The hot cookbook and Netflix show of the year is Salt Fat Acid Heat in which Samin Nosrat explains the importance of these four things to cooking and flavor. Last night I ate a meal by a chef that has these down pat. 


Disclaimer: This is not meant as a review as I know the chef and my meal was comped.

Oliver Ridgeway, formerly at Grange, has just opened Camden Spit & Larder last week. Last night I went to have a birthday dinner there and was blown away by my meal. Obviously chefs know the importance of salt, fat, acid, heat, but Oliver demonstrated it the best I've had in quite some time. Each dish was not only expertly executed, but often had an element of surprise.

Camden Spit & Larder is Oliver's homage to his English roots. If CalItalian describes Italian mixed with California, then this would be CalBrit. He's taking dishes anchored in his background and using the best of California ingredients and modern techniques to bring together great tasting English food. After all, UK food has had a notorious bad reputation over the centuries. 



We began with a non-typical bread service in that you receive a popover. They are very light and airy. I wish it had been served fresh out of the oven hot, but understand the difficulty of timing in a busy restaurant. I also would have liked more salt in the dough, but we were able to use the nice, salty butter to take care of that.




We ordered two of the small plates. The Raw Marinated Yellow Tail was popping with flavors from the EVOO, preserved lemon, pepper yogurt, and mint. The Wagyu Steak Tartar had fermented horseradish, cured egg yolk, and oyster aioli. I appreciated the fine grind of the meat and we loved the oyster aioli with it, as well as the oozing yolk. It came with Worchesteshire potato chips (or 'crisps' in England) which were quite salty, but I actually preferred to eat the tartar with my popover. 



Camden S&L is featuring a Caviar & Roe section on its menu, with the supplier being our local producer, Passmore Ranch. Here we have a smashed fingerling with some creme fraiche topped with caviar.



I ordered the salmon with spinach, cauliflower, raisins, almonds, and pears. The salmon was succulent - perfectly cooked. I especially enjoyed the textural elements with the sides with chewy raisins and crunchy nuts. The combination of sweet raisins and pears with the salt and fat from the salmon and spinach worked well. Everything on this plate was perfect.


My friend was curious to try the Chicken Fat Rice with chicken cracklins, black garlic, and green onion. Oliver came over to discuss the dish and said that they wanted to use the fat drippings from their rotisserie as well as some of the trim bits of chicken. The fat is tossed with the rice and some mirepoix and then topped with the chicken bits that have been deep fried to crispy.


My friend's entree was the half chicken with olive oil whipped potatoes, rapini, green sauce, and charred lemon. The olive oil potatoes won her over, especially with that hit of acid, in the form of some lemon juice, to cut the fat. 


We had two desserts. First was this vegan, gluten-free chocolate cake with coconut cream. It was almost like eating a chocolate bar. But our favorite was the lemon posset with ginger cookies (top of page). Lemon posset is a dessert I've made a few times to make use of my lemon tree. It's basically heavy cream, lemon juice, and sugar. I loved it with the chewy ginger cookies.

I'm looking forward to seeing what other British dishes will come on the menu in the future as I plan to bring my British dad here on his next visit. I'm hoping we might see some steamed puddings, both savory and sweet, some day. I have to imagine that trifle and bangers and mash will show up in some way too. Oh, and let's not forget about some offal, Oliver!



When: December 31, 2018 | 9 PM-1:30 AM
Where: Revival at The Sawyer | 500 J St, Sacramento, CA
Who: Sounds by Cachi with an opening set by DJ DM.
How: Tickets and VIP sections available here
  
Please find more regarding the event below:

Revival’s Masquerade Ball
Celebrate the New Year in Revival with Revival’s second Masquerade Ball Gala. Local Sacramento DJ DM will be opening the party for New York-based DJ Chachi who tours internationally. His residencies have included 1 OAK, Marquee, Lavo, Story, and LIV, and he has touched turntables across the world, from Tokyo and Hong Kong, to Barcelona and Rome and beyond. The ball will include passed appetizers, a welcome glass of champagne, and deluxe open bar for four hours. Additional premium cocktails and spirits, wine and beer will be available for purchase. This is a black-tie event and masks are encouraged.

VIP Sections
VIP Sections are available for purchase and include deluxe bottles and champagne for a toast. Additional premium bottle service is available for purchase.

All-Inclusive Pricing
Early Bird $150
VIP Section for 6 $1,500
VIP Section for 8 $2,050
VIP Section for 12 $3,000

A few months ago I was watching a news segment on saffron growing in England. England?? I always thought of saffron being grown in places like Spain and Iran. The segment got me thinking. I could probably grow saffron in California. After all, our climate is similar to Spain and Italy. The only reason we don't seem to grow huge crops here is the cost of the labor to harvest the tiny saffron stems. That doesn't mean you can't grow your own though!

Turns out that saffron comes in corms. Corms are different than bulbs, yet similar. I'll let you get the differences of corms/bulbs/rhizomes here. Like bulbs, corms can be pulled from the ground and stored and then replanted again next year.  In the photo above you can see a corm off to the right. 

I purchased my saffron from a seed site on the internet. What you are looking for is crocus sativus, the plant that produces saffron. I got a bag of 25 for about $25. They arrived in late August, just the time that you are supposed to plant them. The flowers come out in October, when you harvest. The plant continues to grow through the winter, but you let them dry out in the spring.

The soil needs to be well draining and should get a lot of sun during the fall. They actually do not want a lot of water. 


I started to see my flowers come up one by one. Each flower has three of the saffron pistils that you pluck out with tweezers. You can pick them out of the flower while it's in the ground, or pluck the flower and then tweeze out the pistils. The pistils are actually attached together at their base, so I like picking the flower and then grabbing the pistils with one pluck at their base. Then you just let them air dry in a warm, dry place. 

Plucking the flowers is a bit sad as they are very pretty flowers. And, it seems, they do not come back with another flower behind it. The good news is that over the years, the corms will multiply so that each year you will have more and more! 

I probably got a gram of saffron this year. Saffron is more expensive than gold and sells for $8 per gram or at least $5,000-$10,000 per pound. Keep in mind that it is also one of the most adulterated food products out there. Fake saffron is made by using corn silks, dying them red, then cutting them to size. 

One should also note that Mexican saffron is not really saffron at all. It is actually safflower... like in safflower oil.

I found this video on growing saffron to be useful.


On October 20, 2018, the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op will host its 45th Anniversary Celebration from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Co-op store, located at 2820 R Street in Midtown Sacramento.
Since 1973, the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op has connected farmers with eaters and helped establish Sacramento as the Farm to Fork Capital.
To thank the Sacramento community, the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op invites everyone to celebrate this achievement, meet local farmers and taste their wares.
Festivities at the Celebration will include:
·        Free Photo Booth 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
·        Front Street Animal Shelter Pet Adoption 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
·        Farmers, Fresh Fruit and Veggies 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
·        Kids Activities 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
·        Co-op Bingo 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
·        Co-operative Community Partners, including Golden 1 and REI
·        Fizzy Fitness with GT’s Kombucha and Fitsom Studios

The Co-op will also host a Harvest Happy Hour from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. at which cider, beer, wine, and snacks will be available. Cost is $15, tickets available at sac.coop and at the door and includes a souvenir glass. At the Harvest Happy Hour, music will be provided by DJ Larry (Flower Vato), a local music star whose music mixes combine vintage R&B, Banghra beat tracks from India, Afrobeat, disco, reggae, funk, and soul. He’ll give a special nod to music from the early 1970s when the Co-op got its start.

In these rather tumultuous and divisive times, it is good to celebrate humanity and the good in people to help those less fortunate. That's why I am interested in the upcoming Festival of Flavors. This event takes place on October 13th in support of Opening Doors.


Our mission is to empower refugees, immigrants, human trafficking survivors, and underserved Sacramento area residents to achieve self-sufficiency by accessing opportunities to mainstream economic and social systems. We do this by providing safe places, skills development, business loans, and connections to community resources, assisting our clients to build financial and personal assets while maintaining their cultural identity and individual goals.
I'm especially interested due to the immigrant and refugee situation. I often think about the Syrian family who took us in for the night when we were traveling through Syria in the 1970s. They fed us and gave us their rooms with such generosity. Now I wonder where they are as Syria has been ripped apart and whole cities and towns have been obliterated. Are they even alive? Together?

This event will feature a diverse group of restaurants and businesses that wish to help in the effort of empowering refugees, immigrants, and survivors of human trafficking.


Centro Cocina Mexicana
Brasserie Capitale
Aioli Bodega Espanola
Tapa the World
Rossi Catering
Pita Kitchen

Purchase your tickets today
Free admission for volunteers. Email us if interested.
$45 for food only.
$60 for food, wine, and beer.

Location: Sierra 2 Center in Curtis Hall
2791 24th Street
Sacramento, CA 95818
* Parking available in lot on 4th Avenue
Mediterranean Market
Tanoor Halal Foods
East Market
East West Foods
Madras Kaveri Indian Cuisine

Delicious food trucks, cocktail booths, live music and workshops for kids lend an ultra fun energy and party vibe to TreasureFest, a monthly flea market where you can score vintage clothing and jewelry from one of the 400+ vendors. Located on Treasure Island, the beautiful views of the city are well worth the trip across the Bay. TreasureFest has great activities for children and is pet-friendly so bring your pooch.
In September, TreasureFest bars will be featuring over a dozen local and craft brews:
Barebottle Brewing-pirate Bae-mint Mojito Cream Ale
Almanac Brewing Vibes Pils-pilsner
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid IPA-IPA
Lagunitas 12th of Never IPA
Elysian Brewing Dayglow IPA
Magnolia Brewing Kalifornia Kolsch
Naughty Otter Lager
Woods Beer(Ti Brewing) Freezepop
Woods Beer(Ti Brewing) Retro Pilsner
Strongbow Cider


TREASUREFEST IN A SNAPSHOT:
- The last full weekend of every month
- Monthly market hosts 400+ local artists, makers, designers, antique collectors, underground food startups, & more.
- 3 Full bars featuring a variety of local wine, craft beers, and seasonal cocktails.
- DIY community workshops & carnival games.
- 25+ Food Trucks & Food Tents
- Scavenger hunts.
- $5 Entry, kids 12 & Under Free (Tickets here)
- Free to play kidzone with games like tricycle derby, giant connect four, chalk stations and more.
- 2+ local bands each day
- Pet friendly
- Free parking