Appetizers
August 15, 2013
Sutter Buttes Brewing closes today for expansion plans

Today is the last day to hit up Sutter Buttes Brewing in Yuba City until October - the restaurant-brewery is expanding.

A new owner is in town. Joe Federico, who also owns the Happy Viking sports bar in Yuba City, is most notably adding a wood-fired pizza oven to change up the restaurant menu. After knocking down a couple of walls, the restaurant should squeeze in 25 to 30 more seats, according to brewmaster Mark Martin.

And in the brewery, Martin will add 20 barrel fermenters to expand production from 500 to 2,000 barrels per year. Expect some experimenting and more lagers, Martin said.

The restaurant aims to reopen Oct. 1. Hours may change with talks of adding Southern-style brunch on Sundays.

Sutter Buttes Brewing: 421 Center St, Yuba City, (530) 790-7999

August 8, 2013
Casa Garden Restaurant event showcases X-Factor vocalist

FL CASA INTERIOR.JPGSacramento Bee restaurant critic Blair Robertson is a big fan of Casa Garden Restaurant. He praised the place in December not only because of its volunteer staff and good cause, but because of its approachable, well-executed food.

On Sept. 12, the restaurant hosts a special event called "Fly Me to the Moon." Sacramento's Jerry Lopes, a finalist on this season's X-Factor, will perform a wide variety of tunes, including a little Frank Sinatra. Casa Garden's Marlene Oehler called him "just awesome."

Reservations are highly recommended, as there will only be two 90-person seatings - one at 11:15 a.m. and the other at 1:15 p.m. On the menu: chicken cordon bleu with spring mix or a turkey cobb salad for the main course and harvest cake for dessert. Including tax and gratuity, the meal sets you back $22.

All tips go to the Sacramento Children's Home, and the volunteer staff comes from the Los NiƱos Service League.

Casa Garden Restaurant: 2760 Sutterville Road, Sacramento. Call (916) 452-2908 for reservations.

PHOTO: Casa Garden Restaurant's interior as pictured in 2010. Florence Low/The Sacramento Bee

August 8, 2013
Award-winning blogger prepares foraged feast for food literacy

Thumbnail image for hank shaw.jpg
James Beard Award-winner Hank Shaw, a Sacramento food writer and chef, will prepare an intimate feast to benefit children's food literacy education on Aug. 31.

Ingredients for the five-course meal will be foraged from the backyard farm of Amber Stott, founder of the California Food Literacy Center. He'll pair courses with local wines and craft beers, and it will all take place in Stott's manicured yard in East Sacramento.

Shaw's blog, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, won him the 2013 Best Food Blog award from the James Beard Award Foundation. It has also received honors twice with the International Association of Culinary Professionals. And he's been published in several venerable publications such as Food & Wine, Gastronomica and Organic Gardening.

Fourteen tickets go for $250 each, and they include a gift basket brimming with seeds, vanilla beans, a new cookbook and other treats per pair. Click here for more info and tickets.

August 8, 2013
Train guitarist releases pinot noir

Train_Press1.JPGMost people think of "Drops of Jupiter" when they think of Grammy Award-winning band Train. But winos might add a "Red" to that thought, as in "Drops of Jupiter Red" - one of guitarist Jimmy Stafford's wines with the Save Me, San Francisco Wine Company.

Stafford, in a collaboration with winemaker James Foster, has just released the company's fifth varietal "Soul Sister," a pinot noir. The medium ruby wine is sourced in the Central Coast, with "flavors of ripe cherries and strawberries, a hint of vanilla and a smooth finish."

Train has been known to host intimate wine tastings backstage with friends and industry folk. If you think you somehow have an in with Train, see about joining after Saturday's show at Sleep Train Amphitheatre.

The company's wines all run for $12. Order a bottle online here. Or hunt down "Calling All Angels Chardonnay," "Hella Fine Merlot," "California 37 Cabernet Sauvignon" and Petite Syrah-based "Drops of Jupiter Red" at Total Wine & More on Arden Way in Sacramento or one of the Sprouts Farmers Market outposts in Citrus Heights, Roseville and Elk Grove.

PHOTO: TRAIN'S JIMMY STAFFORD STANDS ON THE FAR LEFT, COURTESY OF SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

August 7, 2013
South: Southern cuisine comes to Southside

south.jpgSouthern hospitality and fried chicken will be the highlights of South, a restaurant scheduled to open in Southside this September.

The menu is split in two: "Old School" classics, such as fried catfish with red beans and rice or barbequed tiger shrimp over cheesy grits, and "New School" dishes with a California flair, such as crispy pork belly salad with a pepper jelly vinaigrette or seared halibut alongside okra succotash.

More traditional dishes are inspired by what co-owner N'Gina Kavookjian used to eat growing up - her family has roots in Louisiana and Mississippi - while the contemporary plates are the work of chef Michael Wright, who previously worked at Kavookjian's now closed Granite Bay restaurant, Eight American Bistro.

"A lot of people don't think Southern food is really refined, but it is," said Kavookjian, who owns the place with her husband Ian. "The food I ate as a child was balanced, fresh and layered with flavor."

Served for lunch and dinner, the "Old School" dishes are usually in the $8 to $11 range and the "New School" dishes run from $10 to $20. There will be brunch too - including chicken and waffles and eggs benedict on biscuits - in the $8 to $15 range.

"We want people coming often, not just for special occasions," Kavookjian said. "It's important to be accessible to the people who live around us."

A filling plate of fried chicken will go for $13. It's Kavookjian's mom's recipe and probably South's specialty - Kavookjian tells tales of her family hiding stashes and fighting over it at parties.

While most ingredients will be purchased locally, a few - certain Southern brands of grits and secret spices - will be imported. The beer list will be local as well, and Kavookjian hopes to eventually roll out a craft cocktail menu.

South resides in the historic "Paris French Bakery" and later Sacramento Tofu Company building in Southside Park. Kavookjian said she's going for a laid-back atmosphere made cozy with pillows and curtains - it's supposed to feel more like a Southern home than a business.

The owners spent a year walking around Sacramento looking for an ideal neighborhood for their restaurant, and they landed on Southside.

"It has a true sense of community," Kavookjian said. "Everyone knows each other and takes care of each other."

South:1915 6th St. in Southside Park

PHOTO: Illustration by InForm Design

August 7, 2013
Farrell's returns to Sacramento Thursday

farrells.jpegIt's been 40 long years since the airplane accident at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour off Freeport Boulevard that left 22 dead.

But Farrell's is returning to Sacramento. The new location's grand opening is Thursday at 11 a.m. near the busy intersection of Watt Avenue and Arden Way.

This week, Farrell's fans have previewed the space - 8,700 square feet and able to seat 300 guests - at events benefiting the Firefighters Burn Institute, Shriners Hospitals for Children and UC Davis Health System. Diners are slowly adding reviews and photos to Yelp.



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