Tako’s: Diminishing Returns

When Tako’s first opened a few months ago, I thought the idea novel, not too novel, but just novel enough to be interesting, not Dostoyevsky but Grisham, if you get my drift. The whole “Korean taco” thing has been kicking around a while, most notably in the SoCal food truck scene, but it still has legs and the Sac market shows no signs of being inundated with bulgogi tostadas anytime soon.

So, I figured Tako’s, with its clever name and interestingly renovated old gas station lodgings, had something to say. Turns out, what it wanted to say was unfortunately covered up by sauce, noise, and sauce. Here’s a slowly declining series of visits to illustrate my point.

Visit 1: I strolled up on Tako’s on a beautiful summer day. The lunch rush had petered out, the air was redolent with chiles bloomed in oil, and the faint hint of techno pop wafted over the Bose system. The place felt retro-hip and appropriately kitschy. The menu was Chipotle-simple. Everything smelled great.

Continue reading “Tako’s: Diminishing Returns”

City of (Blue) Trees

The Blue Trees 2006 – Melbourne, Australia

According to Sacramento’s Facebook feed, Australian artist Konstantin Dimopoulos (obviously descended from Scottish prison convicts, you can tell by the name) will be painting a block of Sacramento sycamores blue tomorrow. Look for the trees on 13th between J & K.

When asked why painting trees is his thing, Dimopoulos said, “Trees are largely invisible in our daily lives, and it’s not until it’s too late that we realise how important they are to us both aesthetically and environmentally…Through colour I am making a personal statement about the spirituality of trees and their importance to our very survival: trees are the lungs of the planet.”

I was going to get all snarky on that, but I have to admit I think it’s a great, fun idea. Good on ya, mate.

Apple Hill Unpeeled 2012

Another fall has arrived with its soon-to-be normal range of triple-digit temperatures, hearkening us back up to the ‘Hill, Apple Hill that is. Apple Hill is in the first fledgling stages of  harvest mode, popping the heat-soaked apples off the trees and pumping out cold, sweet cider instead of the warm, mulled variety. Nevertheless,  the crowds are bound to be overflowing this weekend and the apple themed desserts, pies, breads, jams, trinkets, colostomies, and hardware will overflow from the folksy establishments in the folksy land of folksy Apple Hill.

It occurs to me, as it does every year at this time, that some of you may never have been to Apple Hill. Hmmm. I see. Ok… Well then… What the f*$% are you waiting for!?! Someone to spoon feed you ‘Hill info like a mother shoveling thin apple puree in the drooling mouth of an overfed infant? If that’s what it will take, then I’m game.

Here we go: Who’s a big boy? Who? Who? Who wants some applesauce in his little pouty apple barn? Hmmmm? Nevermind, I can’t keep that up.

This year, I’ve added a few new stops on the Sac Rag Official recommended Apple Hill  stops. Take a peek, and feel free to add any recos you might have. Continue reading “Apple Hill Unpeeled 2012”

Doughbot Robbed… err Helped Out By Neighbor

Cookies are a gateway theft. Hide your doughnuts.

In a wonderfully light story from last week: on Thursday morning, the proprietor of local awesome doughnut bakery Doughbot came in during the pre-dawn hours to find his front door molested and his iPad and laptop missing. Sad, discouraged, but resolute, he began his typical morning dough-related work. He posted to Facebook about the theft and Doughbot fans and friends turned out in large numbers to show their support and suck down some bacon/maple masterpieces.

Here’s where the story turns heartwarming. It turns out that the owner of Doughbot’s nextdoor neighbor, Wireless World, was leaving his shop the previous night, noticed that Doughbot’s door was ajar, tried to lock it, and, finding he couldn’t, took Doughbot’s prized electronics for safekeeping so that ne’er-do-wells would not abscond with the objets d’tech during the night. He returned the items after the morning rush, much to the surprise of the ‘bots.

So, basically a win/win for everyone. Doughbot got a big bulge of business midweek (which will help them pay a locksmith to replace their malfunctioning locks), Wireless World will probably get free doughnuts for the foreseeable future, and everyone gets a nice warm fuzzy feeling in their stomachs to go along with their cream filled dough balls.

Burger Battle Tomorrow

Just in case you thought that ramen, or salumi, or Korean tacos were the next big thing, the simple burger is back to establish its supremacy as America’s (and Sacramento’s) original “big thing.” It’s called the Sacramento Burger Battle.

Tomorrow night at Raley Field, over a dozen local burger slingers will pit their skills against one another to see whose burger is the mightiest, juciest, burgeriest, thing you can stick in your mouth. Tix are $55 (which is, yes, a little pricey), but it includes beer and wine tasting, burgers, live music, and ladies who will grind your meat food.

No one under 21 allowed (sorry kids). Proceeds will go to charity, a real charity and not some tea party front organization. Get all the details at http://www.sacburgerbattle.com.  See you there.

New Ramen Shop Coming to Midtown

Here’s the scoop: my favorite Japanese restaurant in town, Akebono, is opening a ramen shop on 19th and S. They’re taking over the space currently held by Jalisco’s Mexican restaurant.

A) I have heard nothing but limp reviews of Jalisco’s so no loss there. B) Akebono’s new enterprise will be pork based ramen only (sorry vegetarians (not actually sorry)). C) It will be better, bigger, and open later than Shoki. D) I can’t wait for ramen weather.

The Pour House: Insert second pun here

Sporting wood, lots of wood.

Opened just weeks ago at the old digs of Whiskey Wild (20th and Q), The Pour House is doing a few things right.

The interior of this place is really pretty amazing. It feels like a converted barn, a secret hideout, a rural county watering hole rehabbed by some visionary soul with deep pockets. Dark, rough wood rings the primary bar, lighting is genius, palette ranges from rich cocoa to calfskin. I absolutely love the feel of the place.

Seems a shame that I’ll rarely go back. And it’s not for lack of service, which is more than adequate (and comely to boot), nor is it for the lack of selection, which verges on copious for beers and solid for spirits, nor for the food which is satisfactory if not memorable, nor for the prices which are highish but fair. No, it’s the crowd. Continue reading “The Pour House: Insert second pun here”

Brilliant, Just Brilliant

A few weeks ago I wrote about the space formerly occupied by Lounge on 20 converting to a German pub. Due to the fabulousness of the neighborhood, (Lavender Heights) there were many names suggested by readers that had to do clever sausage puns. However, the owners opted for Oscar Wilde-esque drollness with their choice of name: Low Brau.

Kudos, witty restaurateurs.

Best Thing I Put In My Mouth This Week: Store Bought Ice Cream Edition

So far I’ve only been able to find it at Taylor’s. Strauss Family Creamery Brown Sugar and Banana Ice Cream (with dark chocolate chunks).

It’s incredible, delectable, and packaged in a diminutive enough container so as not to cause gastric expansion on a geological scale. And it’s from those cute folks at Strauss Creamery who package their milk in glass bottles like right thinking greenies from Sonoma County should.

J.R. Has a New BBQ Pit: It’s the Pits

There’s something sad when an obviously talented pitmaster is undercut by his overwhelming slant towards cheapness. That’s all I could see looking around at the new J.R.’s Texas BBQ restaurant on Jibboom. Cheap bread, cheap condiments, cheap plates, cheap silverware, err plasticware. This is J.R.’s third or fourth location in and around town. They’re all in questionable locations, minimally furnished, and lacking in the homey diveyness of many of my favorite cheap restaurants.

The hotlinks had that distinct flavor of slightly old meat about them like when you take a risk and cook hamburger that’s been sitting in your refrigerator for 10 days. You can smell it from a mile away and can’t get the taste out of your mouth after a week. Likewise, I oversaw someone eating a cheeseburger that looked as if it had come out of a little league field snack bar. We’re not talking about quality here. We’re talking about the lowest common crap you can pick up at the cash and carry. This doesn’t feel like food made with love. And what is barbecue other than lovingly, slow-smoked love? dense cornbread love? overly sweet baked beans love?

This was none of those things.  The potato salad was nice however.

Having eaten the day before at the big Joe’s BBQ the contrast couldn’t have been clearer. Big Joe strives for quality in preparation and content. JR seems to be a cheapskate who likes smoking meat.