I made a slight boo boo here, this is actually a chain with 21 locations far and wide (Abu Dhabi appears to be the furthest out). I suppose this is a good first candidate for my relaxed chain rules. This wasn’t even my first choice today, I pulled up at a sushi place a little earlier and realized the hours listed were not the same as I found online. I need to get in the habit of checking multiple sources for operating hours, with everything in flux these days. Well let’s get on with it, shall we?
Today for lunch I visited Cantina Laredo, an upscale-ish, modern Mexican restaurant located in the Galleria’s Promenade. The play area in front of the Cantina was busy with activity. Inside it was much quieter, just a few tables were seated. The large space is clean and well lit. A large rectangular 360º bar is the centerpiece. Surrounding it is standard table seating and booths round the space out along the walls. I was greeted right away by the host and elected to take a seat at the bar.
I skimmed over the 2-sided menu (sorry, only ended up with a photo of 1 side somehow, check it out online here) for a drink and ordered a Modelo Negro (apparently misheard as a regular Modelo, no biggie – they’re both good). Chips and salsa were served up with my beer. The chips were unremarkable. Not warm, little to no salt. The salsa was tasty and it reminded me of a more finely blended version of Chevy’s salsa.
I struggled a bit on what to order. Along with getting back into the swing of trying new restaurants I want to veer at least a little bit away from my usual food selections and check out other things. Barring this I probably would have picked the Crispy Carnitas Bowl (Pork carnitals, cilantro lime rice, black beans, corn, jalapeno, pico de gallo and Monterey Jack, with chipotle wine sauce & cilantro)[$14.50]. Instead I went back and forth a bit on some Pescado tacos or enchiladas, eventually settling on the vegetarian Espinaca Enchiladas (Two enchiladas with sautéed spinach, Monterey Jack and mushrooms, with sour cream poblano sauce, served with cilantro lime rice and black beans)[$16.50].
I snacked on chips while my entree was prepared. It was a quick ten or so minutes to be brought out, on a hot plate as I was warned. The dish was pretty simple. The enchiladas were covered in in their striped white and green sauce and flanked by the black beans and rice. I’m kinda of so/so on cilantro, but let me say the rice was very flavorful with it and really out-shined the beans, which were quite bland in comparison. Despite the hot plate, the thin layer of beans did not have enough heat in them to melt the cheese over top and the plate ended up cooling down rapidly, never giving them a chance to do so.
My enchiladas were straightforward. The soft tortilla was easily cut with a fork, revealing the spinach and mushrooms inside. The whole thing was well balanced and I got a bit of every flavor in each bite. The poblano sauce was nice and creamy with the layer of sour cream to compliment it, but I do wish it were a bit more bold and upfront.
Overall a pretty good lunch. I liked the atmosphere and it seems like a good spot for happy hour with a lively crowd. Prices were on the higher side, which I suppose is par for the course at the Galleria. I received a glowing recommendation for this place from a co-worker a while ago and I would like to return at some point to check out that carnitas bowl. Based on this visit I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5.
Quick announcement, I’ve fired up a Twitter account that you can follow for new posts: @EatingThruRSVL
It’s been a hectic couple of weeks since my last post. I needed a slam dunk after BOSS and knew just where to go. I first discovered Fukumi Ramen at their 2nd location, in Citrus Heights at Sunrise and Madison, this summer right when they opened. I’ve since been there a number of times for lunch during the week and have also visited this original Roseville location once or twice as well. They have a 3rd spot opening soon in Folsom as well.
The location here in Roseville is in the middle of a little strip with Sabores and across from the Nugget center on Fairway at Pleasant Grove. I arrived just after opening. There were already a couple tables seated. One of the two hosts working the dining room popped out of the kitchen, within a few seconds of me stepping inside, and had me seated immediately. I was left with their double sided menu while they went and grabbed me an ice water and then took my drink order.
In my time visiting Fukumi I’d accrued a free small plate / appetizer via their stamp card, which I knew I would on this visit eventually. Other than the gyoza, kimchi and edamame apps I’ve tried when co-workers ordered them, I haven’t ordered anything other than the ramen itself. Those are tasty but not hard to find. I thought one of the fried chicken options would be good and picked out the Spicy Karaage (Japanese style fried chicken with Fukumi special spicy sauce, topped with chili threads)[$8]. Towards the end of my visit I spotted the Kurobuta Sausage and Honey Garlic Chicken apps being delivered to the table next to me. Both looked great and I’ll have to check those out some time.
The pacing here is always very quick, which makes it such a nice place to go for lunch when you have a limited window to work with. My Asahi Black (A highly attenuated dark lager that blends the rich aroma and flavor of roasted malt with a dry finish. 350ml / 5.5%]($6] came out in just a couple minutes and my ramen was only behind that by 5 minutes. The Spicy Karaage Chicken took an additional 5 minutes or so.
My usual bowl is the Kara-miso Ramen (Thick noodles, Flavored with Fukumi original blend miso and spicy paste, topped with pork belly chashu, seasoned egg, green onion, sprouts, corn and chili threads)[$14.95] and I add Black Garlic Oil [$0.75]. When I’m extra hungry I’ll usually also add extra noodles for $1.75.
Today’s bowl was as great as usual. It arrived steaming with a small pile of the delicately sliced chili threads on top and black garlic oil glistening on top of the rich, cloudy broth. Two slices of the incredibly tender, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly sat atop the noodles and other ingredients, which were hid just under the broth. The soft boiled egg just barely broke the surface. The spice in this particular bowl is strong and clears my sinuses up a bit every time, though it takes a little bit to get there. Heat seekers should enjoy it but it’s not going to scratch the extreme heat that some look for. It’s a really nice hot and savory bowl and I really enjoy getting all the aromas and rich flavors when I’m slurping up noodles with my face just over the bowl. It’s going to be an extra nice treat to enjoy this body-warming soup when the rain and cooler weather arrives soon (fingers crossed on lots of rain).
I wasn’t sure if the fried chicken would be bone-in or not. Turned out to be boneless, which was nice and made it easy to eat without much mess. The batter was fried crisp (though it softened up a bit as the sauce soaked in while I went back and forth between it and the ramen). Inside the chicken was tender and juicy. The flavor was slightly sweet and it wasn’t super spicy, but like the ramen it built up a bit with several bites. Overall I was quite happy with these and I’m very much looking forward to try the other two chicken apps and other small plates at some point.
My experiences with Fukumi have been consistently excellent and this visit was no different. The service is fast, friendly and attentive and the food is always fantastic. I was pretty sure this would earn a perfect score and it did not disappoint. This is a great addition to the area (along with Ramen 101, which I am excited to check out again soon to compare).
I picked this place out earlier in the week and I’ve been gradually more excited about the day as it came up. I didn’t know much about this place other than it seems to be a ghost kitchen. They don’t have any storefront and looked like they might be operating from John’s Incredible Pizza. I recall seeing a positive mention on Reddit or social media a month or so ago. I finally visited the website today to figure out what my ordering options were as far as in-store, on a website or on an app. They are available by phone, the website or through a variety of the usual food delivery apps. There are 6 locations total, scattered throughout CA with a couple in NV.
Once I got to the website I was intrigued by the “Cali-Detroit” style pizza they were talking up. Besides Little Caesars (I guess you can call it pizza) I’ve only had one Detroit-style pizza I can recall (found a photo of it, below) from a place on K St in downtown Sac called Pizza Rock, now closed. It was phenomenal. Anyway this sort of piqued my interest and I was off to place an order.
It’s a nice clean site and easy to get to the menu. I hate when sites make you start an order to look at the menu…oh and you want to start an order? Now you need an account. Not here, very straightforward. That said, I did need to start an order to see the pricing, but they still didn’t require an account at all, even through checkout. They did ask for an email address. I’m not sure why since they didn’t email me an order confirmation or any receipt.
I wanted to get a half and half with something simple and something more unique to this place (they talk about their bacon here and there: BOSS Bacon – Thick sliced hickory smoked bacon, caramelized with pepper flecks for an extra kick). Unfortunately half/half is not an option so I went all in with a standard combo (The Works – All the goods: pepperoni, sausage, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and olives.)[$16.99]. I also wanted to get some wings, and the most economical way to do that allowed me to also try the Vampire Tots from the sides. I grabbed the 6pc wing combo, bone-in, half with lemon pepper flavor and half with sweet chili. It comes with a choice of fries or tots, including the jazzed-up Vampire tots (Vampire Tots Tots seasoned with garlic and Parmesan cheese with choice of ketchup or spicy ketchup.) as well as a soft drink [Total combo = $11.99].
I finished placing my order at 12:30PM and had a pickup time of 12:58PM. This is where things started to go sideways. I had placed the order using my desktop computer. The order confirmation page was clearly intended for a mobile screen, all scrunched down to a narrow column. On it was a button that you tap to check-in once you’re parked in their curbside parking spaces. Obviously I couldn’t click this button from a couple miles away (there is a phone number you can alternatively call when you arrive too), but I made it happen with remote desktop from my phone, just to play this out as intended.
I arrived and checked in at 12:59, entering information about the make/model/color of my car and putting the hazards on as instructed. After watching the steady stream of people going in and out of both John’s and Rockin’ Jump for a while, I gave the number a call at 1:15. This was a slightly jarring call because initially I was met by a robot that told me it was connecting me. Ok. Then a woman answered for John’s Incredible Pizza. I let her know I was here for BOSS Pizza curbside pickup and she put me on hold to check, then came back in less than 30 seconds saying it would be out in “a sec”. Back to waiting and watching, another 15 min went by and I called back at 1:36. This was basically the same phone call except it was a different woman and the time given was “8 minutes”.
I considered going in at some point but having peeked inside the red door when I arrived, to see what it looked like, I would have had no idea where to go to ask about it. Literally the only place you will see their logo is on that A-frame sign out front. It’s just John’s Incredible Chaos and a mass of kids beyond the door. To the second woman’s credit, her estimate was pretty close, although still a couple minutes short. At 1:47 someone brought my order out to the car, mentioned that utensils were in the bag (brief aside, what utensils would you expect to receive with pizza, wings and tots? There were none in the bag of course, just a straw) and that was that.
I brought it home and opened the box to reveal a heavy rectangular pie, about 9×13″. It was not as enticing as the website showed. What should have been a crisp, buttery crust was limp and clearly underdone. The toppings were all there, in addition to what looked a lot like Round Table’s fire roasted tomatoes, which was not as advertised.
This was a big disappointment. It was not very hot and ended up being a dense block of bread, cheese and greasy toppings that wanted to all roll off the slice the second you looked at them wrong. The toppings themselves, particularly the veggies and mushrooms were actually ok. The meats were not particularly notable. Although the cheese was well melted, it had long since solidified. I think this was made sometime after my first call and left to sit under a heat lamp while the wing combo were forgotten and then rushed after call #2. I am typing this the next morning and having thrown a couple slices into the oven (450º for about 11 min) for a balanced breakfast and I can say that this gave it some new life with a nice, crisp crust and actual, thermal-heat. Even that didn’t elevate it beyond anything very ordinary, unfortunately.
The pizza has some potential. Unfortunately it was fumbled and lost deep in a ball pit somewhere in that giant Chuck E. Cheese competitor. At it’s best I think it would only rank among the most average pizza we have available in Roseville.
The Vampire tots didn’t look like they had any garlic or Parmesan on them. They did have a bit of a garlic taste though. They were still relatively crisp and mostly warm. I had picked out the spicy ketchup to go with these, out of curiosity, but I think I was given regular ketchup because I got no spice whatsoever from it. I set it aside after dipping four or five tots. They were totally…fine.
Digging into the wings, one of the stars of this order (not that it says much) were the lemon pepper flavored wings. This was supposed to be an order of 6. They were pretty tiny little guys and I like to think I received 10 wings because the people making them also acknowledged this fact, but it’s just as likely to have been an error. That said, the lemon pepper was very strong. Bright lemon cut with the bite of a heavy dose of black pepper. These felt a little overcooked, though the chicken was still reasonably moist within.
Last but not least were the sweet chili wings. These were drenched in a dark, syrupy sauce. Unfortunately I can’t tell you how these tasted because they didn’t taste like anything. It was quite the mind-warp. They really looked like they would have a rich, sweet and/or spiciness to them. It was just nothing.
This was a bit of a roller coaster from when I first heard of them, to the concept of a Cali-Detroit style pie, through the long wait, non-existent customer service and overall disappointing food. I can’t see myself ever returning. The 1.5 rating is mostly held up by the strong lemon pepper flavor, the OK tots and that re-heating the pizza stepped it up a bit.