Monthly Archives: June 2011

Sweet Spot Sandwich Shop – Placerville

“Too few people understand a really good sandwich.”

James Beard

 

Sweet Spot Sandwich Shop

Some time ago someone told me about a place called the Sweet Spot Sandwich Shop, which is located in Placerville’s Creekside Place, the mall where you also find the Creekside Cantina and Café Luna. Their web page says, “Not only will you will be greeted with enthusiasm and passion, you’ll be provided with an inviting setting, delicious custom made sandwiches, gourmet cookies, and other tasty treats.” What they say is true, when I walked in a was enthusiastically greeted by Larry Mosher, who with his wife April, own the business which they opened in January.

Mosher has a passion for the business and is enjoyable to talk with. “We are friends with Kelli of Kelli’s Gourmet Cookies and thought we might like to open a sweets shop,” said Mosher. “We talked with business people downtown and they said a sandwich shop would be nice. We have four kids so we figured we knew all about sandwiches, and when we found this place, it was perfect and had all the equipment.

“My wife April is a professional event planner and I worked in sales and marketing, but I always though ‘If I could have a job where I could talk to people, I would love it,’ and here I am.

“We try to price are sandwiches they way they should be. We kept the price around $5 for a good, big and delicious sandwich so that they are affordable. The only thing we charge extra for is guacamole, and that is only 49 cents more.

“Be buy our breads and make our own croissants, but we plan on making some of our breads in the near future. We are just waiting on some equipment.

“We are not a deli, we are a sandwich shop where you select your bread from a list including a croissant, French roll, wrap, sliced sourdough, gluten-free, rye or a wheat Hoagie, then add the meat: turkey, roast beef, pastrami, salami, ham, tuna, bacon or veggie bacon, and then the cheese: American, Swiss. provolone, Cheddar, pepper jack and even cream cheese. For $1.99 more you can add a soda, iced tea or slushie and chips or fruit and make it a full meal. We also have salads, a half sandwich and salad and kids meals.

“We have Kelli’s gourmet cookies, which are all natural, along with chips, smoothies, slushies, coffee (brewed – frozen and Iced), soda, energy drinks and other tasty treats.”

Sweet Shop Sandwich Shop is family friendly with seating inside and in the courtyard. Set back from the street, it is the ideal place for families, friends, and local businesses to gather for a yummy bite to eat and a break from their daily routine. The hours are from 9 until 4, Monday through Friday and from 11 until 4, Saturday and Sunday. For more information call (530) 316-4541 or visit www.sweetshopsandwichshop.com.

Rafferty’s Candies – Garden Valley

“Anyone who uses the phrase ‘easy as taking candy from a baby’ has never tried taking candy from a baby.”

Author unknown

 

Rafferty’s Candies

Last week I received a call from my long time friend, Rick Siegel of Shoestring fame. He owned Shoestring in Placerville, before selling it to his sister, Debbie, and now his daughter and her husband run the Shoestring restaurant in Garden Valley.

He called to tell me that a brand new candy store opened in the same shopping center as Shoestring, which is located at 4862 Black Oak Mine Road in Garden Valley. He said everything they made was great and that I should come over and sample what they had. Their grand opening was last Sunday, so I drove over there to see for myself and I was delighted.

Brad and Lori Rafferty run the business, but for the opening Brad’s father, Raff, was there to help (while everyone else had the list of items on the back of their tee shirt, his said, “Raff’s Back”).

Raff opened the first Rafferty’s Candies in 1967 at Sun Valley Mall in Concord, CA. After that he opened stores in places like Modesto and El Cajon, and at one time had four stores going.

“Brad grew up in the business,” said Lori, Rafferty, “and ever since I met him has talked about opening a candy store of his own. Now we have done it, right here in Garden Valley where we live. And, the community support has been fantastic. We have only been open three weeks and people are finding us and loving what we make.”

While I was there Raff was making pecan brittle and I got to watch the process. After the brittle was cooked, it was poured from a copper kettle out onto a marble slab. “We had to special order the slab from Vermont,” said Lori. “It is three by eight feet and had to be four inches thick to properly cool the brittle. It weighs about 700 pounds.”

As the brittle cooled, it was flipped, pulled, pressed and thinned and then cut into pieces, which would be then broken in the proper size. The whole process took just a few minutes and it was thin and delicious, as were several other brittles I tried.

They have peanut, cashew, almond, macadamia nut and pecan brittles, with more to come, English toffee, honeycomb, fudge, pecan caramel delights, “ugly cups” (chocolate and peanut butter treats that are only a bit “ugly,” but I am sure are delicious), rocky road, divinity, chocolate covered nuts, caramel and cinnamon apples and lots more. Oh yes, milk, dark and white chocolate. All of this is on the top shelf.

On the second shelf are items they don’t make like salt water taffy (regular and sugar free), Jelly Bellys, jawbreakers, gummy worms, chocolate malt balls, pastels, cinnamon bears, orange sticks, raspberry sticks, licorice bridge mix and even more.

They will be adding more items as they go along and yes, everything I tried was excellent, especially the dark chocolate honeycomb and the dark chocolate English toffee.

“We’ve got candy making down to an art,” added Lori. “Once people try our hand-dipped chocolates and hand-stretched, thin brittle, they won’t be satisfied with any others.”

Rafferty’s Candies is open daily from 11 until 5 ( “If we’re here, we are open,” added Lori) and can be reached at (530) 333-1633 or visited at www.raffertyscandies.com.

Papa Murphy’s – Placerville

“Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.”

Dave Barry

 

 

Papa Murphy’s 

I like pizza, especially the ones that you can cook at home. Hot from the oven and cold the next day are my favorite times to enjoy them. Beside that, in most cases they are cheaper than already cooked pizza and you don’t have to wait for a delivery person.

I am especially fond of the “deLITE” pizzas that Papa Murphy’s makes because of the thin crust, lighter topping and lower fat and calories, and I recently had the opportunity to try their latest creation, the Thai Chicken deLITE.  Beginning with a cracker-thin crust, the pizza is topped with sweet chili sauce, 100 percent real mozzarella cheese, zucchini, grilled chicken, a mix of white, red and green onions, and finished with a dusting of crushed red pepper flakes. More about that later.

The concept of “Take ‘N’ Bake” pizza started with Papa Murphy’s in 1981. Since then, Papa Murphy’s has established itself as the largest “Take ‘N’ Bake” pizza company in the world – and is now the fifth-largest pizza company in the United States with over 1,200 stores in 37 states (59 in the greater Sacramento area). Papa Murphy’s corporate headquarters are located in Vancouver, Washington.

The core values at Papa Murphy’s are :“Great quality; Great value and Great customer service.” Because of this, Papa Murphy’s was voted “#1 Rated Pizza Chain” by participants in Zagat Survey’s 2010 Fast Food Survey and is a four-time recipient of “Pizza Today’s” Chain of the Year award.

Locally we have three Papa Murphy’s stores: 65 Fair Lane in Placerville – (530) 626-8997; 3440 Palmer Dr # 8F, Cameron Park – (530) 676-4557 and 2209 Francisco Dr # 180, El Dorado Hills – (916) 933-7276.

Patrick Stewart owns the Placerville store and was kind enough to provide two of the new

Thai Chicken deLITE pizzas for our test taste. The store in Cameron Park is owned by Raman Dhillon and Greg Wellington owns the El Dorado Hills store, along with others. Wellington is also the regional manager for the area and made sure we knew about the new pizza by sending us a news release.

Papa Murphy’s has a large list of different kinds of pizzas and often has discount coupons inserted in issues of this paper. But, even without a coupon, they point out “our whole menu is a value menu.”

In the category of deLITE pizzas, which make up one-third of their sales, is found the Chicken Bacon Artichoke deLITE, Herb Chicken Mediterranean deLITE, Veggie deLITE, Meat deLITE and the Pepperoni deLITE, in addition to the new Thai Chicken deLITE.

Their Signature pizzas includes Papa’s Favorite, Murphy’s Combination, The Cowboy, Gourmet Chicken Garlic, Papa’s All Meat and Gourmet Vegetarian.

They also have four “Stuffed” pizzas, including a 5-Meat Stuffed, Chicago-Style Stuffed, Chicken Bacon Stuffed and Big Murphy’s Stuffed.

Side items include chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cheesy Bread, Cinnamon Wheel, salads, S’Mores Pizza and soda.

Each pizza comes with full baking instructions and a baking tray. And, if you want crispier crust, slide it off the tray after ten minutes directly onto the oven rack. To get it out of the oven, slide it back onto the baking tray.

So, how was the Thai Chicken DeLITE? Very good. It was not too spicy, but did have a slight bite, and it had a somewhat sweet taste, due to the sweet chili sauce. It was also not too filing and I had to put it away so that I didn’t eat it all at one sitting.

For more information, visit www.papamurphys.com or go to Facebook at www.facebook.com/papamurphyspizza.

Shoestring Chili, FreshMex Horchata – Placerville

“Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!”

Albert Einstein

 

 

 

Bearing gifts

A couple of weeks ago we had a party at my daughters house in Fair Oaks honoring our May birthdays, which is most of the family. My son Steve’s birthday is May 22 while his son James was born on May 4, as was my granddaughter Stella, but seven years apart. Harris, my other grandson, has his birthday on May 14.

My daughter, Erika, invited all of Stella and Harris’s friends, along with family, to the party and she decided to serve good, skin-on Casper’s hot dogs. Well, what is a hot dog without chili, so I decided to stop by Shoestring, the great hot dog stand on Broadway, and pick up a quart of the delicious chili they put on their famous chili-cheese dogs. Not that turned out to be one of the hits of the party.

My daughter and my daughter-in-law, Mel (James’ mom), are also great fans of fresh made horchata, the Mexican drink made from rice milk, cinnamon, sugar and other ingredients. I decided to treat them, so on my way to Fair Oaks picked up a couple of large cups of it from Fresh-Mex Express Mexican Grill, which is on Missouri Flat Road, across from K-Mart. While I was there, and since it was Saturday, I also got a container of pozole, the pork and hominy soup traditionally made that day, along with a side of shredded cabbage, limes, cilantro and chopped onion to add to it. I had also packed a ripe avocado to cut up and put on top of the pozole.

The pozole became lunch for my daughter and son-in-law, Roy, and they literally vacuumed it up it was so good. My daughter especially loved not having to fix lunch as they got ready for the party. The horchata brought big smiles to both her and my daughter-in-law.

The next time you go to someone’s house for a similar event, take along something that you like from a local restaurant, but call first to make sure they have it. People love surprises, especially good tasting ones. Oh, I also always take my daughter fresh flowers, from my gardens if possible.