I know. Most of us don't think about it. We just go to the store and pick up our chicken or eggs. But when you do think about it, would you rather have your chicken raised like this...

or this?

I would much rather have my chicken and eggs from happy hens like this...
and this.

These happy hens, about 1,300 of them, live at Taramasso Ranch. The ranch is located on the edge of Napa and I had met the owner, Joan Taramasso, when she was selling the eggs at the Oxbow Market farmers market one Saturday. I was interested in her multi-colored eggs and the photo album of the different breeds of chickens she raises.

Although the Taramasso family has lived on their property for decades, it's only in the last few years that Joan decided to raise chickens to sell their eggs in an expanded capacity. There are sometimes as many as 30 different breeds of heritage chickens and roosters. 

I had no idea that Tillamook  made ice cream. I guess I never noticed because I don't buy ice cream at the store. It turns out that they have 27 flavors! 

This ice cream revelation came to me recently when Tillamook was in town to give a group of bloggers a tasting of six of their flavors along with a little lesson on improving our "visual voice" with social media. After our session we were invited to try our skills at making ice cream sandwiches and photographing them for Instagram. 

The important thing was we got to eat ice cream! Including one of their new flavors, Fireside S'mores. I'm not a chocolate ice cream fan, but I must admit it was pretty tasty. It helps that Tillamook ice cream is made with higher fat content cream and mixed so that it is less fluffed up with air, meaning a smoother, creamier mouth feel. The other flavors they brought included Strawberry, Marionberry Pie, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Vanilla, and one more I can't remember. 

I happened to be traveling to Oregon the next week and so I talked to Kelly, their PR Rep, and asked if I could arrange a tour.

Toro Bravo on Urbanspoon

Luckily my dad lives only 5 miles from the Columbia River. He lives in Vancouver, WA now and it seems like Vancouver has given up on good restaurants and just lets everyone cross the river to Portland if they want great food. Being one of those crazy foodies who will go to almost any length for a great meal, I happily cross the river. 

I looked at Eater Portland's list of top places to eat and picked something that was easy to get to. Taking Martin Luther King Blvd. is super easy and I travel down it until I reach NE Russell Street, take a turn, and park. Here is Toro Bravo, a "Spanish inspired" tapas restaurant.  

It's later in the evening and so I cross my fingers that the dinner rush is ending so that I can find a seat at the bar - and I do! Thanks to Kyle, the bartender, I settle down and am very well attended. He's one of those good looking, friendly bartenders that takes good care of you and takes an interest.

I wrote a few years ago about the fact that I am a chocolate snob. Like I mentioned in my recent cronut post, my worldwide travels have led me to be pretty picky about certain foods like pastries and chocolates. 

Chocolate is a big one since my dad is British and he LOVES chocolate. In fact, our go-to, safe birthday/Christmas present for him has always been a box of chocolates - milk chocolate nuts and chews. I think this is why I eat nuts and chews myself. And I can't stand chocolate and fruit together. No thank you for the chocolate covered cherries or raspberry cremes. I think the only exception to that is bananas and chocolate.

Basically I've poo-pooed American chocolates unless it is from an independent chocolatier like Ginger Elizabeth or Moonstruck Chocolates. It wasn't until I came to Sacramento that I discovered See's Candy

OK. So September is Farm to Fork month in Sacramento. But did you know that the State of California has named September as Food Literacy Month statewide?

Last year the CA Senate and Assembly proclaimed that September would be California Food Literacy Month - a big mark of approval for Amber Stott's mission of teaching low income children proper eating habits.

Amber's charitable organization, The California Food Literacy Center, is, like all charities, always looking for funds so that they can reach and educate more children throughout the state. She's done a fantastic job here in Sacramento, but she wants to take her program to every corner of the state.

crazy cronut line in NYC

I've come to realize that there is good reason for Dominique Ansel to patent the name "cronut". I am now of the opinion that his creation is probably worthy of its glorified, trendy status of late, whereas the knockoff creations appearing around the world and Sacramento are, for the most part, third rate.

For the uninitiated, a cronut is a hybrid croissant doughnut wherein croissant dough is cut into doughnut form and deep fried, then glazed and filled. Dominique Ansel is a pastry chef in New York City and the creator of this delight that has become the latest darling of the foodie world. At his bakery in NYC the cronut line wraps around city blocks with an average wait of three hours.

Zagat tastes the cronut

It is no wonder that shops around the world are trying to cash in by copying it. Last week Chris Macias wrote about the trend in the Sacramento Bee and about where one could find the copycats in Sacramento. In it I was quoted about it being overhyped and the latest thing for foodies to be the first to experience and try - my friends included. Doughbot Donuts also chimed in saying they had no interest in making them, despite the begging of their customers.