If someone were to custom design an activity for me, the result would be the Local Roots Food Tour of Sacramento that my family experienced this past weekend. Special time with my husband, parents, brother and sis-in-law – check. Gentle stroll with gorgeous weather through the beautiful tree-lined streets of Sacramento – check. Great stories and history (including food history) of the area – check. Oh yes, and lots of eating stops in local restaurants (and a bakery and a coffee shop) – check, check, check!
Led by the ever charming Joelle, my party of six and eight other lovely strangers enjoyed four hours of chatting about the local food scene and even better, sampling it. Joelle took good care of us, told us all sorts of ghost stories and encouraged our love of good food. I’ll never drive by Biba’s again without a glance at the upstairs windows…
Beginning with fancy french toast at Cafe Bernardo and ending with carnitas and infused tequila at Centro, the day was an ode to the vision and dedication that the Paragary family has brought to the Sacramento dining scene over the past 30 years. This included a private tour of the wholesale bakery that provides every piece of bread, bun, pasta and dessert to the 12+ Paragary restaurants in Sacramento. Shout out to Laurel, the bakery’s head honcho and a fellow ARC hospitality management alum. She is clearly an awesome human – I could tell in the twenty minutes we spent in her world.
In addition to the Paragary-fest, we also throughly enjoyed a presentation by Reuben at Coffee Works where we learned how to roast the green beans in their antique coffee roaster and turn them into the silky, bigger dark beans that everyone loves. We appreciated their commitment to fair trade in the coffee bean market and small batch roasting that you don’t find at that “other” coffee shop referred to in-house as “Darth Vader.” Young Reuben restores my faith in the next generation with his humor, warmth, competence and commitment to his job.
At Formoli’s Bistro we enjoyed a refreshing mizuna greens salad with strawberries and goat cheese and a lightly creamed soup with green beans and almonds – both were of the highest quality and highlighted the essence of the ingredients. Aimol Formoli, a co-owner and the head chef, is truly committed to using quality, local produce and it shows in the menu.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was the fact that an ice cream treat exists that my family didn’t know about previous to the tour! After a lovely walk through the edge of the Fabulous 40s (I think we were actually on 38th), we walked right near McKinley Park and ended up at La Bombe Ice Cream Parlor. Using local Gunther’s Ice Cream, La Bombe creates their signature European inspired treat – Les Bombe Glacees. Picture layers of ice cream, cookie wafers and jams and syrups; these little domed creations are, well, the bomb.
This was my second food tour with Local Roots Food Tour, and both times I have been filled with gratitude for two things: 1. That I live in a town with such a rich history (including food history) and 2. That a group like the Local Roots Food Tour company exists to share it with me and others. Each time I “tour” around Sacramento – a place I have lived all my life – I learn something, make a connection, and appreciate this place all the more.
I’m adding “Experience Food Tours When Ever (and Where Ever) Possible” to my bucket list, because it is an activity custom-made for me. Have you ever experienced a food tour? Tell me all about it!