SacFoodies

May
23

California Honey Festival – The Direction of Sunbeams

“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams. – Henry David Thoreau”

When I was in junior high, my mom started keeping bees on our farm. This meant that each year our pantry was stocked with thick, golden honey from our own backyard. To this day, I have a giant mason jar of my mom’s honey in my pantry, zealously hoarded and treasured. This familiar connection to beekeeping made me all the more excited to attend the California Honey Festival in Woodland, CA. Put on by the Honey and Pollination Center at UC Davis, the California Honey Festival was a celebration of all things honey and bee – a weekend of education, fundraising, and all-over honey appreciation.

That Friday, I had the opportunity to attend the VIBee Opening Night Reception for the festival. The event included an open mead bar done by Strad Meadery, honey-themed food from Morgan’s on Main, and a Burning Man-esque bee art car. I had a wonderful time seeing honey represented in such a variety of culinary ways!

The Honey Festival itself was held on Saturday morning, with Woodland’s Main St. shut down to accommodate the vendors and crowds. There were food trucks, craft vendors, educational sessions, kids’ crafts, and more booths on bees than I could count. The festival was packed, with something for everyone who attended.

My personal highlights included the mead speakeasy, honey tastings, and a section devoted to bee-friendly gardening. Because bees are such a vital part of our culinary ecosystem, we would be remiss to not recognize their importance in our foodie musings. All of the delicious tidbits we enjoy, both as a part of our job and on our own time, would not be possible without the hard-working honey bee.

I was so happy to see the community come together to educate and celebrate bees and the honey they produce. I look forward to attending this event for many years to come, and I can only hope it grows more and more successful as it continues.

At the beginning of this piece, I included one of my favorite quotes by Henry David Thoreau – “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” For me, honey is a little jar of all those directed sunbeams – an amalgamation of the agricultural bounty that surrounds us here in Sacramento. Through their dedication to the honey bee, the California Honey Festival managed to direct their sunbeams onto the bee world and the local community, shining a light on bee education, production, and preservation. The result was a wonderful, honey-sweet weekend.

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May
04

#PassThePepper and Give Big!

Today, non-profit organizations in the Sacramento community are encouraging people to participate in the Sacramento Region Community Foundation’s annual Big Day of Giving, a 24-hour online giving challenge to help raise funds for worthy causes in our area.

Food Literacy Center is partnering with Big Day of Giving once again and is encouraging everyone to #PassThePepper and help inspire kids to eat their vegetables. Just $25 will give one kid food literacy education for one week!

It is really easy to help Food Literacy Center meet their goal. Schedule your gift here: https://www.bigdayofgiving.org/foodliteracycenter. Every dollar donated today will be matched by The California Rice Commission.

So how can you #PassThePepper? Head over to the FLC Facebook page, share a post, tag a few friends encouraging them to give and #PassThePepper too!

It is that easy. Make a difference in the lives of kids with one click of a button. We’ll be passing the pepper and we hope you’ll join in!

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Apr
13

Farm-to-Court: A Day in the Golden 1 Kitchen

by Laurel Harrison

Did you know that we, as Sacramento-ans (Sacramentonians?) live in the largest arable valley in the world? We have access to a veritable cornucopia of fruit, vegetables, meat, wine, and beer, all in our very own backyard. It’s no wonder the farm-to-fork movement is successful in Sacramento when you take note of the big names in our corner; namely, Chef Santana Diaz, Executive Chef at the newly established Golden 1 Center.

Last week, the SacFoodies had the opportunity to peek behind the curtain and receive a full tour of the Golden 1 kitchens, led by Chef Diaz himself. We at SacFoodies love to support and learn more about local eats and establishments, so we jumped at the chance to learn more about Golden 1’s “90% from 150” program. Through this program, Chef Diaz and his staff source 90% of their ingredients from within 150 miles of the arena. As a foodie, I was fascinated – what does an arena kitchen look like sans “big box” food? What does a prep day look like when you have whole, fresh ingredients to prep for thousands of people?

Chef Diaz has set out to change arena food from the ground up, completely transforming what it means to make, buy, and eat food in a sports arena setting.

From the get-go, I was impressed by the attention to detail and hands-on nature of Chef Diaz and his team. There were no dark corners in this arena kitchen – everything was gleaming, pristine, and utterly dedicated to the production of quality food.  Even though I had been to the arena and eaten the food, I had no idea just how much of the arena food is done in-house. I got to walk through the walk-in freezers and see tub after tub of pickling jalapenos, pickles, and onions (for the nachos), rows of rising dough (for the pizza), and huge mixing bowls of ground lamb (for the gyros). Nothing calls to me like tubs of house-pickled jalapenos – if you’re pickling those bad boys in-house, I feel like I’m in good hands.

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Mar
30

Saucy in San Francisco

By Cheyenne Cameron-Pruitt

It’s the last week of National Sauce Month (*cue sad music*), but as they say, don’t cry because it’s over – smile because it happened! We’ve been getting saucy every single week, and this week is no exception.

We took our adventure on the road this weekend to San Francisco.  Nestled in a small space on Polk and Eddy Streets is Brenda’s French Soul Food. If not for the huge crowd gathered outside, it would be pretty easy to miss. Brenda’s boasts a large menu that blends French, Creole and soul food influences into creative takes on everyone’s favorites. You can taste the soul in the food and feel it in the atmosphere, making it well worth the 45 minute wait!

Even though everything looked fantastic, it was really easy to figure out what I wanted. Since it was breakfast time, and I was there for research purposes, I ordered the Eggs Benedict.

Eggs Benedict sounds like a classic breakfast. Poached eggs, English muffins and hollandaise sauce. Pretty straightforward, right? In any other case the Eggs Benedict wouldn’t be all that special, but at Brenda’s, I swear I heard a choir of angels sing when I saw my plate. When I took a bite, somewhere far away a butterfly shed a tear of happiness.

In all seriousness, this was best Eggs Benedict I have ever had. I think this dish represented the French, Creole and soul food influences so perfectly. Instead of the classic English muffin, the base of this dish was a fluffy and huge cream biscuit. Now for the exciting part: Brenda’s offers up the classic ham option, but also offers fried chicken and catfish as toppings. I opted for the fried chicken, but it wasn’t an easy decision.

Let’s talk about the hollandaise sauce – which is what I was really interested in – and how it upped my eggcellent experience by 1,000 percent. The usual slight citrus flavor of the hollandaise was replaced with a kick of Creole spices, but still managed not to overwhelm the flavors of the fried chicken and the biscuit. I have not stopped thinking about that sauce, I’m seriously worried I will never be able to enjoy Eggs Benedict the same way again!

I finished off my meal with an order of beignets. Brenda’s offers the classic flavor with simple powdered sugar, but also changes it up with chocolate filled, granny smith apple filled, and even a savory crawfish option. The crawfish option is filled with a mix of crawfish and cheese and is spiced like the hollandaise sauce. I was able to get a taste of all four options, and they were just as good as they sound, if not better. 10/10 I would them eat again.

Brenda’s is a great little spot for a weekend brunch or anytime. They’re very popular, so be prepared to wait awhile, but I promise it will be worth it!

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Mar
22

Beervana: Achieved

A wise person once said, “Beervana isn’t a place. It’s a state of mind, a sense of pure bliss and knowledge. It also happens to be held on the 5th St. Bridge.”

We here at SacFoodies had a great time getting to know more about local breweries and brewers in the month leading up to Sac Beer Week and Capitol Beer Fest, and on Sunday, March 12, we pulled into the final stop on “The Road to Beervana.” We slathered on our sunscreen, grabbed our tickets and made our way CBF!

Laurel: “I had a SUPERB time at Capitol Beer Fest. I was really excited to try a few of my favorite breweries, enjoy the warm weather, and explore new beers with the other SacFoodies. The fact that I could do this all within 10 minutes of my house was a huge plus for me, and my wallet!”

Favorite Beer: 21st Amendment – Blood Orange Brew Free! Or Die IPA

“I like blood orange in most beers (Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose is also a favorite) because it’s refreshing and adds a nice tanginess. This IPA was refreshing but maintained its hoppiness, and I really enjoyed it.”

Favorite Food Truck: Bacon Mania

“To be fair, this was the only food truck I tried, BUT it was after careful consideration of all menus. We had the Bacon Mac n’ Cheese Loaded Fries – the perfect pre-beer food.”

Cheyenne: “Capitol Beer Fest was a blast! We’ve been excited about attending Capitol Beer Fest since we got our tickets in January, so going into it I wondered if I had built it up too much in my mind. Once we got there, though, it was just as fun as I imagined it would be! I’m not a huge beer drinker, so I was very happy that there were so many cider options. I had a great time!”

Favorite Cider: 2 Towns Ciderhouse– Made Marion

“I loved this cider so much! I’m very into ciders that stray away from the classic apple flavor, so this was a great experience. It is made from marionberries, which are basically an ultra-classy member of the blackberry family. It was light and crisp, and the sweetness came through without being overpowering.”

Favorite Food Truck: Bacon Mania

“As Laurel said, we only tried one food spot after a decent amount of menu research. I think that even if we had tried multiple places this still would have been my favorite. Bacon, mac n’ cheese, AND french fries! What’s not to love? This dish was seriously delicious and very filling. We could not finish the order between the two of us and it kept us going throughout the whole event!”

The food trucks were delish, the beer was blissful, and there were even cider options for the non-beer enthusiasts in the group. What more could you ask for?

This year’s Capitol Beer Fest hosted 120 craft brewers and saw a crowd of over 6,500 people. The funds from this event benefited the Runnin’ for Rhett Youth Fitness Program, and will allow over 5,770 children to participate in the program. We love drinking great beer, but nothing beats drinking great beer for a good cause. We absolutely plan on returning to CBF next year, and we hope we see you there!

 

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Mar
22

2017 Sacramento Food Film Festival – Tickets Now on Sale!

by

We’re almost a week away from one of the Sacfoodies’ favorite events of the year, the Sacramento Food Film Festival.  From thought-provoking food films, to the small bites and delicious dishes that accompany them, there is just too much to love about this annual festival.

Created in 2012, the Sacramento Food Film Festival was born from the idea that we need to educate the public about our food system, and work together to create positive change. The event brings educational films to Sacramento that are otherwise ignored by traditional theaters – and creates a community dialog to improve food literacy and inspire action to improve our food system.

Here is a taste of what’s in store:

April 1: Festival Premiere feat. Short Film Contest winners

April 4: Featured Film: Sustainable

April 5: Featured Film: City of Gold

April 8: Bourbon & Bites feat: short films about bourbon!

For more information, tickets or even to donate, visit the FLC website at: http://www.foodliteracycenter.org/film-festival

 

Mar
16

Slice of Sauce

“When the moon in the sky is a Bella Familia pizza pie, that’s amore.”

This week in Sauce News, the SacFoodies decided to keep it #saucy with Sac’s new food truck on the scene, Bella Familia Wood Fired Pizza. Bella Familia has a wood-fired pizza oven inside of their truck and invited the SacFoodies out to give it a try! We stopped by when they were parked at Track 7 Natomas – if you couldn’t guess it, beer and pizza are one of our favorite combos.

This truck is one of the few who happens to be gastronomically and aesthetically pleasing. Instead of the usual food truck structure, it has floor to ceiling windows along one side, allowing the customer to get an inside look at the wood-fired oven and the cooking process. We were surprised at how beautiful the truck was, and how fun it was to watch everything going on!

It was really hard to decide what we wanted to eat because all of the options sounded delicious! Since we knew we would be having a beer, Bella Familia recommended the “Marco.” We were truly grateful for that recommendation because it was absolutely delicious! The pizza was loaded with house-made roasted garlic ricotta, mozzarella, sausage and roasted red pepper. We’re not sure if it was the hands-on chef, the premium ingredients, or the wood fired oven, but this pizza was out-of-this-world good. One might even say it was “pizza pie in the sky” good.

You could taste the garlic in the ricotta, and the sausage had the perfect amount of spice. Pro-tip: If there are multiple people eating, order more than one pizza. Since the crust and ingredients are light and the pizza is on the smaller side, it’s easy to finish one by yourself. Since we were looking for a lighter meal, one was perfect for the two of us! Overall, our experience was amazing, and we definitely recommend checking out Bella Familia.

It’s a pretty great night when, at an industrial park in Natomas, you can enjoy Grade-A craft beer and wood-fired pizza. Nothing makes the SacFoodies happier than watching local restaurants and breweries thrive! The Bella Familia Wood-Fired Pizza Truck is a welcome addition to the Sac food scene and we’re happy to have them on our home turf. Ciao for now!

You can track down Bella Familia through their “Find Us” feature here!

 

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Mar
09

Carmazzi Caramel Corn is A-maize-ing!

by Cheyenne Cameron-Pruitt

Last week we had the chance to try Sacramento’s own Carmazzi Caramel Corn. Charles Schulz once said, “Love is sharing your popcorn.” I think if he had tried Carmazzi Caramel Corn, he may not have wanted to share! This caramel corn is so delicious I almost want to keep it a secret!

Carmazzi Caramel Corn was created out of necessity and mother’s love, as all the best things are! Karen Carmazzi wanted to make sure that her daughter, who suffers from nut and soy allergies, would not be left out when it came to treat time. With a recipe for caramel corn that had been passed down from generation to generation and the drive to make a change, Carmazzi Carmel corn was born.

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Mar
09

Curry Paradise

“Curry Para-, Para-, Paradise” – Coldplay, probably

For this week’s #saucyspot, the SacFoodies decided to check out Curry Paradise, a West Sac diamond-in-the-rough that boasts stellar Yelp ratings and delicious dishes. Due to a busy work week and a shortage of long lunch hours, we ended up ordering delivery to our downtown office.

The owner sent us his personal recommendations over email prior to our order and even put us in direct contact with the chef, Dino! It was clear that both the owner and chef were incredibly hands-on with their food and customer service.

We ordered butter chicken, jira masti (spicy shrimp), samosas and naan. It was delivered to our office within the hour, and we wasted no time in breaking out the forks! Straight up, the food was awesome. It was spicy. It was delicate. The portions were generous. Most of all, it was full of complex flavors and textures that made it a real treat to eat.

Laurel: I ordered the jira masti and absolutely loved it! I am a big fan of spicy food but often have to proceed with caution at Indian restaurants – sometimes I get in way too over my head and end up with a burning mouth and bruised ego. Thankfully, this shrimp dish hit the spicy sweet spot; not too hot, but definitely hit you with a building heat as you went on, which I really enjoyed. The sauce was rich without being heavy and was a nice addition to the shrimp. It was so good I ended up saving the leftover sauce in the office fridge to add to my lunch the next day! (P.S. – I didn’t get a picture of my shrimp because I ate it too fast. The struggles of food blogging are real.)

Cheyenne: I fancy myself an Indian cuisine connoisseur. I certainly have my favorite dishes and I usually stick with them before venturing off into un-tasted territories. Samosas are a must-have anytime I’m trying a new Indian restaurant, and Curry Paradise did not disappoint! They were perfectly crisp on the outside while leaving the inside warm and delicious. I think that was my favorite part of the meal, I almost had to call them back and ask for sa-more-sas! I also tried the butter chicken and you butter believe it was delicious! Butter chicken is generally a milder dish, but this had a nice little kick that complimented the dish so well and allowed every flavor to shine through. It paired so well with the basmati rice and naan, and most importantly, it wasn’t too heavy to leave me napping at my desk. I thoroughly enjoyed Curry Paradise, seriously, naan-thing but good things to say!

If you’re on the hunt for a flavorful #saucyspot, than this is your jam. Aren’t close to West Sac? They also just opened a second location in Roseville, so you’re in luck. This National Sauce Month is shaping up to be naan-tastic!

Mar
06

Let’s Get Saucy!

It’s National Sauce Month, everybody! If the SacFoodies love anything, it’s getting #lostinthesauce (in the most culinary sense of the phrase). We’ll be featuring a different kind of sauce each week of the month, ranging from barbecue to chocolate. Bring on the ranch, marinara, caramel, and curry – we’re hunting down our favorite sauces, and all the delicious food that goes under them!

For our first saucy spot, we stopped by – you guessed it – Sauced BBQ & Spirits on 7th and K. Sauced takes pride in the quality of their meat, the integrity of their smoking process, and their generous (i.e., gargantuan) portions. We had a great time at our lunch, which included great service, a lively atmosphere, and an overall satisfying work-day meal. Below, we each talk about our favorite part of the meal, and of course, our favorite sauce!

Laurel: For my lunch at Sauced, I ordered the appetizer Smoked Wings plate. As someone who doesn’t like my meals pre-drenched in sauce, I was happy that the wings came spiced, smoked, and with sauce on the side. This meant that I could add as much sauce as I wanted, and experiment with different kinds! Sauced has four house BBQ sauces – Tin Roof, Hot Tin Roof, Pig Candy, and Georgia Gold. I felt like the Georgia Gold, which is mustard-based, went best with the smoky chicken, but I definitely liked all four. Disclaimer: I also love mustard and vinegar, so it wasn’t suprising for me to pick this as my favorite!

Cheyenne: When I see tater-tots of any form on a menu, I’m blinded by their golden light and know that I have to have them. Even with the incredible number of menu options at Sauced, tater-tots had my heart. I ordered the Tot-Tas for lunch. “What exactly are Tot-Tas?” you may be wondering. Well, according to the menu it is a plate of tater-tots covered with cheddar cheese, bacon jam (yes, bacon jam!), sour cream, green onions and jalapenos. If you ask me what a Tot-Ta is, I’ll tell you it’s how Sauced made me say goodbye to plain tots forever. I’m counting bacon jam as the sauce on my meal, because there was really no need for anything extra on that plate. Every single thing – from the crunchiness of the tots, to the sweet, salty, smoky flavor of the bacon jam – made me fall in love with each bite. I probably could have used a little more sour cream, but that is a personal preference. If you are going to stop by Sauced I cannot recommend the Tot-Tas more, whether you plan on keeping them to yourself or sharing. Though I didn’t need anything extra on my meal, you can’t go to Sauced and not try the BBQ Sauce! If I had to choose one I would go with the Tin Roof, it is a classic ketchup-based sauce and I’m a classic kind of girl, but they were all delicious in their own special ways.

We can’t wait to go back to Sauced and try more #saucyspots throughout the rest of March. Word to the wise: Sauced is the spot to go before Golden 1 events, but be ready for crowds! We liked going for lunch to reap the rewards of a Sauced lunch without dealing with the pre-game rush. Tot-Ta for now! (Get it?)