Dining News: Where You Can Get Foie Gras in Sacramento Right Now


Shaved, frozen foie gras on a sacallop nigiri at Kru in June 2012.

In case you missed the great news, foie gras is legal again after a judge overturned California's prohibition against selling the fattened duck liver.

(BTW: This isn't the place to discuss the ethics of foie gras. If you're against it, I understand why you feel that way, I respect your opinion, but my taste buds and the rest of me disagree.)

So I called around on late Wednesday night looking for restaurants that are already have it. If you have the $20 or so burning a hole in your pocket and you need a fix, hit up these restaurants:

Taylor's Kitchen

Mulvaney's B & L

Taylor's Market


Waterboy - Not in stock yet, but hopefully by the weekend.

Kru - Not yet, but Chef loves it and will try to get it on the menu soon.

Mighty Tavern - "We will. But there is no rush. It will be apart of our charcuterie program, it will have to fit into our menu. It won't just be on the menu," said chef Jason Azevedo via Twitter DM. "Soon, I personally love it. But I want to use the best way. Maybe as a mousse filling for herb profiteroles with aged balsamico. By Valentines at the earliest."

See Also: Three Places to Get Cheap(er) Foie Gras (written right before the now overturned law banning foie gras took effect in June 2012).

More News:

Local chefs react to lifting of foie gras ban - U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Wilson ruled Wednesday morning that California ordinances that outlawed the force feeding of birds were superseded by provisions of the federal Poultry Products Inspections Act. In short, state ordinances were overreaching and foie gras is for now good to go in California. “It’s a great day in liver land,” said a jubilant sounding Patrick Mulvaney, chef and proprietor of Mulvaney’s B&L. “I almost want to make it like a big birthday cake with a candle in it.” Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Boulevard Bistro, Carpe Vino named to best restaurants list - Two Sacramento-area restaurants are on this year's OpenTable list of the 100 best restaurants in America. The local eateries include Boulevard Bistro in Elk Grove and Carpe Vino in Auburn. The rankings are based on restaurant reviews that OpenTable diners submitted for more than 20,000 restaurants nationwide. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Jack's Urban Eats coming to Elk Grove - Jack's Urban Eats is opening an Elk Grove restaurant, the city of Elk Grove announced on Facebook on Friday. The restaurant will cover 3,339 square feet at the Laguna Crossroads shopping center at 7701 Laguna Blvd. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

SusieCakes opening first local store in January - A Southern California company is opening its first Sacramento region bakery Jan. 24. SusieCakes, which this summer announced a plan to enter the area, will make its debut at the Pavilions shopping center. The bakery at 564 Pavilions Lane will sell cupcakes, frosted layer cakes, cookies and seasonal fruit pies. Sonya Sorich in Sac Biz Journal.

Counter Culture: Past continues at Folsom’s retro Hop Sing Palace - We ordered classic-retro, starting with pot stickers. The six dumplings were dense, but the filling was quite tasty. A nice touch was our waiter’s demonstration of how to make an excellent pot-sticker sauce from the condiments caddy: Two parts hoisin sauce, one part plum sauce, one part hot chili sauce, a splash of white vinegar, mixed until blended and smooth. It was so good we put it on every dish that followed. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Continue reading "Dining News: Where You Can Get Foie Gras in Sacramento Right Now" »

Dining News: Lowbrau, Block Butcher Bar Exec Chef to (Eventually) Leave Post, Join Kings Arena

Michael Tuohy, the current Executive Chef & Tastemaker of Lowbrau Sausage & Bierhall and Block Butcher Bar will leave that post to join the new arena as executive chef before Fall 2016. From their press release:

Chef Michael Tuohy will serve as the ESC’s executive chef. Tuohy is best known as the executive chef and tastemaker at LowBrau Sausage & Beer Hall and Block Butcher Bar. Prior, Tuohy was the founding executive chef of Grange Restaurant at the Citizen Hotel.

Advisory council comprised of Chef Tuohy and esteemed Sacramento restaurateurs Patrick Mulvaney, Randy Paragary and Randall Selland.

Click here for the entire press release.

I asked the Kings PR staff whether the job would be a full time job, or whether Chef Tuohy would be adding this to his current responsibilities. They told me that the job would be full time, and that it would start sometime before the downtown arena opens in Fall 2016.

I used Twitter's direct message function to ask Chef Tuohy about the timing of the change, and he didn't get back to me. We had previously communicated via Twitter's DM function for a previous post.

The Sacramento food community rushed to congratulate Chef Tuohy.

Last season, Sac Bee food critic Blair Anthony Robertson called the food at the current Kings arena the "Great Sleep Train Robbery, a heist without ski masks or weapons but with plenty of hostages - more than 17,000 enthusiastic, possibly dumbfounded fans eager to support the home team at nearly any cost."

I have no doubt that under Chef Tuohy, the new Kings arena will get its consessions in order.

More News:

Kings Arena goes 'farm-to-court' - The upcoming arena will—you guessed it—embrace the city’s farm-to-fork movement. Chef Michael Tuohy of Block Butcher Bar and LowBrau will lead as executive chef, with restaurateurs Patrick Mulvaney, Randy Paragary and Randall Selland in advisory roles. Janelle Bitker in Sac News & Review.

VIDEO: Farm to Fork now to be served at Sacramento Kings games - The Sacramento Kings announced their new concession plan that will feature locally raised food. Rob Malcolm on KCRA.

Audio: Farm To Arena To Fork - Michael Tuohy of LowBrau and Block Butcher Bar will serve as the arena's executive chef.  He says there is a lot of work to do in preparation for the  arena's opening night. "The time for me to come on board is really now to start laying the groundwork for designing the kitchen, finalizing the plans for that, laying out the operations for the type of restaurants that are going to be in there, and then really sourcing all the products, which is what I do. I'm local and I know all the local farms and where to find everything. That's what I do... besides cook." On Capitol Public Radio.

Cooking with Chef Rick Mahan on Oct. 30 - Mahan will be teaching a class through the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op on the evening of Oct. 30—offering attendees a unique opportunity to learn some valuable tips about the preparation of two of his most beloved menu items: risotto and gnocchi. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Continue reading "Dining News: Lowbrau, Block Butcher Bar Exec Chef to (Eventually) Leave Post, Join Kings Arena" »

Dining News: Now Open - Turnaround Coffee House

One of my favorite things about Sacramento are all the small businesses that exist solely to help charities.

There's Casa Garden, which benefits the Sac Children's Home. There's Plate's Cafe and Plates2Go, which helps fund the St. John's Program for Real Change. There's My Sister's Cafe which helps fund domestic violence shelter My Sister's House. And now there's Turnaround Coffee House, which is operated by the Clean & Sober homeless recovery communities.

Located at 7th & H streets, the cafe is run by volunteers and program alumni who are training for real world careers.

Here's more from Ed Fletcher in the Sac Bee.

The TurnAround Coffee House is unspectacular in decor. Its parking situation is dismal. The coffee is comparable to that of many other local spots.

It’s the mission that sets the new brew house apart...

One of the people leading the charge was Antoinette deVere White, matriarch of the pub-owning deVere brothers. Henry deVere said his mother poured her heart into getting the cafe open, and he was happy to help.

Read the entire story in the Sac Bee.

Turnaround Coffee House can be found online at TurnAroundCoffeeHouse.org.

More News:

Sacramento homeless get a taste of ‘mobile food movement’ at Loaves & Fishes - On Tuesday, mobile cuisine came to her and hundreds of others who typically receive their meals at shelters or from charitable organizations. For the second straight year, the owners of seven food trucks rolled into the Loaves & Fishes complex on North C Street and served up everything from Laotian and Thai food to hamburger sliders. Krush Burger and its mini sliders drew the longest lunch lines. But Chando’s Tacos and its “famous mulitas,” Drewski’s Hot Rod’s pulled pork, BaconMania’s “piggy sliders,” GameDay’s classic burgers, Green Papaya’s Thai rice and Smokers Wild’s BBQ chicken all had their fans. Diners also could partake of cups of ice cream, bags of chips and cold water handed out by the likes of Sacramento City Councilman Darrell Fong and county Supervisor Don Nottoli. Cynthia Hubert in the Sac Bee.

Icing On the Cupcake will hold its grand opening - Icing on the Cupcake, the former three-store mini-chain that declared bankruptcy in January and has been reincarnated in Rocklin under new ownership. The store has announced its official grand opening starting at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The celebration will feature raffles and prizes, giveaways and free samples from the menu of 35 gourmet cupcakes, cookies and brownies. Allen Pierleoni in the Sac Bee.

Try It: The Waterboy’s Papa Sanchez - I had a knockout meal at midtown’s The Waterboy restaurant recently, which included a spicy white bean puree-smeared bruschetta, speckled with warm chunks of cotechino sausage and strewn with fresh arugula; and a fabulous dish of pan-seared Dayboat scallops, tangled tastily with bucattini pasta and roasted cauliflower. We started this repast with an uber-refreshing, perk-up-your-tastebuds cocktail called a Papa Sanchez. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Continue reading "Dining News: Now Open - Turnaround Coffee House" »

Dining News: Orphan Improved, but Still 'Second Tier'


Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair A. Robertson wrote in 2009 that East Sac's Orphan  'badly needs to adopt the idea of flavor.'

He's revisited the place, and has given it a re-review.

While Orphan has, indeed, grown up into a reliably good restaurant with polished service and consistent cooking, it also faces stiffer competition than it did during those early, awkward days...

For lunch, you can still order breakfast items or go in the sandwich direction. We loved the health-conscious “zen breakfast” featuring grilled tofu, egg whites and steamed spinach, a dish that takes a balanced and simple approach to flavor.

The burrito with chicken was substantial and nicely assembled, including seasoned black beans and an overall eating experience of heft and rich flavor. Orphan makes three dishes featuring scrambled eggs, including an avocado scramble that had large slices of creamy avocado, scallions, tomatoes and melted Monterrey Jack cheese.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

More News:

Sacramento’s Temple tops Coffee Review’s best of 2013 list - Sacramento’s becoming better known as a beer town, but it’s already on the map as far as coffee is concerned. Respected online coffee publication Coffee Review released its Top 30 Coffees of 2013 today, with Sacramento’s Temple Coffee and Tea of Sacramento earning the No. 1 slot for it’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffee. Tim Swanson in the Sac Bee.

Craving Dessert? Three Sweets To Seek Out - ’Tis the season be gluttonous, and I’ve been devouring desserts with abandon. Three I tried recently have been real standouts. Featuring The Firehouse's vanilla creme brulee, Shady Lady Saloon's warm almond pear cake and The Waterboy's apple crostada. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Continue reading "Dining News: Orphan Improved, but Still 'Second Tier'" »

Dining News: LowBrau 'A Potentially Great Place, With Issues'


LowBrau, the ultra popular German beer hall at 20th & K, has been busy each of the half dozen times I've been there. I've enjoyed watching the NFL playoffs there, grabbing drinks with friends, stopping there on a pub crawl, and just having dinner. But that doesn't mean that it's without faults, and it appears that the Sac Bee restaurant critic has found a couple ways they can improve too.

Aside from the knowledgeable bartenders, the servers here offer little if any advice and are noticeably out of their element when fielding beer questions.

For a place with such a great list, the servers simply don't know enough about the beer to be credible. They're not close to what you'd find, knowledge-wise and passion-wise, at Pangaea or The Shack...

Then there's the food. It's sausages, more sausages and salads – some with sausage. The salads were disappointing, mostly because the dressing was nearly tasteless. There's also a large pretzel, which arrived at my table topped with so much salt I thought it was a practical joke...

For now, LowBrau is a roaring success, complete with flaws (which include roaring). Iron those out, and LowBrau will have all the staying power it needs to evolve as one of the city's great places for food and drink.

Read the entire review in the Sac Bee.

I agree with all of these criticisisms, and yet I've kept returning 'cause to me, the place has a cool vibe. The place is still only 6 months old, and I think these are growing pains. I hope they keep improving so they can give us reasons to keep coming back once the novelty wears off.

Also, they need to get a happy hour.

Click here for more posts referencing LowBrau.

More News:

Korea House Restaurant: A place of meat heaven - In the end, we left full and educated with a new appreciation for Korean cuisine. It takes a bit of learning, and perhaps simply more exposure, to appreciate its approach to food, which is a quieter approach than what’s generally expected from other Asian cuisines that are often a bit punchier and forward with flavor. This is a fine place to start. Garrett McCord in Sac News & Review.

New Owners for Townhouse Lounge - Shirley Johnson and her siblings have sold the Townhouse Lounge in midtown Sacramento to a group of five investors led by Charlie Coyne. Coyne, of course, is the owner and general manager of the Delta King. Cathie Anderson in the Sac Bee. (Last item.)

Continue reading "Dining News: LowBrau 'A Potentially Great Place, With Issues'" »

Dining News: Dime/Capitol Dime Name Game Continues


It turns out that being imprescise on the name of your restaurant is a great way to get press. I'm not saying they did this on purpose - but it worked for them.

Sactown Mag has the latest in the saga on what the actual name of the restaurant replacing L Wine Lounge is.

Some, including Noah and the staff, refer to the restaurant colloquially as The Dime, even though the actual name of the restaurant, as it appears on the actual logo above, is what will appear on the outdoor signage and all the menus, according to co-owners Rick Lobley and Zonca. "It's like The Sacramento Bee," Lobley explains. "It's called The Sacramento Bee, but everyone calls it The Bee." And there you have it.

Read the entire post in Sactown Mag.

Since it seems that they're cool with people using derivations of their name, maybe I'll start calling them Team Dime.

More News:

Stay frosty, Sactown - The following are my top picks for cooling off when your air-conditioning unit won't keep the temperature down quite as far as you'd like (you probably know exactly what I'm talking about, Midtowners). Featuring Merlino's Freeze, Osaka-Ya, Fat Face, Gunther's & Vic's. Jonathan Mendick in Sac News & Review.

Peas Please at The Waterboy - You can always count on fresh seasonal produce at The Waterboy, a midtown bastion of farm-to-fork fare. On a recent visit, spring peas were on stage at the restaurant, appearing in several different menu items. Kira O'Donnell in Sac Mag.

Continue reading "Dining News: Dime/Capitol Dime Name Game Continues" »

Dining News: Kupros Bistro, Call Your Office


I'm not a lawyer, and I've never had employees at a small business. I'm sure it's a tough gig. But there are a few things that I've picked up about managing people along the way.

  • Personnel matters are confidential.
  • Don't talk about somebody's pregnancy or medical conditions.
  • Don't air your dirty laundry.

Apparently, the management at Kupros Bistro (where I actually had a delightful happy hour on Monday after work) hasn't learned these lessons yet, reports Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

For followers of Sacramento's restaurant scene, Facebook was abuzz this morning from posts on the page for Kupros Bistro with a serious accusation. The post came from Kupros Bistro itself, saying: "To all those I had the pleasure to meet in the last 2 and a half years: Steve, the owner no longer feels it is appropriate to have a (woman) expecting to work in his establishment so he has let me go. I wish all you wonderful regulars the best and will miss you:)"

Discriminating against a pregnant employee violates the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

The employee in question is a now former bar manager at Kupros and also helped book bands to play at the bistro.

However, Kupros owner Stephen Tokuhama called in with his side of the story. He said the employee wasn't fired, but rather quit this morning on her own volition.

Since his original post, the female employee and a witness to the exchange have both called Macias with more information. Read the entire post in the Sac Bee. (Something tells me that today isn't the end of the story.)

While we're at it, Sac Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson lets us in on an exchange with Kupros Bistro's management after he wrote a middling review of the joint.

I had complained that the food was bland and that little on the menu showed any personality or daring. I also lamented that the opening chef, John Gurnee, who made a splash with his edgy menu choices and his excellent cooking skills, had been sent packing. I received an email from Kupros taking me to task for calling and speaking with the manager when he was busy, prior to the review. How unfair of me. Well, I called Temple Coffee today to chat with owner Sean Kohmescher, who, it turns out was busy. Know what he said? "Hey, can I call you back in 45 minutes?" How did he come up with that one?

The Kupros email went on to suggest that John Gurnee was a friend of mine. It also said that in my review I had not considered Gurnee's exorbitant food costs. Hmm, let's see. A) How would I know what his food costs are? B) Why would I care? and C) You guys set the prices on the menu, apparently based in some way on how you can make a profit while providing value to your customers. I think that's how it works. Banished from Kupros, Gurnee is now starring at one of San Francisco's hot restaurants, Wayfare Tavern, where he is executive chef. In the highly competitive Bay Area restaurant scene, food costs are more important than ever. Am I friends with Gurnee? I've never met him. Maybe Kupros should have asked.

Read his entire post in the Sac Bee.

Finally, recall that this isn't the first time that Kupros Bistro has had a run of bad PR. Back in March, they tried to sell a 12 oz glass of a rare Pliny the Younger IPA and a burger for $45. That move angered the brewery.

More News:

Taste Sacramento's best hot toddy tonight and Tuesday at Ten22 - Last week, we brought you the winners of a Hot Toddy contest held at Golden Bear, featuring some of Sacramento's leading and up-and-coming bartenders. Well, now you can taste that winning hot toddy for yourself both tonight and Tuesday at Ten22 in Old Sacramento. The hot toddy comes from Karina Martinez, who was the hands-down winner with her "Mad King Charles" toddy. Its key ingredients include: Buffalo Trace bourbon, Torani Amer liqueur, chamomile citrus tea, and steeped in almond water. She also torched pieces of cinnamon bark for added aromatics. Yes, this was one impeccable hot toddy with its balanced flavors, thoughtful presentation and just enough boozy kick to keep you extra warm on a winter's night. They will cost $9 each. Chris Macias in the Sac Bee.

Buffalo Wild Wings Opens In Natomas - A new Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant opened today, Dec. 17 at the Promenade Shopping Center in Natomas. The Natomas Chamber of Commerce was on hand to celebrate the eatery's opening day with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. On Natomas Buzz.

Continue reading "Dining News: Kupros Bistro, Call Your Office" »