Turns out, Sara Arbabian did not succumb to foul play, is not pinned beneath a giant cheese wheel, does not have a cat that nested on her keyboard and, best of all, is not intentionally ducking the press.
After a bit of nudging, I finally caught up with a very affable Arbabian to hear about her plans for The Rind, a cheese bar featuring wine and beer pairings. To this observer, it's a great fit on a great block and her timing is excellent.
In fact, I think it's going to be such a big hit that Chris Hansen is going to buy it and try to move it to Seattle! (Then Mayor KJ will step in at the 11th hour, make a speech to the Cheese Board and all will be OK).
While wine and cheese pairings are well accepted, the whole idea of finding the right cheese with the right beer is an exciting and relatively unexplored concept for many folks, foodies included. Beyond that, craft beer is taking off locally and throughout many parts of the country, as more and more people are taking beer seriously and enjoying small-batch, quality-driven beer. There's certainly plenty to choose from. Watch for a future "The Beer Run" column in which Arbabian and I discuss how to enjoy cheese with beer.
Arbabian is opening Thursday at 11 a.m. For now, The Rind will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Sunday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. It will be closed for staff training Mondays and Tuesdays, at least for the time being.
How will it work when you walk into The Rind? For one thing, the atmosphere will be relaxed. Visitors can select one of the designated cheese samplers, featuring three cheeses, or select their own cheeses to enjoy. The Rind is also going to feature artisan grilled cheese sandwiches and mac & cheese, all with top-quality cheeses and breads. At every step of the way, the staff will be on hand to provide details about the cheeses, answer questions and give suggestions for pairings. There will be 15-20 wines at first, some available by the glass, along with six beers on tap and 10 in bottles
This is a small operation. Arbabian's husband, Stephen Tatterson, will be helping out after he gets off from his day job. There will also be a couple of other employees starting out.
If you're interested in the fascinating world of cheese and are looking for a different kind of food and beverage experience, The Rind just might become a destination for you.
We'll have more on this new venture soon after it opens. Stay tuned.
The Rind is at 1801 L St., Sacramento.
(Photos courtesy of The Rind).
Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @blarob.