Monday, August 26, 2013


One of the best pasta dishes I've ever had in Sacramento was at Masullo on Riverside Boulevard. It was spaghetti with garlic, parsley, chili, pepitas, and roasted bread crumbs, and it was fabulous.

Unfortunately, it's not on their menu. They have a different pasta every day, and that one rarely comes up in the rotation. Still, I stopped by Masullo for lunch last week because I had a craving for their rosemary bread. I'm happy to say I was able to put together a delightful meal with the few vegan items on their menu.

First, I ordered their mixed olive appetizer, along with a glass of their house red wine. There was a nice selection of olives, and there were way too many for one person. It's a nice amount for two people to share.

Next, I got the rosemary bread, which is basically just pizza crust with rosemary -- so simple, but so good. To go with it, I got the Singing Frog Farm salad, made with mixed greens, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, pepitas, and topped with a couple of pieces of crispy lattice-shaped bread. It was a wonderful lunch!

The salads at Masullo change with the seasons, and their menu doesn't seem to be available online, so you never know what salad will be available on any given day. They generally seem to have at least one salad that is vegan or can be made vegan, however. The rosemary bread and mixed olives are always on the menu.

Masullo is located at 2711 Riverside Boulevard, and their phone number is 916-443-8929. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at Masullo is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Blogging the Farm-to-Fork Movement

When I first heard that city leaders were planning to designate Sacramento as America's Farm-to-Fork Capital, I was excited. And why not? The incredible bounty of fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown year-round in the Sacramento region is enjoyed by consumers, not just locally, but all over the world. What a wonderful thing to celebrate!

But my interest began to wane a bit when the most prominent supporters of the Farm-to-Fork movement appeared to be popular local chefs whose restaurants I don't usually frequent because there's rarely anything vegan on their menus, or even anything that can easily be made vegan. Upon request, these chefs will accommodate a vegan diner with a meal that's really good, but having to ask for special treatment instead of being able to order from the menu always makes me feel like an uninvited guest. So I started thinking that maybe Farm-to-Fork was just another marketing tool for these restaurants.

When I received an invitation to attend a "Blogging the Farm-to-Fork Movement" meeting at the Sacramento Bee last week, I decided to give Farm-to-Fork another look, and I'm glad I did. Two or three dozen local bloggers heard a presentation from Mike Testa, Senior Vice President for Convention Sales and Business Development at the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, about the potential to make Farm-to-Fork Sacramento's equivalent of Austin's annual South by Southwest festival, bringing millions of dollars into the local economy. He showed a short video featuring several local supporters of Farm-to-Fork, such as farmers, community leaders, and chefs, including Chris Jarosz, founder of the Wicked 'Wich food truck and the very vegan-friendly Broderick Roadhouse in West Sacramento.

We learned that plans are underway for Farm-to-Fork Week, which will take place September 20th through 29th. Special menus and events will be offered that week by several local restaurants, including such vegan-friendly favorites as Lucca Restaurant & Bar, Dos Coyotes, Lowbrau, Broderick Roadhouse, and Magpie Cafe. I hope to visit as many of these restaurants as possible during Farm-to-Fork Week. The week will culminate in a Farm-to-Fork festival on Capitol Mall on Saturday, September 28th, which will celebrate the food produced at the more than seven thousand farms in this six-county region. The festival will include a large farmers' market, educational displays, food and drink, live music, and more.

Of course, there will be events that week that are contrary to the vegan philosophy too, such as a cattle drive through downtown Sacramento and livestock displays at the Farm-to-Fork festival. I plan on skipping those things.

The Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau is looking forward to sharing Sacramento's rich agricultural heritage with tourists from all over the world. But Farm-to-Fork is an important concept for those of us who live here too. This movement and the events associated with it will help us develop a greater appreciation for the tremendously good fortune we experience by living in a region where we can dine on a widely-diverse selection of produce that may have been harvested just hours (or even minutes) before, and where we can establish relationships with the people who grow our food.

Non-profit organizations I respect are getting in on the action too. The California Food Literacy Center, which provides community food education, is an active participant in the Farm-to-Fork movement. Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services is working to provide more fresh produce to the people who seek their help, as discussed in yesterday's Sacramento Bee. And no discussion of Farm-to-Fork would be complete without a mention of Soil Born Farms, whose very mission embodies the farm-to-fork concept: To create an urban agriculture and education project that empowers youth and adults to discover and participate in a local food system that encourages healthy living, nurtures the environment and grows a sustainable community.

I think the Farm-to-Fork movement has the potential to change the way we think about our community, to establish the idea that healthy, locally-produced, sustainably-grown food is what Sacramento is about. We're not just a stop on the way to somewhere else, but a must-visit destination for food lovers everywhere.

More information about Sacramento's Farm-to-Fork Movement is available online at

Monday, August 12, 2013

Robeks Juice

I drive past Robeks Juice on Freeport Boulevard fairly often, but never take the time to check it out. Desperately needing a new place to blog about, however, I finally stopped in over the weekend to see what vegan options were available.

Most of the smoothies at Robeks contain sherbet or yogurt, but I knew from looking at their online menu that it was possible to order a non-dairy, all-fruit smoothie. What I didn't realize until I got there was that it is also possible to substitute soy sorbet for the dairy products. I ordered a Pina Koolada, made with pineapple, coconut, and soy sorbet, and it was delicious. I never have boosts or nutritional supplements added to my smoothies, but for those of you who do, Robeks offers two different types of protein supplements. Make sure you ask for the soy protein, not the whey protein.

In addition to their smoothies, Robeks offers several different fresh squeezed juices made from a variety of fruits and vegetables, including kale, beets, apples, cucumbers, spinach, and lemons, to name a few.

Robeks also sells pre-packaged vegan cookies. I had a tough time deciding between the chocolate chip and the pumpkin, but finally settled on the chocolate chip. Good choice! Other cookie options include double chocolate, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin.

Robeks is a national chain, but their only restaurant in the Sacramento area is located across the street from Land Park at 4400 Freeport Boulevard, Suite 140. Their telephone number is 916-454-4374, and their website address is Robeks Juice is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Road Trip! Freshies Restaurant in South Lake Tahoe

My husband and I spent a very pleasant weekend in South Lake Tahoe, where we had lunch at the exceptionally vegan-friendly Freshies Restaurant. I knew I'd be happy there when I saw on their website that they use separate fryers for meat and vegetables.

There were several vegan choices on the Freshies menu, mainly because you can substitute tofu, tempeh, or portabello mushrooms for the meat in so many of their dishes. I decided to try the Hawaiian Style BBQ Sandwich with organic grilled tofu. It was served on a wheat bun with lettuce, tomatoes, and Hawaiian-style BBQ sauce on the side. The best part was that it came with fries, and I didn't have to worry about whether they'd been cooked in oil that had been used for meat. I love it when restaurants understand what's important to their vegan diners!

I was too full for dessert, but next time I'm there, I'll definitely try their Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie, described on the menu as "a dairy free dessert made with silky tofu, chocolate and peanut butter on a graham cracker crust." Yum!

Freshies Restaurant is located at 3330 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, and their phone number is 530-542-3630. Their website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.