Dining News: New Chef at The Kitchen


Sacramento's most difficult reservation and likely most expensive restaurant has a new chef, scoops the Sac Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson.

David Chavez, who has held high-level kitchen positions at several properties in the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, has taken the helm at the restaurant after John Griffiths, who won the job more than a year ago in a national search, decided to leave the post. Selland will help Chavez acclimate to working the $135-per-person dinners, in which the chef not only cooks but acts as a sort of an emcee for the evening...

Chavez, 31, had been hired several months ago as a sous chef by the Selland Family Restaurants, even though Selland said there was not a specific job opening at the time. The Selland Family also owns highly regarded Ella Dining Room and Bar, and two locations of Selland’s Market-Cafe. When Griffiths announced he was leaving, Chavez, who had shown both his culinary and people skills, was named to what many consider to be one of the most coveted kitchen jobs in the city.

Griffiths’ departure after a relatively short tenure came as a surprise to many.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

There had been some signs that something was up at The Kitchen. On Thursday, Sept. 25, The Kitchen announced via e-mail that Chef Randall Selland would be "in all month doing the show at The Kitchen." When Chef Selland first started The Kitchen, I was too early in my career to be able to afford to go, but as I've been able to save my pennies, I've added eating at The Kitchen with Chef Selland to my Sacramento Food Bucket List. I've been watching and waiting for an opportunity to see him at The Kitchen.

I had seen Chef Griffiths during his first month at The Kitchen last year, and had a great time, but it wasn't so good that I'd be willing to shell out that amount of money again. I've been calling The Kitchen every few months and asked whether Chef Selland would be filling in while Chef Griffiths was on vacation in the near future. I was told that there wasn't any time scheduled this fall, but honestly, once I saw the Sept. 25 e-mail announcement, all I cared about was grabbing a reservation. I did, and didn't worry about the why.

Kudos to the Sac Bee's Robertson for getting this story.

More News:

5 flapjacks to flip for on National Pancake Day - Friday, Sept. 26, is National Pancake Day, and we have five hotcake hot spots around the region where you can have your own delicious celebrations. Batter up, Sacramento! Featuring Katrina's Cafe in Auburn, Nopalitos Southwest Cafe, The Original Pancake House in Roseville, Tower Cafe and Venita Rhea's in Rocklin. Tori Masucci Cummins and Alex Hernandez in Sactown Mag.

Blast 825° bets on build-your-own-pizza craze in Roseville, Rocklin and Elk Grove - Blast 825°, a new pizza restaurant with big plans for the Sacramento region, has launched its grand opening this week in Roseville with an eye on charity. The eatery, which invites customers to build their own pizzas from three different types of crust and more than 40 toppings (a la Chipotle or Subway), specializes in the quick-fired cooking method from which it draws its name: Pizzas are blasted in an oven at 825 degrees for roughly three to four minutes. S.T. Vanairsdale in Sactown Mag.

Food trucks on campus - A variety of food trucks began appearing at Sacramento State in the summer of 2013. They have since then become a part of campus, with single truck events visiting twice a week and one multi-truck event once a month. The food trucks were re-introduced to campus because of the closing and remodeling of the Hornet’s Nest in the University Union. Justyce Mirjanovic in the Sac State Hornet.

VIDEO: More Downtown Plaza businesses face reality of moving - More businesses in the Downtown Plaza are now talking about having to leave the mall. On KCRA.

Ruhstaller and Blackbird Kitchen Partner for a Hops and Dreams Beer Pairing Dinner - With so many food events happening in Sacramento this month, I often wonder how chefs come up with unique menus for each meal. I caught up with Blackbird executive chef, Carina Lampkin, to learn a bit about the process. Rodney Blackwell on Sac Foodways.

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Dining News: RIP Squeeze Inn West Sac


Squeeze Inn's West Sac location has closed.

I called the phone number on Tuesday evening, and the phone number had already been disconnected. I then called Oscar's Very Mexican Food, whose West Sac location shares a building with Squeeze Inn, and the woman who picked up told me that Squeeze Inn closed a week ago.

The West Sac location has also been removed from the Squeeze Inn's Web site, although no explanation has been given via social media.

The West Sac location first opened in May 2011 and shares an owner with the local chain's Yuba City location.

H/T to Ms. Munchie for the tip.

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Midtown eatery fuses Mexican and Japanese food to create sushi burritos - An additional late-night weekend food option is now open for Sacramento, as the new Wrap N’ Roll Sushi Burrito restaurant is bringing a fusion of Japanese and Mexican food by creating oversized sushi rolls that resemble burritos. Erika Bradley in the State Hornet.

Try It: Ruhstaller 1881 California Red Ale - A few days later I pulled the beer out of the refrigerator, took a few gulps, and quickly wished I had bought more than just one. Described by the brewery as “a true California Red Ale with all ingredients hailing from the Golden State,” this hoppy, crisp beer offers a mouthful of rich, layered flavor with lovely floral nuances. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

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Dining News: What's Up with South?

South has been teasing us with promises to open a Southern restaurant near Southside park for more than a year. They did a private tasting recently, and Ally Gaffan was there.

Food-wise, here's a sneak peek at some of the delicious goodies South plans to offer:

Picnic Board- Country ham, pickled beets, deviled eggs and Farmhouse cheddar. The perfect accompaniment to a refreshing glass of wine or an ice-cold Southern beer. The deviled eggs were terrific, if I had had a bigger purse I would have snuck a few out of there.

Chicken and Andouille Gumbo (over Carolina rice)- this dish blew me away. I'm pretty high maintenance when it comes to gumbo. I dislike it if it's too spicy, watery or oily. Seriously, I'm worse than Goldilocks. This gumbo was perfect. I loved the spicy rounds of Andouille and the sauce wasn't overwhelmingly hot. I even dipped my cornbread in the leftover gumbo sauce, it was too good to waste.

Spicy BBQ Shrimp over Cheesy Grits - plump, spicy shrimp over a base of silky, sinful cheesy grits - this dish will make your eyes roll back in your head. Who knew cayenne, homemade shrimp stock and onions were all you needed to make food magic?

Fried Chicken- perfectly cooked. Juicy on the inside, properly seasoned and crispy on the outside. (The chicken shown was sliced up into bite-sized pieces so we could share during the dinner party.) South exhibits some home-style cooking that's so good that you might need to peek into their kitchen to make sure your Memaw's not back there frying up the chicken herself.

Click here for the entire post (with pictures!) on A Girl & Her Fork.

When I talked to the owners in January, they told me that it would be at least four months after getting their city permits that they'd be able to open.

In order to raise more money to finish construction, they launched a crowdfunding program this week, with the goal of $75,000. Some of the prizes include:

$25 - Receive a Limited Edition “South” Bumper Sticker with our company logo and artwork. Also receive a complimentary drink on us to celebrate our opening! In addition your name on our website featuring our supporters!

$200 - Get TWO tickets to our "Sass and Swagger" Grand Opening Party, TWO Bumper Stickers and TWO complimentary drinks on us! In addition your name on our website featuring our supporters!

$5,000 - Twice a year you and a guest get to come into South and eat a three course dinner on us for the life of the restaurant...that means FOR-EV-ER! (Alcoholic beverages are not included.)In addition your name on our website featuring our supporters!

There are many price points between $25 and $5,000. Check out their IndieGoGo page to donate.

* Fixed typo that incorrectly stated a prize was $500. I forgot an extra "0." It should be $5,000.

More News:

Bows & Arrows store coming to R Street lofts? - One of the founders of Bows & Arrows wants to revive the concept in a space below the Warehouse Artist Lofts on R Street. Trisha Rhomberg plans to bring the specialty store concept to some portion of a 9,000-square-foot space below the lofts, which are under construction. Rhomberg said she's finalizing partnerships for the mixed-use space and envisions a café, bar and retail offerings, as well as spaces for art and live music. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Local brewery owner continues the legacy of Ruhstaller Beer - Owner of Ruhstaller Beer, J.E. Paino, said before Sacramento State was built, the land consisted of hops fields due to its proximity to the river, which provided the best soil and growing conditions. Paino has become part of Sacramento’s unique history as he continues the legacy of Captain Frank Ruhstaller, a prominent brewer during the late 1800s, by bringing back the Ruhstaller name. Erika Bradley in the Sac State Hornet.

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Dining News: Now Open - Vic's Cafe


Vic's Cafe, open in the same building as the landmark Vic's Ice Cream on Riverside Blvd. in Land Park, officially opened on Friday.


Serving Old Soul coffee and baked goods, the cafe seats about 20. When I visited on Saturday afternoon, a smattering of locals filtered into the place as they discovered it was open. An older woman sat at one table, reading The Economist, while a mother and young child sought respite from the rain by getting a drink.


The cafe features a doorway into Vic's Ice Cream. Though they share the same owner, customers aren't able to order food while at the cafe. The current workaround is to order food "to go" on one side and bring it to the other side. I hope they decide to work as a unified operation and more food options soon.

As a neighborhood resident, I was very excited to hear about the addition of a local coffee house. There's no place to get coffee within a mile of Vic's, which means I get in a car to grab coffee on the weekends or on my days off.


Vic's Cafe is located at 3193 Riverside Blvd, and is open every day at 6 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Vic's Cafe can be found online at

More News:

Ruhstaller Brewing announces plans for tasting room on the grid; pushing ahead to build its own brewery - That will be changing, as the once-fledgling Sacramento-based company continues to flourish. Paino said Thursday he is applying for permits to open a tasting room on the periphery of Downtown Plaza (630 K St.), where he already has warehouse and office space. The building is next door to the new arena planned for the Sacramento Kings. The tasting room does not have a firm opening date, but Paino says he hopes to be operating by springtime. The only issue is the timing of approval by the city. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Sacramento gets another taproom: New Glory Craft Brewery Now Open - A one-year-old brewery finally has a taproom: New Glory Craft Brewery, formerly known as Old Glory Craft Brewery.  New Glory opened its doors for a soft opening today at 4 p.m., and a line of enthusiasts formed immediately. Owner/brewer Julien Lux and the gang were overwhelmed by the turnout—construction was still making noise for the first few minutes until Lux shoved them out the door, taster glasses were still in their packaging and so forth. But the crowd was patient, and the brew ultimatley flowed. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

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Dining News: SactoMoFo 'Trucktoberfest' Coming Oct. 5

While the SactoMoFo group arranges local food truck meetups on a very regular basis, they still do a couple big events every year to bring out of town trucks into the mix. The next mobile food festival is coming on Saturday, Oct. 5, reports the Sac Bee's Chris Macias.

This second annual round-up of food trucks that lands in early fall is planned for Oct. 5 at West Sacramento’s River Walk Park. 20 mobile food vendors will set up shop, fron such perennial Sacramento favorites as Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen and Krush Burger to the Bay Area’s The Chairman Truck and KoJa Kitchen. That’s to say this smorgasbord of street food includes Asian influences, burgers, grilled sandwiches and plenty more to bust your gut.

Last year’s edition of Trucktoberfest drew more than 4,000 people who braved the triple-digit temperatures to chow down.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

More News:

VIDEO: Ruhstaller Grows Beer Right in Our Back Yard - Hops, the female flowers of the Hop plant, are used to flavor beer. They are growing on two little patches of land right off I-80 in Dixon, separated by a tomato field. An unlikely sight, but this field of dreams is the brainchild of Ruhstaller 2.0. It’s much smaller compared to larger than life legacy of the original Ruhstaller of Sacramento, but plans for this old world meets new world brew are huge. Alisa Becerra on FOX 40.

Try It: Juno's Braised Beef and Chicken Torta - Juno’s Kitchen & Delicatessen in East Sacramento is a fabulous spot for creative sandwiches. I usually don’t veer far from the shop’s panko-crusted eggplant sandwich (with roasted peppers, Manchego cheese and basil aioli), but the other day I made a bold choice and chose the special of the day—a braised beef and chicken torta. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

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Dining News: Bon Appetit Names Ruhstaller one of '10 Great American Farmhouse Breweries'

Ruhstaller, one of the leaders of Sacramento's resurgent craft brew scene, was recently named one of the "10 Great American Farmhouse Breweries" by venerable magazine Bon Appetit. Here's an excerpt from their blurb about Ruhstaller:

In the late 19th century, Swiss immigrant Captain Frank Ruhstaller ran Sacramento’s preeminent brewery, relying on locally grown hops and barley. More than a century later, Jan-Erik Paino pays homage to the pioneer with the revived Ruhstaller. Like the Captain, Paino uses California grain and hops in beers such as the 1881 California Red Ale and Gilt Edge Golden Lager. Recently, the brewery planted its own hopyard.

Read the entire post in Bon Appetit.

More News:

Out of work, Jeremy Warren followed his passion – craft beers – to launch thriving business - That company is Knee Deep Brewing, now a highly regarded but relatively tiny craft brewing operation in Lincoln, where Warren, the brewmaster and co-owner, took over space and equipment from a defunct brewery in the spring of 2011. In the two years since, he has built a reputation for creating some of the finest and most distinctive beers in the country, including 10 year-round offerings, a variety of seasonal beers and a rotating selection of experimental styles. Already coveted by beer aficionados, Knee Deep is poised to take advantage of the boom in craft beer and expand beyond many other area breweries by investing $1 million to move from its 960-square-foot digs in Lincoln to a cavernous 18,000-square-foot brewery in Auburn. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Owners of Track 7 Brewery Profiled - It all started on New Year’s Eve 2011. Track 7 Brewery was born. It is the brainchild of the Graham and Scott families. Geoff and Becca Scott and Ryan and Jeanna Graham. The brewery is located in the tucked away industrial neighborhood of City Farms near Sac City College. It’s a craft brewing Mecca. It’s also a neighborhood watering hole that has become enormously popular among the locals in Land Park, Curtis Park and Hollywood Park. Greg Brown in Valley Community Newspapers. (Second item)

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Dining News: Doughbot to Make Cooking Channel Debut Wednesday


Doughbot, Sacramento's favorite gourmet donut shop, took off for a secretive trip to Toronto to compete in Donut Showdown, a Canadian Food Network cooking competition last winter.

The show aired in Canada earlier this year, but not all of us can be blessed to be from the Sac Bee restaurant critic's homeland.

For those of us in the states, the show airs Wednesday at 7 p.m. on the Cooking Channel. On Comcast, that's channel 203 (not available in HD) and on DirecTV, it's channel 232 (in HD).

Doughbot is located at 10th & W streets.

Since we're talking donuts, there was a really entertaining exchange yesterday by The Eatery's chef Jess Milbourn and Doughbot.

For another preview of the show, Catherine Enfield has a writeup on Sac Press.

Click here for more posts referencing Doughbot Donuts.

More News:

Dozens camp overnight for Krispy Kreme opening in West Sac - Some doughnut fans even camped out overnight for a chance at a year's supply of the sugary treat. Brian Jacobson, the first person in line, claimed his spot almost two days in advance. On KCRA.

A Winters Tale - On a warm February morning, Craig’s son, Sean, walks into his father’s office, pulls off mud-caked work boots, sits down on the floor and runs a hand through his dark, shaggy hair. He has been out putting a mineral called gypsum on the soil to improve the drainage of the one-acre field on his father’s property that he took over last year and where he is now growing hops for Sacramento’s Ruhstaller Beer. It’s a perfect example of how Craig is helping nurture the next generation of farmers. Unsure about a future in farming, Sean was drawn into giving it a try, in part, by the opportunity to participate in the region’s budding farm-to-fork or, in this case, farm-to-pint movement. The Sacramento area was once home to the country’s most abundant hop-growing industry. Hops, the key ingredient in beer, fueled Sacramento’s reputation as the West Coast beer capital until Prohibition came along and the local farmers switched crops. Working with J.E. Paino of Ruhstaller—and on a challenge from grocer Darrell Corti to create an authentically local beer—Sean planted the first hop field in the Sacramento region in decades, with the support and advice of his dad. Now in his second season, he already has his sights set on expanding. Anita Chabria in Sactown Mag.

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