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Jensen

Sacramento food sources

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In response to the "why isn't this forum more vibrant", I'd like to start a thread similar to the Downtown Sonoma restaurants, food shops, and bakeries thread.

I moved to Sacramento from Vancouver almost 6 years ago and still haven't figured out where to buy good food. Well, besides Corti Bros. :biggrin:

Just last week, my neighbour (another foreigner) took me to Morant's on Franklin Blvd. where we bought some wonderful weißwurst, leberkäse, and other German meat treats. They also had some great kaiser rolls, something I haven't had since moving here!

Shun Fat at 65th and Stockton is a good source for some Asian groceries but, as it seems to be more Vietnamese than Chinese, there are still some groceries that I miss. Fresh dim sum items and fresh noodles are what I miss the most.

Where are some other places to buy good foods?

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Ikeda's is a pretty good source for veggies and dried fruits/nuts. It's also a good place to stop and get some snacks for the drive to tahoe. There's one right off I-80 outside sac.

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I've seen the one in Auburn from 80 and I see on their website that there's one on Folsom Blvd., close to Corti Bros. too. That reminded me that there is an Italian import place on Folsom too; it has a good deli and a few groceries.

Has anyone tried the breads from Bella Bru? Is it worth a trip?

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I'm not a bread connoisseur, but I've heard from a couple of people that Bella Bru isn't that exciting. I've noticed several local bakeries, but I'm not sure if they bake their bread on site.

I'm not a good source for anything fancy, since I do almost all of my grocery shopping at FoodSource, with TJs for a few particulars and the Natural Foods Co-op for bulk. And the aforementioned Italian importing store for cheese. I subscribe to a Davis CSA and get most of my vegetables from them. Jensen, are you looking for anything in particular besides fresh Asian noodles? With so many mom-and-pop Asian grocery stores, it seems like one of them ought to carry them... I'll keep my eyes open.

What I miss in Sacramento is an affordable, but delicious, trattoria-style Italian restaurant. They all seem to be haute cuisine restaurants, or the "Presto Pasta" kind of thing. In San Luis Obispo I often went to a downtown restaurant run by an Italian immigrant where you could get a good-sized plate of pasta for around $8.95. Anyone know a place like that?

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There are a lot of pho shops down on Stockton, close to the giant Asian grocery. I'm not sure where to get good dim sum, though. That's something I miss about SF. Corti Brothers is great (especially their meat!), except for their produce, which is a little lacking. There's a new Whole Foods, but I wouldn't go there for produce, either. It's all overpriced and undersized. The co-op on Alhambra, or subscribing to a CSA, is probably your best bet.

And Gretch, for Italian, we usually go to Cafe Milazzo, because it's a pretty good neighborhood resturaunt. I haven't been there for dinner, though. Only breakfast and lunch. Lunch is a very good deal, at least.

Edit: Also, be sure to try NV Vegetarian Resturaunt in Woodland. It's really quite amazing how good their fake meat dishes are. And I never thought I'd say such a thing.


Edited by plk (log)

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Has anyone been to David Berkley? It's a wine and specialty food grocery. I keep meaning to check it out, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Yes, I've been several times. They have a very nice wine selection and a great deli/gourmet counter. The center they're in, The Pavilions, is probably one of the most upscale in all of Sac.

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I'm not really looking for anything specific. I just liked the idea of starting up a Sacto-based thread. And look! It worked! :biggrin:

I've found that most of the Asian noodles available here are Vietnamese, rather than Chinese. So, there are a lot of rice noodles a la pho but not so many other types of noodles (like Chinese fun noodles or Shanghai noodles or those sorts of things).

I've been buying most of my produce from the farmer's market. I live relatively close to the Sunrise Mall, one of the year-round markets.

Does anyone know anything about a CSA from the Rudolf Steiner College? I was looking at their website section on Biodynamic Gardening classes and read this:

The biodynamic garden at Rudolf Steiner College is situated at the center of the 13-acre campus. The garden includes a market garden for 40 families operated as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), as well as an herb garden for medicinal plants and biodynamic preparations.

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To keep the Sacto thread going, I've got a question:

I'm looking for a place that would be good for a day-after-wedding brunch with family and other out of town guests. A toddler will likely be brought along, so the atmosphere should be somewhat ... relaxed. I think that something along the river would be nice (it will be summer, so it would be great to eat outside), but I'm just not all that familiar with resturaunts in the area. We just rarely eat out. Ideas?

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Has anyone been to David Berkley? It's a wine and specialty food grocery. I keep meaning to check it out, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Yes, I've been several times. They have a very nice wine selection and a great deli/gourmet counter. The center they're in, The Pavilions, is probably one of the most upscale in all of Sac.

I think there is a Williams-Sonoma in that center also.

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To keep the Sacto thread going, I've got a question:

I'm looking for a place that would be good for a day-after-wedding brunch with family and other out of town guests.  A toddler will likely be brought along, so the atmosphere should be somewhat ... relaxed.  I think that something along the river would be nice (it will be summer, so it would be great to eat outside), but I'm just not all that familiar with resturaunts in the area.  We just rarely eat out.  Ideas?

Isn't there a place down by the new water pumping station? I don't really know too much about dining here either.

I did eat at Masque last year and was pleased with the food there. It's certainly not near the river but they might have a patio.

In other Sacto news, I did find a very nice cheese shop today. My friend and I were out for a "field trip", doing the Auburn-Coloma-Placerville loop. We went into Dedrick's Main Street Cheese; the smell alone was enough to make me happy!

I bought some gruyere, some reblochon, and a loaf of seeded rye bread from the Sierra Rizing Bakery. Can't wait to eat it all...

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Yeah, I think there's something by the water pumping station, but it's been months since I've been down that way (the bike paths on the river are great, but not so much in the winter), so I couldn't remember if I'd really seen something or not. I'll look into it, and Masque, too. Thanks!

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My friend and I have been trying to get to Karen's Bakery in Folsom for quite a while now and we finally made it!

After hitting the farmer's market at Sunrise Mall, we headed out to Folsom. Although Karen's has a lot of sweet stuff on the menu, my friend and the Spawn went for savouries.

Marge's breakfast tortilla with English breakfast tea:

gallery_11420_759_22374.jpg

It was garnished with the most amazing pesto! Yum!

The Spawn's grilled sun-dried tomato sausage plate and an Italian soda:

gallery_11420_759_29419.jpg

And my fruit salad and green tea:

gallery_11420_759_24003.jpg

After enjoying the scene on Karen's patio, we headed out to Newcastle to check out Newcastle Produce. Along the way, we took a wrong turn and decided to take surface roads out to Newcastle, instead of I-80. That led us to two serendipitous discoveries: Griffith Quarry Park (where we decided we would return one day soon for a picnic) and Newcastle Cheese and Deli.

Who would believe that I would find TWO cheese shops in the same week?

I didn't take a photo inside the cheese shop but here's one of the hours/parking sign outside, along with the bottle of Rat Bastard root beer the Spawn insisted I buy for her:

gallery_11420_759_40875.jpg

I bought two pieces of cheese: one was a locally-made layered cheddar with blue cheese and some other white cheese called "Shaft's Serendipity" (from Cedar Ridge, up by Grass Valley) and the other was Somerdale Red Dragon, a Welsh cheddar blended with whole-grain mustard seeds and Welsh ale.

Then, it was on to Newcastle Produce!

gallery_11420_759_39555.jpg

What had drawn me out here was a mention in their website's newsletter that they had different types of potatoes. And so, I bought some Maris Piper potatoes and two other types whose names escape me at the moment, all from Twin Brook Farms in Loomis. I also found some Half Moon Bay brussels sprouts. Yippee!

Other purchases include a rosemary baguette from the Truckee Sourdough Baking Company, a packet of Tongues of Fire beans, a packet of Eduardo's Paglia e Fieno egg noodles, and a mix for roasted garlic and potato soup (purchased at the behest of the Spawn).

All in all, it was a very successful shopping tour!


Edited by Jensen (log)

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Chanterelle might be a place to look at for the brunch. It's in my neighborhood so I pass by often, and there are usually a few children around. Downtown, so not by the river, but it's lovely.

The NV restaurant ("the fake meat place," we call it) really is amazing. They've scaled their hours back a lot, though.

It seems like the Ticket and SN&R are always reviewing pizza places, but never my favorite, which I think is called Slices--but it might be Pieces--anyway, it's on 21st and Capitol. The pizza is excellent and the atmosphere reminds me of a real Italian neighborhood Pizza a Taglio.

Also, my new favorite Thai restaurant is Gaesorn, I think 12th and I. It's much better than Amarin, which is in the same neighborhood.

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A good place to shop besides Corti Brothers is Taylor's Market, on Freeport. Much better produce than Corti Bros. and a meat counter that's equally nice. And the co-op is great, especially for produce.

I haven't found really great bread in Sacramento yet, sadly. I moved here last summer from SF and really miss Acme. I like some local bakeries OK, but they're just not quite the same. Anyone have any favorites I might have missed?

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My neighbour and I took our weekly field trip today and, as it's been raining most of the day, we decided to hit some interesting food shops around town.

We started out with Corti Bros. (K. had never been) and then the Italian import shop. Then, we went to Ettore's on Fair Oaks Blvd. I bought some dinner rolls there and, although they were better than most of the rolls I've ever had in Sacto, they weren't spectacular.

Next up, we stopped at Naroe's East-West European Bakery, also on Fair Oaks Blvd. K. had seen some of their bread products at Winco Foods, which is how we knew to look for it. I bought some interesting stuff here: birch juice, puff pastry squares out of the freezer (I'm hoping it comes from the bakery next door!), and a loaf of Armenian flat bread. Their other breads looked wonderful too but, as I had just bought the rolls at Ettore's, I controlled myself.

Lois, this isn't the sort of European artisanal bread that you see at places like Whole Foods, etc., but it smelled and looked really good. You might like to check this one out.

Then, we stopped at the Odessa Market, a little further along on Fair Oaks. This used to be called Ararat Groceries or something like that. There were some interesting products in here...a lot of syrups and flavourings (like rose water). Here I couldn't resist buying a bottle of pomegranate molasses. I have no idea what I'll use it for but I'm sure I'll find something.

After that, we went off on a quest for a Jewish deli that K. thought was on the corner of Fair Oaks and Madison. We didn't find it (turns out to be on Greenback and Fair Oaks) but we did find the Desi Bazaar, an Indian market. I didn't buy anything but it did make both of us ponder having an Indian dinner one night.

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Then, we stopped at the Odessa Market, a little further along on Fair Oaks. This used to be called Ararat Groceries or something like that. There were some interesting products in here...a lot of syrups and flavourings (like rose water). Here I couldn't resist buying a bottle of pomegranate molasses. I have no idea what I'll use it for but I'm sure I'll find something.

There is a HUGE russian population in sacto, my russian friends there shop in stores that sell everything from russia, including kvass, vodka, black bread, pickles, and captain fish. odessa might be the one they go to, there might be others......i've also heard there is a big russian smorgasbord buffet type place, don't know if its good, but sounded intriguing to me........

great pho in sacto, esp out along stockton blvd. and i like pho bac in davis.

oh yeah, and for dim sum, ask daryl corti where he goes, cause we discussed going to dim sum last time i was there. in the end we didn't, we had a dinner party with friends instead, but it made me think that he would have to know a good place if he suggested it.

ettores has good challah on fridays. and roma pizzeria 2, on stockton i think, has a great margarita when tomatoes are in season. i like their garlic spaghetti too. when tomatoes are in season, get maria (the owner) to make one just for you! (i'm not sure its on the menu).

taylors market is good, and farmers for fresh stuff. sat morning the davis farmers market is great too. oh, and when you're near taylors market, stop at taylors cafe (right across from vic's which makes the best old fashioned ice cream, i like rocky road) anyhow taylors is a hang out of this upscaleish old fashioned neighbourhood. bob taylor used to be a traffic cop and terrorized every speeder in sac. my aunt was one of them. now she's one of his customers. go a couple of times and you become a regular, the big table in the middle has so many regulars there, i'm very fond of the weather in the helocopter guy, is his name bob too? or is it dan. anyhow he's delightful.

taylors makes a good breakfast sandwich, filled with the things we love that clog our arteries. if i buy one i take it apart, then eat all the ingredients separately: the bacon and potatoes and egg and bun.

my husband likes little prague in davis, great sauerkraut soup but a trifle expensive i thought. still, the soup was soooo divine, and the schnitzel pretty darned good too. When our schnitzel was gone, (we shared a plate) and our side of both sauerkraut and red cabbage eaten up, and everyone was ordering dessert, i ordered a second bowl of sauerkraut soup instead. yum yum yum.

i like the sandwiches at bon air market.

oh, yeah, and the hof brau. haven't been there in years, but i now its still going.

oh, there is a chinese place on broadways, is it called new station? smells divine, a friend always goes there. lots of chinese places that do the one big fish number which i love.

avoid the chain restaurants that abound. when visiting my family, if they mention mimis or macaroni\s grill or the olive garden i start working very hard to get them going into a different direction. whew. ain't always easy but i'm determined.

cheers, and good luck in finding some good bread in sacto. and when you do: could you post it or email me and let me know?

by the way, corti has some fabulous things that you won't get anywhere else: interesting legumes. and cured meats that are fabulous for cooking with them.

x marlena

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ooooops, sorry, i didn't get the quote marks right in my posting, first para should be quoted.

the rest are mine.

x m

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Jensen, thanks for the tip on Naroe's. As it happens, I bought a loaf of their sliced bread (sourdough wheat) a couple of weeks ago at the co-op and it made good morning toast, though it dried out fast. I've been wanting to get to the actual bakery to check out other offerings.

I'll have to check out the other stuff along Fair Oaks, too, the next time I'm out that way. I love Russian markets especially. Oh, and on the pomegranate molasses: I once had an almond-milk panna cotta, I think, that was drizzled with pomegranate molasses and it was spectacular, so you could try something like that.

marlena, Roma Pizzeria 2 is out on Folsom (past Sacramento State), not Stockton. It's in kind of a bleak location, but I agree that they have good pizza, and Maria (the owner) is great. I'm pretty sure the margherita is on the menu year-round.

By the way, if you have the name of the big Russian smorgasbord restaurant, I'd love to know.

And I'll post if I find spectacular bread. I'm thinking of just starting a campaign to get Acme to distribute up here. It's not that far from Berkeley!

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Oh, and on the pomegranate molasses: I once had an almond-milk panna cotta, I think, that was drizzled with pomegranate molasses and it was spectacular, so you could try something like that.

Thanks! So far, I've added it to some baked acorn squash which I then used along with the puff pastry squares to make little squash turnovers. I've also added it to sparkling mineral water just to add a little flavour.

Tomorrow's field trip is to Davis so I'll be reporting back on that! (Marlena, I'm pretty sure we will be going to Little Prague for lunch and then Konditorei for dessert!)

Edited for verb tense correction.


Edited by Jensen (log)

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I second the Taylor's recommendation. I buy most of my meat there. As previously noted, they also have a fine produce section. But for the best seasonal produce, you really have to hit the farmer's markets. (Or, you can pay obscene prices for the organic stuff at the Natural Foods Co-Op - though I still think much of the stuff offered at the farmer's markets is better.)

Sunday under the freeway (5th and X) is the most extensive of the regular markets. Obviously, it's better during the summer than any other season. But you can find some pretty good stuff there now, too. I'd tell you which growers have the best products, but that'd be giving away too many secrets. ;-)

Selland's Market Cafe (owned by The Kitchen folks) also has really good meats and a spanky deli, as well as some fine desserts. But it's not the sort of place you want to shop at when you're really hungry. You can wind up dropping a small fortune on a pint of this, a half-pound of that - and, oohhh, two of those, etc.

If you're in the central city area and don't feel like driving down to South Sac for Asian foodstuffs, then check out the market on Broadway and 11th, or thereabouts. It's on the north side Broadway between the original Tower Records and Target - though much closer to Target than Tower.

You won't find great dim sum here. Sorry.

Masque doesn't serve brunch or lunch, btw. They have a casual side, the Cantinetta, but it ain't nearly the same.

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I like the market under the freeway as far as selection goes but, my god, the noise is enough to drive one mad! I actually prefer the spring and fall markets as there are more vegetables available; stone fruit season is a real drag for me... :biggrin:

Today's trip to Davis was, for the most part, a great success. We had an excellent lunch at Little Prague; the Spawn had their potato pancakes, K. had their vegetarian sandwich, and I had a bowl of borscht and a side of Czech dumplings. I decided to have a beer with lunch and so the server gave me a little "beer quiz" in order to recommend a beer to me.

"Do you like light or dark beer?"

(Okay, my first response was "yes" but then I went with dark.)

"Sweet or not so sweet."

I told him I liked a hoppy beer. At that, he just nodded and said "I've got the beer for you."

Zev Black Lion

It was excellent and I've already looked for a Sacramento source (BevMo has it on their website).

In wondering around downtown Davis, we stumbled across Kim Market, an Asian shop with a great selection of mostly Korean and Japanese foods. They even had fresh kim chi in the refrigerated case; I would have bought some if it was going to be our last stop but, as it was far from that, I passed it up in favour of a package of uji cha soba (buckwheat soba noodles made with green tea).

The farmer's market was, on the whole, disappointing. I thought being closer to the coast that there would be a wider selection than what we see here (or at least some things that haven't started to appear here yet) but there were very few vendors in attendance and most of them seemed to have only citrus. I did find some pea shoots (which I'll probably eat with my soba noodles), a loaf of rosemary bread, and some sunflower sprouts.

On to Konditorei...outstanding! K. had Topfenstruedel with vanilla sauce, I had pear marzipan souffle with vanilla sauce, and the Spawn had one of their traditional cakes (something with berries, yogurt, and chocolate). We sat on their patio and practised our French (the Spawn) and German (me).

I brought a slice of Black Forest cake home for the Spouse. He said it was very good but it didn't compare to the Black Forest cake available at the Old Dutch Inn at home.

We stopped at an Ikeda's stand on Mace Blvd, just off the freeway, before heading home. They had some beautiful artichokes from Castroville so I picked up two for the Spawn and me to have for lunch tomorrow.

So, all in all, another successful field trip day!

Edited because I've obviously forgotten some of the basic rules of English grammar.


Edited by Jensen (log)

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Here’s our list:

Farmers Market - there was a mention of a markets at 5th and X under the freeway but I think the market (perhaps a different one) is at 10th and X under the freeway. Sunday mornings, seasonal products and some fish, meat, baked, and dried foods. We’ve found the prices to be half of what is charged at the other Farmers Markets. Summer fruits can be amazing.

Grocery - Nugget Market http://nuggetmarket.com/, very nice produce, baked goods, deli, Harris ranch meat, nice wine selection. Prices are on the higher end but a very nice market.

Oriental Grocery - SF Market at Stockton and 65th in the Pacific Plaza. Amazing place. Full butcher department and fish department. Great oriental greens. Fruit selection can be sad but who cares. Huge selection of bottled, canned, dried, frozen oriental products. This is as good as it gets for an oriental super market.

Butcher - Long Horn Meats in Newcastle. These people are in the small grocery/market in Newcastle. They’re a separate operation from the market but in the back of the store. They break their own beef from local ranchers. Expensive but the real thing for an old style butcher. The freezer case will have venison, lamb, buffalo, and I just bought frogs legs. Interesting people to talk to and worth a stop if you’re a meat eater and close to Newcastle (and stop at Newcastle Produce also).

Dim sum at New Canton 2523 Broadway. Pretty good Dim Sum, we go on Sunday after we shop at the Farmers Market (above). Go upstairs for the big room hustle and bustle. We get there at 11 and get seated, but noon there’s a line waiting for tables.

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Oriental Grocery - SF Market at Stockton and 65th in the Pacific Plaza.  Amazing place.  Full butcher department and fish department.  Great oriental greens.  Fruit selection can be sad but who cares.  Huge selection of bottled, canned, dried, frozen oriental products.  This is as good as it gets for an oriental super market.

Yes, but unfortunately for those of us who crave Chinese foods, it's heavy on the Vietnamese groceries. We still get out there for a food run now and again though, always making sure to time it around lunch so we can have a bowl of soup at the Noodle House.

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