Keeping "Slow Food" Alive in Sacramento

Keeping "Slow Food" Alive in Sacramento

Keeping “Slow Food” Alive in Sacramento

By Katie Rubin | Photography by Zephyr McIntyre

 

“Really nice restaurants are like heavy bicycles with really soft tires.  They take a lot to get going and require a lot of speed to keep them stable.”  

Ed Roehr should know as he is the visionary chef behind 14th Street’s classy and cozy Bakery and Coffee Shop, Yellowbill, and the industrial-chic, ever popular, mid-town hotspot, Magpie.  

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And that’s just what Mr. Roehr is committed to doing; riding the bicycles of his restaurants as long and as hard as it takes to give Sacramento the fresh, whole, real foods he believes it truly deserves.

“Magpie is a Farm-to-Table restaurant,” says Roehr.  “I’ve always been interested in bringing the real food of our region straight to the plate…  The thing is, when people think the hand-made croissant we make with whole flour and real butter is the same as the frozen croissant you’re getting at [any chain coffee shop], that’s when we’re in trouble as a culture and a community, I think.”  

Ed Roehr, owner of Yellowbill Bakery and

Ed Roehr, owner of Yellowbill Bakery and

Ed would love to simply focus on his greatest passion: making amazing food for people, but because we, the people, don’t really know the difference between a frozen baked good, and one of his homemade gems (I just ate one- holy God, they’re incredible), he is often forced to spend a lot of time and energy, like any small business owner, educating the public about the value of his product, and telling a story that compels folks to listen.  

In recent years, Roehr has become an avid spokesperson for the Slow-Food movement, pioneered by Carlo Petrini in Italy.  First formed in protest of the building of a McDonald’s on a popular square in Italy, the Slow Food Movement stands as a proponent of the pleasure and the enjoyment of life.

Sitting down for a home-made meal, at a real dining room table, with one’s family and friends is the best way to “hold things together,” as Ed says, in a time when we are constantly being torn in a thousand directions with busy-ness, options, and endless distractions.

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Uncertain at first as to the value and validity of the slow food movement’s aims, Roehr found himself “buying in” emotionally while on a family trip to Italy.  

“I was sitting there in this plaza, watching my son run around one evening during this massive meal the whole community was sharing, and I thought ‘There are 30,000 people in this area, and not one of those people is going to force his kids to eat nuggets in the backseat of the car tonight.”

And that’s when it hit him.  

“Just because we have so much abundance in America, doesn’t mean we have to spend all our time running…  Running from place to place and from experience to experience.  People are so hungry for change and variety.  We just want something new to happen to us.  We want to be entertained by our food.”

And while the food at Magpie is certain to entertain if not dazzle your taste buds, Ed finds himself longing for the brilliant simplicity of places like Caffe Rosso in Venice.  

“During the daytime,” Ed says,  “they make cappuccino and macchiato and croissants.  And in the evening, they make little sandwiches, and a spritz with Aperol.  And that’s it.  When I went there when I was 23 years old, they made those things.  And when I went back recently at age 40-something, it’s the same thing.  300-500 people a day go there.  There are tables outside, and everyone looks happy.  The woman who was the barista there when I was 23 is still there.  She’s the manager now.  Now, in America, we might call that stagnation, but I call it something simple that works.”

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So.  If you and your family could use some simplicity, some time together and some incredible real, whole food, head over to Yellowbill in the morning, and Magpie in the evening for a little taste of the delectable slow food movement.  Ed’s restaurants aren’t a small cafe in Italy.  But they’re infused with at least as much heart, passion and commitment.  

And hey.  Maybe take your time getting there.  Because really, at the end of the day, what’s the rush?

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Little Space, Big Taste

Little Space, Big Taste

By Jamie Worrall

Today you’ll find a much smaller Japantown here in Sacramento compared to what stood pre-WWII. It was relocated in 1957 after bulldozers and the Sacramento City Council moved forward with The Capitol Mall project and, in the process, uprooted our once-bustling 6-square-block Japanese community. These days, along 10th Street in Midtown Sacramento, mostly between T and W, a small cluster of Japanese owned businesses include Osaka-Ya, Sakura Gifts, June’s Cafe, and a new favorite-- Binchoyaki. This new eatery and small bar has caught the attention of many, including Michael Glascock who came in after noticing how crowded it was inside and then soon after reading about their chart-topping Duck Ramen plate in the Sacramento Bee. Learning that a Pocket-Greenhaven native, Craig Takehara and his wife Tokiko Sawada are behind Binchoyaki made him all the more proud of their success and we were eager to spread the word!

Binchoyaki is an Izakaya-style dining experience, or what in Japan would be your go-to after work gastropub where you meet up with friends or co-workers after a long day. Everything here is moderately portioned, but a plate or two per round of drinks should keep you more than satisfied. Binchoyaki seeks to be a Northern California bent on an Izakaya, so while it most definitely keeps Japanese beer on tap, and the authentic Binchotan (maple charcoal) is fired up on the smokeless grill, at the same time they are not afraid to throw some soul music on the speaker system and use French or European influences in a dish. Plus, they are using locally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible, which here in our farm-to-fork capital is very much appreciated. The food is delicious and the sense of shared experience is too.

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Here in Sacto we have great Japanese food, but admittedly, mostly sushi. At Binchoyaki you get more eclectic Japanese offerings, ordered either from their grill menu, which burns between 1000-1500 degrees, or from their kitchen menu. If you need help ordering, Faith, our super knowledgable server, offers suggestions and answer questions about the dishes, happy to share methods, ingredients, and history when asked. You’ll also get a little insight into the preparation of your food watching the barbecues just on the other side of the low bar being expertly fanned while the various skewers of meats and veggies are flipped, added, and removed, some after 30 seconds and others not for 20 minutes. It would take a minimum of 6 months, Craig later estimated, to become merely a proficient Sumiyaki chef using those high-heat binchotan charcoals.

Owners Craig, originally from Sacramento, and Toki who is from the LA area, have been in “the industry” since even before the two met at the California School of Culinary Arts. In high-school Craig worked at Oto’s Maket on Freeport Boulevard as a fishmonger, butcher, and deli manager. Both Craig and Toki have culinary degrees, impressive resumes, and years of experience which give them a great depth and breadth of understanding in Japanese cuisine. After meeting 16 years ago they continued gaining experience in various fine dining restaurants, large hotels, and clubs, even serving celebrities such as Tom Cruise among others. Their lifestyle changed, however, in 2009 when they moved to Sacramento to start a family.  After having been headhunted to open 300-seat restaurants, world travel, and rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, he is happy here in Sacramento with his comparatively smaller locale. The goal is now to bring alive a variety of food and culture that has not been available to Sacramentans since the disappearance of a prosperous Japantown. And we are happy they have!

Binchoyaki is closed Sunday and Monday. Lunch is served Tuesday-Saturday 11am-2pm with Dinner from 4pm-10pm. They are open late on Friday and Saturday until Midnight!

Binchoyaki is closed Sunday and Monday. Lunch is served Tuesday-Saturday 11am-2pm with Dinner from 4pm-10pm. They are open late on Friday and Saturday until Midnight!

For Craig, one of the greatest revelations after having been in business for almost a year here in Sacramento is how supportive other restaurants and managers from other places have been. “This is my first restaurant; my first time around,” muses Craig, “And it’s nice to have a group of people in Sacramento where not everything is competition.” He recognizes that our cultural identity here is different from that of the Bay Area, and that of LA, and believes in helping Sacramento create great food, whatever the variety, with a strong sense of camaraderie. At Binchoyaki, the expert ownership and the importance placed on countless tiny details amount to a concept as bold and basic as “Good food made well”, which, when it comes down to it, is as authentic here on the corner of 10th and W as it is novel.

 

A Duke, A Prince, A Year In Review

A Duke, A Prince, A Year In Review

By Alisa Chatham Sakowitz

In like a lion, out like a lamb?  

Not really.  Last year came in like a lion and went out like a bull.  An old-fashioned Market bull.  2017 seems to be off to a kinder and gentler start but 2016 wasn’t actually all that bad in the Markets. Culturally speaking – it was a different story.  

While the Markets started 2016 off with the worst start to a year in Market history 1, we also saw the loss of pop icons such as music legends David Bowie, Glenn Frey (The Eagles), actor Alan Rickman (among the best bad guys of all time from the “Die Hard” series of movies to Harry Potter’s Professor Snape), Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, author Harper Lee and former First Lady, Nancy Reagan.  2016 seemed not to be shaping up very well.

Markets were down 11% 2 by February 11th, 2016.  Oil traded under $30 per barrel and the world economy seemed perched on a precipice.  The lion roared in and scared away all the lambs.  (We could say the bear growled in but, technically, in Market-speak, the indexes need to be down over 20% for the decline to be called a true bear.  That and, around here, we don’t want to invoke old Ursus unless we have to.)  

After the sun came out and Markets began to reverse course, the loss of those who contributed to our society’s enrichment continued.  Patty Duke and Debbie Reynolds.  Prince and Merle Haggard.  Gene Wilder who kept his illness a secret from the world because he never wanted to mar a child’s memory of him with a picture of anything other than happiness.  Fidel Castro and Eli Wiesel.  Carrie Fisher.  Arnold Palmer.  

All of this caused us to really think hard about the good things that happened in 2016.  As it happens, the Markets and the economy are among the brightest spots.  From the lows of February 11th through the last trading day of the year on December 30th 3 the Market returned 22.4%.  That qualifies as a verifiable bull!  Not many, if any, of the experts were predicting that kind of an outcome but the Markets 4 hit a record high, wages rose and unemployment was at the lowest levels seen in 9 years5.  

It can’t always be all about markets and the economy, so what else happened in 2016 that we can point to as a positive?  Well, astronomers discovered evidence of a 9th planet.  World hunger was at its lowest levels in 25 years and the Giant Panda was officially removed from the Endangered Species list6.  

The roller coaster ride of 2016 is another reminder of why we stay invested, why we allocate assets across different types of investments and why we utilize the thinking of different experts.  The Market is a great purveyor of surprise and this year only cements the need to stay focused on the positive.  One never knows when the bull will buck his head up!  


Commentary written by Alisa Chatham Sakowitz, Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Guardian. Opinions, estimates, forecasts, and statements of financial market trends are based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice. References to specific securities, asset classes and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute a solicitation, offer, or recommendation to purchase or sell a security. S&P 500 Index is a market index which focuses on large-cap segments of the U.S. equities market.  Indices are unmanaged and one cannot invest directly in an index.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. 2017-34472 Exp 1/18

  1.  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-set-for-triple-digit-drop-as-oil-breaks-under-30-2016-01-15
  2. http://us.spindices.com/indices/equity/sp-500  (supplemented with First Data information)
  3. As measured by the S&P 500 Index
  4. As measured by the S&P 500 Index
  5. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/12/21/16-good-news-stories-of-2016/?utm_term=.102d779a0b84
  6. https://qz.com/865623/99-good-things-that-happened-in-2016-from-ebola-leaving-west-africa-to-saving-the-mantees/

Game, Set, Match... Double Match!!

By Nicky Park with Jamie Worrall

It seems like everyone I know right now is talking about or thinking about buying a home! Apparently the market is “hot”, whatever that means. Recently I got a chance to sit down with Matthew Cole who is a branch manager at Guaranteed Rate Mortgage Company and came out with an actual viable game plan thanks to a 1% down conventional loan product called the Double Match Grant Program.

First, here’s a little more about Matthew:

His favorite part of the job is helping people who thought they could not buy a home. (Well, that’s me!) As Matt called us “buyers who have a tough time saving money”. I appreciate the empathy, because in addition to the crazy rents in midtown and my school loan payments and of course LIFE, I can’t put away as much as I’d like to.

How can a branch manager in finance be so sympathetic? He’s been there. Matt and his wife Fallyn have four children, (one a newborn!) two dogs and a cat. He’s a master at striking a balance between investing in the future (whether that be saving for an additional college fund or saving for a big professional expense at the office) and living in the moment. “We do a lot of things as a family,” Matt says, and he truly believes that an active life does not have to be incompatible with one’s financial goals and homeownership.

Here’s where the Conventional Double Match Mortgage comes in. If you qualify you can get a conventional home loan and only have to put 1% down. The remainder of the 3% down payment will come in the form of a grant that doesn’t need to be repaid to anyone ever! Depending on the location of the home being purchased there may not even be any income limits as to who can qualify for the program. I’m a first time home buyer but second and third-time home-buyers are welcome to this party as well!

Yes, there are other programs that might be a better fit for others with a large savings account, but I am not one who has 20% of the purchase price just tucked away. If you don’t want to be “house poor” let Guaranteed Rate help you “keep money in your pocket” as Matt puts it.

Matt has been doing the mortgage (and family) gig for fifteen years now, and sees patterns and shifts in the market that I have just begun to take interest in, so I appreciate his experience. From what I hear, Sacramento has some seriously low inventory, and interest rates that might go up as the market changes under a new administration. All in all, Matthew Cole knows his stuff, and he is here to help!

Hope Springs Eternal

Hope Springs Eternal

By Corey Rodda 

    The trendy neighborhood of Oak Park has eye candy for anyone to behold — antique mansions, line houses and knotted sycamore trees make up North Oak Park where Old Soul Co., Naked Coffee, Oak Park Brewery, the Oakland grown La Venadita Taqueria and the Brickhouse Art Gallery have started to attract hipsters and investors. Further south, Central and South Oak Park offer a neighborhood oasis where the stars shine bright at night and palm trees climb to soaring heights.  

Valentine's Day cards lovingly made by Wellspring guests are on sale at the McGeorge School of Law. Proceeds go to Wellspring's Art of Being program which offers art therapy, crafts, sewing classes and a weekly make-it and take-it craft club to every woman in the Sacramento community free of charge.

Valentine's Day cards lovingly made by Wellspring guests are on sale at the McGeorge School of Law. Proceeds go to Wellspring's Art of Being program which offers art therapy, crafts, sewing classes and a weekly make-it and take-it craft club to every woman in the Sacramento community free of charge.

    But, beneath all the glitz and glamour of Oak Park is an urban community in transition and Wellspring Women’s Center, tucked away behind the Broadway Triangle in an antique pink-painted firehouse, has seen it all. A black panther shoot-out once occurred at the old Firehouse which is now known to long time Oak Park residents as a community gathering spot that has offered women and children a haven from the auspices of poverty since 1987.  

Fresh cut flowers donated by Relles Florist adorn every breakfast table at Wellspring Women's Center. They are part of Wellspring's mission to serve it's guests in an atmosphere of "hospitality, dignity and love."

Fresh cut flowers donated by Relles Florist adorn every breakfast table at Wellspring Women's Center. They are part of Wellspring's mission to serve it's guests in an atmosphere of "hospitality, dignity and love."

    Each weekday morning, Wellspring serves a nutritious breakfast to about 200 women and children in an atmosphere of hospitality, dignity and love.  As well, the Center offers social work services, art therapy, sewing classes, chiropractic services and dispenses diapers, sanitary pads and hygiene products. 

    Wellspring was founded nearly thirty years ago by Sister Catherine Connell and Sister Claire Graham who set out to create a breakfast spot that was clean, bright and beautiful where women could come to value themselves through the experience of being valued by others.

    In the Center’s salad days, Sister Claire and Sister Catherine would clean guests homes after they closed Wellspring for the day. While on their house visits, they took stock of what the guests needed and started to offer them diapers, sanitary pads, hygiene products and greeting cards.

    Reliant solely on private funding, the Center requests no qualifying information from its guests before they can access its services. Over the past thirty years, Wellspring has evolved to serve it’s guests’ needs.

      Fresh cut flowers and tablecloths adorn every table and the center’s walls pop with art and photographs. An old fire pole near the center’s kitchen has been transformed into a sculpture crafted out of pastel flower coffee filters. 

The center occupied other storefronts before moving to its current location and has operated out of this historic firehouse in North Oak Park since the mid-90s.  A black panther shoot out once occurred from the Firehouse's hose tower. 

The center occupied other storefronts before moving to its current location and has operated out of this historic firehouse in North Oak Park since the mid-90s.  A black panther shoot out once occurred from the Firehouse's hose tower. 

    Wellspring serves as a social gathering spot — a place where isolated seniors, women with mental illness, mothers and grandmothers can listen to each others stories and be a part of each others lives.  Seasonal celebrations supply guests with fond memories to earmark the passage of time. And birthday gifts and bassinets given to new mothers reveal to guests that they are loved and honored. In the children’s corner where supervised playtime is offered during breakfast hours, children are exposed to guests and volunteers who shower them in compassion even if their home-life is fraught with dysfunction. 

    The breakfast spot is a beacon of radical acceptance — no guests are ever banned from Wellspring and for some women, Wellspring is their only access point for food and shelter.  Wellspring embraces those who are most marginalized and creates an environment where everyone no matter race, creed, class or background is blanketed in compassion, support and love. Wellspring is a model of community revitalization and proof that we heal together. Perhaps the Center’s most profound impact is giving its guests reason to wake up in the morning. 

Wellspring, currently dressed up for Valentine's Day, is decorated for every holiday and provides its guests with celebrations to look forward to each season.

Wellspring, currently dressed up for Valentine's Day, is decorated for every holiday and provides its guests with celebrations to look forward to each season.

        To learn more about Wellspring please visit the Center’s website and read Tales from the Heart of Wellspring: Stories Collected and Shared at Wellspring

~Corey Rodda is a marketing consultant who is passionate about social justice. She happily resides in Oak Park, Sacramento.

Hello 95819 Friends!

Hello 95819 Friends!

Here's a look at 2016 in 95819!

--By Michael Glascock

This graph clearly illustrates with oh-so-vibrant colors a truly far from vibrant market for buyers. Though active listings have increased in the last 30 days, the desire and demand to live in 95819 outweighs the opportunity.

Graph #2 offers a grand perspective on price per square foot. This only goes to show what happens when inventory dwindles...

This glacial perspective shows truly how much of a seller's market it is in 95819!!! Six months of inventory is considered an even market... and here we are looking at just over two-thirds of a month! If you are living in the 95819... things are more than fine.

***Should you have any further questions or desire any more colorful and informative charts and graphs, feel free to contact me at any time. I'm never to busy for your referrals!***
Onward & Upward,
Michael

A Look at '16 in the 95818

A Look at '16 in the 95818

Hello to our dear friends, clients, livers and lovers of all that is 95818! Here is a year of data for your perusing pleasure. Should you have any questions regarding these graphs, or any other market inquiries please don't hesitate to reach out. That's what we are here for!

This first graph clearly shows that there's not much out there for buyers to choose from. It's an extremely light inventory!

Graph 2 only further supports the case of heavy rains and light listings!

Graph 3 shows if you list it... it won't last!!! Only going to show...

THIS IS THE TIME! BE A PART OF IT!

NEW YEAR 411 IN THE 95822

Hello to our dear friends, clients, livers and lovers of all that is 95822!

Here's a look at '16 in '17 in the 95822. Should you have any questions regarding these graphs,  any other sales or value information don't hesitate to reach out. That's what we are here for! See you in the 95822!

Onward & Upward,

Michael

Graph 1 shows us it's a game of follow the "lister".

Graph 2 shows pretty close to perfect on the sale price. If you list it, they'll not only come... they will pay!

And then Graph 3 supports the reason why... IT'S A SELLER'S MARKET!

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