Mimi Avocado and Lori Rice at IFBC

August 26, 2016
by Mimi Holtz
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Downtown Sacramento: Walking Distance Restaurants at IFBC

capital of California

Disclosure:  I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference in downtown Sacramento, CA  in July 2016 at a reduced rate for “citizen bloggers and social media experts” who would write three posts about their experience at the conference.  This is my third post in a series,  which highlights the the eateries I visitied during the weekend, within walking distance of the state capital building and the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  All opinions are mine. 

When I found out that the  2016 International Food Bloggers Conference would be held in Sacramento, CA,  I registered immediately.   Even though I had never spent any time in Sacramento,  I knew that the organizers were planning tours and sessions highlighting California’s agriculture and America’s Farm to Fork Capital.  And best of all, I’d have a chance to see old friends, make new ones, and explore some of the eateries in downtown Sacramento.

landing in Sacramento

I had a wonderful experience and flight with Southwest Airlines, arriving early at San Diego’s Lindberg Field and enjoying a relaxed lunch at Craft Brews on 30th Street near the departure gate.  (I just love how the restaurants and shops at the San Diego airport are locally based.  If you fly in or  out of San Diego often, you can get coupons and special offers for dining here.)

It was a gorgeous clear day, and from my window seat I experienced a tour of the southern coast,  the central valleys,  foothills, and farmlands of California.   The Sacramento airport was easy to navigate, and Super Shuttle whisked me to my hotel after a very short wait for the van to arrive.  The desk clerk at Hyatt Regency let me check in early and gave me a list of restaurants near the hotel.

Sacramento view

view from our room: Cathedral and city

The biggest challenge of the weekend was the heat!  Sacramento can be really hot,  and believe me, it was hot the entire weekend we were there.   We learned that the best time of the day to get out was early in the morning as the temperatures were tolerable throughout the morning.  After noontime it’s best to be indoors,  and don’t expect the evening to cool off much either.  Everyone wore cool, casual clothing for the bus tours on the first days of the conference,  and smart casual outfits for the indoor events and sessions.  I carried a little sweater in my bag for the indoor sessions and events — hotel air conditioning can get chilly.

Mayahuel restaurant

Art, Music, Drinks and Dinner:  Mayahuel

Since I flew in on Wednesday evening, not many people had arrived yet for the conference, but I noticed via Facebook that a fellow food blogger from San Diego was already in the hotel.   I texted her to see if she wanted to join me for dinner,  and we chose a place that was right around the corner from the hotel.  Neither of us wanted to walk very far in that blistering heat!

Mayahuel restaurant Sacramento

We had a wonderful time at Mayahuel,  sipping our watermelon margaritas,  savoring the PIPIAN VERDE CON CHULETA DE PUERCO (“A ‘mole verde’ made from sesame seed served with a juicy cut of pork, cilantro rice”)  and sharing the spectacular IMPOSIBLE (‘Half flan, half chocolate. Translated ‘impossible’, this dessert is flan atop a chocolate cake bottom”).   Honestly, the evening couldn’t have been nicer – from the wonderful company and converation with Ani Arambula of Confessions of a Foodie to the fun interactions with our waiter, Vince.

I enjoyed Mayahuel so much that I went back the next evening with a different group of friends.  This time I ordered the ENSALADA TROPICAL (“Spring lettuce mix, mango, jícama, and pineapple, topped with dry-roasted almonds and a raspberry vinaigrette”) with grilled salmon.  And a watermelon margarita, of course.   I forgot to tell them to omit the chili powder on the rim of the cocktail as I had the evening before,  but I enjoyed their  margarita  with the slightly spicy accented rim just as much.

Ambrosia Cafe in Sacramento

Our Morning Coffee

Downtown Sacramento is home to a number of wonderful coffee houses and fresh bakeries.  One blogger I know  actually planned her coffee shop and craft beer visits throughout the weekend,  graciously sharing her carefully researched findings with those of us who were eager to try the best. To my delight, this blogger happened to be my roommate.

  On my first morning  (before my roommate arrived) I took a walk and used Google Maps to see where the nearby breakfast places were.   Ambrosia Cafe  on a corner of K Street had fresh baked pastries and really good coffee.  I was glad to be there early (7:30 am) because by 8:30 am there was a huge line out the front door!

Lori Rice of Fake Food Free

Lori Rice, photographer and writer

Temple Coffee and Tea

I was thrilled to share the hotel room with a food blogger I met a few years ago during the largest international produce trade show in Anaheim, Ca.   Lori Rice of  Fake Food Free is a connoisseur of quality,  a skilled photographer,  writer and recipe developer,  and a discerning seeker of excellent coffee, great food, and superb craft beers.  I knew that anywhere she chose to go for coffee would be impressive, and Temple Coffee and Tea certainly was impressive.

Temple Coffee Sacramento

After our first visit, I went back the next day just to try a different muffin,  and I discovered the VERY BEST latte I have ever had the privilege to enjoy.   Temple offers classes about coffee,  ships their beans direct, and even shares  free coffee education videos on their website.  Temple Latte

Farm to Fork Dinner

One of the highlights of the International Food Bloggers Conference was our Farm to Fork Dinner.   The evening magically cooled off as we enjoyed a magnificent meal with 350 of our closest friends on the lawn next to the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Farm To Fork Dinner

Mimi Avocado, Nancy Buchanan, Ani Arambula

Farm To Fork Dinner Mimi Avocado and Lori Rice

Lori Rice and Mimi Avocado

Next year’s International Food Blogger’s Conference will be held in Sacramento again!  This time it will be held during Sacramento’s  Farm To Fork Week,  Sept. 29- Oct. 1st.

IFBC 2017

Brunch at Firestone Public House

My last meal in Sacramento was Sunday brunch.   Ani Arambula (Confessions of a Foodie) and I walked just a few blocks to the Firestone Public House,  known for their brunches and happy hours,  with a creative American-inspired menu and over 60 beers on tap.  We both ordered the Firestone Open Face Sandwich:   French toast, Black Forest ham, fried eggs, gruyere cheese, chipotle hollandaise with breakfast potatoes.   Oh my.  You just have to go try it for yourself.

Firestone Public House

I loved my weekend stay at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Sacramento and look forward to trying more of the great eateries in the area during next year’s conference.   If you missed my posts about our tours to California Endive and Stillwater Pears or  our American Lamb Tour,  check them out here:

 How Do You Pronounce “Endive?

growing Belgian Endive

American Lamb Tour — Lamb Sliders with Spinach: Seasoned with Hatch Chiles

cutting up a lamb

 

Endive and Belgian Endive

August 16, 2016
by Mimi Holtz
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How Do You Pronounce “Endive”?

endive growing

Belgian Endive (pronounced “Ahn-Deev” is grown inside in complete darkness, unlike endive (pronounced N-Dive) which is grown in a field like lettuce.

You say tomato and I say “to-mah-to”, but both pronunciations of the word mean the same thing, right?  Not so with “endive”!   Whether you say “N-Dive” or “Ahn-Deev” makes a big difference!  Although they are both members of the chickory family,  they are completely different.

Endive and Belgian Endive

Belgian Endive (pronounced Ahn-Deev) on top and Curly Endive (pronounced N-Dive) at the bottom

If you say “N-Dive” you are talking about a curly edged green that is grown outside. It can be called curly endive, and other plants that are related to it are escarole and frisee.   If you say “Ahn -Deev” you are describing Belgian endive, with tightly packed leaves and an elongated shape that is grown indoors in complete darkness.

food bloggers

Food Bloggers touring California Endive Farm (from left) Sara from My Imperfect Kitchen, Mimi Avocado, and Nancy from A Communal Table

During the International Food Bloggers Conference in Sacramento, Ca. I was thrilled to visit California Endive Farms as part of a pre-conference tour. Continue Reading →

Lamb Sliders

August 10, 2016
by Mimi Holtz
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Quick and Easy Lamb Sliders on Foccacia Squares

Lamb Sliders    This morning I stopped at Major Market where I bought the ground lamb last week for the Lamb Sliders seasoned with Hatch Chile,  and they had no ground lamb in their meat case.  I rarely do this, but I actually went to the meat cutter and asked for ground lamb!   He told me to wait about 20 mintues, and when I came back there were several packages of ground lamb plus a beautiful lamb sirloin roast!   (Of course I bought that roast too!  Turns out the ground lamb was made from another piece of that same leg of lamb.)

Next I headed over to Trader Joe’s for more of those cute little Mini Hamburger Buns  with the sesame seeds on top.  Alas, they were out of them!  Not to worry,  I glanced at a nearby display and found a large square of Tomato and Olive Foccacia Bread.  In my minds eye I could see that large square cut up into smaller squares, just the right size for Lamb Sliders! Continue Reading →

Lamb Sliders

August 6, 2016
by Mimi Holtz
10 Comments

Lamb Sliders with Spinach: Seasoned with Hatch Chiles

Lamb Sliders

Tonight The Farmer and I sat out on the porch and enjoyed these juicy and lean Lamb Sliders, seasoned with Hatch Chile salsa and Spinach coated in a Tangerine Hatch Chile dressing.  It was a one of those evenings with a soft cool breeze, and these tasty sliders were the perfect supper for the two of us.

American Lamb Tour

I was inspired by a tour hosted by the American Lamb Board  in conjunction with  the International Food Bloggers Conference in Sacramento, CA. last week.  We drove out to Dixon, Ca. to meet Ryan Mahoney,  a sheep rancher and family man Continue Reading →

August 5, 2016
by Mimi Holtz
7 Comments

Mill Your Own Flour At Home With Your Mixer

Kitchen Aid flour mill attachment

Who Will Mill The Grain Into Flour?  I Will!

Mill your own flour at home – it is easier than you think!    This handy attachment for a KitchenAid mixer is so fun to use and offers the ability to make fresh flour from grains that aren’t always easy to find.  Fresh-milled flour ensures that all the nutrients will be available and the flavor is at its finest.  And it’s really fun to do!

MockMill

Wolfgang Mock Invented the MockMill

This flour mill attachment is the very first product launched by the Wolfgang Mock, Inc. which is the American subsidiary of the German company that has been building home mills since the 1970’s. Continue Reading →

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