11 Surprising Ways to Immerse your Kids in Sacramento’s Farm-to-Fork Culture this Fall

What makes Sacramento the Farm-to-Fork Capital of the world? A year-round growing season and ideal climate for, oh, just about 1.5 million acres of farms and ranches growing over 160 crops! But did you know that there’s a cornucopia of ways in which families and kids can dig into all this Farm-to-Fork fun? And the time is ripe since September is Farm-to-Fork month!

1. Explore Farms at the Crocker

The Crocker Art Museum is hosting several events in celebration of all things Farm-to-Fork. One particularly youth-focused affair is the Kids & Company Gallery Adventure, which is a museum tour where farms are discovered and explored through art. (They might not even notice how educational it is). Dates are: Sundays, September 3 & 17, 2017, 10:30-11:30 a.m. https://www.crockerart.org/calendar/9/17

2. Attend the Farm-to-Fork Festival: September 23

The Farm-to-Fork Festival brings us face-to-face with the people who are feeding our region and beyond. Meet farmers and ranchers, enjoy interactive booths from local grocers, and check out live cooking demonstrations. Sample some goods, sip some local beer, and listen to live music. A kids’ zone rounds this one out quite nicely. Capitol Mall. https://www.farmtofork.com/events/farmtoforkfestival/

3. Eat Out During Farm-to-Fork Restaurant Week: September 8-18

Is your kid a foodie in the making? Well, here are 10 days of special menus, deals, and events at restaurants within and around Sacramento. Meet local chefs, learn where the food comes from, then indulge in the final product. A portion of all proceeds is donated to ProStart, a two-year culinary arts and hospitality management program for California high school students.  https://www.farmtofork.com/events/restaurant-week/

4. Head to Apple Hill

The farms within the foothills of apple country are loaded with fun things to do for kids of every age!  You’ll find tractor rides, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, pony rides, craft stands, farm tours, you-pick farms, gold panning, gold mines, rubber duck races, nature trails, farm animals … and, well, Christmastime is charming too. Think holiday shopping and crisp air, hot cider and baked goods, Santa sightings and Christmas tree farms. http://applehill.com/fun-4-kids/

5. Watch a Film About Food and Family: Tampopo, September 7 *Sorry everyone, apparently this Japanese film is not as family-friendly as we thought, but great for grownups!

Tampopo is a funny film about food for the whole family that’s also been dubbed “one of the best food movies of all time.” It is co-presented with Slow Food Sacramento in honor of farm-to-fork month at the Crocker Art Museum. https://www.crockerart.org/event/1479/2017-09-07

6. Shop at Neighborhood Markets

Corti Brothers retains the old-fashioned corner grocery charm with sandwiches and ravioli that are legend among locals. In fact, true to the original recipe, their ravioli are the oldest continuously produced food product in Sacramento.  5810 Folsom Blvd.

Selland’s Market Café has been committed to the principles of Farm-to-Fork cuisine for 20 years, with many of their products and ingredients sourced locally. Monthly specials showcase pizza, salad and sandwiches. East Sacramento, Broadway and El Dorado Hills locations. http://www.sellands.com/

Taylor’s Kitchen features a seasonal menu with a focus on the fresh local foods found at Taylor’s Market. Desserts are created in-house by their own pastry chef and reservations are accepted. 2900 Freeport Blvd.

7Go on a Farmers Market Picnic

The Wednesday farmers’ market at Cesar Chavez Park downtown is a one-stop shop for lunch al fresco. Purchase some fruit, nuts and bread for a Mediterranean-inspired picnic near the fountain. Still hungry for more? There are plenty of cafes nearby, including Farm-to-Fork bar & restaurant, La Cosecha, which is in the park itself. 10th & J.

8. Try Some Comfort Food

Dad’s Kitchen in Land Park is family friendly and locally sourced with organic chicken, grass-fed beef, homemade mac ‘n cheese, local greens, and craft beers. Pick your poison and grab a seat on the patio. Fun Fact: Dad’s was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives! 2968 Freeport Blvd.

9. Tour and Taste Some Old-Fashioned Ice Cream  –  Sundae FunDay

Old fashioned ice cream parlors are still beloved around these parts, and include Vic’s, Gunther’s, Burr’s, and Leatherby’s. Bonus: You can schedule a tour of Leatherby’s cream room and deep freezers where they make and store all of their ice cream and sauces. Arden Way, Citrus Heights and Elk Grove locations. https://leatherbys.net/

10. Take a Scenic Drive – Sacramento River Delta

If you have a hankering for exploration, cruising the Sacramento River Delta (along Highway 160) truly overflows with sensory delights. Wineries and breweries abound, as do olive oil and vinegar sampling stops, swimming and fishing spots, historic towns, bridges and farm equipment. How about Farm-to-Fork eateries, family farms and produce stands, pumpkin patches, and just general all-around gorgeous scenery?! Get a super handy and detailed map at sacriverdeltagrown.org.

11. Play Chef – Family Recipes

Want to take home a little slice of the proverbial Farm-to-Fork pie? Find family friendly recipes here: http://eatfarmtofork.com/cook-it-yourself-recipes/

Bon Apetite!

By Melanie Noel Light

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Top Family Friendly Restaurants in Sacramento

Many families come to Sacramento on business, stop in for dinner on their way to the mountains or just live in our wonderful capital city.  Whether you are visiting Sacramento from out of town, live in the area or are just passing through, we have plenty of family friendly eateries to choose from so you can get those kids fed and back on the road.

Downtown has so many wonderful options to choose from, especially if you are not wanting to go to a typical chain restaurant.  Of course, when you think of “kid friendly”, some may instantly have nightmares of a giant mouse, loud video games and screaming kids.  We do have those more entertainment options in the area, but if you are searching for a nice evening out, we have you covered!

Downtown Sacramento offers a wide variety of options.  From farm-to-fork local eateries, to quick order-and-go stops, to the typical chain restaurant.  I took a poll of the best family friendly restaurants in the area and this is the list we came up with.  You may have your own family favorite, and please feel free to let us know where and why.

My family likes to try new places, so we have been to several on this list. But there are a few are new spots we are excited to try. So, next time you are in the area or you just want a break from cooking, check out one of our local hot spots:

For those who love Italian:

 Paesanos in Midtown has been voted as the best Italian Pizzerias!  Located at 1806 Capital Avenue, they have a menu that is sure to please everyone in your family. Pizzas, pastas, salads and they even have a gluten-free menu for those with diet restrictions.   The last time we were there, my kids were given a ball of dough to play with… they were kept busy and happy until the food came!

Old Spaghetti Factory in Downtown and Roseville is a unique dining experience.  Kids will feel comfortable with the colorful decor and can even request to sit in one of the old trolley cars!  My kids always find something on the menu to keep them satisfied and the price is perfect for families.

Pizza Rock

Pizza Rock located at 1020 K Street in downtown Sacramento is definitely a place to visit if you haven’t been there.  With a large semi truck hanging from the ceiling, a loud and fun atmosphere to distract the kids and great food… it’s worth searching for parking downtown to have dinner here.   They are one of the few restaurants that I have found that really believe in getting the kids dirty in the kitchen.  Every first Saturday of the month, they host Kids in the Kitchen where kids can make their own pizzas and the money raised goes towards charity.  What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

California Pizza Kitchen has several locations throughout the Sacramento area.  They are very kid friendly, have great food and offer a selection of gluten-free menu items to keep those with specific restrictions enjoying dining out with the family.

Skipolinis, located at 6600 Lonetree Blvd in Rocklin is definitely a kid friendly option!  They have an indoor play area that the kids can climb through while waiting for the meal.  Plenty of televisions playing all the latest sports games and they have a great menu to choose from.  This is one of our favorites when we want to go out for a “family night” but would rather have more “adult” time talking while the kids play.

For those who prefer good old American fare, we have plenty of options:

Red Robin, yes, it’s a chain restaurant but they definitely are kid friendly, have plenty of menu items to choose from and have always been fast in getting us in and out when we are in a hurry.   Kids love the decor and who can’t complain when you are served bottomless French fries?

Chili’s, yes another chain that has several locations throughout the Sacramento valley, but they offer one thing that not all the other restaurants do… kiosks at the tables, loaded with games to keep the kids busy! Even if you don’t want your kid to sit and stare at a screen all dinner long, it is nice to have that option until the food arrives.

Empress Tavern located at 1013 K Street in Downtown Sacramento.  This may seem more like a date night spot, than a family friendly location, but don’t let the appearance fool you.  They are very family friendly and offer a menu that can be served family style with some of the freshest ingredients around.

Now, if you have more adventurous palates, then check out some of our local sushi and seafood restaurants. My 7-year-old is always begging to go to sushi – it’s his favorite meal!  We have tried many restaurants in the area and have found a couple that really are our favorites in terms of freshness and cost to take out a family of four.

mikuni-midtown-011

Mikuni can be argued as the best sushi is Sacramento.  We love the atmosphere and that they are very kid friendly (as long as you don’t go at 8pm on a Saturday night). They offer a kids menu, chop stick “helpers” and gave my kids fun goodies to play with at the table even though my son doesn’t order off the kids meal anymore. While it can get expensive, the food is great!

Raku is an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant located in West Sacramento and Rocklin.   The thought of all-you-can-eat sushi seemed a bit disgusting to me at first, but once we tried it, we were hooked! Great prices for the amount you get, the fish is fresh and the rolls were tasty.  Kids were in heaven when we told them they could continue to order rolls after they thought they were done.  They have special pricing for kids vs. Adults, so it’s worth checking out if you have a sushi loving family.

There are so many more dining options than this in our wonderful city, but I’m hoping this gives you an idea of some new places to visit with your family. Bon Appétit!

By Heather Crivellone

 

5 Family Friendly Pizza Places to Try in Sacramento

Pizza in SacramentoEvery Friday night is pizza night in our home. I love this tradition, as it gives mama a night off from cooking and cleaning, and I can always be sure that at least one night a week everyone can agree on what’s for dinner.

Some nights we pick up a “take and bake” and pop it in the oven. Sometimes we attempt to recreate the chefs we see on TV and flip our pizza dough in the air… always ending up being much more of an ordeal than planned. My favorite nights are when we treat it as a special family date and we hit the town on Sacramento and search for the best pizza pies.

I have compiled a list of our family’s top 5 pizza places in the Sacramento region. Some of these may not be on your list, but you may just have to visit them to try them out. If you have a favorite pizza spot not listed, feel free to let us know. We love to hear from our readers and suggestions are what make this site so valuable to our readers.

  1. Pizza Rock (1020 K Street, Downtown Sacramento). Don’t let this hip nightclub appearing pizza joint scare you away from taking your kids.   They have some of the best wood-fired pizzas in Sacramento.  Loud music, a wild truck “hanging” from the ceiling and the ability to watch the pizzas go directly into the wood fired oven give this perfect place to take kids for an evening out on the town.   Of course, too late on a Friday or Saturday night, you will begin to get the college crowd hitting the club scene, but, if you go in for dinner, you won’t be disappointed. They also offer Kids in the Kitchen class for children ages 5-12 on the first Saturday of the month. At 11am, they let kids create their own pizza concoctions. Flipping pizza dough in the air is a favorite with my kids! Reserve your spots to this monthly event in advance.  $10 per child.
  2. Pieology:  With several locations (Roseville, Rancho Cordova and Downtown Sacramento), you can satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.  Stand and order service where you pick and choose the crust, sauce and all toppings. Each pizza is served for an individual, so everyone can choose their own toppings. My daughter loves pepperoni and cheese.  My son loves his olives and sausage. I’m partial to adding all the veggies, while my husband is the meat-eater. We can order what we want without having to hassle about everyone’s likes and dislikes. This pizza comes out very fast, so it’s great for a busy night when you are on the go and don’t necessarily want the ambience of a “date night”.
  3. Masullo’s (2711 Riverside Boulevard, Sacramento). We absolutely love this place. Wood fired neapolitan pizza all served on family long tables. Everyone gets “close” here and it’s very family friendly.  The atmosphere is more date night”than Pieology, but it’s not so fancy that you can’t take your youngest of children (they have clean restrooms and changing pads for babies!).
  4. Hot Italian (1627 16th Street, Midtown): Located in the heart of Midtown, this is a great place for visiting during a 2nd Saturday Art walk, or after you have spent several hours playing at Fremont Park across the street. Pizza is thin crust and delicious! My daughter thought her pepperoni was a little to spicy, but, the gelato after cooler her mouth right off. You can order some of the tastiest pizzas in town, and then indulge in my favorite – pistachio gelato.
  5. Skipolinis (6600 Lonetree Boulevard, Rocklin and 191 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom) If you are visiting the Roseville Galleria mall or checking out the Folsom Outlets, then you must stop in to Skipolinis for an Italian meal (pizza of course) with your family. Definitely a family friendly restaurant, full bar and big screen TV’s for the adults watching the games and a play structure to keep those little ones busy and entertained while waiting for their pizza.

I hope you find this list helpful for planning your next week’s meals.  Everyone needs a break from cooking every once in a while, and if you are visiting from out of town, make sure you stop into some of our local favorites. Ciao

By Heather Crivellone