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Archive for the ‘Eating Local’ Category

Finally, a great restaurant right in the neighborhood.  O Bento Japanese Restaurant, located at the corner of El Camino Ave and Maryal Dr, is just a hop, skip and a jump from my house and it has quickly become a neighborhood hotspot. Sushi rolls are 50 percent off, which is music to my ears!  Tonight I ordered the Pacific Roll and substituted the tuna with spicy tuna. I love that extra kick. I also ordered seaweed salad and a bowl of miso.

O Bento Japanese Restaurant

Everything was delicious.  The seaweed salad was fresh and filling and the Pacific Roll was plain, no sauce, just how I like it.  A lot of their rolls do have tobiko, special sauce, and spicy sauce, which is typical of American style sushi.  If you prefer that, get the Howe Roll (spicy tuna, deep fried shrimp, avocado, lemon and tabiko sauce).  It is fantastic as well.

hot sake

I am so glad they started a Japanese restaurant in Arden-Arcade.  Let’s make sure they are here to stay by giving them business. Once you try their food, write an O Bento review on yelp. They have seven reviews so far; let’s make it 10.

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If I ever move back to Sacramento, Old Fair Oaks is definitely the place to live.  If not for the American River bike trail, schools, and community, then definitely for its proximity to Sunflower Natural Foods restaurant. This is the best vegetarian and vegan lunch spot in Sacramento since 1978.

Today I ordered my usual: Super Avocado with Cheese.  But they also have delicious milkshakes, smoothies, burritos and a killer nutburger.  Everything on the menu comes with fresh garden goodies like sprouts, lettuce and tomato.  They also have a great selection for kids — grilled cheese, quesadillas, and peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Watch out little ones! Mom and dad might not be able to resist sneaking a bite when you aren’t looking.

It takes a long time to get your food here and unless you hover like a vulture you probably won’t get a table or a parking spot, but that is just a testament to how popular this place is.  It has never kept me from coming back.

Rooster at Sunflower Restaurant
 
10344 Fair Oaks Blvd
916-967-4331

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Roxy Bar and GrillI’ve always heard good things about Roxy Restaurant and Bar on Fair Oaks Blvd in Sacramento.  This week I went there for the first time and I would say the food definitely lived up to the hype.  I ordered the slow braised short rib sandwich with goat cheese, pickled fried jalapeños and steak sauce.  What a good combination of flavors!  Top it off with stringy garlic fries and a breezy afternoon in the outdoor patio- perfection.

What I liked most about this restaurant is that the menu is built around what is fresh and in season.  Their meat is sourced from Lucky Dog Ranch in Dixon.  At Lucky Dog Ranch, a natural environment and careful handling ensure that the cattle are exposed to as little stress as possible, which makes for the best tasting meat.

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This spring my mom did an amazing job of planting a garden where our above-ground pool used to sit.  Now we look out to green rows of vegetables and flowers and know that we are cultivating life in our own home.  We are growing the food that will nourish our own bodies… or at least our dog Charity’s.  She seems to be the primary harvester this year.  Last week she ate three cucumbers right off the vine.  This has been a great learning experience and we are looking forward to making our garden even better next year.  We are so lucky to have the California sunshine and fertile soil of the Sacramento valley.  We might as well make use of it.

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My very first farming experience was at UBC farms in British Columbia.  I only spent a few hours weeding, but it left me dead tired.  Tired but happy because, although the labor is physically exhausting, it is a soulful experience that makes you feel rejuvenated, wholesome.

My friend Sidney Boman is experiencing this while woofing in France.  Here is an excerpt from her travels:

“Hey guys! Wow this is so crazy. I can’t believe I’m really doing this, and for five weeks! This isn’t something I would normally do or even want to do. But I’m glad that I am listening to this voice inside of me because this is a great experience. I have already learned so much.
The other woofers are from Germany, Austria, South Korea, Vancouver, Japan and Texas.  They are expecting three more from Hungary and one from Canada. It’s going to be a full house! People are coming and going every few weeks so it will probably change again soon.
We eat in the main house where Luc, Martine and her mother stay. Singha and Kerria and I are in another house. Because they are expecting so many people, my room is actually the sitting room upstairs! Martine set up a little tent so I would have some privacy. It’s so funny, but it works just fine. It’s cozy in my tent and I have a little mattress that she made a bed on and a lamp as well.
There is only one shower with hot water in the main house. Our house only has cold. We can’t waste the hot water doing dishes or anything because we save it for showers. The water in the kitchen is from the well, so we rinse any dishes that touch our mouths in vinegar after washing to kill the germs. The water in our house is from the city so we fill up bottles and filter it in pitchers in the kitchen to use for drinking.
I woke up this morning around 7:30 and got ready for the day. Breakfast is at eight. We had different types of tea and toast with jam. During breakfast we all said what we did the previous day in French and then we left to work in the fields.
Because the farm is organic and doesn’t use chemicals, the weeds grow fast and everywhere. Not many people want to buy organic, so they don’t have enough money to pay more people to work on the farm. It’s a really bad situation and Luc is constantly stressed about it. He was telling us how people choose to use pesticides that make us ill because it is easier.  People are more content to be lazy and ill than work harder and be healthy. It’s very true, but it would take a revolution to change things.
In the fields my first day, we spent a few hours talking and weeding the green bean crops and then I went in to help with lunch. It took a few hours to just prepare it!  We peeled and prepared many vegetables, lettuce, radishes, beets, and carrots for the salad. Then some sweet-potato-like thing for a stew, fava beans and this weird root thing that smelled like licorice, some quinoa, and some fish. Oh and fruit salad! It was a lot of work, but we listened to music to pass the time, and it all turned out very delicious.
We ate around three- lunch is the biggest meal of the day. It felt so weird to be eating so much then but I guess I’ll adjust to it. We just have whatever is left for dinner, and you help yourself whenever you want. Because we had all worked about five hours (the standard for woofing) we had free time for the rest of the day or we could go back to the fields.
It’s a very different life here. I think five weeks is going to be really long, but it will be good. Once I get the hang of life and the language I will start to relax and enjoy myself.”

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Farmer's Market

It’s Saturday so you know what that means!  Fresh fruit at the market.  We went to the one at Country Club Plaza on Watt and El Camino, but there are tons of other certified California farmer’s markets in the Sacramento area.

Today we got 6 farm fresh eggs for $1 and a pound of walnuts for $6.  Not bad!

Fresh Eggs

When I was picking rainier cherries from the basin, I asked a woman next to me what color is best- pink or yellow.  She didn’t answer at first, and I figured she didn’t hear me.

I was about to ask her again when she said, “well, let’s find out,” and popped one into her mouth.  The verdict: pinker is sweeter.

Rainier cherries are the sweetest of all cherry varieties, with sugar levels ranging from 17 to 23 percent and in reality, the skin color doesn’t actually make a difference.  Still, I took her advice and picked the pinkest ones I could find.

Cherries

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Every Friday we pick up our Soil Born CSA.  What makes community supported agriculture into a supportive community is that we, as CSA members, share the inherent risks, but also the potential bounty at Soil Born Farms.  Instead of buying the food as-seen in the grocery store, we are buying into the farm and putting faith on what it will produce.  Today the harvest was colorful, crisp and abundant!

Soil Born CSA

In Our Box:

3 zucchini
4 summer squash
1 bunch basil
8 cucumber
collards
rainbow chard
1 bunch carrots
1 cup green beans
5 potatoes
2 kohlrabi

The thing with eating seasonally is that you get the same produce repeatedly, and a lot if it.  Right now we have zucchini out our ears! Does anyone have a good zucchini recipe?

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