Rio City Cafe

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.

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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: Now Open - Track 7 Natomas


Track 7, the Curtis Park-based brewery, quietly opened its Natomas location on Friday.

The craft brewery had hoped to open their second location by New Year's Eve, but a rain-soaked December delayed construction. Give the team behind Track 7 credit. When they announced the new location in July 2014, they predicted a December 2014 opening. They only missed it by a couple weeks, which is very good.

The location is still a work in progress, but apparently, they've done enough to start allowing the public to come to events.

This weekend, they'll be open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with food trucks to feed the masses.

The new facility will open with a capacity of 8,000 barrels of beer, compared to their 2013 production of just 1,200 barrels at the Curtis Park facility. The original location will be used for pilot batching and sour beer production.

Their new Natomas warehouse and tasting room is located at 826 Professor Lane.

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Dine Downtown: 4 recommendations to experience Sacramento restaurants - But for those restaurants that are part of the line-up, Dine Downtown is a great opportunity to win over folks and expand their reach. Here are a few good bets, based on my visits (not for the latest special menus, which I have yet to try). Featuring Hook &  Ladder, Biba, Grange and Ella. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

VIDEO: Dine Downtown in Sacramento focuses on Farm-to-Fork movement - Chefs in downtown say Dine Downtown weeks is a win-win for restaurants and customers. Melinda Meza on KCRA.

VIDEO: Dining Downtown at the Delta King - Chef Julian Vasquez previews the Delta King "Dine Downtown" menu. On KCRA. Lisa Gonzales on KCRA.

VIDEO: Dine Downtown Week partners with Food Literacy Center - Amber Scott discusses how this week’s Dine Downtown event benefits the Food Literacy Center. Lisa Gonzales on KCRA.

VIDEO: Dine Downtown at Blue Prynt - Enjoy a 3 course meal at a discounted rate with Dine Downtown, featuring Blue Prynt. Lisa Gonzales on KCRA.

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Dining News: 6 Things You Should Know About Michael Passmore

I'd heard about Michael Passmore before reading Rick Kushman's lengthy, but worthwhile profile in a recent Sac News & Review. But really, all I knew about him is that he used to be at the Sunday Farmer's Market under the freeway and that chefs love him. But I really didn't know why or much about the person.

After reading the profile, I'm starting to get it. But not everybody has time to read 3,300 words about a fish farmer - even the best fish farmer. Here are 7 things I learned when reading the piece.

1. First Careers: Before he started the fish farm, he spent time performing background checks for corporate America and later, attending Law School.

2. Tattos: Chefs Edward Martinez, profiled by the Bee's Chris Macias who has worked at Hawk's and Enotria and Tyler Bond of Enotria have tattoos of the Passmore Ranch logo.

3. Valentine's Day Gifts: Michael Passmore loves fish so much that he gave his wife two 140 pound sturgeons one Valentine's Day. Or maybe that should read Michael's wife Vandy loves him so much that she put up with getting two fish for Valentine's day.

4. Fish For You: Home chefs will soon be able to get the same fish and vegetables as the restaurants do via his new venture Passmore Ranch Provisions.

5. Caviar: Besides fish and produce, Passmore Ranch is now selling aged caviar.

6. Who Discovered Passmore?: Passmore credits Randall Selland for discovering him, although Selland modestly declines to accept any responsibility.

There's much, much more in the profile. I urge you to make the time to read it. Not only is it informative, Kushman makes it an enjoyable read.

Read the entire story in the Sac News & Review.

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Dining review: Lucca struggles with cooking consistency - When I later recounted my ordeal to a friend, wondering how one place named Lucca could actually appear to be three different restaurants (all with an unfortunate choice in vinyl-like rattan chairs), she told me to look on the bright side: You have a one in three chance of having a fantastic time. Thus, I would sum up my experiences as follows. Underwhelmed. Delighted. Horrified. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Counter Culture: Rollin’ on the river at Rio City Cafe - As for brunch, get your hunger on before you show up. Our eyes widened when a massive plate filled with huevos rancheros arrived, dominating the center of the table. What started out generations ago in rural Mexico as “rancher’s eggs” – a simple and filling dish of eggs, chili sauce, beans and rice on tortillas – has been transformed in this country into a far grander dish. In this case, corn tortillas piled with a huge mound of chili verde (chunks of braised pork in tomatillo sauce), four strips of crisp bacon, rice, black beans, jack cheese and sour cream topped with crunchy strips of red-colored tortilla. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Downtown & Vine: A new take on the grape - This tasting room and wine bar opened in December 2012, with Gregg Lamer, who holds the title of certified sommelier, and chef Kate Chomko, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. These terrifically knowledgeable owners have mostly been operating under the radar, but have big plans afoot. With a new wine-bar license allowing them more event latitude and plans for special guests, Downtown & Vine should be on your to-do list. Ann Martin Rolke in Sac News & Review.

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Dining News: Pizzas at Hock Farm a 'Sure Bet'


Sac Mag is the latest publication to give their two cents on new farm to table restaurant Hock Farm.

Standout dishes from my visits included a tender, herbsprinkled roasted half chicken; a crispy asparagus fritto misto punctuated with fat Gulf shrimp, artichoke hearts, tangy lemon slices and baby fava beans; and a pistachiospeckled roasted beet salad enlivened with juicy chunks of ruby grapefruit and bathed in a zingy citrus vinaigrette.

A moist pork shoulder dotted with Manila clams and arugula was perhaps the best thing I tried. Lusty, complex and inspired, it provided the perfect sopping sauce for a cushy side of housemade focaccia. Hock Farm’s pizzas also are a sure bet. I relished a daily version that was garnished with tender stalks of asparagus and mushrooms. The mahogany-colored duck confit, accompanied by slightly spicy pork sausage and braised Savoy cabbage, was another winning dish.

Read the entire review in Sac Mag.

Click here for more posts mentioning Hock Farm.

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Burgess Brothers’ Burgers: Happy to serve you - I must have passed the restaurant 100 times without realizing they had more than burgers. Fortunately, they lugged their smoker over to the Track 7 Brewing Co. parking lot one Sunday, where I discovered them. The pork and beef ribs I tasted then were both incredibly tender and flavorful, brushed with a tomato-based hickory-flavored sauce. Equally memorable was the employees’ friendliness. The two children with me even received complimentary (and tasty) chicken skewers, generously stacked with mushrooms, roasted peppers and onions. A trip to the actual restaurant turned out just as well. The front room is set up almost like a family room, with some recliners and a big-screen TV for watching sports. Food is ordered in an adjacent, larger room. The décor here is spare, featuring police and fire gear, photos, and framed newspaper articles. Ann Martin Rolke in Sac News & Review.

Slocum House founder to take over Rio City Cafe - Kassis recently bought Rio City Café and says he is excited about its prospects. The deal is expected to close by mid-July...Rio City, a bustling but largely unheralded eatery that caters mostly to tourists, is a vastly different restaurant than Slocum House, which was known for its excellent food, romantic setting and special-occasion prices. Though Rio City is right on the Sacramento River, it never really made seafood a focal point of the menu. Kassis plans to change that, though he said changes will be gradual. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

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13 Places to Get Bottomless Mimosas in Sacramento


One of the best ways to spend a lazy weekend afternoon in Sacramento is to grab brunch and (over?)indulge in bottomless mimosas. Unfortunately for me, it usually leads to being day drunk which leads to the unpleasant day hangover. But still, it really is an awesome way to spend a sunny Saturday or Sunday.

Let me give an obligatory, but important, reminder. Please have a designated driver or indulge within walking distance from a place where you can sleep it off.

Here are 13 16 places in Sacramento with weekend bottomless mimosas.


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