August 8, 2013
Gravensteins set pace for extra-early apple season

apple-gravenstein-lg.jpg Benefiting from mild summer weather and a warm spring, apples are rolling in early this summer. Leading the way is a fine crop of heirloom Gravensteins from Sonoma County.

"The crop looks incredible," said farmer Stan Devoto, who grows Gravensteins in Sebastopol. "We've had an almost ideal growing season. We had a lot of warm weather and very, very little rain."

That combination has spurred apples to ripen about two weeks early.

To celebrate the short season of this heirloom apple, The Fruit Guys offers a special Gravenstein Apple Box, available for shipment nationwide. Based in San Francisco, The Fruit Guys supplies fruit and vegetables direct to businesses and homes while working with small farmers to preserve heirloom varieties.

"Why the Gravenstein is so special, it has a long history, particularly in California," said Rebecca North, The Fruit Guy's head buyer. "Typically, it's the first apple of the season and starts the harvest."

"It's a really short window," added Chris Mittelstaedt, The Fruit Guys founder and CEO. "They don't store well. We get them in from the farms and literally deliver them overnight."

Now through Aug. 16, The Fruit Guys offers its special Gravenstein box with a portion of proceeds supporting small Northern California farmers. The special boxes also support the Slow Food Gravenstein Apple Presidium, a project of The Fruit Guys and Slow Food Russian River to encourage farmers to grow more heirloom varieties.

The boxes start at $29 for 16 Gravensteins with free shipping inside California. For more details, go to or call (877) 378-4863.

This weekend also is the Gravenstein Apple Fair at Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastopol. For details and directions, click on

August 6, 2013
Cool treat holiday inspires A&W root beer float giveaway


By Benjamin Mullin

A&W restaurants throughout Sacramento are celebrating National Root Beer Float Day today by giving away free floats to customers.

Restaurants in the American-fair food chain will start handing the floats out at 2 p.m. and continue until the 10 p.m. closing.

In exchange, patrons will be encouraged to make a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that serves veterans and service members who suffered physical or mental trauma during their military career after 2001.

You can pick up your free root beer at these Sacramento-area A&W restaurants:

3030 Capitol Ave.

812 Westacre Road

1601 Del Paso Blvd.

2312 Arden Way

2920 Del Paso Road

3820 Florin Road

4219 Marconi Ave.

6328 Rio Linda Blvd.

July 29, 2013
Sweet deal: half-price for cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory

cheesecake.jpgHere's a sweet deal from the Cheesecake Factory: In celebration of National Cheesecake Day, the 163-store national restaurant chain is offering any slice of its signature cheesecake for half price (normally the toll is $7 to $8 a slice). The offer is good only for dine-in patrons, and only on Tuesday, July 30.

The Cheesecake Factory bakes more than 30 flavors of cheesecake, and will introduce its newest on Tuesday - Toasted Marshmallow S'mores Galore is topped with chocolate ganache and finished with toasted housemade marshmallow, graham crackers and whipped cream (pictured).

Thirty-two Cheesecake Factories are in California, including two hereabouts: 1127 Galleria Blvd., Roseville (916-781-3399) and 1771 Arden Way, Sacramento (916- 567-0606).


April 2, 2013
Dawson's celebrates its 25th anniversary with dinner specials

tenderloin1.164318.jpgHere's a novelty: In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Dawson's restaurant at the Hyatt Regency hotel will roll back prices to 1988 for a special four-course dinner. Alert: It's a one-time deal on Saturday, April 6.

The Rollback Menu For Two is $88, with items from Dawson's original menu. It starts with potato stuffed with whipped crème fraîche and caviar, then moves to a crab Louis salad, French onion soup, bacon-wrapped filet mignon (pictured) and scampi-style shrimp with sides of twice-baked potato and asparagus, and ends with bananas Foster cheesecake.

There's more anniversary celebration with a $25 prix fixe prime rib dinner, served Sundays from April 7 through December. The menu: lettuce wedge salad, prime rib, baked potato and cheesecake.

Dawson's at the Hyatt Regency, 1209 L St., Sacramento. For reservation: (916) 321-3600. Information:

March 18, 2013
Sonoma County Restaurant Week will serve through Sunday

spaghetti.JPGIf you have a taste for dining out, and enjoy winetasting and short drives, you should know that the fourth annual Sonoma County Restaurant Week starts today and runs through Sunday.

On the table: More than 115 restaurants will offer three-course prix-fixe dinners for $19, $29 or $39, along with optional wine-pairings. After all, Sonoma County is known for its many wineries.

Cuisines range from Italian, French and Japanese, to American and "wine country" - a term that usually translates to mean locally sourced and artisanal ingredients.

"The meals are across the board," said spokeswoman Audrey Bendowski. "We have burgers and pizza, but we have salmon and ribeye steaks, too."

For more information:

February 20, 2013
Wake up! Folgers offers $25,000 for new jingle singer

folgers.pngThe best part of wakin' up? Maybe $25,000.

Folgers Coffee, the iconic 163-year-old company founded in San Francisco, is looking for its version of "American Idol" - someone new to croon its famous jingle, "The Best Part of Wakin' Up is Folgers in Your Cup."

Johnny Cash, Aaron Neville, Rascal Flatts and many others have put their own spin on that familiar lyric, originally penned by Leslie Pearl in 1984.

Grand prize winner of this talent search receives $25,000. Contestants can perform individually or in groups of no more than six. Deadline to submit a video is March 6.

Songwriter Gavin DeGraw will pick out 10 jingle finalists. In online voting May 15 through June 19, the public will choose the winner.

For complete rules and video of jingle performances, see

February 12, 2013
Want life of pie? Marie Callender's offers whole pie sale

pies.jpg In time for Valentine's Day sweethearts, President's Day get-togethers or Oscar night parties (think Life of Pie), Marie Callender's offers its Whole Pie To Go Sale.

Through Feb. 28, more than 30 varieties of pie are priced at $7.99 plus tin deposit. Cherry pie - a natural for President's Day - is available along with apple, banana cream, berry, blueberry, cherry, coconut cream, French apple, lemon meringue, peach, pumpkin and many other favorites.

For a full list, visit Excluded are cheesecakes, seasonal fresh fruit and promotional pies.

February 8, 2013
Carpe Vino takes a culinary tour of New Orleans

FOOD WBS-UNCORKED TB.jpgLast summer, Gary and Drew Moffat got some good news from Wine Spectator magazine, informing them they'd won an Award of Excellence for their digital list of 250 wines for the restaurant portion of their store. The Moffats are the father-son co-owners of Carpe Vino, the classy wine bar/wine shop/restaurant in Auburn. It's stocked with about 500 wines, an inventory that's in constant flux.

Their dining program includes regularly scheduled prix-fixe themed dinners. Their first of the year will be the New Orleans-accented "Big Easy Culinary Celebration," Feb. 26 through March 3. The toll: $49 per person. Reservations: (530) 823-0320,

Check out the menu (one choice per category; vegetarian options available):

First course: crispy pork boudin, or baked oysters "Josephine," or Louisiana shrimp remoulade

Second course: mock turtle soup, or muffuletta chopped salad

Main course: Creole jambalaya, or duck and smoked turkey gumbo, or crawfish and shrimp etouffee

Dessert: "gateau de sirop" ("syurp cake," made with pure cane syrup), or bananas Foster-style bread pudding

Carpe Vino is at 1568 Lincoln Way in Old Auburn; visit at

January 29, 2013
IHOP celebrates National Pancake Day with free pancakes

ihop.jpg Here's a deal to flip over: Free pancakes!

Next Tuesday, International House of Pancakes will celebrate National Pancake Day by offering a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes to all customers. The free pancakes will be available at all participating IHOPs from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 5.

In return, patrons may make voluntary donations to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, the event's official charity, and its program at UC Davis Children's Hospital.

Last year, IHOP hosted a similar National Pancake Day party and served about 4 million free pancakes. If added together, all those "short stacks" would be nearly 16 miles tall. During the 2012 event, customers donated more than $3 million to children's charities.

IHOP hopes to reach that goal again next Tuesday. Local participating IHOPs are located at 2941 Advantage Lane in Sacramento, 2525 Iron Point Road in Folsom, and 2035 Arden Way in Sacramento

To find a participating IHOP near you or to learn more, click on

January 23, 2013
Celebrate National Pie Day with slice of specials

redvelvet.jpgHere's an All-American foodie holiday: Happy National Pie Day! Today celebrates all things pie, the favorite dessert of millions.

Specifically, apple pie is the pick of an estimated 36 million Americans, according to the American Pie Council. The board offers a wealth of recipes, pie-making tips and ways to celebrate via its website,

Marie Callender's, a restaurant chain synonymous with pie, marks National Pie Day with specials. Its Perfect Pie Trio features chicken pot pie ($9.99) or Shepherd's pie ($11.99), accompanied by Caesar salad and a slice of (what else?) pie for dessert. (Cheesecakes, seasonal fresh fruit pies and promotional pies not included.)

If you miss Pie Day, don't worry. The offer is good through March 28.

Marie Callender's also has a new pie: Red Velvet Dream Pie. It's vanilla cream with layers of red velvet cake, topped by cream cheese icing. It's a good match for two holidays: National Pie Day and Valentine's Day.

The Red Velvet Dream Pie is $13.99 plus tin, available through Feb. 28. For locations, click on

September 19, 2012
Make reservations for third annual Lake Tahoe Restaurant Week

Can Northern California's foodies get enough wining and dining in the Sierra? Apparently not.

Following the spectacular Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival held Sept. 8-9 at Northstar Ski Resort (with 2,000 in attendance) comes the third annual Lake Tahoe Restaurant Week, Oct. 7-14.

Three-course prix-fixe meals for $20, $30 and $40 per person will emphasize organic, seasonal and local ingredients. The dining venues will range from historic resorts and landmark restaurants to shiny new bistros, from the casual to the high-end.

July 9, 2012
Two 'celebrations' will offer free coffee drinks, 61-cent hot dogs

Everybody likes a good deal. Get ready for these two:

First up: The Oregon-based Dutch Bros. Coffee company caters to folks in a hurry, selling its brews exclusively via 174 drive-through kiosks in seven states.

To celebrate the grand opening of its new outlet, at 7445 Madison Ave. in Citrus Heights, everyone is invited there for a free coffee drink from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday. Check it out at

Now this: Wienerschnitzel, the world's largest hot dog-centric restaurant chain (350 units in 10 states), has served wurst since 1961.

To celebrate National Hot Dog Month (July), the nine Sacramento-area restaurants will sell three favorites for 61 cents each, all day Sunday - chili dog, kraut dog and mustard dog.

For Wienerschnitzel locations, go to

April 17, 2012
Tax Day specials at local eateries

You can now count on three certainties in life: Death, taxes - and Tax Day food specials! That's right, since many of us will be sending a fat check to Uncle Sam, some area restaurants will be featuring food and drink specials today to help ease that pain. Or, if you're due a tax refund, you can celebrate with these following specials:

Arby's (various locations around the Sacramento area): Mail off your 540 tax form or what not and grab some free curly fries from the fast food chain that specializes in roast beef. You can also enter a chance to win $5,000 - of which, you can probably count about half to go toward taxes next year. To print the coupon for them fries and enter the drawing for $5k, click here.

Chevys Fresh Mex (various locations around Sacramento): Here's a nifty deal. Drop by Chevys Fresh Mex today and they'll pick up the tax on meals. Also look for a special featuring two Herradura margaritas for $10.40 - that's 1040, get it?

Panda Express (various locations around Sacramento): The Chinese food franchise rolls out its new Shanghai angus steak dish today. The trick is you have to "like" Panda Express' Facebook page to get the coupon.

April 11, 2012
Arby's offer: Free curly fries and a chance to win $5,000

The 3,600-unit Arby's restaurant chain specializes in roast beef sandwiches. "Roast beef" as in "R.B." as in "Arby," get it?

It's also known for curly fries. In a special "tax relief" deal, it's offering a free "value size" order of those fries on April 17 (while they last), along with the chance to win $5,000.

To print a special coupon, go to

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