Long gone are the days where the cow bells rang loudly at Shaq and Kobe in the arena on the outskirts of the city, while the downtown area went to sleep at 5pm. With a brand new arena now open downtown, the once quiet neighborhood is going through a social revival. Sacramento is no longer the sleepy cow town of California, and is currently living an epic art and food revolution.
Claiming to be the “Farm-to-Fork capital” of the country, the city is raising awareness about the huge local farming industry, and at the same time creating a real push for restaurants to showcase their ability to cook with the seasons. There is something really special about knowing that most, if not all, of the ingredients used in even the most classic dishes actually come from local farms and grocers.
The Farm-to-Fork initiative was also launched to make locally-grown food more accessible and affordable to everyone. Farm-to-Fork and comfort food make a pretty great match, and Sacramento seems to think so too!
The local art scene is also booming. Just recently Sacramento held a 10-day mural festival, where artists from all over the world completed 40 murals around the city. The aptly named Wide Open Walls 916 festival expanded the city’s love of murals and street art. Keeping within the food theme, local artist Jeremy Stanger painted a large Farm-to-Fork mural along Folsom Blvd. This mural is colorful proof of the vibrant growth of the Sacramento restaurant industry, blending the creativity of the city’s large collective of artists and chefs together as one growing community.
The art and food theme flows through the downtown and midtown areas where you can snack on some comfort food while checking out the newest murals, and maybe even meet some local artists. The downtown section of R St is really up and coming, especially with the addition of several beautiful and original murals courtesy of artists such as Lora Zombie, Jake Castro, SV Williams, and Molly Devlin. The area is the creative epicenter of the city, housing cultural centers, artist galleries, old factory buildings converted into artist lofts, and diverse restaurants.
The authentic full English breakfast from the Fox and Goose is enough to fill you up until late afternoon. Café Bernardo’s patio allows for a lazy lunch, the grilled mozzarella-pesto-tomato sandwich perfectly fresh and melty, served with enough French fries to feed two people. Shady Lady brings her own old-school saloon vibe to the area; mixing frequent live music events with enough comfort food to keep you going back for more, and more. The fried green tomatoes paired with a side of duck confit tots, washed down with some shrimp and grits, and a large plate of buttermilk fried chicken is pretty much the equivalent to food heaven! If you are craving a different kind of comfort food, then the pumpkin red curry from The Coconut on T is insane, especially when followed by a scoop of coconut ice cream for dessert.
Sunday brunch is a pretty a big deal here in Sacramento, and over on the other side of the Capitol places like Cafeteria 15L and Crepeville offer some serious comfort food made with local ingredients. Delicious skillets, scrambles, and crepes go hand in hand with some really fresh and creative seasonal cocktails. Artists How&Nosm recently finished a huge mural just across the street from Cafeteria 15L, and right behind the restaurant lies the work of another Sacramento artist, Demetris B.A.M.R. Washington, a mural dedicated to fresh food and health. It really feels like everywhere you turn art and fresh food become one with each other! Sacramento is really dedicated to solidifying her place on the map when it comes to both accessible food and art.
Although this year’s mural festival is now over, the Farm-to-Fork theme continues. Next month the Farm-to-Fork Festival will take place along Capitol Mall, with artists such as White Buffalo and Chuck Ragan working their magic, and food and drink will be available from local restaurants and food trucks, and also from local farm, grocer, and ranch stands. Fill up on some locally sourced snacks before touring the downtown area in search of the many different murals!