Basecamp Pizza/ Basecamp Pizza
Basecamp Pizza in the Village at Squaw Valley will offer specials during Tahoe South Restaurant Week.
You can combine alpine travel with dining deals during Tahoe South Restaurant Week, Jan. 10-17. Its part of California Restaurant Month.
Seventeen Tahoe-area restaurants will offer specially priced and prix fixe menus, highlighting the theme Made With Altitude. The menus will feature a cornucopia, from breakfasts and burgers, to steaks and seafoods. Did we mention fine wines? No special reservations are required.
Participating restaurants include Basecamp Pizza, Boathouse on the Pier, Edgewood Tahoe, Getaway Café, Gunbarrel Tavern, Riva Grill and Sorensen's Resort. For the complete list of restaurants, their menus and more information, go to www.tahoesouth.com/restaurantweek.
Allen Pierleoni/ apierleoni
Seasonal chocolates from Lindt of Switzerland
Chocolate is tempting, resistance is futile. Especially this time of year, when holiday treats are everywhere.
Go ahead and give in to three seasonal offerings from Swiss chocolatier Lindt, which has been making fine chocolates since 1845 ( www.lindt.com).
The Lindor package of assorted chocolate truffles includes milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, stracciatella (the shell is white chocolate with bits of cocoa), extra-dark chocolate and carmel ($7.99).
The Lindor milk-chocolate bag is full of milk chocolate truffles filled with a smooth milk-chocolate center ($3.99).
Sean Kohmescher is the owner of Temple Fine Coffee and Tea on 28th St., Sacramento.
Sacramento’s becoming better known as a beer town, but it’s already on the map as far as coffee is concerned.
Respected online coffee publication Coffee Review released its Top 30 Coffees of 2013 today, with Sacramento’s Temple Coffee and Tea earning the No. 1 slot for its Ethiopian Yirgacheffee.
“We selected the top 30 coffees based on quality (represented by overall score), value (reflected by most affordable price per pound), and a ranking of other factors that include distinctiveness of style, uniqueness of origin or tree variety, certification, and general rarity,” Kenneth Davids, Coffee Review editor, said in a statement.
Coffee Review has been using a 100-point wine-style review for coffees since 1997, but this is the first year they broke out the top 30. Temple’s Ethopian Yiragacheffee scored 96 points in their judging. The average rating for the top 30 was 94.4.
Allen Pierleoni/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Christmas stollen at Grateful Bread epitomizes the baker’s art.
Grateful Bread bakery has been on the scene for 23 years, and each year about this time it offers seasonal goodies that are way too tasty to pass up ($4.50 to $16). Hey, its only once a year, right?
The specialty baked goods are Black Forest bread (chocolate and cherries), Italian pannetone (golden raisins and citron), Swedish rye limpa (orange rind and anise seed), German Christmas stollen (raisins, almonds, hazelnuts and citrus peel), fragrant orange stollen (a best-seller, loaded with citrus) and fruitcake (fed daily with brandy since September). Today, baker-owner Joe Artim will make alpine lemon bread, a puckery treat with a loyal following.
If you cant visit the bakery in Loehmanns Plaza, note that the two stollens are being sold at Whole Foods Markets. Grateful Bread is at 2543 Fair Oaks Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 487-9179. Open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.
Allen Pierleoni/ email@example.com
Add lemon or orange slices, or zest, to oversized ice spheres and cubes for holiday cocktails.
In a foodie-oriented world of high-end specialty stores selling sophisticated cookware, esoteric gadgets and jars of sauces and marinades you never knew you needed, theres the more subtle online Trudeau company. Its stock of innovative quality kitchen products includes a mill that grinds chiles and a stressless garlic press.
We were looking at the the Wine & Bar section at www.shoptrudeau.com when two items stopped us cold, so to speak. The Ice Sphere Mold and the King Cube Tray make oversized ice rounds and cubes ($14.99 each). The science behind them says that large spheres and cubes melt slower than small ones, keeping drinks from getting watered down before theyre consumed.
The molds looked so cool we decided to spend an afternoon chillin with them. Our first batches of ice were big and cold, no surprise. Then we started adding ingredients to the water in the ice molds: slices of orange and lemon and the zest from same, sprigs of mint and rosemary, basil leaves, plump blueberries, green kiwifruit. Like garnish inside the ice, right? The project was becoming more interesting.
Then we stopped using water altogether and began filling the molds with fruit juices orange, cranberry, pomegranate. Why wouldnt a sphere of frozen OJ work in a vodka-OJ cocktail, for instance? Or what about mixing passionfruit juice with lime juice and grenadine for a tiki cocktail?
Lezlie Sterling/ firstname.lastname@example.org
An orange tree is covered in icicles at Foothill Organic Growers in Newcastle on Dec. 6, 2013. Despite freezing cold weather and eight nights below 32 degrees, local farmers say their citrus trees and fruit pretty much survived the frost scare. They’ll celebrate the mandarin crop Dec. 21 and 22 during Orchard Days, hosted by the Mountain Mandarin Growers Association.
Some nights felt plenty chilly, but most foothill citrus growers dodged December’s big cold bullet. So, there will be plenty of mandarins available for buyers during this weekend’s final Orchard Days.
Eight straight nights of sub-freezing temperatures took their toll on local mandarin orchards.
“We probably lost 10 to 20 percent of low-hanging fruit,” said Steve Pilz, a third-generation foothill mandarin grower. “(On the coldest night), the air temperature got down to 22 degrees at 3:30 in the morning. Luckily, all we got were a few flakes of snow. A few years back, we could actually ski on our property.”
Pilz’s family has been growing mandarins in the Sierra foothills since 1927. His Pilz Produce at Hillcrest Orchard in Penryn ranges between 450 and 775 feet of elevation. The older trees help insulate themselves against hard frost.
John Dziekan/ MCT
Heirloom tomatoes, which often look more lumpy than round, helped usher in acceptance of “ugly produce,” expected to be a major food trend for 2014.
Heirloom tomatoes and farmers markets opened the refrigerator door on a major trend for 2014: Ugly produce.
That’s according to JWT, the marketing communications giant. Wednesday, JWT released its ninth annual forecast of future food trends. Along with edible packaging (eat the wrapper, too) and silent restaurant meals (no cellphone or talking allowed), ugly produce will become more common in the year ahead, say JWT’s expert trendspotters.
Prompted by the farm-to-fork movement, this trend celebrates unusual looking vegetables and fruit. Instead of condemning lop-sided tomatoes or warty squash to the compost heap, these natural oddballs could be all the rage. Proclaimed as “Proudly Imperfect,” this gnarly produce is already gaining more appeal than its prettier counterparts commonly seen in supermarkets, reports JWT. Also on the ugly list are vegetables that look less than perfect even at their best, such as taro root and jicama, but are gaining in popularity along with continued interest in ethnic cuisines.
According to JWT, Europe is taking the lead in ugly produce as a way to reduce food waste by selling rather than discarding imperfect fruit and vegetables. Austrian chain Billa, for example, offers a private-label line of “nonconformist” produce dubbed “Wunderlinge,” a made-up word that combines the terms for “anomaly” and “miracle.” German retailer Edeka tested selling ugly produce at a discount, branded as “nobody is perfect.” Meanwhile, British magazine Delicious encourages readers to buy imperfect produce and speak out against regulations governing the appearance of produce sold in stores.
Larry Crowe/ AP
Sugar cookies are a favorite choice for holiday baking and decorating. Make sure to let them dry overnight before packaging for gift giving.
Sugar cookies are a holiday mainstay, but how do you bake perfect treats every time? With Christmas only a week away, theres no time for mistakes or burnt cookies.
The editors of Country Woman magazine shared their best tips for great sugar cookies:
• Use a light touch. Over-working the dough will make it tough. Try to handle it as little as possible.
• Chill. Refrigerate the dough before rolling out; it makes for easier handling.
The Mexican market known as Mercado Loco will reportedly be torn down and turned into a CVS drug store, which has generated some pushback from local Mexican food aficionados and others concerned about the encroachment of chain stores. An online petition is now being circulated under the heading: “CVS: Find another location for your planned CVS store at Franklin and Sutterville. Sacramento residents love Mercado Loco!” More than 300 folks have signed in support.
But the one place you won’t find much contention with Mercado Loco vs. CVS is from longtime Franklin Boulevard business owners.
According to Frank Cable, the president of the North Franklin District Business Association board of directors, a CVS drug store will take over Mercado Loco’s property at 3710 Franklin Blvd. in the summer of 2015, tear down the building and open the CVS by early summer of 2016. This notion doesn’t bother him a bit.
“Not to take away from Mercado Loco - they’re a wonderful business and nice people, but things are still happening on the boulevard,” said Cable. “I think it’s going to be a great location (for CVS). It might be a nice improvement for that corner and bring more property tax dollars that could fund other things. There’s no big upheaval on the boulevard about this.”
For those students who can’t make it home for the holidays, the town of Davis can feel pretty lonely around Christmas time. Some senior citizens in Davis might also be missing family as well, and in need of company and a cheery meal.
The holiday spirit will be in full effect in Aggie Town come Christmas Eve. The 28th Annual Holiday Meal will be served for all who show up to the Veteran’s Memorial Center (14th & B Streets, Davis), which in previous editions has included such traditional offerings as mashed potatoes, stuffing, desserts and much more. And being that this feast will be served in the socially conscious hamlet of Davis, a vegan menu will be available as well.
The Davis Food Co-Op acts as the meal’s main sponsor, with additional support from the city of Davis, UC Davis Dining Services, the Davis Rebekah Lodge and many more. Volunteers are also welcome to help with this meal for 600 people, and dessert donations are welcome.
The volunteer list tends to fill up by mid-December, so call the Davis Food Co-Op to see what help may still be needed: (530) 758-2667.
The wine mags of the world continue to release their best of 2013 lists, and once again, the greater Sacramento area has landed some recognition. The latest instances come via Wine Enthusiast magazine, which published three different year-end lists, and all include some local flavor.
Bogle Winery of Clarksburg nabbed spot #47 in Wine Enthusiasts Top 100 best buys for the Bogle 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel. This $11 bottle was described by Wine Enthusiast as, Great value in a lusty, versatile Zin. (Thats Warren Bogle, the winerys president and vineyard manager, pictured above).
As for The Enthusiast 100, which lists the magazines top wine picks of the year, Easton Wines of Amador County landed at #42 for its 2010 Estate Bottled Zinfandel ($32). For those keeping score at home, this inclusion continues another instance of year-end critical praise for Easton, including mention on Wine Spectators 100 Outstanding Values of 2013.
Lodi was also given a nod by Wine Enthusiast, with Bokisch 2010 Tempranillo ($21) taking #52 on The Enthusiast 100, and an accompanying blurb saying, This has to be one of Californias best tempranillos.
Just in time for holiday shopping, Andy’s was full of curious customers Monday.
The display case at the counter makes decision-making a challenge.
I was running a few errands downtown Monday morning and stumbled upon Andy’s Candy Apothecary, a new upscale candy boutique on 9th Street downtown.
It’s a stylish, well-organized shop full of all kinds of candy selections, many of them grouped into little boxed sets that seem perfect for gift giving.
This much-anticipated shop was actually the grand prize winner of the Downtown Sacramento Foundation’s “Calling All Dreamers” competition.
Owner Andy Paul won prizes worth $135,000 — $10,000 cash, and a variety of business services, along with a year of free rent courtesy of CIM Group, advertising in Sacramento Magazine and Inside Publications, build-out help from Market One and several other services.