Steppin’ Out – Suzie Burgers, Nationwide Freezer Meats and Cash & Carry

It started out that I wanted to go to Cash & Carry, which is located on Richards Blvd. in Sacramento. They carry a certain brand of hot dogs that I wanted to check out. My friend Russ Salazar was up for it, so he picked me up and we headed that way.

Well, you know we can’t go to Sacramento without making a stop or two to sample food, so prior to meeting up both of us came up with a place we wanted to visit but hadn’t before.

We ended up with two that were on our way, both highly rated “retro” places: Suzie Burger and Nationwide Freezer Meats.

suzie-burger Our first stop was Suzie Burger, which is at 2820 P street, the corner of P and 29th. It appears to be in an old gas station and has been there for a long time. The front area of the old station is one dining area, the garage bays are a larger one and there are even several tables outside. In between the two dining areas is the kitchen.

Parking is limited, but you can park on the street. We found a spot where the old gas pumps had been located and walked in.

They have a very large menu, but feature burgers. We decided to try a simple cheeseburger and something that was on special that day, Philly Cheesesteak Tater-Tots. We placed our order and found an empty table in the larger dining area. In a few minutes they called our number.

The burger was very good with lots of pickles and a thin layer of coleslaw, along with all the other regular items. The coleslaw was a surprise that really added a bit of texture and moisture.

Russ and I both liked the Philly Cheesesteak Tater-Tots, but Russ thought they would come with slices of grilled meat, rather than crumbled hamburger. We both grumbled a bit about the meat being overcooked, but we ate every bit of them.

nationwideOur next stop was Nationwide Freezer Meats at 1930 H Street, which is at the corner of H and 20th. Although not always at this location, it has been around as a meat market or restaurant since the 1960s.

They have some interesting murals on the walls showing things like downtown Sacramento with trains, boats, etc., painted like hot dogs, along with a lot of “Coca Cola” memorabilia.

Their speciality is the French Ground Steakburger, which comes with a one-third pound, fresh ground beef patty as a single, double, tripple (that must be French for triple) or quadruple, on a soft and chewy French roll. We decided to try it, but only a single patty.

Also on their menu board were several hot dogs. Russ got a positive reply to his question,”Do you make your own chili,” so we ordered a chili dog. I asked if any of their hot dogs was old-fashioned with a skin on it. They said that the “longer dog” did, so we had that in our chili dog.

Although it is all inside seating, they serve your food to you in the same bag on which they wrote the order and handed to the cooks to fill.

The burger was good and the bun was nice and almost too chewy, but with a single patty, it was really too much bread.

The chili for the chili dog was mostly beans. It wasn’t bad chili, but both of us prefer beanless chili as a condiment (I know, we should have asked). The “longer dog” was a regular hot dog made by the Evergood Company. That is one of Russ’ favorites, but to me it is too salty, something I actually mentioned before we knew who made it. I wonder how big their regular dog is if this is “longer.”

While we were finishing, they brought us some of their large, Fresh-Cut Steak Fries to try. I liked them, crunchy on the outside and soft inside. Russ said they needed a steak to go with them.

cash-carry-smart-foodservice-78571534Our last stop, before returning to home was Cash & Carry at 1101 Richards Blvd. When Russ was employed by the State, his office was near, so he knew the way. I would have been lost for a while.

Cash & Carry is a wholesale supplier for small restaurants and the public. They carry a brand of sausages from a small factory called Cloverdale, in North Dakota. They make the hot dog for the Seattle Mariners that a friend brought me from Washington. I loved them and wanted to see what else they had.

foothill-food-slider-main1They have a huge selection of everything you would need, from bread to meats to spices and, well, you name it. It is quite like Foothill Food Service in the Diamond Springs Industrial Park, but with a slightly larger meat and deli section (haven’t been to Foothill Food Service? It’s open to the public. Check them out).

I looked and looked, but didn’t find anything that excited me, as they were out of the ones I wanted. I did pick up a bag of different rolls to try.

As to the food at the two restaurants, it was good and different, but I still think I can do better right here in the Placerville area. I always put coleslaw on pulled pork, but never thought about it on a burger.

Suzie Burger, 2820 P Street, Sacramento, phone (916) 455-3500.
Nationwide Freezer Meats, 1930 H Street, Sacramento, phone (916) 444-3286.
Cash & Carry, 1101 Richards Blvd., Sacramento, phone (916) 441-1618.
Foothill Food Service, 6230 Enterprise Drive, Diamond Springs, phone (530) 295-1274.

For hours or any other information, call or check out their web pages: suzieburger.com. nationwidefreezermeats.com, smartfoodservice.com and foothillfoodserviceinc.com.

Steppin’ Out – Jimboy’s, Three New Tacos

Absolutely-Final-JB_Logo_2015_FINALAlmost exactly a year ago I wrote an article about Jimboy’s and their food. I mentioned then that in the early 1970s, there was a Jimboy’s Tacos located on Broadway in Placerville, in the shopping center across from Chuck’s Pancakes. I recalled eating there a couple of times and then it disappeared.

It wasn’t until early 2006 that the two former Burger Kings, one in Cameron Park and one at the corner of Broadway and Schnell School Road in Placerville, were purchased and converted to Jimboy’s.

During that thirty year lull, my only source for their original tacos was at Denio’s Farmer’s Market and Swap Meet in Roseville, were we often stood in a long line to get a couple of tacos. Why did we stand in line? Because they were so good. A Parmesan cheese crusted, grilled corn tortilla filled with lettuce, American cheese and their specially seasoned ground beef. And they were hot off the griddle .

Well, back to the subject at hand, their three new tacos they are featuring are the Tacoburger, a vegetarian taco they call the Spicy Masala and the Wild Alaskan Cod taco.

Russ Salazar, who also used to visit Denio’s just for the tacos, met me there and we ordered all three of the new tacos and asked to have them cut in two.

I know you are asking, “How do you cut a crisp taco in two?” It turns out their crispy taco shells have just enough give to allow that. And, because of that, they don’t usually fall apart when you are eating them.

We started with the Wild Alaskan Cod taco, which at first we thought smelled a bit too fishy. However, it turned out to be very good and had a good crunch (the fish is beer battered). Their green salsa was very good on it.

Our next taco to try was the Spicy Masala. It is vegetarian taco with a good taste and a bit of spiciness that left you mouth a slight bit warm. It is based on pinto beans and lots of veggies and, as indicated, masala, which is any of a number of spice mixtures ground into a paste or powder for use in Indian cooking. We tried to figure out what spices were in it, but it had too complex a taste to do it.

Neither of us are vegetarians, as you have probably figured out, but we both enjoyed it. The flavor was quite nice. A bit of their smoky chipotle salsa made it even better.

The last taco we sampled was their Tacoburger. It was exactly that – a hamburger patty with all the normal burger fixings stuck inside a taco shell. You can get it in a combo with fries, but that seemed just wrong at a Mexican restaurant. It is gluten free.

It was okay, but it just wasn’t something either of us would order again. We tried several of their salsas on it, all of which are very good, but it was still iffy. I’ll stick to a burger in a bun.

At that point Russ looked at me and said, “I’m going to go order one of their original tacos just for comparison.”

He did and yes, it was as good as I remembered. I think the grated Parmesan cheese on the outside of the taco shell is what makes it so good.

The menu at Jimboy’s has at least eight kinds of tacos and seven kinds of burritos, which you can have regular or super. They also serve a taco salad, tostada and quesadilla that you can have with your choice of meat. And, you can have most anything vegetarian, if that is your diet choice.

Some of their restaurants, including this one, serve a number of breakfast items. And, if you haven’t guessed by now, burgers and fries.

Well, they have much more on the menu than I can fit here, including daily specials, so drop by, call or check out their webpage at jimboystacos.com.

Both the Placerville (1405 Broadway) and Cameron Park (3431 Coach Lane) Jimboy’s serve breakfast and have the same hours: Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 9 p.m.; Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. and on Sunday from 9:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m.

For more information you can call Placerville Jimboy’s at (530) 621-1511 and Cameron Park at (530) 677-2411.

Oh, a shout out to Rebecca, who took orders, brought diners their food and cleaned the tables in the dining room in her spare time – always with a smile and a kind voice.

Steppin’ Out – Umai Savory Hot Dogs, Sacramento

Umai ArdenAs I am sure you have figured out, I love checking out places that serve hot dogs and this place sounded unique enough to be worth a drive to Sacramento. They serve hot dogs that are a bit different, with toppings not found elsewhere, such as seaweed, bonito flakes, Yum Yum sauce and many more things.

In 1992 Loi Tran opened his first hot dog cart in San Jose, serving what he felt were the best hot dogs from around the world “without compromise.” In 2014 they opened a restaurant in Roseville, followed by Natomas and Arden. with more in progress.

According to their literature, they source only the best hot dogs, sausages, buns and ingredients. You can choose from over 27 of their signature flavors or create your own custom hot dog with all the toppings and sauces, any way you want – all made fresh to order.

Russ Salazar and I dropped in at the Arden location, which is located at 1310 Howe Avenue, just north of Hurley. We had a bit of trouble finding it, but finally…

Their menu is both on the wall and a brochure. We looked at the list and finally decided to try four and having them split in two. We selected: Bacon Cubano, Tokyo Signature, Seoul Storm and Shinjuku Shadow. Just the names seemed exciting.

We also ordered some of their House Fries, which were doused with their soy sauce and a creamy sriracha sauce.

This is their smallest restaurant, but we were able to find an empty table near the window. However, we had to level the table with a folded napkin, which the staff helped us do. I guess the floor is not flat.

The Bacon Cubano is a bacon wrapped chicken dog with Swiss cheese, dill pickle slices, red chili flakes, yellow mustard, mayonnaise, celery salt and pepper. It was very good, and probably our favorite. Everything seemed to just go together. Next time I would order it with an all beef dog.

The Tokyo Signature introduced us to some new tastes. It is an all beef hot dog with sauteed onions, roasted seaweed, teriyaki mayo, Umai teriyaki sauce and white sesame seeds. The hot dog itself was very good, but the roasted seaweed was a bit much. It was a bit too “fishy.”

Now to the Seoul Storm. It is a Polish sausage with kimchi, sriracha sauce, bulgogi sauce, green onions, along with white and black sesame seeds. It was very good, but the casing on the sausage was so tough it was difficult to chew. We were not the only customers that seemed to be having difficulty with the casings.

By the way, Bulgogi is a traditional Korean grilled beef dish with a sauce/marinade made with garlic, soy, rice wine, sesame oil, etc. Nothing unique except for the juice of an Asian pear.

Our final dog was the Shinjuku Shadow, which is a bratwurst with diced daikon, spicy Cheddar sauce, Umai teriyaki sauce, bonito flakes, green onions and furikake, which is a dry Japanese seasoning typically consisting of a mixture of dried and ground fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar and salt. It was a bit fishy and next time I would maybe leave off at least the bonito flakes. Unfortunately, like with the Polish sausage, the casing on the bratwurst was nearly unchewable. Sadly, that detracted from everything else.

Their menu, which varies a bit from location to location, also includes hot dogs with names like: California Bae, Shibuya Honey, Texas Roundhouse, Kyoto Fire, Buffalo Banger, Houston Honcho, Manhattan Pride, Blitzkrieg, Sonoran Swag, Honolulu Bang Bang, Chicago Chopper, Thai Thunder, Saigon Hustle, Mucho Magnificent, Umai X Truffle Dog, Kentucky Hot Brown, Nashville Brisket, and ones made with speciality sausages like the Philly Me Up, Sicilian Classico and Baco Maco (yes, Mac ‘N Cheese on it).

They also have several different vegetarian hot dogs, along with Hot Dog Sliders, Brisket Sliders and Musubi Sliders made with Spam on sweet Hawaiian rolls.

Not finished yet: Tori Wings, Poku Wings, a waffle dog, lots of kinds of fries, noodles and, for dessert, a Fried Banana Dog and Sugoi Waffles on a stick.

You can try their combinations or design your own. You can add or subtract what you like or don’t like to make your perfect dog.

I had quite a lengthy e-mail “conversation” with the home office about the casing on the bratwurst and Polish sausage. Although they had discontinued the natural casing on their all beef dogs some time ago because of customer comments (Russ and I figured that out with the first bite), they had no choice with these two. They are looking for a different supplier and checking their method of preparation.

It was an interesting meal, to say the least, and worth the trip. I would recommend the experience. The dogs run $5 and up.

For more information go to their webpage at umaihotdogs.com. Lots of pictures and a complete list of toppings, along with their locations.
As a Japanese chef would say, “douzo meshiagare” or have a nice meal.