Lemon Grass

Dining News: Another Restaurant Says No to Postmates


Much like Uber and other sharing economy companies, Postmates, while growing quickly, is creating its fair share of enemies along the way.

The latest restaurant to announce it will not take orders from Postmates or other third party delivery companies is The Rind. Here's what they posted on Facebook late last week:

Dear Cheese Fans, due to concerns regarding THIRD PARTY DELIVERY SYSTEMS, including POSTMATES, we will be denying orders via these platforms.

We have recently discovered that Postmates has been delivering our product without our consent, thus delivering at less than the high standards that we believe you deserve. Additionally, we have been BULLIED recently by their representatives in our small restaurant in front of guests and lied to on the phone. This does not represent The Rind.

Yes, we all love a good delivery system, however we made a choice to not deliver in an effort to provide you a consistently delicious and beautiful product. Additionally, because Postmates has us on their platform in part because you love us, it is because we love you that we will have to deny Postmates as a delivery system in order to meet our mission. They may or may not take us off their platform permanently, so I apologize if you see us on it and think we are working with them. We are not.

I have spoken to a representative and was informed that if an order is initiated and then denied, you will not be charged! We apologize for the confusion, and we hope you will continue to support us as we strive to consistently do what we have been doing for the past 2.33 years!

Thank you all for your support and understanding!

Sincerely your cheesiest friends in town,

Sara & Steve

In the comments to that Facebook post, The Rind clarifies that they do allow take out for their food, just not through Postmates and their ilk.

We are happy to do take out to guests and have been since day 1. Giving to a third party loses any assurances of food safety and quality control, thus the primary reasons to focus on giving the food directly to you instead of them. Thank you for understanding.

While I have great respect for the restaurant owners and they can run their business however they want, I'm not sure I understand why they would allow a customer to do take out while not allowing a third party to deliver the food for me.

I understand that there are foods that do well when delivered (burritos, sandwiches, cooked Asian food, etc.) and foods that don't do well (anything raw, charcuterie, cheese plates, etc.). The customer has to understand that when they order from Postmates. If their order is ruined, Postmates is to blame and not the restaurant's fault.

I also hear the argument that food is meant to be eaten the second it's served, but let's be honest - there are many reasons that doesn't happen. A friend will bring pizza over to your house, and it's 20 minutes old when you dig into it. You may grab lunch to eat at your desk, but get an important phone call delays your meal for 30 mins. A co-worker brings in doughnuts and bagles to share with the office and it sits for 2 hours before you see it. It happens all the time, and I don't see a flood of complaints blaming restaurants for the diminished food quality due to the passage of time.

I asked Postmates to comment, and a spokeswoman said that they are acting as an agent of the customer who is requesting a service. In addition, they are driving volume and revenue to restaurants who would otherwise not be able to serve that customer.

Thus far, the list of restaurants that I've seen who won't have said they prefer not to work with Postmates are:

  • The Rind
  • Kru
  • Fish Face Poke Bar (Technically, owner/chef Billy Ngo questioned "the safety of a third party transporting raw fish to customers" but hasn't explicitly said that they won't. I'll check during open hours.)
  • South
  • Mother
  • Pushkin's

Many of the restaurants on that list are very successful and probably don't need the extra revenue. I'll continue to eat in at those restaurants. But for us consumers, we can bring our delivery dollars elsewhere to restaurants who want our business and who will take our money.

Previously: Postmates Not Loved by Many Sacramento Restaurants

* Updated at 10:08 p.m. reflecting uncertainty over Fish Face's status.

More News:

Magpie Cafe: Free bird - In July, Magpie flew its cramped coop on R Street and opened a new location on the corner of 16th and P. The current space is not only larger, but more open, with lots of windows and a high ceiling...Fortunately, many of the stand-out menu items are still available. The California farmstead cheese plate ($16) has always been outstanding. You get five California cheeses paired with fantastic dried figs, fresh seasonal fruit (lately figs and nectarines) and plenty of crisp toasts. Ann Rolke in Sac News & Review.

Hot, hot and cold - Watch out for a new food truck from Hot Italian chef and co-owner Fabrizio Cercatore...It won’t be a mobile Hot Italian, rather, a Passione Pizza truck...Cercatore said he anticipates the food truck allowing him to offer more pizza crusts at events, including whole wheat and gluten-free. He’s currently working on sprouted grain as well. He’s working on a lot. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

The Sommelier & The City: “Let Me Introduce Myself” - Apparently, telling the guy you’re dating you can’t meet up until 1 am on a Tuesday night because your business dinner (with four men in tailored Italian suits) went three hours longer than anticipated (due to copious amounts of rare and very expensive Champagne) doesn’t really go over well. Who could blame this Vino Vixen for NOT turning down free spectacular wine (that costs as much as my monthly salary) with men that have the power to skyrocket my career? Come on, most men can’t even turn down a free room temperate can of Coors Light, let’s keep it real. I digress… to put it simply, dating a Sommelier is hard. Jienna Basaldu on Girls on the Grid.

Eat, drink and give back - Speaking of restaurants, downtown’s Mayahuel is the site of one of the area’s cooler fundraising events: #Network4Cause. One evening nearly every month, the eatery’s banquet room/tequila museum is made available for a different nonprofit organization to bring in guests and generate some cash. Bob Shallit in the Sac Bee. (Second item.)

Bloggers conference here in 2016 - Riding the momentum of its burgeoning farm-to-fork reputation, Sacramento has landed the International Food Bloggers Conference – and all of that potential exposure in cyberspace – for July 2016. The conference, which attracts 300-plus attendees who routinely blog, tweet and use other social media to chronicle their food experiences, is considered the latest coup for the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Continue reading "Dining News: Another Restaurant Says No to Postmates" »

Dining News: Magpie's New Tipping System, Explained


Can anyone help me understand this?We had a terrific brunch at the new Magpie Cafe this morning, but when the bill...

Posted by Thomas Dodson on Sunday, July 12, 2015

It's been a big month for Magpie. At the beginning of the month, they moved from their original R Street location to a new building at 16th & P.

Magpie instituted a new tipping system, the first restaurant in Northern California to institute this back of the house reward. I had a conversation with Magpie owner Ed Roehr on Sunday morning at Nido, and he helped provide the information for some of the answers below.

Q: So what Magpie's new tipping system?

A: In addition to the traditional system where a receipt lists the food and drink total and adds a line for a server gratuity, Magpie has added a line for a kitchen tip. The rationale is that while the front of the house staff has much to do with how satisfied with how a diner is, the kitchen staff/back of the house and the food they prepare also plays a role.

Q: Why don't restaurants just collect the tip and split it among the servers and kitchen staff?

A: In California, that's illegal. According to the California Restaurant Association's Web site, tips can only be pooled and distributed to those in the chain of service, not to the kitchen staff in the back of the house. Wait staff may voluntairly share their tips with the back of the house, but servers are still responsible for paying tax on that money before it gets gifted. If you're really interested in the nitty gritty of the topic, read this Nolo.com article on tipping.

Q: Why not just charge more for food and eliminate tipping?

A: One of the biggest problems with this is that the restaurant owner isn't required to pay his or her employees more. Diners may be paying 20% more for your food, you may not be leaving a tip at the end of the meal, but the restaurant staff isn't guaranteed a penny more in base wages than what they would make at a restaurant down the street.

Q: Where did Magpie get this idea from?

A: Alimento, a "creative and soulful Italian restaurant" in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, which implemented the kitchen tip in Dec. 2014. Read more at Eater.com.

Q: Will I see this in other restaurants?

A: Other Sacramento restaurants are watching closely. Magpie says they've been contacted by several Sacramento restaurant owners, but they are taking a wait and see attitude. Should this experiment be successful, expect it to spread.

Q: So how much should I tip on each line?

A: Tipping is always voluntary. However, Magpie suggests that you add a buck or two to your bill to reward the kitchen staff. Here's a note they include with each bill:

Tipping is always...

Q: How is it working out thus far?

A: It's only been in effect for several weeks and the response has been all over the map. Some people aren't taking advantage of the opportunity to leave the kitchen a tip, some are tipping the same amount but redistributing it between the two lines, and there are some very generous people who are leaving the server tip the same and leaving a hefty kitchen tip too. It's too soon to draw conclusions from their data.

Q: How did the servers take it?

A: At first, there was a lot of apprehension, but after Magpie owners fully explained the concept, they say servers have started to come on board.

Q: What is this Nido you refer to in the intro?

A: Nido Cafe replaced Magpie at 14th & R. It's a cafe run by the same owners, serving breakfast and lunch only for now. I had a delicious biscuit, egg and bacon sandwich there on Sunday morning. It was like a delicious and from scratch version of the one you get at McDonald's when you're hung over.

Thanks again to Magpie owner Roehr for taking the time to talk to me and explain.

You can also read a long Facebook post with many comments on the new kitchen tip here.

More News:

First Impressions: Magpie offers more space, same seasonal freshness - The move to a larger space was a smart one, considering the amount of business Magpie draws. The food on our lunch visit was as high quality as ever. The heirloom tomatoes in the BLT were fat and juicy, and the bacon crisp yet malleable. That bacon also contributes to the ingredient- and flavor-stacked goodness of Magpie’s burger, which is anchored by a substantial, perfectly seasoned Niman chuck patty. Carla Meyer in the Sac Bee.

Bakery/cafe is ready for its debut on R Street - Well, that was fast. Weeks after opening a new location at 16 Powerhouse, the owners of Magpie Cafe are ready to reopen their R Street site with a new format. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

New brewery prepares to open in East Sacramento - The wait is almost over for fans of Twelve Rounds Brewing Co., a new brewery in East Sacramento. The venue will hold its soft opening Aug. 1, according to a Facebook post from the business. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Transcendent berries: Strawberries and cream, Localis - Strawberries, both raw and roasted, are served with purple shiso, a delicate panna cotta and a delightful little serving of strawberry sorbet. It sounds simple, and it is. It's the eloquent execution that's so transcendent. Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

Questionable Trivia at Easy on I - Do you know the lyrics to every Beatles song by heart? How about the name of the dog that Russia shot into orbit during the space race? Or what “apiology” is the study of? You’re in luck: Your useless knowledge can be put to work. At the cozy Easy on I bar and grill on Thursday nights, charming quizmaster Matt Russell, owner of Questionable Trivia, rattles off ever more challenging questions relating to the night’s three categories, typically broken up by two rounds of specific topics, which change every week, and one catch-all round of general knowledge. Barbara Harvey in Sac Mag.

Continue reading "Dining News: Magpie's New Tipping System, Explained" »

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 https://www.carpevinoauburn.com/

More News:

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'" »

Daily Dining News: Orphan's King Cakes are 'Glorious'

I hear mixed things about Orphan at 34th & C in East Sac. On the one hand, Sac Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson said that it "badly needs to adopt the idea of flavor." Sac News & Review's Greg Lucas gave it 3 out of 5 stars, saying that all the dishes were very similar. But that was back in 2010. More than 2 years later, Sac Mag's Kira O'Donnell seems to imply the place has turned the corner.

"I was lucky enough to visit recently to try the restaurant’s glorious “King Cakes,” buttermilk pancakes with a generous addition of peanut butter, chocolate chips and bananas. A ridiculously satisfying, sweet mélange of complimentary flavors, I’m sure the indulgent dish packed in enough calories (plus a few hundred) to cover me for the rest of my day. (Note: other not-to-miss breakfast items at Orphan Breakfast House include the hefty roast beef hash and the scrumptious artichoke scramble, served up with crusty rosemary potatoes).

Read the entire story in Sac Mag.

Other close friends have said the place is a great place to grab brunch during the summer. I've never been, but I'm now intrigued enough to give it a try.

More News:

Old Sacramento’s Fat City gets a menu makeover - And while the restaurant refreshes its menu a bit every year, the crew at Fat City, led by matriarch and chef Lina Fat, introduced a slew of new menu options this week. Among them: a pesto turkey burger with provolone and cranberry mayonnaise, and a shrimp and artichoke heart fettuccine with tomatoes in a white wine butter sauce. In Sactown Mag.

Chef David Hill set to open a second restaurant - Here's some exciting news out of Roseville (and Rocklin). David Hill's restaurant in Rocklin, The Chef's Table, opened three years ago and immediately had to confront two formidable obstacles - the plethora of chain restaurants in the area and the horrible economy that was prompting consumers to scale back on eating out. So what's the good news? The Chef's Table has done so well and has become such a fixture in the community that Hill is opening a second restaurant, to be called Hill's Kitchen, at the site of the short-lived Pause restaurant in Roseville. The concept for the new place, which is slated to open in early June, is sure to attract attention in a town not known for its seafood. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Continue reading "Daily Dining News: Orphan's King Cakes are 'Glorious'" »

Daily Dining News: More on SacTown Dining Collective

Following up on the Examiner article on the new group formed by chefs and restaurant industry folks, Sac Press's Brandon Darnell uncovers more details.

One of the major catalysts for the formation of the group was a survey published by LivingSocial that named Sacramento as the second-worst place in the nation for dining.

“In looking at it from my corporate background, when we see a threat or opportunity, it’s not uncommon for a group to get together and leverage one another’s strengths,” [Amber] Turner, [a marketing specialist with a love for Sacramento’s restaurant scene] said.

See the entire article in Sac Press.

More News:

Fresca Deli calls it quits - Fresca Deli, located in the CalPERS building at 400 Q St., closed its doors earlier this month. The restaurant, which re-branded from Freshii last November, was intended to serve as an alternative to the CalPERS cafeteria for the many state workers in the area as well as local residents. In Sac Press.

Lemon Grass rides out rodent rumor after brief closure - Pham's Lemon Grass Asian Grill & Noodle Bar and owner Trong Nguyen's La Bou Bakery & Cafe, which share facilities inside a building along Howe Avenue in Sacramento, were closed briefly earlier this month after a health inspector saw a rodent. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Continue reading "Daily Dining News: More on SacTown Dining Collective" »