Posted by: Sean Carter | May 31, 2014

Welcome to Eating Through Roseville!

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I began a mission in August of 2011 to eat everywhere* in Roseville. I completed this mission, in a way, in late April of 2014 when I visited the last open business on my list. I’ve now visited over 200 restaurants, cafes, diners, delis, bistros, etc.

I’m no food critic. My writing skills are mediocre at best and I really didn’t know that much about food when I began. I still don’t know very much but I’ve definitely learned a lot as I encountered dishes, ingredients and even entire cuisines that I had previously never tried before.

Originally my intent was simply to snap some quick photos of the food and post them to my personal Facebook page. It got a little bigger than that. I now have over 200 pages of write-ups and nearly 2500 photos documenting them. The above mosaic is built from these (click it for a bigger version).

Am I done? Not really. New places are always on the horizon and I intend to visit those too. Below there is a list of upcoming businesses that I am keeping an eye on. If you know of something that I’ve missed, new or otherwise, please leave me a comment on the Submit a New Restaurant page.

In addition to keeping up with new Roseville restaurants, I will now be venturing out into the surrounding areas to check out restaurants that are on my radar.  There’s no plan for these, it’s just a casual way to expand beyond the original scope.

Looking for a specific restaurant? Try the Completed Restaurants pages.

I’d like to thank all the people that have read and followed this blog over the past few years. Your comments, suggestions and criticisms helped direct me and your encouragement helped me find the motivation to keep going (on more than a few occasions). I am glad that you’ve found this to be informative/useful/entertaining. :)

So what’s next in Roseville?

  • Bankok Cafe
    • Where: Roseville Parkway at Taylor
    • What: Thai
    • When: Unknown
  • Porter’s House of Drafts
    • Where: Foothills at Pleasant Grove
    • What: Taproom?
    • When: NOW OPEN!
  • Monsoon Cuisine of India
    • Where: Douglas at Santa Clara Dr (Near Ross)
    • What: Indian
    • When: NOW OPEN!
  • Old Town Pizza
    • Where: 120 Church St
    • What: Pizza
    • When: August
  • Pita Kitchen
    • Where: Douglas at Santa Clara Dr (Behind Dimple)
    • What: Greek
    • When: NOW OPEN!
Posted by: Sean Carter | May 14, 2015

#225: Golden Koi Buffet

“It doesn’t end well,” Justin said as I took my first bite of the fortune cookie.  It was the perfect ending to this particular dinner.  But let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

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Golden Koi Buffet is located in the Nugget shopping center at Fairway and Pleasant Grove.  It used to be another buffet called Golden Dragon Buffet.  The space was vacant for quite a while and sometime in the last year they swapped out the Dragon for Koi on the building and reopened (new owners?  No idea).  I was interested when I noticed it but also not really looking forward to this visit at all.  My luck with buffets is not good.  Nevertheless here we are.

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Justin and I arrived at about 5:20PM.  We stepped into the shockingly big space and up to the counter where we were greeted by an extremely quiet employee.  The place only had a handful of customers, two of which were in a booth on one side of the restaurant and the rest scattered in the other half.  We were sat right next to the first couple.  It’s always so weird to me that people would sit you next to the only other customers.  A bit of space would be nice, there certainly was plenty of it.  Dinner here is $15.99.  A bit steep even for a buffet, so let’s see how they do.

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The dining room is actually really nice.  Like, it shouldn’t be that nice.  We headed back to the buffet itself as our “server” got us some drinks.  It’s a pretty good sized buffet with a ton of options.  Most of them are Chinese, although there was a smattering of other things, including sushi (which I did not go for today, partly because I had sushi for lunch but also because I was a little afraid.  Some random other things were thrown in like chicken nuggets and fries, something for the kids I suppose.  I started out with some very red General’s Chicken, some Sautéed Mushrooms, Green Beans, Pepper Steak, a Pork Bun and “Dim Sum” (don’t ask me, that’s all it was labeled as).

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I got back to the table and Justin was already making some comments about how the food was lukewarm.  I gave the General’s chicken a try and he was right.  The flavor wasn’t that bad, it was a bit on the sweet side.  Crisp was not a word I would use to describe this fried piece of chicken.  The sautéed mushrooms actually would have been pretty good if they were hot, and maybe had a little something with it.  But I guess you can just add whatever you want to it since it’s a buffet, and maybe that’s the point.  The green beans were probably one of the best items I came across.  Still not hot, but these had some snap to them and good flavor.  Justin was picking at his wontons and claimed that they had “age.”  That had me laughing pretty hard.  He was sure the cream cheese inside them had turned.  He also commented that the spring rolls tasted kind of mustard-y.

The pepper steak, much like the General’s chicken, was decent tasting but was very mushy and one bite downright chewy. Again, lukewarm at best.  I dissected the pork bun which looked really dry.  Indeed it was, and there were a few little morsels of OK-tasting meat inside, but I left most of it on the plate.  With the possibility of sounding like I’m repeating myself over and over, the “dim sum” was OK, and would have probably been pretty decent if it was more than just a little warm.  I don’t have a clue what was in it, it was some sort of meat wrapped up in a thin pastry-like cup.  The whole thing was warmish and soft.

I set out once more, hoping to find something that would bring me back for seconds of it.  This time I tried the Coconut Shrimp, Pot Stickers (I had to wait for a moment for them to be refilled, so these were actually fresh), some Sweet and Sour Chicken (with 10,000ºF sauce, this is where they were keeping all the heat apparently), BBQ Chicken and Jalapeño Chicken.

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The shrimp somehow appeared fresh, both in the pan and even in the first moment of biting into it.  They had a crispy batter still, which is some kind of miracle because as soon as you get chewing on it you realize it’s just as old as everything else you’ve had so far, and the disappointment meter turns a bit further.  Justin had been picking at a new plate now for a little bit and abruptly announced that he didn’t think he wanted to eat anymore of it and set off for some soft serve, asking “they can’t mess up mess up soft serve can they?” and then added, sarcastically, “the soft serve is warm!” as he disappeared back into the buffet.

Moving on from the shrimp I actually stopped and enjoyed the pot stickers for a while.  Aside from the green beans, these were definitely at the top of the list as far as best items went.  Even though they were steaming when they were being piled onto the buffet line, they had lost a significant amount of heat on the short journey back to the table.  Flavor-wise, pretty good though, at least, as good as any frozen pot stickers you might get at the supermarket anyway.  There did not appear to be any dipping sauce though, which was a bummer.  The sweet and sour chicken was pretty big letdown.  It was sort of crispy, heavy on the batter and the chicken just didn’t really have any flavor.  The sauce wasn’t all that great either.  Pretty much the same story, minus the batter, for the BBQ chicken.  The Jalapeño chicken was fried but devoid of any flavor or substance worth mentioning.  One of the two small pieces I ate was particularly tough.

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Justin’s soft serve did not turn out so well.  He had me lift it to feel the weight as he described it as heavy and icy.  One thing he did find that he liked on the same trip were apple tarts, which he said was good but were “almost certainly not made on the premises.”

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My desert plate didn’t go much better, although I did find a few things that were tolerable.  The pudding, jell-o and orange slice were all decent to good.  The little chocolate cake-type thing had a major skin on the top which I fought with while I grabbed a piece from the buffet.  I almost ended up with the layer from an adjacent slice.  The other cakey kind of thing which had some whipped cream-like filling and a pastry with some custard were both incredibly dry and off-putting.

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Even the fortune cookie, which Justin warned me about, somehow was not crunchy at all past the first bite.  I mean, fortune cookies are usual pretty lacking, but I’ve never had one quite as bad as this one.  I knew it in my gut the entire day that this was likely to go the way it did, and now I certainly do know, literally in my gut.  I can feel it as I type this.  Safe to say I won’t return?  I’ll let you figure that one out.

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Posted by: Sean Carter | April 30, 2015

#234: Kabob & Gyro Grill

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Tonight I was joined by the whole family for dinner at the new Kabob & Gyro Grill.  This new Greek/Mediterranean joint is located in the Family Fitness shopping center at Foothills & Junction.  They are in the old Kazoku Teriyaki spot by Original Pete’s.  Kazoku has moved around the corner, to the far opposite side of the center, into a bigger location.

They kind of snuck in here while I wasn’t paying attention.  A reader tipped me off to them.  They don’t have a website, but from reading some reviews it sounds like they have a location in Elk Grove already and that this one has been open for at least a month and a half.  While I was inside I heard them discussing with a customer another location they are putting in out in Rancho Cordova, so I’ll definitely be looking out for that on future lunch breaks.

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I arrived a couple minutes before everyone else and stepped in to look around.  The basic layout is the same as it was with Kazoku, a narrow space with the kitchen on the left and dining on the right.  The only major change I noticed was that there is now black carpeting instead of the light blue tiles.  The chairs are the same but the tables are new.  On the menu, for the most part, you have a choice of steak, chicken or lamb in either kabobs, wraps or plates.  The prices seem to be in line with a good Greek place I like over in Rancho (Eat A Pita).  Everything is between $6-13.  For $2.50 more you can add a drink and either fries, basmati rice or a greek salad.

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The family arrived and soon after, a similarly sized group.  I thought my people were right behind me when I jumped up to get my order in before the rush, but apparently they were still looking at menus.  Luckily the observant cook noticed this and, as I stepped away from the register, asked me if I would like him to prepare my order with the rest of my party.  That was a good plan and I appreciated him offering to do so.

Our food took maybe 10-15 minutes.  After I ordered there was a very consistent stream of people coming in and the guy working the counter never really had much chance to help out in the kitchen, leaving one cook to handle everything.  Even so, they did a decent job of keeping up with the level of business.

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Most of the family ordered the Combination Plate (thin marinated slices of steak & chicken)[$9.99].  All platters come with basmati rice, salad, hummus, tzatziki sauce and a hot piece of pita bread.  They were pretty good sized plates.  Everyone was really happy with this.  I tried some of the hummus with pita bread (which really was hot) and it was delicious.  I might go for a side of that next time.  My dad got the Lamb Kabob (two skewers of marinated lamb cooked over fire)[$12.99].  All Kabob dishes come with onions and tomatoes, served over basmati rice with salad, hummus, tzatziki sauce and a hot piece of pita bread.  This looked just as good and had nice big chunks of juicy-looking lamb.

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I ordered the Steak Shawarma (Thin, marinated slices of steak)[$5.99].  All shawarma dishes are topped with fresh lettuce, onions, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce, all wrapped in a hot thin bread.  Basically it was a shawarma burrito.  They grill the whole thing a bit to crisp up the wrap.  This was much bigger than I expected for $6.  I didn’t really need the side of fries I got with the $2.50 combo adder.  Those were incredibly hot and crisp, right out the of the frier no doubt.  They were a bit bland, but some ketchup easily remedied that.  The shawarma wrap was fantastic.  The steak wasn’t as heavily seasoned as it is at the Eat A Pita in Rancho, where I most often get shawarma, but it was still quite flavorful.  The lettuce and onions were both fresh and crisp and the tomatoes were good as well, though perhaps could have been slightly more ripe.  They ask how spicy you’d like your food, mild, medium or spicy.  I went with medium and I did notice a bit of spice, though next time I’m definitely going to try spicy.

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All in all I was impressed.  The price is right and the food is solid.  The handful of other reviews I’ve read have been almost unanimously positive.  My mom said that while she likes Daphne’s, she thought this was better.  I would say that it’s a bit better than the Milo’s Grill in the Galleria, which is probably some of the better Greek food in Roseville.  As I said earlier, I’ll definitely be looking out for their future Rancho Cordova location as well.

Kabob & Gyro on Urbanspoon

Posted by: Sean Carter | April 16, 2015

#223: Chaat Paradise Indian Vegetarian

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This evening was Chaat Paradise for dinner.  A new Indian vegetarian spot in the Renaissance Creek Shopping Center at Douglas & Sierra College.  It took the place of Asian Bliss, originally Mongolian Bliss.  The place continues to remain largely unchanged from the Mongolian restaurant.  In fact, they still have the original round grill.  These days it’s just used as a table in the kitchen though.

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I was joined by my mother & grandmother and we headed in a little after 5.  It was quiet inside, just one table was occupied.  We gradually made our way towards the back where the ordering counter was located with a menu hanging over it.  Both my mother and I had each checked out the menu online in advance, however the website only listed dish titles.  I know a handful of dishes but I definitely needed to see some more detail, same with the others.  Luckily the menu had a little description of each item.  That was a bit small though and we obviously looked like we needed some time to peruse it anyway so they offered for us to have a seat and bring us some menus.  In addition to the hanging board menu and some paper take-out menus they had a handful of laminated ones.   We were handed a few of these and someone completed some missing place settings and left us with a pitcher of water while we looked over them.

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Everything is pretty much a-la-carte here as far as I can tell.  Other than some of the items coming with rice, you just mix and match whatever you want.  The prices are all pretty low, anything from $2-8ish.  We had picked out several items and soon we had a gentleman at our table ready to take our order.  Normally you would order and pay up at the counter and take a number to an empty table, so this was a little different than usual, I would guess.  I listed off all the items we wanted and asked, towards the end, how big the portion sizes were and if he thought we should order more or less.  He indicated that one would be big enough for two to share.  That seemed like a lot, especially for the prices, but we went ahead with our selections.  We could always have leftovers for lunch.

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They didn’t have the TV on and there was no music so it was pretty quiet, aside from a little conversation here and there and the sound of a mixer on the front side of the kitchen.  After about 7 minutes I received my mango lassi (classic yogurt drink flavored with mango)[$2].  It came in the same little steel cups that were used for water.  I was kind of disappointed in the size for $2.  For 1.5-2x more you usually get a pretty huge glass in most places, this was maybe 6-8oz.  It was chilled and tasty, however.  A few minutes later our first item arrived.  This was the pav vada (deep fried stuffed potatoes served on bread)[$3].  It wasn’t much to look at until I cut it into three pieces to share.   It was fairly basic and potato-y but packed a surprising amount of spice.

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A few minutes later the mixed pakora (potato, onion, chili and cauliflower dipped in chickpea flour)[$3] was delivered.  This was a large appetizer for just $3.  The pieces were large, 2 was more than enough per person and we had a 7th to spare which I took home.  Served with it were green and tamarind chutneys.  The green was pretty mild while the tamarind was intensely sweet.  The pakora itself was fresh out of the frier, super hot and crisp.  Lots of potato in these.

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There was a bit of a break, 8ish minutes, and then the rest of our items all showed up together.  Here we had the hara bhara paratha (bread stuffed with cheese, potato, cauliflower & spices)[$3], sag paneer (home made cheese cooked with spinach and spices)[$7] and chilli paneer (home made cheese cooked with bell pepper & onions)[$7].  I was a little slow on the bread photo and someone grabbed a chunk.  I thought that was kind of boring, there wasn’t much to it and I didn’t really notice any cheese or spice to it.  The woman that delivered these last items brought out a little ramekin with a chilled yogurt dip for it.  This saved it in my opinion.

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The paneer dishes were both excellent.  A dish of rice was served with the sag paneer.  The cheese was very mild and dense as usual.  I quite enjoy it.  The spinach was delicious and smooth with a bit of spice that grew over a few bites.  The chilli paneer was very flavorful, with it’s bell peppers dominating.  It had the most spice of everything we ordered. Keep in mind that we ordered everything as mild, so I imagine you could get some serious heat here if you wanted.

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We waited on another dish for a little bit, paneer tikka masala, which the gentleman apparently missed as I was giving him our order.  He even confirmed that we had 5 items.  I just thought at the time he wasn’t counting the bread so that was my mistake.  We really didn’t need it anyway, we were all stuffed.  After the woman returned and gave us some boxes and a bag I went up to register to pay the whopping $27 bill.  Everyone we interacted with was super friendly.  The quality, quantity and overall value here is great and I know we will be back.  I hope they can stick it out longer than their predecessors.  Perhaps not having “Bliss” in the name will help.


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