Sacramento Cocktail Week 2016

by Brandon Smith

Bathrobe-clad bartenders, a hole-in-one, rum punch, Caribbean jerk chicken, a race against time and brandied cherries. What do all these things have in common? You probably experienced at least one of these things if you attended a Sacramento Cocktail Week event.

As we previously mentioned, Sacramento Cocktail Week is a week-long celebration uniting local bartenders, fine spirits, fresh products and artisan cocktails. Restaurants, bars, bartenders and patrons from around the greater Sacramento area came together to create, celebrate and of course, drink cocktails.

I jumped at the chance to be a part of the action. I had been looking for an excuse to get out and experience more of the incredible bar and craft cocktail scene in Sacramento and cocktail week seemed like the perfect opportunity. I made it a goal to attend at least five Sacramento Cocktail Week events to make the most out of the experience.

Day 1: The Dude Imbibes at Bottle & Barlow

Cocktail week kicked off on Sunday with its first featured event, The Dude Imbibes. The event featured a number of cocktails and food inspired by the Coen Brothers cult classic, The Big Lebowski. White Russians and Sioux City Sarsaparillas (yeah…that’s a good one) were being poured up by two bartenders dressed as The Dude and Walter Sobchak. The Wandering Chef was serving up bowling alley themed classics like bacon burgers, specialty hot dogs and nachos with scratch made cheddar beer sauce. Everything was well thought out and played off the Lebowski theme. If you’ve never seem the film, you’ll just have to take my word for it, man.

Check out the full beverage menu below!

The Dude Imbibes_Page_1

Day 2: Tavern on the Green at Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co.

Hook & Ladder hosted the second featured event of the week, The Tavern on the Green. Fellow SacFoodie Harrison and I decided to check this one out after leaving the office Monday afternoon.

Photo Aug 15, 6 11 24 PM

Dog Leg w/ Hendrick’s Gin

The restaurant was converted into a mini golf course with three different putting stations. Each hole had a bartender whipping up specialty cocktails (full menu below). Harrison and I both agree, the Dog Leg with Hendrick’s Gin, Cucumber, Lemon, Rose Water and Q Tonic was the clear winner when it came to the  cocktails offered.

Tavern on the Green Menu Inside_Page_1

Day 3: It Takes Two to Tiki at The Red Rabbit

Most of the Tiki themed drinks at this event featured Rhum Agricole, which I had previously never tried. I’ve since learned that Rhum Agricole is produced straight from sugarcane juice whereas most other rums are produced by fermenting molasses.

Photo Aug 16, 6 54 25 PM

Chance of Light Showers w/ Clément Rhum Agricole

I’m usually not one to order rum but for the sake of going with the theme, I ordered The “Chance of Light Showers” with Clément Rhum Agricole, lime and ginger beer. If you’re into Moscow Mules, this might be your new favorite.

The cocktail experience alone was worth the stop, but what really won me over was the bartending competition going on inside. I passed by the main bar and noticed a large crowd watching two bartenders wearing one shirt at the same time, each using one arm to make and present a signature drink for three judges. I was so intrigued by what was happening, I decided to get a little closer to the action. After a few minutes, I was at the bar sitting right next to the judges who were happy to share the bartenders’ submissions. This was by far my favorite event all week.

Jayson y Fernando

Fernando & Jayson of Bottle & Barlow

Day 4: Sacramento Cocktail Competition at Harlow’s Restaurant and Nightclub

The Sacramento Cocktail Competition began with a tasting of eight varieties of punch created by the bars represented in the competition. Groups of people flocked from table to table outside on Harlow’s back patio to try the different varieties of punch. I, along with fellow SacFoodies Harrison and Gabby, arrived just a bit too late to taste everything but the one’s we did taste were quite good!


The tasting was followed by a competition between eight different bars from the downtown/midtown area. Each bar was represented by two bartenders who raced against the clock to create four classic cocktails and one drink featuring a mystery ingredient. We couldn’t stay for the entire competition but before we left, we did see pudding cup brought up as one of the mystery ingredients…

Day 5: The Looper at Magpie Café

This was a very low-key, special menu offering from Magpie Café on Friday afternoon. Magpie offered a number of fantastic whiskey-forward cocktails in combination with their own house-made brandied cherries. My favorite was the Napa Sour made with Slaughter House American Whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup and a splash of red wine to finish. Don’t forget the cherry on top.

Napa Sour brightened

Napa Sour w/ Slaughter House American Whiskey

I was also partial to Magpie’s rib eye.

Photo Aug 19, 6 51 03 PM

Final Thoughts:

Sacramento Cocktail Week is something the people of Sacramento should continue to support and help grow in years to come. The people who associate themselves with craft cocktail culture in Sacramento come from all walks of life and truly support the growing cocktail culture in this city. All the events were well planned, engaging and showcased the creativity and passion that these bartenders put into their drinks night after night.

For anyone looking to take a dive into cocktail culture here in town, Sacramento Cocktail Week would be an ideal place to start which, unfortunately, won’t be back for another year. In the meantime, head over to one of the bars and restaurants mentioned in this post and strike up some conversation with the bartender. Chances are they’ll be able to get set you down a path to true Sacramento cocktail greatness.


Bottle & Barlow
1120 R St.
Sacramento, CA 95811

Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co.
1630 S St.
Sacramento, CA 95811

The Red Rabbit
2718 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95816

Harlow’s Restaurant and Nightclub
2708 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95816

Magpie Café
1601 16th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814



SacFoodie Survey: Cocktail Week

by The SacFoodies


It’s no secret that the SacFoodies enjoy a good bevvy. From shaking up a Fresh Tomato-Mint Margarita to sipping a White Linen at The Shady Lady, we’re all in when it comes to boozy concoctions. In honor of Sacramento Cocktail Week, we decided to kick-off the first installment of our new series, SacFoodies Survey, with a question to our authors: “When it comes to cocktails, do you prefer a refreshing, sweet sipper? Or something more spirit-forward that packs a punch?”

The SacFoodies answered the call and the results were conclusive: If a SacFoodie is having a cocktail, make it a strong one!

The question itself is fairly open to interpretation, so we asked three of our authors to give some insight into their drink (or drinks) of choice.

Check out the infographic above for all the data and featured responses. We’ll have a full recap of  Sacramento Cocktail Week as well as more great SacFoodies Survey results in the near future.


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SacFoodies Weekend Picks

By: Harrison Reilly

Weekend picks banner

Fantasy Food Truck Showdown

Presented by Beers in Sac, season #2 of the Fantasy Food Truck Showdown comes to a close tonight, Aug. 19, at Yolo Brewing Company. From 4 to 9 p.m., Cali Love, Cecil’s Taste, Dojo Burger, North Border Tacos and Voyager World Cuisine will battle it out for your SacFoodie heart in a bracket-style points competition.

The food trucks will be provided with a mystery ingredient box and have to prepare a dish that pairs with craft brews from Yolo Brewing.

The event is free to the public and will feature live music by Kamikaze Music Ensemble. If you would like to sample fare created during the competition and vote for the best food truck, you can buy the “Hungry Man” ticket for $25, which includes five small plates and a beer. For more information, visit the Beers in Sac website.

Yolo Brewing Co.

1520 Terminal Street

West Sacramento, CA, 95691


Ice Cream Safari

The 32nd annual Ice Cream Safari at the Sacramento Zoo will take place this Saturday, Aug. 20 from 4 to 8 p.m. A ticket includes all-you-can-eat Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream in cones, sundaes and floats and unlimited Coca-Cola beverages. This is a great event for kids and adults alike.

Tickets to explore the 14-acre zoo with delicious ice cream treats are $15 for children ages 2-11 and $20 for adults. Purchase your tickets at the Sacramento Zoo website.

Sacramento Zoo

3930 West Land Park Drive

Sacramento, CA 95822


Slow Beer On a Hot August Night

We have all heard of Slow Food, but what about Slow Beer? Slow Food Sacramento invites you to try this new concept at Magpie this Sunday, Aug 21st at 4:00 p.m.

According to Slow Food Sacramento, “Slow Beer is our link to the Ark of Taste, which is the topic of the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto extravaganza being held in Turin, Italy, this September. Terra Madre is the most important international event dedicated to food and gastronomy. From educational forums to conferences to a grand marketplace, this is where international food communities meet. This is where ideas turn into actions.  This is where biodiversity reigns and is celebrated. And five Sacramento delegates will be there, including Magpie owner Ed Roehr.”

Tickets are $40 and proceeds with help raise money to send Slow Food Sacramento’s delegates to Italy in September.


1601 16th Street

Sacramento, CA 95814

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Wordless Wednesday: Beet Salad



This is my my go-to beet salad. There are no strict measurements, only six simple ingredients: beets, fennel, leeks, pistachios, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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Sacramento Cocktail Week is back!

by Brandon Smith

The 9th annual Sacramento Cocktail Week is officially underway! If you’re unfamiliar with Sacramento’s established cocktail scene, this is the perfect opportunity to catch up on what you’ve been missing. The event series and celebration is all about uniting local bartenders, fine spirits, fresh products and artisan cocktails.

We’ll be attending all of the featured events and providing you with a full recap of the action later this week. In the meantime, check out the schedule below and let us know which event you’re most excited about!

Monday, August 15th – “The Tavern on the Green” at Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co.

Tuesday, August 16th – “It Takes Two to Tiki” at The Red Rabbit Kitchen + Bar

Wednesday, August 17th – “2016 SCW Cocktail Competition” at Harlow’s Restaurant & Night Club

Thursday, August 18th – “Sacramento Bartender’s Guild Presents: Wild West Cocktail Extravaganza” at Sacramento River Train

For a complete list of all the events taking place during Sacramento cocktail week, visit

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Weekend Food Getaway: Outside Lands

by Harrison Reilly

The annual Outside Lands music festival was held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park this past weekend and I was lucky enough to attend all three days. In between watching bands like Radiohead, Third Eye Blind and Duran Duran, I was able to try food from vendors across the Bay Area. It was a SacFoodie’s dream!

With help from my lovely sisters, I complied this list of the best food we tried at Outside Lands.

Spicy Tater Tots from The Japanese Pantry.

These tater tots were the perfect snack on a cold and foggy afternoon.


Rambenburger from Nombe.

This burger included 50/50 pork belly & Kobe patty, blue cheese, buttered shiitake, pickled onions, and Miso Sauce.

Courtesy of Mollie Reilly, HuffPost SF

Photo courtesy of Mollie Reilly, HuffPost SF

Porcini Doughnuts with Raclette Cheese from Rich Table.

These doughnuts were a pleasant surprise and a great combo of sweet and savory.

Courtesy of Mollie Reilly, HuffPost SF.

Photo courtesy of Mollie Reilly, HuffPost SF.

Fried Chicken Sandwich from Proposition Chicken.


The “Best Damn Cheeseburger” from 4505 Meats.

This burger is well known across the city and can be found at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market in San Francisco.


Brunch at Zazie.

As a post-Outside Lands recovery, we decided to get brunch at Zazie in Cole Valley in San Francisco. This popular brunch spot is famous for its pancakes, scrambles and eggs benedict dishes.

Courtesy of Mollie Reilly, HuffPost SF

Photo courtesy of Mollie Reilly, HuffPost SF

If you’re looking for a unique festival experience that boasts some of the best food San Francisco has to offer, make sure to buy a ticket to Outside Lands next summer.

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SacFoodies Picks for the 2016 Summer Olympics

by Brandon Smith

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio are officially underway! There’s nothing like the Olympics and with 10 Sacramento athletes competing, we’re more excited than ever to watch events like track and field, water polo, basketball, rugby, swimming and…actually…all this talk about sports is making me hungry. Let’s switch gears and take a look at a few unique places in town where you can curb your hunger and check out the action!

USA Guy HOT Italian

Courtesy of HOT Italian Pizza Bar


This Midtown pizza specialist is great for the whole family. Co-founders Andrea Lepore and maestro pizzaiolo Fabrizio Cercatore’s mission was to “create a place where pizza brings people together to celebrate Italy’s new generation of art, music, design, sport, food and wine.” You can catch the games on one of HOT ITALIAN’s jumbo projectors. Salute!

1627 16th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814


This neighborhood hangout is attached to Café Bernardo’s R street location and features the same great menu found at all Café Bernardo locations. Stop by and tune in to one of the TVs at the bar OR in one of their “living rooms” complete with a comfy couch and private flat screen. Did we mention Mondays are all-night happy hour?

R15 at Café Bernardo
1431 R Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Firestone Public House

Firestone was voted Best Sports Bar by Sacramento Magazine in 2015. It has over 22 flat screens available for your viewing pleasure, 60 beers on tap and two outdoor patios. We’re also fans of their seasonally inspired menu.

Firestone Public House
1132 16th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814

Flame & Fire

Disclaimer: Flame & Fire does not have any TVs. What they do have, however, is some of the best Brazilian Barbeque in the Sacramento area.

If you’ve never been to an all-you-can-eat Brazilian Barbeque or “Churrascaria,” here’s the drill: The atmosphere is upscale and the portions are large. Chefs with skewers of freshly prepared cuts of beef, chicken, lamb, pork and Brazilian sausages serve you tableside in the Rodizio fashion. The price is fixed and you can enjoy as much meat or various side dishes as you would like. Unfortunately, the full bar is NOT all you can drink.

Flame & Fire
963 Pleasant Grove Blvd
Ste 100
Roseville, CA 95678

If you’ve been out and about watching the Olympics, let us know where in the comments section!

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SacFoodies Weekend Picks

by Harrison Reilly

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Tap Folsom

For the third year in a row, Tap Folsom is returning to the heart of Historic Old Folsom and the event is bigger than ever. The evening will feature 40 top craft breweries, including Ballast Point, Bear Republic, Deschutes Brewery and SacTown Union Brewery.

Along with beer tastings, the event will feature live music and food trucks, including Bacon Mania and Ben’s Huli Huli Chicken.

A $40 general admission ticket includes unlimited beer tastings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. If you’re a beer aficionado, you don’t want to miss this one. For more info, visit the Tap Folsom website.

Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Historic Old Folsom

905 Sutter Street

Folsom, CA

Off the Grid: Friday Nights @ the Barn

This Friday marks the start of Friday Nights @ The Barn, the third weekly event series in the Sacramento area put on by Off the Grid.

Friends and family are welcome to come enjoy food and music curated by Capital Public Radio in West Sacramento’s Bridge District, right on the waterfront. This event will run every Friday through October, with a rotating lineup of food trucks.

Starting at 5 p.m., this week will feature North Border, New Bite, Gaga’s Rollin Diner, Costa’s Finest, Street Eatz, El Matador, Sophie’s, Luciano’s Scoop and Smoothie Patrol.

We at the SacFoodies office are very excited for this event. Look out for a post about it in the next few weeks! For more information about Friday’s event and the other events around the Sacramento area, visit Off the Grid’s website.

The Barn

985 Riverfront St.

West Sacramento

Midtown Farmers Market

We love the Capitol Mall farmers market and it’s easy to forget the other great farmers markets across Sacramento. One of our favorites is the Midtown Farmers Market that happens every Saturday morning, year round, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This farmers market is located in the heart of midtown on 20th Street in between J and L streets and makes for a great stop on a Saturday morning stroll. Afterwards, stop by the many great restaurants and coffee shops scattered across Midtown.

Midtown Farmers Market

20th Street between J & L

Midtown Sacramento

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Queen Sheba: Ethiopia on Broadway

by Matthew Mora


Sacramento is full of unique surprises, especially when it comes to its restaurant diversity. Take Broadway between 15th and 30th, for example. Cultural cuisines range from Chinese and Indian to Mexican and almost everything in between. Being vegan, I’m always looking for places that support my diet. I find that ethnic restaurants can be the best choice.

One of my favorites is Queen Sheba. Queen Sheba serves Ethiopian food that connects directly to its origins and culture. The dishes are made with traditional ingredients, such as lentils, potatoes and collards. They can also be served family style to be eaten with flat, sourdough bread called Injera.

The food at Queen Sheba is full of flavor that consists of sweet, sour, peppery and earthy hints.  Their dishes are made with a variety of spices such as turmeric, cloves, black cumin, and cinnamon. Many of their options can be served vegan, which is why I’m such a big fan. Not only is the food really tasty, but, as with many of these cultures, the dishes aren’t meat-centric. It’s almost as if they specialize in plant-based diet naturally.

Whether you’re an herbivore or an omnivore, try out Queen Sheba off of 17th and Broadway. I recommend the Vegetarian Combo with the Shiro Wot (which you’ll probably have to share).



Queen Sheba

1704 Broadway

Sacramento, CA 95818

Phone: 916-446-1223

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Farm to Office! This week’s farmers’ market finds

by Brandon Smith

This week’s finds feature a bounty of local produce, (not so) mini burgers, a taco salad bowl and some almonds we can’t get enough of.

Beautiful, fresh produce


A couple of “Cowbells” from Krush Burger. These mini burgers are loaded with bacon, onion straws, BBQ sauce and smoked Gouda.


Taco Salad Bowl with carnitas from La Posada


We can’t stop eating these flavored almonds from Winters Fruit Tree! We recommend the sesame flavor but feel free to give any of their 40 flavors a try.

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The Capitol Mall Farmers’ Market takes place every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., May through September.

Check back next Thursday for more of our favorite “Farm to Office” finds.