Monthly Archives: August 2015

Steppin’ Out – It’s Personal, “We Follow Fresh”

09-ItsPersonalFor the past few months I have been passing by this store at 414 Main Street in Placerville, across from the Bell Tower.

The sign says It’s Personal -Unique Gifts and Custom Wine Labels, but only recently did I notice that they are now serving food.

I knew about the personal labels you can get on great wine to use as a special gift, but wasn’t sure exactly what they were serving in the bistro. But since going out to eat is always an adventure, why find out too much beforehand?

My compatriot Russ Salazar met me there last week just before noon and after reading the menu chalkboards and specials out front we decided this had to be our kind of place.

As we walked in (you should see what they have done to the place), we were graciously greeted by the owner, Paula Gendron, who invited us to find a table, inside or outside, and make ourselves comfortable, while handing us a couple of menus.

Paula has been in he food and wine business most of her life and when they moved It’s Personal from its original location nearer Sacramento Street, they built a kitchen and started serving food. Russ and I are both glad they did.

02-ItsPersonalWe found a special table inside in the front window and sat down in the comfortable, overstuffed chairs to look over the menu while admiring what they had done to the place.

What a delightful menu. it starts with something simple, a hot dog (natural casing low sodium), followed by a Polish Dog, “Nawlin’s” Muffelata Grinder, Chicago combo, Tuscan Panini, Cubano Panini, Spanish Chicken Salad Melt and a Hot Georgia Brown (sliced turkey and ham on a ciabatta roll topped with tomato, bacon and pimento cheese then baked open-faced)

Well, since neither of us had tried a real Cubano and I had never tasted a Muffelata we ordered those two and asked for them to be split.
The Cubano – which is becoming a very popular sandwich on the east coast – is made by them on a French roll with sliced ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, mustard and mayo, then grilled with butter and topped with dill pickles. The Muffelata – which some claim is the best sandwich in the world – they make on sliced Italian loaf with home made muffelata mix, minced garlic, salami, pepperoni, mortadella, mozzarella roasted red peppers, and an olive oil drizzle. Both sandwiches were served with a nice side salad of romaine, egg and tomato.

Russ had eaten a muffaleta at the (purported) place where it was invented, Central Grocery in New Orleans and from my research this sandwich appeared to be very close to the original recipe. More about that later.

When our sandwiches arrived they were quite large. Each half of the sandwich was enough for a normal person, but neither of us are normal people, we are so often told.

I started with the Cubano. It was loaded with meat and wasn’t over pressed in the panini machine or over toasted. It was perfectly made and delicious. I decided about half way through the Cubano to try a bite from the Muffaleta. What a delight! I don’t think I have ever eaten a sandwich that good before. Flavor after flavor after flavor, moist and delicious.

When Russ, who was toying with his salad, got around to trying the Muffaleta, he took one bite, looked at me and said, “I remember very well the place in New Orleans where I ate the original, but I don’t remember the sandwich. This sandwich I will remember for a long time.”

Well, that’s about as good a complement you can give food. In fact, when the cook came out to talk with us, we passed that on to him. By the way, the cook is Geraldo Rodriguez who remembered us from Los Pinos where he made a special, and very delicious, sauce for the Salmon dish he served me. We obviously remembered him for his outstanding sauces.

The menu also has a large list of interesting and unique tapas, or small bites. Usually they are eaten along with a glass of wine as a prelude to a meal or a whole meal. Paula told us, “They are for people who are not ready for dinner, but want something.” I can see that.

The menu ends with a number of salads, including an interesting Bhel Salad, one of the most popular street foods in India. It is made of chopped cucumber, tomato, onion and cilantro, tamarindo, date chutney and crunchy chickpea and puffed rice bits. Spicy with medium heat, it says. My kind of food.

And, if you don’t think that is enough, there are specials every day. That day they had several, including Pasta Alfredo and a Rhode Island style hot dog.

They serve 12 beers on tap, along with sangria and hard cider, 54 beers in the bottle and also have a great selection of wine, old fashioned sodas, iced tea, lemonade and more.

Live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights, celebrity bartender on Wednesday evenings, guest winemaker on Thursdays and more.
The are open from 11 a.m. until closing. The kitchen usually closes about 7 or 8 on weekdays and 9 or 9:30 on weekends.

For more information give them a call at (530) 303-3792. You can also follow them on Facebook or their webpage at

The Discovery of Gold, by John Sutter, Part III

Miners in Coloma

Miners at Coloma. 1850

From “Hutchings’ California Magazine,” November 1857

Sutter Looks Back at the Events

What a great misfortune was this sudden gold discovery for me! It has just broken up and ruined my hard, restless, and industrious labors, connected with many dangers of life, as I had many narrow escapes before I became properly established.

From my mill buildings I reaped no benefit whatever, the mill stones even have been stolen and sold. My tannery, which was then in a flourishing condition, and was carried on very profitably, was deserted, a large quantity of leather was left unfinished in the vats; and a great quantity of raw hides became valueless as they could not be sold; nobody wanted to be bothered with such trash, as it was called. So it was in all the other mechanical trades which I had carried on; all was abandoned, and work commenced or nearly finished was all left, to an immense loss for me. Even the Indians had no more patience to work alone, in harvesting and threshing my large wheat crop out; as the whites had all left, and other Indians had been engaged by some white men to work for them, and they commenced to have some gold for which they were buying all kinds of articles at enormous prices in the stores; which, when my Indians saw this, they wished very much to go to the mountains and dig gold. At last I consented, got a number of wagons ready, loaded them with provisions and goods of all kinds, employed a clerk, and left with about one hundred Indians, and about fifty Sandwich Islanders (Kanakas) which had joined those which I brought with me from the Islands. The first camp was about ten miles above Mormon Island, on the south fork of the American river.

In a few weeks we became crowded ,and it would no more pay, as my people made too many acquaintances. I broke up the camp and started on the march further south, and located my next camp on Sutter creek (now in Amador county), and thought that I should there be alone. The work was going on well for a while, until three or four traveling grog-shops surrounded me, at from one and 8, half to two miles distance from the camp; then, of course, the gold was taken to these places, for drinking, gambling, etc., and then the following day they were sick and unable to work, and became deeper and more indebted to me, and particularly the Kanakas. I found that it was high time to quit this kind of business, and lose no more time and money. I therefore broke up the camp and returned to the Fort, where I disbanded nearly all the people who had worked for me in the mountains digging gold. This whole expedition proved to be a heavy loss to me.

At the same time I was engaged in a mercantile firm in Coloma, which I left in January, 1849 – likewise with many sacrifices. After this I would have nothing more to do with the gold affairs. At this time, the Fort was the great trading place where nearly all the business was transacted. I had no pleasure to remain there, and moved up to Hock Farm, with all my Indians, and who had been with me from the time they were children. The place was then in charge of a Major Domo.

It is very singular that the Indians never found a piece of gold and brought it to me, as they very often did other specimens found in the ravines. I requested them continually to bring me some curiosities from the mountains, for which I always recompensed them. I have received animals, birds, plants, young trees, wild fruits, pipe clay, stones, red ochre, etc., etc., but never a piece of gold. Mr. Dana of the scientific corps of the expedition under Com. Wilkes’ Exploring Squadron, told me that he had the strongest proof and signs of gold in the vicinity of Shasta Mountain, and furthers south. A short time afterwards, Doctor Sandels, a very scientific traveler, visited me, and explored a part of the country in a great hurry, as time would not permit him to make a longer stay.

He told me likewise that he found sure signs of gold, and was very sorry that be could not explore the Sierra Nevada. He did not encourage me to attempt to work and open mines, as it was uncertain how it would pay and would probably be only for a government. So I thought it more prudent to stick to the plow, not withstanding I did know that the country was rich in gold, and other minerals. An old attached Mexican servant who followed me here from the United States, as soon as he knew that I was here, and who understood a great deal about working in placers, told me he found sure signs of gold in the mountains on Bear Creek, and that we would go right to work after returning from our campaign in 1845, but he became a victim to his patriotism and fell into the hands of the enemy near my encampment, with dispatches for me from Gen. Micheltorena, and he was hung as a spy, for which I was very sorry.

By this sudden discovery of the gold, all my great plans were destroyed. Had I succeeded for a few years before the gold was discovered, I would have been the richest citizen on the Pacific shore; but it had to be different. Instead of being rich, I am ruined, and the cause of it is the long delay of the United States Land Commission of the United States Courts, through the great influence of the squatter lawyers. Before my case will be decided in Washington, another year may elapse, but I hope that justice will be done me by the last tribunal — the Supreme Court of the United States. By the Land Commission and the District Court it has been decided in my favor. The Common Council of the city of Sacramento, composed partly of squatters, paid Adelpheus Felch, (one of the late Land Commissioners, who was engaged by the squatters during his office), $5,000, from the fund of the city, against the will of the tax-payers, for which amount he has to try to defeat my just and old claim from the Mexican government, before the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington.

Signature of John Sutter