Courtland’s favorite fruit takes center stage Sunday.

Check your recipes and your timer; more pointers from master food preservers.

Jason Poole received the go-ahead to open Preservation & Co.’s retail shop starting Thursday.

Anyone who procrastinated more than a few minutes to buy tickets for the Sept. 28 gala dinner on the Tower Bridge is out of luck. All tickets for the $175-per-head dinner were gobbled up once they went on sale at 10 a.m. today.

The Tower Bridge will once again serve as the setting for a $175 dinner to cap Sacramento’s 2014 farm-to-fork celebration, an event designed to showcase the region’s restaurants and agricultural heritage.

The tomato – much-loved but often relegated to bit parts like sauce or garnish – is finally about to take center stage.

Local foodies take note: in September, the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis will open its doors to the public for the first time ever as it launches its Great Chefs Program.

Which Mexican restaurants serve the best burritos in the land? According to the foodies in the field who report to the editors at the Daily Meal — the website that covers all things food and drink — 35 places go beyond the so-so and into the wow!

Famed creamery celebrates milestone with party in Vacaville.

One of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most buzzed about coffee roasters and cafes is set for a midtown Sacramento presence.

Here are excerpts from a live chat hosted by Mike Dunne focusing on the state of wine and this year’s State Fair wine competition, along with other food- and beverage-related issues.

It’s no secret that Sacramento has experienced a major craft-beer boom the past couple of years. With every new brewery that opens or expands, the question seems to come up: Which of them will survive and which will fade away?

A burger chain with outposts in Sacramento, Davis, Elk Grove and Granite Bay was just named best in America by Consumer Reports, beating out better-known burger vendors In-N-Out and Five Guys.

Track 7 is expanding.

As the saying goes, the latest food festival to debut in Sacramento ain’t no thing but a chicken wing.

Enotria’s recent hosting of (yet another) “grand opening” left many wondering about the status of the restaurant’s former chef Pajo Bruich, that maestro of molecular gastronomy with Michelin-star ambitions who’s culinary brio and poise made the Del Paso Heights eatery one of Sacramento’s best-reviewed spots.

Old Soul, the popular coffee roaster with cafes in midtown, Oak Park and the Sacramento International Airport, announced expansion plans Thursday that will see the company spend close to $500,000 renovating two properties and hiring 32 full-time employees.

Returning in what has become a n yummy tradition, the folks at Nestle Crunch have partnered with the Girl Scouts of America in their joint “reinvention” of the classic Girl Scout cookie (manufactured in Chicago).

GQ magazine’s motto is, “Look sharp, live smart.”

The good times roll on with the return of the annual Napa Valley Festival del Sole, featuring more than 60 events at various venues around wine country, July 11-20. It’s described as “a celebration of the art of life,” which means that fancy foods and precious wines will meet world-class music, dance and theater.

The Travel Channel has long been a faithful companion, accompanying viewers around the globe and introducing them to vicarious adventures they wouldn’t ordinarily experience.

Three-pronged device safely holds vegetables and fruit for peeling.

Traveling craft beer festival kicks off with 108 breweries for gigantic tasting event in Chico.

If you’re the least bit into coffee, you already know that Sacramento has emerged as a well-respected coffee town. We have plenty of great coffee houses and roasters, and the scene is flourishing.

If you’ve checked the weather app on your phone or heard the local forecast in recent days, you knew this was coming: a major assault of heat is descending upon Sacramento. It’s supposed to get up to 108 degrees Fahrenheit today.

Many local restaurants have scored big business with the World Cup, especially in matches featuring the United States. The crowds have been so mighty in some cases that fire prevention officers made the rounds at Sacramento restaurants during Thursday morning’s match between the United States and Germany.

Sacramento chef Evan Elsberry is planning another of his popular themed dinners, this time in celebration of his daughter Stephanie’s 30th birthday. He’s calling it, “Dad, What Are You Smoking Now?” Cute, no?

Most of us would agree: There can’t be too much chocolate. We all know it’s made from cocoa beans, the dried seeds of the cacao tree, and tastes darn good. Science has determined it’s good for us, too, which means we can lose the guilt.

Whether you grill marinated tri-tip or spice-rubbed ribs over a charcoal-fired kettle or gas-fueled range, the California backyard is the summertime site for some of the best ‘cue going.

Owners return to the restaurant business with new Carmichael eatery, the Taj Indian restaurant.

Sacramento’s craft cocktail community is buzzing with good cheer with the national spotlight once again on the city. Just a month following Shady Lady being named by Esquire as one of the top 25 bars in America, Sacramento is the subject of a lengthy feature in the latest issue of Imbibe, one of the leading magazines for cocktail culture.

The judges at the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition considered a whopping 2,829 wine entries from June 4 through June 6. And now, we know who earned “best of show” honors.

Co-owners of Broderick Roadhouse in West Sacramento are taking over two midtown restaurants, Capital Dime and Trick Pony.

The full-page ad in People magazine made the new product look irresistible.

Here’s an example of how cross-marketing works:

New twist on a familiar favorite puts almonds and Grand Marnier into shortcake.

The California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition was held from June 4 through June 6, and now we know who earned medals in what’s billed as the country’s oldest wine competition. The gold medalists include a brand that’s often used as a punchline in the world of wine: Sutter Home White Zinfandel, an off-dry pink wine that costs $6.

No Sacramento Republic FC game is complete without a march into the stadium by the Tower Bridge Battalion, the most ardent supporters of Sacramento’s new soccer team. They show up waving flags and decked in Sacramento Republic FC gear, and perhaps fueled by a pint or two, before marching into the stadium and chanting, “Glory, glory, Sacramento!”

Doughbot, Sacramento’s cutting-edge artisanal doughnut shop, will close its doors at the end of the business day Aug. 3, husband-wife co-owners Bryan Widener and Dana O’Donnell announced on Facebook on Saturday morning.

Known for such sheep’s milk cheeses as Fat Bottom Girl, Marin County cheesemaker also wins for new Moolicious Blue.

Enotria has celebrated three grand re-openings by our count. The Del Paso Boulevard restaurant with a vaunted wine cellar closed in 2009 to undergo a $1.5 million remodel, and underwent a number of chef changes following the renovation. Enotria closed once again in January following a stint with Pajo Bruich leading the kitchen and aiming for Michelin recognition. But the restaurant was resurrected in March, with a re-tooled concept that focuses on hosting events and a limited hours for the general public.

Sampino’s Comida del Pueblo, the Mexican restaurant that adjoins Sampino’s Towne Foods, has been closed since late April. The good news is it’s expected to reopen in early August, said Michael Sampino. He’s the co-ower of Sampino’s deli, with his wife, Gabriela Fabbri, and his father, Bill Sampino.

Coffee-loving Sacramentans have one more place to enjoy their java. An Insight coffee store recently opened in the Pavilions center, joining two other Insights in our area.

Whoa, back up. there, Pilgrim. Is that an image of John Wayne on those bags of hardwood charcoal stacked in front of the Bel Air supermarket? Yep, it’s the Duke, sure enough, and wearing his trademark kerchief and hat, and toting a rifle.

Midtown will get some extra twang with Goldfield Trading Post, a country-themed restaurant and bar that’s slated for a late-July opening. Goldfield will operate at 17th and J streets, in the building that longtime Sacramentans remember as a Sam’s Hof Brau, which later housed Hamburger Mary’s and then Hamburger Patties for a two decade run.

New juice bar specializes in all-organic cold-pressed combinations packed with healthy fruit and vegetables.

Area residents may have a hard time filling their deep-fried asparagus fix after the organizers of the longtime festival announced Tuesday they were ending nearly three decades of honoring the healthy green stock.

Corti Bros. Market meat department manager Mike Carroll is always on the lookout for something new. So are his customers.

Looking for another reason to attend Saturday’s Grape Escape food-and-wine tasting festival at Cesar Chavez Park?

How do you toast California Chrome?

The summer bounty of fruits has arrived and will get only better as the coming months segue one into the next.

A certain amount of training will be required for this upcoming contest, which most folks will be more than happy to do.

Ah yes, the negroni, one of the most classic of cocktails. Its ingredients are but a few - gin, vermouth, Campari and garnished with a bit of orange peel - yet the drink can take on all kinds of twists. Perhaps it’s been barrel aged, like a version poured at Hook & Ladder (pictured above). Or, perhaps it comes bottled with a touch of spritz like the one featured at The Golden Bear.

Adamo’s will serve American-Italian cuisine where Cafe Au Lait once struggled.

The Sacramento coffee scene is being reshaped by craft coffee, or “third-wave” coffee as it is known to aficianodos and industry insiders. Here is a look at other events that have reshaped coffee’s history in Sacramento and elsewhere.

We’re already getting primed for BottleRock, the smorgasbord of music and cuisine on tap for Friday through Sunday in Napa, and now comes more munchie-related news for a major Nor Cal music festival.

The well-stocked delicatessen at Corti Bros. Market made Food & Wine magazine’s list of the nation’s 22 best delicatessens.

Food fads come and go, but some stick around. Ramen burgers, sous-vide cooking, Sriracha sauce, grilled octopus and bacon served many ways, for instance.

Most of us have wondered what really goes on behind the closed doors of restaurant kitchens. Is there a secret society back there? Is the labor really as hard as we’ve heard? What about the artistry of the cuisine? Does that get dilluted on nights when the dining room is jammed? Of course, the biggest question is, Just what are they doing to our food?

If you have a couple of days this summer, one way to beat the Sacramento scorch and grab a great bite is to make tracks for the Monterey Peninsula. Next time you do, try this trio in Carmel, the 1-square-mile seaside village that bulges with 60-plus restaurants. Think in terms of splitting dishes:

Sacramento Bee restaurant critic Blair Anthony Robertson hosts a live chat Q&A at noon Wednesday to discuss craft coffee in Sacramento. Craft coffee, or “third-wave” coffee as it is known to insiders, has redefined what good coffee should taste like and bolstered Sacramento's reputation. Join Blair at noon to share your questions and comments. And bring your coffee, of course.

Sacramento Valley crop cut by 25 percent, but prices for other crops should stay stable.

When longtime friends Jason Boggs, Alex Origoni and Garrett Van Vleck opened Shady Lady Saloon in 2009, they aimed for something “unique in Sacramento.” Now they can raise a glass to national recognition, as Esquire magazine has included Shady Lady on its annual list of the top 25 bars in America.

For lovers of coffee drinks who are looking for low-calorie (50 to 60) options, High Brew is sold for $2.49 per eight-ounce can at specialty stores, including Whole Foods. It’s available in four flavors — Double Espresso, Mexican Vanilla, Dark Chocolate Mocha and Salted Caramel.

We were strolling around ritzy Lake Arrowhead Village in San Bernardino County last week, surrounded by forests and mountains, when we spotted a display of homemade nut brittles set up on a little table. Turned out that elementary-school teacher Bridget Colburn sells her handmade brittles at farmers and artisan markets (as was the case at the Village) and in a few bakeries.

Grab your favorite mug and wake up this Sunday to Feast’s all-coffee issue. We’ll break down all that’s brewing on the local coffee scene, including signature drinks, techniques to try at home and what experts have to say about Sacramento.

Founded 1914, American Licorice Company rolls out updated packaging for its top brand and new fruity chewy Bites.

Saturday mornings in summer brings dozens of vendors to East Sacramento.

The West Sacramento Farmers Market’s DigIn! dinner series begins May 29, featuring Michael Thiemann, owner and chef at Mother, the Sacramento vegetarian restaurant.

It’s official: San Francisco knows too much. Every tiny taqueria in the Mission District has long been scouted out by food-thrill seekers, pop-up restaurants can’t be kept a secret for more than a few minutes and all the top pho joints have been uncovered by Yelpers from Walnut Creek and city-dwelling tech workers alike.

The creation of California’s “Office of Farm to Fork,” which would be integrated within the California Department of Food and Agriculture, took a major step toward becoming a reality. AB 2413, which would establish this “Office of Farm to Fork,” passed on the Assembly floor Monday with a 75-0 vote.

A video of food and dining news by Lisa Howard, community manager for Sacramento Connect, The Sacramento Bee’s blog and community news network.

Sacramento’s Miller Park will be the venue for popular event.

Seems as those big city folk in San Francisco are continuing to warm to its cowtown neighbor about 75 miles away. Following an April article in the SF Weekly which gave well deserved props to Sacramento’s cocktail scene, the San Francisco lifestyle magazine 7x7 posted a piece today about Sacramento becoming a culinary destination for farm-to-fork restaurants.

A rock star and Shady Lady owners drumming up a new Italian restaurant for Sacramento’s R Street corridor.

Fiber fools your taste buds, but also helps in baking.

Popular Food Network star introduces his own brand of flavorful coffees in single serve cups.

Dual graters have sharp blades and sturdy handles that double as storage cases.

How would you like to take a 12-day trip to Hong Kong and China with internationally recognized food and wine expert (and self-described “grocer”) Darrell Corti of Sacramento? In a vicarious way, of course.

“Food matters,” say the folks at the James Beard Foundation in New York City. How right they are. And how serious. The foundation’s mission is to “celebrate, nurture and honor America's diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire.”

The dining scene in Midtown Sacramento has never been more exciting or diverse. If you can’t get there as often as you might like, at least now you can taste a sampling of what all the buzz is about.

You won’t find slow-simmered pozole rojo at the chain Mexican restaurants owned by corporations run by suits who likely wouldn’t know a molé from a guacamole. But you will find the traditional homemade soup at family-run Mexican restaurants such as El Amigo in East Sacramento and La Placita in South Sacramento.

California wines have long suffered from the claims that they don’t age as well as their French counterparts. But does this stereotype hold true?

Trial looks at similar diet and lifestyle changes explored in new cookbook.

Ready to make your farmers’ market visits more than just a Sunday-under-the-freeway thing?

Plenty has been happening in the Sacramento area’s dining scene, some good, some less so. This video by The Bee’s Lisa Howard provides an update.

Cinco de Mayo doesn’t officially land until Monday, but hey, why not stretch those celebrations? This year, Cinco de Mayo is a weekend-long fiesta for many popular Mexican restaurants. That also means you have extra opportunities to enjoy some south of the border fun - and then staying home Monday to avoid the tequila fueled masses.

The California Pizza Kitchen chain has rolled out its new “Next Chapter” menu at its Market Square at Arden Fair site, which was remodeled in November. Other CPKs will introduce the menu in coming weeks, but right now all corporate eyes are on Arden Fair, watching to see how the menu performs.

The 88-year-old Dante Club is looking good for its age. It’s long been a local icon and top destination for social gatherings and fund-raisers.

Fiesty celebrity chef-restaurateur Guy Fieri of the Food Network (and Santa Rosa) seems to metaphorically be on fire a lot, or kicking up one ruckus or another. Remember the San Francisco International Airport incident last October? Or the New York Times review of Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar on Times Square in November 2012?

Shuttered Midtown location will be a neighborhood restaurant with ‘great pizza and great beer.’

A new restaurant is taking over the former Tuli Bistro space at 21st and S streets. The team behind midtown’s Capital Dime are the tenants and will focus on a pizza-themed menu.

Sacramento’s thriving interest in food continues, as evidenced this Saturday by the record turnout for SactoMoFo 7. According to organizers, the mobile food festival drew between 10,000 and 12,000 attendees, which ranks SactoMoFo 7 as the largest food truck round-up seen in Sacramento.

Elizabeth McCleary, owner of Sacramento’s Devine Gelateria & Café, will compete for title of best gelato artisan.

The Stockton Asparagus Festival kicked off today, but ran into weather issues. The festival, which usually draws around 75,000 people, runs through Sunday. Reports predict Stockton weather to be partly cloudy Saturday with a chance of showers Sunday.

A two-alarm fire tore through an east Sacramento restaurant early Friday morning, authorities said.

The Boneshaker Community Brewery, a 4,500-square-foot restaurant and brewery, is opening to the public Friday (April 25) in Rocklin. The brewpub at 4810 Granite Drive becomes the second enterprise of Sacramento native J.J. Anderson, who also owns and operates the Boneshaker Public House, a craft beer pub and eatery at 2168 Sunset Blvd. in Rocklin.

Changing her diet changed her life — and probably saved it, said author Pam Braun. She’s now sharing her recipes and advice.

Best-selling novelist Jackie Collins, whose 30 sex ‘n’ glitz novels have sold 500 million copies worldwide, is also an accomplished cook. Sort of.

In this corner, from Vallejo, California, standing 6 feet tall and weighing in at 225 pounds, is Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, the world-famous chow hound ranked No. 1 by the International Federation of Competitive Eating.

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
cmacias@sacbee.com
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
apierleoni@sacbee.com
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
brobertson@sacbee.com
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob


Appetizers Archives

Note: The Appetizers blog switched blog platforms in August 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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