Cask & Barrel

Dining News: How Cask & Barrel Are Succeeding When Others Have Failed


Cask & Barrel seems to have done the impossible - be a successful restaurant in a space where so many others have failed. Rick Kushman tells us how, in Comstocks Mag.

Cask & Barrel has 40 seats, and has been averaging about 75 people a night. The duo says there is a list of advantages that come with a smaller size, starting with the obvious: A slow night causes less financial damage.

First, it means fewer people on the floor and in the kitchen. When they opened in February, Cask & Barrel ran with two people cooking. Now they’re up to three. All are experienced chefs who’ve worked with Glasier before...

Second, the smaller size addresses a huge factor in any restaurant’s success — managing food costs. Cask & Barrel projects within a tighter range, and that slow night doesn’t leave crates of food spoiling in the walk-in cooler.

The menu is either small bites or shared dishes — no traditional entrees — which Flores says makes their costs more predictable, gives prices the air of affordability while actually driving the average check up, and keeps customers satisfied with the variety those dollars provided.

Read the entire story in Comstocks Mag.

Disclosure: Cask & Barrel advertises on Cowtown Eats. I also find the owners Gabriel Glasier and Kristel Flores a delightful couple and chose their event space to host a baby shower. If you haven't given their restaurant a try, you NEED to go. At a minimum, check out their happy hour.

Cask & Barrel is located at 1431 Del Paso Blvd. and can be found online at

For those who (like me) find Rick Kushman insightful, he also hosts a successful podcast Bottle Talk with co-host Paul Wagner. This is how they describe their show:

Wine does not have to be a mystery. It doesn’t need to make you feel you’re being tested to join some secret Skull & Bones Society. The stuff is, after all, wine. All you really need to know is how to get it open and which end of the glass to drink from. (We’re pretty sure it’s the open part.) Most of us drink it because it’s fun.

Learn more at

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Boiling Avenue - Arden-Arcade’s newest neighbor might just be the hottest thing on the block—literally. Open since September, Boiling Avenue specializes in personal Taiwanese hot pots. Antoinette Ranit in Sac Mag.

Device’s collaboration beer a reflection of Sacramento’s reputation - When Device owner/brewmaster Ken Anthony was at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver in September, he met San Diego-based Alpine Beer Co. co-founder Pat McIlhenney. Anthony earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in structural engineering at the University of California, San Diego, and has been a big fan of Alpine’s beer. “Alpine was one of the breweries I really looked up to and I went there quite frequently,” Anthony said. “When I met Pat at GABF, we struck up a conversation and he said, ‘We should do a collaboration.’ I told him, ‘Don’t tease me like that,’ but he said he was serious.” Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Counter Culture: Tiny T.M. Noodle is big on choice and quality - Such a customer-friendly price-to-portion ratio is rare in our travels ($5 to $11, with one seafood-based dish at $17). Factor in the quality of the ingredients, and you’ve got a bargain. Catch it while you can. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Sacramento's Chipotle-ization of slices and pies continues - I hate on Pieology as much as the next person. But that doesn’t mean I think a Chipotle of pizza business model can’t work, just that Pieology is lame. Enter Sacramento Pizza Co. (2700 East Bidwell Street, Suite 500, in Folsom), a local business capitalizing on what has become a very popular concept nationwide: customizable, made-to-order personal pizzas. Choose crust, sauce, cheese, toppings, then wait a few minutes and eat. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Forget the PSL: Ginger Mocha, Yellowbill Cafe and Bakery - I'm a ginger junkie, but I never thought coffee and ginger could be a thing. A quick Google search reveals that I'm uneducated, though, because that's definitely a thing, and it's done real well at Yellowbill Cafe and Bakery with its Ginger Mocha ($4.25 for 12 ounces, $4.75 for 16). Anthony Siino in Sac News & Review.

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Dining News: Now Open Downtown - Triple Double Sports Bar


Triple Double Sports Bar, which replaces the Zokku at 4th & J, opened earlier this week, reports Sactown Mag's Tori Masucci Cummins.

Nathan Hilderbrand—a native of New Orleans who has held stints in acclaimed restaurants there, including Commander's Palace and The Ruby Slipper Café —will serve as Triple Double’s executive chef, taking over for former co-owner Trevor Elliott who, along with his wife Kristina, has left the team...

The restaurant includes an oyster bar framed by pendant lights and colorful abstract murals by local artist James Goodchap that depict famous sports figures like Joe Montana, Serena Williams, Muhammad Ali and Oscar Robertson (the basketball great holds the record for the most triple-doubles in NBA history).

Read the entire story in Sac Mag.

Sac News & Review's Janelle Bitker has more on the menu:

Small plates, salads and sandwiches hover around $9; the most expensive entree—pulled pork-stuffed hush puppies with braised greens, slaw and cracklins—costs $22. Southern influences dot the menu: pork cheeks come braised over grits; fried brussel sprouts over Pimento cheese; Caprese salad with fried green tomatoes; and a shrimp po’boy with creole remoulade. Dessert options include deep fried Oreos stuffed with foie gras. The chef and ownership team have roots in New Orleans, but don’t expect to see any gumbo or crawfish etouffee—yet, anyway.

Read the entire story in Sac News & Review.

The new restaurant's facade is a more modest version of what the owners said they would have when I talked to them in April. Back then, they said the street-facing side would have CPI Paneling, which will allow Triple Double to display messages on via a LED grid, and the interior ambiance will be "a little industrial with a southern influence.

That original vision is still visible on the Web site


When I drove by the restaurant this week, it looked like the exterior had been painted, but no extensive renovation had been done.

Still, the outside appearance of a restaurant is way down on the list of things that will make or break this restaurant. The owners seemed like very nice people, and I hope they succeed.

Triple Double is located at 419 J Street, and can be found online at

More News:

Sean Derfield, owner of two Sacramento bars, gradually healing after light-rail collision - Beyond that, Derfield knows what the future looks like. Once he began to heal and his mind cleared, he took stock of his life and decided to make serious changes. In addition to the saloon and bustling beer bar, Derfield owns the shooting arcade River City Shooting Gallery. Erika Derfield, a first-grade teacher at Cosumnes River Elementary in Sloughhouse, does the books for the three businesses. “In the hospital, I told her that working 85 hours a week is over. Owning three businesses, you’re constantly going 24/7. But that’s why I have employees and I never used them to the fullest extent,” Sean said. “I need to delegate more and enjoy life, take more vacations and stop saving the money for that rainy day.” Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Brews brothers? New beer operation to team with coffee roaster - Another company is looking to enter Sacramento’s fast-growing brewpub business with plans for a 3,000-square-foot taproom and brewing operation behind the Old Soul coffee shop in midtown. In an application with the city, backers of Big Stump Brewing Co. said they hope to operate a 10-barrel brewing operation at 1716 L St. in vacant space owned by the coffee company. Big Stump would sell its craft beers to customers at the brewpub and also market its products to area bars and restaurants, according to the application. Bob Shallit in the Sac Bee.

Triumphant brunch: Fried chicken & cheddar biscuit, Roxy Restaurant and Bar - I have gone to Roxy for brunch three times in the last few weeks. I admit it—I'm smitten. Brunch is usually a restaurant horror show of surly servers, tipsy patrons and greasy food slathered in broken hollandaise. Not so at Roxy. Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

A sweet spin: Horchatte, Nido by Magpie - For a refreshing, nuanced spin on an iced latte, order the horchatte ($4 for a small). The base is Nido's housemade horchata—the Mexican rice milk-based beverage—which is slightly sweet and toasty from a bounty of cinnamon. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Bistro 103 - Located in historic Auburn, this New American restaurant that opened in February has just added a new weekend brunch menu with farm-to-fork dishes like decadent bananas Foster pancakes topped with flambéed sliced bananas, cinnamon sugar, walnuts and butter; or the savory braised beef cheeks eggs Benedict. In Sactown Magazine. (Third item.)

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Dining News: Uber Hosts 'Taco Tuesday on Demand,' Delivers Chando's Tacos on Tuesday


To celebrate one million rides in Sacramento, Uber is will deliver Chando's Tacos from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Specifically, you'll get three carne asada tacos and a side of chips for $5, a 20% savings from the menu price. Plus they deliver it to you instead of you having to drive to their restaurant.

While Uber only provides rides in Sacramento, it has dabbled in food delivery in other cities such as Los Angeles, Austin, Chicago and San Francisco. In those cities, Uber partners with a handful of restaurants to deliver food from, with the restaurants changing daily. Click here to learn more.

Earlier this month, Postmates launched their delivery service in Sacramento. Unlike Uber, Postmates will deliver from any restaurant as long as they do to go orders. However, Postmates faces a backlash from some restaurants. Here's a really interesting Eater story on the dynamic between Postmates and some restaurant owners.

Sacramentans who want to order the $5 Chandos combo can do so via the Uber app, which you can download at

Photo via Chando's Tacos Facebook Page.

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What's brewing at seven late-summer beer events around the region - For all the hopheads, ale aficionados, IPA enthusiasts and lager lovers out there, here are seven upcoming beer-centric events throughout the region. Cheers! Featuing Hop Harvest Party (8/22), Yolo Micro Brewfest (8/29), CA Craft Beer Summit (9/11-12), Friends on the Farm Dinner (9/12) and CA Brewers Fest (9/19). Jessica Rine in Sactown Mag.

Cask & Barrel - This North Sacramento hot spot, which opened in February at the site of the former Enotria restaurant, just started serving brunch last weekend, with a menu that boasts items both sweet (the sugar-dusted French toast is made with Pugliese bread soaked in spiced crème brulee custard and served with jams, salted caramel and seared foie gras) and savory (the smoked pork shoulder hash features summer squash from Passmore Ranch, red-eye gravy made with Chocolate Fish Coffee and a buttery poached egg from Long Dream Farm in Lincoln). In Sactown Mag. (Second Item.)

Cold poke, Hot Italian and a warm Temple welcome - Hoping to start a wave in Davis, a Sacramento couple plans to open a Hawaiian poke restaurant, featuring build-your-own sushi bowls and boozy shaved ice. Zuma Poke and Lush Ice will fill the last ground-floor spot in the 3+G building, next to Temple Fine Coffee and Tea at Third and G streets. They hope to have it open by late November. Wendy Weitzel in The Davis Enterprise.

Track 7 Brewery Holds Annual Chili Cook-Off - Band leader and trumpeter Harry James once said, “Next to music there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili.” I think Harry may have been onto something, because spirits were lifted and souls were strengthened at the Third Annual Track 7 chili-cook-off at the taproom in Curtis Park. Greg Brown on SacramentoLand.

Hot Italian Coming to Davis - I have confirmed that the pizza and panini bar Hot Italian has plans to come to Davis Commons, filling the former Ben & Jerry’s spot last occupied by The Melt. The details are still being finalized, owner Andrea Lepore said Thursday. Wendy Weitzel in the Davis Enterprise. (Third Item.)

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Dining News: Small Fire Temporarily Closes Rio City Cafe


A small kitchen on Monday night forced Rio City Café in Old Sacramento to close for the week, general manager Scott Meier told Cowtown Eats on Wednesday morning.

Nobody was injured in the fire and the damage was minor. Meier is now awaiting inspection so he can reopen the restaurant, hopefully on Friday.

Another notable restaurant closed by a kitchen fire was Ella back in January 2014 when a grease fire closed the restaurant for a weekend.

When Rio City Café reopens, they'll continue to serve what they're calling their Gold Rush Menu, a BBQ-themed menu running through Old Sac's Gold Rush Days celebration on Labor Day Weekend.


Rio City Café is located at 1110 Front Street in Old Sacramento, and can be found online at

Thanks to the team at About a Bite bakery for the tip. Make sure you check out their new location on K Street behind the Hyatt.

More News:

Plunge into poke – it’s really cool - In terms of culinary trends, 2015 will be remembered in Sacramento as the Year of Poke. Variations of this Hawaiian seafood salad have long been a staple of local menus, be it as a starter course at Bandera or nestled in the fish counter at Oto’s Marketplace. But now, the raw seafood dish known as poke (pronounced “po-kay”) is primed to become the new shawarma, shabu shabu or other dish du jour. The poke craze in Sacramento was kicked off by Fish Face, the poke bar run by Billy Ngo of Kru at R Street’s WAL Public Market. Since opening in early July, Fish Face has processed up to 120 pounds of fresh tuna daily – sometimes selling out of product – to meet its customer demand. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Beer glassware: It’s not just about what you drink - Why do you drink beer? Your answer will have a lot to do with how you drink beer. If you consider craft beer to be an engaging sensory experience and if you’re committed to seeing, smelling and tasting your beer, then the glassware into which it is poured will be an important consideration. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Foundation Restaurant & Bar: Uneven but stable - One of the real winners is Foundation’s Big Ol’ BBQ burger. There are four burgers on the menu, but the waitress assured us this was a good one. She was right: Topped with sharp cheddar, caramelized onions, two big strips of bacon and house-made barbecue sauce, it was a winner. The beef flavor came through well and the bun held up despite the oceans of sauce and juice that poured forth. Stock up on napkins for this one...Foundation is perfectly fine, if a bit uneven in execution. It’s a good option for lunches and drinks and, come 2016, or whenever the arena opens, it should be packed to the rafters. Ann Martin Rolke in Sac News & Review.

Berry nutty: Strawberry Fields 4EVER, WholeHearted Juice Co. - Try the Strawberry Fields 4EVER ($11 including $1 deposit for the 16-ounce bottle), which delights with almonds, strawberries, cacao butter, dates, vanilla, ocean minerals and sea salt. It's slightly sweet, salty and nutty with a quiet reminder of chocolate-covered strawberries. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Tales and Ales: A Red Solo Cup Anniversary Party - Come celebrate 56 years of enchantment at Fairytale Town, Sacramento’s favorite (and only) storybook park. On the evening of Aug. 29, Fairytale Town welcomes all generations of fans to an anniversary party. While the kids enjoy Fairytale Town’s countless attractions, adults can join local craft breweries in unlimited beer tasting. Fill up your red Solo cup as many times as you want from some of the featured local breweries, including Lost Coast Brewery, Oak Park Brewing Company, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Track 7 Brewing Co. and more. Sara Stidham in Sac Mag.

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Dining News: 'Chef Gabriel Glasier creates art at Cask & Barrel'


Cask & Barrel (disclosure: they're a valued advertiser) has been doing amazing things over on Del Paso Blvd.

I was there several weeks ago and Chef Gabriel Glasier described how his recipes aren't measured in ounces or minutes, but rather are so precise that grams and seconds are used.

When developing his Hangtown Fry recipe, he says he ended up eating 50 eggs that weren't quite what he wanted before he nailed the recipe.

So it's no surprise that others are also noticing what's going on at Cask and Barrel.

Here's a snippet of Carla Meyer's review in the Sac Bee:

Its dishes do not seem transitory. They wedge themselves into memory. You will think often of the meats’ tenderness, of the appetizers’ visual allure and of the local, seasonal ingredients Glasier uses. You will think of these things because nearly every restaurant you visit after this one will seem expensive by comparison...

Even if Cask & Barrel grows busier, Glasier said he will not change his 40-seat model. Here’s hoping that’s true. For me, Cask & Barrel has ruined that other restaurant model – the one charging a lot for quality ingredients and pretty presentation. It needs to stay as is.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

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Organizers cancel – then un-cancel – Davis Beer Week - We’re doing a lot of writing – and rewriting – here in the newsroom this afternoon, fresh off the news that organizers opted to cancel Davis Beer Week, then, in a matter of a few hours, reverse course and say the event is back on. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Food truck owner’s dog fatally shot in Sacramento home burglary - The owner of Drewski’s Food Truck is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who shot and killed his dog and business mascot during a burglary of his home Saturday night. Cathy Locke in the Sac Bee.

Downtown Plaza's west end empties out. Now what? - In the food court, Gyro Supreme's last day of business is Tuesday and a sign at Panda Express says it's open through July 3. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Don't Miss The Dish: Zabuton - Zabuton. When I saw a dish by that name on Grange’s menu recently, I almost passed it by, figuring it for some sort of fish. But when the server came to take our order, my curiosity got the better of me, and I asked about it. Turns out it’s beef—and absolutely delicious. Marybeth Bizjak in Sac Mag.

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Dining News: Pigs & Pinot Event at Cask & Barrel on Friday, 6/26


If you haven't been to Cask & Barrel recently, you're missing out.

(Disclosure, they're an advertiser, but I really do love them. This is not a paid post.)

Executive Chef Gabriel Glasier, Pastry Chef Kristel Flores and the rest of the team are turning out some of the most inventive and creative food in Sacramento. And that's before you even get to their BBQ, which is smoked for 7 hours and then cook sous vide for another 48 or 72 hours (depending on the meat).

But here's your chance to sample the restaurant without too much of a commitment.

On Friday, June 26, Cask & Barrel will have a Pigs & Pinot event, where the chef will roast a 60 pound Berkshire pig from the Heritage Group in a Caja China Box. (I didn't know what one was either. Basically, it's an aluminum box with coals on top. The pig will cook in approximately 5 hours. One way to visualize it is a way to do a Hawaiian pig roast, but above ground. Here's more info.) In addition, the chef told me recently he will likely season it Filipino style. He'll also go whole hog and serve trotters, ears and other parts of the pig as treats at the event.

With that delicious pork will be wine tasting with 12 pinots from California and around the world, curated by Matthew Lewis of WineCentric. The first wine on the list? A premiere cru from Beaune-France. That bottle itself costs $60.

The event is only $15. To get tickets or for more info, visit

More News:

Paragary's reveals 'drastic' remodel - A simple goal dominates a remodeled Paragary's restaurant: Don't be boring. "It just didn't keep up with the competition. It became boring. We don't want to be boring anymore," local restaurateur Randy Paragary said of his flagship restaurant at the corner of 28th and N streets in midtown Sacramento. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

A healthier truck stop - Saba Rahimian’s Granola Girl food truck is finally ready for business. The former yoga teacher started her Granola Girl brand in February 2014, at first selling superfood-charged granola online. Then, last fall, she planned to unveil a food truck selling a mix of granola bowls, juice and hot food—with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options—but got bogged down in mechanical and permit-related delays. Until now. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

About a Bite Bakery - This local bakery, which specializes in mini confections, plans to open its first storefront on K Street at the end of June, replacing the former Blush Ultra Lounge nightclub next to Tequila Museo Mayahuel. Tori Masucci Cummins & Jessica Rine in Sactown Mag. (First Item.)

Restaurant app lets you pay more to get to the head of the line - A locally developed app that allows users to name their own discounts at restaurants has added a new feature — the ability to pay a premium in order to get to the head of the line. Mark Anderson in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining News: What's Next for the Team Behind Mother after Empress?

Empress tavern

The highly anticipated Empress Tavern, the restaurant for carnivores by chefs Michael Thiemann and Matt Masera and the rest of the team behind Mother, will open any week now.

Their signage is up. The management and staff have been hired and trained. They've toured local farmers markets.

But that doesn't mean they're resting on their laurels. The Sac Bee's Chris Macias scoops in a larger story about the upcoming Empress:

Thiemann’s plan is to create a string of restaurants with feminine names. Mother opened in 2014 and has emerged as a favorite of vegetarians and carnivores alike. Empress takes its moniker from the former name of the Crest Theatre, and there are two more projects in the works: Maiden Sacramento Ice Cream, and Queen’s Market, a fish shop similar to Hog’s Island Oyster Co.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

When Empress Tavern opens, it will be located at 1013 K Street, and can be found online at

More News:

Cask & Barrel: A better barbecue - Cask & Barrel is certainly doing a lot of lovely things with the concept of barbecue, turning it over and dressing it up, blurring the lines between tablecloth dining and eating with your fingers. Some of it is good, some of it is excellent and a few dishes need work. Still, if you have dinner plans this week, I recommend you cancel them and immediately go check out Cask & Barrel. Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

Is Starbucks serving up more stores with booze? - It appears Starbucks is continuing its effort to add beer and wine to some of its Sacramento region stores, with at least four possible locations set to get boozy in the future. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Counter Culture: Hana Tsubaki relies on favorite family recipes - The lunch pal summed it up: “With its Japanese fans, soft lighting, restrained ambiance and Japanese staff, Hana Tsubaki is the next best thing to dining in Japan – and a heckuva lot cheaper!” Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Band of Brothers: Childhood friends launch social-savvy wine brand from hometown in Clarksburg - Yet time and circumstance eventually led all three back to the family farms of Clarksburg and, ultimately, to a table at Club Pheasant in West Sacramento. It was there, in March of 2014, they decided to do together what all three had dreamed of separately: open a winery. Michelle Locke in Comstocks Mag.

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