Food for Thought

We're Taking Over the New Sofia Theatre for a Saturday Night "Cocktail Conversation"

We're hosting our next event at the hottest venue in Sacramento - the Sofia, new home of the B Street Theatre. They're letting us take over the lobby on a Saturday night for our next "Food for Thought" discussion.

And this will truly be a "cocktail conversation" -- we'll be talking with Ryan Seng of Can Can Cocktails.

Seng served as head bartender at the Grange in the Citizen Hotel and created some of Sacramento's creative cocktails (bacon maple Manhattan, anyone?) for eight years before deciding to do something even more unusual -- create cocktails served out of a can.

He launched Can Can Cocktails, which mixes spirits and mixers in aluminum cans and are just as tasty as the ones he made at the bar, like Boar's Bourbon Root Beer (those two ingredients, plus angostura bitters) and White Linen (vodka with cucumber, elderflower and lemon).

Join us from 8-9 pm on Saturday, February 17, as we have a  mini "Food for Thought, " a 30-minute Q&A with one of the people who shaped and built Sacramento's craft cocktail scene, and is still doing so today.

This will be a great discussion for anyone interested in creating cocktails, creating a new business, or a combo of both. You get to take the mic and ask your own questions to Seng, and you can also try his drinks -- Sofia sells Can Can Cocktails at its bars.

NOTE:  This event is in the Sofia's lobby and is free for anyone to attend. It does NOT get you tickets to the 9 p.m. showing of "One Man, Two Guvnors." That is sold out . . . however, the Theatre does have a Wait List for the show, and you can call the Box Office at (916) 443-5300 to be added to it. (We've been told Wait List-ers actually do have a good chance of scoring tickets.)

 

The Future of Farming: Our Next "Food for Thought" Talk

The Future of Farming, as summed up in this story in Comstock's:

Rubie Simonsen has a full-time day job but she was motivated enough to enroll -- and complete -- the seven-month California Farm Academy program through the Center for Land-Based Learning last year. While she still has the 9-to-5-job, Simonsen also started First Mother Farms, growing her first crop of lavender on a 1/8th-acre space on one of the Center's incubator plots in West Sacramento.

To date, the Center has trained 96 future farmers, 17 of whom have purchased their own land and started farms.

Mary Kimball, executive director of the Center for Land-Based Learning, joins us for our next "Food for Thought" talk at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op on the evening of Wednesday, November 15.  She'll talk about the efforts to inspire young people to get into farming, whether as a hobby or a profession, and make sure there's still enough people in California to grow the food that feeds us.

A Knight of the Hops - and Five Other Groundbreakers of California Beer to Listen To

At our "Brewmasters talk," we asked Steve Dresler, recently retired from 34 years as brewmaster of Sierra Nevada, what was pinned to his shirt collar.

It's the medal of the International Order of the Hop. The Order was instituted more than 600 years ago by John the Fearless who was born in 1371 in Dijon, France, son of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy and King of Brabant. The order is a mark of distinction awarded to those who contribute to the cultivation of the “noble hop” and the “agreeable drink,” beer.

Dresler is the first U.S. brewmaster ever to receive this.

In his speech when he received it two months ago, he said he started his career at Sierra Nevada as chief taster, where he packed four and drank every fifth bottle of beer. There was no automated equipment and he scooped hops from a kettle by hand. “The uniqueness of my career was that it spanned the history of craft breweries as we know them today."

He drove down from Chico to talk to us, alongside Mike Mraz of Mraz Brewing Company, a multiple Gold Medal winner at the California State Fair and another craft beer demi-god in the making.

It's Groundbreakers like these who are shaping Califorrnia beer -- they live in and around Sacramento, and they have lots of amazing stories.

Listen to the podcast of our "Brewmasters" talk with Dresler and Mraz.

Listen also to our brand-new "Icebreakers," mini-podcasts that we upload in advance of our live Groundbreaker events. In advance of the "Brewmasters" talk, we sat down in the recording studio with a few other people who also do groundbreaking stuff in the beer industry, including:

* Charlie Bamforth, Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at UC Davis, also known asthe "Pope of Foam," discusses how his department and its research has shaped the production of California's craft beer.
* J-E Paino of Ruhstaller Beer explains why his is the only brewery in California, besides the mega-big Sierra Nevada Brewing, to grow its own hops.
Glynn Phillips, owner of Rubicon Brewing Company, talks about the rise and fall of Sacramento's oldest craft brewery, and why he closed Rubicon 1.5 months before it marked its 30th anniversary.
* Kate Whelan, director of Sacramento Beer Week, talks about how women are shaking up the beer industry.

 

Podcast for Our First "Food for Thought" Discussion

We've started a new series called "Food for Thought," in-depth conversations with groundbreakers who run farms, restaurants, breweries and bars around California and are shaking up how we eat and drink - and the way we think about food and drink.

Kicking it off is a discussion from July 6 with two well-known Sacramento restaurateurs -- Andrea Lepore of Hot Italian, and N'Gina and Ian Kavookjian of South. While one restaurant focuses on pizza and the other on down-home Southern cooking, the three owners share a common trait: they wanted to serve food they've since childhood that is rooted in their cultural heritage. They're also now branching out into different, new-to-them areas (a Jewish deli and the Food Factory business incubator for Lepore, the Quinn vintage retail shop and an "urban country club" called the Good Saint for the Kavookjians).

In our latest podcast, hear them talk about how they got started, where they're going now, what food means to them, and how they want to change up Sacramento with their restaurants and future endeavors.

And read these writeups in the Sacramento Business Journal about their latest projects:

* Andrea's Food Factory business incubator

* The Kavookjians' Good Saint "urban country club."

 

(Photo by Rich Beckermeyer)