I now understand why Carpe Vino gets rave reviews.
Here's a recent sampling:
[Sous-vide chicken breast wrapped in seared bacon] arrived perfectly cooked among a medley of chanterelles, melon-ball scoops of kabocha, wheat berries, Brussels sprouts and pomegranate arils. The flavors were rapturous...
The Cirque du Soleil of food is a set of arousing feats performed with incredible strength and artistic direction. In addition, the menu is changed more often than a newborn in order to reflect whatever is in season that week, ensuring no visit will ever be like the last.
Read the entire review by Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.
In plate after plate, bite after bite, chef Eric Alexander delivered tour-de-California cuisine that demonstrated his artistry with ingredients and flavors and his mastery of technique and presentation, all from a cubbyhole of a kitchen with four burners and an oven...
Pastry chef Courtney McDonald scored on two orders: silky vanilla panna cotta topped with tart Mandarin orange sorbet and sprinkled with Mandarin shortbread crumbs. Passion fruit chocolate tart looked, at first, like another cheesecake I didn’t want to eat but the flavor was bright and the texture was light, like jellied custard atop soft chocolate.
Read the entire review by Ed Murrieta in the Sac Biz Journal.
Spurred by these reviews, and further enticed by their Alpine Cuisine-themed dinner menu they were putting on during the Winter Olympics (as noted by Sac Mag's Kira O'Donnell) for $50 per person, I decided to make the 71 mile round trip from my home near Downtown Sac last month, and it was well worth it.
Because it was a special menu that's not available anymore, I won't bore you with all the details of every dish and every bite. Suffice to say, the meal was fabulous. Each dish was well crafted with complex and balanced flavors. And it wasn't just one dish - the meal was consistently excellent. I can't wait to make the trip again.
But as a guy who enjoys getting a good value, the best attribute of the restaurant is that you're literally eating in a wine shop. If you've ever been to 58 Degrees, imagine eating in their retail space and not the restaurant next door. Because of that, the vibe is unique and wines consumed while dining are sold at retail price, plus $5 for corkage. Wine usually sells for double the retail price in restaurants - This is a steal. Honestly, with the money we saved, we actually purchased a another bottle of the same wine we enjoyed at dinner to bring home. So we didn't spend less money in the end, but we got more bang for our buck.
If you're looking for something different, one week each month, the restaurant does a prix fixe menu. When I went last month, the theme was Alpine Cuisine. This month, from March 25 to March 30, the theme is Hook, Line & Sinker, A Pacific Coast Odyessy for $60.
Lastly, owner Gary Moffat did a little bit of dining media criticism on the restaurant's blog (originally published on Feb. 25, just as Blackbird reopened) where he railed against the "relentless media deification of the hottest new 'chef' to sizzle in Midtown." I'm pretty sure he's not talking about me, not because I'm not also guilty of some of these charges, but because I'm realistic about the size of my readership. Even if there are tens of thousands of you out there, I'd bet Gary Moffat isn't one of them. But it's a good read and food for thought.
Carpe Vino is located at 1568 Lincoln Way in Old Town Auburn and can be found online at https://www.carpevinoauburn.com/.
In California, chefs fight for bare-hand contact - As the happy hour crowd poured in on a recent weeknight, the kitchen and bar staff at Hock Farm restaurant scrambled to meet the incoming orders. One used her hands to toss locally grown Romaine hearts with anchovy dressing in a metal bowl, while another, facing diners from behind a marble countertop, used his fingers to sprinkle cojita cheese and red onion into chicken tacos. A gloveless bartender wedged an orange slice on the edge of a white wine spritzer. All of them were breaking a state law that took effect in January, but won't be enforced until July. Fenit Nirappil of the Associated Press.
VIDEO: Parking spaces or more seating at restaurants? - Sacramento planners are moving ahead with a plan to allow sidewalk dinning which will cut back on the number of parking spaces. On KCRA.
VIDEO: Historic Bar Concerned About School Construction Next Door - Parents and bar patrons sharing the same parking lot. That’s the fear along Riverside Boulevard now that construction has started on a new school, right next to The Trap. And you might be surprised at who is upset the most. The Trap had been the only thing at the corner of Riverside and 43rd Street for about 30 years. In fact, the 153-year-old building is a historical landmark. But now half the land that it sits on, and the 5 acres adjacent to the bar is owned by the President of Brookfield School, a private, for profit K-through-8 school in Land Park. And he says a new 30,000 square foot facility will be built there. Mark Demsky on FOX 40.
Why Are Wine & Cocktails Absent from Restaurant Criticism? - In an age when beverage programs have become an increasingly important part of a restaurant's identity, they remain curiously absent from restaurant reviews. Jordan Mackay gets to the heart of the issue and asks whether it's time for a change. On Punch.
VIDEO: Food Truck Fight Brewing On Streets of Sacramento - The trucks are immensely popular and serve up everything from street tacos to street gourmet, but Sacramento continues to try and figure out how to handle food trucks. On CBS 13.
VIDEO: Sacramento Kings player Jason Thompson shares favorite dish - Went to Sleep Train Arena for our cooking segment. Sacramento Kings player Jason Thompson shares his favorite dish prepared by Kings' Executive Chef Matt Brown - Dungeness crab Mac 'n Cheese. Sabrina Rodriguez on FOX 40.
VIDEO: Celebrating spring with savory dishes in your kitchen - Jay Veregge and Dennis Sydnor from Ten22 join us to create a spring time salad. On KCRA.