My favorite cooking tool is my gas stove cooktop. I’ve cooked on gas exclusively for four decades. The rhythm and timing of a sauté over an open flame is steeped in my muscle memory. I’m lucky to have a sensitively calibrated stovetop that makes cooking joyful. Plus, there is something primal about the fire under a metal pan. No wonder kids love nothing more than roasting marshmallows over an open flame.
I use natural gas to fuel my barbecue, fireplace and underfloor hydronic heating system.
But this practice will soon be history. Last year, the City Council voted to become the state’s 46th municipality to ban natural gas infrastructure in new construction. There was zero public outreach.
It’s been a long time since I’ve cheered for a development with this much enthusiasm. But wait until you see what Kevin Dobson is doing at the long-shuttered Limn Furniture warehouse on Arden Way. Frustrated from watching so many directionless kids fail to graduate when he was principal at Natomas Charter School, Dobson quit his job to chase a dream. He created a free career academy where motivated high school students can get hands-on experience, internships and college credits at the same time. Now, with support from the local business community, an agreement with American River College and a $14 million tax-exempt bond to purchase the Limn property for $2.6 million and build the school, Dobson’s Capital College & Career Academy is on track to open in August.
Madar Afghan Food and Bakery is tucked into a strip mall on the corner of Marconi and Fulton avenues. The little restaurant brings Afghan flavors and American expectations together in a smart and delicious package.
How smart? So smart I was convinced Madar was part of a chain. It’s not, but you’d be forgiven for thinking so. From the slick logo font, focused menu and navigable website, this place doesn’t feel like a small, independent restaurant. It’s a machine. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a dozen Madars in Northern California over the next few years.
Madar opened in April 2020. That was a tough time, one month into COVID-19 restrictions. But the crew at Madar persevered.
As a kid growing up in Sacramento, David Gull often visited his Uncle George’s house. George, bar manager at the old Buffalo Club tavern, had a collection of memorabilia from the Buffalo Brewing Company in his basement. Buffalo Brewing operated at 21st and Q streets from 1890 until 1945. At one time it was the largest brewery west of the Mississippi.
Years later, Gull remembered his uncle’s collection and conducted research about the brewery. “And I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if someone brought back this historic brand, this historic beer? That was my lightbulb moment,” he says.
That moment led him to found New Helvetia Brewing Company, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in December. Named for John Sutter’s original settlement, the brewery and taproom are located at Broadway and 18th Street in Land Park. The taproom is decorated with Buffalo Brewing memorabilia, along with maps and lithographs of Sacramento.
When I stumbled onto Fiery Ginger Farm in West Sacramento, I thought I must be in the wrong place. Just off a main drive choked with cars, behind a motorcycle shop, an agricultural oasis beckoned.
The confluence of urban and rural, the contrast of cement and steel with compost and budding broccoli, struck me as an oddly poetic but fitting combination as I considered the food many of our kids eat.
With rows of organic salad greens, rooting pigs, digging ducks, greeting goats, and a field of cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli, I was in homesteader heaven just blocks from Downtown.
Imagine our kids’ school lunch trays packed with fresh, organic salad greens, pastured pork, braised turnips, broccoli heads kissed with Meyer lemon zest, and strawberries with green crowns still attached.