New Helvetia Brewing Company

Dining News: Chef Pajo Bruich's Favorite Things

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In celebration of his birthday, Enotria Chef Pajo Bruich set up the restaurant's bar area with a couple of his favorite things - namely rap music, tequila and Mexican food on Thursday evening.

With all the Mexican small bites at $10 or less, it was a very affordable way to sample some of the acclaimed chef's cuisine without breaking the bank. It also gave me the opportunity to pick up the October and November shipments of the Enotria Wine Club.

Here were the small plates we had:

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Chips & Salsa ($3)

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Shrimp ceviche, chiles, pineapple, lime ($10)

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Pozole, braised pork shoulder, hominy, cabbage ($5)

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Mole de pollo estilo Jalisco ($10)

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Tacos adobada, picked onions, cotija, tapatio (2 for $6)

Enotria_churro

Churros, guajillo lime caramel ($5)

Since it was a one night event, I won't really write a long review. But I do want to say that the ingredients were fresh and the flavors were sharp. My favorite course was the churros (especially the caramel dipping sauce), followed by pozole and the ceviche. The tacos were a little too spicy for my pallate, but my dining partner with a hardier pallate loved the tacos.

We also sampled a couple of their tequila-based cocktails for the night, each $8. All three were fantastic, created with the precision and attention to detail that you'd expect from a Shady Lady or Hook & Ladder.

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The Golden Rule with gold tequila, orchard pear, ginger, honey, lavender

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Cider House with milagro silver, mulled apple cider, cynar, grenadine, cinnamon

Enotria_tequila

Tequila Old Fashioned with gold tequila, angostura bitters, turbinado, orange

While restaurants often go upscale with their special meals, I loved the idea of an expensive restaurant going casual for a night. There was more energy in the room than I'd ever seen at Enotria, although I'll admit that it's only the third time I've been there since Chef Pajo took over the kitchen and that all of those times were midweek.

But even with a collection of plates at a lower price point, the two of us spent about $90, including dinner, drinks, tax and tip. We didn't intend to spend that much, but the plates seemed affordable and we just kept ordering until we were full. Looking at their regular menu, that's probably about half what a three-course meal with a wine pairing would have cost for two.

I'm glad Enotria did this type of special event, and I hope it encourages other high end restaurants to do this too. It probably helps drive business on otherwise slow nights, and given how much we enjoyed our dinner tonight, I think we'll look for another opportunity to return to eat off their regular menu soon.

More News:

New Blackbird owner explains revamped concept - Meet Demetri Gregorakis, one of the new owners of Blackbird Kitchen & Bar, a restaurant on 9th Street downtown that closed suddenly in late September, sat idle for three months and counting, then suddenly began to show signs of new life in recent days...Gregorakis, 29, says he wants to be part of this new venture, making clear he played no part in the sudden closure and that now-notorious email. He will be equal partners with Carina Lampkin, the chef who is both admired and criticized for her creative bent and colorful personality. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

New Helvetia wants to install kitchen - Following on the heels of its one-year anniversary, the New Helvetia Brewing Co. has applied to the city of Sacramento to install a kitchen. The brewery and tasting room is at the corner of 18th and Broadway. Since it opened, it has invited food trucks to park outside to offer food. Mark Anderson in the Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining News: Paesanos Midtown Closed for Rennovation, to Reopen on Tuesday

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Paesanos Midtown closed temporarily on Monday, Nov. 11 for a modest face lift and is scheduled to reopen tomorrow, owner Mark Scribner said in an interview on Sunday.

The impetus for the closure was the need to install new flooring in the kitchen. While they were closed, they decided to get some other work done, including:

  • New coat of paint
  • New art
  • Additional bench seating to allow for a more flexible dining area
  • New chandeliers
  • Doubling their taps from 6 to 12 with the addition of a glycol cooling system

Scribner (whose parents own local winery Scibner Bend) said they decided to do the work now since there's a slight lull between the end of the summer and the holiday season. The last renovation of the space was done 12 years ago in 2001.

The menu will also get a small update with the addition of a few more pastas, pizzas and salads.

Fans of the restaurant don't need to worry - the character of restaurant they love should remain the same after it reopens tomorrow. It'll just be a little freshened up.

More News:

Sacramento Breweries - We’ve made a couple recent trips to the Sacramento area and visited 6 breweries. Here’s a rundown on what to expect at each one. Featuring Sudwerk, River City, Hoppy, New Helvetia, Track 7 and Rubicon. On Grubulub.

Biba Still Dazzles - But a recent meal at Biba reminded me that it can be very rewarding to re-visit some of our region’s well-established local restaurants. I took a friend who had never eaten at this venerable Sacramento dining institution, and our meal was a dazzler. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Continue reading "Dining News: Paesanos Midtown Closed for Rennovation, to Reopen on Tuesday" »


Dining News: Farrell's Returns to Sacramento

I didn't grow up in Sacramento, but I did grow up in an area with Farrell's and went as a kid. I have a generally favorable memory of the place, but I don't have intense feelings like many Sacramentans seem to have about the place.

First the news, by Janelle Bitker in the Sac Bee.

But Farrell's is returning to Sacramento. The new location's grand opening [was] Thursday at 11 a.m. near the busy intersection of Watt Avenue and Arden Way...

The new Farrell's is the first in Northern California - with the exception of shops that previously closed - and will feature the classic American fare, ice cream concoctions, parties and old-time candy the chain is known for. Same decor and employees in pin-striped vests who can sing 22 birthday songs, too.

Read the story in the Sac Bee.

And here's Rob Turner of Sactown Mag's ode to his childhood favorite.

Those of us who celebrated birthdays there (like my newly minted six-year-old self, captured above in a state of unabashed sugary bliss in 1973) remember well its red velvet walls, endless glass jars of colorful candies, patriotic bunting and Victorian splendor that must have seemed terribly square to the groovy, disco-loving teens and adults of the day. But if it was out of step with the times, we preteens were immune to its cultural anachronisms and embraced each and every moment (and bite) of this wonderfully manufactured nostalgia. It was, in fact, as close as we could get to Disneyland’s Main Street without leaving Howe Avenue.

But most of all, we remember the outsized drama of the presentation of the fabled “Farrell’s Zoo.” Suddenly, an alarm would sound and two skimmer-hat-wearing servers would burst forth into the room, running one in front of the other, balancing between them long wooden poles in each hand that supported a tray holding aloft what surely must have been the world’s largest ice cream sundae. (Picture two ancient Israelites—or Indiana Jones and his trusty sidekick Sallah—carrying the Ark of the Covenant and you’ll have some sense of the majesty involved here.)

Read the entire post in Sactown Mag.

And if that's not enough for you, watch stories about the return of Farrell's on CBS 13 (on the banana split song) and KCRA.

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Sacramento bartenders put their best glass forward during Midtown Cocktail Week - Sacramento-area bartenders are an inventive bunch, and they take advantage of the week to showcase their mixological prowess...Midtown Cocktail Week turns 6 this year and organizers predict the 2013 festival will be well attended. They expect to see some traffic from the Bay Area, where June’s San Francisco Cocktail Week was canceled because of scheduling conflicts and problems with the state’s department of Alcohol Beverage Control. Benjamin Mullin in the Sac Bee.

Hot Italian chef rolls out his own line of pizza dough - If you, like us, love Hot Italian pizza, then you’ll soon have one more item to add to your grocery list. That’s because Hot Italian’s energetic chef and co-owner Fabrizio Cercatore is embarking on a retail venture to create a line of pre-made pizza dough, crust mix and frozen pizzas, all coming soon to a grocer near you. Toni Masucci Cummins in Sactown Mag.

Continue reading "Dining News: Farrell's Returns to Sacramento" »


Dining News: Chando's Getting a New Food Truck, Eyes Roseville Expansion in 2014

Chando's Tacos, which started as a modest outpost on Arden Way, has added a second brick & mortar location and a food truck in recent years. But instead of expanding to Roseville immediately, Chando's has decided to replace its aging food truck with a newer model, reports Cathie Anderson in the Sac Bee.

Lisandro "Chando" Madrigal hit the pause button on opening Chando's Tacos No. 3. Instead, he invested in building a new food truck at a cost of $140,000 because he saw that market as essential to his brand.

"Everybody's mobile," he said. "… Why not go mobile? We have a truck, but that thing was breaking down all the time. It was from 1973. I spent like $1,400 in one month on just towing bills."...

As for Restaurant No. 3, Madrigal has his eyes on Roseville in 2014.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

Click here for more posts referencing Chando's Tacos.

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Meat and Cheese: The grid gets a new Italian deli and a cheese bar - It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve seen a healthy spate of new restaurants open in town. The frequent eating enthusiast’s conversational starter—“Have you tried that new …”— hasn’t been heard much in 2013. I’m happy to tell you that it looks like a summer of new eats, new treats and new watering holes. Plenty of heated conversations will be the seasonal fare this year. Here are two new joints, each with a focus on the basics. Featuring The Rind and Zia's Delicatessen. Greg Sabin in Inside Publications.

Sacramento's first 'farm-to-fork' sports bar now open - Greasy onion rings are out and Mediterranean flat breads with local veggies are in, as Skybox Grill & Bar bills itself as midtown's first farm-to-fork sports bar. With 20 TV screens showing the latest ESPN fare and Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap, Skybox is definitely a sports bar. But general manager Loren Sparks hopes the community will look at it more as a casual restaurant - one that just so happens to be attached to a sports bar. Because who would expect grape leaf-wrapped goat cheese in the same room as a televised UFC fight? Jannell Bitker in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: More on Tank House at 20th & J

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Last Week, Tank House revealed itself to the world as a BBQ restaurant by a former bartender at The Golden Bear and his wife. Now, Jared Goyette fills in some of the details in Sac Press.

The barbecue style will be a cross between Kansas City and west Texas, which as Williams explains, means the meat will be smoked, seasoned and then covered in thick barbecue sauce.

The barbecue "pit master" won't be married to any one style, however...

There will be cocktails, but Williams, who is a bartender at Golden Bear, plans to stay clear of craft cocktails at Tank House, describing it as a "shot and beer scenario."

Get more details, including the design of the new place and how it got its name, in Sac Press.

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Something’s Brewing: Cheers if you can guess why Sacramento start-up’s called New Helvetia - Dave Gull, owner of the New Helvetia Brewing Co. on Broadway, is very proud of his family roots—he’s a fourth-generation Sacramentan, as is his wife, Amy. But he’s also quick to point out that his roots are steeped in more than just local history. “Family lore states that my great-grandfather Martin ran moonshine during Prohibition,” Gull says. “He was also a home winemaker in his Oak Park house and he had a key to the Buffalo Brewery on 21st and Q streets and could let himself in to fill a bucket o’ beer after hours. Apparently he was friends with one of the brewers. And my great-uncle George was a bar manager at the Buffalo Club, a tavern at the corner of 19th and S streets, which was apparently part of the Buffalo Brewing Company.” Jessica Laskey in Inside Publications.

Is Yelp A Bully Or Just Misunderstood? - The online reviewing behemoth is regularly accused of Mafia-style extortion by disgruntled business owners and the media. But even as Ivy League researchers debunk the conspiracy theories, the company’s shadowy reputation remains intact. Why is it so hard to believe that Yelp might actually be fair? Sandra Allen on BuzzFeed.

Continue reading "Dining News: More on Tank House at 20th & J" »


Dining News: Sac Beer Week Edition

Sac Beer Week, the fourth edition of the annual event where all things lager and ale are celebrated, ends on Sunday, March 3. But judging by the press they're received, the beer-stravaganza is off to a great start.

First up, News 10 reports that Sac Beer Week is spotlighting some of our newest craft breweries.

Ryan Graham of Sacramento's Track 7 brewery, which opened at the end of 2011, gives credit to early craft breweries like Sierra Nevada and New Belgium for paving the way.

"This is kind of a second golden age for craft beer and we'll see ultimately how the industry is able to absorb us all," Graham said.

The New Helvetia Brewing Company celebrated its grand opening last weekend, and founder David Gull believes all the other craft breweries will only help his business by introducing more people to local beers.

"Not only is there room for everybody.  There's room for more," Gull said.

Read the entire story on News 10, or watch the video above.

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Sacramento Beer Week: Tap into the craft beer culture - The boom time continues for local craft beer culture. Sacramento has always been a great beer city, from its breweries and hops production of a century ago to a new wave of local brewmasters and entrepreneurs. Nearly two dozen breweries now call this area home, with umpteen more a quick day trip away. No wonder Sacramento Beer Week has grown into one of the region's signature festivals. Now approaching its fourth year, it encompasses hundreds of happenings, including special brews made just for the week, inventive beer and food pairings and a mammoth Capital Beerfest on March 2 at Cal Expo that's expected to draw close to 100 breweries. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Beer with food: All kinds of events during Sacramento Beer Week - When my editor asked me to compile a list of food events that interested me during Sacramento Beer Week, I immediately said "No problem." Then I started to look at all that's happening in the region during this great week of beer. Yikes! Hundreds of cool events. Big ones. Little ones. Pricey ones. Bargain ones. That's the good news. It's easy to find things to do that center on good beer and trying new beers from today through next weekend. Here's a sampling of what I came up with in today's Ticket section. I went with food-beer events at a variety of price points. But I also asked Dan Scott, executive director of Sacramento Beer Week, to weigh in with beer dinners that interest him. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Continue reading "Dining News: Sac Beer Week Edition" »


Dining News: Sac Mag's Cheap Eats, Part 3

In their third installment of their Cheap Eats feature, Sac Mag continues to scour the area for bites that will satisfy your appetite without emptying your wallet. Here are a couple that are convenient for those who live or work near the city center.

Pesto Veggie Combo Slice ($6.50) - Pieces Pizza by the Slice offers a fun and creative selection of (huge) pizza slices. One of the most electrifyingly delicious is the garlicky pesto pizza, loaded with a raft of vegetables: eggplant, spinach, tomato, zucchini and red onions. When you order, make sure to ask for an addition of feta cheese and sun-dried tomatoes—they’re the perfect embellishment. 1309 21st St.; (916) 441-1949

The Angie ($6.25) - Downtown workers love THE LEAVEN & EARTH SANDWICH FOOD TRUCK, which has been parked at the same corner for nearly 10 years. The innovative, made-to-order sandwiches are terrific, especially The Angie, whose delicious addition of garlic herb sauce may require a brisk tooth brushing back at the office. Filled with pulled roasted chicken, artichoke hearts, provolone cheese and a thin slice of prosciutto, it’s an elegant and savory lunch treat. Ninth and G streets; (916) 613-4493

BBQ Pork Báhn Mì ($2.75) - If you’re seeking a sandwich with some zing, make your way to HUONG LAN SANDWICHES in South Sac. Food lovers flock to this busy restaurant and market for its delectable Vietnamese báhn mì sandwiches. One of the most popular is the barbecued pork báhn mì, composed on a soft French bun and partnered with pickled daikon and carrot, fresh cilantro, slivers of cucumber and jalapeño peppers. This captivating sandwich is exuberantly flavorful and delivers a spicy smack to the palate for less than 3 bucks. 6930 65th St.; (916) 429-9999

Chango Chicken Melt ($7) - At SERRANO'S CAFE, this hefty sandwich is the perfect choice for a cold, blustery day. Prepared on rye bread, it contains thick chunks of moist chicken breast smothered in melted Swiss cheese, bolstered with bacon strips and roasted green chilies. Almost too thick to bite into, it’s some serious comfort food. 3021 W. Capitol Ave., West Sacramento; (916) 376-0860; serranoscafe.net

Read all three parts on SacMag.com.

More News:

VIDEO: Sacramento brewery to celebrate grand opening - The owner of New Helvetia Brewery David Gull introduces some of the beers that will be served at the grand opening. On KCRA.

Daring Parings” on ABC’s “The Taste” - ABC’s new cooking competition series, “The Taste,” premiered on January 22nd to rave reviews. Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey, four of the most acclaimed masters in the food world, act as mentors to teams of contestants made up of professional chefs and home cooks. The catch? The mentors must judge the competitors’ dishes blind with no knowledge of whose creation they’re sampling or who they could be sending home each week...We enjoyed a delicious menu prepared by Chef Pechal and his Restaurant Thir13teen team, including Honey-nut Squash Soup with Salted Cream, Bouillabaisse with Saffron Rouille, Drunken Sirloin with Chimichurri and Chocolate Blackout Cake for dessert. Liz Conant on Sac Foodies.

Continue reading "Dining News: Sac Mag's Cheap Eats, Part 3" »