#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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#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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#258: 105 Noshery

Date: 9/10-11/2021

Location: 105 Noshery

Website: https://105noshery.com/

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Can I be hyperbolic to start this out? OK here goes. I think I just went to the best restaurant in Roseville. Alright, let’s pack it up.  My job here is done.  WOW. This is what this has been all about. Well, let me take a step back. Mostly what this blog was aiming for was to find those under-appreciated hole-in-the-wall joints that were doing something special amid a sea of chain restaurants and shine a light on them, at least as much as one guy with a free WordPress website and a camera could. Along the way as I’ve experienced more and more varied cuisine, levels of service, atmosphere and culinary display it’s subconsciously become a search for the type of place that could shine bright well beyond Roseville and be worthy of of a must-visit list for visitors. This weekend I’ve found a new entry for this list.

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105 Noshery. Seems this place opened not long after I went on my semi-permeant break in 2016 (at least that’s when they created their Facebook page). Incredibly, this place is within walking distance of me and yet I’ve been completely oblivious of it’s existence. I knew after a quick scan of the menu a little while ago that this needed the double treatment – breakfast + lunch/dinner. Originally I was going to kick off the re-launch with this one but the timing didn’t quite work out. I made a point to drive by here to take a peek on my way to Goose Port last week and the place was jammin’, both inside and out. They have a built-in covered patio area in addition to another outdoor area off to the right, coined the Nosh Club, featuring live music and serving the full menu on a first-come basis.

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For my introduction to the Noshery I stopped by for an early dinner on Friday, arriving at about 4. It was pretty quiet but there were a dozen or so parties seated inside and on the main patio. I didn’t take an in-person at the Nosh Club tonight but based on what my drone captured when I left it was jam-packed by 6.

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I was greeted as soon as I stepped inside. Although I had made a reservation earlier in the day, just in case, it was clearly not needed at this time and I chose to sit at the end of the bar. From here I had a nice view of the smallish dining room, the bar area and into the open kitchen. My Bartender, Sara, hooked me up with their large menu and a draught beer list immediately.

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This menu is kind of intense. It kind of gave me Cheesecake Factory vibes, minus the tacky advertisements, with it’s 12 pages. I had spent quite a bit of time looking at both the Tue-Fri and the Sat-Sun menus this week. As far as I can tell the main difference is a much reduced breakfast/brunch offering during the week. Some pages are in a different order as well, but otherwise they are the same.

Menu Links (Week of 9.6.2021):
Tues-Fri Menu
* Sat-Sun Menu

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The menu is relatively straightforward. It does have a couple little oddities that tripped me up as I first read it though, such as these two descriptions of what comes with the omelets vs 2 egg dishes. I had to read them back and forth a couple times. They basically say the exact same thing, just worded a bit differently. It’s just weird to see these right next to each other.
WHOLE ECCS
Another thing that tripped me up was the heading that read “YOU MIGHT LIKE THE ITEMS BELOW, WHEN THE CLOCK STRIKES 4…”. I forgot to ask if this meant these items were only available after 4, or something like that. If this is an idiom I’m not familiar with it. Google wasn’t much of a help other than perhaps suggesting it was a reference to Tea Time (they do have a decent selection of teas but this was not that section). But enough of this palaver, let’s get to the food.

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I started with a Monkey Knife Fight Pale Ale from Tower Brewing (Originally a Rubicon Brewery beer, Tower  purchased the recipe some time ago.  5.6%)($5 [happy hour pricing = -$1].  I also ordered the Cast Iron Skillet Maple Bourbon Pork Belly Brunt Ends with Toast Points ($13).  I relaxed and sipped my beer and watched as the bar and kitchen activity slowly ramped up for the night and more staff came on duty.  The dining room gradually filled up and Sara was busy making drinks and answering phone orders like a pro until she got some backup in a barback-in-training and the GM, Justine (who wrote the cocktail menu according to an overheard conversation).

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My burnt ends skillet was out in a little over ten minutes.  It was about a 6-8″ skillet stuffed with with incredibly tender pork, with a nice gradient of charred to non-charred pieces.  These were super flavorful and went great on or off the toast points.  I’ve never met a pork belly dish I didn’t love and this is no exception.  I learned my lesson from Goose Port and called it at about 60% complete on this one to leave room for my entree.

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Around this time one of the owners, Randy, popped by to see how everything was going.  Very nice guy.  He was around for the rest of the night and was regularly making his way around mingling with the patrons and keeping an eye on things.

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Next up I got a Jetronic Haze by Red Bus Brewing out of Folsom (New England IPA, 6.1%)($6) and ordered some tacos.  One of the chefs (THE chef?  He was wearing a different shirt than the rest in the kitchen) stopped by with the nights special, a sea bass dish that looked delicious, to show the bar staff.

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My tacos came in about 15 minutes.  These are the Blackened Catfish Tacos (Sour Cream, Guacamole, 105 Salsa and Birria De Res Broth)($21).  They come on doubled up corn tortillas with a light slaw.

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These were outstanding.  The fish was nicely seasoned and charred just right while being almost melt-in-your-mouth tender.  I gave the Birria De Res Broth a sniff and a taste and got a bunch of cinnamon right off the bat.  I ended up using a bunch of this sauce, which also packed a bit of heat with it, and it went fantastically with the fish.

Nearing Totally-Stuffed territory, I couldn’t leave yet without trying one of their dessert cocktails.  They all sounded really good, but I settled on the SPCA Float (CAS 1854 Vodka, Kahlua, Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, BJ’s Handcrafted Root Beer, Straus Chocolate Mousse [made with Straus Heavy Whipping Cream] Garnished Bittersweet Chocolate)($15).  They donate $1 to the Placer SPCA with each order of this float.  After a quick check on the ingredients I was told they needed to whip up the mousse.  I was happy to wait on this.  Not too much later Justine returned from the kitchen with a container and put this drink together, topping it with a few scoops of the mousse.

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I’ve never ordered anything like this before.  It was a ridiculously tasty dessert that was like a rich, chocolatey root beer float with just a hint of alcohol to it.  Strange but amazing.  I appreciated how consistent it was from top to bottom.  Not like some drinks where all the alcohol is at the top or bottom and you can taste a clear difference sipping straight from the glass or through a straw.  This was a fine end to a great visit. 

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But wait!  Saturday morning I had to come back to check out their breakfast options.  I was joined by a friend and we sat out on the patio, next to the water feature that wraps around the front.  Kevin served us and was on top of things throughout our stay with the occational help of another whose name I did not catch.

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We got started with a tasty cup of coffee from Vaneli’s Roastery out of Rocklin.  I liked the oddly shaped saucers these came on.  Although I had pre-selected a starter and main dish for breakfast yesterday, I changed both at the last moment.  On a recommendation from Sara the night before, we got the shrimp & grits to start (Cajun Shrimp, Grits with Maple Bourbon Pork Belly Burnt Ends and a Poached Egg in Cast Iron Skillet with Toast Points)($15).

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It was nice to get some bites of the delicious pork belly once more.  This was great.  The grits were flavorful on their own and needed nothing additional.  The egg was poached perfectly and the shrimp had a light Cajun spiced kick.  Although I really wanted to try the skillet cinnamon roll, I was very satisfied with this recommendation and don’t regret checking it out at all.

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For our mains, my friend ordered an omelet, the Brie, Parmesan Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Swiss Cheese, Mushrooms and Avocado ($16), which comes with a small salad, choice of home fries, hash browns, sliced tomatoes or fried green tomatoes. As well as choice of sourdough, whole wheat, rye toast, daily biscuit, or Texas toast.  I had a bite of this and it was cheesy and packed with mushrooms and avocado.

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I ultimately went with the Belgium Waffle [We proudly pour warm pure Dark Amber Vermont Hills Grade A Maple syrup]($11) instead of the Biscuit Slider Flight I had originally picked out.  I have been seriously missing my favorite waffle from Four Sisters Cafe which remains closed due to… *gestures broadly at everything*.  (update: 4 Sisters appears to be getting ready to re-open, yay!)  This was probably my only misstep here.  Let me say this, it was a fine waffle and honestly up there with the best of them.  I just don’t think anything holds a candle to the Four Sister’s waffle, which is simply on another plane of existence.  The jam this came with was outstanding though!

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I wanted to give this place six out of five but I got nervous about tearing a hole in the fabric of spacetime; A perfect five will have to suffice ;).  I’ll certainly be back.

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