2nd annual Sacramento Food Film Festival a hit

The second annual Sacramento Food Film Festival was held last weekend at the Guild Theater. Presented by Slow Food Sacramento and supported by a slew of local sponsors, this year’s festival was better than ever. Founder and event organizer Catherine Enfield – who also blogs at Munchie Musings and was one of the originators of SactoMoFo – did a stellar job with both the planning and execution of the festival. In addition to lining up two films on Friday night and a whopping five films Saturday, Enfield organized a series of fun events to complement the films: discussions with filmmakers, a sushi tasting and a scavenger hunt, among others. Below are some scenes from Friday night at the festival. The first film of the evening was "Quest for Local Honey" – a documentary film by two nascent Nevada County filmmakers. After the film, movie goers engaged in a Q&A with the producers while tasting some local honey. Audience members also took home boxes of organic honey graham crackers from Attune Foods, the same company that donated a beautiful wooden bee hive to the lucky winner of the night’s raffle. When the discussion with the "Quest" filmmakers ended, we made our way to neighboring Old Soul to enjoy a generous sushi tasting with Mikuni and Kru, a fitting match for the next film of the night, […]

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Local chefs open new eatery in Natomas

A group of central city restaurateurs is teaming up to branch out into Natomas, but in a more casual setting than their full-service Midtown and East Sacramento locations. Pork Belly Grub Shack is scheduled to open this week and is a collaboration between the owners of Kru, a Japanese restaurant at 2516 J St., and Formoli’s Bistro, which recently moved to 3839 J St. “It’s going to be really casual – burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads,” said Billy Ngo, owner of Kru. “It’s going to be simple, good food, and it’s going to be cheap.” Menu items will feature a lot of pork, with a pork belly grilled cheese, sandwiches built around pork, and burgers such as the Notorious P.I.G., a 10-ounce beef patty with a slab of braised pork belly and pork rinds on a bun. Suzanne Ricci, wife of Formoli’s Bistro Chef Aimal Formoli and one of the partners along with Formoli and Ngo, said pork was the obvious focus because all of them enjoy it so much. “Everyone’s had bacon, but best part of the pig is the belly,” Ricci said, explaining that the savory area will be the restaurant’s focus. “It’s super-basic, super-simple stuff,” she said. “It’s got lots of pork belly, which is really the best part of the pig, and it’s heavier, comfort food with competitive prices.” Also on […]

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Sacramento chefs take on the Vegan Chef Challenge

Ten chefs in the Midtown and downtown area have agreed to take on the Vegan Chef Challenge starting Saturday. Throughout the month of October, each restaurant will feature special vegan items including soups, appetizers, entrées and desserts. Cafe Capricho, 58 Degrees, Bombay Bar and Grill, Tower Bridge Bistro and Michelangelo’s are just a few of the participating restaurants. Restaurant guests who order these specialty dishes will be asked to go online and vote for their favorite dishes. Those who vote will be entered in a drawing to win prizes. Diners who visit all 10 participating restaurants will be asked to score their overall favorites in each category and will be entered into a drawing with even larger prizes. Each restaurant will be competing in categories for best appetizer, soup, main entrée, dessert, most creative and best presentation. “There will also be a ‘Vegan Favorites’ and a ‘Heart Healthy’ category but these are special categories based on vegan voting participation and some of our local vegan nutrition/health-focused experts,” wrote Bethany Davis, an event organizer for the Sacramento Vegan Society who is in partnership with California Vegan Restaurants. Each of the dishes at all10 restaurants have been specially crafted and prepared by the restaurants’ chefs. Vegan cuisine contains absolutely no animal products so chefs have had to challenge themselves to think outside the box and get creative with their dishes. […]

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Sacramento Zoo’s 10th annual King of Feasts

If you’re a fan of Hula-Hoops and a variety of local food, wine and beer, then the Sacramento Zoo’s 10th annual King of Feasts Wine and Food Luau – which will be held Saturday at the zoo – is for you. “The luau is held all over the zoo,” Tonja Swank, public relations coordinator for the Sacramento Zoo, said of the 21-and-over event. “We line the different restaurants, wineries and breweries along different areas of the zoo. Some will be lined along Big Cat Row where the hyenas, snow leopard and where the larger cats are.” Participating restaurants include local favorites such as Zocalo, Taylor’s Kitchen, Kru and Chops Steakhouse. Swank said attendees can expect to find sample-serving sizes of food since the luau is a tasting event. John Ruffaine, co-owner of Giovanni’s Old World Pizzeria, said this is the fourth year his restaurant has participated in King of Feasts. He said his business will be providing three pizza options. Their meat-lover’s option is the Don Giovanni, a pizza topped with homemade Italian sausage and red roasted pepper. Their vegetarian option will be pesto pizza, topped with fresh tomatoes and pine nuts. They will also be serving a traditional cheese pizza. He added that all their pizzas will be topped with extra virgin olive oil. “We always have a lot left over, and we give […]

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The K Street Plan: Local, Green, Historic and Affordable

Disclaimer: This article is my opinion, given as a central city resident and board member of the Sacramento Old City Association. I am not an employee of any of the firms involved, nor the city of Sacramento. I am enthusiastic about this project because it represents the best combination of historic preservation, new development, downtown infill, fiscal responsibility, and promotion of local business, culture, and heritage. In December 2009, the city of Sacramento asked local developers for plans to revitalize the 700 and 800 blocks of K Street. The project area occupies about one city block, around 2.5 acres, on two half-block lots. Four teams submitted proposals, and a five-member committee met three times to review the responses and select a recommendation to the city council. Their recommendation was based on experience, quality of vision and concept, relationship to local goals, proposed tenants, financial feasibility and delivery schedule. Based on these criteria, the committee chose elements of two proposals: the Promenade on K, proposed by D&S and CFY Development, for the 700 block, and a proposal by David Taylor, CIM, Zeiden Properties and Domus Development for the 800 block. The Recommended Plan The proposal for the 700 block includes 136 apartments along the alley side of K Street in a new mid-rise structure, with underground parking at Sacramento’s original street level. The apartments range from […]

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Christmas Party Benefit Will Feature Local Sacramento Restaurants

The 23rd Annual Christmas Party Extravaganza will feature free food from a multitude of hip Sacramento restaurants and establishments.  Tuli, Zocalo, Hot Italian and Kru will all be at the party serving delicious appetizers plus, Rail Bridge Cellars will offer wine tastings. This is heaven for the gastronomically inclined! If you just want to fuel properly before you hit the dance floor, that can be easily accomplished too. Do not miss this unique opportunity to sample so many culinary creations in one place, knowing its all for a good cause. Food is included in the ticket price ($60 in advance, purchase online) and proceeds benefit at-risk youth in Sacramento.           To top it all off, Mix Downtown will host the official afterparty and is offering FREE COVER to those attending this year’s Christmas Party Extravaganza!! Purchase Your Ticket Online Now

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Red Lotus expected in January

Midtown diners and residents who have been awaiting a new Asian-fusion restaurant will have to wait a bit longer. Red Lotus Kitchen & Bar — the newest addition to the 2700 block of J Street — isn’t likely to open until January, said chef Buu "Billy" Ngo, who is partnering again with Peter Kwong after their Japanese restaurant Kru has become a success just a few blocks down the street. Kru opened in 2005. They plan to open their new restaurant at 2718 J St., where G.V. Hurley’s closed its doors in September. Ngo and Kwong bought the business from Hurley’s owners, who had conflicts with neighboring residents. The liquor license transfer is holding up the opening of Red Lotus, Ngo said Tuesday morning. The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s (ABC) Sacramento District is waiting for signed paperwork from Red Lotus. One of the most crucial documents that’s missing contains the liquor license conditions, which must transfer with the license, said Jeff Gregson, a supervising investigator with the district. "It’s just a matter of getting us what we need," he said. "Then we can process the application." Ngo and Kwong’s attorney submitted all necessary paperwork more than a month ago, Ngo said, adding that they’ve been trying to figure out what was holding up the process. Later Tuesday, ABC contacted the attorney to say […]

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Local entrepreneur is first to bring exotic fruit wine from Thailand to the states, and Sacramento

Meet 34-year-old local entrepreneur Makiko Yamashita from Kobe, Japan. Makiko has been living in the United States since 1999 and is freshly graduated from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago. Traveling, business smarts and networking have inspired her to incorporate her exotic fruit wine business, Radee Wine, Inc. She is not only the first person to introduce the wine from Thailand to the United States and is the only distributor in the country—she has brought the exotic potion right here to Sacramento. Yamashita incorporated Radee in August. However, she said she just received her first shipment of the products and began operating just over two weeks ago. As of last week, she said Tower Cafe, Kru, Azul, the Cellar Wine and Cheese Bar in Folsom and Corti Brothers Italian grocery store are now carrying Radee wine. Yamashita had been studying at Kellogg until last year and said she was especially interested in social entrepreneurship and economic development. Her interest led her to participate in a 2007 summer internship with the NGO One Acre Fund in western Kenya managing a passion fruit-growing program with farmers. "That’s where I first really got to know passion fruits, and I loved it…It’s hard to get in the U.S., but I wanted to do something with those fruits," she said. In December, 2007, she embarked on […]

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