good restaurant, but neither is it a terrible one. It’s a place stuck in purgatory, anchored unceremoniously in a Sacramento food scene that no longer really exists...

Charming as it may be, Trails lost its way by refusing to set foot in the new and much more dynamic Sacramento, where we expect better food and know where to find it. There once was a time, many years ago, where Western-themed restaurants were all the rage in Sacramento, probably because Westerns were all the rage in movies and on TV. Folks even got dressed up in Western garb when they went out to eat here.

That Sacramento, cute as a button, no longer exists.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

If you want to know more about how it still survives, check out this Sac Press article from 2010.

More News:

Bike Dog Brewing Co. draws beer drinkers, dog lovers to West Sacramento - On Saturday, November 2, nearly 1,000 people, many with dog and/or child in tow, filtered through a small industrial space turned tasting room on Industrial Ave. to get a sample of West Sacramento's family friendly inclusion into the craft brewing scene. The brainchild of four regional transportation agency workers and two wives, Bike Dog Brewing Co. officially went from a fantasy to a functioning craft brewery after months of preparation. Paul Janes on News 10.

VIDEO: New Krispy Kreme Location - The threat of rain isn't scaring off people waiting for the new Krispy Kreme to open in South Sacramento. Kristin Marshall joins us live from Florin Road. On Good Day Sac Part 1 | Part 2.

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Dining News: More Hits Than Misses at Dad's Kitchen

Dad's Kitchen, open in its current incarnation since 2010, is a great neighborhood spot in Land Park. It's lot is always full, the line can be long, but generally, it's worth it.

I ate dinner there a couple weekends ago while checking our their new Tap Room and was blown away by the burger. I had always heard about the quality of their version, but had never tried it. If you go, order the burger. You won't be disappointed.

Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson also paid the restaurant a couple number of (Updated 6/1, per this twitter conversation with @BlaRob on assumptions, descriptions of numbers and vagaries) visits. Here's his verdict:

The menu is, at its best, creative, and the cooking is sometimes right on the mark. The Dad's burger, for instance, is a magnificent achievement of engineering, art and insanity. The meatloaf made with a blend of beef, veal and pork is absolutely delicious and perfectly tender.

But …

Yes, there's a "but" moment, though we're not talking a big but.

What's holding Dad's back from maxing out its potential is what holds many restaurants back – execution and consistency.

While the comfort food on the menu is sometimes interesting and edgy, sometimes it's a tad dull and disappointing. And while the cooking can often showcase tremendous flavors and textures, sometimes it's less precise than it should be.

Read his entire review in the Sac Bee.

Click here for more posts about Dad's Kitchen.

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First Impressions: Port maker opens midtown spot - After a delay of more than six months, Ficklin-Wilcox recently swung open its doors to bring a taste of port wines to midtown. Ficklin-Wilcox specializes in port – fortified wines made from Portuguese grape varietals – and has produced them for nearly 70 years in the sun-baked Central Valley town of Madera. In any case, with its first satellite location Ficklin- Wilcox adds to a growing wine scene in the central city, which includes Downtown & Vine on the K Street mall and the urban wineries Rail Bridge Cellars and Revolution Wines. Let's see how Ficklin-Wilcox fits into the local wine scene thus far. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Photo Essay: A Visit to Doughbot Donuts - These donuts aren’t fluff, they’re clearly denser, handmade donuts, with deliciously homemade fillings and toppings. My favorite was the Lemon Lavender, though I couldn’t really taste the lavender. Lori on Guava Rose.

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