Monthly Archives: January 2015

Steppin’ Out – Crystal Basin Bistro (Revisited)

CBBLogo-01A couple of weeks ago I received a call from an old acquaintance and fellow actor, Mick Bruha. He was back in town from an extended stay in Australia and was now the Hospitality Manager for Crystal Basin Bistro, an outstanding restaurant at 3590 Carson Road, Suite B, in Camino.

Mick told me that they had made a number of changes to their menu and hours, and invited me to bring Russ Salazar and come by and see what was new. So, a couple of weeks ago we did just that.

I arrived first and spent some time letting Mick fill me in on changes they have made since I last wrote about them, over a year ago. The first thing he mentioned is that they are now serving dinner seven days a week, with a new menu, quickly adding, “And you can also order from the regular menu at dinner.

“Three times a year,” Mick continued, “our ‘Bada Boom Bistro Club’ gathers here for a meal and tests out the new dishes,” adding, “The Havana,’ our Cubano sandwich was their overall favorite last time. You have to try that.”

As he was pointing out several other new shareable plates ($8.99) on the regular menu, Russ arrived and told us that in addition to the new dishes we were going to try, we had to re-sample their BLAT, which is bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato, nicely dressed, in a wrap. Both he and I loved that last time and, no matter how he tried, he couldn’t duplicate it at home.

Along with Russ’ BLAT, we chose The Havana, The Bankok and The Saigon to sample, grabbed some eating utensils and a glass of water and found a table where we could sit and talk while our food was being prepared (you take care of yourself at lunch, dinner has table service).

The first dish to arrive was The Saigon, which consisted of pork and spinach Asian dumplings in an Asian garlic and chili sauce. Like all of the dishes we tried, it was well presented and deliciously appetizing.

Steppin’ Out – Pizza Factory, Cameron Park

Pizza-FactoryFor a number of weeks I have been seeing comments on Facebook about the new Pizza Factory in Cameron Park (3421 Coach Lane, where Three Brothers restaurant used to be). Most of them were along the line of “When is it opening,” Well, happily, it did, just a couple of weeks ago.

The owner of this, the newest Pizza Factory in our county, is none other than Dan Neher, the same gentleman who recently reopened Los Pinos, the Mexican restaurant just a short distance away on the north side of the freeway in Cameron Park.

Dan asked us to drop by, so around 11:30 a.m. one day last week Russ Salazar and I dropped in to look around, try a few things from the menu and visit with Dan.
The first things I noticed were the game area for “kids,” the salad bar and the Coca Cola “Freestyle’ vending machine, along with a number of happy people enjoying an early lunch.

We took a seat by the window and were greeted by Dan, who filled us in on as much as he could in a few minutes (opening a restaurant takes up a lot of your time).
“I saw you looking at the Coca Cola dispensing machine,” he said. “It will make 144 different drinks for you by mixing Coke products and flavoring. It doesn’t do it until you push the buttons, so all the drinks are fresh. I’ll get you a couple of glasses. Play around with it.”

Dan then told us about the arcade area. “It is a ticket arcade,” he said. “You can win prizes for winning games. Kids are really enjoying it.

“So,” he continued, “why don’t you pick out a couple of pizzas and we will make them for you. We’ll also bring you some appetizers and a pasta dish to share.”