#279: Local Kitchens

1:15PM 6/18-19/2022

https://order.localkitchens.com/store/roseville/

A couple of months ago a co-worker recommended Local Kitchens, located on Fairway (near Kohl’s, BevMo, In’n’Out), and told me a little about it. It sounded a bit like a few food trucks got together and leased a brick and mortar restaurant space. I didn’t really have much of an idea what it would be like. Does each vendor have their own counter? Does it feel like a food court? Is it pickup only? Today I have answers to these questions and more as I just returned from lunch #2 in as many days at Local Kitchens.

Sometimes I like to go in cold, doing zero research. Sometimes this gets me into trouble, like when they are closed and I didn’t even go so far as to check their hours. Other times, like yesterday, I was delighted by a totally fresh experience. At first from outside it’s hard to say what you are looking at. The windows in-line with the building signage are totally covered up with more signage. The front door is to the left. Once inside it’s a shockingly simple setup. An open kitchen with a pickup counter sits at the back. To the right is a bare bones seating area with a few different types of tables, high and low-tops. A small counter towards the back of that area has a few basic items like napkins and plastic utensils. To your immediate left from the entrance are 3 touch screens for placing orders (you can also use their app to order for pickup or delivery). It’s honestly as if a shared Ghost Kitchen started offering dine in.

The ordering process was very smooth. I found the touch screens (iPad Pros, I think) responsive and the ordering app to be well designed, uncluttered and with a nice photo of every single item I looked through. It took me a moment of poking around to realize what “trucks” were available here. The first menu lumps a bunch of the most popular items from all the businesses together. Other menus organize the options for beverages, kids, vegan and vegetarian. Finally, each entity has their own menus. You can choose from: Sushiritto (Japanese), Nash & Proper (chicken), Senor Sisig (Filipino / Asian fusion), The Melt (burgers), Curry Up Now (Indian, burritos), Garden of Eat’n (healthy, salads, sandwiches) and Humphry Slocombe (ice cream). I’ve heard of a few of these before, most notably Nash & Proper, Curry Up Now and Garden of Eat’n (the last of which I visited back in 2016 and still has a location across from the Galleria). I was very excited to see Nash & Proper here. They are one of a few trucks I will go out of my way to try and visit when they are up here. Below is my favorite photo of their “Sammich”, their signature Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich.

Now that I’ve downloaded and looked around the app I see that this is one of a small handful of locations. All the others are in the Bay Area and have mostly the same options for “trucks” with each store seemingly having one or two unique to it.

Nash & Proper was calling to me loudly. I fought those calls off and checked out nearly everything available before the Tosilog Burrito caught my eye and I added to to the visual cart/bag/whatever. This is from Senor Sisig and consists of Filipino Sweet Pork, adobo garlic rice, fresh tomatoes and a fried egg. Served with a side of peppered vinegar. (Additional Eggs can be added). This was $13.50 + $1.75 to add a fried egg, which I did. The configuration options for this were kind of funny. First off the spice levels you choose from are No Spice, Mild, Medium, Spicy, Hella Spicy & Hella Hella Spicy. After the egg selection screen is a screen that just says “No Tomato” and has a checkbox for it. Tomatoes are sort of a love/hate thing for me so I went ahead and ticked the box. The last screen has a handful of extras you can add: Beans, Shredded Cheese, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Pico de Gallo, Adobo Rice, Cilantro Cream Sauce and Lettuce. I left all those alone, added a can of soda [$2] and checked out.

Checking out was simple with tap-to-pay on the credit card machine. You enter your name, which then shows up on a screen above the kitchen with an estimated wait time. You can also email yourself a receipt and enter your phone number for order updates.

The vast majority of customers seemed to be taking out. Most of the dine-in crowd were utilizing the outdoor seating since the weather was insanely beautiful. My order was ready in about 10 minutes and the manager, whom I spoke to briefly after ordering, actually brought it out to me (well we met about half way as I didn’t expect that). I grabbed a couple napkins (excellent, substantial and large napkins by the way, they were surprisingly noteworthy) and got to work.

What can I say other than this was a tasty burrito. It was constructed expertly and everything inside was perfectly distributed so I got a bit of everything in just about every bite. As noted in the description this came with a little cup of peppered vinegar. I cautiously took a whiff of it and wasn’t sure I would like it. It was straight up intense vinegar. Carefully, I poured a small amount into the burrito and took a bite and was pleasantly surprised. The strong vinegar flavor had melted away into the burrito and just served to enhance all the existing ingredients. I ended up using all of it by the end!

This morning, after playing video games instead of hitting the gym, I decided I would return for Nash & Proper for lunch. Little did I know that when I would get there I’d change my mind at the last second and order from Sushiritto instead. The Sumo Crunch sounded interesting and the photo was just sucking me in (Shrimp Tempura, Surimi Crab, Cucumbers, Red Tempura Flakes, and Sriracha Aioli rolled with Ginger Guac, Super-Premium Koshihikari Rice, and Proprietary Nori) [$14].

I had a decent view of the area that was making Sushiritto items. They have this crazy automated rice machine that spits out perfectly formed rice sheets ready to be rolled up. I would love to get a closer look at how the hell that thing works on the inside (Science Channel, let’s get together on a mini “How It’s Made” with stuff like this!)

My order was ready once again in about 10 minutes. This was a bit messy and slightly less crunchy than the name implied, though quite a visually interesting item with the red tempura flakes. The nori was fairly easy to bite through, although I wonder how well it would hold up if you had it delivered or were taking it to go. It did seem to get slightly chewier as I got to the end.

Overall I was really quite pleased with this place and it’s concept. These businesses all have something interesting to check out and it’s nice that you can get them all in the same order. A couple of thoughts I had on how they could make this even better:

  1. Shrink some of the items and sides down or offer different sizes, so you can try more variety in one visit without having leftovers or spending a small fortune.
  2. Liven up the dine-in option some more, it’s incredibly basic – amounting to the indoor equivalent of picnic tables and little else. Serve up some local beers!
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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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#251: Sugar + Cream

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After lunch yesterday, at Aria Kabob Cuisine in the Galleria food court, I walked a few tenants down towards Sears, where a little kiosk sits housing a local Ice Cream Parlor called Sugar + Cream.

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They opened up in June and serve 16 flavors each day (at least that’s how many are on display) in scoops, milkshakes and sandwiches (although the sandwiches are not explicitly on the menu, I’ve seen photos of ice cream macaroon sandwiches as well as donut [ponchiks? Google says they are Armenian donuts] sandwiches).  I stepped up and was greeted by a friendly person behind the counter who offered up a samples of any flavors I was interested in.  I asked for a sample of the Thai Tea ice cream and was given a real metal spoon with a sizable bite on it.

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It was fantastic, so I got 2 scoops in a cup [$5.50].  You can of course mix and match scoops.  I saw a kid after me get 3 different scoops which was visually quite interesting and colorful.  The colors are very vibrant.  $5.50 is a reasonable price, I think, considering how massive the scoops are.  I probably could have done with one after my filling lunch.  The two scoops towered over the rim of my cup.

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I love the Thai Tea ice cream that Gunther’s makes, but Sugar + Cream’s is just as good, and soooooo much closer than driving down south of 50 in Sacramento to their shop (edit: according to Facebook commenter Melissa, it actually IS Gunthers ice cream!).  I didn’t think to ask if they sell pints, but I’d probably keep my freezer stocked year round if they did.  I loved every bite of this, sitting at one of the handful of little tables nearby.  I suspect I’ll be finding reasons to head into the Galleria more often now so I can top it off with some tasty ice cream.

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Website: (no website, so here’s their Facebook page): https://www.facebook.com/Sugarpluscream/

 

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