Farm to fork in California’s capitol city is not a fad. In Sacramento it is serious business. There is even a Farm to Fork Festival in the fall. I personally think one day it will out-rival Portland’s Eatfest. Why? Because as I shared in my post about the incredible Local Roots Food Tour, Sacramento is the country’s bread basket, most of the food served in our restaurants comes from the region of California that includes Sacramento.
Sacramento is an incredible place to eat, something I only discovered this year. One area of town that is exploding with great restaurants is Midtown. I have eaten many meals there now and will continue to visit to check out what this under-the-radar culinary town has to offer.
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In late summer I had an amazing dinner at Mulvaney’s B&L (Building & Loan). The restaurant is housed in a former fire station and has great character. I was lucky enough to get a much-sought-after table on the terrace which is absolutely gorgeous on an August evening.
For owner/chef Patrick Mulvaney, who we got a chance to speak with, the food he serves is about supporting the rich agricultural bounty brought forth by local farmers. He has been purchasing from locals farms since 1985 (way before it was trendy) and has a menu that changes not weekly, but daily!
One of his most sought after dishes only served from about July through mid-September is Uncle Ray’s heirloom tomatoes with hand-pulled mozzarella. As a huge fan of both, there was no way I was missing out! You can eat mozzarella all your life, but I swear to you, you will never slice a chuck off a block again after eating it fresh, there is just no comparison to the just-pulled-in-the-kitchen version. Also after having such outrageously delicious tomatoes in the summer here in California, I cannot eat them (unless it is in the form of salsa) any other time of year
Another popular dish is the smoked salmon served with all the fixings including fresh-baked brown bread. And while the salmon comes from outside the region, it is smoked and prepared in house and is too die for!
Since the law that bans the selling of foie gras came into play, Mulvaney’s serves an exquisite order of toast with a bonus. I am not a fan of warm foie gras and usually avoid it, but since everything else I tried was so delicious I said, “what the heck” and ended up eating half the plate. Again, nothing like fresh from the farm to make even a dish I usually will pass on, a must-have.
There were several other courses that we partook of, but the sunset and the light was poor for photography. We had the weekly sweetbread special, a steak, and scallops. Every time our waitress visited we engaged her in conversation and she shared more and more about the dishes and local products.
We shared our story about our favorite cider from France, Carpe Diem from Domaine de Kerveguen in Brittany. The next thing we knew she brought us over a bottle of pomegranate hard cider from a local brewer, Two Rivers to try out on her. How great is that?
I would have passed on dessert except for the fact that I had read about their secret off-menu item which is a house-made ho-ho. That was my favorite Hostess food product growing up and I could not pass up the opportunity to have a grown-up version. When our waitress came out with our dessert order she had gotten the pastry chef to write ‘carpe diem” around the plate – loved it!
The photo is black and white because it was so dark it looks terrible in color! Trust me, it was yummy! We also ordered truffles from local chocolatier Ginger Elizabeth who has a shop just around the corner from the restaurant – we went and bought more after we left! We received our bill and was asked to sign the guest book, which is an actual book, that was fun!
Our meal was exceptional, not one bad course. In fact, Mr. Misadventures has been back several times since (much to my chagrin as it has been without me) and with each and every meal he claims it is his favorite restaurant in Sacramento and in his top five for California.
If you find yourself in Sactown, please do yourself a favor and check out Mulvaney’s B&L. It will be a great meal with great local ingredients and I promise you that you will not regret it!
How about you? Have a local gem like Mulvaney’s B&L in your neighborhood? Tell me about it!