November 30, 2010
New Panera Bread to offer free samples during drive-thru event

By Niesha Lofing

Panera Bread is opening its first West Coast drive-thru in Citrus Heights and is celebrating by offering free samples Monday.

The Sunrise Marketplace location doesn't officially open until 6 a.m. Tuesday, but the bakery-cafe is hosting the sneak peak from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday.

Free tastes seasonal treats, including steak chili with cornbread, peppermint hot chocolate and mint crinkle cookies, will be passed out during the drive-thru event, a company news release states.

The location at 7901 Greenback Lane is the 100th Panera Bread to open in California and the first drive-thru to open on the West Coast.

The menu features an array of paninis, salads, soups, bread, bagels, pastries, smoothies and the restaurant also is equipped with free WiFi for customers, the release states.

November 30, 2010
Wine tasting with race car driver Scott Pruett

By Chris Macias

Scott Pruett's known for speeding around the track on the NASCAR and Grand-Am circuits, but the Auburn resident also has a taste for wine. This year Pruett released the first vintage of his Pruett Vineyard wine, and you can get a taste of it on Wednesday at Carpe Vino in Auburn (1568 Lincoln Way, Auburn; 530-823-0320). They'll be pouring the 2008 Lucky Lauren Section 8, a red blend from the Sierra Foothills, and 2009 Pruett Grenache. The tasting costs $20, $10 for Carpe Vino wine club members.

Call The Bee's Chris Macias, (916) 321-1253.

November 30, 2010
The best food-related blogs? Check out this 'top 25'

By Allen Pierleoni

When it comes to the vast world of food and drink, everybody has opinions. Some are worth more than others, of course, so sifting through all those online food-related blog sites to find the truffles can be a tiring task.

That's where the all-things-food Web site enters the kitchen. Its motto: "All the food that's fit to eat." The site's editorial director, Colman Andrews, explains: "There's an endless menu of food blogs out there, full of recipes, reviews, photography and more, with new ones added to the mix every day. Even the most enthusiastic food-lover can't devour them all, so we've chosen the 25 best for your consumption."

Well, that's his opinion, but the list looks good to us. For an up-close slide show of the sites, go to The Daily Meal site and click on "25 Top Food Blogs."

To get things started, here's the Meal's top three picks for best food blogs:, described as "a family-oriented home-cooking blog focusing on recipes that use whole food and seasonal ingredients." "A website that celebrates and shares food enthusiasm through blogs and online community." "An ongoing story about a spoiled city girl turned domestic country wife."

Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1128.

November 29, 2010
Quick holiday deals on wine, sandwiches

By Chris Macias

Happy Cyber Monday, and if you're looking to share the gift of wine here's a deal to consider. is offering $60 worth of wine for only $30 - a.k.a. a 50 percent savings. But you have to act fast to claim this discount. The first step is to sign up with Living Social, which offers daily deals sent to your e-mail or smart phone. Each offer is good for only one day, so you have just over 17 hours to get this 50 percent discount from

And for those of you looking for a deal from a brick-and-mortar business, swing by The Market at Pavilions (515 Pavilions Lane, Sacramento) for $5 sandwiches today and all following Mondays. That's when the store celebrates "customer appreciation day" and you can score $5 on all sandwiches including their "Mendocino Masterpiece" (Smoked turkey, Lappi cheese, Mendocino mustard) and the "Mexicali" (turkey, hot pepper cheese, salsa guacamole).

Call The Bee's Chris Macias, (916) 321-1253.

November 29, 2010
Local coffee company launches new site, free holiday shipping

RB Lincoln Coffee 6.JPGBy Niesha Lofing

A Lincoln-based gourmet coffee company is launching a newly redesigned website and is offering free shipping on holiday orders beginning Tuesday.

The Rogers Family Company, an international roaster of organic "fairly traded" and direct trade coffee, retooled its e-commerce site,, which now includes easier access to coffee and tea products, promotional opportunities, a loyalty rewards program and more information about the company's core values, according to a company news release.

The site also is offering free UPS ground shipping on all orders from Tuesday through Dec. 13.

The new site better details the company's dedication to only sourcing its products from farms that will work with Rogers Family Company to ensure workers are treated fairly and nature is protected, Vice President Jim Rogers stated in the release. Rogers is shown at left smelling a coffee sample in the company's cupping room in Lincoln.

The site includes photos and video of modern coffee farms using organic methods to grow coffee worldwide.

"We feel the new website better describes our company's unique and innovative approach to breaking the cycle of poverty in coffee communities throughout the world through our Community Aid program and 'fair direct trade' coffee sourcing approach," he said.

The redesigned site is the counterpart to the company's primary site,

November 29, 2010
Recipes using peanut butter could be worth a kitchen makeover

By Allen Pierleoni

For decades, peanut butter has been a staple in kitchen cupboards and in lunch boxes everywhere. We take it for granted (unless we're allergic), but now's the time to take a second look. Your original recipe that uses the gooey stuff as an ingredient could win you a $10,000 kitchen makeover.

That's what the makers of Jif peanut butter are offering. They put it this way: "We are asking home cooks to share the innovative ways they're incorporating peanut butter into their holiday spreads at gatherings of friends and family. (Enter) the Jif Holiday Spread Recipe Contest for a chance to win one of two $10,000 prizes for a kitchen makeover."

There will be one grand-prize winner in each of two recipe categories: savory and sweet.

To enter, and to read the rules, go to The deadline is Jan. 17.

Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1128.

November 26, 2010
Ideas, recipes for your leftover feast

turkey.jpgBy Niesha Lofing

It's the day after Thanksgiving - do you know where your leftovers are?

And perhaps more importantly, how you're going to prepare them?

While reporting our Thanksgiving food stories, I came across these handy tips for holiday leftovers.

Blue plate specials: If you're a traditionalist and simply want a replay of that fabulous meal you slaved over, Food Network's Melissa d'Arabian advises folks to make their plate and then cover it with a moist paper towel, which will help leftovers taste fresher.

"The trick there, and this is my Grandmother's, is to heat everything up and the last 30 seconds, toss on the turkey," d'Arabian said in an interview from her New York home last week.

For more of d'Arabian's ideas on how to reinvent leftovers, check out my story from this week's Food & Wine section.

Cold weather = hot soup: Don't throw that turkey carcass away. Use it to make the base for soup, suggested Christine Bruhn, director of the Center for Consumer Research and a food safety expert at UC Davis.

Cut all the meat up and boil the carcass down, making a delicious broth that can be used for turkey soup or as the base for a rich, heart split pea. Just add carrots, onions, ham hocks and split peas.

"It's wonderful for cold weather and turkey stock has such wonderful background flavor," she said

Appetizing appetizers: Home cook Valerie Reynoso Piotrowski, of El Dorado Hills, loves using her leftovers to make little appetizers in the days that follow Thanksgiving. She uses Pillsbury Crescent Roll dough, and rolls out squares large enough to hold a small dollop each of stuffing, peas, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. Then she wraps them up like little bundles, brushes them with melted butter and bakes them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

"Fabulous!" she said.

November 24, 2010
Where did the wild turkeys go?

By Chris Macias

Norm Gold's cycled the American River Bike Trail regularly for the past 20 years, and always has a question when the holiday season rolls around. Where did all the wild turkeys go?

He usually notices the turkeys in flocks of six to 20, mingling among the squirrels, deer, quail and other animals that habitate near the American River. But once Thanksgiving approaches, it seems all that gobbling just goes away.

"My biking buddies and I joke that the turkeys have gone into hiding because people are looking for them," said Gold, an education consultant from east Sacramento. "But it's clear they're just not around. They show up after the holidays and I see them again maybe around February."

According to the California Department of Fish and Game, wild turkeys can be found in 18 percent of the state. Hunting them is allowed with a hunting license and upland game bird stamp, with a limit of one turkey during the fall hunting season.

However, folks rarely flock to the American River Bike Trail to illegally bag a Thanksgiving turkey. Wild tukey hunting is not permitted on the American River Parkway.

"We haven't had issues with that," said Ryan Pocan, a park ranger assistant with the Sacramento County Department of Regional Parks. "We notice them a lot on the American River Parkway and they stay in the same area pretty much all year round."

You'll also find plenty of wild turkeys throughout the year at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, located on the American River Parkway. So, the turkeys haven't been captured or completely ditched the bike trail. The turkeys just tend to scatter more this time of year to look for new food sources.

"What they're eating now is fresh green growth that's sprouting after the rain," said Brena Seck, a naturalist with the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. "There's so much of that green growth now that they just spread out. We see the turkeys every day. You can be reassured they don't dissapear. They're just eating somewhere else this time of the year, but they didn't go far."

That news makes Gold feel relieved for the turkeys.

"It is reassuring to know that they're not being poached and there's nothing nefarious going on," said Gold. "I guess the American River Parkway is a safe place to be a turkey."

Call The Bee's Chris Macias, (916) 321-1253.

November 24, 2010
Inaugural Napa Truffle Festival will be an ode to the unique

By Allen Pierleoni

A truffle is a wonderful thing, its fragrance unlike any other food in nature, its flavor unique.

Truffles are rare - thus, costly, ranging from $1,800 to $2,000 a pound. Black truffles are harvested mostly in France, white truffles in Italy. They are the fruit of a specific type of wild fungus, and grow underground among the roots of certain kinds of oak and hazelnut trees. Gastronomes call them "the diamonds of the kitchen."

That said, you may want to plan for the inaugural Napa Truffle Festival, Dec. 10-12 at the Westin Verasa Hotel in Napa, its in-house restaurant La Toque, and at a few select restaurants nearby.

Involved will be lectures on the cutting-edge advancements in truffle cultivation, demonstrations, an epicurean marketplace, wine-tastings, food-and-wine-pairing seminars, brunches and lunches. The pièce de résistance will be a truffle-heavy seven-course dinner at La Toque, prepared by six restaurant chefs who between them own 13 Michelin stars.

A couple of items on the dinner menu caught our eye: duck pot au feu in black truffle nage, and Monterey Bay spot prawns with black truffles.

The festival is sponsored by the American Truffle Co. of San Francisco (

For tickets and more information: (707) 256-3200,

Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1128.

November 24, 2010
Versatile Sandwich Thins enter the sandwich-making world

By Allen Pierleoni

What's the newest star in the universe of sandwich-making? Could be Sandwich Thins from Arnold and Oroweat, in nine-grain and whole wheat flax and fiber varieties. Check it: 100 calories per roll, no artificial anything. A bag of eight rolls goes for $3.29 at area supermarkets.

We experimented with a couple of bags of the rolls and found they make good substitutes for English muffins, they toast up nicely, add interest to grilled-cheese sandwiches, and hold up to juice-oozing burgers and piles of condiments. Plus, they're full of fiber and flavor.

We handed out a batch for an informal tasting. Comments included these:

- These bread rounds have a good, dense texture with a nutty flavor. I like making sandwiches with them because the ratio of condiments to bread is high. Even a single piece of Swiss cheese with a dab of mayo and mustard didn't get lost. Two thumbs up.

- I loved the sweet flavor and the bonus of all that fiber. I stacked mine with rare roast beef and cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato and horseradish. Yum!

- For breakfast, I toasted mine, smeared on blueberry preserves and put it on a plate with scrambled eggs and country sausage. It was quite satisfying.

More information is at

Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1128.

November 23, 2010
Time to brine that turkey


By Chris Macias

Judging by the lines at the grocery store, we can tell that Turkey Time is coming soon. And if you're looking to add an extra dimension of flavor and moisture to your Thanksgiving bird, it will soon be time to brine that turkey as well.

Here's a recipe "Appetizers" just received from Pajo Bruich, a local boutique caterer and private chef known for his dinner series with Anani Lawson, the former French Laundry sommelier who's now at Per Se in New York City. Bruich says the sugar in the brine will help enhance the turkey's browning, and produce meat with overtones of herbs, apple and a touch of underlying sweetness. Serve with a glass of rosé or perhaps a pinot noir, and your tastebuds will be saying "thanks" as well.

Turkey Brine

32 cups ice water (2 gallons)
2 cups kosher salt
1 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar
4 cup apple cider
24 bay leaves
2 bunch thyme
2 bunch sage, chopped
1/2 cup Tablespoons black peppercorns
4 green apple diced
6 cinnamon sticks
4 tablespoon candied ginger
zest and juice of 4 meyer lemon

Method: Bring 4 cups of water and one cup of cider to a boil with all other ingredients, except apples. Once sugar and salt is dissolved, pour the hot mix into a clean large pot, large enough to hold the turkey and the liquid. Add the remaining ice water, cider and apples and mix well. Make sure this is ice cold, then add the bird, making sure it is covered completely, and brine in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, up to 24 hours. (You may have to put a pan on top pf the bird to keep him submersed.)

I find the above trick with ice water is the way to instant brining and not having to cool overnight prior to using.

After 12 hours, rinse the bird well, truss the bird and you are ready to bake as you normally would!

November 23, 2010
Calling all bakers: Do you cookie swap?

Do you cookie swap?

For the uninitiated, a cookie swap is an event where home bakers get together and each bakes a specified amount of cookies (usually several dozen), then get to trade cookies with each other, thus leaving with a diversified array of cookies.

The tradition is even more popular during the holidays, when people can attend and swap and then use the cookies they take home as gifts for coworkers, family and friends.

The Bee's Niesha Lofing is looking for local cookie swappers to share their success stories or frustrations. E-mail her at or call (916) 321-1270. Be sure to include your name, city of residence and a phone number where you can be reached.

Happy holidays!

November 22, 2010
Breakfast back at OneSpeed

By Chris Macias

After going on hiatus in July, breakfast has returned to OneSpeed (4818 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento; 916-706-1748) in east Sacramento. But take note that it's only being served on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Look for such breakfast items as breakfast calzones, Belgian waffles and mimosas. Pizza and beer will then be served from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays, followed by a full dinner menu.

In other OneSpeed news, drop by weekly for "Beer Wednesdays" for special features on suds. This Wednesday will feature Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas, which true to the name is brewed with brown sugar and reaches a nearly 10 percent alcohol level.

For more information:

November 22, 2010
Live chat: How to survive the holidays
November 22, 2010
Help is here! Bee live chat on holiday survival today

Thanksgiving is just three days away and for many of us, that means plotting, planning and, in some cases, panicking.

Never fear, The Bee's holiday experts are here!

We're hosting a live chat at noon today on all things Thanksgiving, from cooking that holiday meal to dinner conversation ideas.

The Bee's Niesha Lofing, food and family writer and author of Mom.Me, a parenting column, and Debbie Arrington, Home & Garden guru and food writer, will host the chat. Jessica Williams, a chef instructor at Le Cordon Bleu in Sacramento and Jodie Chavious, a pastry chef at Taylor's Restaurant and Market in Sacramento, also will be on hand to answer questions. Sacramento Connect blogger Ann Silberman, who writes "Breast Cancer? But Doctor....I hate pink!" also will be joining the discussion to talk about cancer and the holidays.

Join us and chime in with your pressing Thanksgiving questions at 12 p.m. today:

November 18, 2010
Turkeys needed for local nonprofit's holiday dinners

turkey dinner.JPGBy Niesha Lofing

Thanksgiving is just a week away, but Volunteers of America's Central Kitchen in Sacramento is lacking in one very big ingredient for the meals it serves to the hungry: turkeys.

Only 53 turkeys have been donated so far this year. The program usually cooks or distributes about 175 turkeys for Thanksgiving to the organization's emergency shelter, transitional housing and affordable-living senior facilities, according to a news release from Volunteers of America Greater Sacramento & Northern Nevada. Another 125 turkeys are needed for Christmas holiday meals.

"A traditional turkey dinner for Thanksgiving and Christmas is a treat for our clients, and looked forward to with great anticipation," Eric Nichols, the central kitchen program director stated in the release. "Maybe it reminds them of family, or just of a better time in their lives; but for whatever reason, I know they are truly thankful for the sacrifices made to bring it to them."

Community donations of fresh and frozen turkey are being accepted from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day through Nov. 25 at the central kitchen facility, located at 700 North Fifth St., Sacramento and its Mather Community Campus kitchen, 3587 Bleckely St., Mather.

Supporters also may donate money toward the campaign online at, at either of the kitchens or by mail to Volunteers of America administration office, 1900 Point West Way., Suite 270, Sacramento, CA 95815.

November 12, 2010
Grand opening set for Revolution Wines

By Chris Macias

Revolution Wines
has been running in "soft launch" mode for the past six weeks at its new space on 28th and S streets. Now it's about time for a proper grand opening ceremony. Come to Revolution Wines (2831 S St., Sacramento) from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21 for celebrations that include barrel tasting, tours and sampling of dishes from the winery's new food program.

Formerly located at 21st and P streets, the new digs for this urban winery include 5,600 square feet of space, with expanded tasting room and a winery chef to create a bistro menu. Lunch will be served at Revolution Wines from Tuesday through Friday, and look for such plates as polenta with grilled mushrooms, a sandwich dubbed "The Italian" served on ciabatta bread and a "winemakers platter" with meats, cheeses and crostini.

Revolution Wines' kitchen will be headed by Simone McKinley, a former sous chef at Taylor's Kitchen and cheesemonger at Whole Foods.

Co-owner Gina Genshlea expects the new facility crush 70 tons of grapes this year, and will eventually expand to 120 tons annually. Larger storage tanks as this winery and the increased space have already allowed Revolution Wines to offer new wines, including a port-style malbec, and a blend of tannat and touriga called "Rio Tinto."

Grand opening events will run from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. from Nov. 19 - Nov. 21. For more information:

November 12, 2010
Join Ten22's celebration: Free appetizers and drink specials

By Allen Pierleoni

Sometimes, there is such a thing as a free lunch.

To celebrate its one-year anniversary, Ten22 restaurant will serve up free appetizers (rock crab salad in mini-butter pastry, and lamb curry phyllo cup with mint and basil) and happy-hour drink specials from 4 to 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday and Sunday.

To set the mood for noshing, there will be music, too: Jesse Hendricks on the Spanish guitar tonight, and Zoo Human Project and its acoustic rock Saturday.

Ten22 is the sister restaurant to the venerable Firehouse, which turned 50 this year. Ten22 is at 1022 Second St. in Old Sacramento; (916) 441-2211,

Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1128.

November 10, 2010
Menu set for Sacramento Chef's Dinner

By Chris Macias

The dinner features a veritable dream team of Sacramento chefs: Kelly McCown from Ella, Patrick Mulvaney, Billy Ngo of Kru/Red Lotus, Michael Tuohy of Grange and others. The dinner's going down Sunday at The Kitchen (2225 Hurley Way, Sacramento) and this $125 a head meal sold out within 24 hours of its announcement. For a little more background on this dinner, check out this recent column by the Bee's Rick Kushman.

The idea is to show what Sacramento chefs are capable of, especially when they band together. And in this spirit of comradeship, donations were the dinner were received by Temple Coffee, Sunh Fish, Riverdog Farms and a variety of wineries. Proceeds from the dinner will also go to the River City Food Bank.

Look for more collaborations like this in the near future - and in the meantime, here's a look at the final menu for Sunday's Sacramento Chef's Dinner:

Amuse Bouche
"Ice Cube" of Smoked Pork Tongue and Foie Gras in Whisky Gelee
Chef Stan Moore of The Kitchen

Raviolini of Capon with Truffle, Cavolo Nero, and Capon Broth
Chef Pedro DePina of Selland's Market Café
Paired with 2002 Roederer Estate L'Ermitage, Brut, Anderson Valley

2nd Course
Broiled Sea Scallop, Cauliflower Coulis, Matsutake Mushrooms,
and Asian Pear with Fresh Turmeric
Chef Kelly McCown of Ella Dining Room and Bar
Paired with 2008 Facets of Gemstone Chardonnay, Estate, Yountville

3rd Course
Roasted California Squab, Parsnips, and 16-Hour Quince
Chef Michael Touhy of Grange
Paired with 2008 Belle Glos Pinot Noir, Clark and Telephone Vineyard, Santa Maria

4th Course
Fettuccine Carbonara, Circle O Ranch Goat Bacon and Vegas Farm Egg
Chef Patrick Mulvaney of Mulvaney's B&L and Culinary Specialists
Paired with 2007 Facets of Gemstone Red, Estate, Yountville

5th Course

Cider Glazed Berkshire Pork Belly, Winter Squash, Burgundian Truffles,
Compressed Apple, and Celery
Chef Pajo Bruich of Pajo's Catering
Paired with 2007 Gemstone Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate, Yountville

6th Course
Seared Strip Loin of Storm Hill Angus Beef, Fingerling Potatoes, Garlic Confit, Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Bordelaise "Mirror", and Bearnaise Buttercream
Chef John Paul Khoury of Preferred Meats
Paired with 2006 Gemstone Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate, Yountville

Apple Caramel Brioche "Monkey Bread", Calvados Caramel Ice Cream,
Sweet Smokey Apple, and Bacon Brittle
Pastry Chef Rachel Kelley of Ella Dining Room and Bar
Paired with 2004 Mer Soleil "Late" Harvest Viognier, Santa Lucia Highlands

November 10, 2010
Sacramento Food Bank hopes to get 7,000 turkeys on Nov. 19

By Dixie Reid

The folks at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services anticipate a busy holiday season - and they're looking for a little help.

On Nov. 19, donors can drop off frozen turkeys and packaged side dishes such as stuffing, pumpkin pie filling, green beans and potatoes at the agency's Oak Park facility.

Donations can be made from 4:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 3333 Third Ave. in Sacramento.

Last year, Sacramentans delivered 6,592 frozen turkeys to the food bank, and all went to families in our community. This year, the agency needs 7,000 turkeys to ensure everyone it serves has a happy Thanksgiving.

Call The Bee's Dixie Reid, (916) 321-1134.

November 9, 2010
Mountain Lions host tailgate cook-off Saturday

By Niesha Lofing

Think you have a winning tailgating recipe?

The Sacramento Mountain Lions are offering you a chance to prove it - and win a season tickets for four and reserved VIP parking spot for the 2011 season.

The first ever Tailgate Challenge will be held at Saturday's game, the last home game of the 2010 season.

Prizes will be awarded for best food, best Mountain Lions theme and most original tailgate, according to a team news release.

Interested home cooks are encouraged to enter in advance by e-mailing Include the cook's full name and phone number where they can be reached on game day.

Check in and late registration will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. Saturday in the Tailgate Challenge tent in FanFest, the event that precedes the 8 p.m. kickoff against the Omaha Nighthawks at Hornet Stadium at Sacramento State University.

Celebrity judges will tour the parking lot to select a finalist in each of the three categories, who will then move on to compete in the main judging.

For more information, visit the Sacramento Mountain Lions' website.

November 9, 2010
Former UC Davis professor to be inducted in Vintners Hall of Fame

By Chris Macias

Professor Vernon Singleton spent four decades at UC Davis' Department of Viticulture and Enology, and renowned as one of the wine world's experts in chemistry. Singleton, who retired in 1991, will be acknowledged for his key research into such subjects as wine maturation and barrel aging by being inducted into the 2011 Vintners Hall of Fame.

Singleton will be inducted on Feb. 21 at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, and will join such fellow 2011 inductees as:

Joel Peterson: co-founder of Ravenswood Winery and champion of single-vineyard zinfandel.

Bob Trinchero: he introduced the wine world to white zinfandel at Sutter Home Winery and was an early proponent of Amador zinfandel.

Vintners Hall of Fame "pioneer" inductees include August Sebastiani of Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery and domestic pinot noir pioneer Richard Graff of Chalone Vineyards.

"These five men have had a tremendous impact on improving the quality of wine for everyday drinkers," said W. Blake Gray, chair of the nominating committee, in a statement. "Anybody who's a fan of California wine today can find some reason to thank them.

In two Sacramento connections to the Vintners Hall of Fame, former Bee food wne wine editor Mike Dunne served on the nominating committee, while grocer and wine expert Darrell Corti was inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame in 2008.

November 8, 2010
Mandarin festival coming Nov. 19-21

By Chris Macias

For lover of citrus fruit, fall means that it's time to peel some mandarins and enjoy that sweet, tangy fruit. And you have a chance to do plenty of that from Nov. 19 - 21, with the 17th Annual Mountain Mandarin Festival at the Gold Country Fairgrounds (1273 High St., Auburn). You'll find cooking demonstrations, entertainment and more citrus than you can stomach in a single setting.

As for this year's mandarin crop, the bounty is expected to be lighter than the previous year. Mandarin trees tend to bear bigger harvests in alternate years, and 2010 is one of those off seasons. But there will still be plenty of fruit to go around. Here are the details:

17th Annual Mountain Mandarin Festival

November 19-21
WHERE: Gold Country Fairgrounds, 1273 High St., Auburn
HOURS: Friday: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm; Saturday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; Sunday: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.
COST: $6; Seniors $4; 12 & under free
INFO: (916) 663-1918 or

November 8, 2010
Citrus Heights boy a finalist in Red Robin burger contest

By Niesha Lofing

An 8-year-old Citrus Heights boy's jalapeno cornbread chili burger recipe has been chosen as one of 10 finalist entries in the "Red Robin Kids' Cook-Off" contest.

Dominic Staiti's gourmet burger - which includes a beef patty, crispy jalapeno rings, crispy onion straws, pepper jack cheese, barbecue sauce, chili con carne and a drizzle of honey on a cornbread bun - was chosen from thousands of entries submitted by children throughout the country, according to a news release by the restaurant chain.

Staiti will head to Denver next month, where he'll make his burger for panel of Red Robin judges and Colorado-based culinary experts on Dec. 9. If Staiti wins, his burger will be sold at Red Robin restaurants next summer, with proceeds benefiting the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

It isn't the first time a local youngster has captured the attention of Red Robin officials. Eric Moore, of Roseville, had his recipe for a blackened avocado bacon burger included among the 50 recipes by 6- to 12-year-old chefs chosen or the fourth annual Red Robin Kids' Cookoff Cookbook, released this summer on the company's website. Click here to read more about Eric Moore's recipe.

Staiti's recipe is already guaranteed to make it into the cookbook based on this year's contest, which also will include safety tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, will be published online in summer 2011.

Grand prize for this year's contest includes a family vacation to Universal Orlando Resort and a one-year supply of Red Robin gift cards, the release states.

Staiti and the other finalists also have a chance to be named "Fan Favorite" at the December event. Starting Nov. 15, supporters can vote for their favorite young chef by logging onto The winner will receive a $100 gift card to Toys "R" Us and a $200 Red Robin gift card, the release states.

Fans also can watch the cook-off, which will be streamed live Dec. 9 on the cook-off website. The winner will be announced live around 12:15 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time)

Good luck Dominic!

November 5, 2010
Old Town Auburn visitors to see, taste 'red'

chili.JPGBy Niesha Lofing

Want to warm the belly and the soul next weekend? Head to the first annual "Taste of Chili" in Auburn, a fundraiser for the Old Town Business Association and Friends of Placer High School.

The event, held from 12 to 3 p.m. Nov. 14 in historic Old Town Auburn, features the best chili recipes from the town's chefs and merchants, as well as raffle, Linda Robinson, president of the business association, wrote in an e-mail to The Bee.

Visitors also will pick their favorite chili with a "people's choice" vote.

Tickets are $20 for 10 tastes, including a raffle ticket, and can be purchased that day at MaryBelles Restaurant, where the event begins.

Pre-purchase tickets are available from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Monday at Sun River Clothing Company, 1585 Lincoln Way, Auburn.

November 3, 2010
Pause Lounge & Kitchen coming to Roseville

By Chris Macias

Apart from Hawks in Granite Bay, you're not going to find much in the way of "slow food" around the Roseville 'burbs. But a new Roseville restaurant called Pause Lounge & Kitchen is expected to open by the end of November, emphasizing farm-to-table and locally sourced foods. Lucas and Leyland Jacob Elia, the brotherly team behind Bloom Coffee & Tea, have joined forces again to open Pause. Look for such menu items as seared foie gras, beef marrow bones, duck breast and house cured olives.

The menu will emphasize small plates, but also offer a chef's tasting menu nightly with optional wine pairings.

"We're big fans of the 'slow food nation' so we wanted a name that fell in line with that," said Lucas Elia. "We also wanted to transport people from the suburban environment they're in, and taken to a place of craft and substance where they can enjoy good food and wine. It's a pause from everyday life."

For more information:

November 3, 2010
Munchies, desserts and more at tonight's 'Cause to Celebrate'

By Allen Pierleoni

A reminder that two restaurants at Town & Country Village will offer plenty of good eats as part of the annual "A Cause to Celebrate" fundraiser, 6 to 8:30 p.m. tonight.

Buonarroti Italian restaurant will serve a buffet-style tasting menu of chicken, meatballs, fried ravioli, gnocchi, butternut squash risotto, pizza from a wood-fired oven, bruschetta, and baked Brie in phyllo dough.

The nearby Terrace restaurant plans a spread of desserts, including custard layered pound cake, rocky road torte, chocolate cups with peanut butter mousse, and white chocolate with peanuts and puffed rice.

Wine, beer, music and a live auction will be part of the revelry. Bonus: Each guest will receive a $20 gift certificate redeemable at participating Town & Country stores. Tickets are $40 in advance, $45 at the door, at (916) 482-2370, Ext. 333, and

"Celebrate" will benefit the Children's Receiving Home of Sacramento, a safety net for abused and neglected children. Town & Country Village is at Marconi and Fulton avenues, Sacramento.

Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1128.

November 3, 2010
Capitol Dawg's new wiener celebrates SF Giants' victory

By Allen Pierleoni

In celebration of the San Francisco Giants' new status as world champions of baseball, Mike Brown of Capitol Dawg today added a new entry to his menu of 25 variations on the hot dog.

The "Giants Dawg - Our Own Champion" is assembled from two quarter-pound all-beef Schwarz franks, house-made chili, American and Cheddar cheeses, ballpark mustard and chopped white onion, all plopped on a 14-inch-long sesame-seeded French roll ($10.49).

"This hot dog was created in honor of something that was long overdue, and celebrates the great victories in life," said Brown, the sausage-centric owner of Capitol Dawg.

Capitol Dawg is at 1226 20th St., Sacramento; (916) 444-1226,

Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1128.

November 2, 2010
Piatti has a dinnertime dining deal--and the kids eat for free

By Allen Pierleoni

You say you want a dining deal? Try this one from Piatti Ristorante & Bar:

On Sundays from 5 to 9 p.m., you can dig in to a meal of Caesar salad, spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread and gelato for $15.99 - a $30 value.
Children 12 and younger eat for free, but take note: The limit is one free child's meal for each adult meal ordered, so no showing up with the soccer team.

Piatti is in the Pavilions shopping center on Fair Oaks Boulevard near Howe Avenue, Sacramento; (916) 649-8885,

Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1122.

November 2, 2010
Election day wine deals

By Chris Macias

Hey there, voter. If you're feeling in need of a glass of wine - and who isn't after the barrage of campaign ads these last weeks - don't throw away your "I voted" sticker. A couple local wine bars are offering Election Night specials:

- Wear your "I voted" sticker to Back Wine Bar (25075 Blue Ravine Rd. #160, Folsom) and you'll get a glass of wine for half price with the order of a small plate.

- And over at L Wine Lounge Restaurant and Bar (1801 L St., Sacramento) bring your "I voted" sticker and you'll get happy hour prices on food and drink until close. Score!

"Appetizers" approves this message ... thanks for reading and happy voting.

Call The Bee's Chris Macias, (916) 321-1253.

November 2, 2010
Calling all cooks: Are you a traditionalist on Thanksgiving?

Experimenting with cooking technique or recipes has its place, but for many, the time is not on Thanksgiving day.

Many of us stick to the beloved, time-honored recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation or adapted to perfection from classic cookbooks.

We want to hear from you, dear reader, about your favorite dishes. What are the ones you turn to year after year? How long have you been using your recipes? Have you ever dared to stray from tradition and what was the result?

E-mail your name and contact information to The Bee's Niesha Lofing at or call her at (916) 321-1270.

November 1, 2010
Lodi chef carves White House pumpkins

Chef Ray -Haunted House finished2010.jpg

By Chris Macias

Is there such a thing as First Pumpkin? If so, you could call Ray Duey the commander-in-chief of pumpkin carving. The Lodi chef and vegetable sculptor created a haunted house that was built from carved pumpkins and displayed at the White House for Halloween. Duey and his carving team spent two days assembling the pumpkin haunted house, which included stems and seeds as part of the intricate decor.

While Duey wasn't handling pumpkin guts and wielding his carving knife, the team was taken on a private tour of the White House.

"This was quite an experience, one that I will not forget", said Duey, in a statement. "It was a privilege and honor to be there".

To see more of Duey's art, click here.

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