Seasons 52

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Dining News: Frank Fats 'Consistently Delicious & Eminently Accessible'

The James Beard awards are to the food world what the Oscars are to movies. It's a huge honor just to be nominated, let alone actually win.

Sacramento mainstay Frank Fat's will receive a Lifetime Achievement award in the America's Classics category in early May. Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson went to see if Frank Fat's is "a restaurant icon … or a restaurant dinosaur."

During our recent visits, it didn't take long to arrive at an answer. Frank Fat's may not be as cool as a place like Hook & Ladder or Red Rabbit, as elegant as Ella, as influential as Mulvaney's or as adored as Biba.

But it continues to stand tall for a reason. The food is consistently delicious and eminently accessible, with flavors and ingredients that straddle the line between American and Chinese.

Who cares where bacon-wrapped scallops come from or whether they get the foodie stamp of approval for being authentic? At Frank Fat's, they're pretty darn amazing – tender, delicate, meaty, salty and just a tad smoky going down. And they pair nicely with a lychee martini, a nice stiff mai tai cocktail or something from the abbreviated but nicely balanced wine list.

The salt-and-pepper calamari is light and crisp and mildly delicious without being greasy or chewy. And Fat's brandy fried chicken is right up there with the best fried chicken in town – perfectly tender, golden brown, crispy, tasty – and lots of it.

Know what makes all this food taste even better? They treat you like a million bucks. Frank Fat's has been a refuge for movers and shakers practically since the day it opened on L Street. Every governor since has eaten there. Celebrities often drop by. Deals get done.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

To my taste buds, Robertson's pretty much nailed his assessment. While Frank Fat's may not be as authentic as the dim sum Asian Pearl 2009 on Stockton Blvd. or CF Cheng in Natomas, that doesn't mean that it's still not good and worth a visit once in a while.

Click here for more posts about the Fat Family's restaurants.

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