Posted by: S. 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. :)


Ever find yourself in Rancho Cordova?  Check out my new mission at Rancho Salads: A salad at a new restaurant every day in Rancho Cordova.


So what’s next in Roseville?

  • Fit Eats
    • Where: Eureka in Stone Pointe
    • What: ???
    • When: Early September? (not sure where I read that…)
    • Website: http://www.fiteats.com
  • The Green Boheme
  • Umai Savory Hot Dogs
    • Where: The Fountains
    • What: Crazy-sounding (in a good way) Hot Dogs
    • When: Late July or Early August
    • Website: http://www.umaihotdogs.com
  • Old Town Pizza
  • Taqueria El Burrito
    • Where: Douglas in TJ Maxx center
    • What: Mexican
    • When: Unknown
  • Land Ocean
Posted by: S. Carter | July 26, 2015

#229: Monsoon Cuisine of India

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Last night I finally made it out to Monsoon Cuisine of India.  This Indian restaurant seems to have moved here from downtown Sacramento, taking the place of Bombay Bistro in the Hobby Lobby shopping center.  They opened back in March.  I tried to come here for dinner last week but they were closed when I arrived at around 5.  The website says they close after lunch at 3 and reopen at 4:30.  So either that’s out of date or they had some issue.

Anyway, last night I made sure to wait until later and arrived at about 7:15.  The place has had a significant makeover inside.  Gone are the carpeting, white walls and cramped seating.  The walls are now painted a bold red with black trim and the flooring is all a dark hardwood.  The seating is much more sparse.  In fact when I first walked in I didn’t think they are busy at all, but once my eyes adjusted to the lighting I realized that they were nearly packed.  Had there not been the little 2-seater table available I would have either been sitting at the one remaining huge table for a group, or waiting until someone left.  There are big gaps where there is just empty floor space.  It’s a little weird.  Decorations are limited to some colorful paintings on a couple walls and a fountain near the front door which was dry, probably due to the drought.  It’s fairly dark due to the tinted windows, however the front doors and window above them are not, so there is a bright beam of light shooting in down one side of the restaurant (where the buffet is).  If you happen to be facing that direction it’s probably a little annoying.

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I was greeted within 10 seconds as I meandered up to the front desk/counter area and the host (/manager/owner?) appeared from the middle of the room to seat me.  Behind me was the buffet, sitting unused for dinner.  They serve it 7 days a week for lunch and, I think, only on Wednesday for dinner.  I looked over the menu for a minute, hoping for a saag paneer and maybe butter chicken.  Not seeing saag paneer I kind of did a flip flop and picked out a chicken dish with spinach and a paneer dish with a butter masala sauce.  These were the Paneer Butter Masala (cottage cheese cooked in butter-infused tomato sauce and dry fenugreek)[$11.95] and Chicken Palak (chicken smothered in creamy spinach sauce)[$11.95].  I got a mango lassi (refreshing mango yogurt drink)[$2.99] and a water to go with these.  Rice is not included, so I added some for $2.

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The mango lassi took about 7 minutes.  It was a very light orangish-yellow color with a thick and creamy consistency.  It was more tart than sweet and was also close to room temp, which I think contributed to the tartness.  I did not really enjoy this. A couple minutes later I was served a complimentary appetizer of papadum, a crisp, seasoned cracker-like sheet, rolled up in a basket.  It was accompanied by green and tamarind chutneys.  This was very good on it’s own and even better in both of the chutneys.  I tore through this quickly.

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From here it was a fairly long wait until the main dishes were brought out.  About 30 minutes.  There was a large group of 12 or more that were served sometime in the middle of that, so the kitchen may have been backed up with their order.  Anyway, once they arrived, my little table was packed with three large bowls and a big plate.  I was kind of surprised with the serving size, it was huge.  I ended up taking probably 2 more meals home with me.

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The paneer butter masala was basically just the cubes of firm cheese (which were in huge supply), swimming in a thin, bight red-orange sauce.  While enjoyable for the most part, it was a bit one-dimensional.  The sauce just wasn’t very complex.  It was a good thing I had the chicken palak to go with it.  That was very good.  The spinach sauce was delicious and creamy and had a nice texture.  The chicken was tender and flavorful itself as well.

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One of the servers came by and asked if I was finished, and I asked to take the rest to go and also for an order of the mango crème brûlée (rich mango custard base topped with hard caramel).  They had several delicious-sounding desserts that I wanted to try, but I knew I would always wonder about this if I didn’t check it out now.

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He came back with some containers and a bag and left them at the table.  Admittedly I was a little annoyed that I had to box this up myself.  Within another minute or so he returned again with the dessert.  I thought that was awfully fast, and I quickly found out why.  They don’t torch it when you order it.  The whole thing was cold, including the caramelized top which was soft and almost leathery.  Instead of a mango flavored custard it was a pretty traditional custard with chunks of mango in it.  I was hugely disappointed with this.

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Overall the food was very hit and miss.  The service was about the same as well.  Some interactions were very brief and not fulfilling, although the host/manager was very nice.  The whole experience was unfortunately lackluster.  Considering we have quite a few good Indian restaurants here in Roseville, including Mehfil just one shopping center over, I doubt I will find myself here again.

Posted by: S. Carter | July 16, 2015

AM6: Sparkles Ice Cream

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Here’s a fun treat, ice cream!  But not just normal ice cream.  You can get that anywhere.  Sparkles Ice Cream is located in the Quarry Ponds Town Center in Granite Bay (on Douglas before you hit Barton).  They don’t keep ice cream frozen and ready to eat in the store, instead they mix and freeze it right in front of you using liquid nitrogen!  The claim is that, by freezing it nearly instantly on the spot, they avoid larger ice crystals from forming due to temperature variations in transport/storage with traditional ice cream, resulting in a smoother, creamier final product.

Nitrogen Blast

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I headed in with my grandma at about 6:20pm.  We were greeted right away by the three people behind the counter.  We were given a quick rundown on how they make the ice cream, the flavors and mix-in items.  It was a bit overwhelming and we took probably about 5 minutes just going over all the options.  While we were deciding what to order we were handed a couple samples as they worked on other orders and, as it sounded, worked on perfecting a salted caramel flavor.  Finally we settled on our selections and stepped up to the counter, luckily right before a bit of a rush hit.  She went with the smallest size in black cherry and no mix-ins [$4.75].  I went with a regular size vanilla with cookie dough and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups [$6 + 0.50 for the 2nd mix-in].

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They start with a metal mixing bowl and add cream, sugar and syrup for flavoring, then toss in the mix-ins and head over to the corner where the nitrogen vessel is (there are windows where you can walk around to get a closer look from) and fill it up with the -376ºF liquid.  Nitrogen boils at -320º.  With the ambient temp of the store probably close to 400º warmer than that it’s almost violently vaporizing from the moment it leaves the nozzle.  From there they bring the bowl to the front counter where they stir constantly, scraping the bottom now and then to keep it from freezing to the bowl, and rapidly cooling the ingredients.  See the bottom of this post for some video of them making our orders.  They went back for another quick blast of nitrogen once or twice, then scooped it out and put it in a cup (waffle cones/bowls also available).

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When we were ordering, the cashier warned us that the serving size was generous which prompted my grandma to go for the smaller size.  I definitely should have followed suit because mine was a monstrous tower of ice cream.  Most of it was well above the rim of the cup.  I might have eaten half of it.  So the verdict, was this ice cream better than most?  I would say yes, but not by a huge margin.  It did seem creamier and smoother than a lot of ice creams.  Flavor-wise it was pretty on par with the majority.  Both the cookie dough and Reese’s cups were in huge supply.  If I were judging strictly on flavor I would go with Gunther’s and possibly even Cold Stone.  But what no other shop can match is the cool factor (pun intended) of watching them make it with liquid nitrogen.

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My only major complaint here is that the viewing area is fairly limited, which is a shame since it hampers their biggest strength.  I mentioned that they have some windows over by the nitrogen tank.  The problem with those is that there is a counter with stools right up against them, which is a shared space for Sparkles and some other Quarry Ponds eateries, so if anyone happens to be sitting there you’ll be peeking over their shoulders.  As for the area up front where they mix, there is a window, but it’s at a strange height.  I am 5’11” and I felt too tall to see though the window, but not nearly tall enough to look over top of the frame.  They need a bigger, solid piece of glass to look through.  Adding to that, the counter where they were mixing was right at the front door, which gets crowded quickly with just a few people in line.  They do have another counter that faces the seating area, but they only used it briefly when they were in the middle of the short rush.

I still think it’s really neat and would recommend checking it out for the show alone.  Of course, the ice cream is pretty good on top of the physics display. ;)

Website: http://www.sparklesicecream.com

Posted by: S. Carter | July 14, 2015

#228: Bangkok Cafe

Sorry about the slacking lately, it’s just in my nature when it’s hot out ;).  Speaking of which, I will have another post tomorrow or Thursday with a little something to help beat the heat, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, dinner!  My intention for this post was to go to Monsoon Cuisine of India, however when I arrived at 5:15PM they were closed.  Yelp said they should be open, so apparently that’s wrong.  They didn’t have hours on the door and when I swung by just after 6, after my backup dinner, they were finally open.  I’ll try to figure out what the hours are when I go back.

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Anyway, I switched gears and went over to the new Bangkok Cafe, located at Taylor & Roseville Pkwy, right by Islands.  This Thai restaurant took the long empty location that was once Slice: A Pizza Company.  I headed in just before 5:30.  Inside I was greeted right away by the server working the front.  It’s very casual, yet he provided full table service down to the bill, which I thought might have been a pay-at-the-register type of situation when it first arrived.  They haven’t changed too much from what Slice was.  A couple painted walls and some different tables and chairs along the windows.  A new wall separated the kitchen from the dining room.  The tall communal/group table in the middle was still there, as was the bench seating for the window side of the new tables.

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He had me sit wherever I liked and I grabbed a seat at the far end where I could see everything.  My server brought me a water right away (I thought that was a no-no with the new drought rules, although I would have asked for it anyway) and asked if I needed any time to decide.  I did want to skim over everything so I ordered a Thai Tea [$2.50, though I think they forgot to charge me for it] to get started.  He quickly told me about a couple specials, one of which was pumpkin curry, then headed off for my tea.

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He came back with that pretty quick.  It was quite strong and very delicious.  I did enough time to see that my favorites were on the menu, but before ordering I asked what the portion sizes were like.  The prices seemed lower than your typical Thai restaurant ($8-10 vs $10-14).  He said that one item was enough for one person.  I decided to go ahead with two and have some leftovers for tomorrow.  With that I started to order the Pad-See-Eew [$8].  He immediately recommended the Pad-Keemaow [$8] instead, saying it was good if I liked it spicy and that the Pad-Se-Eew was similar to Chinese chow fun.  Despite pad-se-eew being my favorite dish I was strangely compelled to try his suggestion.  This has rice noodles stirred fried with oyster and soy sauces, minced chicken, bell peppers, onions, fresh chili, and sweet basil leaves.  The pad-se-eew is similar but with broccoli and egg and minus the peppers, onions, chili and basil leaves.  I got this with chicken and medium heat.  The 2nd pick was the pumpkin curry special.  I only knew that the base was red curry.  This was $8, like the other curries.

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The pad-keemaow arrived within about 5 minutes, well ahead of the curry which was another 4 minutes out.  Indeed it was enough for one person, perhaps slightly smaller than a normal Thai joint’s portion size.  I dug into the slippery noodles and was immediately punched in the mouth with spice.  I was very much taken aback at first, no way do they think that medium level should be like this.  While the entire dish was quite spicy, however, it turned out that I might have just hit a particularly intense spot with my first bite, because it was not that hot from then on out.  I would put it at a 6-7 of 10.  Aside from the heat, of which it was quite hot temp-wise as well, these noodles were great.  All of them were done right and darkened by the rich soy and oyster sauces.  To be honest I couldn’t tell what the oyster sauce added, it seemed pretty similar to the soy sauce-only pad-se-eew.  Different, however, was the texture and intermittent additional flavors from different bites with bell peppers onions and/or basil in them.  I felt that this dish had a bit more variety in flavors and textures than pad-se-eew, and I think it might even unseat it as my favorite Thai dish.  I’ll have to try it out at some other places to be sure, but this was fantastic.

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The curry was pretty basic red curry, which isn’t to say not good.  In fact it was quite tasty.  I didn’t know what to think of the pumpkin showing a bit of green on the edges, but it tasted great and was stewed down to a uniform softness.  The rest of this was made of of bell peppers and big slices of pork, all steeped in the flavorful, yet smooth, red curry-flavored coconut milk.  I’m excited to crack open the leftovers tomorrow already.

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I’m very happy to have tried this little cafe.  As much as I love Thai food it’s not always a convenient lunch or dinner option just due to the portions it almost always comes in, and the price that comes with those portions.  This place offers a slightly smaller portion with a comparable reduction in price that makes it a much more attractive option when you just want to grab a quick bite by yourself.  My server was incredibly friendly and perfectly attentive.  I really hope they do well here.

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