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Dining News: Piatti Swings, Misses in Revamp

Piatti, which closed for several months over the summer for a remodel, reopened in Decemeber.

During that time, they took time to revamp the menu. Nick Deider, Piatti's director of operations who worked more than 5 years at the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group in Yountville where he worked at Bouchon and Ad Hoc, told the Sac Bee in December that, "We've refined things and updated the recipes. (The dishes) have gotten a lot simpler and much more flavorful. Our new chef is Lance Carlini, who was a chef at Scott's Seafood Grill and at High Steaks steakhouse at Thunder Valley Casino Resort."

Did it pay off? Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson didn't seem impressed.

We left our three recent visits to Piatti in the upscale Pavilions shopping center a bit baffled by the remodel and underwhelmed by the inconsistent food – some good, some misguided, some poorly executed, nothing excellent and little we'll ever remember.

The room, the cooking and the decent but unexceptional service don't go nearly far enough. Amid the many ups and downs, what's clear is that Piatti has fallen further behind the standards set by both the new and established restaurants in east Sacramento and midtown just a few miles away.

Piatti's does enough to qualify as a neighborhood restaurant for Italian cuisine ranging from marginal to good, but it certainly isn't the dining destination we anticipated.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

Click here for more posts about Piatti.

More News:

Assembly on K to open in late March - Assembly, local restaurateur Randy Paragary's latest baby, is almost ready for visitors. "This is adult entertainment," Paragary said. "Other cities have ammenities like this and there isn't anything like that in downtown now."  The concert venue at 10th and K streets is set to open Friday, March 22, said Callista Wengler, marketing director for Paragary Restaurant Group. Cover band Pop Fiction is set to perform at 10 p.m., and the night's show is free to the public, Wengler said. Karen Wilkinson in Sac Press.

SactoMoFo 6 food truck festival coming April 27 - Ah yes, it's starting to feel like spring, the sun's shining a bit more and Daylight Savings is about to start. You know what that means ... time for a food truck festival! SactoMoFo 6 is on board for April 27, and will be held once again at 6th and W streets in downtown Sacramento - the site of the Sunday farmers market. More than two dozen trucks from northern California are being booked, including such first-time SactoMoFo participants as Roli Roti. Many of the perennial favorites will also be whipping up their food truck fare, including Chando's Tacos, The Chairman and Krush Burger. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: Dad's Kitchen is Expanding


Dad's Kitchen, a Land Park favorite for brunch, is always crowded on the weekends. But they've seen our hung over annoyed looks and are expanding, reports Karen Wilkinson in Sac Press.

Dad's Kitchen recently broke ground on a 30-tap room that will double as a waiting room, with space for single diners to sit.

"There's nothing really like it in town," said Peix, who through his nearly 10 years as a national sales rep for Anchor Brewing, has made a few friends in the industry.

At nearly 1,000 square feet, the tap room will have 10 stools at the bar, with room for people to order appetizers and enjoy a pre-meal beer, cider, or glass of wine. Peix didn't want the space photographed while under construction, but its entrance is visible once you step foot inside. The room will have another entryway that leads to the back patio – an ideal dining environment when the temperatures warm up – that is separated by a roll-up door (similar to a one-car garage door).

Read the entire story in Sac Press.

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Making room to grow - The next time you despair over your tiny kitchen, think of pastry chef Ginger Elizabeth Hahn, who whips up macarons, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate bark, bittersweet chocolate bars, Bûche de Noël and other sweet temptations in a 200-square-foot kitchen. The co-owner of Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates isn't going to be squeezed for too much longer. Hahn told me that she is going to put a commercial kitchen in a warehouse space, something around 3,000 square feet. Cathie Anderson in the Sac Bee. (Third item.)

Counter Culture: A visit to Noodles & Co. - Pulled into the crowded parking lot of the vintage Loehmann's Plaza the other day and walked by a lineup of chain restaurants, including Jack's Urban Eats. It plans to move into the much bigger space – now under renovation – vacated by Scott's Seafood Grill on June 18. Just an FYI. Met two lunch pals at Noodles & Company, whose service style is known as "fast-casual" in restaurant-speak. That means you order at a counter, and the food is delivered to your table. The chain has about 300 outlets across the nation. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

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Buy One, Get One Free at Taco Bell

In order to promote their new Cantina Menu, Taco Bell is offering a buy one, get one free for any item off their Cantina Menu.

Their Cantina Menu is their effort to combat Chiptle's growing presence with fresher ingredients that hopefully don't come out of a calking gun.

Click here to claim the offer (via Facbook). Offer expires on Saturday, July 7, 2012.

For more information about their Cantina menu visit TacoBell.com.


Daily Dining News: RIP Sugar & Spice Specialty Desserts*


Well, at least their retail business. Sugar & Spice was a much beloved bakery, winning "Best New Bakery" in Sac Mag last year and was just named 2011 "Best of the City" by Sactown Mag. Here's what they had to say:

Pop Stars - At downtown’s new Sugar and Spice Specialty Desserts, owner Carissa Jones makes us feel like kids again with some of our favorite pops in town. That’s pop tarts, with buttery crust and thick sprinkle-coated icing (below), in flavors like strawberry-rhubarb and brown sugar-cinnamon. And then there are her pretty little cake pops, which are sweetly coated on the outside and moist within (they are only on sale occasionally, so keep an eye out).

Read the entire story in Sactown Mag.

Unfortunately, despite their delicious desserts, it looks like the retail store front is no more, per the Sugar & Spice Facebook Page.

We are excited to announce a new chapter at Sugar and Spice Specialty Desserts. On Tuesday of this week we closed our retail shop. We are going to miss our community and all of your smiling faces, but this will allow us a greater ability to work with our party, catering, restaurant, and bridal customers. Please call or email us with orders! We're still here and baking, so of you are in the area and you see us working away, feel free to stop by and say hi!

Thank you for all of your love and support over the past year and a half.

That doesn't mean they're gone for good, though. You can still purchase their sweets at Midtown Village Cafe (18th an I) and eat Carissa's desserts at Shady Lady. In addition, you can still special order from them. On the last couple days, they've had absolutely georgous wedding cakes and a special law school graduation cake. (These aren't your run-of-the-mill sheet cakes from Costco.)

For those who want to keep up with owner Carissa and Sugar & Spice, follow them on Facebook.

More News:

SacTown Dining Collective debut event a tasty success - The SacTown Dining Collective's kickoff event at Plate's Cafe on Thursday night couldn't have gone smoother. Some 350 tickets had sold out 10 days prior, all of the food courses came out in a timely fashion - many of them even ahead of schedule - and the Sacramento chefs and restaurateurs who make up the collective reveled in their camaraderie. Most of all, their food was superb. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

End of an era II: Ford's side of the break-up with Taylor's - [Last week] we told you about the end of the 20-year relationship between two beloved local institutions that do things the old-fashioned way: Taylor's Market and Ford's Hamburgers. Because Ford's is closed Mondays, we didn't catch up with owner Peter Paul Vereschzagin until this morning to get his side of things. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

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Daily Dining News: Azukar Moving to Natomas, Replaced by Purgatory


I never understood the concept of Azukar. At times, it was a night club. At other times, it was an all you can eat sushi restaurant. Maybe it was both simultaneously. Regardless, it closed at its location at 1616 J St. (across from Lucca) at the end of April and will reopen soon in the Bel Air Shopping Center at the corner of El Camino and Truxel.

What's exciting is what's replacing it - Purgatory. The new restaurant, owned by restaurant newcomer Don Dunakin, will be a fine dining establishment, says Andy Soto, a restaurant consultant who has been brought in to help bring the restaurant online. The restaurant hopes to open its doors by the end of the summer.

At the front of the venue is a space for guests to drink wine and coffee, with the fine dining restaurant behind it. Downstairs will be a club, which Soto says will bring the type of experience one would expect to see in New York, Los Angeles or Las Vegas. The club will seek an upscale clientele, with no jeans, sneakers or baseball caps allowed.

There's "no shortage of people who enjoy fine food in Sacramento," says Soto. While an executive chef has yet to be hired, the owner has "spared no expense" in his effort to make Purgatory a "dining destination" that aims to compete with the likes of Ella and The Firehouse.

Soto and his consulting company, Spectrum Restaurant Consulting, have previously done work for a number of restaurants, including Sugar Plum Vegan, Green Boheme and Sam's Kosher Style Restaurant & Deli.

Purgatory is currently hiring. For more information, see their Craigslist listing.

Update: Soto e-mails to add that the restaurant is in the final stages of escrow.

More News:

Bacon and Butter now open - Bacon and Butter, Midtown’s newest breakfast, lunch and brunch restaurant, opened on Sunday, and Chef Billy Zoellin said Tuesday that the first day was a learning experience, but the restaurant is now running smoothly. “Our most popular dish has been the biscuits and gravy,” he said, adding that all of the food options are his own creations and the focus is on freshness. “We take the classics and give them a whimsical twist,” he added. Brandon Darnell in Sac Press.

Chef Proves You Can Go Home Again - After working at a series of high-profile jobs in Hawaii, New Zealand and San Francisco, Sacramento chef Michael Thiemann is back in town. The 37-year-old recently left a gig running the kitchen at celebrity chef Tyler Florence’s Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco to sign on as executive chef at Randall Selland’s Ella Dining Room & Bar. Marybeth Bizjak in Sac Mag.

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Instant Reaction: Doritos Locos Tacos

Everybody loves Doritos. Everybody loves Taco Bell (especially after a few drinks). Why not combine the two together?

Taco Bell has done just that, with their new Doritos Locos Tacos.

Essentially, it’s a regular Taco Bell taco, but the regular taco shell has been replaced by one that tastes like Doritos.

Taco Bell test marketed the concept in the Central Valley first, and I was able to grab one during one of my many trips down I-5.

At the onset, you’re presented with the choice of the Doritos Locos Taco Supreme for $1.69, or the regular Doritos Locos Taco for $1.29. We went all out and ordered the supreme version.

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