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.


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.


#235: The Parlor Ice Cream Puffs

We are winding down from the high temperatures finally, but you can still take advantage of that random warm day by cooling down with a tasty treat at The Parlor.  This is a new spot that opened at Rocky Ridge & Eureka, right next door to Beach Hut Deli and the spot where Crush 29 (one of my very earliest posts from 2011) once lived.  This seems to be their 2nd location.  The original is in Sacramento on Fair Oaks.

I arrived and met some family at 5:30.  They had a few customers at the time but they cleared out pretty quickly.  Once we were ready to order it started to pick up though and was a slightly busy for a while.  So what makes The Parlor stand out from other ice cream joints?  Donuts.  They take a donut sliced in half and stuff it with your choice of ice cream.  They have 14 flavors of ice cream, and they are all fairly unique, you won’t find basic vanilla or chocolate on the board (although perhaps they do have it if requested, I can see that being a thing).  Instead they have flavors like:

Thai Tease

(A superbly satisfying blend of milky vanilla goodness and Thai tea sweetness)

Midnight in Paris

(A delicious fusion of creamy coffee ice cream and delectable hazlenut nutella chocolate swirls)

Everything but the…
(Satisfy your sweet tooth with this amazing combination of succulent caramel, crunchy pretzel and moist fudge bits. This flavor has everything but the…)

You’re essentially done at this point….unless you want more!  For just $0.50 more you can add unlimited toppings.  Today they had 26 on that board including Cap’n Crunch, Potato Chips, Toffee Bits, Marshmallow Cream and Honey.  For $1.00 they had fresh strawberries as well.  Now, with your donut loaded up they take it back to the kitchen to warm it up and give it a dusting of powdered sugar.

I had a taste of the Thai Tease, I needed to know if it was anything like Gunther’s version.  It’s pretty spot on.  That said, I was feeling something else.  I ended up going pretty colorful with cake batter and fruity pebbles (which seems pretty tame for this place, but I’m perfectly happy with a scoop of vanilla most of the time anyway).  It was ready in just a couple of minutes and handed to me in a bag.  I took it over to our table, got some napkins and a plate from a counter in the back, and got to work.

I was really impressed at how warm the donut initially was.  It was wonderful and soft to bite into, not to mention delicious!  The ice cream was cold through my last bite, and about halfway through it did chill the donut, but I was also kind of eating slowly and taking photos, so I’m sure that played a part.  The last few bites were a little messy.  The cake batter was, wow, super sweet. It might even rival ColdStone’s cake batter.  the fruity pebbles added a perfect crunch and brief blast of fruit flavor to each bite.

This was a nice surprise.  I loved it to the last bite.  Even if you’re not into the whole donut+ice cream experience, you can certainly just get a scoop or two in a cup or cone, like my mom did.  Something that we really liked was how reasonable the prices were.  Places like this can quickly take their specialty items and apply specialty prices, but these felt very fair.  An ice cream puff was just $4.50, a single scoop $3.25 and a double $5, and they are BIG scoops.  Definitely plan on returning to The Parlor in the future.

AM6: Sparkles Ice Cream

Here’s a fun treat, ice cream!  But not just normal ice cream.  You can get that anywhere.  Sparkles Ice Cream is located in the Quarry Ponds Town Center in Granite Bay (on Douglas before you hit Barton).  They don’t keep ice cream frozen and ready to eat in the store, instead they mix and freeze it right in front of you using liquid nitrogen!  The claim is that, by freezing it nearly instantly on the spot, they avoid larger ice crystals from forming due to temperature variations in transport/storage with traditional ice cream, resulting in a smoother, creamier final product.

I headed in with my grandma at about 6:20pm.  We were greeted right away by the three people behind the counter.  We were given a quick rundown on how they make the ice cream, the flavors and mix-in items.  It was a bit overwhelming and we took probably about 5 minutes just going over all the options.  While we were deciding what to order we were handed a couple samples as they worked on other orders and, as it sounded, worked on perfecting a salted caramel flavor.  Finally we settled on our selections and stepped up to the counter, luckily right before a bit of a rush hit.  She went with the smallest size in black cherry and no mix-ins [$4.75].  I went with a regular size vanilla with cookie dough and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups [$6 + 0.50 for the 2nd mix-in].

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They start with a metal mixing bowl and add cream, sugar and syrup for flavoring, then toss in the mix-ins and head over to the corner where the nitrogen vessel is (there are windows where you can walk around to get a closer look from) and fill it up with the -376ºF liquid.  Nitrogen boils at -320º.  With the ambient temp of the store probably close to 400º warmer than that it’s almost violently vaporizing from the moment it leaves the nozzle.  From there they bring the bowl to the front counter where they stir constantly, scraping the bottom now and then to keep it from freezing to the bowl, and rapidly cooling the ingredients.  See the bottom of this post for some video of them making our orders.  They went back for another quick blast of nitrogen once or twice, then scooped it out and put it in a cup (waffle cones/bowls also available).

When we were ordering, the cashier warned us that the serving size was generous which prompted my grandma to go for the smaller size.  I definitely should have followed suit because mine was a monstrous tower of ice cream.  Most of it was well above the rim of the cup.  I might have eaten half of it.  So the verdict, was this ice cream better than most?  I would say yes, but not by a huge margin.  It did seem creamier and smoother than a lot of ice creams.  Flavor-wise it was pretty on par with the majority.  Both the cookie dough and Reese’s cups were in huge supply.  If I were judging strictly on flavor I would go with Gunther’s and possibly even Cold Stone.  But what no other shop can match is the cool factor (pun intended) of watching them make it with liquid nitrogen.

My only major complaint here is that the viewing area is fairly limited, which is a shame since it hampers their biggest strength.  I mentioned that they have some windows over by the nitrogen tank.  The problem with those is that there is a counter with stools right up against them, which is a shared space for Sparkles and some other Quarry Ponds eateries, so if anyone happens to be sitting there you’ll be peeking over their shoulders.  As for the area up front where they mix, there is a window, but it’s at a strange height.  I am 5’11” and I felt too tall to see though the window, but not nearly tall enough to look over top of the frame.  They need a bigger, solid piece of glass to look through.  Adding to that, the counter where they were mixing was right at the front door, which gets crowded quickly with just a few people in line.  They do have another counter that faces the seating area, but they only used it briefly when they were in the middle of the short rush.

I still think it’s really neat and would recommend checking it out for the show alone.  Of course, the ice cream is pretty good on top of the physics display. 😉