Star Ginger

Dining News: Blackbird to Reopen by Oct. 23


Blackbird Kitchen & Bar, which closed in late May, plans to reopen by Oct. 23, it said on social media this week.

Blackbird officially says it will reopen in the month of October, but has been inviting followers to a West End party on 10/23, which means they plan to open before then.

Blackbird closed in May due to water damage from a broken pipe. Wrangling with their insurance company and additional renovations have delayed its targeted July 17 reopening.

** Update 9/29/2015 - Carina contacted me over the weekend to say that the West End Wonderland party will serve as its grand re-opening and does not expect to be open prior to that date.

In essence, this will be the third iteration of Blackbird. After the first iteration closed in Oct. 2013, it reopened with a slightly different ownership group surrounding founder and chef Carina Lampkin in Feb. 2014.

That iteration ended with the Flood of May 2015, and Blackbird 3.0 will reopen next month.

I stopped by Blackbird a week ago, and it looked like extensive work still needed to be done before reopening. Let's hope their reopening date doesn't slip again.


Blackbird Kitchen & Bar is located at 1015 9th St., and can be found online at

More News:

A new restaurant to serve up classic American fare with a heaping dose of nostalgia - Milestone Restaurant, the second endeavor from the owners of Aji Japanese Bistro, is expected to open this fall in the El Dorado Hills Town Center. Nick Dedier (whose “hard-core fine dining” background includes stints as GM of Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville and manager of San Francisco’s Gary Danko) and chef Russell Okubo (whose own impressive résumé includes serving as executive chef for Fat’s Family of Restaurants) opened Aji together in December 2013, and are teaming up again—this time, with another industry veteran Alexa Hazelton, with whom Dedier worked at Auberge Resorts—for Milestone, which plans a late October opening. Jessica Rine in Sactown Mag.

Sacramento Kings and JMA Ventures announce 3 new restaurants for Downtown Commons - Today, the Sacramento Kings and JMA Ventures announced three new restaurants that will open in the newly named Downtown Commons -- formerly known as Downtown Plaza -- adjacent to the new Golden 1 Center arena. The three restaurants are Pour SocietySauced BBQ and Spirits and Punch Bowl Social. In Sactown Mag.

Fruity, hazy ‘Harvest wine’ arrives in Sacramento - A European tradition whereby the grape harvest is celebrated with a glass of partially fermented juice is coming to Sacramento. Starting on or about Sept. 21, the restaurant Seasons 52 at Arden Fair will offer by glass and carafe its version of “Harvest wine,” a richly aromatic, fruity, sweet and spritzy sauvignon blanc by Mauritson Wines of Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley. Mike Dunne in the Sac Bee.

VIDEO: Ginger Elizabeth’s Chocolates - Cody and Melissa scarf on some delicious chocolates provided my Ginger Elizabeth’s in honor of national chocolate day! On Good Day Sac.

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Dining News: Sellands, Paragary, Lowbrau & Star Ginger Coming to Golden 1 Center


Continuing its commitment to support local businesses, the Sacramento Kings and Legends Hospitality announced the initial set of restaurants that will serve fans as they attend events at the future home of the Kings.

Local businesses will include:

  • Paragary Restaurant Group, with brands Centro, Paragary's and Cafe Bernardo likely serving Centro Street Tacos featuring corn tortillas handmade on the concourse, Paragary’s wood fired pizzas and Café Bernardo burgers and shakes.
  • Selland Family Restaurants, likely serving Wood fired pizza with chicken, bacon, goat cheese, jalapeños, mozzarella, parmesan and arugula. 
  • Lowbrau, likely serving Housemade bratwurst with bier cheese and duck fat fries.
  • Star Ginger, likely serving Thai BBQ chicken banh mi sandwich with sriracha aioli, pickled carrots, cucumber, cilantro and jalapeño.

First, the new arena deserves credit for adding local restaurants into the mix for in-arena dining. I hope the restaurants offer arena-exclusive items that you can't get at their regular restaurant. If I want a standard banh mi from Star Ginger, it'll be more convenient and cheaper to get it at her storefront. The next level will be dishes that can only be purchased at the arena.

What went unsaid today is what restaurants will be near the arena. Many restaurant insiders fear that you may be able to eat at Selland's inside the arena, but will be stuck eating at Hooters or ESPN Zone before or after the game. I hope the Kings continue their commitment to local restaurants as they fill in the space around the arena also.

More News:

Chicago Fire pizzeria chain sails along with Windy City flavor - Schnetz is the 48-year-old CEO and corporate chef of West of Chicago Restaurants Inc. In 2003, he opened his first Chicago Fire pizzeria on Folsom’s historic Sutter Street. Today, his company also oversees Chicago Fire restaurants in midtown Sacramento, Roseville and in the Palladio at Broadstone shopping complex south of downtown Folsom. Combined, the eateries employ about 230. In February, Schnetz plans to open a fifth local Chicago Fire outlet in Elk Grove. Beyond that, he’s contemplating pizzerias in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and locales outside California. Mark Glover in the Sac Bee.

Starbucks unexpectedly closes downtown store ... and plans more alcohol sales in region - In other Starbucks news: here's an update on plans to offer alcohol at additional Sacramento-area Starbucks stores. Multiple locations have already applied to sell beer and wine. According to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control's website, some of the most recent applications include stores at 4033 Cavitt Stallman Road in Granite Bay and 1790 Auburn Ravine Road in Auburn. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Mahoroba Bakery Featured On Public Television - Mahar­­oba Japanese Bakery was recently featured on Public Television’s A Few Great Bakeries. I caught it the other night on KVIE. Yes, I’m a supporter of public television and local businesses. Mahoroba in Sacramento was prominently featured along with some of the finest ba­­­keries in the United States. From the Columbus Baking Company in Syracuse, New York to the Minerva Bakery in Mckeesport, Pennsylvania. Greg Brown on SacramentoLand.

September is Food Literacy Month! - It's a big month for my friends over at the Food Literacy Center. It's Food Literacy Month! That means a lot of activities and money from Farm-to-Fork Restaurant Weeks helping them out. Oh, and they are busy voting for Veggie of the Year too. Catherine Enfield on Munchie Musings.

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Dining News: Proposed Bill to Allow Alcohol on 'Bike Buses'


Over the last year, Off the Chain Bike Bus Tours has ferried party goers between local bars and breweries. One thing that's been missing from these vehicles is the ability to serve alcohol on the multi-person bikes.

Dr. Richard Pan, a state senator from Sacramento, wants to fix that.

He has introduced SB 530, which would:

"Regulate the operation of quadricycles. The bill would define a quadricycle, in part, as being pedal-powered and seating no more than 15 passengers. The bill would provide that a person operating a quadricycle on the highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle, including a prohibition against operating a quadricycle while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug. The bill would authorize consumption of alcoholic beverages by passengers on a quadricycle, as specified, if the local jurisdiction has authorized that consumption by ordinance or resolution."

Translated into plain English, if SB 530 passes and is signed into law, local governments will be able to authorize passengers (but not the driver) of the "bike buses" to drink.

I fully endorse the goals of this law and hope the legislature passes it quickly. I'll keep you updated on its progress as it makes its way through the legislature.

* Updated on Monday morning to remove references to other multiple person bikes besides OTC.

More News:

Rubicon’s veteran brewmaster leaves for East Sac startup - Award-winning brewmaster Scott Cramlet, who helped lead Rubicon Brewing to prominence years ago with a groundbreaking India pale ale and a host of other popular styles, said Friday that he is leaving to join startup Twelve Rounds Brewing in East Sacramento. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Smokers Wild is fired up for Sacramento mobile-truck festival - Among the fleet of food trucks, which includes such staples as Krush Burger and Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen, you’ll find Smokers Wild showing off its menu of barbecued meats, specialty sandwiches and more. Smokers Wild is a newer addition to Sacramento’s mobile food scene, and has become especially active since January with visits to local breweries, office parks and other locations. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Mi, oh my: Kurobuta pork banh mi, Star Ginger - Personally, I'm a fan of the bahn mi crafted at Mai Pham's Star Ginger. I've heard Pham's bahn mi called both authentic and inauthentic, but when they taste this good, who cares? Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

Continue reading "Dining News: Proposed Bill to Allow Alcohol on 'Bike Buses'" »

Dining News: Second Local Brewery Coming to West Sac


Artist's rendering of the new site, posted on Yolo Brew's Facebook Page

Yolo Brewing Company will be coming to West Sac, with a targeted opening date of late Feb. 2014.

Per its Web site, "Yolo Brewing Co. will be a craft beer and brewing destination in the heart of West Sacramento's Port District. Yolo Brewing Co. will produce fresh beers with distinctive flavor profiles and outstanding quality."

Yolo Brewing Company is a venture helmed by Mike Costello, whom people might remember as the owner of Brew It Up. Coyote Tap House now occupies the space at 14th & H.

The brewery will also feature "guest brewing services" and will have an "outdoor beer dock" for guests to enjoy their beer in a "casual, comfortable [and] shaded" environment, says its Facebook Page.

This is the second craft brewery to open in West Sac. Earlier this month, Bike Dog Brewery opened to packed crowds.

I reached out to Costello for an interview, but he said he was extremely busy this week. I'll keep readers updated as I learn more when Costello and I connect after Thanksgiving.

Yolo Brewing Company will be located at 1520 Terminal Street. You can find them online at, or on Facebook at or Twitter, @YoloBrew.

More News:

Ford's Hamburgers - The building that used to house Ford’s Hamburgers in Land Park has been vacant for over a year. It’s been sitting empty and alone for quite awhile...She didn’t seem to have much information but she did inform me that “there will be Asian cuisine going in at the location” perhaps before the end of the year. Greg Brown in Valley Community News. (Second item.)

Very Mexican! - In sum, Oscar’s Very Mexican Food is the perfect sort of restaurant. It won’t break the bank, it’s easy to get to, it offers a steady and consistent menu that rarely disappoints. There’s now twice as much Oscar’s to go around for both Sacramentos, East and West. Viva Oscar’s! Joseph Atkins in Submerge Mag.

Continue reading "Dining News: Second Local Brewery Coming to West Sac" »

Dining News: RIP Spataro, Hello Hock Farm Crafts & Provisions


Spataro, the Paragary restaurant at 1415 L street, will close at the end of the week and be replaced by Hock Farm Crafts & Provisions and Vanguard, reports the Capitol Morning Report.

Out goes the menu featuring Italian dishes; in comes the one featuring local, seasonal ingredients and produce, much of which will be gathered from local farmers markets. Marketing Director Callista Wengler says the new name honors the Sutter Hock Farm, established by Sacramento founder and first citizen John Sutter in 1841. "The kind of cuisine we're doing is something different from what you'll see at other places in our vicinity," Wengler said. Patrons can expect to see salads, soups and small plates on the menu with items including crispy pork belly, wood oven-roasted mussels and chicken liver mousse.

Hock Farm Crafts & Provisions is expected to open in early April and will occupy the sit down restaurant portion of the current Spataro space. Vanguard will be operated by Trevor Shults (who manages The Assembly and co-owns BarWest with Randy Paragary) and will occupy the space currently housing the Spataro bar. The space will be configured as a lounge.

I e-mailed Paragary's marketing staff on Tuesday, and they say that there will be an official announcement later in the week.

I'm not shocked that Paragary is trying a different concept here. I ate dinner there on Friday night, and the place wasn't packed. It does great happy hour business, but that space seems like it could be much more successful.

For more, visit Hock Farm Crafts & Provisions on Facebook and read the entire story at the Capitol Morning Report (subscription required).

More News:

Davis Noodle City: Chinese Democracy - Surprisingly, truly authentic Chinese food can be found in a tiny, unassuming restaurant in Davis. Davis Noodle City doesn’t look like much. It’s small, rustic and simple. The chairs and booths are rigid and not at all built for comfort—if you have back problems, you’re forewarned. However, the service is quick, polite and always happy to teach diners about the food. What sets Davis Noodle City apart from other Chinese-food joints is the fact that most of its food is not Chinese-American, but true Chinese cuisine. Garrett McCord in Sac News Review.'

Ramen Dreams' Chef Picks His Five Best Ramen Joints in United States - 5. Shoki Ramen House, Sacramento, CA. A ramen geek who decided to take a chance and open his own shop and share his passion with ramen with whomever had the nerve to slurp. Sound familiar? No this is not a story about me, but it is a reminder that the power of ramen is deep, very deep. Shoki is probably the first ramen shop in America to really bring the passion of ramen to Americans the way the Japanese have been doing for decades. Believe it. Keizo Shimamoto on Asia Society.

Continue reading "Dining News: RIP Spataro, Hello Hock Farm Crafts & Provisions" »

Celebrate Star Ginger's 2nd Anniversary with $2 Treats

From Friday, January 25 to Thursday, January 31, Star Ginger will celebrate it's second anniversary with $2 treats. (That's even better than their already cheap happy hour.)

During lunch, you can grab a soup, side salad or asian taco for only $2 each.

For dinner, $2 banh mi sandwiches, asian tacos, draft beers or glasses of wine are on special.

I don't know how you can go wrong with a beer and banh mi sandwich for dinner for just $4 total.

Star Ginger is located at the corner of Alhambra and Folsom Blvds.