Cafe Bernardo

Dining News: Cafe Plan B 'Space is Absolutely Stunning'

Plan B Cafe (2)

Cafe Plan B, which opened at the end of February at 20th & Capitol (next to Jack's Urban Eats), got its first visit from a major critic - Sac Mag's Kira O'Donnell.

But the most unusual aspect of the restaurant is its lack of traditional waitstaff – patrons simply select their meal (including beverages) from a Presto touchscreen tablet located on their table (which, by the way, offers games to play if you’re feeling bored). Standout menu items from my visit included ethereal, doll-sized raviolis stuffed with Compté cheese and drizzled with crème fraiche; a dazzling butter lettuce salad embellished with toasted walnuts, Roquefort cheese and sun-dried cherries; and a velvety, elegant crème brûlée.

Read the entire post in Sac Mag.

Ally Gaffan on A Girl & Her Fork also paid Cafe Plan B a visit.

I've always felt a great dining experience can mainly be gauged by three things- a relaxing atmosphere, friendly and efficient service and delicious food. When my friend Misa and I stopped in on Friday, Plan B Café delivered strong on all three counts. The owners of the new bistro have really spruced the place up.

Read the entire post on A Girl & Her Fork.

I've eaten there once - during the week of their soft opening, and loved the place. It's a little pricey, but still a good value for your meal. I also appreciate their tablet-based ordering system. Between ordering the food when you were ready and paying for it right away, I feel like it shaved 7 to 10 minutes off my lunch visit, which is crucial if you're on a tight schedule.

One of my co-workers at there this week and came back raving about the food. I can't wait to give it another try.

More News:

Pete’s Restaurant & Brewhouse: Pizza, Burgers and Beer, Oh My! - The Pete’s Chicken Combo with bacon, red onions and artichoke hearts was ridiculously addicting, and the thick dough was just hearty enough to stand up to the pizza’s creamy garlic sauce. Adding a dash of crushed red pepper flakes didn’t hurt either. Jennifer Resnicke in Style Mag.

More burgers coming to Sacramento? - Another fast-food franchise is eyeing the Sacramento market. Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc., which operates nearly 800 Checkers and Rally's locations nationwide, wants to have three to five restaurants in the Sacramento region by 2015. And within the next five years, the burger chain hopes to have 15 to 25 locations here. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Sugar surge: Three new sweets shops opening in Folsom - If you have a sweet tooth, there’s no shortage of options in Folsom. The city is welcoming at least three new dessert shops. Featuring Fluffy Snow Desserts, Candy Mine and Sugar Daddies. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining News: Crawdads to Reopen on March 14

Crawdads

Crawdads River Cantina, the newest venture by former Tuli Chef Adam Pechal and Bar West owner Trevor Shultz, will open on March 14.

Originally opened in 1986, the restaurant changed hands recently, and the new team originally hoped to open by March 1. It now appears the opening date has slipped by a couple weeks - a very common occurrence among new restaurants.

A Cowtown Eats source has been to the restaurant as they've fine tuned their recipes, and I'm hearing great things. Joining Chef Pechal to oversee the kitchen is Paul Caravelli, a fellow contestant on the first season of ABC's The Taste. Word is that he's a dessert specialist, and will work well to compliment Chef Pechal.

Crawdad's is located at 1375 Garden Hwy, and can be found online at SacCrawdads.com.

More News:

French cuisine coming to K Street - The new business, to be called Brasserie Capitale, will be owned and operated by the owners of Aioli, the tapas restaurant on L Street in midtown that will celebrate its 20th anniversary later this year. While full details are still in the works, the chef will be Christophe Cornet, a classically trained French chef from the Bordeaux region who has experience at a Michelin two-star restaurant in France and was the private chef for the Maloof brothers, the former owners of the Sacramento Kings. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Dine Downtown raises more than $15K for food literacy - The ninth annual Dine Downtown Restaurant Week in Sacramento this January raised $15,345 for children’s food literacy. Dine Downtown ran from Jan. 8-17, offering fixed-price meals at a wide variety of Sacramento restaurants for $31. Mark Anderson in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining News: Former Tuli Chef Heads to Capital Dime

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When Tuli closed, Chef Adam Pechal said he hoped to line up new investors and reopen at the same location soon.

If he does that, he'll be without Stan Moore, chef de cuisine at Tuli when it closed two weeks ago, reports S.T. Vanairsdale in Sactown Magazine.

Barely one week after the departure of its founding chef, Capital Dime has a new kitchen boss: Stan Moore, who was until recently a chef of Adam Pechal's Tuli Bistro, will take over for Noah Zonca at the Midtown hotspot.

Moore was a sous chef under Zonca for five years at The Kitchen, and prior to working at Tuli, he was a sous chef at Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco, as well as Enotria. He says he’s starting to gradually reshape the menu before moving on to a more significant revamp this spring.

The story also seems to imply that there was some friction between former Dime chef and partner Noah Zonca and the other owners.  “We’re a casual restaurant, so we didn’t want to bring in somebody who is exclusively focused on high-end fine dining. We wanted somebody who has the breadth of experience to do more casual food. So we’re going back to our emphasis on shared plates—our $10 plates—and more of our casual feel, because we’re a neighborhood restaurant," Capital Dime co-owner Melissa Sanchez told Sactown Mag.

While this is purely speculation, this fact combined with the fact that Zonca signed a settlement agreeing not to comment to the media would imply that there was at least a little drama involved.

Read the entire story in Sactown Mag.

More News:

California law would let gloves come off for bars and restaurants - In response to the backlash, Pan has introduced a bill that would restore the former status quo. The legislation is an urgency measure, which means it would go into effect immediately if legislators can conjure two-thirds votes. Pan hopes to push it through before the glove requirement takes full effect in June (for now, violating the rule results only in a warning). “Everyone wants to be sure people don’t get sick from eating food at a restaurant or bar,” Pan said, but “clearly what we did last year is not working appropriately.” Jeremy B. White in the Sac Bee.

Mangia in midtown - We sampled three sandwiches, liking the Hail Mary best: An Acme Bakery roll was stacked with juicy house-cured pastrami and melted Swiss, with Russian dressing and chipotle-spiked coleslaw. In second place was the Mojo Cubano, a good attempt at the real thing, which is sold everywhere as street food in Florida. Shredded pork joined ham, Swiss and jack cheeses, house-made pickles and mango-cilantro mayo on a toasted roll. The sandwich special was Middle Eastern-themed chicken shawarma with kalamata olive spread, tzatziki sauce (yogurt-cucumber), cucumber, feta cheese, onion, tomato and lettuce. It sounded good, but fell apart into a mess; not helping was the stale, dry pita bread. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Coffee Garden offers a mixture of cultures for locals - With its bright Christmas lights and tropical plants surrounding the front patio, Coffee Garden is sure to capture the attention of anyone passing by. Located on Franklin Boulevard, less than 15 minutes away from Sacramento State, Coffee Garden offers a mixture of cultures for everyone to enjoy. Daisy Aguilar in the Sac State Hornet.

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Dining News: Bacon Fest 2014 Coming in January

Baconfest

Sacramento Bacon Fest, everybody's favorite swine-based food event, will be held on Monday, Jan. 20 to Friday, Jan. 26.

Per the Sac Bee's Chris Macias:

In its short run, Bacon Fest Sacramento has emerged as a favorite local food festival. Restaurants from around the region join the shenanigans and present special bacon-themed dishes and dinners. Bacon Fest also includes a competition where local chefs can go mano-a-mano with their cured bacon. However, the popular “Kevin Bacon Tribute Night” at Old Ironsides featuring bacon snacks and local bands playing songs from Kevin Bacon movies will not happen this year...

More details for Bacon Fest Sacramento III will be announced in December. For now, we know that the hotly contested Bacon Fest Chef's Competition at Mulvaney's Pig on the Corner will be held on Jan. 26.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

For more information, visit their Facebook page.

More News:

Feeding Crane Farms calls it quits - Brian Shaad restructured Feeding Crane Farms in North Natomas several times in an attempt to keep it going, but he announced Wednesday that he would have to call it quits. “Unfortunately because of increasing costs and financial liabilities, the farm has no choice but to close down,” Shaad told me. “We did everything we could to ensure the farm’s success, but at the end of the day, it was a question of simple economics.” Cathie Anderson in the Sac Bee.

Found: Best Food Trucks in Sacramento - Laura Braden and Amy Thoma list some of their favorite food trucks. Featuring Krush Burger, Fuzion Eatz, VolksWaffle, Drewski's Hot Rod Kitchen, Wicked 'Wich and Big Red Bus. On Girls on the Grid.

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Dining News: Why Noah Zonca Left The Kitchen & Why He Stayed in Sacramento

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In a great piece in Sactown Magazine, Anita Chabria uncovers why former chef at The Kitchen left a dream gig, but and also why he didn't leave for greener pastures.

But he’s hardly the kid with his hands in the suds anymore. Growing older, the 37-year-old Zonca says, made him seriously consider the “scary” proposition of striking out on his own. “I knew that if I stayed until I was 40 I’d probably be there the rest of my life,” he adds. So he quit. With no plan.

He headed out of town to visit his mom in Wisconsin, then did a culinary tour of cities such as Chicago, L.A. and San Francisco. He realized he had options, “worldwide options,” he says. But he also has a son at Rio Americano High School, so he headed back to Sacramento, a place he describes as having “a small town kind of style because everybody knows everybody and I like that fact, but it’s still enough city for me."

Soon after coming home, Lobley, who had been trying for the past eight years to get Zonca to partner with him, got in touch. He managed to grab Zonca’s attention with The Dime (as insiders are abbreviating it) at 18th and L in the space formerly occupied by L Wine Lounge & Urban Kitchen, despite an offer from another restaurant group. At first, Zonca signed on as a consultant with a small ownership percentage, but quickly became a full partner and worked with Lobley to incorporate high-end foodie standards into a low-cost concept.

The story is a great read. Read the entire thing in Sactown Mag.

I recently paid a return to visit after my good but not great first visit. In the ensuing three months, the place has really improved. While I only sampled their happy hour fare, their cooking was more precise and their service had sharpened. I look forward to future visits, especially on their Wine Wednesdays.

Click here for more stories about Capital Dime.

More News:

Sacramento restaurant to honor Charlie Trotter with menu specials - When Keith Fergel, the GM at Taylor’s Kitchen, learned last week that famed Chicago-based chef and restaurateur Charlie Trotter, 54, had died suddenly, he wanted to honor him in some way...Once the tragic news sunk in, Fergel wrote an email and began contacting local chefs, encouraging them to put a special on their menus to salute one of America’s most influential chefs...Watch for Trotter-inspired specials this week at Mulvaney’s, Ella, Kru, Taylor’s Kitchen and a host of other area restaurants. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Rosemary bread from Masullo Pizza is a slice of heaven - Recently we discovered the excellent stone-baked pizza bread cooked in the wood-fired pizza ovens by Robert Masullo and his staff at Masullo Pizza (2711 Riverside Blvd., 916-443-8929; ww.masullopizza.com). Right now, it’s sold exclusively at Taylor’s Market (2900 Freeport Blvd., 916-443-6881; www.taylorsmarket.com). Masullo shapes the focaccia-like loaves from pizza dough, baking them at high heat for about two minutes and delivering them to Taylor’s between noonish and 1:30ish p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. They’re seasoned with rosemary, olive oil and salt, and are fragrant, chewy and slightly charred ($2.99 each). If you appreciate good bread, you’ll love this. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Sports theme pub and grill hits homerun - A new family-owned restaurant blends fresh flavors, ice-cold brews and sports paraphernalia, to make Folsom’s Buck Shorts Dugout Sports Grill and Pub. Brent Neville, of Folsom, opened the sports grill and pub in May, with his long-time family friend Bill Moyer. Neville’s family helps run the location day-to-day. Laura Newell in the El Dorado Hills Telegraph.

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Dining News - Two Takes on Tank House BBQ, Both Mostly Positive

Tank_house

Tank House, the BBQ joint that replaced Had's on J, has been a popular place to review since it opened at the end of August. (Related Story: Dickey's BBQ is opening just across the train tracks from Tank House.)

Said the Sac Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson in mid-September:

The brisket was very tender and nicely prepared. It had clearly been cooking low and slow for many hours. Good stuff. And it was great with a craft beer. The ribs were pleasingly smoky and the meat was also tender and full of flavor. We especially enjoyed the brisket sandwich. The mac ’n’ cheese seemed ordinary, but the “dirty mac and cheese” may be the way to go — they add a smoked meat to the equation.

Now, the Sac News & Review's Garrett McCord and The Sac Rag chime in. First, the Sac News & Review:

The ribs are astounding in texture: The meat falls off the bone with confidence that your mouth will catch it. A lack of salt or spice on the ribs, however, robs them of the chance of being truly astonishing. (An easy fix.)

The brisket—that’s the crux of any barbeque joint. If a barbeque joint’s brisket is bad, it should close down to save face. You barbeque diehards out there know it’s the truth. So, how is it at Tank House?

It’s fantastic—as tender as the first time you held hands with a high-school crush, with a sweet, smoky flavor that’s just as memorable. Loaded onto the sandwich and served with white American cheese, it makes for an epic meal.

Now, The Sac Rag:

The brisket was awesome last time I tried it, the ribs good, the greens out of this greeniverse, and the mac and cheese (despite the inanely shaped pasta that looks more like a bottle brushes than traditional elbows) is scrumptious, especially when smoked chicken is rolled into the mix.

Orders are taken at the bar, pub style. And there’s nothing wrong with that except the service is surly, no other word for it.

I haven't been to the restaurant yet, but I can't wait to give the place a try.

Tank House is located at 1925 J Street, and can be found online at http://tankhousesacramento.com/.

More News:

The Dollar-Wise Gourmet: Great Deals in Old Sac - For years, I’ve passed by what I’ll call “takeout row” in Old Sacramento—those little cafes lined up side by side at Front Street’s Public Market. But when a recent transplant asked me to recommend an Old Sac restaurant offering good food on a budget, I finally broke down and sampled the wares. All I can say is this: Go. Most items are under $10, and you may be blown away by how delicious some of it is. Here are my winners. Cathy Cassinos-Carr in Sac Mag.

Zelda’s: A Midtown Institution - Yes, the waitresses can be abrupt; yes, it can be a bit dark; and yes, the wait for Zelda’s menu items can seem interminable. BUT – this beloved midtown dining institution has been around for 35 years. There’s a reason why: its distinctive deep-dish pizza. Kira O'Donnell on Sac Mag.

Tasting the latest on the Mexican food grid - The new kid on the Mexican food grid is Sampino's Comida del Pueblo, which opened last month next door to Sampino's Towne Foods, the dynamic delicatessen. Comida del Pueblo is run by Gabriela Sampino, daughter-in-law of Sampino's Towne Foods owner, Bill Sampino. She's from Mexico City and the recipes are her family's. Ed Murrieta in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining News: Coriander Vietnamese Restaurant to Replace Midtown Deli

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Midtown Deli was a short-lived deli in, well, East Sac. But its successor avoids the geographic error and will be an Asian joint called Coriander Vitnamese Restaurant.

While the restaurant's windows are still mostly covered, what I could see didn't look like they had done much work to the interior yet. My best guess is that the place is months from opening.

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Kevin Ng, the owner, applied for the alcohol license back on Aug. 13, 2013.

When more information becomes available, I'll pass it along. 

Coriander Vietnamese Restaurant will be located at 1899 Alhambra Blvd.

More News:

Try It: Café Capricho’s Vegan Combo - Urged on by a vegan friend, I tried friendly little Café Capricho’s vegan combo, and was impressed enough that I’ll be back soon to order it again. The dish featured a butternut squash, corn and poblano chile taco – a refreshingly light, healthy variation on the traditional version; and a feisty spinach and potato enchilada, napped in an earthy red chile sauce and sprinkled with sliced almonds. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Berkley Bar to join Cafe Bernardo at Pavilions - The bar at the new Cafe Bernardo in the Pavilions shopping center will be called Berkley Bar, a nod to the local food and wine expert David Berkley. The restaurant is due to open in early October, though no date has been set. Mark Anderson in the Sac Biz Journal.

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