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With the Oscars on Sunday night (5 p.m. on Channel 10, streaming on abc.com), many of us are rushing to watch the best of the best from last year in movies (or rewatch Lady Bird, no judgment here) . Junior Mints and Sour Patch Kids may satiate a sweet tooth, but there’s no more snackable movie snack than popcorn.
These five local options can help you add an extra touch of enjoyment to your viewing.
Carmazzi Caramel Corn: It lacks a physical location and still uses Grandma’s seven-ingredient recipe, but Karen Carmazzi’s company (run with her son Paul) is Sacramento’s most notable popcorn player. Caramel corn is the classic sold in at least 30 local stores, wineries, breweries and restaurants. Chocolate drizzled and vegan versions are also available.
The Popcorn Shop: Owners Dave and Erika Benavides are the only producers in the area with multiple storefronts – 9679 E. Stockton Blvd. at Elk Grove and 6819 Lonetree Blvd. at Rockline. The Popcorn Store’s more than 30 flavors include espresso, habanero and cinnabun, the last of which coats cinnamon popcorn in a white chocolate glaze. Some can also be found in stores such as Yogurt Pop in Rancho Murieta.
Catrina Gourmet Popcorn: Brianna Williams uses her mother’s 33-year-old recipe to make bags of Cajun corn, as well as buttery, spicy garlic and cinnamon toast flavors. The Roseville-based online business supports survivors of human trafficking, of which Williams is one.
Truthful Core: Father-son duo Jon and Tommy Jew use just three ingredients (locally grown corn, Napa grapeseed oil and sea salt) to make their five-ounce bags of organic popcorn, which contains 20 grams of fiber and can be purchased at the Sacramento International Airport and local grocery stores. They offer three flavors: original, brown butter and cheddar. Look for Salty Honey, Cayenne, and Black Pepper Lime flavors in the future.
Nibblers Popcorn Co.: Founded by Sacramento natives (and high school sweethearts) Rob and Melanie Sweeney in 2018, Nibblers sells 58 varieties of popcorn in the Downtown El Dorado Hills, with flavors ranging from chocolate to peanut butter to baked potato. Nibblers also offers 563 types of candy, making it a great place to pick up classic and new-school candy for your movie night.
What I am eating
Shige Tokita is the godfather of Sacramento’s sushi scene, mentor to renowned chefs such as Lou Valente of Southpaw SushiRay Yamamoto in Oto market and Ju Hachi founder Taka Watanabe. I drove to Carmichael for dinner at Shige Sushithe humble Tokita Mall at 5938 Madison Ave., to see Tokita craftsmanship in action.
Tokita can make the sauce-covered giganto-rolls that some people prefer, like a chef’s dish ($12 for five pieces) with hamachi, salmon, tuna, avocado and masago. But Shige Sushi is the destination for sushi purists. The seven seats at the counter are reserved for customers ordering nigiri served on wooden blocks, such as hotate (scallops), tai (snapper) and ruby red katsuo (bonito), all served in pairs for $8.
The nigiri rice was well wrapped and the seafood, some of which is imported from Japan, was top notch. Unfortunately, the latter was often concealed, rather than complemented, by a heavy wasabi streak, making it difficult to fully appreciate.
Shishito tempura ($6.80) was excellent, breaded and fried just enough to show the usually non-hot peppers. I also liked the simplicity of Tokita ikayaki ($14), a large plate of grilled calamari rings and tentacles served with soy sauce and ginger.
Openings & Closings
- Insight Coffee Roasters is closing its Southside Park roastery and cafe at the end of March, but will open a new home base in West Sacramento later this spring, the company announced on social media. The exact location has yet to be revealed.
- Staying in West Sacramento, a longtime Mexican favorite Sal tacos is open again at 400 C St. after a 14-month closure due to a fire. Founded nearly 50 years ago by Sal Galvan, it was sold in 2018 to Ernesto Delgado, the force behind Mayahuel and La Cosecha in downtown Sacramento and Mesa Mercado in Carmichael.
- Fair Oaks is buzzing Divided Sky Tavern’s recently opened at 4894 San Juan Ave. Owned by Ian Branning, its list of eclectic bar bites includes Reuben spring rolls, crayfish hush puppies and Thai curry mussels.
I’m already hungry.