Dining News: LA-Based Angel City Brewery Enters Sacramento Market

AngelJust as Sacramento craft brewers are expanding regionally and beyond, craft breweries from other areas are entering the Sacramento Market.

Angel City, whose brewery is located in the Arts District just six blocks from LA's City Hall, was founded in 1997 by Michael Bowe, a homebrewer who won the prestigeous “California Hombrewer of the Year” award in 1995 and 1996.

The brewery has since been purchased by Alchemy & Science, an "independently operating” subsidiary of The Boston Beer Company, which brews Sam Adams.

The two beers hitting Sacramento are the Angel City Pilsner and the Angel City IPA, which received an 85 from Beer Advocate. The Pilsner did not receive a rating from BA. To give you a sense of scale, Track 7's popular Panic IPA has an 86 on Beer Advocate.

Locally, their Web site says the beers can be found at:

  • The Grange
  • University of Beer
  • Rio City Cafe
  • Kupros Bistro
  • Alley Katz

I haven't tried these beers, but it's always good to have more choices.

For more information, visit

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Pizza Port arrives - Pizza Port has arrived. One of California’s most coveted craft breweries has made a retail foray into the increasingly crowded Sacramento craft market. I spotted Pizza Port’s distinctive cans recently at Curtis Park Market and Capitol Beer & Taproom. The latter will host a Pizza Port launch party/tap takeover Feb. 11. Hook & Ladder has it on draft. If you’re curious about a brewery that has won numerous medals at World Beer Cup and twice captured “Small Brewpub of the Year” at the Great American Beer Festival, be sure to check out these beers. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Old-school excellence: Biba’s - Now that construction at the nearby Sutter Medical Center has finished (and before construction on both a new hotel and the new B Street Theatre venue begins) it’s the perfect time to rediscover this pinnacle of fine dining or eat there for the first time. Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

Simon’s says ‘not guilty’: Former employees accuse owner of stealing tips, unfair business practices - Three former employees have sued the 16th Street mainstay and its renowned proprietor, Simon Chan, in an unfair business practices lawsuit that’s potentially headed for a summer trial, says plaintiffs’ attorney Gaurav Bobby Kalra. Kalra filed the suit on July 9, 2014, in Sacramento Superior Court. The 14-page complaint alleges that Chan made servers pay for customer credit card fees out of their own pockets, garnished their tips to pay undocumented workers under the table, and fired or “constructively discharged” the three plaintiffs after they protested. Raheem F. Housseini in Sac News & Review.

Woodland’s Main Street gains momentum - Foodie experiences have popped up in downtown, including fine dining at Morgan’s on Main, sandwiches and beers at Stack’d and Brew’d, and new ownership of the Savory Cafe. Ellen Garrison in the Sac Bee.

Bumping up minimum wage helps workers, costs businesses and customers - There’s a price to be paid for raising the minimum wage. At one local Mexican food chain, it’s 14 cents a taco. Businesses and nonprofit groups have been adjusting to the state’s new $10 minimum wage since it superseded the old minimum wage of $9 an hour on Jan. 1. Some have raised prices or fees. Others have cut back hours. And many are thinking about the increases still to come. Hudson Sangree and Mark Glover in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: Cask & Barrel to Open on Thursday


Cask & Barrel, which is replacing Enotria's Wine Bar, is scheduled to open on Thursday.

The kitchen will be run by Chef Gabriel Glasier and pastry chef Kristel Flores. The duo, who are coincidentally engaged, had previously provided the bites for the most recent iteration of Enotria, and have run a successful catering business, Chef and Baker. The event space at Enotria remains.

I was invited to a very soft opening on Friday night. The waiter described their concept as southern comfort fine dining. I thought it was closer to a modern, upscale BBQ restaurant.

The menu is separated into three regions - Bites (appetizers, ~$10), Shares (side dishes, ~$7) and Smoke (entrees, ~$13 for a half pound). Because it was a preview, they asked that in exchange for a comped meal, we would provide detailed written feedback. Others who ate there that night were Michael Passmore from Passmore Ranch and the provider of their catfish and sturgeon.

I won't write a detailed review, but I'll note a couple of the highlights of the evening.


Cast Iron Corn Bread ($5) was easily the best corn bread I've ever had. I think the key to their preparation is flipping it at the end so the crunchy bottom is served on top. Our party of 4 all agreed that the corn bread was one of the stars of the evening.


Short Ribs ($16 for a half pound) and Pork Spare Ribs ($12 for a half pound). The chef stopped by to explain that the preparation for his BBQ includes at least 7 hours of smoking and 72 hours sous vide.

Bourbon Hot Sauce. It's not really a menu item, but a sauce that the chef makes in house from his own stash of pickled peppers. It's amazing and approachable for all, not just fans of hot sauce.

If you've been to Enotria Wine Bar, you'll recognize the interior of Cask and Barrel. The only thing that's really changed is the addition of a large, bar-height communal table for 8 or 10 in the middle of the room.

It's clear that Chef Glasier works very hard on his craft and his presentation. Like most BBQ places, you get way too much food, so go with friends so you can share and taste. I can't wait to go back.

Cask & Barrel is located at 1431 Del Paso Blvd., and can be found online at You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Full Disclosure: The menu didn't include prices, but according to the online menu, the comped portion of the meal was approx $125 for our party of 4. I left a $75 tip, but what I paid didn't equal what we got.

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In Need of Some Wintry Comfort Food? Head to Biba - I recently visited Biba Restaurant on a chilly, drizzly evening and was rewarded with a meal so comforting and nourishing that it warmed me from the toes up. Despite its swanky ambiance, the restaurant serves up lusty, unpretentious fare that stays true to its Italian regional roots. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

SusieCakes Grand Opening - For those unacquainted with SusieCakes, prepare to have your love for cupcakes reignited. Maybe it sounds like I'm overstating it, but really, SusieCakes is definitely a cut above. Full disclosure: when I lived in Los Angeles years ago, I applied for a job at the Brentwood SusieCakes so I could have regular access to their fluffy cakes and killer buttercream (which is shot into the middle of the cupcake, a practice that ought to be copied at all cupcake dispensaries). It's not that their desserts are particularly radical, and it's certainly not that their cupcakes are in any way local or healthy. What makes SusieCakes enjoyable is the retro vibe—these are the cupcakes you ate as a kid. Diana Bizjak in Sac Mag.

Noodle news - Good news: Midtown will get a taste of a few more noodle soups this year because of an ownership change at Sawasdee Thai Cuisine (1830 J Street) in late December. The place has been completely revamped with a new concept, new chef and new dishes, according to the new owner. Jonathan Mendick in Sac News & Review.

Ed Goldman: 'Farm-to-fork' can mean fish, says owner of Scott's on the River - When people use the ubiquitous local slogan "farm-to-fork," they usually don't mean fish. And that irks Alan Robert Pollock Irvine, owner and general manager of Scott's Seafood on the River, whom we met in Wednesday's column. While principally known as a seafood restaurant, Scott's serves "a lot of beef" as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner, Irvine says. But since the selection of fresh fish entrees and appetizers comprise the place's defining brand, this leads Irvine to talking about "the bad rap on farmed fish. I mean, when's the last time you ate wild beef? Farmed fish is getting better and better all the time. Aquaculture" — as opposed to agriculture — "is the future, and we just have to get into it." Ed Goldman in Sac Biz Journal.

Restaurant brings small burgers to Rocklin - A new Rocklin restaurant is betting on a belief that in the burger world, good things come in small packages. Slider Burgers opened last week at 6661 Stanford Ranch Road, Suite J. It offers a variety of small burgers. "They are gourmet, so they fill you up," said Rich Bay, who is part of the restaurant's management team. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining News: Now Open - Track 7 Natomas


Track 7, the Curtis Park-based brewery, quietly opened its Natomas location on Friday.

The craft brewery had hoped to open their second location by New Year's Eve, but a rain-soaked December delayed construction. Give the team behind Track 7 credit. When they announced the new location in July 2014, they predicted a December 2014 opening. They only missed it by a couple weeks, which is very good.

The location is still a work in progress, but apparently, they've done enough to start allowing the public to come to events.

This weekend, they'll be open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with food trucks to feed the masses.

The new facility will open with a capacity of 8,000 barrels of beer, compared to their 2013 production of just 1,200 barrels at the Curtis Park facility. The original location will be used for pilot batching and sour beer production.

Their new Natomas warehouse and tasting room is located at 826 Professor Lane.

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Dine Downtown: 4 recommendations to experience Sacramento restaurants - But for those restaurants that are part of the line-up, Dine Downtown is a great opportunity to win over folks and expand their reach. Here are a few good bets, based on my visits (not for the latest special menus, which I have yet to try). Featuring Hook &  Ladder, Biba, Grange and Ella. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

VIDEO: Dine Downtown in Sacramento focuses on Farm-to-Fork movement - Chefs in downtown say Dine Downtown weeks is a win-win for restaurants and customers. Melinda Meza on KCRA.

VIDEO: Dining Downtown at the Delta King - Chef Julian Vasquez previews the Delta King "Dine Downtown" menu. On KCRA. Lisa Gonzales on KCRA.

VIDEO: Dine Downtown Week partners with Food Literacy Center - Amber Scott discusses how this week’s Dine Downtown event benefits the Food Literacy Center. Lisa Gonzales on KCRA.

VIDEO: Dine Downtown at Blue Prynt - Enjoy a 3 course meal at a discounted rate with Dine Downtown, featuring Blue Prynt. Lisa Gonzales on KCRA.

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Dining Deals: Fahrenheit 250 BBQ, Biba


I've had Fahrenheit 250 BBQ several times, most recently as take out during the NBA playoffs. As their restaurant continues to mature, my experience is that they've continued to improve their execution and consistency on their food. I'd definitely go back.

If you want to give it a try, here's your chance, at nearly half off.

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Dining News: Auburn's Carpe Vino a 'Truly Marvelous Restaurant'


Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson has found another restaurant to put into the highest tier of restaurants in the Sacramento region - Carpe Vino in Auburn.

But here’s a chef, so talented and committed to his craft, whose name really should be on the tip of every serious epicurean’s tongue. And the restaurant itself – a breeze to enjoy as a drop-by spot for a glass of wine and a snack or for an involved multicourse dinner – deserves to be considered right up there among the handful of the best in the region...

When it comes to farm-to-fork dining, Alexander and Carpe Vino are leaders.

Alexander’s way of expressing ingredients both familiar and esoteric, his preference for complementary and contrasting textures, his sense of color and balance on the plate, his notion to both reassure and challenge the palate, and, more than anything, his ability to build layer upon layer of flavor using time-honored techniques, are apparent throughout his repertoire.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

Owner Gary Moffatt wrote a short blog post about the review.

Robertson, who has a reputation among restaurant owners for throwing stars around like they were manhole covers, was critical of the noise issue in the main dining room during the height of service...yet the weight of all of the other quality factors compelled him to award the maximum rating.

The review (click here) quite reasonably focused on the food, but our entire crew, front and back of house, get an equal share of the responsibility for all that we do.  There is no question in my mind, that pound-for-pound, Carpe Vino’s staff is champion caliber and competitive with the big boys in Midtown. . .and beyond.

Read the entire post on Carpe Vino's Blog.

I wrote about my visit to Carpe Vino last month, raving about the prix fixe meal I had during the Winter Olympics. I completely agree with Robertson about the mastery of the chef's cooking and the value the restaurant brings with its wines at retail prices. I only wish it were a little closer.

Carpe Vino is located at 1568 Lincoln Way, Auburn and can be found online at

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First Bite: Blackbird Kitchen & Beer Gallery -  I was happy to see that Lampkin’s trademark “Captain’s Chowder” has remained on the new menu—creamy and satisfying, and chock-full of Pollock, squid, mussels and clams, this dish alone is worth a visit. Another appealing menu item was the salmon toro, prettily arranged on a plate with an array of lively pickled vegetables and flower petals. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Palate Reviver: Hawks Restaurant’s Ginger Julep - Long work day? Busy, overscheduled weekend with the kids? If you’re in serious need of a pick-me-up, tuck into one of Hawks’ sprightly Ginger Juleps. Composed with Woodford Reserve bourbon, ginger syrup and fresh ginger, the mint-garnished cocktail offers up a bright, zingy, refreshing flavor that revives the tiredest of palates (and spirits). Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Continue reading "Dining News: Auburn's Carpe Vino a 'Truly Marvelous Restaurant'" »

Dining News: Papa Dale's Moving on From Starlite Lounge*


Papa Dale's, the food truck which had followed the well worn trail of food trucks partnering with bars, has decided to end its relationship with Starlite Lounge, the food truck announced on Facebook.

Friends- I'm sure a couple of you are wondering what's going on with Papa Dale's.

So many changes are happening. First, Pub Grub at the Starlite is ending. Too many bigger and better projects to focus on. Was fun while it lasted, but we are destined for so much bigger and better then a bar.

Second, with my (Chef) joining forces with two of my best friends at French 25, we thought co-branding Lucy with them was an inevitable move, so that's happening mid January with some new clothes for the old girl and new awesome graphics by the design master at Pomegranate Design.

Third, Gods of the Kitchen gatherings will continue in January once I find a perfect spot (unless any of you care to venture to Stockton).

Big things friends. We firmly believe in growing and getting better. Thank you each and every one of you. We love you all.

See the post on Facebook.

French 25 appears to be a restaurant in Stockton. I'm not sure what the reference to Gods of the Kitchen is. If you know, please leave it in the comments below.

Update: Papa Dale's provides a little more info, via Twitter on Wednesday.

Update 2: Papa Dale's takes to Facebook to clarify their earlier post.

I want to elaborate on my post regarding the changes.

It appears to come across as 'to good for a bar' that was a bad choice of words on my part.

In order to develop the merger of Papa Dales and French 25 will require 100% focus on our parts. And sadly a choice had to be made. Our teaming up with the team at Starlite has been a really good experience. The team there: Shannon, Phillip, Charlie, Jeff, Rick, Ash, Tara, Roxanne are all wonderful people that I'm proud to call friends. That's all. Just can't do everything anymore. Thanks

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Try It: Bud's Salisbury Steak - As the days get chillier and darker, we all start seeking out restorative, nourishing food. I recently discovered a delicious plateful of comfort at Bud’s Buffet—the kitchen’s weekly Salisbury steak. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

UC Davis professor to The Bee: Respect the beer - Bamforth is a beloved professor who holds the title of Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at UC Davis, which in short means we have one of the world’s great beer authorities in the greater Sacramento region. Bamforth’s also the author of numerous beer books, a list of which can be found here. Anyways, Bamforth took to Facebook to blow off some steam about The Bee and beer. Here’s a sample of what he said. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Continue reading "Dining News: Papa Dale's Moving on From Starlite Lounge*" »

Dining News: Paesanos Midtown Closed for Rennovation, to Reopen on Tuesday


Paesanos Midtown closed temporarily on Monday, Nov. 11 for a modest face lift and is scheduled to reopen tomorrow, owner Mark Scribner said in an interview on Sunday.

The impetus for the closure was the need to install new flooring in the kitchen. While they were closed, they decided to get some other work done, including:

  • New coat of paint
  • New art
  • Additional bench seating to allow for a more flexible dining area
  • New chandeliers
  • Doubling their taps from 6 to 12 with the addition of a glycol cooling system

Scribner (whose parents own local winery Scibner Bend) said they decided to do the work now since there's a slight lull between the end of the summer and the holiday season. The last renovation of the space was done 12 years ago in 2001.

The menu will also get a small update with the addition of a few more pastas, pizzas and salads.

Fans of the restaurant don't need to worry - the character of restaurant they love should remain the same after it reopens tomorrow. It'll just be a little freshened up.

More News:

Sacramento Breweries - We’ve made a couple recent trips to the Sacramento area and visited 6 breweries. Here’s a rundown on what to expect at each one. Featuring Sudwerk, River City, Hoppy, New Helvetia, Track 7 and Rubicon. On Grubulub.

Biba Still Dazzles - But a recent meal at Biba reminded me that it can be very rewarding to re-visit some of our region’s well-established local restaurants. I took a friend who had never eaten at this venerable Sacramento dining institution, and our meal was a dazzler. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Continue reading "Dining News: Paesanos Midtown Closed for Rennovation, to Reopen on Tuesday" »