The bottled cocktails at Hock Farm are my new favorite thing. The refreshing Gin and Tonic and the enticing Rum & Soda (with house made cream soda!) are serving farm fresh realness with a kick right now, but watch out for other seasonal shifts that’ll rub you the right way, too.
Hock Farm Craft & Provisions
1415 L Street, Sacramento
Finish this equation:
Farm fresh food + local beer + puppies = __________.
Words like “awesome” and “heaven” would work.
So would “River City Brewing Company’s 20th Anniversary.”
Yes, the iconic Sactown brewery is celebrating its second decade with a series of one-of-a-kind, farm-to-fork pairings that will benefit Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue & Sanctuary, Inc.
A couple of SacFoodies will be in attendance at the kick-off event next Thursday, July 18 at 7 p.m. where Executive Chef Chantalle Malneck will be serving up an enticing offering, including:
- Heirloom tomato sorbet with bacon-cheese shortbread cookie
- Pan-seared Fort Bragg albacore tuna on a bed of crispy summer zucchini with seasonal mixed greens, corn, sweet peas, yellow pear tomatoes, creamy lemon-basil vinaigrette and garnished with apricot-chili pesto
- Sweet and sour cherry pork tenderloin with yellow and green summer beans and stuffed bell pepper with rice and onions
Tickets are $40 each (25% of proceeds going to the Goldens!), so make your reservations now at 916-447-2739 or by emailing [email protected]. Dinner is from 7-9 p.m.
And yes, while I realize no actual puppies will be in attendance (that we know of!), rest assured you’re helping some adorable Golden Retriever enjoy a new lease on life
River City Brewing Company
545 Downtown Plaza #1115
Sacramento, CA 95814
It’s not uncommon to find a Sac Foodie in Fresno.
As the largest inland city in California, and one so centrally located within the state’s agricultural heartland, client work often brings us down for a day or two to what we lovingly refer to as The ‘No.
And in between meetings with raisin and olive farmers, or styling recipes for a photo shoot, it’s easy to work up an appetite.
One recent filming expedition did just that, though luckily Casa Corona was there to welcome me to dinner.
The restaurant came highly recommended by a local in that feverish and reverent tone one always reserves for their favorite Mexican joint—a family-run place whose reliable menu and longevity have left it firmly ensconced in the pantheon of local eateries.
Casa Corona opened a second location last year, but we opted for the original at the northeast corner of Cedar and Herndon. The interior is a brilliant Technicolor explosion of frescoes, booths, oversized margaritas and multi-colored plates. A little cheesy? Yes. But that’s just how I like it.
The food ran the gamut of your typical offerings: chimichangas, quesadillas, enchiladas and tostadas. I was also surprised to find quite a few unique options as well, such as Albondigas (a spicy meatball soup with potatoes, celery and carrots) and a robust list of healthier fare created by local fitness trainers.
I opted for the prawn rancheros, which consist of plump prawns, spiced and grilled in salsa with onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini and ripe tomatoes. Served with rice, beans and tortillas, they were a relatively healthy and filling choice that hit the spot!
My dining partners opted for a shredded beef chimichanga and a plate of enchiladas verdes. The plates came with four enthusiastic thumbs up.
All in all, a great find! The restaurant hummed with an insouciant charm, our server was attentive and gregarious, and a full breakfast menu beckons, too.
Funny how even when you’re on the road, a local gem like Casa Corona can make you feel right at home.
7044 N. Cedar Ave.
Fresno, CA 93720
You’d have to be living under a rock not to notice the iconic teal signage plastered around Sacramento, heralding the arrival of Dine Downtown Week.
We’re even chattering about it—and for good reason.
This Sactown staple has become an annual tradition here in the River City, when popular downtown eateries open their doors with a tantalizing array of three-course dinner menus for $30 a plate.
One such restaurant—the iconic Esquire Grill—even offered this Sac Foodie a taste of their alluring menu, which will be available throughout the duration of Dine Downtown Week, January 9-18.
Diners have a choice between three appetizers, three mains and three desserts. Here’s the full menu. And here’s my enticing sneak-peek:
Appetizer: Deviled eggs with Dungeness crab, jalapeño, chives, fennel and sliced radishes
I’m usually that awkward guy at the party, standing in the corner with about five deviled eggs stacked on a cocktail napkin. But I would never think to order them at a nice restaurant. Luckily, Esquire lured me out of my comfort zone with this palate-primer. Each egg came complete with a tender, juicy piece of crab meat coated in the rich, deviled mixture. The bite was well-cut with the spicy crunch of a jalapeño slice, too. And the bed of fennel, chives and radish slices rounded everything out with a fresh feel.
Main: Grilled Beeler Ranch pork chop with savory bread pudding, wilted greens, and persimmon-pecan relish with pomegranate syrup
I’ve never met a pork chop I didn’t like (see my Mulvaney’s post). And this expertly grilled cut was no exception. Like Mulvaney’s, Esquire procures its pork from Beeler Ranch in Madison County, Iowa—a farm that prides itself on a legacy of animal husbandry stretching back multiple generations. That also means no growth hormones or antibiotics in their meat. And while I probably lack the delicate palate to distinguish between treated or untreated meat, I do like knowing that what I’m ingesting is natural. The chop’s savory, perfectly marbled bite was accented with a colorful cascade of persimmon, pecan and pomegranate seed relish that my date and I lauded enthusiastically. The wilted greens (arugula and mustard, to be exact) added another heavenly layer. And that bread pudding? I texted a friend on the spot and described it as no less than a revelation. I cleared this plate, even going so far as to gnaw the last, succulent bits of pork off the bone. Fair warning: You’ll likely do the same.
Not typically a fan of butterscotch. Or crème brûlée. The richness is usually a bit much for my taste. But again, Esquire swept me away with its delicately nuanced approach! After giving the brûlée crust a satisfying crack with the back of my spoon, I dipped into a silken crater that was certainly rich—but by no means overwhelming. In fact, it wasn’t long before my dining partner and I were frosting those delicious brown butter cookies with a layer of butterscotch crème and trying to hold a conversation through ecstatic smiles.
If you haven’t made the trek to Esquire lately, now’s your chance.
This well-executed menu offers a handful of enticing plates that underline the solid craft still simmering behind the open kitchen of this downtown staple, thanks to Chef Dan Moore (and Executive Chef Kurt Spataro).
And hello: $30 a plate won’t break your post-holiday budget.
I’ve always loved Esquire’s sexy, dark-wood, and decidedly political atmosphere. A stone’s throw from the Capitol, it exudes that old-school, bespoke vibe of Manhattans and oysters, soaring olive branch topiaries and alluring ladies in Hermès scarves. The space is far enough away from the booming nightlife of upper K Street, but near enough the Community Center Theater to catch a show, too.
In a word: Classic.
1213 K Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Note: I was a guest of Esquire Grill, and although the dinner was complimentary, the opinions expressed are my own.