Sacramento’s firemen compete in BBQ cook-off

Who says authentic BBQ can only be found in the South? The 2nd Annual “Smoke and Fire” BBQ Cook-off is coming to Sacramento on Saturday, May 4th, and it’s bringing along both cold beer and live music. The BBQ competition heats up with eight Sacramento Fire Station teams, each fighting for the top prize in tri-tip, ribs, and most creative “Chef’s Hat” categories. From noon until 4:00 p.m., various activities will include community booths, antique fire trucks, awards ceremonies and, of course, a BBQ lunch for $10.00 ($5.00 for children). To get their own personal judging experience, attendees can taste three different competitors’ dishes for $5.00. Tickets can be purchased online or at the event. The cook-off will be held at 1409 Del Paso Boulevard, on the corner of Del Paso Boulevard and Edgewater Road. Proceeds from the event go to the Sacramento City Fire Volunteer Reserves.   Editor’s note: Every Thursday we deliver a local event guide straight to your inbox, right on time to make your weekend plans. Sign me up.

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Tako Korean BBQ coming to historic gas station on Alhambra

The old gas station on the corner of Alhambra Boulevard and T Street is scheduled to open next week as Tako Korean BBQ, selling tacos and burritos with a Korean flair. “It’s really big in L.A., and we wanted to bring the concept up here,” co-owner Alex Won said Monday. “We’ll have beef, pork and chicken with a Korean sauce and slaw on tortillas.” The concept is similar to GoGi’s Korean Barbecue, which opened inside Cafeteria 15L last year. Details are still being finalized, but the tacos and burritos will likely be sold in combo plates with rice, and salads will be available. Won said diners should expect to pay between $6 and $8 for lunch. Also planned for the space is a selection of Korean beers and soju, a Korean liquor that tastes similar to vodka but is about 20 percent alcohol, Won said. He said the business will pay homage to the building’s historical use as a gas station, retaining the same look from the outside, albeit with patio tables and umbrellas, and using a retro-themed logo meant to recall the gas station signs from half a century ago. Co-owner Yoon Cho said the name Tako is a play on the words taco and Korean. She formerly owned Yunece 61, a Memphis-style barbecue restaurant. “There, the location was not as good,” she said. […]

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“Live With the Chef” Cooking Class at Arden Hills Wednesday Evening!

Now that the weather is heating up nicely (other than today of course), it’s time to get the grill cooking, too!  Just in time for the start of the summer grilling season, the next “Live With the Chef” cooking class at Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa is this Wednesday evening (starting at 6 p.m.) and is focused on creating a BBQ blast in your backyard.  The talented Chef Rina will demonstrate grilling tips and techniques and share new ways to cook fresh, flavorful and nutritious meals on the outdoor grill. This special monthly cooking class is focused on incorporating fresh ingredients designed for a healthy and well balanced diet. You’re invited to join this ongoing adult cooking series – couples are welcome, too! Due to the popularity of this class, space is limited and reservations are required by calling 916-482-6111. Disclosure: Traci Rockefeller Cusack represents a number of businesses and organizations throughout the greater Sacramento region including Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa

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PHOTOS: Old Sacramento comes alive with Pacific Rim Street Festival

The plink of a ukulele and the beat of drums filled the air when the Pacific Rim Street Festival took over Old Sacramento Sunday. Despite temperatures reaching into the 80s, thousands crowded the streets and plank wood boardwalks from end to end of Front Street to enjoy the celebration of Asian and Pacific Rim culture at the annual street festival. The day included a long lineup of events including live music, taiko drum demonstrations, arts and crafts booths and activities just for children. A bevvy of pageant beauties paraded through the streets during the festival, each one a winner in the 2011 Miss Vietnam Sacramento pageant. The festival is an opportunity for people to experience some of the tastes of Asian and pacific Rim culture, including grilled Thai specialties and handmade lumpia. Everyone young and old joined in the celebration – some even dressed up for the occasion.

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Mongo Mongo Mongolian BBQ opens in Midtown

Mongo Mongo Mongolian BBQ restaurant at 19th and J streets opened Saturday, and owner Jonathan Ng said he is pleased with the customer turnout. “It’s been good, we’re really excited to be open,” Ng said Monday. Much of the interior design still needs to be finished, Ng said, but getting the restaurant open and focusing on the food was the top priority. “It’s kind of barren, but we’re working on it,” Ng said, adding that interior décor details are being worked out. In order to keep the garage doors installed when the business was Garlic Shack – which shut down after only three months – Ng said a unique setup had to be made to meet health department regulations that stipulate the kitchen can’t be open-air. Customers walk in along the left side of the restaurant, go through sliding glass doors and prepare their bowls for the chef. The chef then cooks the food on the Mongolian barbecue – a circular device originating from the shields used by Ghengis Khan’s army – and customers can go to their tables, to have the food delivered when it is completed. Dinner bowls cost $10.95, and lunch bowls – weekdays until 4 p.m. – are $7.95. The restaurant takes cash only, but an ATM is inside. The enclosed kitchen allows the garage doors to be opened when weather […]

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City Hall Garage to get new eatery: Big Joe’s BBQ

Flavorful barbecue and hearty sandwiches will be at the top of the menu at Big Joe’s BBQ when it opens its doors in January at the former Fog Mountain Café space at the City Hall Garage. The City Council is set to grant a five-year lease Tuesday for Big Joe’s BBQ to open at 1000 I St. According to the city staff report on the new lease, Big Joe’s currently has a successful catering business and plans to offer a variety of BBQ sandwiches – including pork, grilled chicken and tri-tip – with side dishes, and the restaurant will have an outdoor grill. For five years, Joe “Big Joe” Dunlap operated Big Joe’s BBQ in Citrus Heights, and Dunlap’s partner, Angelo Negrete, has owned Fuddruckers, a family restaurant in Citrus Heights for the past eight years. Big Joe’s has had a presence at the farmers market at Roosevelt Park at Ninth and Q streets on Tuesdays for more than a year, as well as at the farmers market at Capitol Mall on Thursdays. This will be a new partnership venture for Negrete and Dunlap, who have known each other for close to eight years. “We used to eat at each other’s (restaurants),” Dunlap said Monday, “and we became friends. I said I’d never (open another place again), but I guess I allowed him to talk […]

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Check Before You Burn Starts November 1 in Sacramento County and its Cities

Check Before You Burn Starts November 1 in Sacramento County and its Cities The fifth season of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District’s Check Before You Burn program starts November 1 and runs through February 29, 2012. Residential wood burning will be restricted or prohibited on days when fine particle pollution is forecast to be high. The law is in effect in Sacramento County and its cities of Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Isleton, Rancho Cordova and Sacramento. Residents are required to Check Before You Burn. The District will restrict or prohibit the use of indoor and outdoor fireplaces and wood stoves, and fire pits and chimineas that burn wood, pellets, manufactured logs or any other solid fuel to keep fine particle pollution down. A voluntary request to discourage burning will be issued when air pollution levels are on the rise. Check Before You Burn Categories: Stage 2 – All Burning Prohibited  All burning is prohibited in any device when fine particle pollution is forecast to exceed 35 micrograms per cubic meter. It is illegal to burn any solid fuel, including wood, manufactured logs and pellets. Stage 1 – No Burn – Unless Exempt It is illegal to burn when fine particle pollution is forecast to be 32-35 micrograms per cubic meter unless EPA certified fireplace inserts or stoves, or pellet stoves are […]

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Best French Fries in Sacramento

Imagine the perfect french fry. For me, it’s medium-crispy on the outside, hot and creamy inside, generously salted and with a distinctive freshly-fried aroma. Sacramento is blessed with many such perfect fries and my Potato Posse and I set out on a mission to find them. We limited our search to casual eateries that are local to Sacramento. We focused exclusively on basic fries – no blue cheese topping, pungent garlic or dipping sauces to mask their essence. Just the potato and maybe a little seasoning. Size and shape didn’t matter in our survey– the fries could be regular, thick-cut, shoestring, curly (senseless mutations of perfectly good fries) or crinkled. After much arduous research, we can reveal the top french fries in Sacramento. #1. Texas West BBQ. The fries at Texas West BBQ (Arden Way location) top the “Best French Fries in Sacramento” list. These fries are hot, brown and crunchy on the outside and flavorfully fluffy on the inside. Their varying fry sizes allow for a nice range of textures and the special seasoning subtly elevates the flavor to the highest level. #2. Jack’s Urban Eats. We sampled the taters at the Jack’s Urban Eats in Natomas and found them cooked just right and nicely seasoned with salt. I think one of the secrets to perfect fries is for them to be a normal […]

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Midtown’s My BBQ Spot reopens as Luck’s BBQ

A Midtown barbecue restaurant that closed in late December has reopened with a new name, but customers might not notice a difference. My BBQ Spot, 2502 J St., closed its doors Dec. 23 and reopened as Luck’s BBQ Jan. 7, but the core concepts of the restaurant didn’t change. “We have new owners and the same cook,” said Manager Carlos Lopez. The most popular dishes are the tri-tip and ribs, said John “John-John” McCarty, the restaurant’s cook, who also ran My BBQ Spot for the past two years. He recommends the brisket as well. McCarty added that the menu and serving style are the same as My BBQ Spot. “All of our meats are smoked for an hour, and then cooked,” he said. Lopez said all the food is prepared from scratch, and the barbecue rub is McCarty’s own recipe, with different variations for pork, tri-tip, brisket and ribs. At My BBQ Spot, there was a challenge in which a customer could order a very spicy sandwich, and if he or she could finish it, a small cash prize would be awarded, but that is no longer available, McCarty said. Luck’s BBQ serves lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and caters to the late-night crowd on Friday and Saturday nights, staying open until 2 a.m. Lunch dishes go for $8-$9, and dinners are in the […]

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(Not so) Red Hot Chili Peppers

           Right now, I have 11 different hot sauces and a full pound of fresh jalapeño peppers in my fridge. It’s about par for the course. I incorporate chili peppers into almost every meal I prepare. For me, a really great meal is often a battle of attrition, from which I walk away sweating, with saliva flooding my mouth, tears welling in my eyes and endorphins coursing through my veins.            To paraphrase the great George Costanza, I would drape myself in chili peppers were it socially acceptable.            Sunday was the inaugural Roseville HOT pepper festival & chili cook-off. It is a rare event that can pull me away from the morning games on NFL Sunday Ticket, but a hot pepper festival and chili cook-off is near the top of that short list.            What I found was equal parts street fair, classic car show, farmers market, carnival and cook-off. What I didn't find, unfortunately, was anything that challenged my taste buds or my tolerance for pain.  The "HOT" in "HOT pepper" stood for "Historic Old Town" Roseville, and little else.  Although I was a bit disappointed by the misnomer, I still enjoyed the festival as a whole.            At the heart of the […]

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