THE LATEST SCOOP
Keeping you informed of local food and drink news.
WRITTEN BY FRANK DOMPE
ILLUSTRATION BY GREG BRADY
Welcome to edible Sacramento’s Edible Updates column. Here, we share the latest news from our area’s restaurants and food purveyors, updates from regional agricultural producers, and more details about our burgeoning food-and-drink scene.
Long in the works, Cantina Alley has opened in Midtown. The airy, art-filled space in the 2300 block of Jazz Alley offers Mexican craft beers and cocktails along with a growing menu of street food such as tacos, pozole, and garnished ears of corn known as elotes. A cart serving traditional bacon-wrapped hot dogs rolls out to keep patrons fed until last call on Fridays and Saturdays, making it a great spot to wind down a late night with friends.
The renovated restaurant in Downtown’s Cesar Chavez Plaza is the new home of La Cosecha by Mayahuel. The original Mayahuel’s owner Ernesto Delgado has joined with area chef Adam Pechal to combine a casual approach to Mexican food with the sort of local ingredients and flavors that share the park during the Wednesday farmers’ markets held there. The project could be a model for Midtown’s Winn Park, where the city is seeking community suggestions for bringing new life to a long-vacant Art Deco fire department building.
Bay Area food truck phenomenon KoJa Kitchen has brought its take on Asian fusion to the area for keeps in Rocklin. Its signature sandwiches feature savory Korean and Japanese fillings between two buns of garlic rice. The wings, loaded fries, rice bowls, and tacos that share the slate will be familiar to anyone who’s waited in a long line for them at an event.
Just a few blocks north of Trader Joe’s on Fulton Avenue, Boolu Eatery opened in March and aims to give diners a trip around the world. Obi Ugorji and his wife, Nonye, hired chef Ted Black to showcase recipes from Nigeria alongside Indian, Mexican, Caribbean, Filipino, Thai, and Turkish food, with weekend specials broadening the horizons.
Jaynee Cakes has set up shop in Carmichael’s Milagro Centre, a culinary hot spot that’s also home to Ghiotto Artisan Gelato, Insight Coffee, Fish Face Poke Bar, Mesa Mercado Mexican food, and River City Brewing Co. An expansion of owner Melissa Archuleta’s custom cake business, the bakery showcases towering creations alongside smaller treats, accommodating anyone in the mood for a cupcake, petit four, truffle, or even just a cookie.
Gabriel Aiello has made a home for Burly Beverages on Del Paso Boulevard in North Sacramento. Fans of the craft beverages sold in local shops and online now can stop in and try the local brand’s soda syrups — as well as tart fruit and spice concoctions called shrubs — as they’re meant to be enjoyed, directly from the source. Years in development, the flavors include classic sodas such as root beer, ginger beer, and cream soda, with shrubs combining pineapple and nutmeg, pomegranate and pink peppercorn, grape and clove, and other seasonal blends.
Few things go together as well as a warm beverage and a good read. Just off K Street in Downtown’s M.A.Y. Building, Oblivion Comics & Coffee combines the two in that redevelopment project’s inaugural retail space. Laura Benson and Neil Estaris’ concept won the Downtown Sacramento Foundation’s Calling All Dreamers business competition for 2016. The coffee is sourced from Chocolate Fish and the edibles include artisanal toast.
A former home turned business on K Street next to seafood restaurant Skool in Midtown is set to become a lounge called The Flamingo House. Founders Matt Byrd, Bobby Falcon, and Christian Tolen cite a deep affinity for the neighborhood and combined experience working at local bars as fundamental ingredients of the establishment’s vibe. Their goal is to deliver carefully made cocktails and light fare in a laid-back atmosphere.
Together with restaurateur Clay Nutting, Michelin-starred chef Brad Cecchi has been preparing for a tavern-style establishment called Canon on 34th Street south of Folsom Boulevard. Their Feast pop-up events have been family-style dinners consisting of six dishes representative of the fare planned for their brick-and-mortar location. The restaurant aims to meld a convivial atmosphere with inspiring food and accessible presentation in a combination that lives up to its name.
Owners of Burger Patch, another pop-up venture with potential for an enduring presence, have been working to carve out a niche for meat-free fast food. Their May 13 event benefitting the nonprofit Food Literacy Center drew a crowd eager to try burgers made with Beyond Meat patties, which are crafted to closely resemble the real thing. Shakes, spuds, and chickenless chicken tenders and sandwiches also were available. Danea Horn and her husband, Phillip, vice president of ticket sales for the Sacramento Kings, are looking for a place near the city center where their menu can take root.
Brunch returns under a slightly different umbrella at the former Early Toast on Blue Ravine Road in Folsom, which will become a Mimosa House. The chain also has branches in East Sacramento, Roseville, and El Dorado Hills. Run by the Dedier family, which had a stake in the restaurant’s previous incarnation, Mimosa House makes several variations of its namesake beverage using a sparkling wine developed just for it.
The century-old D.O. Mills bank building on J Street near the new Golden 1 Center has been reimagined as a food court of the ritziest order. Known simply as The Bank, the stately edifice’s accommodations literally go beyond floor-to-ceiling, with a basement taproom and a rooftop garden for private events. The space will feature a number of bars and several restaurants. First dibs for food went to Mama Kim’s, a North Sacramento restaurant and catering business that specializes in upscale Southern-style cuisine with Cajun and Italian variations.
The concessions at the Sacramento International Airport have taken top honors in their class, landing the Airport Council International-North America’s 2017 award for best food and beverage program at a medium-sized airport. SMF’s farm-to-fork concept is represented in local eateries such as Esquire Grill, Jack’s Urban Eats, Dos Coyotes, Burgers & Brew, Cafeteria 15L, Paesanos, Iron Horse Tavern, and Squeeze Inn. The contest drew entries from more than 180 programs across the United States and Canada.
The West Sacramento Urban Farm has launched a business incubator that helps new growers get started with access to land, tools, refrigeration facilities, and contacts within their industry. Operating under the Center For Land-Based Learning, the project has secured funding from Raley’s, Wells Fargo, and the City of West Sacramento. The fruits and vegetables grown fill community-supported agriculture box subscriptions that are picked up at Yolo Brewing Co., where recipients can get special deals on beer.
Have an Offal Day 4 will take place on Aug. 13 at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op. After a year off, the event returns at a new venue but still includes an array of Sacramento’s top chefs producing dishes focusing on offal — the entrails and internal organs of animals, used as food. In years past, dishes have included duck heart sausage, pig colon calamari, and lamb brain samosas. Meant for the adventurous eater, the nose-to-tail event benefits the Food Literacy Center, which educates low-income children on proper nutrition.
Off the Grid has expanded to include a food truck gathering in Davis on the first Wednesday of the month. The new events feature a rotating variety of four trucks open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at University Research Park on Drew Avenue. The move accompanies a change in the company’s event at The Barn in West Sacramento, which now takes place on Saturday nights instead of on Fridays.
Following the success of the Gather events in Oak Park, the Unseen Heroes group is bringing the combination of food, drink, crafts, and activities to Quarry Park in Rocklin every fourth Thursday until October.
The summer’s surge of new restaurants and events is poised to continue. It’s a diner’s market, and the outlook is good.
Frank Dompe is a freelance writer and former McClatchy Co. editor with a longtime interest in cooking and coffee. He lives and works in Sacramento’s Alkali Flat neighborhood.