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Archive for March, 2011

PostHeaderIcon 6 Signs You May Be a Food Idiot!

Are you a foodie?

From the refined to the revolting: Six signs that you may be a food idiot

1.  Eats, but doesn’t cook

Tends not to cook, and is therefore unable to enjoy food based on the amount of effort, pleasure or hilarity that went into making it. Is often resented as a result by his or her host for making only faintly positive remarks, e.g., “The meringue’s a little soft, but the raspberries are very good for mid-winter.” Makes you want to plunge a fork into his tongue.

2.  The more esoteric, the better

The more esoteric, illegal, hard-to-procure and expensive the ingredient, the more the extreme foodie adores it. Thrilled by plates that consist of a single perfect sorrel leaf, which sits on a scallop, which sits on a tablet of pork belly marinated in 7-Up, which in turn is sandwiched under some pea puree anointed with truffle oil.

3. Judgmental

Prefers judging food to experiencing it. May be vegan. Loudly corrects the taste-impressions of others, often disdainfully. Someone sips a fresh Ontario riesling, and says “A hint of lemon?” To which the extreme foodie does not hesitate to say “Lemon balm!” in an imperious and corrective tone. Is willing to send a dish or even several dishes back to the kitchen for improvement, several times if necessary, but still believes he’s a charming and expert flirt. Is more interested in status than pleasure, and always prefers eating up (risotto, duck confit, wild boar) to common fare (cod cheeks, hot dogs, drippings on bread).

4. Bash, bash, bash

It is never enough for the extreme foodie to tout his region’s fare; he must also bash another region for ignoring it. E.g.: “The biggest problem we’ve had with Niagara wines, quite frankly, is that Torontonians are too ignorant to know how good they are.” Generally makes these remarks about a wine that could be used to strip the paint of an old door. Tends to be over-specific talking terroir: the food twit can identify not just the vineyard or even the bench his wine came from, but the direction the tractor was headed when the grapes were clipped. And you can’t.

5. Nearly erotic

The extreme foodie concentrates exclusively on taste, rather than on satisfaction (and never that of others) or the stories surrounding a dish. As a result his judgments tend to be prematurely micro-orgasmic, a series of adjectival anticlimaxes: “delirious,” “trenchant,” “sublime,” “ambrosial,” as opposed to “that scallop taco made me want to pull my pants down.”

6. Uses the word “foodie” to describe self

Published by: Ian Brown  From Saturday’s Globe and Mail

PostHeaderIcon Celebrity Chef Challenge in Sacramento April 29th

Sacramento is quickly becoming a hot spot in the Culinary World. New and unique eateries have opened their doors across the Capital City and culinary arts programs are filled to the brim with students eager to try their hand at running a professional kitchen.  With the right climate for fine wine and a collection of stellar breweries, the Sacramento region has seen a gastronomic explosion on a grand scale.  And, what better way to celebrate this culinary surge than with a little friendly competition?

On Friday, April 29th, the Celebrity Chef Challenge will separate the chefs from the cooks as six of our region’s finest compete for culinary glory. Challengers will have 45 minutes to turn five secret ingredients into three power-packed dishes in front of a live audience. “We wanted to bring the excitement of “Iron Chef” cooking to Sacramento,” said Diana DeRodeff, Executive Director of InAlliance, the non-profit organization that hosts the event.

The event will be held at the California Automobile Museum (formerly the towe), which houses nearly 72,000 square feet of automotive excellence.  For the $50 advance ticket price, guests will get to tour the museum, watch the challenge and the cake competition, and sample from over 100 restaurant, wineries and breweries.

The 2011 Celebrity Chef Challengers include: Evan Elsberry of Evan’s Kitchen, Jim Turknett of the Vizcaya Pavilion, Keith Erickson of Colusa Casino Resort, Mark Liberman of Black Sheep Butchery, Ramiro Alarcon of Tequila Museo Mayahuel and Richard Pannell of Table 260.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online by visiting www.chefevent.com or by calling 916-381-1300 x 170

A big part of the Celebrity Chef Challenge is our fantastic Food, Beer and Wine Show. Over 100 restaurants, wineries, breweries and specialty shops host vendor booths where they meet our guests and offer samples of their scrumptious specialties!   See you all there!

PostHeaderIcon Green Festival Coming to Northern California

Green Festival is about you.  Your first Green Festival experience may be discovering how to grow your very own organic vegetables, or laughing and interacting with our children in the Green Kids’ Zone.  Or, after finding a new career last year in the Green Business Pavilion, your experience this year may be learning how to build your new home.  You might return to Green Festival year after year to indulge in responsible shopping, organic vegetarian cuisine and fair trade chocolate.  With 125 visionary speakers, 300 green exhibitors, live music, organic wine and beer, hands-on workshops and so much more, Green Festival is where your community comes together.  Recharge your batteries with all the hope, inspiration and practical ideas you’ll find at the one and only Green Festival.   The Nation’s Premier Sustainability Event:  San Francisco April 9-10, 2011 at the CONCOURSE EXHIBITION CENTER.   Visit: www.sfvenues.com or www.GreenFestivals.org for more information on this great event you and your family won’t want to miss.

PostHeaderIcon Food Sovereignty on the Rise

Food prices around the world are surging.  Local organic farmers across the nation are less affected by the growing rise in food price swings precisely because they consume much of what they harvest, and they sell the rest to local markets.  These farmers have achieved at the household level a “food democracy,” and what the small farmer coalition, Via Campesina, calls “food sovereignty” at a national level.
A country has “food sovereignty” when its people consume safe and nutritious food largely grown by their own small farmers.  Significantly fewer countries sustain this sovereignty today than a generation ago.  The reigning development model pushed by World Bank and other experts has left many countries exporting more cash crops like flowers and gourmet vegetables, and importing more of their staple foods. But there is more to food sovereignty than freedom from imports.  In richer countries, food purchases make up a relatively small percent of household budgets.  Here in the United States, we spend an average of only seven percent of our budgets on food, although that number rises in poor urban neighborhoods.
Between July of last year and this January alone, the price of wheat has doubled.  Indeed, the cost of food has now passed the record levels of 2008, when angry citizens staged huge protests in dozens of countries.  Currently, protesters across the Middle East include lowering food prices among their demands.  When prices go up even a bit, millions more people starve.

In Tunisia and Egypt, the average person spends more than a third of their household budget on food, and thus more people feel food price hikes daily in the pits of their stomachs. The food markets in poorer nations feel the consequences of these price hikes immediately.

While millions are suffering as the result of volatile development models, the food emergency of 2011 can convince more countries to reject conventional “wisdom” that says exporting and importing more is the right path to food security.

There are food sovereignty lessons to be learned from countries all over the world who don’t rely on exporting or importing as their means of survival.  Countries that rely on their local roots; crops and local businesses seem to be not as affected by the spiraling prices.  In addition, there is evidence that, as food costs have risen people are returning to native-grown crops in place of expensive imported food.

Reports support that the world will not stop hunger and climate change with industrial farming on large plantations. The solution lies in supporting small-scale farmers’ knowledge and experimentation, and in raising incomes of smallholders so as to contribute to rural development.” In many countries like the Philippines, local farmers growing healthy and chemical-free foods are on the rise and are taking over increasing shares of local and national markets. It is time to say “no” to food vulnerability and to reinvigorate rooted farms all over the world.

PostHeaderIcon Rain or Shine Walking Food Tours Gain Momentum

With all the rainy weather and the first day of spring almost over……one might be wondering what they can do outside for fun despite old man winter still sticking around to make a nuisance of himself.

If you like to eat, get to meet new people and share in some great food then you might want toconsider taking a walking food tour in your downtown area or the city you are visiting.  Walking food tours are held rain or shine and are gaining in popularity for the best activity to participate in with family and friends.  Participants are primarily inside the tasting locations and enjoy hearing all the great historical facts and stories from their tour guide.  Rain won’t take away the experience you will witness as you take a food tour.  Rain or shine, the  experience you will receive by being a food tour participant is well worth the outdoor conditions that might be hitting your area with weather.  Your food tour ticket includes food tastings such as delicious warm soup, fresh hot pasta, fresh coffee or hot tea, piping hot pizza….all to warm your body and soul and entertain your taste buds.   Bring your family, friends and anyone else who is wanting to go explore your city!  Here is a list of the top 5 items we recommend you bring along on a “rainy day” to make your walking food and cultural tour experience the best time you could have.

5 Top Items to take with you on a rainy day to a walking food tour:

1.  Raincoat and or umbrella.  Boots or waterproof shoes

2.  Bottled water

3.  A waterproof bag/back pack to keep your papers and personal belongings dry

4.  A camera -  you will still find many “kodak” moments

5.  Your sense of humor that no matter what….you will be guaranteed fun with your food tastings led by your talented food tour guide

PostHeaderIcon New SacTown Food Tour Launch Sale 50% Off!

We are officially launching our very first City of Trees Walking Food Tour a week from today. Special priced tickets are available for Tuesday March 24th. 50% off adult ticket price for one tour only! Limited space available so visit us online to book your special launch ticket today. Once tickets sell out we close our bookings. Use promotion code “LAUNCH” to receive your $30.00 Adult Ticket for the March 24th food tour. We can’t wait to welcome you and your friends to Local Roots Food Tours! Tickets: http://www.localrootsfoodtours.com or call 1-800-838-3006

PostHeaderIcon Goat Milk Ice Cream…..What’s Next?

Those of us who live in Northern California are lucky, especially if you are interested in quality food. We have easy access to so many wonderful artisan food producers and growers. CSA (Consumer Sponsored Agriculture) box choices are aplenty, fresh and seasonal at your fingertips, and passionate people with visions scattered about.?   Three women are just such passionate people whose visions came to fruition. Dubbed the “G.O.A.T. Girls”, they know a few things about goats and goat milk products because they are truly pioneers in what they do, with years of experience behind them.

These successful ladies are Laura Howard of Laloo’s Goat’s Milk Ice Cream.

Surprisingly delicious and creamy, Laloo’s ® is made with 100% goat’s milk. It has that custard-like-old-fashioned-ice-cream-parlor-taste, with superior digestibility. Why goat’s milk? This magic elixir boasts more protein and calcium, and a natural structure with alkaline properties that allow lactose sensitive people to indulge! Smooth, rich and dense, Laloo’s ® rivals gelato, but with less than half the fat. So go ahead, eat twice as much!

Jennifer Lynn Bice of Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery

Redwood Hill Farm

Redwood Hill Farm is an award-winning, Humane Certified, Grade A goat dairy farm and creamery located in Sonoma County, California.  Family owned and operated for over 40 years, they are committed to making the best tasting and least processed goat milk, artisan goat milk cheese, yogurt and kefir.

and Mary Keehn of Cypress Grove Chevre

Today, renowned for its innovative range of fresh, aged and ripened cheeses — many invented by Mary — and internationally awarded for excellence, Cypress Grove is a leader in the domestic goat cheese market.

They’ve recently come together in a campaign to educate consumers about the multitude of health benefits and wide variety of goat’s milk products available to us, and that goats are green.

Rising in popularity here in the U.S., many people wonder if the goat variety offers any benefits over cow’s milk. Since cows and goats are both mammals, their milk is similar on many levels, but there are some differences that may offer advantages to some milk drinkers.

  • Goat’s milk is slightly lower in lactose, the sugar in both types of milk. People who are lactose intolerant (who can’t digest this sugar) may find they can tolerate a bit of goat’s milk.
  • Goat’s milk has a slight edge in calcium content, but both are excellent sources providing at least 30 percent of the daily value for this vital mineral.
  • The proteins in goat’s milk have been shown to be less allergenic than cow’s milk. While a true allergy to cow’s milk protein is not common, for those who suffer, goat’s milk may provide a nutritious alternative.
  • Goat’s milk is slightly higher in fat, but the form of fat differs from cow’s milk and may be more tolerable for the intestinal tract to digest.

So now, if your curiosity is peaked, head to one of their websites. Or better yet, head to Corti Brothers, Taylor’s Market, Whole Foods Market, or the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op to pick up some goat cheese or ice cream to try.?   So what’s the G.O.A.T message? Goats are the “greatest of all time”.

PostHeaderIcon Local Urban Farm Programs Reach Out To Sacramento Children

Give a kid a carrot, and maybe that child will eat it. But teach the child to grow carrots? That can create a vegetable lover – and even a gardener – for life.  That idea has led teachers to dig in with their students as school gardens and garden-based programs put kids in touch with nature.  While getting their hands dirty, hundreds of local children earned green thumbs in innovative programs that teach gardening. Besides learning basic botany and earth science, the kids receive outdoor exercise and better nutrition.

One such urban farm; Soil Born Farms in Rancho Cordova is reaching out to Sacramento children and their families.  What they have discovered is that children bring their parents to the farm and show them beans they planted. These kids will help make healthier choices for family meals. Parents are commenting on how their children are now taking pride in their gardens and loving what they grow….they are finally eating their vegetables!

With help from a small group of talented staff and apprentices, foundation grants, grassroots support, dedicated volunteers and encouragement from community partners, Soil Born Farms grew to operate two urban farms on over forty acres in Sacramento and Rancho Cordova. It has evolved into a nationally recognized center for the promotion of urban agriculture, sustainable food systems and healthy food education.

Their programs focus on promoting health and providing experiential learning opportunities for youth and adults, producing healthy food, improving access to healthy food for all and modeling land and environmental stewardship. Beyond producing healthy, certified organic produce for their 80 share CSA and local stores, restaurants, and farm stands, Soil Born Farms has also developed several innovative education and food access programs in partnership with area schools and agencies.

Soil Born Farms works with more than 800 students who takes part in programs on the 40-acre organic farm.  Soil Born, which has two farms, hosts the most extensive local program for students from kindergarten through college.  Soil Born Farms allows youth and adults to rediscover and participate in a system of food production and distribution that promotes healthy living, nurtures the environment and brings people together to share the simple pleasures of living life in harmony with nature.

“Our program have grown exponentially,” said Galante, who launched it in October 2007. “When we started, we had 10 kids come for two hours one day a week. Now we have hundreds involved.”

Youth gardening programs are sprouting up all over. By offering these urban farm programs communities come together to promote a stronger, healthier California.

Kids and their families are getting connected with where food comes from while eating healthy, local and organic. Even kindergartners; the kids are getting it.  Gardening gives kids a sense of accomplishment, and they also give back to the community.  It’s good for building self-esteem and confidence.  “Primarily, our focus is to connect kids with where food comes from,” said Galante, a former sixth-grade teacher. “They get hands-on experience with growing, harvesting and eating fresh food.”

Soil Born Farms has assisted in the development of new urban growing sites including small farms and community gardens. These food-producing resources provide healthy produce to areas in Sacramento with limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Through the replication of gardens and small farms throughout the county we hope to slowly assist in the creation of a truly “local” food system using sustainable food production practices.  Seasonal activities are offered at Soil Born’s two urban farm ranches focusing on many programs enriching and educating children’s lives.

PostHeaderIcon Sacramento’s Farmers Markets Make a Difference in Safe Local Food

Farmers Markets could be considered the foundation of the safe food movement. There are more Farmers Markets than there are Walmarts. More than 50M people are influenced by their local farmers market.
Every Farmers Market has 50-100 vendors. If each market and Vendor or supporting Farmer reaches out to 100 people that is an immediate audience of 46,000,000 people.
How to take part in your community’s safe food movement and why:
  • Local food sources are fresher
  • Supporting Local food sources improves a regions sustainability
  • Take Action at your local farmers markets. Sometimes there are petitions there on safe food and water issues.
  • Many vendors at Farmers markets are Organic.
  • Plant a fruit tree in your yard.
  • Get in a CSA with the farmers for produce you love.

Check out your local famers market or what is growing in your area at
http://www.localharvest.org/ this will let you look up farms in your area.

Sacramentans are lucky to have several choices when buying fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables from Northern California farmers.  A few are open all year long, while others are seasonal, mostly opening in May and running through October. Some are morning markets, while others are afternoon ones.

Farmers offer a variety of fruit and vegetables, but shoppers can also buy fresh tulips, irises and other flowers, organic cheeses, artisan breads and pastries, raw and seasoned nuts, cut and planted herbs, and other specialty food.

SUNDAY MARKETS

Sacramento Central
If you can manage to wake up early on a Sunday morning, make your way to the Sacramento Central farmers market where you’ll find many Asian produce. Shoppers will find great prices at this Midtown market, which is among the larger markets in the area.Guide Tip: Get here early. Since this is a popular market, on a few of my visits, some vendors ran out of food.

  • Location: 8th and W streets, underneath Highway 80
  • Hours: 8 a.m. to noon, open all year

TUESDAY MARKETS

Roosevelt Park
Roosevelt Park is among two farmer’s markets along P Street. Along the perimeter of the park, shoppers can buy vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats, herbs, flowers, baked goods and cheeses.

  • Location: 9th and P streets
  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October

Fremont Park
Just down the street from Roosevelt Park is Fremont Park. Vendors are spread along the perimeter of the park.Guide Tip: Finding a parking space can be a challenge at both of these parks. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a metered spot. Remember to keep track of the time to avoid getting a ticket.

  • Location: 16th and P streets
  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October

WEDNESDAY MARKETS

Casear Chavez
Caesar Chavez Memorial Plaza is abuzz with shoppers from area office buildings at this downtown market.

  • Location: 10th and J streets, in front of City Hall
  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October

THURSDAY MARKETS

Downtown Plaza

Tucked away in the walkway between Macy’s and the Holiday Inn is the Downtown Plaza farmer’s market where you can buy fruit, vegetables, bread, olive oil, flowers and nuts.Guide Tip: Parking can be tough in this area. Your best bet is to park in the Downtown Plaza West Garage on L Street, which is right next to the market.

  • Location: 4th and K streets
  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May thru October

  • Hours: 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. all year long

http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/list.jsp this is a list of farmers markets

PostHeaderIcon Fat Face’s Gourmet Popsicles landing in Sac, Summer 2011!

Fat Face (currently operating in Davis, CA) will be bringing their “outside of the box” gourmet popsicles and raved about sammichs to downtown Sacramento this summer!  Owner, Jaymes originally thought she would start up her own ice cream store until her friend encouraged her to take a different route by buying a popsicle stand bike and selling gourmet popsicles at Davis’s well known Saturday Farmer’s Market…..the rest is being written into a successful entrepreneur story.  Locals in Davis rave about Jaymes’ creations.  Her gourmet popsicles are not your typical “grape”, “cherry” and “orange” flavors.  What sets Fat Face apart from the competition is Jaymes’ creative culinary skills in using fresh, local produce and fruits to create special flavors for the day.  They generally serve six flavors of popisicles at a time — based on what’s fresh, what’s local and what the owner feels like.   Yesterday, their flavors were:

  • Beet Tangerine
  • Brandy Poached Pear
  • Blueberry & Lemon Yogurt
  • Plum, Cinnamon Basil, Green Tea
  • Thai Tea & Sweet Potato
  • Strawberry Basil Lemonade
  • Lime & Avocado

Fat Face pops are handcrafted in small batches.  From raw fruit to a la stick, great attention is made to instensify flavor.  Creations are market-driven with respect to local producers, seasonality and most importantly, whim.
Jaymes expounds upon her experiences as a professional cook and non-professional glutton.  She regularly consults the tastebuds and creative minds of family, friends and customers to keep flavor ideas flowing.

prettypops
Photo by Scott Squire from the book Edges of Bounty

Jaymes says:  Flavors rotate throughout the year with an average of six flavors offered at one time.  The two most popular flavors are Kaffir Limeade & Avocado and Strawberry Lemonade.  When making a selection, I recommend going with the flavor that speaks to you the most at that moment.  I also encourage you to be adventurous and challenge your palate.  You may be pleasantly surprised!

This summer, Sacramentans won’t have to drive out to Davis to try this for themselves. Fat Face is opening up a location across from the Safeway on 19th and S, on the same block as Sweetwater Restaurant & Bar and Massage Envy.  We can’t wait to go try out these treats…..what a great addition to Sacramento’s food scene!

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It is an amazing tour. The history is interesting, the food and wine are wonderful and the tour was small enough, 10 people, to have a great time meeting the other people on the tour.
Goldstar Participant - Tour 5/21/11, Sacramento, CA

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