AM20: Alley Katz Citrus Heights

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This is a bit of a goof post to be honest.  I never would have thought to do a review of this bar, but having visited it 4 times now for Tuesday trivia over the last several months I have to share what a bizarre experience it is.

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To start, a very brief bit of information about Alley Katz and this location.  Alley Katz originated in Midtown Sacramento (and still has a location there).  They popped up in this really strange location, on Arcadia Dr in-between Rite Aid and the old Circuit City building, sometime ago – maybe a year or two?  This spot has been a number of different night clubs in the past and is quite a large space.

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The size of this bar is staggering, considering the very divey-nature of the place.  The 1st floor is the main area and contains the bar which hosts a TON of usually pretty good beer. This is the shining feature of Alley Katz Citrus Heights.  There is also another bar set somewhat in the middle towards the patio doors, but this one is completely unused.  A pool table and some arcade games are positioned along the walls on either side of this.  Upstairs you will find, get this, a second unused bar.  This area feels deserted, save for the other pool table located up here.  There are some seats, but it really feels like the staircase should be roped off and the level closed.

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I mentioned the patio, and that is a generous term.  This is an equally gigantic space that is almost completely unused.  It’s about as big as the interior.  There used to be a volley ball court here, complete with sand, but it has since been paved over and a giant chess/checkers board painted on top.  There are maybe a couple tables out here, but not much more than for smokers to step outside and use.  Finally, the bathrooms.  Actually pretty clean the couple times I’ve gone in there, they have the strangest, most upscale style sinks that I would never expect to find in a place like this.

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So, onto the food situation.  It’s a complete crapshoot every time.  On our first visit we were told that someone had vandalized their grills propane hookups so they had an extremely limited menu.  On our second visit I got a menu from the bartender and when we eventually went up to place our order I was told that all they were serving was tacos (taco tuesday) and like one or two random specials.  I was baffled as to why the guy would even bother to give me a menu in the first place.  The tacos were very blah.  On the 3rd visit I opted to eat at home prior to coming, but my teammates braved the kitchen once again and ordered burgers.  When they were brought out by a person from the kitchen they were told, sorry but they are a little cold.  That was that, no offer to replace them or anything, just, this is how it is, enjoy your cold burgers.

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This last week was probably our most successful food experience yet, not that it’s saying much!  I ordered the Alley Katz burger and added cheese and bacon (ultimately a good move since all it comes with is lettuce, mayo, ketchup and mustard).  This came out pretty quick and was surprisingly hot and pretty tasty, especially the bacon.  The odd thing about it was that it didn’t come with french fries, but instead a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips.  That was a bummer because I was really in the mood for fries.

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My friends ordered a couple sloppy joe sliders and a bourbon stout tri tip plate.  The tri tip plate was supposed to come with rice, but instead arrived with some salad with no dressing and a small dish of pinkish coleslaw.  A trip up to the bar to ask about the lack of rice yielded the response “we don’t have any rice”.  Ok then…  Ultimately, they said the tri tip was not good and that the sliders were unusual but fine.

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I was still hungry so I ordered the nachos and added pulled pork.  These come with tomatoes, jalapeños, sour cream and, of course, nacho cheese.  When it arrived the pork was somewhat warm, but the rest was fairly cool.  Given the place was chilly enough to warrant a jacket, the entire plate cooled off immediately and we ate cold nachos that were entirely too spicy.

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Given the Yelp reviews that I skimmed over, I feel that this post is a very accurate representation of what to expect here.  The service is virtually nonexistent.  I have never approached the bar and been acknowledged in less than a minute.  The only reason we continue to come here is because the trivia and it’s host are actually quite good, and of course there is always good beer to be had.  I’m genuinely curious what Friday/Saturday nights are like, but I doubt I’ll ever actually come check it out.  Have you had an experience here?  Tell me about it in the comments!

Website: none

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AM12: Boneshaker Public House

I’ve long wanted to mention Boneshaker Public House here, and today seemed like a good opportunity.  Although I did not eat here today, rest assured their house mac & cheeses (all of them) are incredible.  They also offer pizzas and appetizer-type options.  Check out the current menu as it was today.  I met up with my friend, Justin, at 11:30 for today’s lower-key dark beer event, “Black Beer, Bright Sun.”

Boneshaker is one of a few craft beer bars in the area (Final Gravity, Porter’s House of Draft and Craft Beer Vault being the other noteworthy ones that come to mind).  They are located at the corner of Sunset Blvd & Park Dr in Rocklin.  They carry a constantly changing array of craft beers on draft and in bottles.  Several times a year they have special events featuring delicious and harder to find special release beers. I am usually attracted to ones with darker beers, such as imperial stouts aged in bourbon barrels.

They expanded a while back and have a decent amount of seating both inside and out.  Inside is a fairly dark (especially when walking in on a sunny day like today, it takes some time to adjust), modern-rustic ambiance.  You order beer and food up at the bar and take a seat anywhere.

Today we ordered a couple of flights to try a variety.  They had 3 preset ones which consisted of:

Flight A:

  • Knee Deep – Dark Horse (Imperial Stout) 10%
  • Anderson Valley – Huge Arker (Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout) 13.5%
  • Saint Archer – Tusk & Grain (Barrel Aged Blend) 12.5%
  • Modern Times – Devil’s Teeth (Imperial Coffee Stout) 10%

Flight B:

  • Alesmith – Speedway Stout (Imperial Stout) 12%
  • Mother Earth – Four Seasons (Bourbon Barrel Aged Peanut Butter Stout) 8.8%
  • New Holland – Dragon’s Milk (Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout) 11%
  • Dust Bowl – BBA RIS (Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout) 11.5%

Flight C:

  • Alesmith – Hawaiian Speedway Stout (Imperial Coffee Stout) 12%
  • Loomis Basin – Get Back Jack (Imperial Porter) 8.5%
  • Uinta – Labyrinth (Barrel Aged Quad Black Ale) 13.2%
  • Great Basin – 404 Scytale (Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout) 13%

We ordered B & C.  Each was around $13 for something like 4-5oz pours.  There was a slight mixup and so we were given an extra glass of something, though neither of us really figured out what it was.  Of all of these, the Four Seasons Peanut Butter Stout and the 404 Scytale really stuck out to me as the best, most unique of the bunch.  A peanut butter stout sounded really weird, but it didn’t really have a peanut butter flavor to it.  It was fairly sweet and instead had a flavor and aroma of cake frosting.

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Overall it was a decent tasting.  Nothing like Final Gravity’s annual Stouterday in December, or some of the more impressive lineups Boneshaker has from time to time, but enjoyable nonetheless.  It was nice to be here when it wasn’t standing room only though, which seems to be the case on those particularly special days.

We headed off to Rocklin’s Moo Moos Burger Barn for lunch afterwards, which I’ll have a separate posting about probably tomorrow.

#227: Porter’s House of Draft

Before I get started here, a little shameless self promotion.  This week I began a side mission to go everywhere in Rancho Cordova for lunch, but with a twist: salads only!  If you ever find yourself out that direction and in neat of a light meal, check out Rancho Salads.  I’m doing one every weekday, so I should be finished by the Fall.  Anyway, on with Eating Through Roseville!

I finally made it to Porter’s!  Well, I did go once before to have some of the very limited Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout when they first opened, but this time was for food and thus the blog.  Porter’s House of Draft is a new taproom/restaurant located at Foothills & Pleasant Grove.  They opened in early-mid May but were not serving much in the way of food at the time of my first visit due to some electrical/fire code issues that were being worked on.

I was joined by my friend Justin for lunch today.  We arrived just before opening and headed in as soon as the open light turned on.  If you’re coming in from the bright sunlight, as I did both times I’ve come here, you will be greeted by a much darker environment that gives your eyes a nice rest from squinting.  One side of the room has the walls covered in distressed wood panels, the other wall is painted an even darker brown, and the bar, tables and floor are also dark.  The lighting isn’t as on display during the day since a lot of light still makes it’s way through the tinted windows, but I think it would be really cool later at night.  Vintage style long-filliment bulbs put off a very warm glow and look really neat against the dark browns.

They have nearly 30 taps, and a cooler with bottles on top of that.  One thing I was really happy with on my first visit, aside from my delicious glass of Bourbon County, was that there was a lot for me on their list, which is to say lots of non-IPAs and Pale Ales.  Hops are huge right now, but I don’t care for them at all so it is always nice to see a good selection of dark, smooth and malty beers available.  So far it looks like that’s still the case.  Today however, we decided to pick a bottle from the cooler and went with Firestone Walker’s Stickee Monkee (2015) [$20].  This 22oz bottle was plenty to share, especially at 12.5%.  It is officially a barrel-aged central coast quad, though Justin claims this is a made up style and simply calls it a barleywine.  Whatever the style, it was Ah-Mazing.  Very rich and complex.  I was sipping my half of this happily for the hour+ that we were there.

Of course, we were here for lunch primarily, so we were given menus by the bar manager, Barclay.  He was up on a ladder updating the blackboard with the days selection while we pursued this, but came down frequently to check on us, and soon another table.  He knows his beer and will effortlessly tell you about who makes it, where they make it, what which ingredients or brewing processes help to give it it’s distinct flavors, and surely much more.  Their menu is available on the website, but it seems to change frequently enough that the one we saw was a bit different, so here is what it looked like for us.

We both picked out a burger, I went with the California (Ground chuck, brisket and tender rib meat combined in one patty, topped with sliced avocados, lettuce, tomato and a delightful sriracha aioli) [$11] and Justin with the All American (Cheddar, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and thousand island spread on a toasted Truckee sourdough roll) [$10].  I was also curious about the Mini Corn Dogs (A generous portion of mini corn dogs.  Fried to golden brown perfection.) [$7].  The corn dogs came with fries, so I upgraded my fries to onion rings (malty ale battered onion rings, fried hot and crunchy).

The food all came out at the same time.  It had taken a bit of time, maybe 20-25 minutes, but we were not in a hurry and had told them as much, so I didn’t really have an issue with that.  Also we were the first order to the kitchen so they were probably still ramping up.  The 2nd customer’s food seemed a little quicker.

Everything looked great.  The mini corn dogs were cocktail wiener-sized and there were 11 or 12 of them, so a good amount (we were genuinely curious what quantity would warrant “a generous portion” in the description).  They were as advertised, perfectly crisp and golden brown.  They were similar in flavor to traditional fairground corndogs, though perhaps a little less greasy.  The fries were basic but also crisp and tasty with a bit of ketchup.

Justin had ordered his burger without much (or any?) of the produce.  It looked pretty simple by that point.  But he enjoyed it, I was only a bite into mine when I looked up and his was already completely gone.  My onion rings were really good.  Extremely crunchy and it looked like they had even been thrown on the grill after being fried.  The thousand island-like sauce that came with them was pretty tasty as well.  My burger was piled high with produce.  I kind of tilted it and let out a lot of the lettuce that added probably over an inch to the height.  The tomatoes were still cold, insulated from the patty by the lettuce.  I ended up eating most of these individually because they were so ripe and delicious looking.  Eventually I was down to the burger with avocado, a bit of lettuce, one tomato and aioli.  It was damn good.  Cooked perfectly with a pink center, the beef was just right and flavorful.  Even Justin, who is far, far pickier than I, gave it high marks.

Barclay hooked us up with a complimentary slice of cheesecake (which I’ve seen them mentioning on their Facebook page over the last few days) for dessert.  It was drizzled with caramel syrup and sprinkled with black Hawaiian sea salt.  I’ve never had cheesecake with salt, but it totally makes sense with the caramel.  In addition, I’ve never even heard of black Hawaiian sea salt.  It was a really visually interesting contrast with the coarse, black grains against the creamy white cheesecake.  This was fantastic and a perfect way to end lunch.  I finished of the last little swig of Stickee Monkee, which went well with the cheesecake, and we were on our way.

I knew that beer-wise I was very happy with Porter’s, but I was not expecting the level of food that we encountered.  To top it off I think the prices are really fair.  It’s great to have a place like Porter’s on this side of Roseville and I hope they stick around for a long time.