The Rind

Dining News: Blue Bottle Comes to Town - Sort Of

Noted Oakland coffee roaster Blue Bottle will come to Sacramento through a "wholesale partnership," but not as a Blue Bottle Cafe.

The Sac Bee's Chris Macias has more.

Blue Bottle Coffee of Oakland will be featured as part of The Trade, Coffee & Coworking at 2220 K St. The 4,000-square-foot space will house private and shared office spaces, along with conference rooms and other amenities for small business owners. The attached cafe, which will include its own seating and wi-fi, will take up about 900 square feet of The Trade and serve as a wholesale partner with Blue Bottle Coffee.

Blue Bottle Coffee is currently available at a handful of Bay Area locations, including San Francisco’s Ferry Building, and one cafe in Los Angeles. New York City also plays home to seven Blue Bottle Coffee shops. The small chain is known for its meticulous roasting and coffee preparation techniques, minimalist decor and popularity with tech workers.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

But what exactly is a "wholesale partnership?" This is how they describe it on Blue Bottle's Web site.

We love wholesale partnerships. Aside from providing our coffee, we have staff devoted to your coffee program and offer a robust suite of services designed to help you prepare the best cup of coffee possible for your customers.

What we expect in return is respect for our dedication to coffee quality. We know that not every partner has coffee as their sole culinary focus, but coffee must be important to your business. Strong relationships, characterized by communication, honesty and trust, are essential with our wholesale partners. We make a pledge to uphold these tenets as we begin a partnership together, and we’ve found that our most successful partners have reflected the pledge right back.

From reading that, it sounds like the arrangement where roasters resell their beans to be served at other retail establishments -- like Old Soul Coffee does with Vic's Cafe. Expanding it to other parts of the food universe, it must be like Doughbot's deal with Insight Roasters where Insight sells Doughbot donuts out of their cafe.

Sadly, no authentic Blue Bottle cafe in Sacramento yet, but if you're a devotee of Blue Bottle, at least you don't have to drive two hours to get your fix.

More News:

VIDEO: Stones Gambling Hall - Amy Carabba checks out the food scene at the Stones Gambling Hall. On Good Day Sac.

VIDEO: The Rind - It is National Dairy Month and Cambi Brown learns how much cheese is too much while hanging out at The Rind. On Good Day Sac.

VIDEO: Happy Anniversary: Florez Bar and Grill - Florez Bar and Grill has been serving authentic Mexican food for the last 33 years and Cambi Brown has to head out there for her ultimate test. The cheese enchilada with rice and beans. On Good Day Sac.

Continue reading "Dining News: Blue Bottle Comes to Town - Sort Of " »


Dining News: Did Monte Carlo Close?

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What's the deal with the boarded up building that used to house Monte Carlo at 15th & S? That's question I've been e-mailed the most this year.

In fact, when you Google "Monte Carlo Sacramento," the first suggestion is "Monte Carlo Sacramento closed." Unfortunately, having a day job has meant that I haven't had the hours to track down this answer.

Luckily, the Sac Bee's Chris Macias figured out the mystery.

[Bret] Bair has also taken over the Monte Carlo bar at 15th and S streets, a block away from Ace of Spades, which is closed for renovations. Bair is reconceptualizing the building and plans to add more space for proper restaurant and bar facilities.

Bair is part of the team that "oversee the Ace of Spades and Assembly music clubs" and is a partner at midtown's Tank House.

Click here to read the entire post, which is mostly about the new Goldfield Trading Post.

Previously, the Sac Bee's Bob Shallit reported in June 2013 that the bar had changed ownership, and a shooting took place at the club in January 2014.

* Photo taken in late February.

More News:

Cheesy Charlie's to open in Arden-Arcade this summer - Local restaurant veteran Carroll Hoagland is preparing to open Cheesy Charlie’s Bake Sale Cafe & Deli at the end of July. The restaurant will make its own corned beef, pastrami and bacon, said Hoagland, who worked with Eppie’s restaurants when the local chain had 10 locations. All of those ingredients can be made into sandwiches or added to burgers. Mark Anderson in Sac Biz Journal.

Cheesy celebration marks one year at The Rind - As she looks toward the second year of operation, Arbabian is excited for two new additions to her restaurant: a long-awaited patio, and brunch service. After much back-and-forth with the fire department, a plan is now in place for the entire building to undergo a facade remodeling which will include adding exterior seating for The Rind. Arbabian expects it to be finished sometime in August. Sooner than that, the brunch menu should be rolling out. As you might expect, it will be cheese-focused. Andrea Thompson in Sac Biz Journal.

Riverside Refresher: Delta Bar & Grill’s Blueberry Peach Lemonade - Delta Bar & Grill may be the area’s best-kept river dining secret. Located in Old Sacramento inside the Delta King riverboat, it offers a far more casual vibe than the Delta King’s swanky downstairs restaurant, the Pilothouse. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Continue reading "Dining News: Did Monte Carlo Close?" »


Dining News: Why Doughbot Is Closing For Good in August

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Doughbout, The Grid's favorite artisan donut shop, will close in August, they announced on Facebook early Saturday morning.

Hey, you lovely doughnauts, staunch and fervent supporters of from-scratch, hand rolled, hand cut, deep fried goodness- whatever rumors you may have heard about Doughbot closing are true.

Bryan and I have hustled our asses off for the past 3 years, from gutting the remains of Ricksha, to having a record sell-out National Donut Day. We’ve been given incredible opportunities like competing (and kicking ass, if I do say so myself) on Donut Showdown, and giving a voice to small business in DC in regards to closing tax loopholes exploited by multinational corporations. We’ve worked with amazing local folks- big ups to Insight Coffee and Edible Pedal! It’s impossible to put in to words the gratitude we feel for this community. We really have the best customers, the best FAMILY, honestly.

We’ve hesitated in announcing our closure. It’s difficult to inform the same people who tell you, “We’re so glad you guys are here, doing what you’re doing,” that you just can’t do it anymore. As rewarding as these last few years have been, they’ve also been incredibly difficult. We’re simply burned out.

We’ll remain open through the first weekend of August, and try to cycle as many of your favorites through the menu as possible until then. We sincerely appreciate your continued support over the years, and we hope we’ll see you soon.

I met Bryan, one half of the team that makes up Doughbot at the Have An Offal Day event last year, and I asked him about his schedule. It sounded brutal. Essentially, when you go to sleep, he's up and headed to the store to make the next day's donuts. After hearing it described to me, I'm impressed they lasted this long.

With that said, they were very thoughtful in announcing their impending closure seven weeks in advance, giving loyal fans many opportunities to give them a final visit or two before they start their next adventure in life.

I hope they don't give up their recipes for good, though and continue to give us occasional opportunities to keep getting our Dougbot fix at pop up stores, in partnerships with existing restaurants or at Farmers markets.

Doughbot is located at 2226 10th St., and can be found online at Doughbotdonuts.com.

More News:

The Death of Craft: Hard Work Sucks - Do we put too low a price on the “authentic”? Should a thoughtfully made doughnut with organic ingredients, precisely sourced toppings, and hand crafted fillings cost more than a Twinkie? How much more? How much will you pay for a hand-formed burger patty? Does it cover the cost of rent, licenses, health insurance, business insurance, ingredients, fixtures, electricity, gas, certifications, college loan debt, and still leave enough for a decent wage? On The Sac Rag.

BevMo opened Friday in midtown - In addition to a large selection of beer, wine and liquor, the store features many special touches specific to the Sacramento region. Those elements range from local beers to wine-themed bike racks designed by local artist Gina Rossi. Guests also can expect a tasting room. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Yui Marlu: Another sushi dimension - Yes, Yui Marlu serves up California rolls, plus a menu full of American-style makizushi. But its mastery lies in Japanese-style sushi and an assortment other traditional Japanese fare. Jonathan Mendick in Sac News & Review.

Continue reading "Dining News: Why Doughbot Is Closing For Good in August" »


Dining News: Next SactoMoFo to be Held on Sat., April 26

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SactoMoFo 7, the next in the wildy-popular food truck mobile food festivals, will be held on Saturday April 26, SactoMoFo announced on its Web site.

The event will again be held at 6th & X, the same site as the Sunday Farmer's market.

The Sac Bee's Chris Macias got the scoop on the truck lineup for the event.

Among the newcomers are Fresno’s Dusty Buns, which specialize in gourmet sandwiches and a Central Valley hit. Ciao Chow, a local Italian-Asian truck which recently went online, will also make its SactoMoFo debut with a menu that spans spaghetti and meatballs, Thai braised pork sandwiches, Moroccan chicken and more. Cruizin’ Crustacean, a relatively new seafood truck run by the folks at Rudy’s Hideaway, will also be featured.

While food trucks and healthy eating might sound like a culinary oxymoron, SactoMoFo 7 will add more vegetarian and vegan food options.

“We’ve listened loud and clear to the vegetarians,” said Paul Somerhausen, co-founder of SactoMoFo. “One of the trucks we’ll be bringing is Hella Vegan Eats.”

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

I haven't been to a SactoMoFo recently, mostly due to other obligations on those days, but I'm excited about this one. I've written in the past about the "Go Early" strategy, but I think that's actually wrong. I'll probably go late in the afternoon and see what's left. There may be less variety, but there probably also won't be hour long waits.

More News:

You Heard It Here First: Vampire Penguin - Recently I kept hearing the name “Vampire Penguin” from many sources. When I heard “shaved ice” my ears didn’t exactly perk up. I’m not really a snow cone lover. I like my desserts full of fats and dairy. After a friend’s kid told me about the Wonka-esque flavor she had created I knew I had to check it out. With our new photographer Matt Maxwell in tow I took that Florin Road exit for the millionth time. Becky Gruenwald in Sac Foodways.

Behind the Scenes: Insight Coffee’s Insight into Their Craft (and New Location!) - They roast their own coffee at their 8th Street location and will now have a new shop to deliver to. On March 5, Insight moved into the space on 10th and J previously occupied by Temple Coffee and, most recently, Broadacre Coffee. Dubbed their “Capitol Café” location, the transition was smooth due mostly to the relationship Broadacre already established with Insight through the featured rotation of their coffee. As a result of that relationship, Insight brought over any of the baristas and staff who wished to join the new location—including previous Broadacre co-founder, Lucas Elia, as the new manager. Bethany Harris on Sac Press.

Foodie fusion - Casual Asian fusion seems to be hitting just the right notes around town. UC Davis students now have a source of late-night kimchee quesadillas that beat their wildest, at-home munchie-driven experiments. Featuring Tako Korean BBQ & Wrap N' Roll. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

Continue reading "Dining News: Next SactoMoFo to be Held on Sat., April 26" »


Dining News: Q and A with Strings Urban Kitchen

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In an effort to get to know the restaurant better, I did a quick Q and A with Michael Gelber, one of the the owners of Strings Urban Kitchen last week. The new restaurant, located at Capitol Towers, opens Friday. Here's the Q and A, slightly edited for length and clarity.

Cowtown Eats: What's the concept for the restaurant?

Strings Urban Kitchen: Strings 2.0, taking the Strings base that has been serving the region for 27 years, and bringing it up a notch to an Urban Environment, we provide classic Italian with inventive new menu items, which includes a full bar, patio, pool area, and our Vino Cantinetta providing retail international and domestic wines.

Cowtown Eats: What makes you different than nearby restaurants?

Strings Urban Kitchen: Well, there really aren't any nearby restaurants for those that live within a 5-6 block radius, who would like to walk to a restaurant. And what makes us different, is our focus of creating an environment that makes you feel like you are able to escape for an hour and experience an opportunity to relax with good food and wine.  Plus, the fact that we can sell bottles of wine for guests to take home, really creates a unique opportunity for those in the Financial and Downtown district.

Cowtown Eats: Anything notable about the chef/ownership group?

Strings Urban Kitchen: We are Alexis Ventures, which has been in the food and beverage business for almost 4 years, owning one of Sacramento's first Urban wineries, Rail Bridge Cellars, along with out Tasting room at the top of the Elks Tower, Rail Bridge Cellars Penthouse Lounge, our catering company, Alexis Catering and Bar Service company, Libations by Alexis.

Antonio Morales has been a chef/cook for over 20 years, having worked in many different style restaurants, a dedicated worker that can take anything that has been made before, and make it better.

Cowtown Eats: What lessons did you learn transitioning from Strings Express to Strings Urban Kitchen?

Strings Urban Kitchen: We learned a lot about the lunch crowd, the need for speed, keeping lunch around $10, consistency and variety.

Cowtown Eats: What should a couple expect to spend on lunch or dinner at your restaurant?

Strings Urban Kitchen: Lunch for the most part, will be in the $10 range, with 24 different items to choose from, and dinner, well, depending on if you get wine and or buy a bottle, can average about $20-$40 per person.

Strings Urban Kitchen is located at 1500 7th Street, and can be found online at http://stringsurbankitchen.com/.

More News:

Food Diary: Chris Macias - Chris Macias is a longtime culture and wine writer for the Bee, and within the last year or so he has stepped up his food writing game. He is the proud papa to a baby daughter (and a son), and he shared his busy new dad food diary with us. Becky Gruenwald in Sac Foodways.

The Rind: Rainy Day Refuge - But it was The Rind’s crusty, utterly comforting Camembert and Comté melted cheese sandwich – composed on earthy walnut bread and enlivened with sweet slices of fresh pear – that really transformed the day. As warm and nurturing as a grandma’s hug, the rustic sandwich lifted all our spirits. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Did you know La Bonne Soupe is open beyond lunch? - There's usually a line out the door for lunch. Five tables inside fill up daily. I usually walk by La Bonne, spy the specials -- recently: lamb liver pate sandwich, sold out -- and tell myself I'll leave the house earlier next time. Ed Murrieta in Sac Biz Journal.

Continue reading "Dining News: Q and A with Strings Urban Kitchen" »


Dining News: Zocalo's Food is 'Only Occasionally Delightful'

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I'm a big fan of Zocalo. They're a solid choice when you want Mexican food in an upscale setting. I like to think of them like Paesanos - pleasing and decent food but not trying to be something it's not.

My go to dish there is the conchita pibil, which Wikipedia describes as a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatán Península of Mayan origin. I'd just describe it as delicious.

Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson's experiences seem to be different than mine.

The best part of the Zocalo experience just may be the building. It excites the senses and signals that something special might be on the way. Even the noise – the acoustics are awful – creates a sense of anticipation in diners approaching the restaurant. There’s a hum, a buzz. But surely those inside can’t be buzzing about the menu, as the food is mostly acceptable and only occasionally delightful.

Part of the problem is consistency and quality. During one visit, our carnitas were too dry and chewy. Another time, they were dark, glistening and delicious. A third time, all we could taste what seemed to be a vaguely citrus marinade, and the texture was nearly more mushy than meaty...

The conchita pibil ($16.99) was even better, an excellent example of a pork shoulder cooked to tender perfection and flavored with an achiote rub and habanero salsa.

Best of all may have been the fish tacos. Fish that is plump and battered and ample, on tacos that are nicely accessorized and delicious. The only thing holding them back from greatness are the ho-hum corn tortillas that look and taste mass-produced – rigidly uniform and rather bland. And at $14.99, this plate of tacos is on the pricey side of reasonable.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

More News:

Check it Out: Midtown's Ju Hachi - When I’m craving sushi, I often make a beeline for cozy little Ju Hachi on S Street. This warm, friendly midtown spot usually has a seat or two available at the sushi bar (even on a Saturday night!), and I appreciate its quiet environment and unfailingly gracious service. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

First Impressions: State Fair food comes to Rocklin with Fancy Funnel Cakes - The desserts are tops, especially the pan-fried pound cake, which resembles french toast, and the peach cobbler, rich with cinnamon. As for the funnel cakes, we’ve had our share at fairs and carnivals and these are the best we’ve tasted. Part of the lunch spread was the Oblivion, a funnel cake topped with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, cherry sauce, chocolate and whipped cream – ideal for sharing. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

The Rind serves unique cheese pairings for local foodies - Local cheese, wine and beer shop, The Rind, is causing a splash by giving the best pairing experience for Sacramento locals. Located on 18th and L streets, The Rind has set itself apart from many new shops springing up, because of its unique approach to pairing artisan and farmstead cheeses. Kaitlin Bruce in the Sac State Hornet.

Continue reading "Dining News: Zocalo's Food is 'Only Occasionally Delightful'" »


Top 15 Happy Hours of September 2013

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The 15 most popular Sacramento happy hours of September 2013 on CowtownEats.com were:

  1. BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse (Last month's rank: 1)
  2. Firestone Public House (Last month's rank: 2)
  3. Bento Box (Last month's rank: 4)
  4. Pour House (Last month's rank: 3)
  5. Lucca Restaurant (Last month's rank: 5)
  6. Burgers & Brew (Last month's rank: 6)
  7. Zocalo (Last month's rank: 8)
  8. Chevy's Fresh Mex - On the River (Last month's rank: 7)
  9. Mangia (Last month's rank: 9)
  10. Hook & Ladder (Last month's rank: 10)
  11. Blackbird Kitchen & Bar (Last month's rank: 11)
  12. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse (Last month's rank: 13)
  13. Buffalo Wild Wings (Last Month: Unranked)
  14. The Rind (Last month's rank: 15)
  15. Coyote Tap House (Last month's rank: 14)
Thank you all for coming. If you have any suggestions/thoughts, please e-mail me at Darrel@CowtownEats.com

Don't forget to check back daily for new posts and Cowtown Eats resources like the Cowtown Eats on TwitterFacebook and the Sacramento Happy Hour Map.

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