Ink Eats & Drinks

Dining News: Downtown & Vine Appears on Design Reality TV Show


Dowtown and Vine is the second Sacramento restaurant to be featured on Red Hot Design, a show on the FYI network.

From the TV network's description of the 7th episode of its inaugural season:

Shasta's challenge is to transform a patio in order to attract business for a Wine Bar. Shasta is excited and worried at the same time that her design will be featured in a prime downtown location.

I don't have cable, so I didn't catch the first airing on Monday night. But those who want to watch the show can catch a rerun on Saturday morning at 8 a.m.

The first Sacramento-area restaurant to be featured was Broderick. If you missed their episode or are a cable cutter like me, you can catch a clip on FYI.TV.

Dowtown and Vine is located at 1200 K Street, and can be found online at

* Photo via the Downtown & Vine Facebook Page.

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Fish tacos with trimmings is a lunchtime go-to - After lunch, we agreed its version of Baja-style fish tacos is one of the best we’ve had in the area. The three mini-flour tortillas overflow with crispy beer-battered fish topped with shredded cabbage, salsa and chipotle aioli. With them are a heap of flavorful cilantro-infused rice and a bowl of savory black beans topped with crumbles of queso fresco. Oh, and guacamole and chips, too. A big meal for $12.50, easily shared. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Assistance League buys building, will relocate thrift store in 2015 - The nonprofit’s new building had been home to Waffle King’s and Machu Picchu, an American breakfast diner that transforms into a Peruvian restaurant as the day progresses. The quirky restaurant, which received a favorable review in The Bee in June, is moving to 5825 Winding Way. Stott recalled that the site also once was home to the Coral Reef restaurant, the Tiki-style landmark that closed in 1994. Cathie Anderson in the Sac Bee.

Take a bit of Italy with you at this Elk Grove deli - What do you call long sandwiches on soft rolls stuffed with Italian meats and cheese, veggies and often a squirt of oil and vinegar dressing? They go by many names around the United States: hoagie, grinder, submarine sandwich, hero, dagwood and wedge, to name just a few. In Sacramento, we have plenty of shops that sell excellent versions of these hearty sandwiches -- Sampino’s, Corti Brothers, Roxie Deli and the like. Now Elk Grove has an Italian delicatessen as well, and it’s on par with not only those in Sacramento, but even some in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. Andrea Thompson in Sac Biz Journal.

Try It: Ink Eats & Drinks' Grapefruit Martini - Ink Eats & Drinks is one of midtown’s most distinctive dining and drinking establishments. Despite its vibrant, tattoo-inspired artwork and edgy, urban vibe, I’ve found it to be equally warm and welcoming to families and the 50-plus crowd as it is to its young, garrulous (and often tatted) regulars.  Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Dad's Kitchen: Take a family vacay to Flavortown - The cooking here is consistent and at times technically terrific. There are plenty of brews on tap for beer nerds to quaff. It’s a comfortable place to get comfortable with American food plus a good beer or two. Jonathan Mendick in Sac News & Review.

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Dining News: Q and A with Coriander Vietnamese Restaurant


Coriander Vietnamese Restaurant, located at S & Alhambra streets, opened in April. I e-mailed with Kristi Ng (no relation) and she gave me some more info about the restaurant.

Q: What's the concept of your restaurant?

A: Our concept is very simple:  although vietnamese food is getting more mainstream, the quality, service and cleanliness still lacks in most restaurants.  We pledge to provide excellent customer service, clean and modern atmosphere, quality ingredients that won't compromise traditional recipes.

Q: Is there any notable experience for the chef or owner in the restaurant industry?

A: There are 3 main chefs at Coriander.  Myself, Kevin and Linh.  Kevin has many years of restaurant experience though myself and Linh are great home cooks.

Q: Anything else interesting you want to share?

A: We are very careful in handling our food. What we serve at the restaurant is what we would serve at home to our families-no compromises.

She also pointed to her business pledge on Coriander's Web site.

At Coriander restaurant, diners will enjoy savory Vietnamese appetizers and entrees in a clean and modern environment without compromising quality, taste, and service.

I haven't had the chance to try it yet, but I'm sure I'll pay a visit in the fall when the air chills and I'm in the mood for soup and spicy food.

Coriander Vietnamese Restaurant is located at 1899 Alhambra Street, and can be found online at

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First impressions: Coriander Vietnamese Restaurant - The impression of garlic and spices still lingers on our palates a few hours after lunch. Many of the foods, especially the chicken wings and Coriander fried rice, are flavored strongly per central Vietnamese custom. So far, Coriander looks to be a good alternative to Star Ginger in terms of ambiance and accessibility. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Tapa the World no longer on top - And then there is Tapa the World, a long-running, pun-loving tapas eatery on J Street in midtown that once was a star attraction for tapas. At its peak, the place was packed and was so noisy it was often a struggle to hear the live classical guitarist. Things change. The restaurant scene evolves, and what the competition is doing plays a part in determining the rating a restaurant receives. Since it was last reviewed in 2005, Tapa the World is no longer at the tapa the heap for casual dining in this category. While there are still ways to enjoy this eatery, its food has clearly declined in recent years while the competition has clearly elevated. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Introducing a new voice for food and restaurants - I'm delighted to introduce Andrea Thompson as the Sacramento Business Journal's new restaurant columnist. She brings a deep knowledge of food and has well-honed skills at telling stories about who makes it, how and why. Her first column went up on our site this morning. Jack Robinson in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining Deals: Iron Steaks, Revolution Wines


Who doesn't love half off at a neighborhood steakhouse? Well, vegans, I guess. But for everybody else, you can enjoy a deal at Iron Steaks, a solid neighborhood restaurant right next to Target on Broadway.

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Dining News: Zocalo's Food is 'Only Occasionally Delightful'


I'm a big fan of Zocalo. They're a solid choice when you want Mexican food in an upscale setting. I like to think of them like Paesanos - pleasing and decent food but not trying to be something it's not.

My go to dish there is the conchita pibil, which Wikipedia describes as a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatán Península of Mayan origin. I'd just describe it as delicious.

Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson's experiences seem to be different than mine.

The best part of the Zocalo experience just may be the building. It excites the senses and signals that something special might be on the way. Even the noise – the acoustics are awful – creates a sense of anticipation in diners approaching the restaurant. There’s a hum, a buzz. But surely those inside can’t be buzzing about the menu, as the food is mostly acceptable and only occasionally delightful.

Part of the problem is consistency and quality. During one visit, our carnitas were too dry and chewy. Another time, they were dark, glistening and delicious. A third time, all we could taste what seemed to be a vaguely citrus marinade, and the texture was nearly more mushy than meaty...

The conchita pibil ($16.99) was even better, an excellent example of a pork shoulder cooked to tender perfection and flavored with an achiote rub and habanero salsa.

Best of all may have been the fish tacos. Fish that is plump and battered and ample, on tacos that are nicely accessorized and delicious. The only thing holding them back from greatness are the ho-hum corn tortillas that look and taste mass-produced – rigidly uniform and rather bland. And at $14.99, this plate of tacos is on the pricey side of reasonable.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

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Check it Out: Midtown's Ju Hachi - When I’m craving sushi, I often make a beeline for cozy little Ju Hachi on S Street. This warm, friendly midtown spot usually has a seat or two available at the sushi bar (even on a Saturday night!), and I appreciate its quiet environment and unfailingly gracious service. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

First Impressions: State Fair food comes to Rocklin with Fancy Funnel Cakes - The desserts are tops, especially the pan-fried pound cake, which resembles french toast, and the peach cobbler, rich with cinnamon. As for the funnel cakes, we’ve had our share at fairs and carnivals and these are the best we’ve tasted. Part of the lunch spread was the Oblivion, a funnel cake topped with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, cherry sauce, chocolate and whipped cream – ideal for sharing. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

The Rind serves unique cheese pairings for local foodies - Local cheese, wine and beer shop, The Rind, is causing a splash by giving the best pairing experience for Sacramento locals. Located on 18th and L streets, The Rind has set itself apart from many new shops springing up, because of its unique approach to pairing artisan and farmstead cheeses. Kaitlin Bruce in the Sac State Hornet.

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Dining News: The Origins of LowBrau


Every superhero has a great backstory. And it turns out that the super popular restaurant LowBrau has a great one too. Sactown Mag's Kate Washington has the details.

Despite the pair’s vision, however, they were new to the tough restaurant business. As Nutting puts it, “Here we are, two guys that don’t have any experience, just a lot of passion and a really cool concept.” When they met with MARRS owner Michael Heller about the space, as Nutting tells it, “He asked us if we had restaurant experience, and we were like, ‘Well, we’ll be right back.’ ” The pair then approached bar-restaurant Shady Lady Saloon’s management team, who became consultants and helped refine the concept. Nutting continues: “So we went back to Mike Heller, and we were like, ‘OK, we’ve got restaurant people on board.’ And he was like, ‘Great. Do you have any money?’ And we were like, ‘We’ll be right back.’ So we just started pounding the pavement.” At the time, Hargis confesses, “I was [so] broke I didn’t know where I was going to get gas money to meet the investors to ask for money.” Somehow he did, investors responded with enthusiasm, and the pieces fell into place. From conception to opening, however, took nearly two years (the restaurant debuted with a soft opening just before New Year’s Eve).

Read the entire story in Sactown Mag.

Click here for more posts referencing LowBrau.

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INK Eats and Drinks: Decade of Decadence - It’s not often that art, food and commerce converge, but after a decade in one of the most challenging businesses to break through, the tattooed-themed INK Eats and Drinks has built a solid following of regulars and bar hounds who frequently gobble up its fare. “We’re not trying to be a chain or corporate,” says Christina Arntson, bar manager and assistant general manager. “Our success was just [being in] the right time and location—it was like the stars aligned and now we’ve been here for 10 years.” Lovelle Harris in Submerge Mag.

Mylapore: Like training for a marathon - Because there is much to like at Mylapore, starting with the giant dosas. Dosas are ultrathin crepes with a savory filling. They range in size from 3-feet-long ones to 1-footers served as an assorted platter. The standard dosa is loaded up with turmeric-seasoned potatoes and onions. Mylapore also serves a “spring” dosa filled with oniony coleslaw. I’m no stranger to the crunchy, hollow bite-sized snacks called pani puri, and I knew the proper procedure is to fill them with cold potatoes and garbanzo beans and maybe a chutney or two. What I didn’t know until I asked the server, however, is that one is supposed to fill them with the accompanying mint water and try to eat the bite before any leaks out. It makes sense: “Pani” means “flavored water.” What a fun, refreshing snack—no wonder these are a popular street food in India. Becky Gruenwald in Sac News & Review.

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Dining News: Buffalo's Breakfast Pizza a 'Guilty Pleasure'

I love pizza. I love eating breakfast food for any meal. No restaurant combines those two concepts as well as Buffalo Pizza & Ice Cream, located on 21st St. In an office I used to work in, Buffalo Pizza was the treat we got delivered whenever we celebrated a birthday.

Here's Sac Mag's Jonathan Mendick take on the place:

The eatery has all the quirky characteristics one might expect a local foodie to love: a unique product (breakfast pizza) and a small location (actually, it’s take-out or delivery only, no dine in). It also has limited hours (7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday). There are no tables, no fancy decorations and no credit cards accepted here; all of these give way to make room for Buffalo to deliver heavily on creativity and taste...

The eatery has all the quirky characteristics one might expect a local foodie to love: a unique product (breakfast pizza) and a small location (actually, it’s take-out or delivery only, no dine in). It also has limited hours (7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday). There are no tables, no fancy decorations and no credit cards accepted here; all of these give way to make room for Buffalo to deliver heavily on creativity and taste.

Read the entire review in Sac News & Review.

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Staff pick: Low Brau satisfies meat lovers and offers vegan options - Satisfying meat lovers when choosing where to eat may often imply that a vegetarian’s preferences are out the window, but carnivores and omnivores alike can enjoy the laid back restaurant that aims to please each and every customer: Low Brau. The restaurant is relatively new to midtown Sacramento and opened on Jan. 1 of this year. Energy runs high throughout the German-themed restaurant as friends, families, dates and business partners chatter as they indulge in greasy food and beer. Hope Roberts in the Sac State Hornet.

A Magazine For Beer Lovers - Hops to Table, a free bimonthly magazine launched in February by publisher and homebrewer John Zervas, bills itself as the “ultimate source for all things beer and food.” The inaugural issue included articles on the history of Rubicon Brewing Company; advice on beer and food pairings; and a homebrew recipe for a pale ale featuring Citra hops from Yakima Valley. “We’re trying to make beer as fun and accessible as possible. That’s really the focus of the magazine,” says Zervas, who founded Hops to Table as a labor of love. Catherine Warmerdam in Sac Mag.

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Save $5 at Sutter District Restaurants This Month

The Sutter District, the area surrounding Sutter's Fort in midtown, includes so many great resturants, including:

Through the end of Feb, save $5 when you spend $25 or more. Not valid with other offers.

Click here to get the coupon. Make sure you print it out and bring it with you.