Appetizers
April 30, 2010
Release party tonight for Odonata Beer Co.

Looking for something to sip when the day is done - a.k.a. "beer-thirty?" Drop by The Shack (5201 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento; 916-457-5997) for tonight's release party of Odonata Beer Co.'s Saison. Local hopheads have been looking forward to this beer for months. Odonata's brewmaster is Peter Hoey, former brewmaster of the now-defunct Sacramento Brewing Company, and its new Saison is a Belgian-style ale that touts a floral character and moderate hops. Odonata's events during the recent Sacramento Beer Week were all the buzz, and this refreshing style of "farmhouse" ale will be especially appreciated as the weather warms up.

There's been one snag with this Saison. Bottles won't be ready for a couple of weeks, due to some issues with yeast and carbonation. But the Saison that's stored in kegs is already good to go. The release party runs from 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. today. See you there, with pint in hand.

For more information: www.odonatabeer.com

April 29, 2010
Dave & Busters to open Monday in Roseville

The latest entry to "restaurant row" at the Fountains shopping center is about to launch, with a whole lot of skee ball and burgers, to boot. The new Roseville location of Dave & Busters will open Monday, with doors swinging open at 11:30 a.m. At 17,000 square feet, this Dave & Busters is on the smaller side compared to the chain's 50-something locations around the country. The Dave & Busters in the San Jose area, by comparison, is more than three times the size of this new one in Roseville.

Today was all about wrapping up training for the some 165 staffers, along with media previews and other private events while this Dave & Busters continues in "soft launch" mode up until Monday. The location at 1174 Roseville Parkway can accommodate up to 1,000 patrons in this meeting of comfort food and games. The "Busters" in Dave & Busters could refer to the feeling in your gut after grubbing on the menu items, which features plenty of burgers, steaks and a line-up of "big salads."

More than 200 games are for playing in the adjacent "Million Dollar Midway," from such old-school classics as Space Invaders and Ms. Pac Man, to Guitar Hero and skeeball. Think of it all as Chuck E. Cheese for adults, but minus Mr. Munch and the ability to sip a beer in between rounds of Dance Dance Revolution.

Look for the full scoop in tomorrow's Bee.

April 29, 2010
Mom's day off doesn't have to mean burned toast, bland eggs

Mother's Day is nearing, which means it's time to start thinking about how to show mom she's appreciated.

For many families, the celebration involves food, be it a beautiful brunch spread or delectable dinner.

But if you have children who are eager to help, cooking a meal mom actually wants to eat can be challenging.

Patty Mastracco, Raley's recipe developer and food stylist, offered us some simple recipes and tips for families looking to present mom with a memorable breakfast.

Click the document link to get Mastracco's recipes.Raley's Mom's Day Off Recipes.doc

April 27, 2010
State Fair wine competition seeks more entries

Are you a winery owner with visions of double-gold medals in your head? Get your wine labels and fees together by May 7 and enter the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition. Considered the oldest wine competition in North America, this event drew more than 600 wineries in 2009 and took three days of swirling and spitting to judge the wines.

Ready to see how your juice stacks up against the competition? Go to www.bigfun.org to view the competition handbook or call (916) 263-3159.

April 26, 2010
Class helps "start" beginning sourdough bakers

sbread.jpgThere's something about buying sourdough bread that makes me cringe.

It's not the bread itself - I love the sour flavor and the textural juxtaposition of the crispy exterior and chewy center.

What bothers me is paying about $3 for something I've always wanted to learn to make at home.

So when I read Cammie Winston's e-mail about an upcoming bread baking class, my pulse quickened.

Winston will be leading "Sourdough Bread 101" from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Culinary Kitchen at East Bay Restaurant and Kitchen Supply in Sacramento.

For $75, you'll get your own starter in a glass jar, learn how to take care of it, grow it and make sourdough bread out of it. Participants also will bake a batch of sourdough baguettes during class to bring home.

Call Winston at (916) 956-2466 for reservations.

Other classes coming in May and June include Mother's Day cupcakes, Parisian macaroons, "A Sourdough Breakfast," Fourth of July cookies and artisan pizza.

If you're interested in baking sourdough bread but don't have $75 to plunk down, check out this step-by-step post from Blair Robertson, the Bee's dining critic and resident bread baker.

April 23, 2010
Undercover Caterer makes Korean BBQ taco truck tacos

Anyone can drive around the second largest city in North America, tweet a location, and then have hundreds of rabid epicures form a line for Korean BBQ tacos. Delicious, sure. But hardly green. OK, I hope that doesn't sound too envious of cities like LA, SF and Portland, where street food is thriving.

Inspired by the Twitter/Korean taco truck sensation in LA, Sarah Singleton, aka the Undercover Caterer, is doing pretty much the same thing -- but without the fumes that drive Al Gore crazy. Read about her quest for "Faux-gi Korean BBQ Tacos-Without the Truck" here, drool over the pictures, get the recipe, and when you get to the bottom, be sure to enter the contest for a free book. If you're lucky, you'll finish second -- to me!

Stay tuned for the car wash I plan to organize so we can get Sarah an exhaust hood for her 60-year-old house.

You may get the impression UC is not so keen on the restrictive laws Sacramento has regarding food trucks and carts. I'm with her. On a more serious note, if Sacramento wants to get to the next level as a food town, it needs to be more inclusive and offer more opportunity to fledgling businesses, not less. Food trucks, and food carts -- from simple fare to gourmet -- bring more life to our streets, offer more opportunities to folks looking for a meal and give the city a chance to be a more exciting place.

As someone who likes to walk and ride all over Sacramento, I would welcome the chance for greater diversity of choices. For now, I'm going to give Sarah's recipe a shot sometime soon.

April 23, 2010
From Roxy to Italy, following his passion for food and wine

Andy Ramsay, the floor manager at Roxy Restaurant on Fair Oaks Boulevard, is about to leave for what shapes up to be the culinary adventure of a lifetime.

He has been accepted into the masters program at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in the small town of Bra in northern, Italy, which happens to be home of the official headquarters of the Slow Food Movement. In fact, Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food Movement, founded the university in 2004.

"I think the world of Andy," said Terri Gilliland, who co-owns Roxy with her husband Ron. "To me, he is one of those rarities of his generation in this business in that he is completely motivated by passion. He loves food and wine and is making the study of both a life pursuit


"His leaving is bittersweet in that I will miss him greatly but also couldn't be happier for him with this upcoming incredible opportunity to actually see, experience, taste and study the food of Italy."

The academic odyssey is a long way from the days when Ramsay was a student at UCLA - studying writing, of all things. Sometimes you go to school for one thing and figure out while you're there that it's another thing altogether.

"When I was doing my writing degree, I fell in love with food and hosting parties," he told me.

It didn't hurt that his mother is Italian.

"She kind of had the host gene. I think I got that from her. I just ran with it in college. It got to the point where I cared way more about the next party I was going to throw or recipe I was going to try," he said.

Between his junior and senior year, Ramsay landed a job at a Bay Area restaurant, knowing he wanted to do something with food but having very little on his resume to show for it.

"The only real plan was to work in a restaurant because I had never done that before. The chef took a chance on me. I felt like I was a very competent at-home cook, but very little of that translated into a commercial restaurant."

Ramsay finished his course work at UCLA in 2007. Prior to landing a job at Roxy, he went the corporate route to gain experience.

That may surprise some readers. But several successful restaurant employees have told me that working at a chain drilled into them all the fundamentals.

"On the advice of a family friend, he said the best thing for me to do would be to work for a corporate restaurant chain. Those corporate places have really strong systems in place; whereas mom and pop places rely on workers who don't need the systems because they have so much experience."

He worked for the Houston's Restaurant Group in Century City. It was during that stint that he got the idea to go to Italy and pursue a culinary education.

"It's something I want to pursue to the fullest. My goal is to have my own restaurant someday (in Los Angeles)," he said.

In 2008, Ramsay landed a job as floor manager at Roxy. In his spare time, he kept close tabs on what other places were doing. He focused on low-end places selling tacos and tamales and high-end places that prepare gourmet cuisine and have impeccable service. The middle? He doesn't think there's a lot there worth learning.

In late May, he will embark on a 12-month program in Italy, where courses are available in Italian or English. Ramsay knows some Italian and is pretty good with Spanish. The curriculum includes eight weeks of study while traveling.

Anyone interested in doing something similar should start saving up. Ramsay says tuition, travel and eight weeks of an internship will cost about $30,000.


April 23, 2010
UC Davis profs say Americans' sodium intake not excessive

Two UC Davis nutrition experts disagree with an official report released this week about American salt consumption.

The Institute of Medicine issued a report this week claiming that American consume too much salt and urged new government standards for sodium content in food.

But Judith Stern, a professor of nutrition and internal medicine, and David McCarron, an adjunct nutrition professor, published a study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology that points to the contrary, according to the UC Davis news service.

They examined data from sodium intake studies and neuroscience research on the behaviors that drive people to consume salt and found evidence that humans naturally regulate their salt consumption within a narrow physiological range and that Americans' average salt intake falls within that range.

Stern and McCarron also suggest that government-led attempts to control salt "are simplistic, misguided and not based in science," the news release states.

The researchers advise people at special risk for high blood pressure and related diseases consult their doctor for nutritional advice, including appropriate salt intake levels.

Click here to read Stern and McCarron's study.

April 23, 2010
Hank Shaw nabs culinary award for food blog

Local food blogger Hank Shaw has a few reasons to celebrate today.

Shaw won an International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) award for best blog Thursday night at the organization's conference in Portland.

And in a little more than a week, he'll know whether he's coming home to Orangevale with a James Beard Foundation award for "Hunter Angler Gardener Cook."

Shaw said the IACP award took him by surprise because, well, he wasn't expecting to win.

"I had psyched myself up so hard to lose that thing that I was successful at not even thinking about the award until about an hour beforehand," he said in a phone interview from Portland.

Shaw was up against SF Weekly's John Birdsall, who writes "Sfoodie," and "Eating ...Our Words" by Robb Walsh, a Houston Press writer and legend in Texas food circles.

"I was a little shocked," he said.

In Shaw's pocket Thursday night were little stones his mother, who is very religious, had given him. The stones symbolize the ones that David slew Goliath with in the Bible.

"You can damn well be sure I'll be carrying them in a week," he said. Shaw's blog was nominated for a Beard award last year, but lost to Sunset magazine's food blog, "One-block Diet."

Shaw also is working on his first cookbook, "Honest Food: Finding the Forgotten Feast," which is being published by Rodale Books in 2011.

April 21, 2010
Shady Lady, Torch Club and more added to Midtown Cocktail Week

The second annual Midtown Cocktail Week is set for Aug. 9 - Aug. 15, and we've got some scoop on this year's participating venues. This year's edition will feature some new watering holes and restaurants in this celebration of local cocktail culture, including Shady Lady, Ella Dining Room and Bar, Golden Bear, deVere's Irish Pub, Scandal Bar at the Citizen Hotel and the Torch Club.

However, a few participants from last year won't be in the mix this year. Mulvaney's B&L, Ink and Paragary's Bar and Oven are all passing this time around on Midtown Cocktail Week.

The lineup of events is still taking shape, but here's what you and your cocktail glass can expect come August:

- Opening bash at L Wine Lounge and Urban Kitchen, titled "the art of drinking well: from aperitif to digestif."

- Five stations of cocktail tastings at Ella, with appetizers.

- Whiskeys of the world at deVere's, with an afterparty at the Shady Lady.

- Tasting of Oaxacan mezcal at Zocalo.

- Prix fixe cocktail flights at the Citizen Hotel's Scandal bar.

- Closing night party at the Torch Club, featuring a prohibition-era dance and cocktails from the era.

Also, plan on cocktail making classes and seminars for local bartenders with topics including tools and techniques, competition tips and ingredients.

You might also notice that "midtown" is defined very broadly for this year's cocktail week, with a chunk of venues existing on the downtown section of the grid. This has led to some politics going on behind the scenes, but organizers are still hopeful that the Sacramento masses will be ready to fill their cocktail glasses.

"I think midtown is really cool and we want to bring attention to it, but we won't change name," said Joe Anthony Savala, co-founder of Midtown Cocktail Week. "That topic got kind of hot in the beginning. Last year was still pretty well attended. A lot of places couldn't make the drinks fast enough."

Information: www.midtowncocktailweek.org (under construction)

April 21, 2010
New license plates promote ag, help fund programs

Agricultural enthusiasts take note - special interest license plates promoting the state's farms could begin appearing on vehicles by next year.

The plates feature "California" in script across the top and "AGRICULTURE" on the bottom, along with an image of green field rows and trees beset by vibrant sunshine to the left of the license plate number.

Orders are being taken for the specialized plates, which initially cost $50 for a sequentially numbered plate, then $40 per year to renew. Personalized plates run $98 initially and $78 per year to renew, according to the state Department of Food and Agriculture's website.

Money collected from sales benefits agricultural programs statewide, including youth leadership development, career awareness and training.

The DMV will begin issuing the plates once 7,500 have been ordered, the California Farm Bureau Federation reports.

A portion of the agriculture license plate cost and renewal fee is considered a charitable contribution and is tax deductible.

Click here to go to the ordering site or to download the form.calagplate_order_form.pdf

April 20, 2010
Red Lotus opens at former G.V. Hurley's

LS RED LOTUS 3.JPG


Billy Ngo, the sushi chef and owner of Kru, was profiled recently in the Bee's Food & Wine section as he readied to open his latest venture. Ngo' new restaurant, Red Lotus, has finally opened at the former G.V. Hurley's at 2718 J St. in midtown. We say "finally" because Ngo's been trying to open Red Lotus since fall of 2009, but held up in red tape for the liquor license.

That liquor license has yet to arrive at Red Lotus, but Ngo expects this to be resolved within the next two weeks. So for the time being, Red Lotus is serving food and non-alcoholic drinks until their paperwork gets completed.

We dropped by on Saturday night to check out Red Lotus in "soft opening" mode. There was no signage yet outside, and patrons filtered in slowly but steadily throughout the evening. Ngo's using this time to fine tune the menu and coordination in the kitchen before the crunch of its upcoming grand opening.

And how much a beer will hit the spot. Red Lotus' menu of Chinese and Asian small plates features plenty of spicy touches, from its kung pao chicken wings ($6.50) to seared Wagyu beef placed over hot mustard ($15). The long beans with XO sauce ($7), a spicy sauce generally used with Cantonese seafood dishes, also carried a nice kick.

Fans of Ngo's cooking at Kru will certainly want to check Red Lotus. We liked that no menu item cost more than $15, yet the dishes didn't skimp on savory and spicy flavors. There's also a sense of fun in the execution. A dessert order of donuts with condensed milk and jackfruit ($5) were presented in a Chinese to-go box that was laid sideways, as if the donuts were spilling out of the container.

Ngo meanwhile looked a little anxious, surveying the room and huddling with kitchen staff.

"I'm excited and happy," said Ngo. "I'm a little nervous about the reaction to the food, but I've been getting good feedback from people so far. Some people have come in but left because there's no alcohol, but everything's still going good. We'll see how the turnout is tonight."


April 20, 2010
Hold the popcorn, host a potluck: "Food, Inc." on PBS this week

In case you missed it in theaters and it hasn't yet cycled to the top of your Netflix queue, "Food, Inc." is scheduled to air Wednesday night on KVIE.

The Oscar-nominated documentary is being presented as part of PBS' POV (Point of View) series, which also has launched discussions boards and a giveaway for viewers.

PBS' POV series also is urging viewers to host "Food, Inc." potluck parties featuring sustainable foods and has tips and recipes on its website. Food, Inc., directed by Robert Kenner, examines the nation's food industry and the corporate culture surrounding it.

But unless you like late-night food feasts (doesn't that mess with the ol' metabolism?), Sacramento viewers may want to DVR the documentary ‑ POV doesn't air until 10 p.m. Wednesday on KVIE.

Viewers also can watch "Food, Inc." from Thursday through April 29 on POV's Web site.

A potluck is a little more work than ordering a pizza and chicken wings, but it's probably a wise suggestion given the documentary's eye-opening perspective on what we eat and how it's produced.

New York Times writer Manohla Dargis described "Food, Inc." as an "often infuriating activist documentary about the big business of feeding or, more to the political point, force-feeding, Americans all the junk that multinational corporate money can buy. You'll shudder, shake and just possibly lose your genetically modified lunch."

To enter POV's gift basket giveaway for potluck enthusiasts, check out POV's website. There are 60 chances to win. Freebies include autographed books, DVDs and sustainable teas and coffees.

Check out Bee writer Carlos Alcala's April 14 story about the region's love of potlucks, as well as a handy potluck primer.

April 16, 2010
Farmers market coming to Oak Park

Looking for some fresh fruits and veggies? Think about heading to "the P" starting next month. A farmers market is coming to the corner of Broadway and 35th St., an area that we know as Oak Park. The market is set to run Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from May 15 to Oct. 16. The farmers market, which received a $20,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente, is being run by the non-profit NeighborWorks HomeOwnership Center. The market will also accept electronic food stamp cards in its efforts to bring fresh produce and goods to this part of town. Plans also call for live music, and organizers are looking to recruit bands. If you're interested in being part of the entertainment, or just want more info., visit this link.

April 15, 2010
Sipping wine for college credit

That's right, you'll need to sip from a wine glass to pass a particular class at Sacramento State. You can earn one unit by passing "California Wine Tourism," which will be held weekly on campus at Solano Hall. The course covers such aspects of the wine tourism industry as marketing, retail and economic impact. The "field research" sounds especially fun. Students are required to take four field trips to wineries as a class, and one on their own.

Enrollment for this class is capped at 20 students. To check out the syllabus, reading notes and more information, visit this link to the course.

Thanks for paying attention ... class is dismissed!

April 14, 2010
Roseville cook falls short of Pillsbury grand prize glory

evelynapron.jpgEvelyn Henderson won't be coming home a millionaire.

Henderson, of Roseville, was among four cooks vying for the Pillsbury Bake-Off's $1 million grand prize, but in the end, the judge's favorite was Sue Compton's mini ice cream cookie cups.

Compton's big win was announced live this morning on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." The New Jersey cook's recipe had snagged the "Sweet Treats" category of the Bake-Off.

Other category winners were Henderson, who won the "Entertaining Appetizers" category for her salmon pecan-crusted tartlets, Kellie White, of St. Louis, Mo. for her zesty lime-fish tacos, and Niki Plourde for tomato-basil eggs alfredo in bread baskets.

The four category winners had emerged from a pool of 100 finalists, who competed Monday in the Bake-off, held in Orlando, Fla. The quartet of winning cooks were flown to Chicago for the Oprah show late Monday night.

Henderson won't come home empty-handed however. Her category prize includes $5,000 and a new GE Profile Induction Free-Standing Range.

Click here to get Henderson's tartlet recipe.

April 13, 2010
Celebrity Chef Challenge coming April 30

Which local chef has the knife skills to pay the bills? We'll find out April 30th as the grill heats up at the 8th Annual Celebrity Chef Challenge. The setting of this "Iron Chef" style competition will be the California Automobile Museum (2200 Front Street, Sacramento) - though in a culinary battle like this, we'd like to see it held in a steel octagon cage suspended over a ring. Each chef will have 45 mins. and five ingredients to wow a judging panel with three dishes.

The celebrity chefs in this foodie grudge match are:

Ryan O'Malley (Piatti Ristorante)
Russell Michel (Morgan's Central Valley Bistro at the Sheraton Grand)
Anthony Dimasuay (3 Fires Lounge in Residence Inn by Marriott)
Kristy DeVaney (www.Cakegrrl.com)
Chef Q (Chef Q for Hire)
Teresa Urkofsky (American River College Culinary Arts Program)

Along with this chef's challenge, samples of food and drink will be available from 100 vendors. Tickets cost $50 advance, $60 at the door. For more information: www.chefevent.com.

April 12, 2010
Roseville woman wins Pillsbury category, shot at $1 million

henderson.jpgRoseville home cook Evelyn Henderson's odds at winning $1 million just jumped to one in four.

Henderson won the "Entertaining Appetizers" category of the Pillsbury Bake-off today in Orlando, Fla., contest officials announced this evening.

Henderson's salmon pecan-crusted tartlets beat out 19 other entries for the category and nabbed her a $5,000 cash prize, a new GE Profile(tm) Induction Free-Standing Range and a shot at the $1 million grand prize.

Henderson and the winners of the "Breakfast & Brunches," "Dinner Made Easy" and "Sweet Treats" categories are being flown tonight to Chicago, where for the first time in the contest's 60-year history, the grand prize winner will be announced live on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

Check tomorrow's Sacramento Bee for continued coverage of Henderson's win.

Evelyn's winning recipe: Salmon Pecan-Crusted Tartlets

April 12, 2010
Tax Day deals at local eateries

You can now count on three things in life: death, taxes - and food deals on Tax Day. Check out these deals on April 15, perhaps for a post-snack run from the post office or H&R Block:

Taco del Mar
(1120 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento) will offer a free taco on April 15. Here's the catch you have to visit www.tacodelmar.com and sign up to receive a coupon.

If you have a hankering for something besides Mexican food, P.F. Chang's will be offering a 15 percent dining discount on April 15. No forms to fill out for this one, which most of us can appreciate this week. Here's the fine print: the discount does not include alcoholic beverages. For more info.: www.pfchangs.com.

April 9, 2010
Tool fans, wine lovers take note: "Blood Into Wine" coming to Crest Theatre

maynardericronnewkirk.JPG

We've seen plenty of musician types releasing their own wines, from Bob Dylan to the Latin lothario known as Luis Miguel. But few take their wine as seriously as Maynard James Keenan, lead singer for the hard rock band Tool.

The enigmatic Tool frontman is said to have an epic cellar - we're talking two complete verticals of Penfolds Grange magnums - but he's also a vintner behind two wine labels: Arizona Stronghold Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars/ Merkin Vineyards. Beyond just slapping his name on a bottle, Keenan oversees his own vineyards in Arizona with winemaker Eric Glomski (that's Glomski on the right in the above picture).

The two are now the focus of a documentary titled "Blood Into Wine," which will be screened on June 10 at the Crest Theatre. We'll keep you updated with the show time and ticket info. as it comes along. In the meantime, check out a trailer of the film at: www.bloodintowine.com.

See you down in Arizona Bay ...

April 9, 2010
Roseville grandmother heading to Pillsbury Bake-Off
Salmon pecan tartlets.jpg

Evelyn Henderson isn't likely to forget how to make her recipe for salmon pecan-crusted tartlets.

In recent months, the Roseville grandmother has made 50 dozen batches of the appetizers for various family gatherings, weddings and bridal showers.

Come Monday morning, she'll make yet another.

But this time, judges will be eating her tartlets (picture at left courtesy of the Pillsbury Bake-Off). Henderson's recipe, you see, has landed her a coveted spot in this year's Pillsbury Bake-Off, arguably the most popular and esteemed competitions among home cooks.

"I think I can make them in my sleep now," she said.

Henderson will be among 100 contestants competing in Orlando, Fla. in the Bake-Off. The categories are "Breakfast & Brunches," "Entertaining Appetizers," "Dinner Made Easy" and "Sweet Treats."

Follow the link below to read more about Henderson and get her recipe.

April 7, 2010
New stores, free yogurt for Pinkberry fans

Coconut.JPGLife is about to get a little tangier.

Pinkberry, the frozen yogurt chain with a devoted following of fans, is finally making its debut in the Sacramento region this week with the opening of its store in the Howe "Bout Arden shopping center.

The store is the first of six to open in the region, with future locations planned for Elk Grove, Citrus Heights, Davis, Fair Oaks and Folsom, said a company spokesperson.

Pinkberry will be giving away mini-size free yogurt from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday during a sneak preview at the new Sacramento store at 2100 Arden Way. The store officially opens Friday.

April 6, 2010
Chomp on these upcoming food/wine events

Friday: The courtyard opens at the Firehouse in Old Sacramento (1112 Second St., Sacramento) and will commemorate the outdoor dining season with a special lunch deal: buy a lunch entree and receive a 375 ml bottle of Row Eleven pinot noir for 11 cents. The bottle can be popped for lunch, or taken home as a parting gift. Reservation required: (916) 442-4772 or www.firehouseoldsac.com.

April 12: Evan's Kitchen (855 57th St., Sacramento) hosts a "farm-fresh organic wine dinner" featuring vino from Frog's Tooth Vineyards. Four courses, plus dessert, including asparagus and artichoke heart soup, Petaluma chicken breast, beef brochettes and more. $65 per person. For reservations: (916) 452-3896.

April 17-18: Amador Foothill Winery (12500 Steiner Road, Plymouth) celebrates its 30th open house weekend. Meet proprietors Ben Zeitman and Katie Quinn, sample their wine and hear tunes from Bayou Boys Back Porch Band. 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Information: (800) 778-9463.

April 20: Get a taste of the central coast in the Paso Robles Wine Country 2010 Grand Tasting Tour, to be held at the Grand Ballroom (629 J St., Sacramento). Over 30 wineries will be pouring their wares, along with appetizers for snacking. $45 in advance, $55 at the door. Information: www.pasowine.com.

April 1, 2010
More corkage deals

My "Wine Buzz" column on Wednesday gave a rundown of corkage deals around the Sacramento area, and asked readers to chime in with more deals.

Before we get to those, let's make a quick clarification for the corkage deal at 58 Degrees & Holding Co. (1217 18th St., Sacramento; 916-442-5858). Corkage is waived on Sundays, but only for bottles purchased at 58 Degrees' wine shop (a $15 bargain). All outside bottles will still set you back $25 for corkage.

Now, on to more deals. We still haven't found anywhere locally besides Bandera and Iron Steaks that offers free corkage every day. But, we've heard from some local restaurants that want to spread the word about their corkage deals and other wine specials:

Piatti Ristorante and Bar (571 Pavilions Lane, Sacramento; 916-649-8885) waives corkage if you also purchase a bottle from their wine list. Wednesdays also feature half-price deals on select wines.

Evan's Kitchen (855 57th St., Sacramento; 916-452-3896) charges $10 corkage (which is about half the price of the typical corkage) with a $50 maximum.

Brick House Restaurant (9027 Elk Grove Blvd., Elk Grove; 916-714-0840) offers $10 corkage daily, and no limit to the amount of bottles.

Got any more tips on corkage bargains? Let's hear 'em ...



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