Travel the world through Sacramento's international markets

One of the most culturally diverse cities in America, the 2015 US Census reported more than 100 languages are spoken in Sacramento County.  Small portions of a historic Chinatown and Japantown remain within the central city. In South Sacramento, Little Saigon is a profusion of Vietnamese markets and restaurants. Large Asian, Russian, and Middle Eastern communities settled throughout Sacramento bringing cultural riches beyond your wildest dreams. This fusion of cultures translates into a wide array of delicious specialty markets and eateries. You can experience the world in Sacramento one bite at a time. Made-from-scratch goods are fresh and easy on the pocket.

Babylon City Market 2016 Credit Are You That Woman10Babylon City Market
1745 Watt Avenue, Sacramento; (916) 486-777

Six years young, this Mediterranean specialty market, bakery and café features halal meats, dairy, produce, spices, and traditional Iraqi breads prepared right before your eyes. You’ll swoon over fresh-baked samoon stuffed with chicken shawarma, pickled onions, garlic and tomatoes. Kabobs, falafel, chicken tikka, and hummus are all available to eat-in or takeout.  Ask about the anise cookies.

KP International 2016 Credit Are You That WomanKP International Market
10971 Olson Drive, Rancho Cordova; (916) 853-8000

A map and tour guide might help you navigate this 80,000-square foot gastronomic trip around the world.   A food court, bakery, and a dizzying assortment of culinary delights from America and Asia to Jamaica and Russia.  Come hungry! Temptations include steaming seafood ramen, plump piroshki, and Korean barbecue. Bring your passport! The Disneyland of ethnic markets, this is an all day affair. Afternoons and into the wee hours, a patio bar is all part of the voyage.

La Esperanza 2016 Creidt Are You  That Woman1La Esperanza Bakery & Market 
5028 Franklin Boulevard, Sacramento; (916) 455-0234
Expect a line, especially on holidays. Family owned and operated, generations of locals queue-up for fresh tamales, carnitas, salsa, bolliolos, très leches cake, churros and colorful conchas. Fresh tortillas are still warm and a screaming $1.30 for two dozen. The ceviche—shrimp, tomato, cilantro, lemon and jalapeño —is to die for. There’s a full takeout menu at the deli market and all the fixings for tamales. Brightly colored piñatas adorn the ceilings of this Sacramento favorite, open 365 days a year!

New World Bakery Fortune Cookies 2016 Credit Are You That Woman1New World Bakery
1713 - 10th Street, Sacramento;  (916) 446-9472

Good fortunes are found here. For 26 years, the sweet aroma of Sacramento’s best fortune cookies has greeted customers. Prepared fresh Monday-Friday, three dozen cookies are only $2 a bag from this closet-sized factory.  Watch as the cookies—one-by-one—move along, drop, fortune follows, and cookie magically folded. Now that’s some good fortune. Trivia:  Fortune cookies were invented in San Francisco!

Oto's Market 2016 Credit Are You That WomanOto’s Marketplace
4990 Freeport Boulevard, Sacramento; (916) 424-2398

If you’re craving Asian squid salad, Wagyu beef or seasoned octopus this is the place. For nearly 60 years, Oto’s has specialized in Japanese and Asian foods. Sushi Master Ray Yamamoto whips out Futomaki and Inari Combos and Dice-K Rolls. Available to eat in or takeaway, sushi and bento boxes vanish quickly.  The tchotchke selection of cups, bowls, cookware and utensils is fabulous. The market features local produce.


Neroe’s Bakery – Traditional Russian and European bakery.
6451 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Carmichael.
Mahoroba Japanese Bakery –Japanese pastries and bread. Heaven on earth.
4900 Freeport Boulevard, Sacramento.
Mei Mei Noodle Factory - Made fresh daily udon, won ton, chow mein, stir fry. The best!
1715- 10th Street, Sacramento.

Morantz  Old Fashioned Sausage Kitchen – Hand-crafted European sausages.
5001 Franklin Boulevard, Sacramento
Sampino’s Towne Foods – Old-world Italian deli and market.
1607 F Street, Sacramento

Bites on Broadway Southeast Comfort in Skagway Alaska


Rating: Star*Star*Star*Star*Star*

Southeast Alaska is giving the Deep South a run for its culinary money and gives southern cooking a whole new meaning.  Two guys from Mississippi have graced Skagway’s main street – Broadway -- with comfort foods. I should know, my Virginia southern roots told me so. I grew up eating grits and mustard greens with vinegar.

Wander past Broadway’s "we serve Starbucks" crowd and find yourself at Bites on Broadway. Lucky me, to find them just across the road from my lodging at Historic Skagway Inn. In the morning, I could peek out to see the lights were on and wander across the street for fresh-brewed coffee before the sunrise. That's saying something when it's July in Alaska. The owners, Nils and Skipper, learned the fine art of southern cooking Bites on Broadway Cheese biscuit with sweet potato butter Credit Are You That Womanfrom their mothers -- and they were excellent students. It was the plain cake doughnut that caught my eye on the first visit. And while munching away, spotted the cheese biscuit and something about sweet potato butter (instead of apple). OMG! Not ashamed to say I wolfed this down and still dreaming of that delightful moment. Hey, can I try a little of the Alaskan Salmon Chowder? Another taste bud celebration.

There weren't enough days or hours to eat everything on the menu. Clearly the locals have embraced this breakfast and lunch destination. So did I, more than once! Still dreaming about this down south in Northern California, y'all!


Alaska's Gateway City

Bites on Broadway Sweet Potato Butter Credit Are You That WomanShop online for delicious sweet potato butter and more!

Yuba Sutter Harvest Dinner magically delicious

Rating:  Star*Star*Star*Star*Star*

First Yuba-Sutter Harvest Dinner exceeded all expectations!

There's something so special about dining outdoors, especially in early autumn when California evenings are warm and dry with a promise of cooler days ahead. On October 8th, more than 100 friends of Visit Yuba-Sutter gathered to IMG_0471celebrate a bountiful harvest and feast. We dined and wined enjoying all the best of the region.

Late afternoon on Plumas Street in Yuba City, glasses of chilled champagne with local pomegranate syrup garnished with rings of Asian apple pear greeted us. Small bites featured balsamic, prune, goat cheese, arugula and walnut bruschetta and smoked porkloin skewers with prune-chipotle glaze. Yes, those dried plums have grown-up and are delish!

Mustard crusted organic rack of lamb portabella mushroom risotto, golden kiwi demi glaze and roasted butternut squash prepared by Chef Keith Colusa Casino Wintun Dinner House paired with 2014 Estate Cabernet from Cordi WineryAfter an hour of lighthearted cheer, we made our way to alfresco tables adorned in autumn finery and flanked by sunlit sycamores. Once seated, we got down to the serious business of dinner! Between pleasantries and laughter, four incredible courses and wines were served and consumed. Many oohs and aahs. Smiles. OMGs! Selfies and cell phone food photos followed. 

Yuba-Sutter chefs, purveyors, farmers, vintners and organizers outdid themselves. The evening was over far too soon with everyone agreeing the intimacy, elegance and warmth of the Harvest Dinner was more than we ever imagined. The presentations and creativity -- well, you wish you were there! As flower arrangements and place settings were cleared, we all asked, "What's the date for next year?" I hope I'm on that invite list!

The Menu Credit Are YouThat Woman

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Locavores love Old Town Elk Grove Farmers Market

Old Town Elk Grove Credit Are You That Woman

Rating:  Star*Star*Star*Star*

Still uber cool, I know I must be getting older. How many times do I now say, "back in the day"?  Too many to count. So, back in the day...we use to go to Old Town Elk Grove! Comfy and quaint and ahead of the curve,we enjoyed Elk Grove Brewery brews and German food. That was then this is now. Lola's now lives at what was once the brewery. It's been too many years, seriously! Why? It's still so sweet and getting sweeter all the time. Motivated by news of a new farmers market, I made the short trek to Old Town Elk Grove and was not disappointed.
Old Town Elk Grove Farmers Marekt Sign Credit Are You That Woman
The new Old Town Elk Grove Farmers Market is finding its way—just five months new—it will get there. Allan D'Anneo, Market Manager, Living Smart Farmers Markets, is bringing locally grown, locally made, locally good to Elk Grove. Watsonville, Capay Valley, Sacramento, Lodi, Escalon—all good things from the earth— raspberries, apples, carrots, heirloom tomatoes, cheese, honey, peppers YUM! Bread, baked goods, tamales, good dogs (and I do mean tube steak) kettle corn (of course) and more! Delicious homemade goodies for your pooch, handcrafted soaps and body products, colorful tees, sea glass jewelry, and exotic goods, Yes, they're off to an excellent start.

Fruit and Veggies Old Town Elk Grove Farmers Market Credit Are You That WomanIt was quiet on this Labor Day Sunday—okay by me, but I know the vendors are eager to greet and meet you! Fabulous live music—this time the incredible and so mellow Jessica Malone and Matthew Hevesh!  More events coming to this corner including the 6th Annual Tomato Taste-off, September 18, 2016 and Pumpkin Patch and Paint, October 2nd and 30th.

The fifth star is coming for this rising star on the ag-tourism, farmers market circuit. And Old Town, I'll be back sooner than later! Are You That Woman is the ultimate omni-local. Lola's Lounge is now on the bucket list along with Bob's Club, a dive bar after my own heart. And just up the street, Boulevard Bistro! Stay tuned and @Visit Elk Grove

Juneau Food Tours are food fantasy

Rating:  Star*Star*Star*Star*Star*

Tracy's King Crab Shack and here's the proof Credit The 5-star Excellence rating for Juneau Food Tours says it all. What a day! What a feast! Just a few small, delicious bites and my tummy was doing a crazy, happy dance. coma! Chowing my way through Juneau's burgeoning food scene. Local crab, local brews, local salmon, local food artisans! Yep, I was a gleeful locavore. Crab bisque from those king crab legs had me weeping tears of joy.

Tracy's King Crab Shack, Panhandle Provisions, Alaska Knifeworks, V's Cellar Door and Alaskan Hotel and Bar - some of Travel Juneau's best. Wow! Did someone really tell me there's no good food here? Insanity! Great history and background of the city. I won't soon forget. A truly authentic experience. Midgi is energetic and enthusiastic. And why not? Beautiful scenery, delicious food, and Alaska!

Midgi's an outstanding storyteller and shared an insider tip about the local Commercial Fisherman's Memorial. Shhh, the secret's safe with me. Rain or shine, you'll be smiling!

Sacramento Urban Flights of Wine & Dine

Frasinetti Winery 2016 Barbara Steinberg103In the late 1800s, Sacramento’s viticulture commerce was booming. With thousands of acres of grapes and an urban winery producing 500,000 gallons of wine, it already had an oenophile reputation. President Teddy Roosevelt was served Sacramento wine in 1903 and said he would “drink them as long as he lived”! Small wineries flourished in the region until Prohibition and then survived by selling table grapes or producing sacramental or medicinal wines, but eventually urban vineyards and wineries declined. Today, four urban wineries continue Sacramento’s proud wine tradition. The vineyards are gone, but regionally sourced grapes are fermented, blended, and bottled within our urban borders and provide contemporary wine and dine experiences. Wine bars and tasting rooms offer more options to explore vintages both locally and worldwide.

My Sacramento  - Kate’s path to Downtown & Vine
Kate Downtown & Vine Credit Larry Dalton 2016
Surrounded by wine appellations, Sacramento urbanites have countless offerings to sample a bit of the grape but with busy schedules those scenic drives are often bucket-listed. Sacramento’s urban wine bars and wineries provide a quick escape via bike, Uber, taxi or designated driver to hundreds of wine selections.

Kate Chomko made a circuitous route to Sacramento by way of Europe and Napa. Honing culinary skills at the Cordon Bleu and Culinary Institute of America – her credentials are rock solid. A friend and I dreamed about opening a tasting room. Sacramento made sense – it’s the center of California with millions of visitors, but no one was really telling the story about the regional wines. I moved here from Napa to open Downtown & Vine. This was the tasting room for 12 regional wineries!  We do wines from other places, but try to focus on local, small producers and family-owned wineries. Our wine flights are themed – Highway 101 Flight – or winery or region specific – to make it an experience so someone can really learn something and have fun.  Visitors who can’t get away to taste wine, can come here or take local home – we ship to 48 states. Our new Harvest Room features live entertainment to pair with local wine, cuisine and desserts.

Wine & Dine Urban Wineries

Frasinetti’s Winery & Restaurant – Sacramento Valley’s oldest family-owned and operated winery hasFrasinetti Winery 2016 Barbara Steinberg124
produced classic Italian wines since 1897. Once surrounded by 480 acres of grapes, the winery and restaurant are secluded in an industrial corner of Old Florin.  The restaurant features traditional Italian fare including Grandma’s pot roast and a scrumptious meatball sandwich – mangia, mangia! Traditional wines such as Chianti, Burgundy and a signature Port are available only at the restaurant and tasting room. The restaurant was carved out of old fermentation tanks surrounded by redwood barrels. Old world charm, but Frasinetti is absolutely in vogue!   
7385 Frasinetti Road; 916-383-2444

Revolution Wines – From crush to bottle, the first full-production winery to operate in the city of Sacramento
Revolution Wines 2016 Barbara STeinberg7since Prohibition
.  Take your time with urban wines and seasonal menus. Local ingredients are sourced for small, shared, and large plates. Build your own Burger Thursday and seasonal Friday Night Specials paired with vino just $15. Think green! Award-winning Revolution Wines available on tap and one-liter refillable growlers. Or get educated at a Tasting Sensory Class.

2831 S Street; 916-444-7711

RailBridge Cellars & Company
– A dozen varietals are blended and bottled at North 16th urban winery and retailed at eatery and Penthouse Lounge in historic Elk’s Tower.   Railbridge cellars kitchen 2016 Barbara Steinberg3Overlooking the Underground Lounge (aka old swimming pool), the dining room is très cool. A very personal endeavor for owners Michael Gelber and Michael Chandler naming three wines – Sienna, Ella and Nathan Michael –for their children. By the glass prices are extremely reasonable. The Levine – house pastrami sandwich on double-baked rye – is Sacramento’s best – yummy paired with the 2013  ‘3 Strands’ Pinot Noir. Monthly tastings five wines for $10; 1st and 3rd Thursday, 4pm-6pm.

921 – 11th Street; 916-476-5225

Cabana Winery Courtesy of CabanaCabana Winery Wine Bar & Kitchen –Robert Smerling, winemaker and owner, traded his wine country roots for this urban winery. On the edge of East Sacramento, this diminutive winery has a huge neighborhood following.  Educating customers about Wines of Cabana is the name of the game. Their Sauvignon Blanc and Boston-style Pizza are both “double-gold”.  Wine flights and elegant charcuteries are a perfect pair on the dog-friendly patio. 
5610 Elvas Avenue; 916-476-5492

A Taste of Urban Wine Bars

Award-winning farm-to-glass ports from America’s oldest port winery at Midtown’s Ficklin-Wilcox.
920-20th Street; 916-341-0240 

Underground Tasting Room features Twisted Twig and Rendez-vous wine tastings at their subterranean wine bar in Old Sacramento. 900 – 2nd Street; 916-444-2349

Relish seasonal red and white wine flights at 58 Degrees & Holding Co. wine bar where imported and local wines are artfully curated. 1217 -18th Street; 916-442-5858

French wine spoken at The Grand. Don’t blink, you just might miss this comfy and cozy wine bar near Capitol Park. 1600 L Street; 916-444-0472

WHIRED Wine Sacramento’s newest wine bar scene. Flights and bites plus Golden 1 Center half-court an easy one-block away. 410 L Street, 916-823-5008

Sacramento's Best Ice Cream Sandwich

Barbara's Bites on the Best Ice Cream Sandwich in Sacramento It was true then and it's true now!

If you haven't figured it out by now, I am very specific when it comes food. Not all things food, but there are those things I would say, "I am a snob when it comes to ______,"  You can fill in the blank. Now don't misunderstand. I love to eat just about anything and everything. But some things, well, I have my standards.

Ice cream is one of those things where my standards are high. But particularly, and in this case, ice cream sandwiches. It's all about the sandwich AND the ice cream. I must say I have been jaded because Sacramento has a FABULOUS cookie shop where they also make ice Goodie Tuchew Ice Cream Sandwich Credit Barbara Steinberg 2009 cream sandwiches right before your eyes and taste buds. Goodie Tuchews isn't alone in this world of ice cream sandwich creations, but what owner Terry O'Reilly has is more than 35 years in the cookie kingdom, producing 19 (yes, that's a one and a nine) varieties of cookies from which to assemble a luscious ice cream sandwich.

The combinations are nearly endless. How about Snickerdoodle top and Milk Chocolate Chip bottom? Hmmm, how do you determine which end is up?! It doesn't matter, it's still delicious. Or an Oatmeal Everything (that would be raisins, nuts and chocolate chips) and Chocolate Peanut Butter. Yeoweeeee! My personal fave is the Snickerdoodle top and bottom. Terry only has one ice cream flavor but it's an excellent choice and also VERY local, the wonderfully smooth and creamy vanilla ice cream from the landmark of 77 years of ice cream joy, Gunther's.  If you want a special order, then Terry is happy to provide other Gunther's ice cream flavors, but be sure to plan ahead.  A sure winner, Goodie Tuchews ice cream sandwiches have been dessert at more than one of my family celebrations. Located in downtown Sacramento at 1015 L Street, you need to get your ice cream sandwich fix Monday through Friday. Come early or call ahead, 916/444-6048.

Nixtaco street tacos in Roseville, yes, Mexican perfected

Rating: Star!Star!Star!Star!Star!

Pork Belly Taco with pickled onions Credit Are You That WomanI fell in love with Nixtaco last year at the Auburn Farmers Market. The owner, Patricio Wise, had a small booth with a limited menu. Despite it's diminutive size, the descriptions were so delicious I couldn't decide and asked for guidance. He suggested the pork belly taco with pickled onions. I'll keep this brief and simply say, "OMG!" An explosion of flavors danced in my mouth. Sadly, the party was over too soon. And that's what I kept saying to everyone I met.

Elated to hear a storefront was in the making, I whined and begged a bit, "Please come to Sacramento!" But Patricio and Nixtaco opted for an obscure corner in Roseville — damn you Placer County! I waited with bated breath. Once I heard that opening bell, I made the drive from downtown Sacramento. Wild horses wouldn't/couldn't keep me away. And so, as part of my birth-month celebration, I posted to Patricio, "I'm on the way!"

The location is generic, but that's where it ends and deliciousness begins. Everything — I mean everything — is made with love and true to its Mexican roots. Honestly, most ethnic foods are dumbed- or watered-down for American taste buds. Plus, Americans expect huge portions heaped and spreading over the edges of plates. At Nixtaco, diminutive street tacos and burritos are bountiful and flavorful as they should be. Not stuffed to the point of exploding — three perfect bites — eat them slowly savoring every morsel.

IMAG0892On this birthday lunch, friend Barbara R. joined in as a first-timer and was thrilled. We both opted for the three-taco special(s) and over-lapped in some choices which included: Pork Belly, Pollo en Mole, Short Rib Barbacoa and Asado Norteño. I love, love, LOVE the black beans. We watched fresh tortillas being made, ate too many house-made chips, guacamole and salsa(s), and chatted away happily long after finishing every scrap. I like the simplicity service on metal trays and mason jars for the salsa. Less waste in our landfills or water wasted washing dishes. I would love to see some really fabulous art - maybe a cool mural by friend Dos Hermano/Gabriel Romo next time he visits from Mexico!

For those who commented about prices being high and portions small:  This is a small, locally grown, genuine experience. Quality. You get what you pay for which doesn't always mean a plate piled sky high. Nothing artificial here. Everything is made in-house. And just like any new business, there are bound to be hiccups. The owners are there watching carefully and putting heart and soul into what I hope will be a very successful venture.

Their website says, "Three bites of pleasure!" Are You That Woman is here to say three thumbs up along with those five (5) stars above. Patricio you'll forgive me if I continue to whine just a little, "Please come to Sacramento...after you catch your breath!"

1805 Cirby Way, #12
Roseville, CA  95661


California pears and rice are Sacramento's Farm-to-Fork

Food, fun, wildlife and nature travel the best of Yuba-Sutter counties

Summer and autumn mean luscious blackberries - fresh fruit, jams, and pies.
Summer and autumn mean luscious blackberries - fresh fruit, jams, and pies.
Courtesy of Visit Yuba-Sutter