Girls on Food

Sacramento

Summer’s Broccoli Tots

YASSSSS!! Fall is officially here!  The weather is finally not giving me a heat stroke, I can stomp aimlessly through piles of leaves, I can pretty much get pumpkin anything and football season has started. That means a copious amount of Sunday Fundays is about to go down!

Now I love a good football snack spread just as much as the next person. However, most snacks are fried and smothered with cheese. Like my favorite, tater tots. Since I know I am going to be attending a ton of Sunday Fundays, I cannot be eating all the fried food. ( I want to, but I can’t keep buying new jeans). So I decided to take matters into my own hands and make a healthy version of my fave, broccoli tots.

I used my cauliflower pizza crust recipe as inspiration, and I have to say what I came up with was freaking tasty AF. So if you want to get your snack on basically guilt free continue reading for my Broccoli Tot recipe.

*I give this disclaimer every time but just in case… I do not measure out anything. I just kind of eyeball it with these little bowls and they hold approximately one cup. 

ingredients

Broccoli Tots

Ingredients:

1 head of broccoli diced or Trader Joe’s Riced Broccoli

1/4 cup diced onion

1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1 egg

2/3 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon parsley, dried flakes or fresh

1 tablespoon paprika

Heaping tablespoon of cayenne (I like things a little spicy, if you prefer more mild use less)

Salt and pepper to taste

Put all seasonings in a small bowl

 

Preheat the oven to 400.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Blanche the broccoli in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Rinse the broccoli with cold water and let it sit while I prepping everything else.

After you’ve chopped your onions and grated the cheese, place the broccoli between a couple of paper towels and gently pressed to remove any excess water. (I didn’t take a pic of this cause, well, it wasn’t pretty)

Once you are done pressing the water out throw everything together in a bowl and mix well.

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Now you are ready to form your tots. I am not gonna lie, this was the most time-consuming part and if you don’t like getting stuff all up in your fingernails wear some gloves. Grab a little amount of the mixture on a spoon and squeezed it together in your hand until it forms a tot-esque shape. Place them on parchment lined baking sheet.

Once you form all your tots, throw them in the oven and let them cook for 25 minutes.

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Place them on a tray/plate/whatever and serve with your fave condiment. I promise these will be a hit. Even my boyfriend liked them, and I usually have to trick him into eating broccoli.

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Enjoy!

me-eating-tot

You Go, Grill: Arthur Henry’s is Sacramento’s Place For Steaks

Arthur Henry’s Supper Club & Ruby Room
3406 Broadway, Sacramento, CA 95817
http://www.arthurhenrys.net

Driving down Broadway after sundown, it’s easy to spot the stretch of Oak Park that’s beginning to see a resurgence, marked by a bright neon sign for Arthur Henry’s Supper Club & Ruby Room. The restaurant, with its blacked-out windows and red lighting, opened nearly three years ago after the dilapidated building was extensively renovated. Now, plush leather booths line the walls, and a jazz band plays on Friday nights. The space, which feels like a bit of a throwback to the Prohibition era, has all the charm of a speakeasy without the difficulty of getting inside – Arthur Henry’s red door welcomes one and all, assuming you’re over 21.

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The bright red door makes it easy to spot.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is your standard restaurant. At Arthur Henry’s, where customers grill their meals, you’re the master of your destiny. Just choose from a wide variety of entrées and you’re off! Patrons can grill anything from a Portobello mushroom or scallop skewers to a 22 oz. Porterhouse, and can choose from a variety of sauces and toppings.

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Salad, garlic bread, and steak wrapped up in butcher paper; we’re ready to grill!

On our visit, my boyfriend and I tried the horseradish cream and the garlic butter, along with their special sauces. Being a sucker for spicy foods, it’s no surprise that he loved their spicy steak sauce, while I couldn’t get enough of that horseradish cream. It had a pleasant bite to it, slightly offset by the sour cream. Each entrée at Arthur Henry’s comes with garlic bread, which you can also toss on the grill and salad. Pro tip: get there before 7 p.m. and take advantage of their early bird special – a 6 oz. Petit sirloin, salad, bread, and your choice of house red or white wine or a well cocktail. At only $13, it’s one of the best deals in Sacramento. The star of the show on any visit here is the giant communal grill, where diners gather to prepare their meals.

The communal grill, surrounded by plush booths.
The communal grill, surrounded by plush booths.
Action shot! Check out those perfect grill marks.
Action shot! Check out those perfect grill marks.

Arthur Henry’s cocktail program remains one of my favorites in the city. There’s a wide variety of drinks, so you’ll find something for everyone, from the whiskey snob to the shameless Cosmopolitan drinker. The bartenders are also happy to whip something up if you’re not sure what you want, and I’ve never been disappointed by their concoctions.

The bar - well, half of it at least.
The bar – well, half of it at least.

Dessert isn’t neglected there either, as Arthur Henry’s offers house-made brownies (topped with Gunther’s ice cream!) and cheesecake from local favorite Bella Bru. Next time you’re craving red meat, forget those fancy steakhouses and venture over to Oak Park – you’ll be glad you did.

Full disclosure: I live above this bar, but all that means is I “researched” very thoroughly before writing this article!

Sacramento Burger Battle 2016

Do you consider yourself a burger lover?

sbb2015ccfa250img_0027Then you must know about the Sacramento Burger Battle! 15 burgers from some of the top restaurants in Sacramento! Sounds easy to handle to the novice, as was I. I’d heard over and over, there is strategy involved. There is a method to follow. Don’t eat with your eyes; your stomach won’t follow suit. Needless to say, I made multiple rookie mistakes, yet had the best (bloated) time ever.

img_9982In what world do you eat fifteen different burgers from some of your favorite burger spots in your favorite city? Oh, you don’t, then you better get over to Sacramento once a year to grub at the Sacramento Burger Battle!

My endorsement means nothing to this charity event for Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. It sells out EVERY year; this year was no different. The ticket comes in at a hefty price, but the craftsmanship, quality, and quantity of burgers you devour are worth every dollar spent. You must experience it to believe it, but I can see the skepticism. You might get so bloated that you feel the need to contact a personal injury lawyer like GJEL Sacramento, but I guarantee it’s worth the suffering. It’s so very very worth it.

They sell two tickets to this event, a regular entrance ticket, and a VIP ticket. The VIP ticket gets you in an hour early, paid parking across the street from the event, and an extra special VIP cocktail during the VIP hour. I was lucky enough to call myself VIP for this event and got in an hour early, which might have been to my stomachs detriment.

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Here was the line-up from this year:

Pangaea Cafe – Enjoy Yo Self, Certified Angus Patty, Cheddar, Applewood Bacon, Greenleaf Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, House Pickles, Special Sauce on a Brioche Bun.

de Vere’s Irish Pub – B.M. F., Two 3oz Beef Patties (chuck, short rib, & brisket), Peppered Bacon, Tillamook Cheddar, Butter Lettuce Red Onions, House Habanero Pickle May

Dawson’s (at the Hyatt) – Steakhouse Burger, Duckfat Mushrooms, Sunfeed Beef Patty, Truffled Brie Cheese, Shallot Jam, Arugula.

Putah Creek Cafe & Bakery – Tuscan Burger, Blend of Certified Angus Beef, Ground Italian Sausage, Pancetta Bacon, Basil, Kalamata Olives, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Garnished w/ Heirloom Tomatoes, Arugula, Prosciutto, Fontal cheese, Red Onion + Basil Aioli.

Tank House BBQ & Bar – Tank Burger, 100% Ground Brisket 80/20 w/ Smoked Sharp Cheddar, Horseradish Sauce, Sauteed Red Onion, Mushrooms Kale + Garlic on a Village Bakery Brioche Bun.

Flaming Grill Cafe – Flaming Grill Burger, Ribeye New York Bacon, Peanut Butter + Jelly w/ Duck Bacon Burger

Willie’s Burgers – Chili Burger (on Freeport Bakery buns)

Cecil’s Taste – Sactown Street Burger, 80/20 Ground Chuck Blend Seasoned w/ “Red Stuff,” Smack Yo Marmalade (Bacon + Cheese infused Marmalade), Melted Muenster Cheese, Wasted Sauce (Track 7 3x IPA Reduced Mixed into a Dijonaise), Sliced Red Onions + Artisan Lettuce on a Soft Pretzel Bun.

Localis – The Jerk, Jerk Crusted Grassfed Patty, Habanero Cheddar, Pineapple-Jalapeno Chutney, Walla Walla Onions on a Ciabatta Bun.

LowBrau – The Lou Burger, 7oz Creekstone Chuck/Brisket Patty, Thick Cut House Bacon, Pretzel Bun, White American Cheese, Spicy Sauce, Grilled Red Onions, House Pickle + Shredded Hearts of Romaine.

Iron Steaks – The Walburg, Chuck + Brisket 80/20, Dijon Roasted Walnuts, Point Reyes Blue Cheese, Sweet Peppered Bacon, Pickled Apples + Garlic Aioli on a Caramelized Onion Brioche Bun.

Capitol Garage – Capital Garage Burger, Bacon Black Bean Burger w/ Aioli, Heirloom Tomatoes, Mixed Greens, Cheddar, Pickled Onions + Pickles on a Brioche Bun.

Bacon & Butter – The French Onion Burger – Storm Hill Beef Ground w/ Caramelize Onions + Bacon, Melted “French” Onions, Gruyere, Black Garlic Aioli + Lardon on a Bella Bru Onion Bun

Broderick Restaurant & Bar – The Broderick Brewky Burger of Dreams, Special 5 Dot Ranch Blend Beef, House made Track 7 Panic IPA Cheese, Yolo Brewery Orange Blossom Blonde Catsup w/Watanabe Farms Heirloom Tomatoes, Bike Dog Mosaic Pale Ale Mustard, New Helvetia Homeland Stout Brown Sugar Bacon, Jack Rabbit Order of the Rabbit Belgian Dubbel Pickles + Watanabe Onion Micro greens.

AJ’s Sandwiches – Pineapple Express, 1/2 lb of All Natural Niman Ranch Ground Beef, Grilled Onions, Jalapenos, Pineapple + Melted Provolone Cheese infused w/Barbecue + Boss Sauce

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If you aren’t salivating after seeing the pics and reading their ingredients, then I’m at a loss for words. I love, love, love how many of the restaurants highlighted other local breweries and farms from where they sourced their ingredients. Sacramento is all about supporting local and the ‘Farm to Fork’ movement.

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Please don’t ask me my favorite! However, everyone got a token to vote for their favorite burger to win the Peoples Choice Award. I’ll keep my vote to myself. It was a hard decision; I liked so many of them. They are all so different; they are kind of hard to compare! Also, there was a panel of fancy judges there to award top 3 burgers.

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1st Place: Pangaea Cafe

2nd Place: Cecil’s Taste

3rd Place: LowBrau

People’s Choice: LowBrau

img_9993The Burger Battle wouldn’t be complete if you couldn’t wash good burgers down with adult libations. Tastings of beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages were from the following spots:

Revolution Wines // Carvalho Family Winery // Laguintas Brewing Company // Yolo Brewing Company // Bike Dog Brewing Company // New Glory Craft Brewery // Knee Deep Brewing Company // Hoppy Brewing // Two Rivers Cider // Dry Diggings Distillery // Amador Distillery // Barsotti Family Juice Company // Silk Road Soda //Burly Beverages // H2Ops

All the sodium means our bodies were craving all the sweets. Luckily for us, the drink tent also shared space with Baker’s Donuts, Puskins Bakery (Gluten & Dairy Free only), and Milk & Cookies Sacramento. Of course, I tried one (or maybe more) of each item. They were a sweet treat after soaking my insides with burger goodness.

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Not only was the burger, drink, and dessert game on point, but they also had other small touches that made it memorable. They had napkins at every burger booth and wet wipes at all of the tables. It may seem like a minor detail, but they saved the day. Burger juice was in abundance and probably landed on more clothes than preferred, but our hands stayed somewhat clean thanks to the BB team. Also, they had live music playing on the stage the entire evening. At one point they even had a young man playing his accordion on a unicycle, now if that isn’t talent, I don’t know what is. The BB team shirts were awesome, they were a full image, taking over the whole shirt, of a cheeseburger with a number and their name on the back. I want to work next year’s event to snag one of those.

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I’m ashamed to say it’s taken me four years to get my burger lovin’ butt to this event, but I’m a changed woman. I had 15 different burgers at my fingertips and even though I didn’t manage my intake like a pro, I still enjoyed every bite I devoured at the Sacramento Burger Battle. Burger Battle 2017 is going to be different. I’m going with a strategic plan and a partner in crime to execute my burger eating strategy. If you think I’m exaggerating, you are sorely mistaken — all this goodness should not be missed due to a full stomach, it’s too good NOT to eat!

Proud of my fellow Sacramentens, raising money through bellies. That’s how we roll!

Sláinte to the Lighter Side of Ireland (Round Two)

The Irish know how to eat and drink.

It’s just that simple. De Vere’s Irish Pub invited us all back to taste their second menu reveal for their Lighter Side of Ireland menu. I knew without a doubt, we’d be attending this new tasting. If it was anything like the first round, I was going to be a happily fed and boozed lady for the evening.

de Vere’s Irish Pub
1521 L Street Sacramento, CA 95814
http://deverespub.com

Plus OneI cannot say ‘Thanks’ enough to Rodney for the invite, Henry for opening his business to us, Chef Wes for the fantastic cuisine, and David for crafting the hell out of some cocktails! It isn’t often that a company tries to deviate from their norm twice in one season, but lucky for us Sacramentans De Vere’s did and they did it with gusto! Not only did they kill it with flavor and creativity, but they also added a philanthropic aspect to the menu. They donate part of the sales of the new Lighter Side of Ireland menu to the Food Literacy Center.

Lighter Side of Ireland 2The new menu is also in conjunction with Farm-to-Fork Restaurant Weeks, which means they featured farms on the menu for these particular dishes. They pretty much touched on every awesome thing you can, philanthropy, locally sourced food, and great taste. I can attest to that because I sampled everything.

Heirloom SaladHeirloom Tomato Salad — You know those tomatoes that are so good, they don’t even taste like tomatoes? Yeah, that is this salad! The tomatoes are gorgeously vibrant and melt in your mouth. Add the texture of the crunchy croutons and the added burst of flavor with the Feta and you have a perfect summer salad!

 

 

 

Smoked Trout Deviled EggsSmoked Trout Deviled Eggs – I mean, they are deviled eggs, that says enough. The smokiness of the trout comes through in the creamy egg mixture, but it has no hint of seafood flavor. This plate will be gone in seconds, guaranteed!

 

 

 

 

Lamb BLTLamb BLT – They love them some lamb, and again they killed it. Lamb bacon is something I didn’t even know I needed to try. The lamb bacon was a somewhat crumbled texture, smothered between pesto mayonnaise and more of those deliciously fresh tomatoes. I can’t even begin to praise the carb pillow of perfection that is their house made focaccia! A different me could have been a little hesitant to order this, but after trying it, I would laugh at that person.

Fromage Blanc CheesecakeFromage Blanc Cheesecake – Not your average cheesecake, which makes it perfect for summer nights. The consistency is light, almost creamy jello like (awful descriptors, but I’m drawing a blank). The drizzle of blackberry coulis below the cheesecake is delicious and tart; I was scraping at the bits to eat it with every bite. Also, their fresh peaches on top were an added bonus. I’m a crust girl, and I thoroughly enjoyed theirs, the hint of sweetness from the added chocolate was divine!

Needless for me to ramble on, because the flavors and freshness speak for themselves. Chef Wes is killing it in the back and doing so in an incredibly humble way. Thanks for the good eats and chatting with us about each dish. It’s always fun to be educated about the produce, ingredients, and conception of dishes.

The menu was great, but I think the booze might have taken the show this time. De Vere’s now offers 12 handcrafted cocktails for $6 from 3 PM to 6 PM. These aren’t 20 minute-to-make handcrafted drinks, yet they taste just as fancy. David has taken great time and delicacy in his creations, and I got to taste each one. The best part, besides being hand crafted, is that they don’t use cheap alcohol. The integrity of the alcohol and ingredients are not compromised to meet this delicious price of $6. Do yourself a favor, make this your next Happy Hour spot!

img_9926 Drink Line Up

Dickel Manhattan // Pineapple Express // Sazerac // Dark & Stormy // Blueberry Mule (My fave) // De Vere’s Old Fashioned // Almost Famous Irish Coffee (How have I not had one of these before?) // Ancho Blackberry Cooler (Spicy, aaahh!) // Basil Gimlet (Another fave) // Mary’s G&T // Hemingway Daiquiri // Paloma

Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs

Tuesday turn up had a new meaning this week, thanks to the crew at de Vere’s! This menu only lasts until September 31st, so I suggest you get over there and give it a try.

Again, they aren’t going for your typical ‘pub fare’ with this menu, they are showing you a different, Lighter Side of Ireland.

Not Just Skew(er)ed to Meat Lovers: Osaka Yakitori in Sacramento

Osaka Yakitori
6023 Florin Rd – Ste 600, Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 823-5525

FullSizeRenderA soft opening is such an odd name for an event…

I’m sure we all have our opinions on the Yelpers of the world. But I am one of them, proud of it and also appreciate the connections I’ve made through all different sorts of foodie cultures. Also, I can see the polarizing effect it has on the food culture, anywhere. That being said, a Yelper foodie friend invited me to the soft opening of a new spot in Sacramento, Osaka Yakitori.

 

IMG_9330The location is not where most midtown-based Sacramentans would venture, but if you’re familiar with the area, then you know it’s not as bad as some may perceive it. The new spot is in a newer shopping area on Florin Road, nestled front and center when you drive into the shopping strip.

From the moment we walked through the door until we got up to leave, the entire crew at Osaka Yakitori was awesome, welcoming, and very hospitable. They welcomed us with a huge, traditional Japanese greeting. The entire restaurant was dedicated to the soft opening on Friday night; the Grand Opening would be two days later on Sunday.

IMG_9331As I looked around, I enjoyed how clean and refreshing the decor was. There were two large murals along the back wall, which was a nice touch. I’m not sure what was here before, but Osaka Yakitori did a great job of making it all look brand new. As we sat down, we were handed freshly printed menus.

We tried appetizers, sushi rolls, yakitori, and entrees, all washed down with plum wine and saki bombs. By the time dessert was an option, we were so full we couldn’t even fathom trying to squeeze mochi or fried ice cream in our bellies!

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To start off our foodie adventure we ordered the Hot Wings and Gyoza. I was a little worried about the heat of the wings, but since it was on the side I was golden. The wings were perfectly fried golden and tasted great without any sauce. The gyoza was also perfectly fried and stuffed with the exact amount of tastiness.

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Next we each ordered a roll. It should be noted that J (my man) does not like seafood, nor does he like nori (seaweed wrap). Luckily for him, and others who are similar to him in sushi preference, they have an awesome roll – the “Servers Favorite Roll,” which is sesame chicken, cream cheese, avocado, unagi sauce, spicy mayo, and sesame seeds. Like J, you can get it with soy wrap if you’re not into seaweed. Can we note how fun the green color of the soy wrap is? I’m used to the odd, kinda creepy pink soy wrap. My roll option, as usual, was pretty basic when it comes to sushi rolls. I went with the “Osaka Maki Roll” – deep fried panko shrimp, avocado, unagi sauce, spicy mayo, green onions, and masago. Although we aren’t adventurous sushi connoisseurs, we loved the simple rolls we did try! J has already asked to go back for his roll, which has replaced his old fave roll!

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Even though a friend brought to my attention that what I love to eat at Japanese restaurants is essentially a huge chicken nugget, I always love to try Chicken Katsu when I try a new Japanese restaurant. I love the salty and tangy flavor of the katsu sauce, plus the crunchy panko coating on the chicken.  The serving size was just right, even though my eyes said it was too small. J originally ordered the curry, but the chefs still need to learn that recipe. Instead, the server brought him Beef Teriyaki, which was really good. The meat as tender and perfectly cooked. Both Bento Box entrees came with salad, gyoza, rice, and veggie tempura. Their tempura had just the right amount of batter – not too much, not too little.

Chicken KatsuOsaka Yakitori

IMG_9411As if all of this food wasn’t enough, I still had to try their skewered meats. After all, the name of the place has Yakitori in the name, so skewers are a must! Even though Yakitori is primarily thought of as chicken skewers, Osaka Yakitori offers other meats skewered as well (technically Kushiyaki). I went with pork belly. Even though it was my third selection, it was amazing! It wasn’t huge in size, but great in fat-meat ratio. Also, the seasoning was just right – it was juicy and full of flavor. Their yakitori pricing and portions were great, especially if you want to order a variety of them!

 

Sacramento, get off the midtown town grid for once! The food, the price, and the service make it worth the drive. Also, sometimes its fun to check out a different area than you’re used to – you never know what you’ll find out there!

Eat Drink SF: The Best Bites & Booze in the Bay

Like I said in my preview post, San Francisco is a hub of fresh produce. Better yet, some of the country’s most innovative chefs seem to recognize this, setting up shop all along the peninsula. And with so much good food and so much real talent, it’s hard to taste everything this part of Northern Cali has to offer. Luckily, that’s the whole premise of Eat Drink SF — get the best bites and booze of the Bay in one place so the public can sip and sample the day away.

EDSF Entrance

Now, I’ve struggled with how to describe this event because it’s, in all honesty (and to a writer’s chagrin) hard to capture with words. There’s such a large variety of cuisine and cocktails; it is a bit overwhelming — for the mind as well as the stomach. So I’ve decided the best way to share my experience is with a few photos of my standout samples.

FOOD

Peruvian Sea Scallop

Shrimp Escabeche served with shallots, cilantro, celery, and a coconut foam – The Market

This dish was my first bite of the day. Off to a great start with familiar flavors in a unique combination.

Bruschetta

Panzanella Spiedini – Zero Zero

The fresh pancetta brought me back to Italy for sure…Bellissimo!

salad

Summer Tabbouleh – Terzo/Rose’s Cafe

Simply celebrating summer’s freshest produce.

Delfina Pizza sample

Pane Al Pomodoro: Grilled Bread, Crushed Early Girl Tomatoes, Ricotta Salata – Pizzeria Delfina

Cheers, guys, but I’m still a major fan of your Broccoli Rabe.

Sea Scallops

Peruvian Sea Scallop with Corn and Blueberries – Brasserie S&P

Chilled scallops garnished with a corn puree that tastes like sweet buttercream, blueberries for freshness, need I say more?

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Someone recently asked me if I liked caviar. My response was that I hadn’t had it enough to like or dislike it. I’d like to update that answer — love it.

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White Sturgeon Mousseline (garnished with caviar) – Michael Mina

I never thought I’d have the chance to eat at Michelin-star restaurant Michael Mina. Well, if this bite is any indication of what their full menu features, I better put my name down now. This sample is truly what food critics mean when they say a dish has “balance of flavor” — sweet, salty, sour, spice, and that elusive umami, all tucked into one delicious mouth-full.

E&O Kimchi Rice

Slow Braised Pork & Kimchi, Rice Cake, Seasoned Nori – E&O Kitchen & Bar

The longest line of the day and I can tell you why. While there were quite a few Asian and Asian-inspired samples out there, this one tops them all. Pork meat that just melts in the mouth, fried rice cake delicately coats the palate with oil, while the Kimchi adds just the right amount of funk. And that seasoned Nori? Well, I could just eat a bag of that like potato chips. Brava Chef Sharon Nahm who was working the booth herself — at lightning speed, I might add, keeping up with all of us greedy customers.

Spaghetti Bro Balls

Meat Balls Alla Marinara – Spaghetti Brothers

Spaghetti Bros Chefs

Spaghetti Brothers, Chef Eric Lowe & Aaron Toensing

Luce Brown Butter Prawn

Chilled Blue Prawn & Cucumber, Brown Butter, Pistachio – Luce

Another bite from a Michelin-star restaurant and tied for my personal dish of the day. Those pistachios added an extra something to this (crunch, body, flavor) — nice touch, Chef.

smoked hamachi wente restaurant

Smoked Passmore Ranch Sturgeon – The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards

I love me some Wente wine, so I was so pleased to see that their Executive Chef, Chef Mike Ward, was at EDSF representing The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards. And this simple smoked fish garnished with a bit of sweet from the raspberry coulis and a bit of salty with that (oh yes) caviar is the other dish in my two-way tie for the dish of the day.

Wente Chef

Chef Mike Ward gets bonus points for posing for a Silly Stacy Selfie. Cheers, friend!

DRINKS

Tasting all this food, yeah you’re going to get thirsty — luckily there was no shortage of craft cocktails, beers, and wines available.

Kolsch

Kalifornia Kolsch – Magnolia Brewing Company

Crisp, refreshing, and light with just a hint of herbaceousness — perfect for the non-beer drinker.

Sipsmith London Punch

London Punch – SipSmith

Sipsmith London Dry Gin, Earl Grey Tea, vermouth, citrus, and blackberries make up this funky little cocktail. I loved the addition of the Earl Grey tea, which truly added a woodsy aroma and aftertaste. But my favorite part was that you could taste the gin — and all those other elements just uplifted that classic, pseudo-sweet flavor. Well met, mixologists.

Old Tom & The Sea

Old Tom & The Sea – Anchor Distilling Company

My favorite cocktail of the day goes to the Anchor Distillery’s “Old Tom & The Sea.” Something about the mix of the sweet cherry liquor and the sour lemon juice just felt fun and fresh. And, like the London Punch, there was the right combination of all those other ingredients, and they highlight the purity of the gin. I find so many cocktails work to hide the alcohol, but this one uplifted it and made me appreciate it as a form of produce. Bonus: they gave us the recipe. Adults, try this at home:

.75 oz Anchor Old Tom Gin

.5 oz Tempus Fugit Kina L’Aéro d’Or.

.25 oz Luxardo Sangue Morlacco Cherry Liqueur

.25 oz Lemon Juice

Lemon and cherry flag for garnish.

The Treasury Mixologist

Flash – The TreasuryThe Treasury %22Flash%22

very close second for the cocktail of the day goes to Elisa Gallardo and Carlos Yturria of The Treasury for their gin, kiwi, cucumber and lemon concoction called “Flash.” So refreshing — almost smoothie-esque — this is the drink you’d reach for if you didn’t want to taste the alcohol. There’s enough Gin to add a bit of sweetness to the otherwise sour fruits, but not so much that you felt like you were drinking Gin. So, depending on what you’re looking for in a cocktail, this may be the one for you.

Herbal Spritzer

Herbal Spritzer – CUESA

Of course, for those who to prefer to get high on life, there was an abundance of non-alcoholic beverages to sip and savour as well. My personal fav was the make-your-own herbal spritzer booth presented by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA). A little bit of sparkling water and a shot of rosemary infused simple syrup, and you’ve got a fun mocktail the whole family can enjoy. I’ll drink to that.

EDUCATION

But what about the wine, Stacy??? Yes, Wine Enthusiast did present a few wineries to share their current releases. Admittedly, most were common names you could easily find in stores. And why not? If you try something you like, you’re going to want to be able to buy it. But the real wine party was at the SF Wine School presentation theatre.

Wine School Class

There were three different classes to attend, but with so much going on I had to choose just one. And this Cali girl just couldn’t deny the opportunity to learn even more about excellent oaky Chards.

wine school Chards

Well, they weren’t all oaky, and they weren’t all California either. In fact, we had the opportunity to taste a Chardonnay from France, one South Africa (that was new to me!), and one from California. We learned that different Chardonnays present in a variety of ways depending on how much and what kinds of oak is used during barrel aging. Our presenter, Chris Gaither, AS, even took us through some wine-nerdom as he explained the role of malolactic fermentation. Honestly, I wish the class could have been longer, but I guess I’ll have to start thinking seriously about the CWS cert from SF Wine School.

Wine School selfie

Silly Stacy Selfie Featuring: Chris Gaither, AS, Stacy Briscoe, and David Glancy (SF Wine School Founder)

Wine School Tatts

Stacy and David sporting their cute SF Wine School Tatts — Cheers!

MORE INFO

For more information about any of the vendors, restaurants, or sponsors, or to learn more about Eat Drink SF, please visit the Eat Drink SF website.

*All photography by Stacy Briscoe*


**Want to have your Bay Area wine event, winery, vineyard, or tasting room featured? Please Contact the Author via her blog BriscoeBites.com**

Summer’s Roasted Figs

me eating figFigs. They are everywhere. A Delicious little tear dropped fruits that are only available a few weeks out of the year. Just like Nordstrom’s half yearly sale or Victorias Secret semi-annual sale. No, I don’t have a shopping problem, I just like sales.

I’ve strayed…

I love me some figs. I’m not sure where my love for them stems from. It might be my middle eastern ethnicity, who knows. Regardless the reason, I stocked up. Like a lot. Like way too much. I needed to come up with a way to use them other than eating them like they are popcorn whilst on a Netflix binge. I thought about making jam but, to be honest, that just takes to long and I wasn’t feeling it. I peeped around my kitchen and found a few ingredients every food lover should have. Balsamic vinegar, butter, honey and goat cheese. Boom, I’ll make some roasted figs.

This recipe is seriously the easiest thing in the world to make. With prep and cooking time all together it took me about 20 minutes.

You should let them cool off before shoveling them into your face. Just a thought. You do you, though.

This is everything I used:

Stuffed Fig Ingredients

So I never measure anything. I pretty much eyeball it. These are 1 cup bowls if that helps at all.

fig wet ingredients

So throw all of this in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes until it thickens. While the glaze is cooking, preheat the oven to 400.

Cut your figs in half and top them with goat cheese.

Once the sauce/glaze is done drizzle over the cheese topped figs.

Figs halvedfigs with cheesefigs with cheese and glaze

Pop those bad boys in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes. I did mine for about 12 cause I am impatient, they were still a little too firm for my liking.

figs finishedOnce cooked to your preference place them on a cute serving tray and enjoy!

I just want to point out that I burned the crap out of my mouth because I NEEDED to eat one right when it came out of the oven. So while I am smiling, know that I burned my taste buds off. SMH

Made With Love: City Kitchen Comes to Sacramento

City Kitchen Sacramento
citykitchensacramento@gmail.com
http://www.facebook.com/CityKitchenSacramento
IG: @citykitchensacramento

When Rebecca Lujan Loveless was just a young girl, her father used to let her stir the pot of chili simmering on the stove. Little did he know he’d spark a passion for food that would become her bread and butter!

As the owner of City Kitchen Sacramento, which launched last week, Rebecca translates that love of food into delicious, healthy meals for her community. City Kitchen emphasizes tasty food that is good for you and uses locally sourced, organic products whenever possible. Rebecca visits the farms from which she buys her chickens, cows, and pigs, so she knows firsthand they are treated humanely – it doesn’t get much more farm to fork than that! She first started City Kitchen in Orlando, FL, where she had already built a following for her delicious eats. After moving to Sac, Rebecca has been working on building her business back up from scratch. Based on the meals we tried last week, I have no doubt in my mind she’ll be successful!

During City Kitchen’s launch week, we were lucky enough to try each of their four meals. Overall, they were delicious! Hot meals showed up on our doorstep between 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM and the variety was incredible.

The first night was a roasted lemon chicken breast, with Hasselback fingerling potatoes and a grilled peach and heirloom tomato salad. My boyfriend, who typically wouldn’t go for a salad, let alone one with fruit, devoured it! Huge win for City Kitchen – they got him to eat his veggies.

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Next up – Taco Tuesday! One of the best nights of the week, we had house-made crispy taco shells filled with ground beef and potatoes, along with chili-lime corn on the cob. This meal was my favorite of all the meals we tried. Between the perfectly cooked corn, the burst of lime, and the salsa verde that topped the tacos, it was sublime.

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Wednesday brought BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches with pickled veggie slaw and sweet potato tots. A lighter take on a traditional pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw, this one hit the spot – but the star of the night were the tots, which were delicious dipped in City Kitchen’s garlic-chive aioli!

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The last night was City Kitchen’s take on a Korean rice bowl, and it did not disappoint. The perfect 6-minute egg created a luscious sauce for all of the rice and veggies, and the beef was addictively crispy.

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The portion sizes were perfect – we were left satisfied each night but didn’t have to worry about leftovers. Most importantly, you can feel the love put into each meal from City Kitchen. What I loved most of all, however, was supporting a local business owned and operated by a woman. As a Hispanic woman, Rebecca is passionate about positively impacting her community through its economy. For her, it’s not just a business, but a way to connect with those around her and build relationships that will make Sacramento a better place for all of us to live.

The Lighter Side of Ireland: de Vere’s Irish Pub in Sacramento

So you’re telling me Irish food isn’t just gravy laden washed down with a pint?

IMG_7353I was graciously invited to de Vere’s Irish Pub by Rodney (aka Burger Junkies) to try out their new “Lighter Side of Ireland” menu. Henry, the owner, spent some time with us before the food starting rolling out. Since Sacramento gets way too hot, he wanted to bring a “lighter” summer menu to the table. He also intends to change the perception of Irish food being heavy and filling, showcasing it can also be light, culinary, and still satisfying. All I can say is that de Vere’s killed it with their new take on ‘The Lighter Side of Ireland!’

de Vere’s Irish Pub
1521 L Street Sacramento, CA 95814
http://deverespub.com

IMG_7355You better hurry, you only have six weeks to try this version of the ‘Lighter Side,’ as they will be changing it up again. It will still be under the same namesake, but all the dishes will be new.  Don’t fret, if you still want the other good ‘ole Irish food, it’s still on the menu. These additional items are just something new to try (for only six weeks). de Vere’s added four entrees and one dessert to compliment their already delicious menu.

Smoked SFullSizeRenderalmon Salad – Frisee, Arugula, Onion, Fingerling Potato, Crispy Soft-Boiled Egg, Wholegrain Mustard Dressing

Grilled Lamb Sirloin – Quinoa, Arugula, Summer Squash, Cranberry, Almonds, Herb Vinaigrette

Smoked Pork Shank Terrine – Cumberland Sauce, Dijon Mustard, Pickled Carrots, Fresh Fruit, Toasted Sourdough

Mary’s Chicken Thigh – Brentwood Corn, Cherry Tomatoes, Zucchini, Cranberry Beans, Preserved Meyer Lemon Chimichurri

Olive Oil Cake – Stone Fruit Compote, Basil Creme Anglaise, Brown Sugar Creme

FullSizeRenderThanks to the awesome staff, plates on plates of these goodies came out to our group. I didn’t go for want, nor did the others. There was an eclectic mix of people in attendance, but many were very skilled food/portrait photographers. So between some serious food styling and arranging, we tasted the goodness that was ‘The Lighter Side of Ireland.’

All the dishes were excellent, but I still had my favorites. By far, the freshness of each dish was easily recognizable in the taste, texture, and palate goodness! Since my end of the table ‘did not do seafood,’ I lucked out and ate almost an entire Smoked Salmon Salad to myself. The crispy soft boiled egg was fantastic, oozing all over the salad, but still having that crispy fried outer layer. The pieces of salmon melted in my mouth. I was happy I was one of the few who liked salmon at our end of the table; it was meant to be! The runner up for my next fave dish would have to be Mary’s Chicken Thigh. This plate was a nicely portioned chicken thigh nestled on a mixture of veggies and beans. The beans were my least favorite, but that is just a personal preference. The fried chicken was so moist and flavorful, the added goodness beneath it was just a bonus!

IMG_7383You almost forget you’re eating lamb when you eat the Grilled Lamb Sirloin. There is no hint of traditional gamey lamb taste, rather a very well seasoned piece of lamb. The textural mix of the quinoa and salad that it lies on is also really, really refreshing. My least favorite, but still of excellent quality, was the Smoked Pork Shank Terrine. It was popular with a few around me, who ate most of my share. I know I’m the one missing out, but something about the texture of the pork wasn’t for me. I loved how they plated this dish and could see it be a great starter or just something to nosh on while you enjoy aIMG_7385n adult beverage.

The dessert truly deserves its own post. Seriously, this will be the best $6 you spend all summer in Sacramento! The Olive Oil Cake baked to perfection, moist and flavorful with a perfect not-too-chewy-or-too-hard crust. I seriously can’t write about it without daydreaming about tasting it! The blend of the fruit compote, basil, and brown sugar flavors topped off the already perfectly baked cake. I’m pretty sure I ate most of two of these dishes, sorry to my fellow tablemates!

IMG_7364As the different dishes were served, I was able to sip on a Basil Gimlet, then a Pineapple Express. I don’t think I could have picked a more refreshing libation to start our Friday evening with, their Basil Gimlet was on point. The Pineapple Express was good, but the Bourbon came through heavily. It was different, but I enjoyed it. I also snuck sips of J’s Blueberry Mule, which made me think “Why I hadn’t thought to order one of these before?” Sub Blueberry Vodka for regular Vodka, so simple! He also had the Paloma but drank it before I could even get a taste…I guess that is a good indicator of how tasty it was.

I had such a fun time meeting local Sacramentans who are just as ‘weird’ as I am. By ‘weird’ I mean they do anything to get the shot, including taking plates outside to get a gorgeous shot of the new dish. Everyone was having such a great Friday evening, trying the delicious and fresh food, all while sipping on refreshing adult beverages. de Vere’s hospitality was beyond gracious, and I can’t wait to see what the Chef has in store for Sacramento in six weeks when he drops his next look at “The Lighter Side of Ireland!”

California crafted, Irish inspired!

Wine & Brew at the Sacramento Zoo 2016

Wine + Brew + Sacramento Zoo = Trifecta of Sacramento FUN!

SacZoo Wine & Brew - giraffe

It’s no small feat to keep this family friendly, animal loving haven open year round. So the Zoo came up with a fabulous idea for a fundraiser, which benefits the animal care and general maintenance of our beloved, local Sacramento Zoo.

Sacramento Zoo
3930 W Land Park Dr, Sacramento, CA 95822
http://www.saczoo.org

Wine And Brew Sac ZooI don’t think the Zoo gets old at any age. But adding adult libations to the mix makes it that much more enticing for those of the adult beverage drinking age. Add in the fact that it is also a fundraiser for said Zoo and you really can’t lose or not attend such an awesome event.

Can we please talk about the line-up real quick? For the early bird price of $45 or the normal, not early person price of $55 you have access to the following:

WineriesBogle Vineyards / Carvalho Family Winery / Helwig Winery / Matchbook Wine Company / McConnell Estates Winery / Mount Aukum Winery / Muddy Boot Wines / Renwood Winery / Sentivo Vineyards and Winery / Shenandoah Vineyards / Sobon Estate / Terra d’Oro Winery / Three Wine Company
Turkovich Family Wines / Weibel Family Vineyards & Winery

IMG_5995Breweries – Bike Dog Brewing Company / Device Brewing Company / Firestone Walker Brewing Co. / Great Basin Brewing Company / Hoppy Brewing Company / Knee Deep Brewing Co. / Lagunitas Brewing Company
Lost Coast Brewery / Napa Smith Brewery / Mendocino Brewing Company / New Helvetia Brewing Co. / Oak Park Brewing Company / Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. / Sudwerk Brewing Co. / Track 7 Brewing Co. / Two Rivers Cider Company / Yolo Brewing Company

If you are a Zoo member, you also had a slight discount for the early bird price. They didn’t forget about the Designated Drivers either, their cost was only $15 for a fun event, sans the booze.  They had a handful of Coca-Cola options to choose from for everyone, not just the DD’s. They also brought in food trucks to help balance out all the delicious beverages, all of whom donated
10% of their sales to the Zoo.

Sacramento Food Trucks – Drewski’s / La Mex Taqueria / GyroStop / The Sweet Spot

soalsbury steakNothing makes me happier than to see a huge line at an event, especially a fundraiser. Thanks to the Zoo for letting Girls on Food giveaway two tickets to this event. Our girl Rebecca had a great time at the event too. Sadly, I didn’t get to run into her, but from her IG post I know she had as much fun as I did.

As we were dropped off in our faux-Uber, really my little sister, we noticed the crazy long line. Thankfully we hopped into the Will Call line, then breezed in right away. From the moment, we walked into the Zoo all of the staff and volunteers were very kind and helpful.

Wine GlassesThe Zoo should think about selling libations more often, like every day they are open. 😉 As we handed our tickets to the volunteers they directed us to our wine glass pick-up, which was a few short steps away. The lovely volunteers gave us our glasses and then we were off to booze it up. Born and raised in Sac, I know this Zoo fairly well; essentially it is one large loop. Tossing caution and map to the wind, we decided to go toward the Tiger, where plenty of vendors were set up. We had perused the silent auction before we started tasting the adult beverages.

IMG_5990Thankfully the Zoo has so many fun photo ops, really for the kids, but when there aren’t any children, you just do it! There wasn’t one booth we didn’t try. And I can honestly say, every single vendor was sweet, poured generously, and didn’t mind chatting up everyone in line. Seriously, you’d think they were getting paid to hand out gratis drinks. Everyone was in a great mood, and it was a great vibe in the Zoo that night.

Going to the Zoo as a child is full of wanderlust, but add alcohol and it’s adult wanderlust. Admiring the giraffes while sipping on wine was something I’m not sure I’d ever thought I’d do. It was almost as if they knew everyone was enjoying them. Three of them lined up and started galloping together, running if you will. One even stood there, picture perfect for us to snap a pic. The other was just enjoying his dinner.

After a few too many tastes, we decided to grab some food. They grouped the food trucks in two’s. The GryoStop was the closest to us, so we went after it. Greek food is fantastic, so we had no qualms with our option. The other two were on the other side of the Zoo, but we would have been happy with those options too – American or Mexican. J and I decided to split an order of the Loaded Fries and a Beef/Lamb Gyro; it was the best decision we made that day. I’ve never tried this truck, but I’d certainly hunt it out in Sacramento after trying it. The Loaded Fries were amazing, who thought of combining tzatziki sauce with nacho cheese and topping it with feta is a pure culinary genius. No pretentious foodie here, just a girl who loves anything with a burst of flavor. After we had devoured these two delectable Greek goodies, we sent off to tackle the other side of the Zoo.

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IMG_6002I can’t even lie; I was stoked to head into the Reptile House with my wine glass. I already love the reptile house, but enjoying a beverage in there was even more exciting for some odd reason. Everyone attending the event was having a great time. We met new friends in there and burst through the doors laughing as we left. We then found the other two food trucks, but the lines were pretty long, and we wanted to try more wine and brew, so we skipped them for more booze. This area is already a picnic area, so it was a great setting for hanging out, eating, and relaxing if you were tired. They were playing music, and it was a great vibe.

We got back on the Zoo ‘loop’ to continue our tasting. The mixture of beer to wine options seemed spaced out well. It also helped that they had plenty of ‘Coca Cola stations’ with bottled water and soda. The bottled water was helpful to rinse out your glass, especially from the beer to wine transition or vice versa. I’m sure the DD population enjoyed those booths as well. Zinfandel was a common denominator with all the wineries here. Seeing as how many of these are local wineries, Zin is their specialty. I think almost every table had a Zin to pour; it isn’t my favorite, but I’m starting to more and more these days.  IMG_5996

The two and a half hours went by so quickly. Even though it was just J and myself, we had a great time. The staff and the attendees made it a great environment. It was worth the ticket cost and I’d encourage everyone to attend next year; you get your monies worth of booze, fun, and animals…all while donating to a great, local cause. If I could suggest one thing, I’d ask them to add two more food trucks. With all that booze flowing, we all were hungry; the lines proved it.

A shout out to the animals for letting us get wild and crazy in their hood for an evening!

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Summer’s Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Avocado. The magical fruit chocked full of all the things that are good for you. What things would that be you ask?  Well let me give a brief rundown: they are full of healthy fats, high in vitamin C, they got more potassium than bananas and let us not forget about the fiber. Avocados are pretty much the superhero of the fruit world. Since I have been trying to find new ways to make my favorite part of the meal (that would be dessert) a little healthier I decided to give avocado pudding a try.

I gathered the following ingredients and concocted a pretty decent pudding.

mainingredients

Summer’s Avocado Pudding

Just a reminder I do not measure anything I just eyeball it and go by taste so the measurements listed are based off that. 

Coconut milk  1/4 cup and a splash (if you need it)

100% Raw Cacao Powder 1/4 cup

Vanilla Extract 2 tsp

Maple Syrup 1/4 to 1/2 cup (this is entirely up to you, the more syrup, the sweeter it is. Also you can add stevia or honey for a sweeter taste)

1 and 1/2 ripe avocado

ingredientsinbowl

Take all the ingredients and add to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

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Dish up into serving bowls, cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Finished avocado pudding

When all done garnish and serve. I used fresh strawberries and shaved coconut. This is a basic recipe, and there are so many awesome things you can add. Peanut butter is a delicious choice, as is bananas. Play around. Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Enjoy!
meandpudding

Summer’s Peachy Coconut Cream Popsicles

Spring is in the air; the temperature is rising, and there is nothing better than a cold sweet treat to keep you cool. My favorite kind of treat is ice cream. I LOVE ice cream. Like I love it so much, I would marry it. Seriously, I wouldn’t even need a ring. The problem is ice cream is all about that dairy. At least, the flavorful, good ones are. Since dairy is pretty much my arch nemesis, I needed to find an alternative. Something a little healthier without sacrificing taste. Enter coconut cream. Fluffy and smooth just like a pillow. Now, I have used coconut cream for many things, yet for whatever reason it never dawned on me to use it for a delicious frozen treat until now.

I started rummaging around my kitchen and found the following in my cupboard and freezer.

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It was a sign; I needed to make peaches n’ cream popsicles.

I kind of did everything by taste and eyeballing it… with that said here is an estimation of the actual ingredient measurements.

measurements

I like using maple syrup to sweeten things because it is healthier and vanilla extract is pretty much a no-brainer since it makes everything taste better. You can also use stevia or agave syrup.

I chopped up the frozen peaches so that they were more bite size.

I then put everything except for the peaches into a bowl and mixed it all up.

Mixing it

After that, I started spooning the delicious mixture into my nifty dollar store popsicle holders.

filling the container

After a few spoonfuls of the coconut mixture, I dropped a few pieces of peaches in and repeated the spooning, peach dropping process until the popsicle molds were full.

ready to freeze

Place the tops on and freeze overnight.

I was super excited to wake up and try out my delicious treat the next day. I’m not going to lie; they were a little tough to get out. (maybe I should have invested in popsicle molds that were more than a dollar) I had to let them sit on the counter for a couple of minutes to loosen up. I tell you what, though, they were worth the wait!!

me with popsicleThis recipe is totally customizable. I think strawberries, pineapple, kiwi would all be awesome choices as well.

Give them a try and let me know what y’all think in the comment section below!

Enjoy!