New street food vendors at the Midtown Sacramento Farmers Market


People shop at Midtown Farmer’s Market on Saturday, April 30, 2022. It’s a year-round, free, family-friendly market that features locally grown fresh produce, prepared meals, artisans and more. It is open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday on 20th Street between J and L Streets and K Street between 19th and 21st Streets.

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the Downtown Farmer’s Market is one of the best places in Sacramento to see and be seen, in my humble opinion. A friend once told me that his Saturday morning routine was to grab some food, have a coffee, and sit on the patio at The Peet’s overlooking the hustle and bustle of 20th and J streets – no shopping, just watching the people.

While fresh fruits and vegetables are still on sale, the Midtown Farmers Market tends to lean a little more into crafts and prepared foods than, say, the Sunday market now in the Arden Fair Mall parking lot. Over the past month, a trio of attractive food stalls have joined this cohort with outside funding.

One is Chido Restaurant & BarFernando Ponce’s Mexican seafood restaurant that already has a physical location in the Northgate Plaza mall on El Camino Avenue. Mak & Grid specializes in Iu Mien cuisine, an Asian ethnic group that blends Chinese and Vietnamese flavors, as seen in the signature sauces the Mak family has been producing for years. Continuous smoking BBQ Pitmaster Geronimo Escobar cooks up classics such as pulled pork and brisket as well as American Mexican barbecue, like smoked beef cheek tacos.

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Mak & Grille has grown from a line of sauces to a street food stand at the Midtown Farmers Market. Courtesy of the Midtown Association

Each received a “Street Food Sacramento” grant worth approximately $11,250 from the Downtown Association, organizers of the farmer’s market. The grant covers tables and tents for the Farmer’s Market for next year as well as start-up funds and marketing, event insurance and social media support. They will also receive technical assistance, be matched with a mentor, and attend workshops through the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce’s MetroBusiness Center during the final half of the one-year program.

The Midtown Association hopes the money and mentorship will help grant recipients expand into food trucks, traditional restaurants and grocery store aisles.

It’s refreshing to see the Midtown Association helping mobile vendors after watching Sacramento drag its food on the food truck boom. A 2008 city ordinance prohibited them from staying in one place for more than 30 minutes and was only lifted in 2014 after the craze spread nationwide.

It’s also good to see new options. Where else in the Sacramento area can you find Iu Mien dishes or smoked brisket ramen with a broth made from cow’s feet and tendons? And, OK, mariscos are available in both North and South Sacramento, but I challenge you to find a place downtown besides Chido that serves campechana or gobernador tacos.

Street Food Sacramento was designed to bring new options to the network, said Midtown Association executive director Emily Baime Michaels. This means amplifying underrepresented cuisine and breaking down barriers to entry.

“The entire region wins when diverse new food offerings are introduced to our collective culinary culture,” Baime Michaels said in a press release. “We can’t wait to see our three new winners bring their food products to market and the delicious new offerings that await them. »

What I am eating

Solid Ground Brewing’s ugly nugz come with a choice of buffalo, blue cheese or sweet chipotle dips. Benjy Egel

Morels are currently growing in Northern California, but my last foraging excursion went dry. I eased my sorrow instead Strong brew (552 Pleasant Valley Road) in the town of Diamond Springs, El Dorado County.

KC Sare and Scott Johnson, both from the Sierra Nevada foothills, founded Solid Ground in June 2017 as a 30-barrel brewery that goes above and beyond typical options. While Sare oversees an excellent brewing program, Johnson makes wine in-house. He is also the winemaker of Element 79 Vineyards in Somerset, and the two co-owners also contribute to Solid Ground’s cider-making programme.

The $14 five-drink flights allow customers to try a bit of everything, including the refreshingly delicious Kyburz Kolsch (5.4% ABV). I can see more people ordering the easy-drinking, session beer as temperatures continue to rise, especially with Solid Ground’s homemade burger ($15).

Made with beef from Meats of kings, a butcher shop less than a mile away on Pleasant Valley Road, the six-ounce burger patty is grilled with mustard before sliding between a soft brioche bun alongside sliced ​​red onions, oven-roasted tomato sauce, of iceberg lettuce and the customer’s choice of cheese. The hand cut fries were okay, if a bit inconsistent; that’s what you get without automation I guess.

Ugly Nugget ($12), as Solid Ground Fried Chicken Bites are known, sure taste great. Roughly cubed and dredged in buttermilk, they came with your choice of seasoning: salt and pepper, buffalo sauce, blue cheese, or a smoky/sweet chipotle dip that tasted a little like barbecue-based sauce. of guajillo pepper.

Openings & Closings

  • The region’s new hot chicken concept is Flame-N-Chickz, opened last week at 4006 Foothills Blvd. in Roseville. Spicy sliders and chicken tenders are the must-haves, but you can also find salads and coleslaw made with kale.
  • Restaurant Citrus Heights Mizuki Sushi adds a location to Elk Grove, the Reported by the Sacramento Business Journal. Owner Ella Ly will open her new restaurant at 7440 Laguna Blvd., Suite 98 in the Laguna Pavilion mall next month.
  • Russian restaurant Firebird dropped the word “Russian” from its name after the invasion of Ukraine began in March. Who caught the attention of the East Coast chain Firebirds wood-fired grill, which threatened the Carmichael restaurant with a trademark infringement suit. So…the Eastern European restaurant formerly known as Firebird Restaurant has temporarily closed, but plans to reopen with a modified menu as “Noroc,” Romanian for “good luck” as well as “cheers!”

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Benjy Egel covers local restaurants and bars for The Sacramento Bee as well as breaking general news and investigative projects. A native of Sacramento, he previously covered affairs for the Amarillo Globe-News in Texas.

James V. Payne