The Red Rabbit Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

When my normal band of Twitterati foodie friends wanted to go to Red Rabbit for lunch I was a little concerned. I've been trying to eat Paleo for February as a way to analyze my energy levels.  I had nothing to worry about as I had a delightful carnivore lunch.

Red Rabbit takes over the digs of my greatly missed Red Lotus. The red rabbit is in reference to the sculpture at the Sacramento International Airport, but it seems to also be a convenient reason to keep the same interior as Red Lotus. You can't blame them for saving some money. Besides, the interior has always been great in the first place. It's got a large number of booths and tables, a lovely rounded bar that gives ample room to pony up to, and still plenty of space to walk and move around people in your path. They also have a private room and nice back patio.

Our gang arranged ourselves around a table in the floor center and perused the menu. One asked about the daily punch. I guess each day they mix a new cocktail punch and so you never know what it might be. This day it had rum, fresh orange and lime juice, a bitters, and some other things. Apparently the punch had quite a punch to it - or so says my friend.

Paleo means I can only eat meat and veggies, but no dairy, grains, starches (pasta/white potatoes), or sugar. I focused on the meats and selected the Farm Animal Lollipops and the Pork Belly small plates.

lamb, chicken, beef lollipops

The lollipops were a popular choice as almost everyone at our table ordered them. You get three large meatballs, about the size of a golf ball, of lamb, chicken, and beef. This, not surprisingly, led to a flurry of off-color ball jokes including - "These balls are too big for (my) mouth!" I started from what I thought would be the most boring to the most interesting - beef, chicken, lamb. The beef turned out to be my favorite ball, although not the sauce. The beef meatball was full of flavor and had a good fat content to it. It was served with a thick pureed marinara sauce which I found to be rather flat and boring. It needed spice. The chicken was my least favorite. Even though it was wrapped with a strip of bacon to provide added fat and flavor, I found it dull and the beer onion soup aioli it was served with faired no better. Both lacked flavor. The best combination of meatball and sauce was the lamb. There was a nice bit of heat/spice to the lamb and it was served with a mint chimichurri. The chimichurri was rather oily and I really wasn't tasting mint - it seemed more parsley to me. But of the three, the ball/sauce combo worked the best here. Even with these criticisms, which are my personal tastes, I would say it is a nice appetizer that I can see selling very well.

Our main items came out after about a 15-20 minute wait - a bit long for weekday lunch, but luckily I had time to spare. I chose the pork belly that was served with toastettes and a Meyer lemon and caper sauce. My pork belly was a lovely thing! A nice sized piece, it sat amidst a generous ladle of the sauce. I couldn't eat the toastettes, and so I carefully cut my pork belly up into small bits so I could make it last longer. I love lemon/caper sauces and found this one to have the sweet balance of lemony tartness to salty capers. I can see myself ordering this every time I visit Red Rabbit.

short rib patty melt
A couple of people had what also peaked my interest - the Braised Short Rib Patty Melt. Served on ciabatta rolls, the short rib was shredded, saucy, and topped with a good amount of melted cheddar. Jeremy enjoyed his and it was enough to make me put it on my list for a future visit.

Rodney selected the Bastard Banh Mi, which is bastardized by being served on grilled sourdough instead of baguette. This is something I am willing to try because I love banh mi, but Rodney seemed disappointed in it and later wished he had ordered his usual - a burger - after he saw one passing on to another table.

We were thrilled when the owner ended up comping us the brioche doughnuts with chocolate glaze - of which I could not enjoy. :-( I was told that they were nice and crispy on the outside and so light inside as to be described as "hollow". The chocolate glaze was sooooo tempting for me. We had a gluten-free person with us and they were nice enough to send out a little bowl of chocolate ganache since she couldn't enjoy a doughnut.

Red Rabbit has only been open a few weeks and so I look forward to seeing how it fares. The menu is definitely interesting enough for me to make future visits and I'm sure they will continue to tweak and perfect things over time. So far, so good. I wish them luck.

Ms. Munchie just got off the phone with the City and is allowed to share some (though just a little) news!

First, put March 20th on your calendar as the date for the City's Law & Legislation Committee to take a first look at the proposed ordinance changes. Things can always change, though, as we learned last November when we got postponed. For now, that's the latest agendized date.

Looking back at older posts, I see that I never really shared some of the trucks' wishlist of changes. Here are a few: be allowed to park at meters for the posted time allotment of that meter, be allowed late night vending (for the bar scene), be allowed to park on private property with owner's permission, be allowed to park at the public parks, and a few more.

I was given the opportunity to take a peek at the proposed changes and can tell you that there is a definite compromise. Will the trucks get all they want? Of course not. But they do get some of the items. If you think of this in terms of progress and steps, then this is a good first step. 

If you've read my article Mobile Food Pods Revitalize Neighborhoods, then you know that I think that allowing some private property lots is a good idea. The City isn't ready for that, not yet. Apparently they looked at the Portland model and found that it wouldn't jive with California State laws. This will have to be tabled for a while, but I still have hopes for it one day. 

So I know you are going - this post doesn't really have any news at all! The news is: March 20th is the next date to pay attention to and that some changes in favor of the trucks are coming. Not much news (that I can share), but at least things are moving along!

This week the California food trucks and food truck lovers were outraged to learn that Assemblyman Bill Monning from Carmel had introduced Assembly Bill 1678. This bill would essentially ban food trucks within 1,500 feet of any elementary and secondary school from the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. And we aren't talking just 1,500 feet from the school building, but from the school property line. We all know how big some school campuses can be.

Why is AB 1678 ridiculous?

First, I find it rather interesting that Monning is from Carmel where I doubt they have more than one or two food trucks at all. What experience does he have with the modern food truck movement? How does his smaller constituency and district have any comparison to the major cities were the food truck movement is really taking place and where the urban landscape is completely different than his own?  My guess - the major city representatives knew better than to sponsor this bill and so it got handed off for Monning to put his name on it. 


The idea is that we are supposed to be ensuring that school children are getting fed nutritional food. Yet they still consider pizza a vegetable because of the tomato sauce on it?  How about the McDonald's and the doughnut shop that's just a block away from the school? Are they serving nutritional food? With Monning's logic he should be writing legislation forcing the fast food places to serve only nutritional food from 6-6 if they are walking distance from a school. 

In reality the gourmet food trucks are selling foods made from whole, not processed, ingredients. They are buying fresh ingredients daily from many local farms and vendors. Monning is generalizing all trucks back to the 'roach coach' versions that still roam the streets. For him to blame all the trucks for poor quality food is unfair. The gourmet level trucks, in many cases, can be argued to be selling better quality food than some school cafeterias.

How is a fresh gyro made with lots of fresh produce and meat on a flatbread worse than a cafeteria's chicken nuggets?  How are burgers made by hand from quality ground beef bought from the best purveyors worse than a preformed burger patty made from scraped remnants from lower quality beef? 


The biggest problem with this bill is the 1,500 food distance. 1,500 feet is almost one third of a mile or equal to about 4 city blocks in Sacramento. That, in some ways, is not that great a distance, but when you use a map and draw circles around all the schools, you actually cover a lot of area.  The distance is 360 degrees around the school's property lines and you have to include elementary, middle, junior high, and high schools. You also have to include ALL schools - public and private. That's a lot of schools. Here is a map that shows how it effects Sacramento. It's really bad for cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco where it pretty much wipes out anywhere for the trucks to roam.

Meanwhile there are plenty of brick and mortar places such as pot dispensaries, liquor stores, mini-markets, and, of course, fast food places all within the same distance. How is it different for a child to walk to the corner 7-11 to buy a Mountain Dew, Doritos, and Skittles than to a food truck for well-made sandwich?

Monning says it is unsafe for children to be walking off from campus. Well many schools are already closed campuses where the children are not supposed to leave anyway. Why punish office workers and laborers in the area from enjoying truck food?

AB 1678 is a classic poorly written, un-researched, politically motivated, industry subsidized bill. It needs to be killed.

Please oppose AB 1678 and call Assemblyman Monning and tell him to leave our food
trucks alone!

Call Monning at (916) 319-2027 or contact Bill Monning here.
also here at 

Social media has worked against the banks, Verizon, Komen, and more. Let's make it work for the food trucks, who love and use social media for their livelihood. Let social media save their businesses. 

Recently I was blog hopping and came across this dessert. I had never heard of semolina pudding before and the combination of blood orange and ginger intrigued me. In fact, I highly recommend you read the blog I got it from because she goes into how she got this combo of flavors together and has tried it in different recipes. It's blood orange season right now, so I figured I should do it before they were gone. I also happened to have a small amount of extra semolina lying around.

One thing you'll see in Linda's blog is a much nicer picture/presentation. I had poured my pudding into my PC prep bowls and could not flip one out so that it kept its shape. So I left the other three in the bowls and put the sauce on top.

The oranges I got were very red and delicious. They were also very small. I had gone to the farmers' market on Sunday and found only one person who was selling at $3/lb! And his oranges turned out awful. Later in the day we had gone up to Ikeda's in Auburn and they had them for 69 cents/lb. I got a bag of these small beauties and they were so much better. I had hoped, though, to get a couple that weren't absolutely red. I really love the look of blood orange sections when they have a kind of bleed from light orange through to the dark red 'kernels' (is that the right word?).

The pudding itself was a new texture experience. Semolina flour is a grainier than baking flour, so the pudding had the slight grainy texture. But it was not unpleasant. The pudding itself had a very subtle flavoring of the orange/ginger. I definitely enjoyed it better with the tart sauce with each spoonful.

I later researched semolina pudding on the internet and saw many other flavor variations. I think I will be trying some of them in the future.

Blood Orange/Ginger Semolina Pudding

400 ml (1 ⅔ cup) milk
100 ml (3 ⅓ fl oz) whipping cream
1 tbs grated fresh ginger
1 tbs (blood) orange zest
50 g (1 ¾ oz) semolina
40 g (1 ⅓ oz) sugar + extra
6 cut out blood orange segments

Heat the milk, cream, ginger and orange zest until nearly boiling. Turn off the heat and let it steep for 15 minutes. Strain the milk and cream mixture and fill it up with milk until you have 500 ml in total.
Mix the semolina and sugar. Add the mixture to the hot milk whilst stirring. Bring to a boil and allow to cook. Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes. Rinse a non-stick muffin pan with cold water and pour the mixture in 6 of the cups. Sprinkle with sugar to prevent the forming of a crust. Allow to cool to room temperature. Chill in the fridge for a few hours.
Unmold each pudding by turning the pan upside down and massaging it in a circular motion. Let the pudding slide onto your hand and place it on a slighty wet soup plate. Correct the position if necessary. Place an orange segment on top. Pour blood orange sauce around it.

Blood orange sauce

225 ml (1 cup) blood orange juice
25 ml (1 tbs + 2 ts) lemon juice
1 tbs ginger syrup
5-10 g (¼ oz) potato starch

Bring the blood orange juice, lemon juice and ginger syrup to a boil. Mix the potato starch with a little bit of water until lump free.
Add the potato starch water mix to the juice whilst stirring. Allow to cook for 1 minute. Allow the sauce to cool down completely, stirring occasionally.

Blood Orange

I haven't posted in about a week because 1) I have writer's block, 2) I haven't cooked anything, 3) I haven't gone out to eat anywhere, and 4) because I'm on a sugar detox, Paleo diet for the rest of the month of February.

The main focus is on the sugar detox because I have a huge sweet tooth. I know sugar is bad. Dr. Oz says sugar scours the walls of your arteries making it easier for plaque to cling and clog them. Cancer cells also feed off of sugar.  My mom-in-law has had two bouts with breast cancer. The last time she decided to try a new treatment where they filter the sugar out of your blood. She would go and have it done every few months for about a year. Well... she's now cancer free and eats healthy now (she ate healthy before, but even more so now). 

For the rest of the month I am not eating anything sweet (including fruit), dairy, grains, or beans. This means I'm pretty much on a Paleo diet. If you haven't heard of that one, it's also called the Caveman diet with the premise being that all cavemen ate was meat and veggies only. The argument is that our bodies haven't evolved that much over the millennia and that we should go back to eating that way.

Now while one of my friends is a true convert to Paleo, I can't imagine going so myself. I love dairy too much for one thing. But I wanted to do the sugar detox and figured I might as well go full throttle and eliminate the other stuff too for the month.  That's why you see a little tab above for Detox Diary.

Honestly, the meals aren't that difficult. Eggy based breakfasts in the morning, salads or ceviche for me at lunch, and meat and veggies for dinner. I'm snacking on nuts mostly for snacks. It hasn't been too hard on the sweets side during the week. For me the week is easy. It's on the weekends that I get bored and want to bake.

Even though potatoes are a vegetable, white potatoes are a no-no for sugar detox and Paleo because of the high carbs that are easily converted to sugars. Paleo practitioners love to use cauliflower as a substitute. This weekend I tried cauliflower "mashed potatoes" for the first time and decided to make them into colcannon by adding some kale.

Colcannon is an Irish dish of mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale mixed in. As we are approaching St. Pat's Day, it seems appropriate to post this version.

Paleo Colcannon

1 head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces
2 c kale or cabbage, chopped
1 T bacon grease or oil of choice
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper 

Over medium heat on the stove...

In a large pot of boiling water, add the cauliflower and cook until tender. A fork should be able to easily pierce the pieces.  Drain the cauliflower and set aside.

In the same pot, add the bacon grease. Once it has melted, add the chopped kale and saute until wilted and tender. 

Return cauliflower to pot and add olive oil. Mash the cauliflower with a masher or a fork while mixing in the kale. Season with salt and pepper.

What do you consider to be an All American Sandwich? Burgers don't count. Those from Philadelphia would argue for a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. Their neighbors farther north might say it's the classic New York pastrami. Down in Louisiana, they'll fight for their po-boys. All of these can be found on the Coast to Coast truck now serving Sacramento. Their logo even depicts their nationwide theme - the Golden Gate Bridge connection to the Brooklyn Bridge.

All of the above mentioned sandwiches can be found on the regular menu and all cost $7. The truck also offers two sides: bacon mac n cheese and sweet potato fries. A combo meal with a sandwich, side, and drink is $10.

I finally got a chance to try their sandwiches over the course of a couple of weeks. First up, the shrimp po-boy. Coast to Coast offers the po-boy with either the shrimp or catfish. Wonder when they'll offer alligator. Anyway, there was a generous amount of medium sized shrimp that had a cornmeal coating and were nicely deep fried. They were drained properly so that the coating was crisp and the shrimp perfectly cooked - no greasiness. They sat on top of a freshly toasted roll with lettuce, tomato, and some spicy mayo. I wanted to have some extra kick, so I grabbed a small container of the spicy ketchup to add to it. The spicy mayo really isn't spicy - it's mild. Overall, a good sandwich.

The next week I wanted to try their Reuben. I love a good Reuben and find that it requires the proper balance of meat to cheese to sauerkraut. It's also got to come on nicely grilled bread and the contents need to be hot. I hate getting a grilled sandwich with cold insides! Not to worry at Coast to Coast. Their Reuben had nicely grilled pastrami that was added to the sandwich. It was not too much, and not too little. The balance of meat, cheese, and kraut was just right in my book. I often ask for extra Thousand Island on the side, but didn't need it here. My only comment was I would have liked the bread grilled more than the light toasting it was. But the marble rye certainly is an attractive bread choice.

I also ordered the bacon mac n cheese which had been unavailable the week before. A standard mac n cheese with bits of chopped bacon on top. I found the mac n cheese a bit bland and suggested that a hit of cayenne pepper would brighten it up a bit.

I asked about their American theme because I would really love to see them add a Vietnamese banh mi. I was told that they would probably add World sandwiches as specials and so the banh mi would definitely make an appearance. Honestly, banh mis should be on regular menus because I can rarely turn down the opportunity to eat one when it is offered on a sandwiches-only menu.

If you are a sandwich lover, seek them out. You can track all the trucks on the Sac Food Truck Tracker. 

sitting at the Chef's table

I have a new site I just have to recommend to people who love to go out to eat.'s slogan is "Never eat alone." The idea being, set up a family style dinner with multiple dishes at a restaurant and anyone who is interested can sign up to go.

My friend, Rodney, was the first to find the site and ask if I had seen it. I looked it up and was immediately intrigued because it reminded me of two things married together - Meetup and Epicureans. I started emailing the company to ask questions because they hadn't yet started in Sacramento, only in some other cities nationwide.

Epicureans is a group where mult-course, family style dinners are organized with a restaurant and people pay a set fee. Often it would be 10 or so dishes for about $25. is a site where you can find groups that are tailored to your interests - from soccer to vegetarians, chihuahua lovers to wiccan. It's a great way to meet new people who share your interest. I've made many new friends through Meetup and many people use it to make new friends when they move to a new city.

I used to be an Organizer of a dining Meetup group for three years and it caused a lot of frustrations. People would flake on reservations and I got stuck with the bill on a couple of occassions because people didn't pay their fair share or they just didn't show up. When we State workers got furloughed, I stopped doing the group. I just didn't have the extra play money as well as the Organizer frustrations.

Along comes Grubwithus and it takes the beauty of both Meetup and Epicureans and blends them together. That's why it caught my interest. With Grubwithus you can organize a dinner event and let them take all the headache away.