Wanderings: Burger King – Roseville

I drove a friend to Roseville for minor surgery a couple of weeks ago and while waiting, decided to walk to the nearest Burger King for a bite to eat. It was around 10:30 a.m. and after looking at the menu, said to the lady behind the counter, “I’ll have the …,” — at that point I looked up at the menu to make sure what it was called and found it was no longer listed.

The menu is electronically posted and automatically switches from breakfast to lunch at exactly 10:30 a.m. every day. Fortunately she knew the menu and knew what I wanted. They should have something that keeps the menu from changing if someone is at the counter. Just imagine what it would have been like if I had been a parent with half a dozen kids in tow.

Wanderings: Long John Silvers, Bones and FreshMex Mexican Grill

“Fat gives things flavor.”

— Julia Child

Out wandering again

Trip one: I did a bit of house-sitting in Carmichael for my daughter in late February while the family went to Disneyland. I had a list of things to do (eat), which included my usual pastrami and Swiss from a favorite sandwich shop there, the Sub Depot on Fair Oaks Boulevard, along with sampling the new “thick cut” cod at Long John Silver’s and the new “premium cod fillet” sandwich at Wendy’s.

Well, I got the pastrami and Swiss and really enjoyed it. The shop is about one mile away, so I justified the fatty treat by walking both ways, and stopping at a thrift store along the way.

The following day I drove to the Long John Silver’s on Auburn Boulevard to try the fish. It was disappointing.

The “thick cut” cod pieces are about three-quarters of an inch thick and about the size of a silver dollar or 1 1/2 inches in diameter. You get two pieces, a couple of hush puppies and a side in the basket ($5.99). I ordered the two piece basket and cole slaw, rather than the usual fries. The fish was old (brown) and the batter was tough, so I sent them back. They were kind enough to give me three, freshly cooked and very nice pieces to replace them. However, and this is a complaint I have with them and a few other fast food places, the fish was very oily from being deep fried. I don’t know why they aren’t drained for a few seconds, it would make a world of difference. I contacted the company and they sent me a letter good for two meals, but I am not sure if I am going back.

After that “bad fish” experience I decided to forgo the trip to Wendy’s until next time.

Placerville Natural Foods Cooperative – Placerville

“If organic farming is the natural way, shouldn’t organic produce just be called ‘produce’ and make the pesticide-laden stuff take the burden of an adjective?”

— Ymber Delecto



Placerville Natural Foods Cooperative
Some time ago I stopped by Noah’s Ark Natural Foods, at 535 Placerville Drive, to see what the store had to offer. I had known the owner, David Harde, since he first started showing up at the farmers market when it was still at the bi-monthly flea market at the fairgrounds. He always had quality produce to sell and I wasn’t surprised when he opened the store.

I had been at the store to buy things before, but up until just a couple of years ago had never taken the time to look around. I was impressed with the amount of goods they had in the building, which at one time was a pizza parlor.

About a month ago the store became the Placerville Natural Foods Cooperative or co-op. I am familiar with the cooperatives in Sacramento and Davis, so I decided to stop by and check the place out.

It looked about the same, but was I told by cashier Marvin Caravalho, that they have been adding new items. Caravalho was also kind enough to give me a tour and point out a number of things I had missed. The manager, Melisa Clark, was not there.

If you haven’t been into a cooperative or a store like Placerville Natural Foods Cooperative, you will find they are quite different from regular stores. They are kind of a cross between a health food store, a farmers market and most everything in between.

When they say something is grown locally, they mean here, in the surrounding counties and the San Joaquin Valley, not from some far away corner of California. And, as much as possible, it comes from sustainable farms.

I won’t go into the workings of the co-op, but membership is open to anyone and, after joining, you receive discounts. You can also volunteer and receive additional benefits.

The co-op provides the community with natural foods, certified organic produce and meat, organic milk and milk products, vegan meat substitutes, natural vitamins and supplements, organic canned and frozen foods, gluten free and raw foods, natural beauty items, natural cleaning items, natural pet foods and more.

To point out a few items, the deli has quite a selection of sandwiches, breads, baked goods and cheeses, most produced very locally. They also have fresh, store made soup and a number of other hot, ready to eat main dishes to take home. I arrived late in the afternoon, when the food was gone, but I have eaten there before and really enjoyed the food.

As a baker, I was very impressed with the bulk grains and flours. There must be a hundred or more large containers of organic cereals, nuts and flours, the flour list alone including spelt, oat, semolina, corn, soy and quinoa, among others. Nearby was also a row of bulk culinary herbs.

Next to that was the produce section. Everything looks fresh and, as I mentioned one time before, the potatoes are covered with black towels so they are not exposed to light.

They also stock local honey (good for some allergies, I’m told) and some very popular cheeses made in our county. While I was there two people came in looking just for the cheese.

It was also pointed out to me several locally produced items with the “Health Nut Products” label: “heart healthy, earth friendly and all natural” are at the store. You can check those out at healthnutbetty.com. They also have a number of locally produced pasta items from The Pasta Queen.

Then there is the large selection of organic and fair traded coffees and a huge number of micro-brewery beers, along with local organic wines.

I could go on for pages and pages and, by not doing so, have probably left out a number of important things, but you need to stop by and check it out for yourself.

The Placerville Natural Foods Co-op is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information call 530-621-3663 or visit placervillecoop.org.

The Apple Hill Growers – Camino

“Never work before breakfast; if you have to work before breakfast, eat your breakfast first.” 

— Josh Billings


It ain’t just apples folks

Last week I joined a small group for a short tour of the Camino and Pollock Pines areas. It was sponsored by the Apple Hill Grower’s Association and we spent almost four hours visiting a half-dozen different kitchens, bakeries, orchards, tree farms, vineyards, wineries and breweries, before returning to the starting place and being treated to a fantastic lunch at Larsen’s Apple Barn (the food was delicious and the desserts were heavenly — yes, they sell them in the bake shop).

The first stop was at Harris Tree Farm, on Blair Road in Pollock Pines. Sure, they sell Christmas trees, but they also raise fruit and vegetables that are sold there and at various farmers markets. They also have a pumpkin patch and a bake shop. The Harris family has owned that land for over 150 years. The farm is open daily, June through December. For more information call 530-644-2194.

Next we toured the Fudge Factory Farm, which is on High Hill Road. Not only do the candy chefs make fudge and a lot of other candies, they use the fruit they grow in a lot of the candy and also sell the fruit fresh. There is also a bake shop and Christmas tree farm. The farm is open daily, Labor day through mid-December. For more information call 530-644-3492.

A little further down the same road was Cardanini’s Pumpkin Patch. The Cardaninis have acres of various kinds of pumpkins planted, including both those for carving and eating. There is also Indian corn for decorating. The farm is open the month of October for pick-your-own pumpkins, a real treat for the whole family. For more information call 530-644-2140.

At the end of that road is Madroña Vineyards. One of the older family owned wineries in the county, it is known for the many varietals of medal winning wines from the estate grown grapes. We tasted several outstanding wines and learned about the winery. It is open daily all year. For more information call 530-644-5948.

Next we stopped at Able’s Apple Acres, which is at the corner of Carson and Hassler roads. The donuts and apple fritters, along with the many kinds of apple pies, are famous, and the kitchen crew bakes a lot more things. It was packed with people, but we still received a great tour of the kitchen, and even an apple pie to take home. It is open daily, Labor Day through Christmas Eve. For more information call 530-626-0138.

Heading north on Hassler to Fruitridge Road, we visited Lava Cap Winery, another of the county’s older family owned wineries that makes outstanding wines. We were short of time, so we didn’t tour the winery, but we did get a taste of some really great wines. It is open daily. For more information call 530-621-0175.

The final stop was Jack Russell Farm Brewery on Larsen Drive. Not only does the brewery make a number of outstanding brews, recently the owners have started making mead (honey wine) and other wines. Check out the new wine and mead tasting room around back. It is open daily. For more information call 530-647-9420.

From there is was just a short drive back to Larsen Apple Barn for lunch, which I mentioned before, was wonderful. All of the wineries, and the brewery, sent goodies for us to have with our meal.

Larsen Apple Barn is located a the corner of Larsen Drive and North Canyon Road and not only sells apples and other fruit, but has a wonderful bake shop and museum. It is open Labor Day to mid-December, closed on Saturday. For more information call 530-644-8166.

Take a trip to Apple Hill, preferably during the week when the crowds are smaller, and enjoy fresh fruit, baked goods, wines, beers and fun. The outing is great for kids. There are over 50 growers and producers that are members of the Apple Hill Association. For a map or more information, visit any of the places with the “Apple Hill Grower” sign, visit applehill.com or call 530-644-7692.

Shuttle service from two locations will be available the first four weekends of October.