Free Tickets! Free Drinks!

Sugar Plum fairies dancing in my head

I don’t know about you, but this time of year I start to dream of sugar plum fairies dancing in my head. Lucky for you, rather than watching the version in my mind, you have a chance to win FREE tickets to opening night of the Nutcracker Ballet on December 17 and watch professional fairies dance on a stage. This is the real holiday tradition performed by the Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet.

The first person to email greenbeet AT sacrag DOT com will win a set of two tickets.

Double plum bonus! If you win before Sunday (or if you are already a Nutcracker ticket holder), you can use your ballet tickets to enjoy FREE sugar plum punch (yes, the spiked kind) at Lounge ON20 during brunch on December 5. (Punch is free. You pay for brunch.) And it won’t be the drinks making you see fairies this time. The Nutcracker characters will be frolicking about to add to the festivities.

Yes, indeed! The holidays are upon us. Cheers!

Fresh Peach Shakes Return to Whitey’s Jolly Kone

In case the heat and the State Fair weren’t strong enough reminders that summer is vibrantly in full swing, head to Whitey’s Jolly Kone, 1300 Jefferson Boulevard in West Sacramento. Their seasonally fresh peach shakes are here! Thick, creamy, and speckled with ripe, tangy peaches, you can lose yourself in the moment as you slurp. At $3 for a regular and $3.50 for a large, this is one summer treat that everyone can appreciate.

The scent of perfectly greasy fries and burgers oozing their goey juices over the grill will lure you in. The great prices at this 2009 Zagat-rated burger stand will make you stay. But hurry! The shakes won’t last once peach season ends. And be sure to note their hours of operation: weekdays 8:30 A.M. to 8:30 P.M. and Saturdays 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. I’ve been foiled several times by showing up when they’re closed.

New Malaysian Chili Sauce Only Sold in Sacramento

While the thermostat reads 100 degrees right now, Sacramento’s heat index just went higher with the country’s exclusive supply of Lingham’s Sweet & Spicy Hot Sauce. Local grocery store Corti Brothers now holds the complete United States stock of this fine Malaysian chili sauce. Darrell Corti, international culinary legend, deems this hot sauce, “one of my favorite condiments… It is without peer.”

Manufactured in Malaysia, this condiment isn’t your run-of-the-mill heat infusion sauce. Lingham’s brings bright sweetness and tang, followed by a polite kick to your palette. It offers layers of playful flavor. Corti writes in his store’s newsletter: “The chiles grown for this sauce are usually grown on small plots where the individual growers can harvest them as they turn from green to red, when the chile still has a fruity character and is not all heat and no flavor.”

The sauce contains all that is delicious: chili, sugar, and garlic. It also lacks all that is not: no Msg, no added flavorings or colors.

Continue reading “New Malaysian Chili Sauce Only Sold in Sacramento”

Toilet Paper Saves Lives

If you’re living on a budget, you might have done the unthinkable to get by in these tough times: switched to cheap toilet paper. Going from soft to scratchy is the ultimate fiscal sacrifice.

So imagine how local nonprofits must feel. These budget-savvy agencies (they don’t call them “non” profit for nothing!) have been penny-pinching on their toilet paper budgets all along. In these tough times, there’s really nowhere else to cut back. So when cuts have to be made, agencies look to their life-saving programs.

“It’s amazing the number of expenses nonprofits face that people don’t think about,” said Steve Heath, president of United Way California Capital Region. “Nonprofits work magic with their budgets to make a positive difference in countless lives in our region, but there’s only so much they can do. Donating toilet paper is a great way to join together… ensuring more money goes toward vital programs that change people’s lives.”

Save a life with your toilet paper! (Did you ever think you’d hear that phrase uttered?) Continue reading “Toilet Paper Saves Lives”

Peruvian Food Festival

Succulent chunks of citrus-drenched white fish “ceviche.” Creamy potato surrounding a hidden pocket of beef (“papa rellena”). Flaky phyllo dough nestling layers of caramel cream and dusted with powdered sugar. Sugary sweet bubble gum Inka Kola.

These are the delightful treats that await you at the Sacramento Peruvian Food Festival, taking place right now until 6:00 P.M. at 711 T Street. It costs $3 to get in (kids are free). Once inside, you’ll purchase tickets to exchange for food. Most entrees cost between $8 and $10, desserts range from $2 to $5, and drinks start at $2.

If you’re familiar with the potato and meat-based dishes of Peru, you’ll find your traditional favorites. If you’ve never experienced the region’s cuisine, be adventurous. You really can’t go wrong. Even vegetarians can find a simple dish called “Tacu-Tacu,” a tortilla made with beans, rice, onions, garlic, and hot peppers. And if you need it, they’ll provide you with a menu describing most of the dishes being served.

Do come prepared to use your Spanish. The cooks serving up these tasty treats will be speaking their native language. However, don’t ask what their favorite dish is. I tried, and was met with the same answer again and again: Todo! (Everything!) Although, I will say that I came to exactly the same conclusion.

Sunday Farmers’ Market a Real Catch

You can always catch a deal at the Sunday farmers’ market. Now, you can catch your own fish.

Last week marked the arrival of Passmore Ranch, a sustainable fish farm from Sloughhouse. Crowds gathered to watch as owner Michael Passmore and ranch manager David Kunce gave “fresh” food new meaning. Instead of recently-caught, neatly filleted cuts of fish, the Passmore Ranch stall featured live fish, swimming happily in large tubs of water.

How does it work? Customers can step up to the booth, request a fish, and watch as the farmers make their catch with the mere scoop of a net. Your fish is weighed, tossed in a bag, and handed over to you, still flopping. It doesn’t get much fresher than that!

The fish selection last Sunday included fresh white surgeon, silver carp, catfish, and black bass. The price is reasonable at about $3 per pound. What a catch!

Spring Sun brings Garden Fun!

Backyard Farmer GreenBeet & her 45 lb. watermelon from last summer's bounty.

I have someone I’d like you to meet.
It’s me. Myself. Good ol’ GreenBeet.

Did you know that I like to garden?
Not roses or pansies, I’ll beg your pardon!

I mean backyard farming with veggies and stuff
Not tulips and lilies and pansy girl fluff

I mean heirloom tomatoes—yes, hornworms and all
Watermelon in summer and spinach in fall

If there’s a veggie to grow, I’ll plant it and pray
That the aphids don’t kill it before it sees light of day

But I’m a serious gardener—I only eat what I grow
Well, I make exceptions for beer—I’m no ninny, you know

Now, I’d like to recruit you. Come e-farm with me!
We’ll each tend our own gardens, then meet here for e-tea Continue reading “Spring Sun brings Garden Fun!”

HGTV Design Star Appears in Sac. You Can Win Tickets!

Kitchen design by Matt Locke.

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of those reality TV interior design shows? The fast flash of a bedroom makeover sketch usually plays second-fiddle to the high drama that ensues to complete the project on budget and on time. Well, here’s your chance to take an up-close look at those design sketches, and even meet one of the designers who appeared on HGTV’s “Design Star,” Matt Locke.

Locke will be keynote speaker for an event this Thursday, April 29 at 6:00 P.M. to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northern California. Located at the California Auto Museum, the event is hosted by TV star power Branden Rickman, winner of Bravo Network’s “Make Me a Supermodel,”and is presented by the International Academy of Design & Technology. The night features design plans from the academy’s top interior design students, fashion designers, and graphic designers. These are your future TV designers in the making.

If you can’t tear yourself away from the HGTV network, here’s your chance to get a real-life taste of the action. One lucky winner will get a set of two tickets here! Continue reading “HGTV Design Star Appears in Sac. You Can Win Tickets!”

Win Tickets to Festa di Vino! They have Fudge!

Next Saturday, May 1, celebrate the area’s best in food and wine at Festa di Vino, an event held at the Aerospace Museum. The entire museum will be transformed to host more than 20 local restaurants and 20 area wineries, each serving up samples for you to feast all night long.

Restaurants include 33rd Street Bistro, Il Forno Classico, Iron Steaks, Mamma Susanna’s, PF Chang’s, and more. Wineries include (my favorite) Rail Bridge Cellars, Madrona Vineyards, Todd Taylor, Scribner Bend, and others. Last year’s famous fudge made by nonprofit Women’s Empowerment will also make a guest appearance this year. Trust me, you don’t want to miss that fudge! (I helped make it last year. And helped eat it. By the pound.)

Best of all? You can attend FREE! I’ve got one ticket each for the first two people… Continue reading “Win Tickets to Festa di Vino! They have Fudge!”

Do You Have the Right Stuff?

Four-time Oscar nominee Ed Harris is coming to Sacramento next Friday, April 30. YOU could be there to meet him… If you’re lucky…

Harris stars in the new film Touching Home, based on the bestselling memoir Either You’re In or You’re in the Way written by Northern Cali twin brothers Logan and Noah Miller. The story follows the brothers’ efforts to save their homeless father (played by Harris) by pursuing professional baseball careers–despite their working class background. The publicity folks call it “a coming-of-age drama, an account of overcoming enormous odds and a tale about family and the bonds that matter.”

The movie premiers red-carpet-style with a VIP event next Friday that’s selling for $100 per ticket (proceeds benefit the B Street Theatre). The ticket price gets you into a pre-party with the stars where they’ll be serving up free apps, wine, and Lagunitas beer, followed by a red carpet walk with the stars (and local dignitaries), the movie premier followed by a Q & A with Harris and the twins (who also star in the film), and finally, an after-party at Social Nightclub. The best part? Your favorite SacRag writer (that’s me, GreenBeet, right?) will be there, too. Now that’s what I call a party!

But wait… There’s more! If you have the right stuff, YOU can win a free ticket to join the fanfare. Continue reading “Do You Have the Right Stuff?”