A Trip To Sacramento For Olive Oil « Any and Everywhere

A Trip To Sacramento For Olive Oil

By | January 22, 2012

Sacramento Street Signs - Any and EverywhereI have lived in Los Angeles for almost seven years now, and I’ve never been to the state’s capital. When I was offered an opportunity to attend a media trip to Sacramento, I had several reasons to look forward to it. The purpose of the trip up north was to partake in a tour of the California Olive Ranch (COR) with a group of food writers and bloggers. While there, I assumed I would have just enough time to trek around the city and find a few good eats. This trip would literally happen the day after my return from a media trip to Orlando (more on that coming soon), so it would be a whirlwind week of flights and fun. A venture to Sacramento just for olive oil? Sign me up.

Grange Sacramento Cheese Plate - Any and Everywhere

Nibbling on a selection of cheese at Grange.

Grange Sacramento Flatbread Spreads - Any and Everywhere

An assortment of spreads with warm flatbread at Grange.

The flight from L.A. to Sacramento was much shorter than it was sweet. My tiny plane bumped and hopped along in the clouds, and I must admit it was not the most pleasant experience. Anyone who has flown in a small plane knows what that can be like. I was happy to walk off the plane and into the quietest airport I’d ever been in. Kirsten Wanket, Marketing Manager from COR, was kind enough to pick me up, and we made our way to The Citizen Hotel. It is a Joie de Vivre property, and I do love a JDV hotel. They have never disappointed. After a quick bite at the hotel’s restaurant, Grange, it was time to hop in the car and make the 90 minute drive to the ranch in Artois.

Citzen Hotel Sacramento - Any and Everywhere

My comfortable hotel room at The Citizen, overlooking J Street.

California Olive Ranch Artois - Any and Everywhere

Part of the widespread olive ranch in Artois.

At the ranch, I met the other members of the group. John from Food Wishes and his lovely wife Michele, Aleta of The Skillet Chronicles, Jane of The Heritage Cook and Amy of Cooking with Amy. We had a full day of meeting ranch staff and company executives, all of whom gave us a very personal, dedicated and eye-opening information on the ranch and its practices. The tour included a walk through the rows of olive trees, a ride on harvesting trucks, a stroll through the mill and a tasting of several olive oils. We left the ranch tired and dusty for sure, and I left with a renewed interest in the idea that the United States–California specifically–can produce olive oils to rival top international countries.

Ella Sacramento - Any and Everywhere

Our elegant dinner table at Ella.

Ricotta Gnocchi Ella Sacramento - Any and Everywhere

Ricotta Gnocchi with Roasted Butternut Squash, Wild Mushrooms, Sage and Wine Stewed Onions

Sturgeon Butter Beans Ella Sacramento - Any and Everywhere

Roasted Passmore Ranch Sturgeon and Ragout of Butter Beans and Cured Tomatoes and Gremolata

Mike Forbes, VP of Sales and Marketing, and Kirsten treated us to a beautiful dinner at Ella. The menu was chosen specifically to highlight COR oils. Amongst a table of food enthusiasts, it goes without saying that the conversation centered around cooking, wine and spirits, travel and topics of similar interest. The chit chat flowed as easily as the wine. By the evening’s end, we all made our way back to The Citizen for a nightcap at Grange before calling it a night. It had been a full day of exploration at the hands of the folks behind the California Olive Ranch. I’m positive we all went to bed with sugar plum visions of olives in our heads.

Lemon Cake Elle Sacramento - Any and Everywhere

Lemon Pudding Cake with Blueberry Compote and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

CA EVOO Ella Sacramento - Any and Everywhere

Our selection of olive oils specifically paired with the evening's meal.

I only had a few hours the next day to enjoy the city, so I set out on foot to explore. My hotel was very close to the Capitol building, which also serves as a museum. It was a Friday, lunchtime to be specific, and the streets were active with government workers, elementary school students on tours and folks like me enjoying a beautiful day in Sacramento. I made my way down to Burgers & Brew for a burger that was forgettable. It was the first time I went for a disappointing special instead of choosing a restaurant’s reliable and tried and true staple. With no time to wallow in pity, I walked a few steps down the block for dessert at Magpie Cafe–a peanut butter sandwich cookie–that would serve as a consolation prize.

CA State Capitol Sacramento - Any adn Everywhere

The State Capitol building standing tall on a sunny day.

Chorizo Burgers & Brew Sacramento - Any and Everywhere

Chorizo and Beef Burger with Jalapeno Aioli, Avocado and Grilled Onions at Burgers & Brew

Before hopping in my shuttle back to the airport, I grabbed my bags at The Citizen and settled into a seat at the bar of the Grange for the last time. This was my fourth appearance in roughly 30 hours, so I felt a sense of ownership and maybe slight camaraderie with one of the bartenders. Happy Hour was in full effect, so I decided to sip what was listed as Sacramento’s Ruhstaller 1881 Red. It was lighter and more refreshing than I expected with hints of wood and citrus. I found out the friendly bartender had a hand in this brew. As luck would have it, I was sitting before a brewmaster. Here’s hoping Ruhstaller will find its way down in Southern California sooner than later.

PB Cookie Magpie Sacramento - Any and Everywhere

Of course I visited the highly talked about bakery, Magpie.

Ruhstaller Red Grange Sacramento - Any and Everywhere

Happy hour at Grange included Ruhstaller 1881 Red, one of Sacramento's local brews.

Not even 48 hours had passed, but my Sacramento trip was marked with good olive oil, good food, good people. These were the sights and sounds of a Northern California I had yet to experience.  I only had a mere taste of the city, and maybe that’s just enough for the time being. Now I have many reasons to go back for more.

For more information about the California Olive Ranch, check out my article for Basil Magazine and view the photos on Facebook.


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