#257: Goose Port Sports Bar & Public House

Small announcement up front here. In addition to email notifications and FaceBook I’ve fired up an Instagram account @eatingthroughroseville

Date: 9/5/2021

Location: Goose Port Sports Bar & Public House

It’s good to be back! I’m picking up right where I left off, which puts this at #257. Yesterday for lunch I headed down to Goose Port Sports Bar & Public House. I actually thought this place was a chain for a long time. Only recently did I go looking for some more info that I discovered this is in fact the only location. They’re located in a corner spot of one of the newest buildings on Vernon Street, almost directly across from the town square event area.

I arrived at around 20-to-noon on this Saturday. As I approached and took a couple photos outside, I thought it seemed pretty quiet. The patio had just a few people seated. Inside was a different story though. It was 80-90% full. Later I snagged some photos of the interior once it had cleared out a bit.

I had a choice of a couple spots in the bar area, one a window bench-type seat and another at the bar itself. I went with the window seat and was given a few paper menus to look over.

BREAKFAST:

DRINKS:

LUNCH:

A server came by and took a drink order while I was looking over everything. I started with a Disco Ninja IPA by Revision Brewing ($7.50) and she brought a water as well. The bartender brought these out and took my appetizer order while he was at it. I went with the GP Pickle Chips (House made battered & seasoned dill coins; $8.95) Just over 5 minutes later he returned to let me know they were out of those, so I quickly did a re-scan of the menu and picked out the Spicy Poke Nachos (Sashimi grade tuna, Serrano chili’s, pineapple, green onion, sriracha aioli, wasabi soy, sesame teriyaki, crispy wanton chips; $9.95).

I sipped my Disco Ninja while I waited for the nachos. It was very cold. A nice change from many places I’ve been lately that don’t seem to bother and chill their glasses. As mentioned the place was pretty busy, and I made it a point to take a look at my watch’s noise meter, which was registering a consistent 72-74dB. Just below the 80dB that can cause hearing damage after prolonged exposure. I had my own earbuds in which served to muffle the noise slightly.

The nachos arrived in about 15 min. This was a pretty serious plate. About 2-3 layers of chip were piled upon by tuna, pineapple, cucumber, cabbage and green onions, with a decent amount of the 3 sauces applied.

I really dug this. The chips were very light and crisp. I did need to use my fork to maneuver toppings into each bite a bit as the chips were somewhat fragile. The whole chilled pile was well distributed and it was easy to get a little bit of everything in each bite without much messing around. The pineapple was awesome, incredibly flavorful. Although marketed as spicy, these only developed a bit of heat that needed a swig of beer after a number of consecutive bites. The overall flavor of the sauces was on the sweeter side and reminded me a lot of the dressing most sushi places use on their little appetizer salads. I demolished about 80% of this thing and picked out the remaining tuna and pineapple before calling it quits. I had to save room for lunch, after all 😉

There was a lull in the service about here. I waited about 30 min before the bartender came back to check on me. I ordered another beer, a Mango Cart by Golden Road Brewing, a fruited wheat ale($7.50). I also ordered the GP Corned Beef Sandwich (House-made corned beef, sauerkraut slaw, swiss and pickles on toasted sourdough; $11.95) with fries. Although the extended time was slightly annoying it ended up being a blessing in disguise, letting the nachos settle a bit and open up room to pile on top.

The Mango Cart was crisp and light, which went well with the rich flavors in my sandwich.

This thing was epic. Between the perfectly toasted sourdough was a hefty serving of corned beef with tons of melted Swiss cheese, which stretched out with each bite like a cheese pizza commercial. The pickles (wait I thought they were out of pickles…maybe they use a different type for the chips) and sauerkraut slaw blended well with the tender beef for something that just melted in your mouth with each flavorful bite.

The fries were totally fine, nothing amazing though. They needed a bit of salt and ketchup. Not that I ate many of them, I was stuffed.

Thinking Goose Port was a chain did not help my expectations meet what I encountered. I was pretty impressed overall by the food here. Service could have been more present. I would give this place a solid 4.5 or 5 with more frequent check-ups. For now, 4 out of 5 is what I’ll settle on. It’s a nice spot in the middle of Vernon St, it’s patio nearly looking right down on the Washington underpass. When the weather is right this seems like a good spot to park yourself for some drinks and grub.

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#243: Nixtaco Mexican Taqueria

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Nixtaco Taqueria is one of the newest spots in Roseville.  They opened just over 3 weeks ago at Cirby & Rocky Ridge, previously occupied by the short-lived Bhan Thai.  I’ve been hyper aware of their inevitable opening since following them on Facebook several months ago.  They are extremely active and had photos to share every day, even if a lot of them were meme-like, to work up anticipation.

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Owner Patricio Wise comes from Monterrey, Mexico and brings flavors from that region with him.  (random side note, my work has a plant in Monterrey and I look forward to bringing my colleagues here, when they occasionally visit our headquarters, to see what they think).  Nixtaco grinds corn and makes tortillas fresh every day, among other items.

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I met up with my parents for dinner last night.  The space has been hugely updated from when Bhan Thai was here.  There is still a bar/counter, but this one is completely new.  The space otherwise is rectangular and straightforward, a grid of 2-4 person tables with funky looking chairs (the Thai place had odd chairs too come to think of it).  At the end of the bar is the register where you place your order.

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The place was fairly packed when I arrived.  We were still waiting on my dad who was a few minutes behind, so I meandered up near the register to look at the menu. Patricio greeted me and asked if he could get me started with a beer and said we could pay when we placed the rest of the order.  That sounded great so I got a Biere Blanche, a witbier by The Monk’s Cellar on Vernon, took a little table marker and took a seat with a menu.

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Obviously the focus here is tacos, but they do have a good selection of appetizers and burritos.  They also serve brunch from 11-3 on Sunday.  They have 6 tacos to choose from, and if you’re like me you’ll want to try them all, but $3.50 a pop will get a little pricey and you probably won’t be able to finish them all.  Nixtaco had me covered though, they have a sampler for just $9 that has one of each of the 6 tacos on a 2.5″ tortilla, little baby tacos!  I ordered that and we got some guacamole to share (House made guacamole with real avocado, serrano chiles, tomato, onion, cilantro, and lime juice. Chips or tortillas)[$5.50].  My dad ordered the Short Rib Barbacoa burrito (Beef short-rib braised “barbacoa-style” in our guajillo-chipotle and onion braise)[$10] and my mom ordered two of the Shrimp Mazatlan Style tacos (Inspired by the classic “Taco Gobernador”: Sautéed shrimp, with caramelized bacon, garlic, and melted Oaxaca cheese)[$3.50ea].

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We were served complimentary salsas, in addition to the guac we had coming.  There were 3 or 4 of them, we were fairly certain the two were the same, but I might be wrong.  All were tasty and packed a little kick to them, but the most interesting and unique one had a peanut flavoring to it.  I found myself continuing to go back to it all throughout dinner.

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Our fresh guacamole arrived soon and we dug into it.  It was topped with bright red onions pickled in lime juice.  In fact, the whole thing had a strong lime flavor to it.  It was definitely good, but it would have been nice to be able to taste the avocados themselves a little more.  It was about this time that they had a line to the door, which persisted for much of our stay.  Things got a bit hectic.  We quickly ran out of chips since we were using them for both salsa and guac.  I asked someone rushing past our table if we could get some more.  It took a little while though.  They were clearly overwhelmed with the amount of customers that had, and were continuing to, pile in.

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My mom’s tacos arrived first, but had a random 3rd taco with them.  It took us a second to realize that this was not part of our order.  I think we may have received someone else’s plate, however it did have 2 of the tacos correct.  After that there was kind of a long wait before the other items finally came.  We were close to asking about them, but it was obvious that they knew something had been mixed up and were trying to find out where it went wrong.  Eventually, about 10 minutes after the first tacos arrived, my dad’s burrito and my taco sampler showed up.  So we ended up with an extra taco, which appeared to be the Short Rib Barbacoa.

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My mom was not crazy about the shrimp tacos, mostly because she didn’t seem to like the sauce that the Oaxaca cheese was melted into, and also because one of the shrimp still had a bit of tail remaining that didn’t get caught in cleaning them.  She did enjoy the short rib barbacoa though.  On the contrary I loved my shrimp taco.  The sauce was much thicker and richer than I was expecting and all three of my shrimp were well cleaned.

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The burrito wasn’t much to look at, but my dad liked it.  It’s hard to photograph a burrito and have it look good unless you cut it in half and can see into it, so I give the appearance a pass.

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My remaining five tacos were:

Chicharron (Pork belly sliced thin and roasted, then diced and sauteed in salsa verde. Lime-pickled onions on top).  This was really tasty.  The pork was incredibly tender and flavorful.  It pretty much melted in my mouth.

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Asado Norteño (Pork shoulder diced and slowly stewed in our orange-guajillo adobo. Avocado mousse on top).  This was rich and had a lovely citrus flavor to it.ETR 243 Nixtaco Mexican Taqueria 012 2016-06-25 18-51-38 Pollo en Mole (Shredded roasted chicken, simmered in our House-made mole. House-made crema and toasted black sesame seeds on top).  Easily the messiest of my tacos.  This was ok, nothing really stood out to me flavor-wise though.

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Short Rib Barbacoa (Beef short-rib braised “barbacoa-style” in our guajillo-chipotle and onion braise. Avocado mousse on top).  Similar to the Pollo en Mole, I felt it was a bit one-dimensional.

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Finally, the surprise hit and something I know I will be back for repeatedly: Rajas con Queso (Roasted poblano “in rajas”, sauteed with House-made crema, Oaxaca cheese and corn).  Who would have guessed that my favorite item would be the vegetarian option?!  This was so incredibly delicious, I was picking every last bit of poblano from the plate where it had escaped the little tortilla.

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Not every taco was for me, but overall I really enjoyed just about everything.  I definitely expect to return for full-sized Rajas con Queso.  And there were a few things on the menu that we didn’t order that I am very interested in checking out, including the Roasted Bone Marrow appetizer (something you don’t see too often in this area, but is usually delicious) and, from the brunch menu, the Nixtaco Poached Egg (Mexican take on Scotch Egg: soft poached egg, enrobed in our short rib barbacoa, then covered in masa and deep fried. Served on a bed guacamole with salsas verde and rosa).  That sounds amazing!

Website: http://nixta.co

AM16: Taylor’s Corner

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I have an occasional habit of driving aimlessly in search of lunch on the weekend.  Last weekend this happened, and although I eventually settled on MooYah in Rocklin, the route I took in the end was less than direct, as the GPS trail below shows.  I noticed this little burger shack along the way that had me extremely curious though, and today I went back to check it out.

Route

This is Taylor’s (or Taylor’s Corner), aptly named as it sits right on the corner of Sierra College & Taylor in Loomis.  I find these type of places fascinating for some reason, probably because they are few and far between, although I know they’re not always very special (see Sam’s Classic Burgers).  This one I had high hopes for.  I think it was because they had a couple of distinctive features that set it apart from others.  They are open early for breakfast and they have a massive list of shake/malt flavors.

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I pulled in at around 11:30 and it was a little slow, just a few customers at the time.  The building is small and there is only outside seating.  Despite the heat of our Summers it seems like it’s actually a nice place to eat.  They have a big carport built over 4 standard picnic tables, and the other 5 tables towards the back end all have umbrellas.  On top of this, the place is set up with misters.  Today they only had the misters running on the main building itself, but with a breeze I was still getting a cool spray now and then all the way at the furthest table.

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I took several minutes to look over the menu, including the insanely long list of shakes. According to their website they are constantly changing and adding to it!  I finally settled on a Double Bacon Cheeseburger (mayo, pickles, lettuce, onions, cheese, bacon, ketchup & mustard)[$8.39], a side of Garlic Fries [$3.99] and a S’mores shake [~$3 or $4, price was not listed].  It was a bit more pricey than expected with my total coming to $17.49.

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The wait was not insignificant.  My shake took about 7 minutes and was brought out to me, and my food followed about 9 minutes later.  The shake was fantastic.  It was smoothly blended and had a chocolate and marshmallow-y flavor with a hint of graham cracker.  Like with Sam’s, the styrofoam cup kept it very cold for a while.

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My burger looked pretty great.  Lots of melted cheese and two fairly thick pieces of delicious-looking bacon stood out.  Underneath the slightly-thicker-than-In’N’Out patties was a small amount of shredded lettuce, a few rings of white onions and three pickles.  The sauces were light and only added hints of their flavors overall, letting the beef, cheese and bacon shine.  If they told me the bacon was cooked to order I would probably believe them.  It was easily some of the best bacon I’ve ever had on a burger (fancy restaurant burgers not included).  It was crisp, but not too crisp, and still had little bits of juicy fat to them.  The bun was perfectly soft and could have been baked fresh that day for all I knew.

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The fries were probably the weakest link out of the meal, and that’s not even to say they were bad!  The were extra golden and crispy, which I like in fries.  There was a whole lot of fresh minced garlic in them, though it was not apparent at first.  Much of it was in clumps down below the topmost fries.  It was tasty, I just feel that they were a buck or two overpriced for what they were.  I’d probably just get standard fries in the future.

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So overall, quite impressed with this little hidden (to me anyway, since I don’t think I had ever driven that stretch of Taylor before last week) gem just to the north of Roseville.  My meal was quite filling.  The prices were just a bit high, I feel, and the wait was fairly long, but I certainly enjoyed it, especially the awesome shake.