#268: Eureka!

12:05PM / 1/3/2022

https://eurekarestaurantgroup.com/

Based on my experience here I think it’s a good example of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” I remember seeing it from the road once it had been built, just west of the Galleria next to Lazy Dog, and thinking it was the most corporate chain looking place I’ve ever set eyes on. I assumed the thousands of these restaurants all looked the same with it’s modern styling of brick, steel and wood colored panels. From there, with no reasoning behind it, I then assumed it was a soup/salad/sandwich type of place that I wouldn’t have much interest in. Fast forward a couple of years to Fall of 2021 when I meet my parents here for lunch while they are in town. I’m surprised to see that not only is their menu dominated by burgers but they have a fantastic beer list and a pretty serious full-bar to boot. I then took a look at their website to see it’s a relatively small chain, mostly along the west coast with a few locations creeping East.

I’ve been here once since, which was actually just last weekend. On both previous visits the weather was a bit nicer than today’s overcast with a chilly breeze. On my first visit we sat out on the nice patio which has a gas-lit fire feature and a number of heaters. The bar sits up against a roll-up type glass door/window that adds outdoor bar seating when opened. Today no one was sitting outside, on account of the weather, but the window was about halfway up allowing some cool air into the dining room. This comes into play later.

I arrived just after 12PM and took a seat at the bar, where I was greeted immediately and given food and drink menus. I glanced over at a blackboard with the current rotating draft beers available and picked out Urban Roots Modest Pleasures IPA (13oz, 6.3%)[$8] which the bartender poured right away. The place was fairly quiet at this point with maybe 4-6 other parties seated around the perimeter of the dining room. The large bar was all mine until just before I left. The place is pretty chill and has some comfy loungy-type seating near the front. Seems like a nice place to sit if you’re just getting drinks and maybe appetizers.

I spent quite a bit of time going over the menu. I had looked online and picked out a very different meal before heading down here. I was going to get the Firecracker Pork Riblets as a starter and pair it with the Salmon Kale Caesar Salad, but unfortunately there were no riblets to be found on today’s menu in the restaurant. Instead I decided to get the craziest sounding burger they have, which grabbed my attention on both prior visits. This is the 28 Day Dry-Aged Bone Marrow burger (Bone marrow shiitake burger, grilled onion, horseradish mustard aioli, roasted Roma tomato)[$20]. I upgraded the standard fries it came with to the Truffle Cheese Fries [+$3].

Click/tap to enlarge menus

The burger took a while to prep and I spent the time listening to a podcast, watching the dining room slowly get busier, but most of all start to get annoyed at the breeze. I think that normally this would not be much of an issue, but the front door is apparently broken and the slightest wind whips it fully open, turning the side of the restaurant I was sitting on into a full blow wind tunnel. To the hosts credit, they would close the door at every opportunity between seating guests, but it was a futile effort. They should have just locked it and directed people to enter through the patio door instead (or closed the roll-up window, which is really the right answer here).

Anyway, my food arrived in about 20 minutes. The patty on this thing was gigantic. The the aioli was oozing down the sides slowly. I did not expect the truffle cheese fries to basically just be plain fries with a side of truffle cheese sauce to dip in. As I do with just about every meal involving fries I started there first, to enjoy them at their hottest. These were already luke-warm upon arrival, and the wind was threatening to remove the heat from my burger so I switched gears and dug into it while it was still hot. I never even set it back down again.

This thing was juicy, messy, flavor-rich, perfectly cooked. Previously I’ve had the truffle mushroom burger (photo of this at the bottom of this post) and the double-stacked bacon burger. Both were fantastic but felt slightly overpriced at $18.50. Gotta be honest – this totally lived up to the $20 price tag. The fries suffered right away with their lacking temp and the wind tunnel didn’t help. They were, however, still pretty decent when I poured all of the truffle cheese sauce over them and ate them with a fork.

All three visits have mostly been filled with good food, solid service and a nice, laid back atmosphere. Today was a bit rough around the edges. Based solely on today’s visit I’d give it a 3.5. If today was like my previous visits it would be 4.5 easily, flirting with 5. Don’t be like me and make wild assumptions – you might just miss out on a great burger 😉

Truffle Mushroom Burger from my first visit back in Oct 2021.
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#263: Q1227 Restaurant

5:30PM / 11/6/2021

https://www.q1227restaurant.com

Saturday evening I was joined by a friend and we headed over to Q1227, located in the Stone Point center on Eureka, for dinner. This newish restaurant opened just under 2 years ago on December 27th, which is the chef/owner’s birthday and where it gets it’s “1227” from. The Q comes from his name. We arrived at 5:30 with hopes for a walk-in, as reservations were booked out through Tuesday when I had looked a couple days previously. While I snapped a picture outside my friend whent in to get our name on the list. The wait time would be 45 min, so we walked next door to Brickyard for a drink to kill some time.

We made our way back over 35 minutes later. From this direction the warmly lit patio, closed off by red curtains from the front, was visible through the archway at the top of the stairs. It feels cozy and warm with the gas heaters. We popped inside to check on the wait. Unfortunately there had been a bit of a miscommunication earlier. From what I could tell the host thought we didn’t want to wait and left, and my friend thought they took our name and we were good to go. Anyway, long story short here they ended up getting us in right away to a 2-top just inside the patio doors, so it worked out well.

Looking back at my photos from the previous restaurant to reside here, Cibo7, the overall layout and feel to the dining room is pretty similar. Q1227 has brightened up the lighting a bit and changed some of the seating which makes it feels much less cramped than I recall in Cibo7. Like Cibo7, the menu is a really nice bound book. The covers on this one are wooden with the restaurants logo engraved into the front.

We settled in an our server came by to take drink orders and tell us about a couple specials. I ordered the What’s Up Bro Pale Ale from Loomis Basin (5.8%)[$8] and my friend ordered a glass of the Hanna Chardonnay [$13]. We also placed an order for the Chilled Oyster Platter (Fresh shucked oysters [6ea] / house cocktail sauce / mignonette / pickled shallots / lemon)[$20]

The drinks arrived quickly and the oysters followed in just under ten minutes. Served over ice and a bed of seaweed, these came with a few things to jazz up your oyster. The sauce 3rd from the left was not mentioned in the description but I believe it was just a straight up hot sauce. I thought the mignonette and cocktail sauces went together really nicely on these and it was a tasty appetizer to get us started.

We had ordered our entrees with everything else and they were delivered about ten minutes after the oysters. While I didn’t feel rushed, this was a quicker pacing than I expected.

My friend ordered the Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon (House Spices / Forbidden Black Rice / Garnet Yam Puree)[$32]. She loved this and specifically complimented the yam puree. I had a bite of the salmon which was nicely done with a thin, delicate crust to it and tender flesh.

I had a tough time deciding what to get, there were a bunch of inviting options. After bouncing around between the Branzini, Ribeye Cap and Jambalaya I ultimately went with my friend’s suggestion of the Berkshire “Kurobuta” Tomahawk Pork Chop (House Spices / Maple Glaze / Baked Apple / Sauteed Spinach)[$40].

This was a bone-in chop placed atop the spinach with the rib perched up on top of the baked apple. It was a sizeable chunk of meat. I was served a steak knife with this dish. The pork chop was tender enough that a butter knife might have done the job just fine. I was glad to have the steak knife, however, because this plate was incredibly slippery on the table for some reason. It was a bit of a challenge to keep it from sliding all over the place.

The apple was cored and the inside had a bit of cinnamon dusted on it. The maple glaze was the star here, just behind the pork itself. I drizzled/dipped some with almost every bite and had just enough to last through the whole chop. With the apple and maple glaze along side the juicy pork this plate was a nice balance of sweet and savory. The spinach had a heavy amount of garlic cooked with it, which was delicious. I cleaned this plate up, including the flower out of sheer curiosity. The flower didn’t really taste like anything but it was an interesting texture.

We decided we had room for dessert and our server was on the ball, pulling the menu out form behind her back as soon as we asked about it. She also told us about a dessert not on the menu, which after looking over everything we decided to get. We received a pair of copper colored spoons in advance. This was Q’s Peanut Butter Cups (Chocolate Cookie Crust / Peanut Butter Mousse / Chocolate Ganache / Chopped Nuts)[$12]. It consisted of three cups, each about 50% larger in diameter than a Reese’s peanut butter cup across and about 2-3x thicker, but oh so much more decadent. They were incredible, a must-have if you love peanut butter & chocolate.

I didn’t really have any expectations going in here as I knew very little about the restaurant aside from what I could gather from the website. I have to say I was really impressed. I loved all the food and the service was on point. Chef Q stopped by during one of his rounds through the dining room to see how everything was tasting. We did some damage for two people with our bill nearing $150, yet I felt that the prices were fair for what we received. I look forward to returning to check out that whole fried fish and so many other tasty-sounding things.

https://www.q1227restaurant.com

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#259: Chef’s on Wheels (Ft. Moksa Brewing)

Today’s post is not Roseville specific, since it’s a food truck!  Chef’s on Wheels was a suggestion on Facebook recently.  Today it was parked at my favorite brewery Moksa located in Rocklin, at the corner of Taylor and Pacific.  With the weather not stupid-hot it seemed like a good choice so off I went.

A bit about the brewery first to get us started.  They opened back in February of 2018, taking over the defunct Dragas brewery location.  I was tuned in to this early on and have been part of their membership club thing ever since.  They make a lot of IPAs (who doesn’t these days), with a roughly even split between West Coast and Hazys (my personal preference), and Stouts.  If you think of Guinness when you think of stouts, these are not that kind of dry Irish stout.  Rather they are big imperial stouts, often aged in bourbon barrels, brewed with all sorts of tasty things like coffee, vanilla bean, peanuts, cacao, and berries (to name just a tiny selection).  When I say big imperial stouts, I’m talking ABV, which is on the higher end, often 10%+.  It’s exactly up my alley and why I’ve been such a big fan since they opened.

Parking can be a bit of a challenge sometimes.  They share a lot with some auto shops which use some of the lot for all the cars they are working on.  Today was no exception.  Since last year the front spots have been converted to an outdoor covered seating area under a tent.  It’s nicely set up, even on hot days, with a number of large swamp coolers, plenty of seating and music piped outside.  I set up in my favorite little corner right away, a sort of counter top made from a row of semi-permenant pallets on-end with a wood top, away from the crowds.  Neither outside nor inside was too busy a little before 1:30. It filled up some more by the time I left an hour later.  The indoor seating has shrunk slightly over the years as they stack more and more whiskey barrels to the ceiling.  You can barely see the brewing tanks through them these days – a sign of more tasty barrel aged beers to come.

I started off by ordering a couple half pours and then went to place my order at the truck.  Universal Layers (Hazy Double IPA with notes of tangerine cuties and pineapple)[8.2% 5oz $3.25] was nice and pillowy soft with bright hoppy and juicy flavors.  Moksa Two (Imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels for 16 months)[17.3% 5oz $9] is syrupy-sweet with a strong barrel finish.  I saved this one for dessert.

On to the truck.  I love the look of this this thing.  All black, kind of beat up, paint peeling in some spots, with skull and crossbones inspired iconography of their logo with two chef’s knives.  It reminded me a bit of this moment in 1977’s Slap Shot:

I can’t recall if I’ve ever eaten from this truck before.  I probably have and it was probably right here at Moksa as they seem to come here somewhat regularly.  Today’s menu consisted of a bacon cheeseburger, a seared tuna sandwich, a BBQ bacon dog and a grilled chicken sandwich, complimented with a number of side items.  After going over the descriptions of everything carefully I settled on the burger and the sriracha peanut green beans.

Of all the food trucks I’ve tried over the years, there are a small percentage of them that hand out a pager so you don’t need to hang around the truck waiting to hear your name or order number.  This is one of the VERY few that give you a table number and bring the food right to you.  A nice touch that is much appreciated.  The gentlemen that took my order delivered it to my quiet corner of the patio in about 10 minutes and even stopped by briefly later on to see how everything was.

After some quick photos I dug in.  First off was the burger: The Bacon Cheese Burger (lettuce, tomato & onion with their signature 916 sauce)[$13].  This was a very soft burger in texture with diced onions and shredded lettuce that sort of melts in your mouth and goes down real quick.  I thought it was fantastic.  The 916 sauce is a type of 1000 Island sauce and the cheese was perfectly melted.  The beef patty was nicely seasoned and did not rely on fancy ingredients but instead worked with the standard burger toppings for a delicious meal.

The Sriracha Peanut Green Beans (fresh green beans lightly fried in peanut oil, topped with sriracha, hoisin, garlic aioli and chopped peanuts)[$10] were not the deep fried type many restaurants serve with a dip.  These came with a fork and every bite had a little of everything in it.  Cooked al dente, the heat combined with sweet hoisin sauce was delightful.  I demolished the whole thing and scraped up the last of the chopped peanuts, which added a nice little crunch.

Everything was great here.  Food was solid and as mentioned earlier I love that they bring it right to you.  Paired with delicious beer and great weather it made a fantastic lunch.  Don’t sleep on Moksa if you haven’t been here.  They’ve got a lot of good options on tap and a bunch to go in cans and bottles (dat Maple Magic…..drool).  I had to order the fan favorite Pastry Mode before I left (Imperial stout with coconut, hazelnut coffee and vanilla)[12.5% 5oz $5].  Such a treat.

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