It's been a while since I've posted any truck updates and so I'm going to do so in two parts. Part 1 is updates on some happenings of individual trucks/owners and then Part 2 will be regarding Sacramento ordinances and industry news.


After only about a month of the Crave Taco truck being on the road it disappeared and came back re-wrapped a third time with the new Krushburger wrap. (Wrap 1 = Miniburger, Wrap 2 = Crave Taco)
According to owner Davin Vculek, there was so much demand for the Krushburger truck that they decided to go ahead and have two of them and forgo the Crave Taco, at least for now. So don't be confused when you see them tweeting two locations for the same lunch hours. 

Meanwhile, the Krushburger restaurant over at the State Lottery building is tentatively scheduled for a January 9th opening, but Davin says that's not for sure. You know how these things can go. You need to get inspections and finish last minute tweaks. One fun feature, they'll be one of the few places in town with the new Coke Freestyle machines. I got to experience one of them at the Five Guys Burgers in Salem, OR. You choose which flavors you want to mix into your soda. There's even peach, vanilla, and grape flavorings. You can get crazy and have a peach vanilla Coke or grape limeade. 

OM Karmabile

I'm told by Voltair that the Om Karmabile will be off the road for a few weeks while it undergoes a new wrap and menu change. It's still going to be Indian fusion, he says, with a look at better branding. 

My sous vide filet with wine chestnut sauce
If you watch enough food television, then you know about sous vide. All the top chefs seem to be doing it, as well as a lot of the higher end local restaurants. This makes it seem like it is only for the hoity toity who can afford it. No, it's not some kinky, weird sex act Sous vide is just a method of cooking

"Sous vide" means "under vacuum". It's a way of cooking in a vacuum sealed pouch, submerged in a water bath, at a constant, regulated temperature for extended periods of time. This ensures that the entire sealed item is evenly cooked throughout versus having the outside cooked more than the inside.  
note more cooked edges to less cooked middle
The best example is steak. Normally one cooks steaks on a grill or in a pan in such a way that the outer edges are cooked more than the center, which is the last to get heat. Your edges could be considered well done from the sear, then medium, graduating to the center that is medium rare. The chef learns to judge how cooked a steak is by time, touch, and sometimes using a thermometer. Usually your steak takes less than 15 minutes to cook. 

sous vide = even color throughout
With sous vide, you submerge the sealed steak in a water bath of 130-139 degrees (if you like medium rare) for a few hours.  Eventually the entire steak will have equaled the temperature of the water to reach that medium rare state throughout, edge to edge. The downside is that it doesn't look very pretty and so you need to do a quick sear in a skillet to give it that nicely browned surface for appearance sake.

Thing is, TV makes it seem really complicated and expensive. Those top chefs and fancy restaurants have very expensive sous vide machines that keep the water temperature constant while they go and do other things. Remember, some sous vide dishes can take over 24 hours!

But it is possible to McGuyver your own sous vide system at home. The trade off is that you need to be constantly available to monitor your water bath temperature.

French fries have graduated from side dish to entree lately among the local food trucks. Why eat them on the side when you can have them as your whole meal?

"Fry meal" is a term I came up with to describe these fries as entrees. Start with a base of French fries and then top them with a meat and assorted toppings. A traditional example would be the classic Chili Fries.

The fry meal concept got hot amongst the trucks when Johnny Breedlove of the California Love Truck  introduced his Carnitas Fries. He starts with shoestring French fries which are topped with carnitas (obviously), guacamole, sour cream, and a chipotle honey slaw. I love these fries! So much so that I have a hard time ordering anything else off his truck if they are on the menu. And at this point, they've become so popular that I think he's now in a position that they have to be a constant, regular item.

I will tell you what makes Johnny's fries the best and perfect base for his fry meals - he salts and peppers them! It's the addition of pepper that gives them that extra taste edge. I rarely find a restaurant or truck that adds pepper to their fries. It makes such a big difference.

He's had such success with his Carnitas Fries that he's added more fry meals.

Cali Love Fries come with chicken, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, and some cheddar cheese on top. These are his second most popular fry meal.

His Kim chi Fries come with pulled pork in a chipotle sauce, kim chi, caramelized red onions, cheddar cheese, and Sriracha sauce.

Then there's the ol' standard Chili Fries with chili, cheddar cheese,  and red onions. 

Others have created their own versions as well. Fuzion Eatz sometimes has Asada Fries - marinated steak, black beans, cheese, guacamole, and mango salsa. They are not a regular menu item, so they aren't always available.

Addison's Originals has the Pele: fries, cheese skirt, kahlua pork, sauce.

El Matador does California Fries with home fried potatoes (because he doesn't have a fryer), Mexican rice, choice of meat, pico de gallo, cheese, and crema.

photo by

The Broderick restaurant, by owners of the Wicked Wich truck, has Banh Mi Fries - slow roasted pulled pork, pickled vegetables, jalapeños & house made citrus caramel sauce. These were recently praised by I'm looking forward to trying them as I love banh mi sandwiches.

So many to choose from to suit anyone's taste. Myself, I plan to try each and every one!

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Last week I posted a recipe for Chestnut Eggnog Ice Cream after I went to the store and they were all out of whipping cream. My original intent had been to make a chocolate chestnut ice cream. Now, with whipping cream in hand, I have done that one too.

I choose to be lazy and buy the chestnut puree ready made from the Eastern European grocery store. If you would like to make it yourself while the chestnuts are currently in season, the recipe isn't that hard. Here is a chestnut puree recipe for you. 

And since I've been on chestnuts lately, I will remind you of my very favorite recipe, the European style flourless chocolate cake that uses chestnut puree as the base.

Chocolate Chestnut Ice Cream
  • 1 cup chestnut puree
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
Cooking Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the chestnut puree cocoa powder, vanilla, and sugar until well blended. Add whipping cream and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Pour into ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions.
Truffles with edible gold
Holiday gift idea

Relating to Spamarind Dinner

When it came to trying to think of a dessert that might use Spam, I thought of Garrett's bacon truffles over at Vanilla Garlic. Why not sub the Spam for the bacon?

So basically that's what I did. I took a slice Spam and cut it into very small cubes and then fried them up like bacon to get crispy. I then drained them on a paper towel and used them for the truffles. I took them to work and let people try them before I told them what it was. Only one person figured that it was some sort of meat. Everyone found them pleasantly acceptable and no one spit it out.

The saltiness of the Spam actually is a nice addition to the chocolate. Enjoy!

Spam Truffles - alteration of Garrett's recipe

1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup of fine chopped fried Spam
8 ounces of 60% or 70% chocolate (chips or well chopped)
cocoa powder for rolling

1. Finely dice some ham until you have 1/3 cup. Cook in a skillet until crispy, but not burnt. Place on some paper towels and press, being sure to soak out all extra grease.

2. Place heavy whipping cream in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to just under a simmer. Take off heat.

3. Sprinkle in chocolate and cover for 5 minutes, allowing the chocolate to melt in the hot liquid. Stir gently until combined. (This is called a ganache.) Fold in the chopped spam.

4. Pour into a bowl and cover. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

5. Using your hands dusted in cocoa powder and a teaspoon roll out balls of chocolate about 1/2-1 inch in diameter. Roll in cocoa powder and place on a plate. Store in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Tip: You can also spray your hands with Pam to help with the rolling and then roll them in the cocoa.

This last Thanksgiving we chucked out the turkey in favor of prime rib. It was the first time I had ever cooked one and it was delicious! We bought a 13 lb. roast at Costco and then I followed the directions on this great website dedicated to cooking prime rib.  Little did I know how easy it is to do. It's just expensive. Still, enjoying a properly prepared, beautiful piece of meat is very satisfying on both the stomach and the ego.

Here's your opportunity to enjoy some choice cuts of meat and seafood, use a discount, and get a chance at a $50 gift card for a future order. Not such a bad thought. After all, we like to indulge ourselves for the holidays.

Certified Steak & Seafood Company's commitment to their customers is simple: Offer the highest quality products at the best price and back it with a 100% guarantee. They source directly with no "middle man" making their supply chain the shortest in the industry. This allows them to maintain the highest quality standards all the way to your plate.

On top of this, they sample all products at the moment of final packaging and have a world-renowned laboratory test for various types of adulteration or contamination. This ensures that the food you purchase is pure and safe.

Certified Steak & Seafood Company has a $25 off coupon and it is good all the way through January 2013. Get something nice for Christmas Eve and something different for New Year's Eve. 

You can also enter to win the $50 GC by tweeting: "Enter to win. @CertifiedSteak is giving away 20 $50 Gift Card to Certified Steak & Seafood."

My favorite steak is a really good rib eye. What's yours?

Disclosure: This sponsorship is brought to you by Certified Steak & Seafood Company who we have partnered with for this promotion.

chestnut eggnog ice cream with cacao nibs

I generally don't eat ice cream once the weather gets cold, but I wanted to try a chestnut ice cream. My grocery store was out of whipping cream, so I grabbed a carton of eggnog on a whim. The beauty of it is that eggnog has all the sugar and spice taken care of.  You can't get any easier than a two ingredient ice cream!

Often when I make ice cream I take it out of the maker when it is soft serve consistency and transfer it to a container to freeze. Fully frozen, some ice creams can be icy hard, depending on the ingredients. This ice cream remains a soft hard, making it easy to scoop out without bending any spoons. 

You can find chestnut puree at any Eastern European store around town. You could make it yourself from fresh chestnuts, but I'm guessing all but a handful would rather take the easy way like I did.

Chestnut Eggnog Ice Cream
  • 2 cups eggnog
  • 3/4 cup chestnut puree
Cooking Directions
  1. Whisk eggnog and chestnut puree together. Pour into ice cream maker and process according to instructions.
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Enotria Restaurant and Winebar on Urbanspoon

2012 marked my 25th anniversary of living in Sacramento. Originally it was supposed to be just a stopover as I intended to eventually go to Los Angeles and try to get into movie production. I had been told that the Central Valley was the armpit of California and so I had low expectations for Sacramento. Yet here it is 25 years later and I can tell you that I LOVE Sacramento and can't imagine living anywhere else now. 

Over these many years there have been some businesses and restaurants that have weathered the economic storms. Only a few have managed to endure where others succumbed. One of those is Enotria

When I was married (and I've been divorced for 12 years now), my husband and I used to go to Enotria for special occasions. Back then Del Paso Boulevard was kinda gangsta and seemed an odd place for fine dining. The space was cramped, the building old. Then they renovated in 2010 and the new space is wonderful. What once had been the parking lot was turned into the wine bar/entry with comfy lounge seating to wait for your party or your table. The patio (which I've never experienced in all these years), is large with a nice waterfall feature. The hostess will take you down the long hall that connects to the dining area, which occupies the same space as the old days, but remodeled. 

I was thrilled when they announced that the new Executive Chef was to be Pajo Bruich. Bruich had been gaining notoriety for his innovative and creative cuisine that didn't seem to have a home. He did pop-up events and then was at Lounge on 20 for a while, but he needed a proper place here in Sacramento. We couldn't afford to loose this culinary talent to the Bay Area or Napa. It's almost like a slap-to-your-forehead "Aha!" that he should be at Enotria. It just seems like a perfect fit.

I decided that I would treat myself for my birthday and use a very old Enotria gift certificate I had. I don't have issues with dining alone, especially since I'm a bit selfish with coupons/gift certificates. I want to use the full value on myself! And so I did for my birthday.

If you are looking for a recipe software program, then I highly recommend MasterCook. I got my first copy about 12 years ago. I entered in all my family recipes and some favorites I found through the years. Several new pcs and a couple of crashes and they were forgotten about. I still had them in backups, but I couldn't open them on newer systems. This month I broke down and bought the latest version - 9. With that I was able to finally see my recipes again.

One of the lost recipes that was in the backups was one for chicken pate. I had found it somewhere years ago and decided to use it with leftover turkey for a holiday party. This weekend I had another holiday party and was happy to have stumbled upon the lost recipe.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can use leftover chicken. I went and got a rotisserie chicken for dinner the other night and used the rest for this pate. It's also great because you can use it as a base and doctor it up with spices to your own creative imaginations.

I took it to our blogger potluck and it was well received. The biggest fan was two year old Eva. She kept going back for more. The adults seemed to like it too. Let's just say that I didn't have any leftovers to bring home.

The recipe is good on its own, but I wanted something for a little extra garnish, so I added a few capers which added a nice bit of extra saltiness to each morsel.

Chicken Pate

2 t parsley, flat leafed
1 t tarragon, fresh
1 red onion, 2 inch piece
5 oz cooked chicken
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
6 tbsp unsalted butter (I use less. It's to help create the creamy spreadability, so add to make it to your desired consistency.)
1 ts salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

Process ingredients in a food processor until finely pureed and well blended. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pack into ramekins and chill. May be stored four days in advance.