#289: Cluck N Cone

12:20PM, 3/12/2023


It’s been a little slow start to 2023. I took some time yesterday to refresh my list of pending restaurants and was a little shocked at the number. I came up with 50, with only a couple of those just outside Roseville. With that work done I took to my random picker app, spun the wheel and ended up on Cluck N Cone, a place I knew nothing about other than the name. Brief searching to see hours and location spoiled the concept a bit when I saw photos next to the map location. It’s a different take on chicken and waffles, essentially. I headed out a bit after noon and arrived in the Stone Point center at about 12:15. I had a slightly windy but rain-free moment to toss up my drone for some snaps and then headed in.

Cluck N Cone is located off in the corner, near Costa Vida, in the location that Trademark Pizza once held (sad to have seen them go, I really enjoyed that place). Much like my first visit to Trademark, I was greeted by the enthusiastic owner, in this case Lauren, who happily answered my questions about various menu items and talked some about their food and how they had some executive chefs design the recipes, all while zipping back and forth in the kitchen working on some Mac and cheese for a to go order.

a bit windy

The space has retained the basic layout from Trademark, but it’s seen a significant facelift in its aesthetics. Gone is the wood paneling and cream-colored walls in favor of a brighter white brick wall. The high top and low top tables have been replaced, including with new colorful seating, although Cluck N Cone mirrored the original seating layout mostly, with the high tops at the back.

I went over the menu for a while, which is a daunting display of mostly text. Now that I’m more familiar with the concept I can make a lot more sense of it. It was pretty confusing at the time though. It could use some lines or boxes or bolder headings to help differentiate sections from one another, at a minimum. Anyway, basically they have a bunch of pre-configured cones you can choose from [$12.95, or make it a combo with fries for $18.95]. Additionally, you can configure your own. I’m not sure if it’s sort of a Chipotle sort of situation where they build it in front of you as you pick out the toppings, or if you need to know what you want when placing the order. I didn’t see any obvious list of possible ingredients, other than what I could see in the make table through the glass. The menu does show a list of various sauces available. Obviously I had gone with a pre-made option. When asking what they would recommend for a first-timer I was told that the popular one was The Millionaires, which is what I went with. This had Shredded Lettuce, Millionaire’s Bacon, Waffle Battered Chicken, Ranch Dressing and Avocado. As my eyes are usually bigger than my stomach, and wanting more things to photograph, I also picked out the Cluck Yeah! (Fries, Chicken, Cheese Sauce, Cluck N Sauce, Ranch & Buffalo Sauce)[$9.95] to go with it. I finished my order off with a fountain soda [$2.25].

Although I was the only customer in the place at the time, Lauren and the one other person working at the time had their hands busy with to go orders for much of the time. Noticing one of the cones prepped to be bagged up on my way to the fountain machine I stopped to snap a photo. How a cone would be packaged for a to go order was fascinating to me and I loved how they used basically a Frappuccino cup with its bubble top lid to hold the cone upright. The straw hole at the top probably helps keeping it from getting all steamy and soggy. It was a really nifty idea, I thought.

I filled up my cup at the fountains, located a the far back, then picked a table up at the front to get some of that nice even, overcast light coming through the windows. My order took about 15 min to prep and deliver to my table. The cone was in a little wire frame to hold it up, and it was nicely constructed with each main ingredient on display at the top with a drizzle of ranch across it all. This was slightly messy to eat, but not nearly as messy as I thought it was going to be. The cone was crisp and it sort of wanted to crumble yet held on just long enough as I worked my way down. The bacon was very crisp and seemed like it was candied as it had some sweetness to it. The cone was loaded with chicken all the way down. Each bite-sized piece was fried perfectly with a thin, crisp batter that enclosed the tender and delicious chicken within.

The Cluck Yeah! consisted of a medium-sized tray with a layer or two of fries generously covered with the four different sauces and topped with more of that fantastic chicken. It should be noted that these are not their normal fries. Lauren explained how their vendor was out of the usual type they used (I think curly, might have been a waffle fry though) and she was not happy with these. I had to agree, they were just limp. The idea is good though, and the combo of flavors work well. Lauren insisted I return to try this again, on them, when they have the right fries, and I certainly will. I’ll add a little update to this in a week or so when I get a chance to stop by again.

Overall I was very happy with this. If the Cluck Yeah with proper fries is as good as I’m hoping, I would give this a solid 5/5. This shopping center continues to have stellar food options.


#288: DT Noodle (Take 2)

11:35AM, 3/4/2023


A bit of an aside here, I was just about to hit publish on this post when I realized my blunder. I’ve already been here! It was #244 back in July 2016. Doh! Last time I got a sandwich, so this is slightly different. Same appetizer though, haha. Oh well, it gets a bonus post 😉

All this rain and chilly weather has had me craving a big hot bowl of soup, and I knew just what it needed to be. It’s been quite a while since I last had phở so I took a look at what Vietnamese spots around that I hadn’t been to yet. DT Noodle stood out to me, right over on Foothills at Junction, to the left of the CA Family Fitness. I headed over at around 11:30AM on Saturday and just barely had stepped inside before the rain started falling again.

DT Noodle was first out in Lincoln, years ago. I was aware of it at the time because it was next door to the Beach Hut that I went to often. I’m not sure when but they’ve since moved out here to Roseville. The dining room is simple – a boxy room with a small counter at the very back where you can pick up orders and pay. There isn’t much in the way of decoration, but one thing that caught my eye were the overhead lights. They turned what would otherwise be a pretty boring drop ceiling and fluorescent lights into something interesting by replacing the lenses with photos of waterfalls and schools of fish. This had the effect of giving the room a slight greenish tint.

I was greeted as soon as I entered and asked if I was picking up or dining in, then pointed to a table along the wall where I was met with a menu. At the time there were just a couple tables seated, but it picked up a bit before I left with both dine-in and pick-up traffic. I skimmed over the appetizers and picked out some spring rolls before turning to the full page of phở options. I recall the first time I tried it I got it with everything, rare beef, flank steak, brisket, tendon, tripe and meatball. Since then I’ve kept it to one or two meats. I think I just like a simpler bowl. Today I settled on rare beef and meat balls (Tai, Bo VIen)[$15.50].

Once my order was in I received the little plate of mint, bean sprouts and jalapeño slices along with my beverage, just a water today. A few minutes later and my shrimp and steamed pork spring rolls arrived (Goi Cuon Tom Thit)[$9.95]. They came with the usual brown peanut sauce, garnished with crumbled peanuts. These were wrapped up nicely and held together with little effort to the last bite. They were nice, fresh and had a satisfying crunch to them underneath the soft rice paper roll. I vacuumed up all the delicious sauce with three of these over the course of my visit.

Only a few minutes after the rolls came my phở. A big, steaming hot of clear-ish beef broth, loaded up with green and white onions, cilantro, quartered meat balls and several slices of rare beef, the latter of which was quickly cooking and turning from pink to gray in the hot bowl. Underneath all this was a nice portion of those wonderful, thin, delicate rice noodles.

I dug in, at first taking several bites without adding any condiments. It was piping hot, warming and deliciously subtle. Eventually I dropped some sprouts in, the jalapeños and some lime squeezed from the wedge provided. Later yet I threw in some hoisin for a bit of sweet and salty flavor. Without the spring rolls I would probably opt for extra noodles in this. The meat is a nice texture departure from the noodles but I don’t think they add a whole lot else to the soup. I still enjoy having it in there though.

I didn’t come close to finishing the broth today and left one spring roll behind. I left quite full and satisfied with a tasty meal, so mission accomplished. Although nothing particularly notable jumped out for me here, it was solid and I’ll probably come back when I’m craving this comforting bowl of goodness.


#287: Range Kitchen & Tap

420pm, 2/3/2023


Yesterday I finally checked out this spot on E. Roseville Parkway at N. Sunrise that I’ve been eyeing for about a year. Its Range Kitchen & Tap, snuggled right in between Bad Bakers and Tandoori Night (both excellent spots BTW). I had this thought in my head about having read about a patio here, and I was imagining it on the back side, looking over Miner’s Ravine, with its bike trail and creek. Once I had arrived and sent my drone up I realized that would be impossible, as there’s an immediate steep drop off into the ravine just past the building. The patio in question was a small one in front, not quite as picturesque as I had been thinking. (Now that I’m about to post this, I see that they have utilized the space in between Starbucks and Bad Bakers as an extended patio, per their website. This must have been what I was remembering)

But not to get off the rails here before we get started, I headed in for a very early dinner around half past four. I stepped inside and was greeted right away from behind the bar. Just inside is a nice little waiting area and a host’s podium. The space is split down the middle with the left side dominated by the front end of the kitchen and the bar. The right side is all dining room, with some high top tables up front by the windows and a room that could probably be reserved for a large group at the back.

There were just a few tables seated and the staff vastly outnumbered the customers at this early hour. Most were getting ready for the impending Friday night dinner rush. The bartender, Marjory(sp?), laid out the beer and dinner menus in front of me. Having already had a few stouts today I decided to get something much lighter, and figured it would go better with the dish I had expected to order. I picked out Hobo Pils (Pilsner, Dust Bowl Brewing Co., Turlock, CA; 5.3%)[$8, -$1 Happy Hour]. It was crisp and clean and just what I was looking for.

With that in hand, Marjory told me about the fresh fish and the wild game options on the menu. The fish was a sea bass that sort of piqued my interest. I can’t recall what the game was, obviously I was focused on the fish vs my other choice, which was the scallops. I asked her recommendation and ultimately decided on the Pan Seared Scallops (wild mushroom risotto with a champagne cream sauce)[$34]. I rarely order scallops outside of sushi but they just called to me this time.

The scallops took just under fifteen minutes to come out. Arranged on a long dish, three good sized (maybe 2in in diameter) scallops were perched atop the fluffy risotto. The risotto had chunks of tasty, earthy mushrooms throughout it. I sliced through the first scallop, using a butter knife, with ease. It was delicate, almost creamy smooth and had a lovely flavor that was complimented nicely with the champagne sauce. The risotto was very nice, especially with the mushrooms, and was great to get a little scallop and mushroom in the same bite. I was very pleased with this dish.

Feeling full I talked myself in and out of asking about dessert a few times before Marjory had presented the little square paper menu, sealing the deal. There were, I think, five options on it. I neglected to snap a picture of it, but some of them were Cheese Cake, Apple Fruit Crisp, and what I ordered, the Chocolate Pot de Crème (all $10). This came out in a little glass jar and was maybe 6-8oz of some of the most dense, rich, decadent chocolate I’ve ever had. I’ve been struggling to come up with an adequate comparison of some substance to describe its substantial texture. The best I’ve come up with is a very cold caramel sauce, yet this was much silkier, somewhere between fudge and mousse. If you like chocolate then you should check this out. Coarse salt sprinkled on top gave the first few bites something extra, an almost peanut buttery flavor. Hell maybe there was peanut butter in it, I don’t know, but it was great.

This is a great little hidden gem of a dinner spot. You won’t see the sign until you’re well into the parking lot, coming from N. Sunrise, as it’s blocked by a tree. I definitely would recommend it.