Hock Farm

Dining News: Four Events I'm Excited For During Sac Bacon Fest


It's the most wonderful time of the year. Sac Bacon Fest has returned so we can celebrate all things swine over through  Sunday, January 31.

With over 100 events planned, there's sure to be something for everyone. But for my time and money, here are the four I'm looking forward to:

Monday, Jan. 25: Bacon Fest Opening Night at Empress Tavern, featuring one of the underground 86'ed chef competitions between three former Bacon Fest champions: Brad Cecchi (formerly of Grange), Kelly Hogge (Magpie) and Ian MacBride (Lucca). Doors open at 6 p.m., with competition starting at 7:30 p.m. Free.

Tuesday, Jan. 26: Bacon Fest Happy Hour at the new Magpie. featuring Pretzel Dogs (Nido made pretzel buns, kosher dog and BLT relish), Pork Belly Bao (Steamed buns, Magpie's braised belly, spice honey and cilantro), Corned Pork, roots and cabbage, Kelly's Lamb Bacon, Morocco spice, yogurt and flat bread,
Pork and Beans (Llano Secco heirloom beans and lardon), Magpie cured Guanciale, chicory and poached egg, and Bacon and Nut Brittle (Gunther's ice cream)
From 4-7pm. $25 in advance or $35 at the door. Includes tax not tip, food not booze.

Friday, Jan. 29: The Golden Bear presents the Baddest Bacon Happy Hour, featuring Chow Mein (Caramelized Pork Belly, Fresh Veggies, Sweet Soy Sauce), Belly & Beet Salad (Baby Spinach and Arugula, Toasted Almonds, Feta Cheese, Pork Belly Croutons, Bacon-Honey Vinaigrette, Mini BLTs, (House Made Apple Smoked Bacon, Mixed Greens, Cherry Tomatoes, Black Garlic Aioli, on Peppered Bacon Focaccia) and Buffalo Wings (Boneless Wings Wrapped in Peppered Bacon, House Made Buffalo Sauce). All special Bacon Fest food items are $7.50. 4 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 30: Bacon paella at Selland’s in East Sacramento. Paella cooked in Selland's giant 4-ft Paella Pan outdoors, filled with house-cured traditional bacon and chorizo bacon, prawns, mussels, chicken stock, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and saffron rice. Their house recipe Sangria will also be available! $11 per bowl.

Looking for more information or for another event that might be more to your liking, visit BaconFestSac.com or the Sac Bacon Fest Facebook page.

More News:

VIDEO: Fried Baloney sliders featured at Sacramento’s Bacon Fest - This morning chef Jason Azevedo from the Paragary group's Hock Farm is in the KCRA kitchen preparing fried baloney sliders for Sac Bacon Fest.  On KCRA

Feast Q&A: Barkeep stirs things up for Bacon Fest throwdown - Which takes us to the fifth annual Sacramento Bacon Fest, Jan. 25-31 at various venues. Opening night will be at Empress Tavern, the unusual brick-walled space underneath the Crest Theatre. The homage to bacon will continue with bacon-centric meals (including bacon paella at Selland’s in East Sacramento), a tribute to actor Kevin Bacon and a bacon-themed brewery tour aboard a bus. Debuting at this year’s porcine party be the Bacon Fest Cocktail Battle at Bottle & Barlow, the hybrid bar and barbershop along the R Street Corridor. There, co-owner and house mixologist Jayson Wilde will serve his bacon-infused cocktails and oversee a throw-down involving area bartenders who will “battle for cash with the best bacon-inspired concoctions.” Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Time travel - RailBridge Cellars & Co. is expected to serve breakfast, lunch and happy hour fare. No menu yet, but it’ll probably be simple stuff. The main draw will be its grand setting. The restaurant occupies the ground floor of the Elks Tower (921 11th Street), a beautiful, historic building and favorite downtown wedding venue, which also hosts the RailBridge Cellars penthouse tasting room. With vintage decor and a swingin’ vibe, owners say they hope diners will feel like they’ve traveled back to the 1920s. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Feast Q&A: Delivery service calms one’s inner cookie monster - Sometimes hunger strikes late at night, and only a snickerdoodle will do. Yet people who crave cookies at midnight often are the same people who perpetually lack the ingredients – flour, cinnamon, ambition – needed to bake them at home. For them, there’s Cookies & Milk, a service that delivers still-warm, baked-to-order cookies, along with small cartons of milk, to Sacramentans within the central city and some adjacent neighborhoods. Carla Meyer in the Sac Bee.

Best buffets and places to gorge and overeat in Sacramento - Go for that last chicken wing. You can always wheeze yourself to sleep, baby. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

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Dining News: RIP Level Up Lounge, Replaced by VEG


Level Up Lounge, located above the popular Thai Basil on J Street, closed in November, reports Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Replacing the night club will be VEG, a coffee, bar & tea room.

Suleka Sun-Lindley, who co-owns Thai Basil and Veg, said the idea has been in the works for about two years. She also co-owned Level Up Lounge.

She called the new concept "completely different." While Level Up Lounge catered to a nightlife crowd, Veg will specialize in breakfast and lunch service, according to Sun-Lindley. She's considering offering dinner service for select occasions, such as private events.

Read the entire story in Sac Biz Journal.

According to their Facebook page, VEG officially opened for business on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

VEG is located at 2431 J Street., and can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/vegcafemidtown.

More News:

Empress Tavern: Retro meat-and-potatoes fare in a fun (if somewhat noisy) setting - Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, Empress Tavern is a beauty. Located below the Crest Theatre on K Street, it’s a subterranean trip to the past. The long-anticipated Empress opened in September, with its sister restaurant, the vegetarian Mother, having already paved the way above ground. Proprietors Michael and Lisa Thiemann have once again picked an offbeat theme and exceeded expectations. Ann Martin Rolke in Sac News & Review.

Wings all day, err day - Lovers of crispy, saucy hunks of chicken have two new local options: Fire Wings and Kiki’s Chicken Place. On the cusp of Elk Grove, Fire Wings (8785 Center Parkway) dishes out mass quantities of wings in a massive number of flavors. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Dos Coyotes expanding with new stores in 2016 - Locally-owned Dos Coyotes Border Cafe plans to add up to four locations in 2016, most of which are outside the Sacramento region. It marks another step forward in the company's franchising efforts. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Sacramento Beer Week to return with larger, sudsier festival in February - Sacramento Beer Week will find a new home at Cal Expo for its opening Sacramento Brewers Showcase set to kick-off the 11-day celebration on Feb. 25. Jason Pham in Sactown Mag.

First Impressions: Land Park’s new Meet & Eat - The meaty mushroom-cheeseburger was a two-handed treat, served with excellent crisp and skinny fries. “I want to taste good-quality meat on my burger, and this one delivers,” said a lunch pal. Competing with that four-star sandwich was a trio of messy marinated-shrimp tacos. The tortillas, with satisfying corn flavor, were topped with perfectly ripe avocado, mixed greens, diced onion-tomato, cilantro dressing and, for once, a whole bunch of really tasty shrimp. The side of fiery salsa added the right bite. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: Chef Jason Azevedo to Lead Hock Farm's Kitchen


Chef Jason Azevedo has been tapped by the Paragary empire to be the chef de Cuisine at Hock Farm.

According to his Facebook page, he started the new gig on Wednesday.

Most recently, Azevedo was executive sous chef at Esquire Grill, where he and executive chef Pedro Depina teamed up for Hotgoberfest. The event/promotion celebrated the whole hog by serving every bit of a Rancho Llano Seco hog, including porchetta, chicarrones, terrine and more.

Prior to that, Azevedo was the chef at Mighty Tavern in Fair Oaks, chef de cuisine at Nuggett Market and the chef at Old Soul.

He's probably best known for his skills as a butcher and in making charcuterie.

In addition to that, Azevedo has been very generous with his time. I ran into him at a Sac Bacon Week event, and he talked to me for more than 15 minutes about the economics of running a restaurant and things chefs have to consider as they create their menus. It was very classy of him.

I've not always been a fan of the food served at Hock Farm. I have confidence Azevedo will remedy that.

A Twitter direct message to Azevedo and a phone message left at the Paragarys corporate office seeking comment in recent days were not returned.

Hock Farm is located at 1415 L Street and can be found online at http://www.paragarys.com/sacramento-restaurants/hock-farm.

Photo via Facebook.

More News:

Ready, set, gyro - State workers have yet another Mediterranean lunch option. The former owner of Gyro Supreme is back downtown with Vela Cafe (1000 I Street), which opened last week. In addition to gyro and falafel sandwiches, Vela Cafe offers several egg-based breakfasts, deli sandwiches, soups and a hot-food-slash-salad bar. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review. (Second Item.)

Sandwich or ‘hamwich’? - We got a craving for one when we spotted the sign for the HoneyBaked Cafe outside the HoneyBaked Ham store in Fair Oaks. You know HoneyBaked ham, right? It’s the applewood-smoked spiral-cut ham (topped with “sweet honey crackling glaze”) that’s so often a guest at traditional holiday dinners. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Roots Creative Kitchen - This combination grocery store, kitchen and café focused on farm-to-fork values will open in Oak Park in early 2016. Intent on serving those with dietary restrictions and promoting healthy living and sustainability, Roots will feature neutral colors and an earthy décor, indoor and outdoor dining areas, take-out and delivery options.Heather Kemp and Johanna Pugh in Sactown Magazine. (Third Item.)

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Dining News: Restauranteur Wonders If There Be Enough Demand for New Downtown Restaurants


The new Kings arena has caused a building boom downtown, and I can think of 15 planned restaurants, bars or cafes off the top of my head. But if you build it, will they come?

Randy Paragary, perhaps Sacramento's most successful restauranteur, seems at least a little worried, via an interview with Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

It’s a good question of what the future will be like when there’s 10, 20, 30 more restaurants opening in the downtown area. There’s a thing called supply and demand. There’s a demand out there of people who want to go out to eat, and we have our supply. Is that demand going to increase as we build these 20, 30 more restaurants downtown? I hope so.

As far as I can tell, there's no massive expansion in office space or full time residential living (yet) coming with the arena. There will be new hotels, but a look around where the Sheraton or Embassy Suites is doesn't seem to show that a hotel itself can anchor a restaurant row. I guess time will tell.

In the very newsy article, Chris Macias also reports:

  • Paragary's Bar & Oven will now be called just Paragary's
  • Scott Ostrander will move from Esquire Grill to be the head chef at Paragary's
  • Centro was declining, but changes to the management team and menu have sales up 25 to 30%

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

Paragary's is expected to open in May, and will be located at 28th & N streets.

* Art above is an artist rendering provided by Paragary's.

More News:

Ridgeway, Patel selected to oversee gala farm-to-fork dinner on Tower Bridge - Oliver Ridgeway of Grange and Ravin Patel of Selland Family Restaurants will orchestrate a four-course dinner for 700-plus people on the Tower Bridge, according to Mike Testa, chief operating officer of the convention bureau. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Dine locally, eat globally - New restaurant overload: If you’re bored with your current dining rotation, you officially can’t complain anymore. A slew of new and diverse options opened up in the Sacramento area within the past couple of weeks. Featuring Taste of AngKor, Los Tres Reyes, Sarom's Southern Kitchen and Sky Sushi. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Pickle me this: Pickle plate, Capital Dime - It's awesome those times when I order Capital Dime's pickle plate ($9) and get to devour all the vinegary yum. This small plate assortment includes thinly cut pickled vegetables, pickled eggs and a generous heaping of Dijon mustard for dipping. Rachel Leibrock in Sac News & Review.

Food startups get a taste of raising money online - Preservation & Co. is selling its pickled vegetables and bloody mary mix. Huck’s Hollow Farm in Grass Valley wants to expand nationwide with its organic, GMO-free, artisanal crackers. Gluten Free Specialty is trying to open Sacramento’s first allergen-free restaurant, while Save Point Tavern plans to host the first bar and nosh spot for gamers. What’s their common ingredient? They’re all independent foodie ventures turning to crowdfunding to raise money. And in Sacramento, that makes them something of a rarity. Ellen Garrison in the Sac Bee.

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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.

More News:

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.

VIDEO: Stir it up for Valentine’s Day with Sweet & Sinful Cocktails - How about a cocktail to help set the scene for romance this Valentine’s Day? Bar Manager Brad Peters of Hock Farm whipped up some fabulous cocktails that will get you in the mood for love. On FOX 40.

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Dining News: Chando's Tacos in Roseville to Open on Feb. 3

Chando's Tacos will expand to Roseville, opening on Tuesday, Feb. 3.

The Roseville location was scheduled to open the location in October, but like so many other restaurants, its opening was delayed.

This will be the third restaurant for Chando's Tacos, with the original location on Arden Way, and its second location on Power Inn.

Statistician Nate Silver's 538 Web site named Chando's Tacos the 7th Best Burrito in America, though most connoisseurs recommend the mulitas.

Chando's Tacos Roseville is located at 963 Pleasant Grove Boulevard, and can be found online at ChandosTacos.com.

More News:

Is Unified starting to outgrow Sacramento? - It’s shaping up to be a packed week at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, which runs Tuesday through Thursday at the Sacramento Convention Center and the nearby Sheraton and Hyatt Regency hotels. Organizers are expecting a record crowd of more than 14,000 to attend Unified, the annual wine industry conference and trade show that doubles as the largest convention hosted in Sacramento each year. Almost every square inch of the Sacramento Convention Center is being scrutinized in an effort to best accommodate all the attendees and trade-show vendors. And good luck finding a hotel room within a walkable distance, or a dinner reservation on Tuesday or Wednesday at Ella Dining Room & Bar or Grange. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Knee Deep in Great Beer - It takes moxie to tattoo your forearm with the logo of a company that may fold a few months later. But that’s exactly what Jeremy Warren did when he founded Knee Deep Brewing in Auburn. “I tattooed it on there when I started the company,” explains Warren. “That way, every morning when I brushed my teeth, I would have to look at the tattoo to remind myself that this was not going to be easy and I was going to have to work hard. It was a daily reminder of what I was going up against. There was a chance I would have a tattoo of a brewery that didn’t exist.” Catherine Warmerdam in Sac Mag.

Return of foie gras draws some opposition - Despite the barrage of foie gras photos that have appeared on social media in recent days, not everyone's happy the delicacy is back on California menus. Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, reiterated his group's opposition to the news while visiting Sacramento on Friday. "This is an issue of torture of birds," Pacelle said in a phone interview. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

10 fiery ways to enjoy International Hot and Spicy Food Day in Sacramento - In honor of International Hot and Spicy Food Day this Friday, Jan. 16, it’s time to crank up the heat with some fiery and spicy dishes around Sacramento that will curb the winter blues. Ranging from sinus-clearing to delicately sweetened and spiced, here are 10 great dishes, delicacies and treats for those heat seekers looking to add a little extra kick to their day. Featuring Broderick Roadhouse, Vampire Penguin, Mulvaney's B&L, Thai Spice, 3D Candles, Akebono, Preservation & Co., Hidden Sichuan, Sandra Dee's BBQ & Seafood and Tres Hermanas. Alex Hernandez in Sactown Mag.

VIDEO: Business Owners Near Sacramento Kings Arena Fear Rent Hikes Will Drive Them Out Of City - Armando Ponce has been cutting hair in downtown, just a few blocks away from the arena site, for 20 years. He says several tenants have already moved out of the building where he works because the rent was getting too high, and he fears he could be next when his lease is up. Ian Schwartz on CBS 13.

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Dining News: RIP Cafe Soleil


Cafe Soleil will close on Friday, the restaurant announced on Facebook.

Here's the full text of their post:

Loyal Soleil Customers,

It it with a heavy heart I announce that Soleil will be closing it's doors on Friday December 5th. Please come by this week if you want to grab a delicious meal one more time and use your gift certificates.

The Ix Family sends a sincere thank you to all of your support over the years. The customers and memories will always be cherished.

This is a wonderful local family business that will be greatly missed by the community. We will always be thankful for the amazing food, service and thoughts of Nicole and her beautiful family that made our week days brighter and our tastebuds happy.

The Sacramento Bee's Ryan Lillis fills in some more of the details:

Yesenia Ix said changes to Cesar Chavez Plaza have made it difficult for the cafe to remain open.

The city has spent millions of dollars renovating the park in recent years. The work disrupted business at Café Soleil, as fences surrounded much of the park, Ix said.

“People turn away whenever they see a fence,” Ix said.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

For those who want to pay one last visit to Cafe Soleil, it is located at 917 9th St.

More News:

Sacramento chef embraces role as Culinerd - But becoming “The Culinerd” requires much more than throwing on some novelty glasses and getting inked with food-related tattoos. Breedlove has Asperger’s syndrome, a condition that has made social interactions difficult and left him grappling with obsessive behaviors for much of his life. His wife of eight years and business partner, Amy, serves as his de facto life skills coach. “I’ve really seen him come a long ways,” said Amy Breedlove. “Every day, I have to realize he’s wired differently, and I had to learn patience and communication with him. He doesn’t pick up on anything. Every day is a struggle for him with his quirks and fixations.” Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Add Some Bang to Your Brunch at Grange - If traditional mimosas and Bloody Marys leave you yawning, check out Grange Restaurant & Bar's lineup of brunch cocktails. I visited this downtown bastion of farm-to-fork cuisine recently on a lazy Saturday morning, and ordered up the establishment's Red Beer and Grange Irish Coffee to, er, complement my meal. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Chocolate bread pudding for the season - Chef Tom Patterson at Fabian’s Italian Bistro makes an unusual version, which will be on the menu through December and perhaps beyond. The base for his chocolate bread pudding is soft challah bread, which takes off from there with the additions of chocolate mousse, ganache, cream, egg, cinnamon and sugar, topped with vanilla gelato and brittle orange “clear” caramel ($8.95). To paraphrase the famous quote from Charles Dickens’ novel “Oliver Twist,” “We want some more, please.” Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Old Soul Co.'s 'The Sauce' Debuts This Month - I was delighted to discover a unique beer recently that was produced collaboratively by Old Soul Co. and Ruhstaller of Sacramento. “The Sauce,” a coffee-infused Porter, debuted this month as a limited release (only 230 cases were produced), and is offered in a custom 22-ounce bottle. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

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