Tako Korean BBQ

Dining News: 50 Cheap Eats from Sac Mag

Not every meal has to be gourmet and expensive. But that doesn't mean every meal shouldn't be scrumptious even if you don't want to spend top dollar. Sac Mag has collected 50 items that won't break the bank, but will satisfy your taste buds. Here are some of my the tastiest of the 20 they've put on line thus far:

Giant Bavarian Pretzel from Firestone Public House ($8) - Warm, doughy and served on a freestanding hook with mustard sauce and pimento cheese spread.

Bulgogi Nachos from Tako Korean BBQ ($7) - Tortilla chips layered with bulgogi (marinated steak), sprinkled with Korean slaw and topped with cheddar cheese: Korean-Mexican fusion at its finest

Read the entire list in Sac Mag.

Photo via Firestone Public House's Facebook Page.

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Chef Adam Pechal survives comfort food challenge on ABC's 'The Taste' - In the end, Pechal didn't land among the top performers, but didn't face the chopping block either. Landing somewhere in the middle was good enough to move on. What viewers didn't know is Pechal faced a mishap while cooking the fried chicken. "It was pretty nerve racking," said Pechal in a phone call this morning. "I loaded my chicken in the fryer and the oil came dangerously close to boiling over. I didn't want to be the first one to light my station on fire. It got down to the wire on that one." Still, fried chicken remains one of Pechal's fortes. He's known to include a "bucket of fried chicken" at his Tuli Bistro, and used a bright vinaigrette styled slaw on "The Taste" to add some acidity to the dish. Look for Pechal's recipe to be posted soon on the web site for "The Taste." Note: the recipe for Pechal's seared scallops, which first scored him a spot on "The Taste," can be found here. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Vanilla Bean Bistro sold to chef, Gonul Blum focuses on Trio - When Gonul Blum opened her second restaurant months ago, it slowly but surely underscored one basic reality: she couldn't be two places at once. Blum recently sold Vanilla Bean Bistro to her longtime chef so she could focus on Trio, her new restaurant downtown. Vanilla Bean will become a Turkish bistro, Blum said, owned by Murat Vozkurt, who cooked for her for six years. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: Fire Damages Original Mikuni Location (Fair Oaks)

A fire damaged the original Mikuni location in Fair Oaks early Saturday morning, reports FOX 40.

An internal alarm brought fire crews to the restaurant around 2:30 a.m. Crews saw smoke coming from the attic, near the AC system.

Thanks to the sprinkler system, crews had an easier time putting out the blaze, which was down to a smolder and contained to the attic. However, the sprinklers also caused extensive damage to the rest of the building.

In total, officials estimate nearly $50,000 in damage. The investigation into the cause of the fire is still ongoing, with arson not being ruled out yet.

While the damage is still being assessed, initial reports say the restaurant will open in 2 to 3 weeks.

Read the entire story on FOX 40.

Mikuni also did a great job keeping people informed via their Twitter feed, @MikuniSushi.

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Ringing in 2013, Sacramento-Style - Still haven’t decided what to do for NYE? We can relate. This holiday falls somewhere between Senior Prom and Valentine’s Day – I.E. overhyped and underwhelming. But have no fear, we’ve compiled our favorite events around town that we can practically guarantee will be fun. So whether you’re with family, friends or that special [INSERT] title, get your party heels on to toast to lessons learned and dreams yet to be realized…On Girls On The Grid.

Enotria has a few spots left for New Year's Eve extravaganza - The talented team that's doing extraordinary things at Enotria Restaurant and Wine Bar is really able to strut its stuff on special occasions. If you're wondering what all the recent fuss has been about -- and you're willing to pay big bucks to find out -- you might want to nab the last few spots for the 12-course $240-per-person New Year's Eve Dinner. The event is sold out, but we've learned that the restaurant is opening up 10 more seats at the wine bar for last-minute reservations. Enotria is at 1431 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento. (916) 922-6792. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

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Dining News: RIP Ambience Restaurant in Carmichael


Ambience Restaurant, one of the very few top tier dining restaurants in Sacramento, is closing in January, reports the Sac Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson.

This is a significant loss to the local culinary scene, as many food aficionados considered Song to be among the best, most precise and artistic chefs in the area. Almost all of his dishes were so beautifully plated you couldn't be blamed for staring instead of eating.

And yet, Ambience was rarely crowded - and wasn't as crowded as it should have been or deserved to be. Song said much of that had to do with the less-than-prestigious location in Carmichael (he extensively renovated an old Wendy's) and the persistence of the economic downturn.

That may be partly true. The meals at Ambience were prix fixe, meaning there were no options for anything but the $70 for five courses or $95 for seven courses, and the cooking was geared toward nouvelle French cuisine. If you wanted an $18 pasta dish and a glass of wine on your way home from work, you were out of luck. A gourmet burger and a beer at happy hour? Not here. It was all or nothing. In that location and in this economy, that was probably a recipe for failure.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

I made it out there for Valentine's Day earlier this year, and I found that it had plusses and minuses, as I wrote in my Instant Reaction. The food was prescise and great, but the pacing was slow. It's true that we opted for the 7 course meal since it was a special occasion, but there were large gaps where we were had finished a course and we just waited for food.

Robertson reports that Chef Morgan Song is looking to open a restaurant in Los Altos - a tony Silicon Valley suburb. If you have the means and the opportunity, I'd suggest that you go before he closes in a couple months.

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Restaurants lined up for dining weeks after holidays - The Downtown Sacramento Partnership’s eighth annual Dine Downtown Restaurant Week has more than 24 restaurants signed up so far, and the week is still more than a month away. The popular program has participating restaurants offering a three-course, fixed-price menu for $30 per person. For the restaurants, it is a chance to entice customers into restaurants after the holidays. January is typically a slow month for restaurant, but the lure of deals tends to bring diners out. Mark Anderson in Sac Biz Journal.

Masullo's growing fame a mixed blessing: No dough for you! - Sometimes when a restaurant is mentioned positively in The Bee, it can bring in plenty of new business -- and a good bit of chaos. I spotted this on Masullo's Facebook page: "Our apologies for not having enough dough. The Bee ran an article naming us best pizza in town and we sold more at lunch today than all dayTuesday a week ago. We have a three day ferment for our dough and we can not just make more at the drop of a hat. We are sorry for the trouble it may cause to customers, but believe us we would like to have it to sell to you." As you can see, you cannot rush a great crust. If you want to try truly great pizza in the Neapolitan style, get there early today. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

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Daily Dining News: 'Fun fusion for frugal folks' at Tako Korean BBQ


Sac Mag's Catherine Warmerdam is the latest food critic to chime in on Tako Korean BBQ on Alhambra.

My pal Jessika tried the rice bowl ($6) with spicy pork, a midsize concoction featuring rice, meat and shredded cabbage, all topped with a healthy smattering of grated cheese. The dish’s barbecue sauce straddled the fence between spicy and sweet and was quite sensational. The tacos were served street style, with two small stacked corn tortillas each; a slightly vinegary cabbage slaw added some zing. But the biggest surprise was the blueberry sauce (salsa?), ladled generously over all. (Purple sauce on a taco? That’s new.) The tofu was kind of blah, but the chicken was tasty and tender, though a little more meat would have been nice.

Tako Korean BBQ reflects the cultural melting pot that is Sacramento, offering fun global fare that is accessible, affordable and—yes—different.

Read the entire review in Sac Mag.

If you're looking for other reviews of the place, Sac Mag's Kira O'Donnell and the Sac Bee's Blair Anthony Robertson have both reviewed the four month old restaurant.

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Sacramento Epicureans club explore the local restaurant scene - For the past nine years, Somerhausen, 39, a political consultant specializing in California-Mexico relations, has become something of a food evangelist, leading dozens of Sacramento-area foodies and would-be foodies to a more enlightened way of dining. Along the way, he's been highlighting the array of cuisines, cultures and good cooking throughout the region. As founder of Sacramento Epicureans, a no-strings- attached dining club open to everyone, Somerhausen arranges monthly outings to restaurants. Those interested in attending pay a small fee to cover the cost of the food, but there are no membership dues and no requirement for attending a minimum number of events. The email list is at 500 people and growing. Gatherings tend to attract 20 to 30 people monthly. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Owner: Townhouse Lounge to close early next year - Townhouse Lounge, the bar and nightclub located at 1517 21st St., is expected to close early next year, according to owner/operator Desi David. “We’ve been there so long – it’s been 15 years – and the landlord is going to raise the lease,” he said. “We don’t blame them, and we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.” Brandon Darnell in Sac Press.

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Daily Dining News: Food Trucks Owners Opening Restaurants


Despite all the legal restrictions on when and where food trucks can operate, mobile food vendors have been able to flourish. Some of the more popular trucks have been able to open brick and mortar restaurants.

Conversly, some restaurants have seen the success these trucks have had and are rushing to open their own food trucks. Chris Macias of the Sac Bee takes a look at trend.

These folks are instead being served at Republic Bar & Grill, a downtown sports bar that's become the brick-and-mortar home for Drewski's Hot Rod Kitchen.

A fleet of other local food trucks has joined this trend. KrushBurger plans to open a restaurant north of downtown in December, and Wicked Wich serves its food at the recently opened Broderick Restaurant & Bar. Coast to Coast Sandwiches operates the food program at midtown's Pour House, while Mama Kim Eats opened its own restaurant on Del Paso Boulevard at the former Supper Club.

On the flip side, established local restaurants have jumped into the food truck business, including Willie's Burgers and Squeeze Inn. Mikuni Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar plans to launch its own food truck next year.

For Andrew Blaskovich, owner of Drewski's Hot Rod Kitchen, operating out of a brick-and-mortar space offers much-desired stability. While Sacramento mobile food vendors are currently limited to 30-minute vending times at a single location, and are often forced to move numerous times a day, there's no cat-and-mouse game for reaching customers via Republic.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

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Truck crashes into East Sac cafe, sparks devastating fire - A Sacramento cafe was destroyed by a fire that firefighters say started when a truck drove through the front of the building Monday morning. Sacramento firefighters on scene said they believe the truck smashed through the front of the Cobblestone Cafe on the 900 block of University Avenue shortly before 2:30 a.m. on Monday. Paul Jones on News 10.

Dining review: Healthful and flavorful at Folsom Palace - Recently, I enjoyed a respite from those health woes when I settled in to explore the offerings at a new and promising Asian fusion restaurant in Folsom, nestled in a strip mall next to a cupcake shop. Folsom Palace approaches Old World dishes with 21st century ideals, among them the notion that restaurant food need not come with a warning from the surgeon general. There's no MSG. They use less oil and salt in the cooking. The ingredients are fresh. The flavors are clean and true and often vibrant. Beyond that, the restaurant surprised us with its wine and beer list, offering several options for pairing our food with adult beverages. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

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Daily Dining News: Food Truck Roundup Tonight Downtown

SactoMoFo and its rival Foodmob have quietly been organizing midweek food truck meet ups. Usually, they take place in the suburbs - Elk Grove, Roseville, etc. Today, they'll be downtown, reports Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

If you have a hankering for some food truck fare, 16 mobile food vendors will be set up on Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Cesar Chavez Park. Vendors include: Heavenly Dog, Wicked 'Wich, OMG Burger, The Pizza Company, El Matador Mobile Mex, Mama Kim on the Go and many more. For those who have a taste for fashion, the Gypsy Mobile Boutique will also be selling clothes and accessories for the ladies.

This roundup is organized by Foodmob, which is the events wing of the California Mobile Food Association. The Foodmob folks have been a key proponent of language drafted between local food trucks and restaurateurs that are expected to be heard at City Hall, and could result in ordinance changes related to food trucks.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee or a separate story in Sac Press.

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Midtown's Kru: Thrill Your Tastebuds - Respected for its avant-garde Japanese cuisine, Kru offers its customers a creative, out-of-the-box menu that’s sure to excite. I visited recently and had a knockout lunch that included a plateful of Hamachi tuna carpaccio, topped with thin slices of jalapeno chilis and enlivened with a brisk, palate-cleansing ponzu sauce; an intriguing age-dashi tofu (lightly fried cubes of tempura in a pool of warm tempura sauce); and the plump “Cindy” roll, bursting with tuna and crab. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Lei's Kitchen: East meets West in downtown Sacramento's newest eatery - Traditional American breakfasts are served alongside authentic Chinese cuisine at Lei’s Kitchen, a new downtown restaurant on the corner of Seventh and J streets. Chef and Manager Joshua Sprowls said the restaurant aims to serve affordable food quickly, catering to the downtown breakfast, lunch and dinner crowds. Brandon Darnell in Sac Press.

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Daily Dining News: Tako Korean BBQ Menu 'Inspired'


Last month, I visted Tako Korean BBQ on their first weekend and thought it was off to a good start. (Read my entire Instant Reaction.) Sac Bee restaurant reviewer Blair Anthony Robertson thought it "ranged from bland...to superbly original." (Read his First Impression here.)

Now, Sac Mag's Kira O'Donnell chimes in with her First Bite.

Tako, which serves an inspired lineup of menu items cleverly fusing Korean barbecue and Mexican dishes, is located in a beautifully renovated Richfield gas station that sat empty and decrepit for many years. Neighborhood residents embrace the property’s charming metamorphosis and the food, which includes tasty, full flavored bulgogi, short rib and fire chicken tacos (try the 3 tacos for $7 special – it’s a great deal); a kimchi quesadilla, and a bulgogi mini-burger.

Read the entire review in Sac Mag.

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Food truck conflict spreads - Just as Sacramento food truck operators and owners of brick and mortar restaurants reached a compromise over where and when the trucks can operate, another battle is brewing in the statewide mobile food arena. An advocacy group in Southern California is not happy with Sacramento's proposed regulations, which it calls illegal, and has vowed to fight any efforts by Sacramento truck owners and city officials to push for state legislation giving cities the right to regulate food trucks. Anne Gonzales in the Sac Bee.

Track 7 to release West Coast IPA - Cold beer and sticky Sacramento heat go hand in hand, and Track 7 Brewing Co. will soon beckon beer aficionados and loyal fans of the newly-opened brewery to hop on board the train that is their West Coast IPA, set to be released Aug. 17 at 5 p.m. Sara Godley in Sac Press.

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