#275: The Trax Taproom & Kitchen

12:15PM, 4/23/2022

Today for lunch I visited the new Trax Taproom & Kitchen, located on Vernon Street at S. Grant, kitty corner from the town square and across the street from the old post office and also across from a very convenient free parking garage. I’ve been to this location at least a couple times now for the blog. It’s been a coffee shop and a grilled cheese shop most recently and was vacant for quote some time. Now it offers a huge beer selection and a good selection of mid to upper tier bar foods. I parked in the parking garage, launched my drone and snapped some photos from the upper deck and headed in just after noon.

Found this nice mural at the entrance to the parking garage

My first impression upon entering was that it felt much more spacious and open than previously with Cheese Louise and especially with Extreme Java Jungle Cafe. They retained the iconic fireplace and the bizarre ceiling fans, that resemble a miniature carnival ride, which I enjoyed. Off to the right side there is a large roll-up style window that was open today to take advantage of the beautiful weather. Just past that is a couple of coolers with a large assortment of craft beers in cans ready to go. They can be enjoyed in the store but they do charge a small fee as they encourage them to be taken home.

As I was looking around and checking out tables for the best light I was beckoned up to the bar by a gentleman (might have been one of the owners, who I believe are a pair of brothers) and decided to take a seat up there. I scanned the QR code to check out the beer selection and was handed a physical menu for food. They do have an LCD TV that rotates through their beers but with so many to look at the phone version is slightly more convenient. I do always love when these types of places use Untappd because not only can you check out their menu at any time online in the app, you can check in with the app and it appears right on the menu in store. By the time I left I had swept the 5 available slots. My friend rightfully commented that using a flight to do so is “cheating for sure”, but I’ll take the win anyway ;).

Anyway on to what they offer! They’ve got an impressive 30 beers on tap and 18 food items, just about all which are well suited for sharing. The tap list was heavy with Moksa beers, the remainder of a recent tap takeover. I started out out with a glass of Mounds of Green IIIPA from Faction Brewing (IPA – Triple, 10.5% – 70 IBU)[$10]. This was probably about an 8-10oz pour, nice and cold. While I sipped on this potent IPA I skimmed the menu and picked out a couple items. Before I ordered I spotted an order of their Steam Engine Fries [$6] which looked amazing, crispy and golden fried, up in the kitchen window ready to be served. I fought off my desire to order those and went with the Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers (stuffed with cream cheese mix, wrapped with bacon, drizzled with paprika crema)[$10] that I had already settled on.

I wasn’t paying too much attention to the time but these took maybe 10 minutes or less to come out. Wow. I’ve had a lot of jalapeño peppers but these were in a class of their own. Maybe the best I’ve ever had. They were presented on a bed of arugula and the bacon was nice and crisp. I was amazed at how well they held together when taking a bite. The bacon held right on and didn’t come unraveled through several bites. The jalapeño had a nice heat without being too spicy, and the cream cheese cooled off what heat might have threatened to overwhelm it. I loved this.

I was about done with my IPA as I finished off the poppers and had noticed some flight boards stacked up behind the counter so I decided to get a flight with my next item, the Trax Tacos (Chicken, cheese, pico, pickled red onion, paprika crema)[$12]. For my flight I went with:

  1. Nuclear Powder (Outer Range Brewing Co. – Double New England IPA – 7.6%)
  2. N3LSON JUIC3 (Alvarado Street Brewery – Triple New England IPA – 10%)
  3. Key Lime Pirate (Barebottle Brewing Company – Sour, Fruited – 5%)
  4. In Harmony (Moksa Brewing Co. – Imperial Stout, Double Pastry – 12.7%)

Both the flight and tacos came out at about the same time. The tacos were street-taco-sized and the tortillas had a layer of cheese grilled to the outside with crispy bits flaring out here and there, which reminded me a lot of Squeeze-Inn’s cheese skirt, albeit much lighter. These tacos were outstanding, with tender pulled/shredded chicken that is making me hungry again just thinking about as I type this a couple hours later.

The beers were all great, especially In Harmony, which I’ve had a bunch of at Moksa, and probably still have a bottle or two in the beer fridge. The N3LSON JUIC3 and the Key Lime Pirate are also major standouts from this flight.

In Harmony, with my wrist band from today’s bottle release at the brewery

I’m extremely pleased by this visit and very happy to see this location finally being utilized in a way that I think should last a long time. It’s a great addition to Vernon Street, a spot you can hop over to after grabbing a bite at one of the other restaurants or after an event at the town square.


#274: Rose Café & Bagel

9:20AM 4/9/2022


This morning I headed out to far West Roseville to check out this little bagel spot for breakfast. Rose Café & Bagel is tucked just into the edge of the suburban sprawl on Baseline right in-between Junction and Fiddyment. It’s not easy to miss. The several buildings in this little complex are all painted bright barn-red and across the street is a tall radio tower. According to one of the employees both the large daycare center and the Cafe have the same owner. Perhaps they own all three buildings, given their shared aesthetic.

They make all their bagels in house each day and have a variety to choose from. In addition to your typical bagels with spreads they also have breakfast bagel sandwiches and hot or cold bagel sandwiches for lunch. They also have a full menu of coffee drinks.

Now I’m a bit out of my element here. About the only time I ever eat bagels is when they are brought to work or the couple times I visited NYC. Adding to that I’m not much of a coffee drinker beyond my morning cup of basic drip coffee I make at home in the morning. I decided to grab a Mocha and one of the breakfast sandwiches.

The cafe has a nice bright interior with a medium-sized dining area. They have a nice patio that I would have used if it weren’t so gusty out. My attention was immediately drawn to the ceiling, which was laced with loads of tiny string lights. It must look very cool in the winter when less light is blasting in through the windows in the morning. Behind the counter were about 4-6 people and I was greeted as soon as I had stepped inside. I took a minute to go over the sandwiches and picked out the Southwest (Egg, Ham, Havarti Cheese, Tomato, Spinach, Avocado)[$8.95]. “Sandwiches come with a sourdough based plain bagel”. I went with the large for my Mocha [$5.50].

Just before I had left the counter a barista started working on my mocha and asked if I wanted it “kinda sweet” or “sweet”. I thought for a second and the few white mochas I’ve had from La Bou and Starbucks and how I think they are way too sweet but usually forget since I get them so infrequently and went with kinda sweet. It ended up being a pretty good choice, and I was glad he asked.

Within about five minutes he brought my drink out and the sandwich was delivered a minute or so later. I was mildly disappointed in the to-go presentation of the mocha, not very photo friendly, but oh well. Taking the lid off revealed the optional whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate. The drink was hot, but not too hot to enjoy right away. It was very chocolatey and fairly sweet without being too sweet. Not too shabby, though I have little to compare it with.

My sandwich was neatly prepared and wrapped. I think they forgot the avocado, despite the obvious avocado-like green stain in the cross-section of the bagel where it was sliced. I assume that must have come from the spinach, because I remember no avocados. The sandwich was very light and simple. There was not a huge amount of any particular ingredient, so the bagel itself dominated the flavor overall. It was a good bagel though, toasted just right and soft within. I did hope for a more substantial sandwich, but having a relatively light breakfast ended up being good and gave me just the right amount of energy to go tackle all the weekend chores before noon.

Like I said, I’m not much of a bagel/coffee guy, so it’s hard for me to get super excited for this place. The staff was incredibly friendly and efficient and I liked the general feel for the place. I think a 3.5/5 is a reasonably fair score here. One of their lunch sandos could be something to bring me back some day. Carnitas and Caprese options both caught my eye…


#273: Falafel Corner

11:40AM, 4/2/2022


I’m so full. Today for lunch I headed over to Falafel Corner on Pleasant Grove near 65, in the same center as Flame & Fire, Chandos, The Habit and others. This location was previously Granites Cheesesteaks and Wings (which I think has moved to Foothills near Blue Oaks, at least there is something there called Granites).

Falafel Corner is a smallish chain/franchise in the Sacramento area with about 8 locations. The other location that is close by is at Douglas and Sierra College and I think I may have been there once a while back but I can’t be sure. The weather is beautiful today and they had the front and side doors open. As soon as I stepped inside I was greeted by a gentleman working up at the counter. I browsed the menu for a bit and then stepped up to place my order. They offer the typical Mediterranean stuff, gyro, chicken, hummus, falafel and baklava. The other main offering they have are a small variety of hamburgers. For drinks it’s pretty much just soda, lemonade or a mango flavored drink.

I went with the Combo Platter (Gyro, Chicken, Salad, Rice, Tzatziki, Hummus and Pita Bread)[$14.99] to try a bit of everything and also added an order of Falafel A La Carte (Shredded Lettuce, Falafel and Cucumbers with Tzatziki and Tahini Sauce)[$5.99] and a soda [$2.49]. I didn’t realize it until now, looking at the receipt, but I didn’t get charged for the soda. They still gave me a small one when I asked about a cup when my food was brought out, so that was nice.

The space is fairly small and very spartan. There’s barely any decoration aside from a few glass-mounted photos of their food near the back tables. No music was playing and the couple of small TVs were off. I listened to a podcast and the occasional noises from the kitchen as they worked on my order for a little under ten minutes.

From the back a different worker brought my two items out. The plating was quite nice, everything aside from the rice was nicely laid out. Underneath the layer of gyro and chicken was a good sized mound of colorful and soft long grain rice. A tiny bit of crisp lettuce, onion and ripe tomato accompanied everything. The pita bread was warm and fluffy, great for scooping up some hummus and a bit of everything with it.

The gyro had this incredibly smooth texture to it, the meat was very finely ground. I thought flavor-wise it was pretty good, but the chicken was really great. Every tender bite started off with a nice hit of spices and a bit of charring. With the Tzatziki sauce both meats were enjoyable to the last bite. The rice was quite nice as well and if I wasn’t so full towards the end I would have finished it all. The hummus was solid. I would have liked it with more garlic but it was perfectly enjoyable as it.

On to the falafel. I got 4 big pieces with this order, each about four bites worth. The outside was beautifully fried to a golden brown and crispy shell. Within, the soft ground up chickpeas had a bright green color, giving this dish a bunch of color that was otherwise only provided by the lettuce and a few slices of cucumber. These were fantastic. Tahini sauce gave this a nice creamy contrast with the crisp outer layer.

Service-wise it was pretty minimal but both people I briefly interacted with were very friendly. I feel like I am beating a dead horse by mentioning the prices did feel slightly elevated. That’s just the new norm though. I post prices on all my posts so from now on I’ll let you decide. I probably won’t comment on it anymore unless it’s really unusual.