Farm to Fork: Sacramento is a Hidden Slow Food Paradise

Written by: Joshua MacAran

A colorful, vibrant plate of Hangar steak, spinach salad, and frites.

Hangar steak and arugula spinach salad, chimichurri, Point Reyes blue cheese, Riverdog cherry tomatoes, and frites.

Many praise San Francisco’s gourmet restaurants, but few know of Sacramento‘s deeply rooted farm to fork restaurant culture. Let’s take a glance at the local slow food scene.

Our first stop is Mulvaney’s Building & Loan. Mulvaney’s is tucked away in a historic brick firehouse in midtown Sacramento. You might not realize it’s a restaurant until you peer inside and notice the mahogany chairs, lilies in vases decorating white clothed tables, and a throng of happy customers enjoying dishes such as Braised Martin Emigh Ranch Leg of Lamb with Mint Salsa Verde or 28 Day Dry Aged Niman Ranch Rib Eye with Huckleberry Jus. Mulvaney’s is owned by passionate locavore and chef extraordinaire Patrick Mulvaney. Mr. Mulvaney has combined the highest degree of fine dining expertise with a firm commitment to using organic produce from local farms and organic meat from local ranches. Mulvaney’s boasts a menu that changes every day to reflect what is available in the region. His excellent service, top tier food, and commitment to locavorism has garnered a wide following in the Sacramento region.

Our next stop is anything but a hole in the wall, but you’ll find no sign out front. Nonetheless The Kitcen is packed every night, with reservations booked for the next six months or longer. The Kitchen is no ordinary fine dining restaurant. Each dinner is a seven course meal prepared entirely with local organic produce, meat, and seafood (to the tune of $125 per person, plus wine!) . This fall, you’ll find dishes such as Pumpkin Bisque and Oxtail-Duck Confit or Braeburn Apple Pie with Nancy’s Butter-Chocolate Crunch Ice Cream and Apple Fries. Parts of the meal are prepared as you watch, and there is an almost vaudevillian performance by the chefs for your entertainment. You will learn about all of the ingredients and preparation that have gone into your meal while laughing at the wit and antics of head chef Noah Zonca. The Kitchen has been called the French Laundry of Sacramento and it’s no surprise that their dining room is always full.

The last in our trifecta of farm to fork fine dining moguls is Paragary’s Bar & Oven. Paragary’s has been using locally produced ingredients for over 25 years, marking them as a restaurant far ahead of their time. Their wood-burning oven gives their dishes a unique flavor that is difficult to find in fine dining today. Come for the Housemade Butternut Squash Ravioli or the Pan-Seared King Salmon with roasted cauliflower, butternut squash, brussels sprout leaves, and hazelnut salsa verde. Stay for the Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake with espresso gelato. Enjoy it all on their back patio surrounded by gnarled olive trees, waterfalls, and a massive stone fireplace.

This is just a small sample of the slow food culture Sacramento has to offer. Other local favorite include Magpie Catering, Ella Dining Room and Bar, and the Hot Italian, just to name a few. At a time when more and more people are seeking farm to fork cuisine cooked to perfection, Sacramento is at the forefront of the movement.

Organic sushi: A balanced meal for the health-conscious

A balanced healthy mealBy: Marina Ignatyeva

Health-conscious food lovers face a constant dilemma: how to balance their love for food with healthy eating that would not result in weight gain. A delicious solution is organic sushi.

Sushi is a culinary work of art that usually consists of rice, vegetables, fish or seafood, and nori seaweed that holds this all together. Some sushi rolls also contain sauces, which add flavor and spiciness to the roll.

The beauty of sushi is just how customizable it is. If one is concerned about eating too many carbs, one can choose to get sushi made out of brown rice instead of white rice or jasmine rice, both of which are much higher on the calorie scale. People can choose to get their sushi rolls lightly cooked in tempura batter, or avoid this crispy goodness and the calories from fat that come with it. Or they can choose to get sushi rolls with tempura-fried shrimp or vegetables, so that only a small portion of the roll is crispy, reducing the guilt of eating unhealthily. Customers can order rolls with cream cheese, or opt out from consuming this melty goodness. The types of vegetables used are different for each type of roll, as well as the types of fish and seafood used. If the consumer wants to opt out from eating any fish, they can always find vegetarian sushi.

The biggest concern that most people have with sushi is how expensive sushi can be. Most sushi houses and modern sushi bars use wild caught fish and organic ingredients. (For those who want to be absolutely sure of how organic their sushi is, Wholefoods has amazing sushi bars.) In Seattle, it is easy to find traditional sushi houses that make whole rolls for an inexpensive price, as long as they are not too fancy and if it is happy hour. Modern-style sushi bars with conveyer belt serving system occasionally also have reduced prices during certain hours, or choose to sell sushi pieces with farm-grown fish, which cost less. For example, Oto Sushi ( is a traditional-style sushi house that sells whole rolls for as cheap as $4.99 during their lunch special. Conveyer belt modern restaurant AA Sushi ( also has reduced prices on their plates during lunch hours. Blue C Sushi  ( sells rolls with farmed salmon, which is less expensive than wild salmon or a different type of fish.

Organic sushi with brown rice is very nutritious and delicious. If eaten with a bowl of miso soup, a light healthy Japanese soup. it makes a balanced meal that does not induce bloating while filling the eater up. This is a perfect meal for the health0conscious consumer!

Local Organic Farms Are A Healthy Resource

You can find a variety of fresh, organic foods at local farms and farmer's markets

The summer is about to come upon us and with the ray of sunshine comes the full bloom of the local farmer’s markets.  And while this is a great time of the year to shop there for organic produce, there are stores and small farms that sell items throughout the year.

Shopping at local farms or farmer’s markets is a great way to support your city’s economy.  It also promotes healthier food choices and helps keep organic farmers in business.

Organic produce that is grown at the local level has amazing benefits that you won’t find in imported or statewide food.  It is the freshest you can get without growing it yourself in your own backyard.  In fact, there are u-pick farms available that give you this opportunity.  The soil that these farmers use is rich in nutrients, unlike that of the mass production farms, which use harmful pesticides supposedly linked to ADHD in children.

There is a variety of food available from local farms like honey, eggs, produce, homemade soap, and even dog treats.  It is well finding out about and many farmer’s markets and local farms are listed right online.  Local organic produce is a healthy and fresh choice for you and your family.

Organic Food Choices You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Organic foods are still the best choice for your health

With all of the news about organic food not being healthier for you consumers have been receiving mixed signals lately.  But the truth is there are still harmful chemicals that are being used on non-organic foods that we should stay away from in order to be healthy and fight disease.

Smart food choices can help improve your diet and your health.  For example, it has been reported by nutritionists that the average American consumes only two to ten percent of their required daily fiber each day.  The recommended amount is thirty four percent.  Fiber helps cleanse the body of toxins, reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease, and lowers cholesterol.

There are three organic foods that should be at the top of your shopping list for healthier eating.  The first being of course beans for the fact that these carry the most fiber content your body needs.  Any bean will do.  And if gas is a problem, products like Beano will help alleviate that.  Also rinse any canned beans thoroughly before cooking them.  Dried beans should be soaked in water overnight and also rinsed.  This removes the sugars that come out of the beans, which cause gas.

The second great organic food choice would be tomatoes.  Tomatoes contain lycopene, another cancer fighting agent, and can be used in a variety of dishes.  You can purchase these fresh or canned, but be sure the canned variety is low sodium or none.

The third great organic food choice would be natural sweeteners like Agave, Maple Syrup, and Stevia.  Although raw cane sugar is better than refined white sugar, it still turns into fat in the body.  Try these alternatives for a lower calorie dessert or beverage.

Making the switch to organic eating can be simple and affordable with proper planning, coupons, sales and cutting down on snack foods.  There are many recipes available online at natural food stores that can also get your diet on the right track and reduce the amount of chemicals found in regular foods.