Girls on Food

Sacramento

Summer’s Spooky Halloween Peppers

With Halloween only a few days a way I wanted to bring you a fun, healthy way to celebrate. Yes halloween is a day full of sweets and treats but that doesn’t mean we can’t get a little healthy option in there as well. Allow me to present to you Franken pepper and Jack-o-pepper. Basically they’re stuffed bell peppers with cute little faces carved into them.  You can celebrate in the festivities and maintain a clean diet with just a little bit of creativity. My recipe is just a guideline. You can add whatever you want to the filling. I like to keep mine grain free but if you like rice or quinoa add some freaking rice or quinoa.

me-and-peppers-e1446069336561

Here is my Halloween stuffed pepper recipe.

 

orange-and-green-pepper-e14461399126711 Orange pepper

1 Green pepper

1  Jalepeno, diced

1 Sweet Onion, diced

turkey-tomato-jalepeno-onion-e14460693689312 Tomatoes, diced

1 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 lb. of lean ground turkey

Olive oil

shredded-mozzarella-e1446069288991Salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, to taste

1 mushroom, a few slices of red onion, a couple sprigs of brocolini (this is for your garnish)

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees.

 

In a medium pan heat up your olive oil, add ground turkey and season. Once the turkey is no longer pink add your tomatoes, onions, jalepenos and season. Cook on low until onions are transparent and jalepenos are tender.pepper filling

While your filling is cooking take the tops of your peppers off, set them aside. Scrape out the seeds.

I used a small, sharp knife to cut out the faces of my peppers.orange pepper carvedgreen pepper carved

Sprinkle a little cheese inside the peppers.

Once the filling is cooked stuff the peppers all the way to the top. Make sure they are full.

Top them off with more cheese, place the pepper tops back, place them in a  shallow baking dish and place them in the oven. I cooked mine for about 25 minutes. I like my peppers to still be crisp when I bite into them. If you want your a little softer then leave them in a little longer.

While the peppers are baking heat up some olive oil in a small sautee pan and add your garnish veggies, salt and pepper them. Once they are cooked set them aside.

Pull your peppers out. place them on a plate and add your garnish. I used toothpicks to hold the mushrooms on Franken peppers neck. I rolled the sliced red onions up and placed them in his eyes. For Jack-o-pepper I just took the broccolini and placed it on top of his lid. And thats it. Voila halloween dinner is served.

Enjoy!

cooked peppers

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Lolli and Pop’s Halloween Treats (no tricks!) in Roseville, CA

summerOctober means only one thing to me: Halloween. Saying I love Halloween would be an understatement. It is by far my favorite holiday. You get to dress up, attend tons of parties (I host a party every year since my boyfriend’s birthday is on Halloween) you get to watch all the horror movies you want, and the candy. Oh, wonderful sweet treats to delight my taste buds. Now I know you are all thinking, “but Summer you are a health conscious blogger, you like to stay on the healthier side”. True, I do. I am also a big believer in everything in moderation. I would also like to mention I am picky about the treats I do consume as well as what treats I serve to others. Which is why I paid a visit to GOF favorite candy shop, Lolli and Pops. I knew that if I was going to “cheat” on my healthy meals I was going to do it with the best candy around.

Lolli and Pops
1151 Galleria Blvd (in Galleria mall), Roseville, CA 95678
http://lolliandpops.com

When I arrived at L&P, I instantly fell in love. It is set up like a boutique. Candy displayed on gorgeous authentic apothecary tables, pillars of jelly beans, cases of decadent truffles and rooms dedicated to specific candies like chocolate all the way to sours and gummies. It is everything a girl could ask for in a candy shop. I knew I would find all the perfect Halloween treats I needed. I met up with Chris, the guy in charge of this sweet operation. I told him what I was looking for, and then our journey began.

First up is the super awesome Harry Potter Cauldron. It is a magical mix of sweet treats perfectly put together to cast spells on your taste buds. Plus, you get a rad cauldron to use for decoration or to trick-or-treat with. No judgement on the big kids out there…
harry potter

If Harry Potter isn’t your thing, you can build your own treat jar in the shape of a skull. I loaded mine up with pear-flavored jelly beans, eye gumballs and gummy worms for brains. Seriously, this was fun to do. You can also bring your jar back and refill it for a small fee. Freaking awesome!!

build a skull

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Chris showed me the truffles. I seriously couldn’t contain myself. I now know what the phrase “like a kid in a candy store” truly means. My favorites were the blood orange devil, the popping praline mummies and the toffee Frankenstein. Not only was the taste stellar but look at the detail. I mean come on!

truffles

truffles in a box
They wrap them all up in a pretty little box for you too!

Seriously if you want your Halloween party to be all that it can be head over to Lolli and Pops. They have all the spooky treats. Don’t forget if you are attending a party and need a hostess gift check out L& P’s chocolate body parts. There are skulls, spines, ears and brains. The perfect Halloween gifts.halloween gifts

Happy Halloween! Be sure to follow up on Instagram and Twitter @girlsonfoodblog

me and truffles

Ales on the Rails: A Craft Beer Fundraiser in Sacramento

PrintFriday night, set in the historic building that memorializes Sacramento’s railroad legacy, the perfect local craft beer fundraiser went down! Dubbed ‘Ales on the Rails’ the California State Railroad Museum (CSRM) Foundation offered more beer than anyone could drink for $50 for a general ticket and only $65 for a VIP ticket. Also, to encourage safety, they sold Designated Driver tickets for $25.

IMG_0331I think many of us forget about the CSRM, but they are continuously putting on great events for our community. Their most popular event, which sells out in less than an hour is their ‘Polar Express’ experience that runs during the winter (which deserves another post in itself). They killed it with this event, seriously, any self-prescribed beer connoisseur that was not in attendance failed! I know Sacramentans love beer. It’s a fact. They spend about the same price, during the sweltering summer and wait in ridiculous lines for the smallest pours. This event, was the complete opposite! The CSRM was highly air conditioned, there were no lines (except for the mac-n-cheese), and the beer exceeded the attendance.

IMG_0391I can’t write this without letting you know I’m  not an avid beer drinker. At all. So with that being said, know that I took myself out of my comfort zone and tried every single brewery there! I can appreciate the craft of brewing beer, but it just doesn’t tantalize my taste buds like wine, or vodka!

IMG_0371The setting was awesome! Huge, old school cars and locomotives were everywhere. Some you could wander through and others just made for a great background. They also opened the huge museum doors, which made for a gorgeous view of the two locomotives where the VIP could hang out, with a gorgeous view of the Sacramento sunset. It really was a relaxed and great vibe.

Beers in attendance: Amador Brewing Company, Carneros Brewing Company, Device Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch, Heretic Brewing Company, Hoppy Brewing Company, Knee Deep Brewing Company, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Mraz Brewing Company, New Glory Craft Brewery, New Helvetia Brewing Co., Rubicon Brewing Company, Six Rivers Brewery, St. Killian Importing Co., Track 7 Brewing Co., Wildcard Brewing, and Yolo Brewing Company.

Group ShotIMG_0363A lot of the breweries were serving IPA’s. However, some had lighter stuff as well. There was even a Chili Pepper Spicy Ale from Six Rivers Brewery, which I did not try, but J did. I was told it had a kick, a huge kick at the end. Crabbie’s served up an alcoholic ginger beer, which was tasty – but will continue to confuse the masses, since most ginger beer is non-alcoholic. Our favorite by far, they knew us by the end, wIMG_0394as Schilling Company. They were serving their hard ciders. They had ginger and pom-cran on tap, then towards the end they started opening their cans. They made me a hybrid of grapefruit and pom-cran and I’m pretty sure I fell in love, right then and there.

The food (not including VIP) was just as great and came in mass quantities. By far, Howe It’s Done catering killed it with their mac-n-cheese, topped with Italian style ground turkey, and bread crumbs. They weren’t handing out small samples either, these were huge, size of our hand, samples…AND you could
go back as many times as you wanted, say 3 or so 😉

FoodBest plated appetizer would have to go to Fat’s Family of Restaurants for their Chilli Otah Otah. It was tasty, lots of flavors going on at once. But the plating is what made it so attractive. Oh, and I cannot forget The Melting Pot who was there serving up chocolate fondue, which was the first thing that I did when I got there. A strawberry, a brownie bite, a piece of cake, and chocolate for dipping – I mean, people pay lots of money to eat at their establishment, and here we got it for free, as many samples of this as we wanted!

After we took in the whole scene, we decided to wander outside and check out our VIP status. We climbed up the authentic locomotive stairs and were transcended into the “New Orleans” themed car. Courtyard D’ORO was serving a plate of three appetizers, while Yolo Brew was serving up a special beer just for the VIP. The group consensus was the beef wellington was our favorite app. As we walked from the first train to the second, we stopped to get the next appetizer, which was a potato skin. This was another fave of the night, we probably could have ate the entire serving tray, but we hung out, devoured one each, and of course snapped some pics.

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Since this is a fundraiser, the DD’s still had to pay to enter. However, they still had access to all the food (minus the VIP) we did and they also had a table set-up with water and mini soda bottles. How’s that for accommodation? I thought it was a great touch. Also, they had the VIP swag bags available upon arrival. But since I wanted to enjoy the experience, I didn’t grab mine until we headed out. It was a great mix of beer and CSRM goodies – Yolo Brew 9Run6 beer, a conductor whistle, CSRM ride passes, Blue Diamond Smokehouse almonds, and a sticker all in a reusable bag.

IMG_0397It’s hard to believe this is a fundraiser! Everyone was enjoying themselves, especially all of the vendors. It was fun to interact with them and have them explain their product, they were all so passionate. They were kind to our lack of beer knowledge and liking, but would graciously pick one that they thought we’d enjoy. I’m hoping they continue to do this event annually, because as it grows, I know Sacramento will follow suit and attend.

The best underrated event in Sacramento in 2015, by far!

Apple-y Ever After: Apple Hill in Placerville, CA

IMG_9776Apple errrythaaang! In Northern California, Labor Day signifies the epitome of Fall, with the season opener of Apple Hill! If you aren’t from this parts of the Golden State, I’ll understand your ignorance to the bliss that is rolling hills and acreage of apples, pumpkins, and Christmas trees.

A short, one hour drive from our Capitol city of Sacramento, you find yourself nestled in the delights of apples and an array of its edible derivative. When I say Apple Hill, the only thought that comes to my mind is apple donuts. Even among the other apple goodness! There is apple wine, caramel apples, apple pie (a la mode, if you’d prefer), apple cider, and actual apples! There are plenty of options for you to visit, pop on over to the official website for all of the locations listed. Events, fun runs, ranches, they have it all!

High Hill Ranch
2901 High Hill Rd
Placerville, CA 95667
http://highhilltanch1.net

IMG_9771I always head to the busiest one first, High Hill Ranch, then find others as I see fit. HHR has it all. Most of all, they sell my favorite apple donuts in various forms. I prefer the ginormous apple fritters and the cinnamon sugar apple donut, but there are about 12 different options to choose from! Don’t get me wrong, there are other spots that sell apple donuts, almost all, but I love hitting this one up first. You get the most apple for your buck. HHR has everything that would embody fall – apples, apple cider, apple wine, caramel apples, fresh apple pies, a pond for fishing (crazy expensive to do), a ranch tour on a tractor, plenty of picnic tables, a fudge store, craft tents, kettle corn, and lunch food to balance out the sugar, apple high you are certainly going to have.

IMG_9781Their little wine shop has about five different apple wines, in addition to selling apple shakes and the cutest knickknacks. On the hot day I visited, I opted for the Apple Wine Spritzer, pretty fancy, huh? Apple wine plus Sprite, was the perfect elixir to drink while waiting in the face painting line.

This spot is crazy family friendly, as are most of the locations in Apple Hill! There is ample room for kids to run around and be loud. Most locations cater to families, with things such as face painting and plenty of picnic tables. If you’re trying to save a few pennies, bring your own food for lunch and treat yourselves to a dessert, while still enjoying your surroundings. From Labor Day to Halloween, most locations also sell pumpkins.

I’d set aside a whole day, from transportation to visiting multiple locations, it’s worth the day trip. If you can go on a week day, I’d suggest that. If you don’t mind crowds and lines, then by all means, go on the weekend. Once Apple Hill is open, it’s pretty much inundated with everyone within a 50 mile radius…it’s that fun, tasty, and enjoyable!

Apple Hill is like the California State Fair of Fall!

Like a Girl in a Candy Store: Lolli and Pops in Roseville, CA

Growing up, I had a fantasy of roaming an actual Candy Land (I’m sure we all had it). I’d crawl my way through Molasses Swamp, chow down in the Peanut Brittle House and get a brain freeze in the Ice Cream Sea. I learned this week that Candy Land is not just a board game- it’s an actual place!

Lolli and Pops – Westfield Galleria
1151 Galleria Blvd, Roseville, CA 95678
http://lolliandpops.com

Lolli 1

I had the pleasure of taking a sweet tour, followed by a tasting at Lolli and Pops in my hometown, Roseville, CA. The best part, they have multiple locations all over the USA! Foodies, this was the ultimate candy experience. As you can see, the storefront has a more mature feel to it than the mall candy shops from my childhood did.

Chris
The Candyman, Chris!

I never thought I’d see the day where I would have a candy shop all to myself… Okay, I may not have had it entirely to myself. My tour guide/Willy Wonka for the day was L&P manager, Chris Ruzic, who knew everything about each product. I couldn’t believe how knowledgeable on candy Chris is, he is living the foodie dream. Next time my friends or I are organising Event rentals in Roseville, CA we’re definitely going to through in some candy goodness. Can never go wrong with sugar.

Lolli 2I have to give this shop major props cause the organization is great; L&P is so easy to navigate! When you first enter, to your right, we actually started at the “adult section”. Don’t worry, it’s not like the local video store days where there’s a curtain blocking you from entering. These treats for the 21 and over crowd are the “choc-ahols”, which are very popular. You have to make sure to keep them out of kid’s hands, cause they do contain up to one shot per serving. Talk about drunk on chocolate. The Jack Daniels chocolates are the top-sellers. They also stock ChocoBeer, Belgian chocolates with beer. How can you go wrong with that?

Lolli 5

We moved along into the regional treats. I started with Quin candies from Portland, OR. I got to taste the Tropical Breeze Dreams Come True Chews and loved them. Quin chews are like an elevated Starburst, they melt the second they hit your mouth and releases real juice favor. My mouth is watering as I type this.

Lolli 4

Lolli 6

L&P carries Sugar & Spun, gourmet cotton candy out of San Francisco, CA. These treats are cotton candy in texture but all have different flavors. I tried all of them and my top 2 were the Li Hing Pineapple (sweet and salty) and the Cookies and Cream.

Lolli 7

Then I made my way into the Gumball room (see video here), which brought me back to my childhood. This is where all of our favorite candies are, everything from rock candy to jawbreakers to smartees are represented in this room. I was also blown away by the selection of Icee Candy, bacon candy and chocolate cigarettes (still very popular) they had to offer.

who can resist a lolli selfie?
who can resist a lolli selfie?
Lolli 8
Icee Candy!

Lolli 9Then there’s the Chocolates room (see the video tour here). Once you walk in, any symptoms of PMS immediately disappear. In addition to bulk items, there’s a selection of what I refer to as “designer chocolates”, the smaller produced, higher end independent chocolatiers that make bars for those of us with more grown up pallets. I did get to try all kinds of different chocolates for the adult and kid in me. There’s also a room devoted to Gummies & Sours where your mouth will immediately start to pucker.

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Lolli JapThere is a fantastic selection of imported candies. The Kinder chocolates from Germany are the most popular but my favorite imports are the Japanese imports. I’m all about gummies and green tea.

American favorites get a green tea make-over.
American favorites get a green tea make-over.
Lolli chips
I took home Japanese Pringles Caesar Salad and Cheese Fondue flavors. Sounds weird, but they were amazing.
Lolli hello K
You also can’t have a Japanese import section without lots of Hello Kitty treats!

Lolli 12One exclusivity that is delightful is the Mr. Stanley’s Classic British Confectionary. You can’t get these candies anywhere else in the USA.

Then the actual tasting happened. That’s right foodies, I got to sample as I went, but I hadn’t even done the tasting yet. My eyes widened when I realized I had only just begun… Could I handle MORE candy?

Lolli13

As you can see, I had a lot to sample. I started with the gummies and sours. The gummy bears were Albanese brand (legit, there’s an “A” on the belly), which are made with real fruit juice. My favorite was the black cherry; it’s so different than what I grew up with. The sour belts, which are imported from Spain, are a classic for those of us who love a good pucker. Then I got to sample the bulk chocolate classics. I had my first chocolate covered gummy bear, a sea salt caramel, red velvet coated cherries, chocolate covered blueberries and chocolate-coated almond butter toffee.

Lolli 13 I also tried my first Toxic Waste candy, which is painfully sour. I loved Warheads growing up, but these were too much. They are a big seller though, so there are plenty of people out there brave enough to try them.

 

Lolli 14. jpg

Then we moved on to their truffles. I tried 5 different flavors (front to back):

  • Triple Chocolate Cake – Decedent chocolate explosion!
  • Sea Salt Caramel – Can’t go wrong with this combo!
  • Strawberry Champagne – My top choice! It’s ooey gooey, fruity and I loved the creaminess.
  • Sundae – It’s a birthday in your mouth! Loved the cherry jellybean on top.
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter – Rich, dense, sweet and savory.

Lolli 15

Then, Chris went from Willy Wonka to chocolate sommelier for the tasting. He actually taught me the proper way to try chocolate, which is similar to tasting wine. First, take a small piece of the chocolate and keep it at the tip of your tongue. Then let it melt a bit (it’s amazing how much it can bring out flavors), then start to chew. This tasting technique is no joke; I don’t think I’ll ever just gorge on a chocolate bar ever again. It was also interesting to hear that a lot of people think they don’t like dark chocolate, then realize after on of these tasting they do. Here’s the rundown on the designer chocolates:

  • Dandelion Chocolate – From San Francisco, CA. This bar is named after the origin of its cacao beans, Mantuano, Venezuela. It starts very dark then lightens up. The cinnamon and espresso flavors stood out to me. Every bar is also closely inspected and has a legit signature from an employee on the back.
  • Chuao – From Arcadia, CA, focuses on different textures. I had the Firecracker bar; it seems like a common dark chocolate bar when it hits the tongue. Then you start to notice a chipotle kick. Then it starts to crackle- cause it has Pop Rocks in it! I turned into a little kid, opening my mouth so I could hear the pop.
  • Marou, Fraiseurs de Chocolat – A Vietnamese bar that has a very dark taste at 76% cacao, and then also lightens up with notes of honeysuckle.
  • Mast Brothers Chocolate Makers – This bar uses cacao from Belize that some how tastes very light, even though it’s 70% cacao.
  • Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate – From Eureka, CA. I had the Black Fig bar, which uses cacao from Madagascar, reminded me of a chocolate Fig Newton.
  • Mulate – Dark Milk Chocolate with Tahini and Roasted Sesame, which is from Lithuania. It’s my top choice out of all these. It’s so unique with its softer texture and smoky sesame flavor.

Lolli Official

Lolli and Pops also have their own brand of chocolate bars that are sold here and they were hands down my favorite brand. Plus, they have 3 bars for $18 deal, which is great for mix and matching. Their brand offers traditional chocolate bars with different flavors, as well as topped bars, which are chunky with toppings. I started with the traditional bars; the Gimmie S’more and Strawberry Champagne (would be great with a Prosecco) were my top choices. Out of the topped bars, I loved the Almond Chocolate the most; it was like a nutty cake bar.

Lolli official 2

My tasting tour of Lolli and Pops finally came to a bittersweet end. One great aspect of L&P is that they’re all about experiencing treats with others and they encourage customers to try samples. It’s almost like Bath & Body Works, but edible. Based off my experience, I don’t see how anyone could walk away unhappy. I hope L&P expands to more malls, so the kid in all of us can experience one!

 
Lolli and Pops Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

GOF Dish and Discuss: Birthday Bonanza!

It’s our 4th birthday at Girls on Food! We’re celebrating with a whole lot of sweets! Here are some of our favorite foods and traditions:

4th birthday the parlorJulianne
It’s so crazy to think that GOF is already 4 years old! Summer and I celebrated our 4th birthday at The Parlor Ice Cream Puffs in my hometown of Roseville, CA. After being a longtime follower of their Instagram page, I was beyond excited to try one of their infamous doughnut stuffed ice cream puffs!
The Parlor Ice Cream Puffs
1490 Eureka Road
Roseville, CA 95661
http://theparloricecream.com
Since it was our birthday, I felt it was only appropriate to order the Cake Batter Ice Cream Puff with festive Fruity Pebbles and sprinkles. Talk about a birthday wish come true! It was amazing, I would’ve never thought to use a donut to stuff with ice cream. The chunks of cake in the ice cream also add to it’s awesomeness. Summer took a break from her healthier habits to celebrate with a scoop of the Midnight in Paris, creamy coffee with Nutella swirls. All in all, I dub The Parlor Ice Cream Puffs the official birthday treat of the Girls on Food!

Gina

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 12.40.45 PMWhen my kids were little, before they would even open their little eyes, I would wake them up singing “Happy Birthday” and hand them a wrapped present. They would rub the little sleepy’s out of their eyes and instantly be wide awake ripping into the wrapping paper. Then they would get a candle in whatever they were having for breakfast. Yes, I once managed to put a candle in a bowl a cheerios, light it and not have waxed Cheerios. My birthday’s growing up was much different. My dad, who I learned to bake from, would ask the same question a few days before our birthday “What kind of cake do you want?” My answer was always the same, Abuela’s cake. It was a cake that was his mother’s favorite and I just LOVED it. My dad would make the whole thing from scratch and when you cut into you had to eat the whole thing!

It was an Angel food cake, sliced in three layers. Each layer had vanilla pastry cream and fruit compote. It was simple and the most delicious cake anyone has ever had, EVER. Did I mention he made every single part of this cake from scratch? Over the years I’ve made this cake and it never tasted like my dad’s, but it is quite the showstopper! When you cut into this light heavenly cake the pastry cream oozes out the sides and everything slides everywhere. It always sat on the Tupperware Cake holder and when we saw that sitting in the fridge, we KNEW it was going to be a good day and Happy Birthday! That’s my Abuela and a cousin getting ready to dig into Abuela’s Birthday Cake!

Monique

pilsburyI happened upon this birthday treat in an accidental fashion. I was at my friend’s house when I was about 10 or so and her family got the wrong cake for her birthday. Apparently, she wanted yellow cake with cream cheese frosting but whoever was in charge bought strawberry cake with cream cheese icing. In the end, she got the “right” cake, but I had already tasted and was in love with the “wrong” cake. Which might later explain my choice in men, but that’s a post for another day… A simple strawberry box cake from Pilsbury with cream cheese icing is my all-time favorite birthday cake. When I had parties as a child, I always asked for that combination to celebrate a new year.

Stephanie
stephanie cakeI’m part of the most narcissistic generation, so I guess I better live up to it. But, as I graduated from the days where I was in school on my birthday to career, work-day birthdays I made a decision right away. I refuse to work on my birthday! It really should be a HR policy everywhere, in my opinion. Let’s just call it a birthday present to myself. I don’t necessarily have to do anything fancy – sleep in a little, stop by my fave coffee shop, grab one of my fave lunches, and do whatever, it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it’s my day to relax, take a mid week day off, and enjoy a leisurely day. It’s nothing glamorous, but it’s one of my fave birthday traditions!

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City Under Construction: Sacramento Cocktail Week

IMG_9197I’ve already been crushin’ on Hook & Ladder for a while…

But again, they’ve made me fall a little bit deeper. Sacramento takes its themed weeks very seriously. So, it’s no surprise that Sacramento Cocktail Week would be any different. Each night a location is selected and they host an event in the honor of Sac Cocktail Week.

Hook & Ladder killed it for Bacon Week, so I knew I had to check them out for an evening dedicated to their true love, libations. Their food is amazing, but they take their hand crafted adult beverages extremely seriously over there.

Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co. 
1630 S Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
916-442-4885
hookandladder916.com
http://sacramentococktailweek.com

As we walked up, I knew we were in for a completely themed evening. I guess the bright orange construction roping and construction clad doorman were a huge hint. Construction, huh (is what you’re probably thinking)? Well, given our downtown is in shambles due to the new Sacramento Kings arena, I think this was their homage to the exciting beginnings that is happening in our city. Completely themed, the staff was donning bright orange vest and Sacramento Kings, purple hard hats. There were four “construction” stations, two inside and two outside:

Hammer & Nail Station – Shots, shots, shotsIMG_9234Draft Station – Beer

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Grout Mixing Station – Cocktails, The Brick & The Mortar

IMG_9220 Paint Shaking Station – Cocktails, Matte, Red & Primer

IMG_9202In addition to the stations, the bar was also serving their own menu of construction themed libations. Every drink was $8, which is a good deal for H&L. The stations all required you to prepay for a red ticket, which you redeemed at a station.

IMG_9199 IMG_9200

The outside stations were where it was at, which is not to say the inside wasn’t tasty. However, outside the theme was taken to the extreme. Have you ever had a drink that was shaken via a paint shaker? No, me neither! The dramatics behind the cocktail making was a show in itself. I was thoroughly amazed and enjoyed their attention to detail. These drinks came in cups that emulated paint cans, although clear and plastic. They killed it with this station, from conception to execution and I was thoroughly delighted.

IMG_9211 IMG_9201 IMG_9204 IMG_9205IMG_9210IMG_9214I couldn’t justify ordering my next drink from the bar, so again, I found myself on the patio at the Grout Mixing Station. I even got out of line to watch a dude cut ice with a chain saw. I ordered one of each of the drinks, since I’m a (spice) wimp, I stuck with The Mortar, and my BF tried The Brick. This station was all about teamwork, the duo behind the station worked hard on the presentation of the drinks. Again, both tasted delicious and were aesthetically pleasing!

IMG_9222 IMG_9231
IMG_9228Don’t worry; we both shared the Big Mike Bacon Cheddar Burger so we could walk out of there properly! It was definitely a night dedicated to cocktails, but their food was on point, per the usu. Their effort to stick with the theme and pay their respects to our local, hometown team did not go unnoticed. H&L kills at every single one of these themed weeks, time and time again. Sac(ramento) Cocktail Week was no exception!

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What isn’t there to like about a themed cocktail soiree?!?

Stirred, Not Shaken: Bonnie’s Zucchini Tomato Stir-Fry

You may think California summers are filled with sun, sand, and surf, but we natives know the truth – they’re filled with ZUCCHINI! Lots of zucchini!

I think people grow it just because it’s foolproof – and when I say, “grow”, I mean GROW! Overnight those 7″ beauties balloon in size like they’re props in a science fiction film. Nooo Being the frugal (aka, cheap) person that I am, throwing out those gargantuous summer squash logs is out of the question. But just how much zucchini bread can one eat?

Then I got an idea!lightbulb momentI found an old recipe card (yes, I’m THAT old) for a zucchini stir-fry, tweaked it a little, coming up with a super-easy, low cal side dish. BONUS – it uses up those tomatoes that are stockpiling on the counter. Ta-da!  Zucchini Tomato Stir-Fry!IMG_6119 ZUCCHINI TOMATO STIR-FRY – makes 3 servings

  • vegetable oil for stir-frying
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed dried rosemary
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cups zucchini, chopped in whatever shape you want
  • 1 cup tomato, chopped
  • optional:  grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

NOTE:  To easily chop parsley, use your kitchen shears:parsley snippingIn a skillet or wok, heat a teaspoon or so of oil – just enough so things don’t stick. Add in the garlic, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, rosemary, and oregano. Cook at medium heat (375º Fahrenheit if using a wok) for a few minutes, until onion has browned – stirring often.

Add in zucchini and tomato, continuing to stir-fry until the zucchini is done. This takes about 10 minutes, depending on how firm or mushy you like your zucchini.

Sprinkle on cheese, if desired, and serve.

Be sure and check out my blog at Vegetarian Cooking For Carnivores Blog.

Going Bananas: Sacramento Banana Festival

Being a Sacramento native, I always get excited at the prospect of innovative eating around here, and news of the Banana Festival in the beautiful William Land Park caught my attentions.

Banana Festival

 

 

jill ZThis annual event was is on it’s 6th year and presented by Elmhurst Natural Banana Water. The event was full of art exhibits, musical performances, dance performances and even a fashion show. This festival benefits the National Athletic Youth Corps, which provides art and education in the Sacramento region.

Banana Festival 2

My husband and I got the Banana Steak Tacos and Banana Ginger Pudding. Surprisingly, my favorite part about the diverse array of flavors in the banana steak tacos was the scallions. The touch of scallion made all the difference. I love how little flavor additions can do that.

 

 

 

 

Banana Festival 4The Banana Ginger Pudding was rich enough to make you say “Mmm”, without making you feel sick, like richness can do. It was just the right amount of sweetness, and like I said, little flavor additions can make all the difference, and this was the case once again with the ginger.

Well done, Banana Festival. It was a pleasure to go bananas with you.

Let’s Taco ‘Bout It!: Chandos Tacos in Sacramento

Chando’s Tacos anyone? It’s as good if not better than it looks!

Chandos Tacos

Chandos Tacos

Chando’s Tacos

943 Pleasant Grove Blvd

Roseville, CA 95678

916-782-8226

http://chandostacos.com

I’ve heard great things about this joint. Well, all the guys at work were talking about it and making weekly lunch runs, so my curiosity was killing me. I know they have a few locations, including one off of Power Inn and one in the Arden area. This particular day, I happened to be in Roseville and tried the one off Pleasant Grove Blvd. It’s basically around the corner from the Galleria Mall. So definitely keep that in mind after a long day of shopping!

I’ll let you know before hand, I’m picky when it comes to my tacos and they definitely impressed me! Chandos has their meats down to an art in authentic taste and texture. Since I was new to the place I tried a regular taco with Carnitas. They slow cook the pork then fry it off in lard, which is the traditional way cook it. Maybe not the healthiest, but it’s okay to live it up every now and then!

Chandos Tacos

They let you mix up tacos and recommend it for newbies so you can dabble a little. I made my second taco choice a lettuce wrap with carne asada. I’m definitely new to seeing a lettuce wrap taco! It’s butter lettuce that holds up to the portion thick meat and toppings. I really appreciate the ability to play with your taco ordering options. Great idea on their part because as much as I liked the butter lettuce taco, I still want a traditional taco or two along with it!

I also tried their Mulitas with “Birria”. I had no idea what this was and now I’m hooked. I personally fell in love with their birria. If you’re unfamiliar, like I was, it’s slow cooked shredded beef and it’s nothing short of amazing. It’s basically like having your grandmother’s roast shredded in between 2 corn tortillas.

Chandos Tacos

My second trip there was just for Mulitas and two alone were enough to fill me up! Here’s the description straight from their website. Need I say more?

“Expertly made by layering jack cheese and your choice of meat between two corn tortillas. Top it off with Chandos’s signature fresh cilantro, delicious diced onions, creamy guacamole and tangy salsa for an instant flavor explosion.”

Last, but definitely not least, I bought the salsa and chips because no Mexican meal is complete without it!

Chandos Tacos

It takes a good salsa to get my attention. I admit my standards are higher than most. They killed it! I’m pretty sure they used a season salt of some sort to pull off that flavor. It was simple, but just popped. The whole experience made me excited to see some little hints creativity while keeping to their authentic roots.

Chandos Tacos

So kudos Chandos Tacos for great prices, a strong menu, fantastic ingredients and an overall great experience.

I left with a new shirt too!

Chandos Tacos

 

Brunch Three Ways: SF, Folsom, Sac

Bananen Weizen

(Hefeweizen w/Banana Juice)
Much like fellow blogger Marcie, I’m a big fan of brunch. Weekend mornings should be spent sleeping in followed by a leisurely late breakfast with a bubbly beverage. I’m constantly on the hunt for new spots that can fashion an egg in surprising and delightful ways. (I’m a savory over sweet breakfast type of girl.) Here are my latest favorites…

 

Suppenkuche
525 Laguna St. – San Francisco, CA
suppenkuche.com
This popular German spot near the Civic Center has been on my list awhile and the second I laid eyes on the “Mixed Beer Drinks” menu I was thrilled I finally made it a priority. I’m not really a beer drinker any time of day, certainly not breakfast, but when given the option of lacing it with banana juice, lemon soda or raspberry syrup – I’m all in! Champagne who?
I was equally pleased with the breakfast menu. There were quite a bit of intriguing options but I couldn’t pass up the bread dumplings, which ended up being more like slices of bread meatloaf. They spoiled me for toast. Fantastic.
 

Gebratener Semmeknodel mit Zwieblen Ei und Bratwurst
(Sauteed Bread Dumplings w/Two Eggs, Potatoes and Sausage)
Karen’s Bakery Cafe
705 Gold Lake Drive – Folsom, CA
karensbakery.com
I’ve yet to taste something on Karen’s ever-changing menu that I don’t love and I’ve been a regular for eight years. So, yes, it’s good. And quiche is one of the things they do best.
BLT Quiche – Bacon, Basil, Tomato
Grange Restaurant & Bar
926 J Street (The Citizen Hotel) – Sacramento, CA
grangesacramento.com
Smoked Chicken Hash
Bacon, Peppers, Butternut Squash, Onion, Potatoes
and Poached Eggs w/Chipotle Hollandaise

I can’t speak to many items on the menu because once I ordered this, I couldn’t order anything else. After basically licking my plate clean the first time around I’ve started ordering the hollandaise on the side so I can control myself, and feel less guilty about licking the plate clean every time since.

A Tale of 2 Cheeseburgers: Feedback Lounge and Esquire Grill at Terminal B, Sacramento International Airport

It’s a sick day and all I’m eating is soup. I clearly have cheeseburgers on the brain… These two places get a shout out because I believe they’re misunderstood. They have amazing cheeseburgers (they meet the criteria in a past blog) that deserve some recognition.

Feedback Lounge 
6451 California Ave
West Seattle, WA

Feedback Lounge is my neighborhood bar of choice. It has a very 90’s rock ‘n roll feel to it which seems to alienate some of the West Seattle residents, but I can hang with it. They also have live shows there, if you go to the website, there is a calendar with info. In addition to having every kind of liquor imaginable (as well as housemade syrups) they have a great food menu. My go-to here is the Feedback Burger, which as you can see bleeds like crazy. They get bonus points for using Romaine lettuce and not iceberg. The fries it comes with are amazing, packed with black pepper, but I’ve been trying to be good and sub the fries with a Caeser salad. The top portion of the bun is a bit thick, but  that’s okay cause I can soak up the fat and remaining Caeser dressing with it. Other great items are the Bourbon Walnut Chicken, which is the perfect blend of sweet and salty, the 3 Cheese Mac ‘n Cheese and, if you’re brave enough, the Lights Out Burger.

Yes, Andrew, I jacked this photo from your Facebook page.
The Lights Out Burger is insanity on a plate, the kind of burger Adam Richman would approve of. 1/2 of a beef patty with ham, bacon, American cheese, a Tabasco aioli and to top it off- a fried egg. Oh, if that wasn’t enough, it comes with black peppered tater tots. It’s a hot mess, literally. Before you go thinking I’m a total badass who ate myself… I’m not. A friend ate about 1/2 of it and I joined in only able to eat 1/4. I’ve grown a little attached to Feedback Lounge and I will miss it when I’m in sunny California. 🙁
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Esquire Grill – Terminal B at Sacramento International Airport

Sacramento Airport, Terminal B

Sacramento, CA 95837

Terminal B at Sacramento International Airport brings a lot of mixed feelings from the locals. Many locals, like myself, like it because it makes out of towners who do not think of Sacramento as a metropolitan city feel like they’re at least landing in one. I think it gives off a great impression, especially at a time like this where they lost the Kings and are scrambling for some sort of tourist attraction. Sure, nobody goes to a city for the airport and apparently this new terminal has increased prices. I still love landing in Sac though and it gives off a good impression before I get totally bored there. 🙂 The terminal has a few local spots including Burgers and Brew, Cafeteria 15L and Jack’s Urban Eats. I’ve done quite a bit of traveling in the past year and Esquire is my favorite out of the bunch. The Esquire Grill is famous in Sacramento for their location on K street, it’s been around for ages and is run by The Paragary Restaurant Group. Since the Paragary Group has dominated the Sacramento food scene for years, I hear a lot of grumblings about their restaurants. With success comes criticism. Their restaurants also also very “white table cloth” which isn’t very mid-town, so people can be quick to judge.

As you can see from the image above, it’s a bloody good burger. The tomatoes were plump and juicy and the top bottom bun ratio is just right. What I appreciate about this burger is the portion, it’s one of those rare kinds that doesn’t make you feel freakishly stuffed afterwards. I haven’t tried their fries, because I do believe that’s what kills you. I have had their famous Mac and Cheese, which are made of fun, spirally pasta and have the perfect crispy bread crumbs on top.

This is the perfect way to kill time before your flight.