Courtsey of Selland Family Restaurants
David Chavez, 31, has been hired as executive chef at The Kitchen.
With little fanfare or public announcement, The Kitchen Restaurant has replaced its executive chef and, for the next month or so, brought back founder and frontman Randall Selland to cook and perform at his family’s landmark eatery.
David Chavez, who has held high-level kitchen positions at several properties in the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, has taken the helm at the restaurant after John Griffiths, who won the job more than a year ago in a national search, decided to leave the post. Selland will help Chavez acclimate to working the $135-per-person dinners, in which the chef not only cooks but acts as a sort of an emcee for the evening.
“It’s a very humbling opportunity to take (up) Randall’s legacy – what he has done for Sacramento and the community – and I just hope I can live up to it,” Chavez said.
Chavez, 31, had been hired several months ago as a sous chef by the Selland Family Restaurants, even though Selland said there was not a specific job opening at the time. The Selland Family also owns highly regarded Ella Dining Room and Bar, and two locations of Selland’s Market-Cafe. When Griffiths announced he was leaving, Chavez, who had shown both his culinary and people skills, was named to what many consider to be one of the most coveted kitchen jobs in the city.
Cathy Mitchell’s “Quick & Easy Dump Cakes and More” has sold more than 1 million copies.
Cathy Mitchell’s delightful “ Quick & Easy Dump Cakes and More” (TeleBrands), featured in today’s Food & Wine section, includes lots of combinations, almost all starting with a package of mix and a can of fruit. The varieties of cake mix and fruit often are interchangeable.
This novel “Island Delight” cake uses fresh fruit — or canned. Chopped fresh mangoes make up the bottom layer, but fresh (or canned) peaches can be substituted. The recipe uses lemon-lime or orange soda for leavening and to moisten the cake mix, but no eggs or oil.
“You can use any kind of soda — orange, lemon-lime, whatever you like,” Mitchell said. “The carbonation helps it rise.”
Experiment for yourself. You may come up with your own delightful dump cake combination. For more on dump cakes and Mitchell’s cookbook, go to www.buydumpcakes.com.
Yakitori Yuchan in Davis specializes in Japanese pub foods and skewered meats. This five-way yakitori sampler includes grilled chicken with wasabi cream, garlic and other seasonings.
First Impressions visits dining spots in the region that are new or have undergone recent transitions. Have a candidate for First Impressions? Email us at email@example.com.
And now let’s head over the causeway to Davis, the home of the Aggies. Students who recently started the quarter at UC Davis and townfolk alike have a new downtown eating option, one that’s a break from the typical Thai food options and sushi buffets geared for student loan budgets.
Yakitori Yuchan opened in mid-September, taking over a downtown Davis space formerly occupied by a Beach Hut Deli. Unlike the teriyaki bowl and all-you-can eat sushi spots that typify Japanese food in downtown Davis, Yakitori Yuchan is modeled closer to an izakaya, or a Japanese pub that specializes in small-plate foods.
Yakitori Yuchan focuses on grilled, skewered meats, vegetables and seafood. But will this approach appeal to the folks who might otherwise head to the nearby Mikuni for Japanese eats? Here’s what you can expect thus far:
Bruce Smith/ The Associated Press
Fishmonger Erik Espinoza shovels ice onto fresh fish at the Pike Place Market in Seattle.
Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have criminalized the selling of mislabeled seafood, handing another loss to lawmakers who pursued several high-profile efforts this year to give Californians more information about what they eat and drink.
“Much of what the bill seeks to accomplish is good,” Brown wrote in his veto message for Senate Bill 1138. “Requiring seafood producers and wholesalers to identify whether fish and shellfish are wild caught or farm raised, domestic or imported – these are reasonable and helpful facts for purchases to know.”
“Requiring more precise, species-specific labeling of seafood, however, is not as easily achieved,” he added.
Brown expressed concerns that the legislation – authored by state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, to combat widespread fraud in California’s seafood supply chain – would “create uncertainties and complexities that may not be easily resolved” by requiring businesses to identify fish by its “common name.”
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A profile of Andrew Calisterio was the Feast cover story back in August, showing how this talented 26-year-old bartender exemplified the latest generation of craft cocktailers in Sacramento.
So how does Calisterio follow this up? By moving to Phoenix.
That’s right, Calisterio is pulling a reverse Kevin Johnson and setting up shop soon in Arizona. Calisterio is moving on Oct. 12, but his last shift at Hook & Ladder will take place tonight. He’ll follow that with a final shift on Tuesday morning at Golden Bear.
“I just want to have a nice, calm shift to get some cash in my pocket so I can go out that night,” said Calisterio.
Apichart Weerawong/ AP
It’s National Coffee Day and that means free coffee at some coffee shops.
It’s National Coffee Day and that means free java.
Among the coffee brewing establishments giving away hot coffee on Sept 29:
• Visit any participating Peet's and get a free coffee or espresso beverage to share with a friend when you buy one.
• Get a free 12-ounce cup of coffee or a 12-ounce mocha, latte or iced coffee for $1 at participating Krispy Kreme locations.
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Gourd artwork — priced from $1 to as much as $1,000 — was on sale at the annual Gourd Festival at Davis Ranch in Sloughhouse. The sixth annual festival will be held this weekend.
Its time to get into gourds at Davis Ranch.
This weekend, the iconic Sloughhouse outpost will host its sixth annual gourd festival. With free admission and parking, this family event features gourd arts and crafts as well as gourd sales. Adding to the festive weekend will be music, multicultural performers and food vendors. Tractor rides offer a tour of the ranch, located about 30 minutes from downtown Sacramento. Younger kids will enjoy pony rides, corn maze and other fall fun.
But the main attraction are thousands of gourds. With plenty of hands-on opportunities, learn how to turn an ordinary hollow squash into a work of art. Find out the many uses of these hard-shelled squashes and a little about their history.
During the festival, the California Gourd Society will host its Northern California competition for most creative use of gourds. Society members will offer free demonstrations of gourd how-tos throughout the weekend.
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Pumpkin-spice English muffins are on store shelves now.
Thomas’ bakery has been busy this year with limited-edition offerings of bagels and English muffin. Over the past few months, consumers have seen maple french toast-flavored bagels and cinnamon-vanilla English muffins, followed by cinnamon-redolent apple pie muffins and bagels.
New to the lineup is the 130-year-old company’s most popular flavor, pumpkin-spice muffins and bagels, along with cranberry muffins and bagels. Prices range from $3.99 to $4.69. Pumpkin-spice will be around into November; cranberry will debut in October and be available into December. The pumpkin-spice flavor has been so popular in past years that Thomas’ has had to literally work overtime to meet the demand.
If you like bold flavors, they’re for you.
More at www.thomasbreads.com.
Evan Elsberry is the award-winning chef-owner of Evan's Kitchen.
Chef Evan Elsberry specializes in a number of dishes at his restaurant, Evan’s Kitchen, including prime rib, rack of lamb and seafood pasta. He also regularly matches ethnic cuisines with appropriate wines, usually coming up with some surprises. In past months, he’s sold out his Italian, French, Spanish and German wine-pairing dinners.
Now he's presenting “Take a Walk On the Wild Side,” a multi-course meal of game dishes. It's planned from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 6. The cost is $75 per person, with reservations at (916) 452-3896. Evan's Kitchen is at 855 57th St., Sacramento, in the Antiques Mall.
The dinner looks like this:
First course: mint trout cakes with apple horseradish, paired with 2011 Santa Digna chardonnay
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Three flavors of Cachet Belgian chocolate didn’t last long.
Chocolate is expensive. We’re not talking Hershey’s Kisses, though everybody likes ‘em, but fine chocolate from Belgium and Switzerland, and from small-production companies in California. For instance, we’ve seen 2.5-ounce artisanal chocolate bars made in the Bay Area sell for as much as $12 at specialty stores, and bars of imported chocolate bars typically priced at $6 to $8.
Given that, we were pleasantly surprised to find a display of very reasonably priced Cachet Belgian chocolate bars at Corti Bros. Market. We bought a sampling of 3.5-ounce dark-chocolate bars for $3.19 each, in intriguing and delicious flavor combinations — pear-almond, lemon-black pepper, orange-almond and blackberry-ginger.
Despite what wine snobs say about pairing chocolate with wine (don’t do it!), we teamed the chocolate with glasses of zinfandel and pinot noir and had a grand time. Corti’s is at 5810 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento, (916) 736-3800.
Sunday’s cover story in Feast focused on Whitney Johnson, who’s described as the current maven of Sacramento restaurant design. Her clients include some of the most buzzed about bars and eateries in town, including Shady Lady, Hook & Ladder, Citizen Hotel and its Grange Restaurant, and a much anticipated barbershop and bar coming to the R Street corridor.
And now, Johnson seeks two or three interns to help with her bustling business. She’s looking for help to handle office duties, and another intern or two to assist in her design projects. Experience with AutoCAD software and project management is a plus.
The internships are unpaid, but Johnson said that compensation could happen down the line if the work is good. The perks of the job include connecting with some of Sacramento’s leading restaurateurs, plenty of opportunities for tasty food and drink, and a chance to leave a stamp on some “fun, cool projects.”
Says Johnson about the ideal candidates: “First and foremost, they have to be punctual. They should be eager and also humble, in the sense that they’re willing to learn, yet confident enough to make their own decisions. They should be a real go-getter, a real hustler. It’s going to be a well-rounded experience.”
Randall Benton/ Sacramento Bee file
Owner and patriarch Miguel Unzueta, shown at the Caballo Blanco restaurant in south Sacramento on March 29, 2011, died Friday.
A staple of Mexican food in south Sacramento has lost its patriarch, Miguel Unzueta, the owner and founder of Caballo Blanco restaurant. He died Friday at age 88.
Caballo Blanco has operated ay Franklin Boulevard and Fruitridge Road for 53 years. It is known for starting each meal with a complimentary bowl of caldito soup and fried tortilla chips. The restaurant has become a signature Mexican eatery over the years with its long-running and little-changed menu of traditional dishes.
Unzueta entered the United States under the bracero program, a series of agreements between the United States and Mexico from 1942 to 1967 to allow guest workers from Mexico to offset labor shortages in the United States following World War II.
He founded Caballo Blanco in 1961. Its original recipes were developed by the former chef of El Jacalito, a long-gone local Mexican restaurant.