There are many misconceptions concerning the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op. Some think a membership is necessary. Some think it's too expensive for their budget. Both of these statements are not true, especially with the introduction of their new Essentials program.

The Co-op has been in Sacramento since 1973 and is an integral part of the community. As they quickly approach the opening of the new store (tentative August 24), they want the community to know even more about their participation in helping everyone to eat healthy, whether you are a Co-op member or not. 

First is their Community Discount Program. If you come to the Co-op and are at a low income level, you can get a card to get a 10% discount every time you shop. For the rest of the public, they can enjoy 10% off on the first Friday of every month, or, if they are a senior citizen, have that discount also on Senior Appreciation Day every third Wednesday of the month. 

A new program started in February. The Essentials program features about 70 products that are the main ingredients needed to make healthy meals. (List of Essentials) Think about those lists you sometimes come across on the internet or in magazines - "50 essential items to keep in your kitchen pantry!" We're talking basics such as milk, butter, cereal, beans, rice, pasta, oils, vegetables, bread, canned tomatoes, spices, and even health items such as toothpaste and vitamins. You will find them labeled on the shelves with this logo:

These items are being offered at significantly reduced prices in order to make them affordable for anyone wanting to watch their budget, but especially those with a low, fixed income.

For me the basic principle of dining out is to get something that I don't make at home. (Sometimes that includes because I'm lazy.) I'm not interested in going out for grilled salmon and steamed veggies. I can do that at home! I also prefer to try new dishes that I haven't had before or are done in a unique way. That's how I first had bone marrow, foie gras, and sweetbreads. 

This is one of the reasons I'm loving Skool.  As Sacramento's dining scene increases with the new arena and ever blossoming social scene, it's important that new restaurants joining the fray bring something fresh to the party. Skool does this.

In a few words, Skool offers Asian influenced seafood without offering sushi/sashimi. Skool is obviously a play on "a school of fish". Oh, and happy hour is called "detention hall". 

mushroom, potato, pork skewers
While I am sad that beloved Doughbot Donuts is no more, I can't be more thrilled with a quality restaurant that took it's place. What's more, it came highly recommended by Bill Ngo, chef extraordinaire of Kru. He was impressed just from the soft opening and we all know that places should (theoretically) get better as they iron out the kinks. Best of all, Binchoyaki is in my neighborhood, just a couple blocks away.

They've done a great job of remodeling the location. Not many people ever got (or needed) to go into the kitchen area or use the bathroom, but the place was pretty ramshackle. One of the (lesser) reasons Doughbot vacated. With the remodel, Binchoyaki is clean, comfortable, and has a nice bathroom!

The name of the place comes from Bincho meaning "charcoal" and Yaki meaning "grill". Therefore, I assume they use Binchō-tan charcoal. 
The fineness and high quality of binchō-tan are attributed to steaming at high temperatures (about 1000 degrees Celsius). Although it is often thought that binchō-tan burns hot, it actually burns at a lower temperature than ordinary charcoal but for a longer period, making it preferable to a number of Japanese chefs.
Meanwhile, "izakaya" is the Japanese equivalent of a gastropub. A social eating house.

courtesy of de Young Museum

You only have til the end of May, but if you are a fashion fan, you need to get to the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. 

red carpet dresses

The exhibit has 130 outfits spreading over 60 years. The dresses are sectioned by theme, including Eastern, Spanish, and Russian influenced, day, evening, and, of course, red carpet. 

I'm a tightwad, so the thought of the price of these dresses is beyond my comprehension, but seeing of them up close was pretty impressive. To see the details in embroidery, beading, etc. is just amazing. 

check out the detail work

I loved the sheer layer upon layer

Disclosure: I am receiving a press pass to this event.