Culinary Tourism with Sacramento's Local Roots Food Tours

In hopes to avoid the traditional rivalry caused by “team building day” at the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, the staff embarked upon a new type of bonding with Local Roots Food Tours of Sacramento. Local Roots is a walking food tour company that showcases the outstanding array of culinary options in Sacramento and the surrounding region. Local Roots offers several different tour options including the “Origins of Sacramento Food Tour” which is what the SCVB staff took part in. And, although it was one of the hottest days of the summer, the experience was well worth the heat.

Starting at Café Bernardo on 27th and Capitol, our first meal of the day was Amaretto French Toast with real maple syrup and crushed almonds. During our time we were able to speak with the executive chef about how she chooses local products for her restaurant and how she prepared our breakfast. It was fascinating to learn what a mecca Sacramento is for locally grown products. Once we were finished eating, we walked over to Paragary’s bakery that services each of the Paragary restaurants daily. There we met with the head baker and tasted her fresh chocolate covered macaroons. They were delicious!

Next, we headed towards Centro on 27th and J street but along the way, our tour guide Bethany, lead us around Biba’s restaurant, alongside Sutter’s Fort, and finally into St. Francis of Assisi church. At each location, she gave us a bit of history and its relevance to the origin of Sacramento. For example, did you know that there are still working monks at St. Francis of Assisi? The information supplied was interesting and unique and Bethany did an amazing job entertaining a group of folks who sell Sacramento for a living.

Once we reached Centro’s, we were served their famous carnitas tacos along with a margarita on the rocks accompanied by a shot of fruit infused tequila. Needless to say this was the most popular destination of the day. Again we were able to hear from the executive chef about how he prepares his carnitas and where the meat comes from, which is of course, local. The food was spicy and fresh while the drinks were cool and refreshing.

Once everyone had their fill, we were off to La Bombe Ice Cream shop on H Street. With dozens of ice cream and sorbet flavors to choose from, it was the perfect pit stop during the mid-afternoon heat. From La Bombe we ate and walked to Formoli’s Bistro where we tasted stuffed mushrooms and miniature eggplant parmesan. Both were impeccably prepared both in a matter of taste and look.

For our final stop, we toured the roasting room at Coffee Works on Folsom Blvd. With one of the few Sivetz "fluidized bed" roasters in Sacramento, the beans at Coffee Works looked, smelled, and tasted great! Inside, we learned about different roasting techniques and what intensive labor goes into farming and preparing coffee beans. The motto at Coffee Works is “the taste is in the cup” and I can attest it truly is.

Local Roots Food Tours offers a variety of different tours several days a week. Private group tours are also available by reservations. Contact them at 1-800-407-8918 or visit their website. For a multi-day Sacramento itinerary, contact the SCVB Tourism department.

The tour was a great way to spend time with office friends as well as learn more about the cuisine and history of downtown Sacramento. Local food has become a big part of what Sacramento stands for and that is something we can all be proud of.