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.
The rising benchmark of fine dining in Sacramento certainly is admirable, but it’s not always readily accessible. Those in need of a quick but hearty meal can find the prospect of choosing between a white-napkin experience or a grab-and-go sandwich frustrating, and eateries such as Recess Cafe intend to bridge that divide.
Recess takes its name from its home in front of an education administration building at 1102 Q St. in Sacramento, and its hand-drawn lunchbox logo is a great expression of what’s inside: uncomplicated fare with a creative, personal touch. Co-owner Ross Dreizler’s mom makes the soup of the day, and the sandwiches’ spreads and sauces, including a vegan aioli, are made on the premises — fitting, since the other owner’s name is Joe Mayo Jr. Breakfast items at Recess range from a fruit-topped chia pudding made with almond milk to a toasted bagel with cream cheese, tomato, pickled onion, capers, and cold-smoked salmon provided by Sacramento’s Sunh Fish Co. Further illustrating the focus on local ingredients, much of the produce comes from area farmers’ markets, the pastries and other baked goods are from the Greater Sacramento area’s Bella Bru, and the coffee is roasted by Old Soul Co. in Sacramento.
Takata-Ya is bringing a different, laid-back approach to a stylish location barely a block away. Daniel Takata and Jennifer Joo, the husband-and-wife team behind Midtown’s I Love Teriyaki, is expanding its casual Japanese menu to suit the space vacated by Amaro, an ambitious and promising Italian restaurant that faltered after barely a year. Takata-Ya is a major recalibration for the renovated facility alongside R Street’s Warehouse Artist Lofts, but the team behind it is confident that the venture is a good fit for the neighborhood.
The affordable fare includes teriyaki, home-style noodle dishes, ramen, and an expansive sushi list, while the bar has a wide selection of sake, beer, wine, and cocktails blending different sake varieties with mixers such as Ramune, a Japanese soda known by its bottles sealed with marbles. Tentative plans include the possibility of island-style dishes on the horizon, in celebration of Takata’s Hawaiian roots.
Sometimes change means more of the same, and that’s welcome news for patrons of Bacon + Butter, the Tahoe Park brunch sensation where crowds are frequent and positive reviews are strong. Owner Billy Zoellin has taken the first step toward building on that success with a second location at the East Sacramento site recently occupied by Formoli’s Bistro. The recently departed Anthony Bourdain’s dismissal of brunch as “a horrible, cynical way of unloading leftovers” may help explain why Bacon + Butter has won such a following: Its ever-changing menu takes on old favorites and incorporates the best ingredients the region has to offer in novel ways that keep people coming back.
It seems strange to say, but beer might not be the most exciting aspect of The Other Side, the latest full-range taproom by Track 7 Brewing Co. located on Folsom Boulevard in East Sacramento. That’s not to knock the local brewer’s suds, but rather to acknowledge the reputations of those running the kitchen. Executive chef Oliver Ridgeway, formerly of Downtown’s Grange Restaurant & Bar, and head chef Noah Mansfield have combined their collective experiences in designing a menu to meld with Track 7’s beers. Ridgeway’s upcoming Camden Spit & Larder shares The Other Side’s central attraction: rotisserie cooking.
The Other Side
At the taproom, the ovens will turn out chicken, pork and … cauliflower? That’s where the focus shifts to Hook & Ladder alum Mansfield and his experience at Mother, a vegetarian restaurant that’s become a K Street stalwart, with dishes that draw a fair share of carnivores as well. More than 30 items comprise The Other Side’s menu, each a departure from standard pub grub. A sausage sampler from Sacramento’s V. Miller Meats shares the appetizer list with a pickle jar featuring veggies, chiles, and an egg. The cheesecake is infused with malted barley. Vegetarian options abound. Pets are welcome on the patio. What you won’t find are TVs — the owners’ goal was to create a community space that’s welcoming, inclusive, and family friendly.
Named after a song by Sublime that’s a mutual favorite of owners Pearl Spencer and Mark Eister, Badfish Coffee & Tea represents Orangevale with hometown pride. Beans from Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters are brewed alongside teas sourced from Sacramento’s Starwest Botanicals; provisions include pastries, bagels, and toast from Bella Bru and vegan cookies made by the Alternative Baking Co. in Sacramento; and the juices and smoothies are made with regional produce. Plus, the sleek space on Greenback Lane is bedecked with locally created artwork and crafts for sale.
Badfish Coffee & Tea
Edible events and accolades
The Village Feast will be held Sept. 29 in Davis Central Park with a grand aioli-themed banquet in the manner of a Provençal harvest feast. The event is a celebration of the farm-to-fork movement’s roots in sustainability, eschewing disposable dining through a #Whatplate social media campaign. The organizers encourage participants to get creative by sharing images of the dinnerware they’ve chosen to bring. Posts to Instagram and Facebook can be tagged with @Davisfarmtoschool as well as #Davisvillagefeast, and, of course, #Whatplate. The event entirely benefits two area charities: Davis Farm to School children’s programs, which offer field trips to farms, grants for gardens, and support for farm-fresh nutrition and sustainable practices in lunchrooms; and the Sacramento chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, which provides women with scholarships in the fields of food, farming, and wine. For details on tickets, the menu, and more, visit Bit.ly/thevillagefeast.
The Village Feast
On Oct. 6, Sacramento’s third Le Dîner en Blanc will bring more than 1,700 white-clad participants to a venue held in secret until the day of the event. The invitation-only feast began in Paris 30 years ago and now spans six continents, with Sacramento as the exclusive Northern California host city. The dinner maintains several traditions, notably the invitation process. The first tier of guests is drawn from those who attended the previous year. Those guests invite the second tier. The third tier comes from those who apply for the remaining invitations. All are asked to bring — and leave with — everything from their salad to their seats, with the exception of alcoholic beverages. The waitlist can be found at Sacramento.dinerenblanc.com/register for those seeking a chance to attend.
For the second year in a row, Wine Enthusiast magazine has recognized The Firehouse in Old Sacramento as one of the 100 best wine restaurants in America. The publication lauded wine director Mario Ortiz for the decades of effort he’s spent compiling the cellar’s 2,000 selections. In addition to a collection of prized vintages from Europe and California, Wine Enthusiast noted that the choices include bargains discovered in classic growing regions, as well as the efforts made in designing menus that complement the wine vault’s range.
The people who help connect us with the wealth of natural resources in our region continue to find resourceful, resilient, and innovative ways to make life a cause for celebration. As times change, we grow with them, and the effort is invigorating, sustaining, and engaging.
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.