Ocean Beach Foods spices up Sacramento
02/12/2014 12:00 PM
02/11/2014 6:35 PM
Dave Nettles and Kelsi White are spicing up the lives of fellow Sacramentans with their line of locally made sauces. It’s their company name that makes customers do double takes: Ocean Beach Foods Co.
They named their fledgling company in honor of the famed surfing community in San Diego. Nettles is a lifelong surfer; White grew up in San Diego.
“We both have a love of sauces and beach style living,” Nettles said. “We both love Ocean Beach and the name encompassed our lifestyles and what we wanted to be as a company.”
One year after making their first batch of Taquieria sauce, friends Nettles and White now have Ocean Beach sauces in 23 stores including Corti Brothers and Taylor’s Market in Sacramento. Doing all the cooking and marketing themselves, they’ve sold more than 4,600 jars.
“We started with $500 — literally because that was all we had to spend and no one would give us a loan,” White said.
Added Nettles, “We do tastings at the Sacramento Food Co-op and people are shocked to learn that we’re actually the owners of the company. But we’re that small — and that hands on.”
Sacramento has embraced their beachy spin on sauces, they said.
“The reaction has been really great,” White said. “People are always super excited when they taste the sauces. Sacramento loves everything local. And we’re trying to be as local as possible.”
Ocean Beach currently features four flavors — two Mexican and two Indian. The Taqueria and Baja Verde recipes are variations of traditional Mexican favorites that Nettles has loved for years.
“I brought the Indian to the table,” White said. “I couldn’t find sauces I liked. So, I developed my own. Personally, I think Indian food is going to be the next big trend, like Thai. It’s going to really take off.
“In Indian restaurants, the flavors are often ‘dumbed down’ — they’re very heavy with butter and cream or coconut milk,” she added. “I wanted something that tasted fresh, lighter with more intense flavors.”
White worked on her Tikka Masala and Kerala Coconut Curry sauce recipes for months.
“I made curry twice a week for six months, over and over and over again, until I had it right,” she said. “I finally figured out one missing ingredient — cinnamon — then it all came together.”
Ocean Beach rents a local restaurant kitchen to make the sauces, which sell for about $5 a 12-ounce jar.
“They’re locally made and as locally sourced as we can,” Nettles said. “They’re so simple, so fresh and so spicy.”
There’s a lot of heat in the Taqueria sauce; it includes an equal amount of tomatoes and jalapeno peppers.
“We call them sauces — not salsas — because they’re more of a condiment, not just something for dipping chips,” Nettles said. “They’re great in burritos, tacos, eggs. They have a lot of versatility.”
And, yes, you can find Ocean Beach Foods in Ocean Beach, too. White found a gourmet shop in her old hometown that wanted to carry their brand. They’re also looking to expand elsewhere around the state.
Said Nettles, “People are drawn to the ocean. Even though we’re in Sacramento, we’re still California and connected to the ocean. Ocean Beach allows you to have that California feel, wherever you are.”
About This BlogAppetizers brings you the latest restaurant happenings, interesting tidbits on good food and events, and -- of course -- great specials and deals.
Food and wine
Food and cooking
Blair Anthony Robertson
Mike Dunne's wine picks
Join the Discussion
The Sacramento Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.