Farm to Fork Restaurant Weeks at Grange

Restaurant Weeks Poster

September is a celebration for all things Farm to Fork in Sacramento. While the vast majority of us can't afford/score tickets to the exclusive and expensive Tower Bridge dinner, we can all participate in Farm to Fork Restaurant Weeks where local restaurants create a special farm to fork dish or menu.

The event lasts through Sept. 25 and benefits the Food Literacy Center, a very worthy charity that teaches healthy eating skills to local school children.

I was invited to try Grange's Dixon Lamb Ragout (a hankerchief pasta with heirloom peppers, fresh ricotta and extra virgin olive oil), with $2 of the $29 dollar price going to the Food Literacy Center.

Let me start with a disclosure. Grange comped my party the Dixon Lamb Ragout, and brought out several more appetizers for us to sample. With that said, I still spent $180 on a meal for two. Obviously, it wasn't cheap, but it turned out to be one of my top 3 meals thus far in 2016 in Sacramento. (If you're wondering, the other two were at Kru and at Skool.)


The Dixon Lamb Ragout was an excellent dish. The featured pasta is called a hankerchief pasta because it starts as a flat sheet and is folded over many times like a hankerchief. A generous portion, the dish featured nuanced and complex flavors topped with sweet peppers. I especially liked the contrast between the ricotta cheese and the savory sauce. I don't recall ever having this type of pasta. Definitely worth a try.

Here are some other dishes I loved:


Figs with avocado, nectarines, pickled onions and topped with EVOO.

This dish was comped, so I don't know what they would charge if you tried to order it, but based on the other salads on the menu, my guess is about $15. It is really the zenith of featuring local ingredients, preparing them skillfully and slightly and letting their natural flavors shine through. This dish embodies the Sacramento food ethos in 2016. It's a great appetizer.

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Dining News: Vandals Trash Tamaya Sushi


Tamaya Sushi, a restaurant that closed earlier this month after it lost its lease, was trashed the night before the space was to be returned to the owner, reports Bob Shallit in the Sac Bee.

On the night of Dec. 3, she said, somebody did “severe damage” to the place, pulling down ceilings, smashing toilets, cutting electrical wires, pouring concrete into drains and destroying mosaic tiles on walls and granite countertops. Air conditioning equipment also was removed.

Adding insult, soy sauce was poured all over the floors.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

Building owners estimate that the damage will cost up to $500,000 to repair.

More News:

Sacramento's new tiki bar ready for customers - When Rum Rok opened in midtown last week, it embraced the "tiki bar" label. But its drink menu will be a distinct departure from the predictable ingredients that characterized tacky tiki venues decades ago. Rum Rok won't just serve tiki cocktails. It will serve craft tiki cocktails. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Grange slinging $50 burgers - First there was Ella’s $26 burger. It seemed outrageous at the time, and now, completely reasonable thanks to Grange’s $50 burger. Available only tonight through Sunday, this extravagant and decadent offering features generous truffle shavings, fat slices of seared foie gras, braised oxtail and a side of truffle fries. Chef Oliver Ridgeway shared the above photo on Instagram last night of the finished product. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

New-look midtown Sacramento bar has novel ‘give back’ strategy - Barwest, at 2724 J St., recently completed a complete remodel and revamped its menu. It also established what owner Trevor Shults is calling a “community table” – a designated booth at the back of the restaurant with an unusual feature. All profits from meals ordered at that table go to a designated charity – Shriners Hospital this month, Big Brothers Big Sisters in January, and others, changing each month, over the next year. Bob Shallit in the Sac Bee.

Chaat of India: Ignore the chef’s warning - Chaat of India opened earlier this year. Thanks to a smart lunch buffet and a thoughtful menu that features both classic Indian dishes that Americans have become accustomed to as well as numerous and likely unfamiliar chaats, the restaurant has quickly become a favorite among fans of Indian cuisine. Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

Meet the newest pizza restaurant entering the region - PizzaRev, which serves customized 11-inch pizzas ready in minutes, plans to make its local debut in 2016. Franchisee Harvind Uppal said he's opening a location in a retail center that's under construction at 5801 Folsom Blvd. in East Sacramento. The 1,800-square-foot store is expected to open by summer. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining News: Owners of The Cinders to Open Oak Park Taqueria


Brothers Tom and David Schnetz grew up in Sacramento. The former went on to open five successful restaurants in the East Bay. The later became a successful Sacramento construction expert.

Now, the two brothers have partnered on a second Sacramento establishment - an upscale taqueria and cocktail bar in Oak Park, reports Bob Shallit in the Sac Bee.

The menu will likely include a mix of tacos with Niman Ranch meats, tortas, tamales and soups along with beer, wine and cocktails using tequila and mezcal...

He worked for a couple of San Francisco restaurants, then opened his own place – Doña Tomás – in the Temescal district of Oakland in 1999.

His next venture, in west Berkeley, was an upscale taqueria called Tacubaya, which will be the model for the Oak Park operation.

Schnetz has three other restaurants – Flora, Fauna and Xolo – clustered at 19th Street and Telegraph Avenue in Oakland.

The restaurant does not yet have a name. Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

* Photo via Google Street View.

More News:


Taqueria to Inhabit Historic Oak Park Building - A successful Bay Area restaurateur with Sacramento roots is preparing to open a taqueria in a now-vacant building at Broadway and 35th Street in Sacramento's Oak Park neighborhood...Schnetz is partnering with his brother, David, in the yet-to-be named business...A specific date has not yet been set, but Schnetz is planning on a February 2016 opening. Dennis Shanahan on FOX 40.

Sacramento’s Oak Park Neighborhood Seeing Revitalization - Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood was once one of the most popular neighborhoods in Sacramento with local shops and businesses within walking distance from homes. Then Oak Park experienced a downturn as many businesses and homeowners left. Now the neighborhood south and east of Downtown Sacramento is experiencing a revitalization. An old building will soon house a new space, home to a new taqueria run by Dave Shnetz and his Bay Area restaurateur brother Tom. Kelly Ryan on CBS 13.

Sacramento bartender spent months making nocino liqueur - Not only is Ryan Seng the head bartender at the four-star Grange restaurant inside the Citizen Hotel, he’s also an accomplished alchemist. The proof is his handmade batch of nocino, more than three months in the making. “I played around with it for awhile,” Seng said. “I’m really happy with how the flavor turned out.” Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Feast gift guide: 15 (mostly) local ideas ready for wrapping paper - The holiday gift-giving season will be out of the oven shortly, a merry post-Thanksgiving feast of hunting and gathering that somehow seems to arrive at the table each year before we do. It’s not too early to cook up ideas for stocking stuffers, host gifts and under-the-tree presents for your favorite food enthusiast. To help, we’ve prepped some dishy ideas. In the Sac Bee.

Pizza restaurant plans Howe Bout Arden location - A build-it-yourself pizza chain is coming to the Howe Bout Arden shopping center, where a massive redevelopment plan is in the works...The address posted on Facebook says MOD Pizza will fill suite 180, an address that previously belonged to Baja Fresh. The Mexican restaurant closed its Arden Way location this past summer. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

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Dining News: What Southwest Air's In Flight Magazine Says You Shoud Do in Sacramento

Southwest mag

Southwest Magazine, the publication fliers find in seat back pockets, featured Sacramento in their Winter Travel Guide.

As usual, when out of towners make recommendations, there are some hits and some misses. Author Alison Miller has more hits than misses, though when she's wrong, she's really wrong.

First, what the reporter gets right, in what she calls the Next Great Food City:

Breakfast: "Local bacon and egg sandwich on a house-made English muffin from Old Soul Co."

Lunch: "Chicken-fried mushroom po'boy at Mother."

Dinner: "Five-course prix fixe menu at The Kitchen."

Nightcap: "Star bartender Ryan Seng's homemade nocino at Grange."

However, she gets one thing hugely wrong.

Lodging: "Make your home base at the centrally located Red Lion Woodlake Sacramento..."

Not sure what it's centrally located to unless she wants to be in the Costco-Arden Fair Mall-REI triangle.

But it's always good to see Sacramento get some good ink in national publications.

Click here to read it for yourself.

More News:

Black Bear Diner opening Monday in Elk Grove - Black Bear Diner, the Redding-based restaurant chain specializing in traditional comfort food and sizable portions, will open a new eatery in Elk Grove on Monday. Mark Glover in the Sac Bee.

AUDIO: Best Of Sacramento Party And The March Of Dimes - One of the biggest events in the Capital City is more than just a party this year, it’s a 15th Anniversary Party and a celebration of more than $4.5 million donated to the March of Dimes. Nov. 12 is the annual Best of Sacramento Party, hosted by Sacramento Magazine. Sacramento Magazine Publisher, Joe Chiodo and March of Dimes Volunteer Jessica Bracy talk about the event's impact on Insight. On Capitol Public Radio.

Nacho Day, bro: Seafood nachos, Lou's Sushi - Seafood nachos consist of six fried wonton “chips,” topped with smashed avocado and a blend of raw seafood pieces dressed in spicy-mayo magic, then topped with green onion and roe on a bed of red cabbage. An unexpectedly addictive and sharable appetizer. Nick Miller in Sac News & Review.

High tea: Tea Service No. 1, Empress Tavern - Tea Service cocktails at Empress are conversational, boozy and absolutely precious. It's essentially a cocktail brewed for four, poured from a teapot into glass punch glasses. Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

New housing taking shape at downtown Sacramento landmark - As for the ground floor of the 105-year-old Ransohoff Building, Fathy said the partners are in talks with several users interested in taking over the 8,200-square-foot space vacated by Pyramid Alehouse in March 2013. Some of the potential users have expressed interest in keeping the beer-making equipment that Pyramid left behind. Bob Shallit in the Sac Bee

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Dining News: The Violation That Led the County to Close Cafe Bernardo/KBAR


Last Tuesday, visitors to Cafe Bernardo/KBAR were greeted with a sign saying the venue had been closed by the county health department.

At the time, the reason given for the closure was "insect/rodent infestation."

The county has since posted its report online detailing the violations.

OBSERVATIONS: Major - Closure

3 live German cockroaches on wall/ledge behind 2-door reach-in refrigerator in espresso area, 3 ive cockroaches on floor along crevice between wall and floor beneath server's station across from pass thru window, 1 dying cockroach on floor of bar near cash register, 25 dead cockroaches on floor and ledge behind and beneath 2-door reach-in refrigerator in espresso area, 7 dead cockroaches on floor beneath equipment (ice bin) in bar and 1 dead cockroach on floor of dining room. Eliminate all dead and live insects. Continue with professional pest service. Last date of service 7-15-15. Seal all cracks and crevices immediately.

Read the entire report at the county's Web site.

The following day, the restaurant was reinspected (per county records), the infestation had been resolved and the restaurant and bar reopened.

As I wrote last week, it's more common than you think for restaurants to be closed by the health inspector. However, more often than not, these are isolated occurrences. I've eaten at KBAR and I plan to do so again soon.

* Headline's been edited since it was originally posted.

More News:

Craft beer shop opening soon in Lincoln - You don't have to wait much longer to visit a new craft beer venue that calls itself "the hoppiest place in Lincoln." Infusion Taproom will hold its grand opening on July 25. The business fills 1,954 square feet at 845 Twelve Bridges Drive in Lincoln. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Two Mexican restaurants shut their doors -- at least for now - It's a sad month for tacos and burritos in the Sacramento region. Two Mexican restaurants in the area have closed -- at least for now. Mas, a Mexican restaurant in Roseville, has shut its doors...Also, chain restaurant Baja Fresh has closed its location at 2100 Arden Way, but looks like it will be relocating shortly. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Surprise: Popeye’s shrimp ‘n’ chicken are on the leader board - Some weeks ago, a friend of ours confided that he breaks his vegetarian vows when it comes to Popeye’s fried chicken, calling it “the best in Sacramento.” Out of curiosity, we ordered a three-piece dark-meat combo and were shocked by how good it was. The non-greasy pieces were hot and juicy, with a touch of heat and salt, tastier than the Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Beer Run: Rubicon stands up to newcomers on craft beer scene - Rubicon Brewing has been around so long that newcomers to the craft beer scene tend to overlook this 28-year-old local treasure. It’s not hip. It’s not trendy. And the crowds at its restaurant and pub on Capitol Avenue tend to be older. How a brewery like Rubicon continues to thrive in an era of tremendous craft beer growth? When all kinds of new breweries are opening in cool places and offering plenty of innovation? Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Dollar-Wise Gourmet: Dinner Deals for Every Day of the Week - So you think all the Dollar-Wise bargains happen on weeknights, not weekends? Well, you’re partly right: The vast majority do. But as this little research experiment revealed, the local region offers some sweet savings every day of the week, even Fridays and Saturdays. Mark your calendar for these dinner deals, all under $20. Featuring Buckhorn Steakhouse, Cafe Eurpoa, Ten22, Danielle's Creperie, Rudy's Hideway, Revolution Wines and Sandra Dee's. Cathy Cassinos-Carr in Sac Mag.

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Dining News: 'Chef Gabriel Glasier creates art at Cask & Barrel'


Cask & Barrel (disclosure: they're a valued advertiser) has been doing amazing things over on Del Paso Blvd.

I was there several weeks ago and Chef Gabriel Glasier described how his recipes aren't measured in ounces or minutes, but rather are so precise that grams and seconds are used.

When developing his Hangtown Fry recipe, he says he ended up eating 50 eggs that weren't quite what he wanted before he nailed the recipe.

So it's no surprise that others are also noticing what's going on at Cask and Barrel.

Here's a snippet of Carla Meyer's review in the Sac Bee:

Its dishes do not seem transitory. They wedge themselves into memory. You will think often of the meats’ tenderness, of the appetizers’ visual allure and of the local, seasonal ingredients Glasier uses. You will think of these things because nearly every restaurant you visit after this one will seem expensive by comparison...

Even if Cask & Barrel grows busier, Glasier said he will not change his 40-seat model. Here’s hoping that’s true. For me, Cask & Barrel has ruined that other restaurant model – the one charging a lot for quality ingredients and pretty presentation. It needs to stay as is.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

More News:

Organizers cancel – then un-cancel – Davis Beer Week - We’re doing a lot of writing – and rewriting – here in the newsroom this afternoon, fresh off the news that organizers opted to cancel Davis Beer Week, then, in a matter of a few hours, reverse course and say the event is back on. Blair Anthony Robertson in the Sac Bee.

Food truck owner’s dog fatally shot in Sacramento home burglary - The owner of Drewski’s Food Truck is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who shot and killed his dog and business mascot during a burglary of his home Saturday night. Cathy Locke in the Sac Bee.

Downtown Plaza's west end empties out. Now what? - In the food court, Gyro Supreme's last day of business is Tuesday and a sign at Panda Express says it's open through July 3. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Don't Miss The Dish: Zabuton - Zabuton. When I saw a dish by that name on Grange’s menu recently, I almost passed it by, figuring it for some sort of fish. But when the server came to take our order, my curiosity got the better of me, and I asked about it. Turns out it’s beef—and absolutely delicious. Marybeth Bizjak in Sac Mag.

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Dining News: What San Francisco Mag Says You Should Do in Sacramento


Every city has a local magazine that suggests easy day or weekend trips. We have Sactown Mag and Sac Mag that ably fill that spot locally. But it's always interesting to know what outsiders think are the highlight of your town.

San Francisco magazine recently ran a story on what to do in Sac. Here's some of what they suggested:

Ruhstaller: Celebrated local brewery, Rushtaller (SIC), has a a taproom and beer lab to test out new craft brew recipes downtown (available by appointment) where you can sample their specialty beers and limited releases made from local hops and barley, like their cold-brewed Kenyan coffee-infused ale.

Temple Coffee: The third wave coffee buzz has hit Sacramento hard, with nearly a half-dozen new shrines to caffeine opening over the past few years. If you only hit one, make it Temple Coffee Roasters, the Blue Bottle of the Central Valley.

Grange: A modern restaurant and bar packed with locals (a rarity for hotel restaurants), who come for the dinners that source ingredients from the Sacramento region’s bounty of farms and brave but familiar dishes like ahi tuna with sweet breads and pork served three ways (loin, smoked belly, chicharron) with apricot.

Read the entire story in San Francisco Magazine.

More News:

The Chef's Table buys Rocklin coffee shop - The managing partners of The Chef's Table in Rocklin have purchased a coffee shop next to the restaurant, which they plan to incorporate into their existing business. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Coconuts for the cure: The Alchemist, Liquidology - I have a new addiction and it is the juice at Liquidology in East Sac. The shop is located dangerously close to my work, the juices are smartly packaged and with an arrangement of both mainstay and special seasonal products available, it feels like every time I have the need to juice they've got me creatively covered. Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

The Rind - This well-loved cheese bar in midtown is building a side and front patio (pictured below) that will seat about 24 people total. Tori Masucci Cummins & Jessica Rine in Sactown Mag. (Fifth Item.)

Continue reading "Dining News: What San Francisco Mag Says You Should Do in Sacramento" »