Beer Tasting Wednesdays and the Road to Cicerone

Every Wednesday evening in recent weeks at Ten22, Executive Chef Jay Veregge leads an entertaining hour of beer tasting. Known for its large beer selection, Ten22 wanted to create a program where beer enthusiasts can come learn more about their favorite beers, as well as fall in love with new beer and food pairings. With a different them each week, Beer Tasting Wednesdays have been a beer lover’s paradise.

But wait! There’s more! Beer Tasting Wednesdays just got infinitely more interesting as Chef Jay just passed his Certified Beer Server exam in the Cicerone Certification Program. Now beer enthusiasts, as well as beer skeptics, can come to Beer Tasting Wednesdays knowing they are listening to an expert! “It’s necessary in this business to understand and keep current with the ever-changing beer industry,” said Chef Jay. “I’m a beer enthusiast, and I wanted to test my knowledge on what I know.”

To become a Certified Beer Server one must have proficient knowledge of beer storage and service as well as some knowledge of beer styles which includes understanding of beer tasting, flavors and the basic brewing process and ingredients ( Doesn’t sound quite so simple for the first level, now does it? “The first test in the Cicerone Program was more difficult than I expected even with my expansive knowledge of beer,” said Chef Jay. “If you’re not completely into beer, you might have a hard time.”

Nevertheless, Chef Jay is confident he can give people the opportunity through Beer Tasting Wednesdays to become their own Cicerone if they should choose to do so. The information he imparts on Wednesdays on different types of beer leaves room for everyone to be educated in some capacity. It is extremely important to Chef Jay that everyone who comes to Beer Tasting Wednesdays has a good time, but also that they learn something. “Beer Tasting Wednesdays have fast become a place where people can come to have fun, and we’ve already developed a loyal following,” said Chef Jay. It is a good deal indeed to receive a fair amount of beer and food for $10!

For more information on Beer Tasting Wednesdays, visit our website.

Lindy Gervin

Published in: on February 6, 2014 at 5:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Winter Menus at The Firehouse

Winter is here, and so are the new menus at The Firehouse! Launched on January 24, Chef Deneb showcases his skillfully crafted menu items that are sure to warm the palates of all who set foot in The Firehouse this winter. The Firehouse offers the best fresh and seasonal ingredients from the Sacramento region, proving there is an option for everyone whether for lunch or dinner. In fact, it is the “wide array of local vegetables prepared with global culinary influences,” according to Chef Deneb that he believes guests at The Firehouse will enjoy the most.


Lobster-Parnsip Bisque

The fresh, local ingredients Chef Deneb refers to on the winter menu include the Lobster-Parnsip Bisque. This delectable soup with caramelized leeks, potatoes and fennel, and cream sherry-infused lobster velouté is a fantastic option as an appetizer for lunch or as a course to dinner. This dish is the perfect example of one with local vegetables (the leeks from Yolo County’s Del Rio Botanicals), and a “global culinary influence” with the French sauce, velouté. Chef Deneb is confident that this soup will warm guests during their dining experience, while satisfying any appetite.

Chef Deneb is not shy about embracing new ingredients for the shift to winter. When asked what his favorite winter ingredient is, he responded with, “Winter greens, hard squash, citrus, root vegetables, warm exotic spices…oh, that was more than one.” Essentially, the same amount of care goes in to each dish that Chef Deneb makes no matter which ingredients he is using. The cold smoked then chargrilled Boliche Pork Tenderloin is a prime model as it is cooked to perfection and served with Cuban spices (just one example of an exotic spice Chef Deneb is so fond of), and embellished with pepitas chorizo-black bean-red pepper-quinoa sofrito.


Boliche Pork Tenderloin

One of Chef Deneb’s preferred menu items is the Duck with Blood Oranges, although he said that he loves all menu items the same, because the same flawless attention goes into creating each item. The Duck with Blood Orange has blood orange molasses, coriander and roasted beets, and spiced sweet potato confit hash: a mixture of some of Chef’s favorite winter items!

To top off the best attributes of the lunch and dinner menu is the dessert menu created by Pastry Chef, Nichol Santisteven. What else completes a meal but dessert? The Black Forest Baked Hot Chocolate dessert is a melt-in-your-mouth delight. Kirsch baked hot chocolate, malted chocolate Chantilly served with dried cherry and pistachio biscotti complete this ensemble for a heavenly mixture of chocolate-y goodness.

The menus at The Firehouse change seasonally, and there is a lot of creativity that goes on behind the scenes to make these menus a steadfast representative of Sacramento’s most notorious restaurant. “It takes months of collaboration, trial and error, and perfecting each recipe,” said Chef Deneb. “The menus are something I work on 24/7. Some of my best ideas come in the middle of the night, or while I’m distracted with something completely unrelated to food. Mostly it’s my lifelong obsession with food, and learning what I don’t know that keeps driving new menus.”


Duck with Blood Oranges

The Firehouse has long been a Sacramento favorite in fine dining and cuisine, and Chef Deneb does not disappoint with the new winter menu options. “Our menus’ diversity is what sets The Firehouse apart from other restaurants,” said Chef Deneb. Truer words have seldom been spoken! To see the full lunch, dinner and dessert menus, please visit The Firehouse website.

Lindy Gervin

Published in: on January 27, 2014 at 4:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ramey Wine Cellars Winemaker Dinner

The Firehouse RestaurantSacramento’s most award-winning restaurant, is expecting that its November 1st Ramey Wine Cellars Dinner will sell out soon.

Winemaker David Ramey will lead this exclusive winemaker dinner, featuring an elaborate seven-course menu specially created by Executive Chef/Sommelier Deneb Williams and expertly paired with Ramey Wine Cellar wines.

Dinner will take place on November 1, with an hors d’ouevres reception starting at 7 p.m. in The Firehouse’s renowned wine cellar.

Guests will feast on delicious food and award-winning wines while enjoying wine education and the history on Ramey wines from David Ramey himself.

The Wine Dinner is $165 per person. Reservations can be made by calling 916-442-4772. Only a few seats remain! View the menu here.

Lindy Gervin

Published in: on October 15, 2013 at 4:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The History of Wine Tasting Tuesdays

Wine cellar front

Every Tuesday evening, the sommeliers of the Firehouse Restaurant offer wine tastings. With a different theme each week, patrons can look forward to trying any wine from Pinot Noir to Zinfandel to Merlot while also having fun learning about where the wine comes from. The best part is that guests get to enjoy their wine in the historical atmosphere of the famous Firehouse wine cellar. These popular wine tastings have led to a loyal following for The Firehouse, and it attracts many newcomers as well.

General Manager and Wine Buyer, Mario Ortiz, is the inventor of Wine Tasting Tuesdays, and the reason people get to enjoy vintage wines each week. “We wanted to have a time for our guests to talk wine, learn about it, and enjoy it in our wonderful wine cellar while also showing our commitment to providing the most varieties of wine in the region,” said Ortiz.

Ortiz, a faithful employee to The Firehouse for over 40 years, has become a highly respected wine expert. His ideas such as Wine Tasting Tuesdays help The Firehouse keep a top-notch reputation for fine dining and quality wine. His expertise stems from his visits to Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, France, Italy, and the Foothills.

Each week Ortiz comes up with new and different themes for Wine Tasting Tuesdays. The Firehouse strives to give a unique experience each time, so changing the wine themes each week is important. “The most enjoyable part of Wine Tasting Tuesdays,” said Ortiz, “are the new guests that I get to meet. To earn their respect and confidence in our wine program, and when they come back for dinner or a glass of wine, is the most rewarding part.”

His method for choosing the themes? It’s a good mix of some his favorites and experiences he has had with wine, but most importantly, finding something that will connect to new guests as well as regulars.  “Wine makes for a great conversation and great memories.  Having wonderful food with it  just completes the moment.”

Join The Firehouse on Tuesdays for a unique and educational wine experience. Wine Tasting Tuesdays are held every week from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm for $15 per person. The Firehouse also does a weekly contest on Facebook for two free tickets.

Published in: on October 8, 2013 at 11:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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Frank Family Wine Dinner a Hit!

The Frank Family Wine Dinner, held on the evening of September 27, was a sellout success! The much anticipated dinner was hosted during Farm-to-Fork week, so naturally the brilliant Deneb Williams, executive chef at The Firehouse Restaurant expertly prepared a special seven-course farm-to-fork dinner paired with Frank Family wines.

013As guests were seated and getting settled, Chef Williams thoroughly described the seven-course meal and wine pairings guests would be enjoying. Then, Edward Skupien, the wineries Vice President of California and Asia sales, educated The Firehouse guests on award-winning Frank Family Wine as they dined on their delicious seven-course meal. Rich Frank became a co-owner of what is now Frank Family Wines, and assumed full ownership in 2007. The winery, Skupien explained, produces Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, and several Cabernet Sauvignons, many of which were sampled during the dinner.

The guests began with hors d’oeuvres including Watanabe Farms heirloom tomato croustade paired 023with 2008 Frank Family Blanc de Noirs, and finished with Del Rio Botanical fried figs served with Frank Family Zinfandel Port. Guests were then able to relax with artisanal cheeses from North Valley Farms in The Firehouse’s acclaimed wine cellar.

Between Chef Williams’ professionalism and knowledge of each course, Skupien’s education-laced yet entertaining talk about Frank Family Wines, and Manager Mario Ortiz’s exemplary service, the night was enjoyed by all who attended. The Firehouse strives to give patrons the best and most unique experience possible, and they didn’t disappoint! 

Lindy Gervin

Ten22 Celebrates its 4th Birthday and Benefits Food Literacy!

Ten22 honors its commitment to community and to local, quality food with a birthday party dedicated to food literacy. Join us as we shut down the restaurant for a private VIP cocktail reception featuring a signature farm to glass cocktail and seasonally-inspired food stations served with a side of food education fun facts to spark the conversation.

The nonprofit California Food Literacy Center will be on hand to announce this year’s winner of their kids’ recipe contest, whose sweet potato creation will become a new item on Ten22’s kids’ menu. Watch Chef Jay Veregge and the winning kid chef demo this dish as it’s unveiled to the public for the first time!

“I’m a proponent of food literacy. It is exceptionally important for children. My own kids know the importance of the garden, fresh food, and patience for the fruits of their labor. I love to see my kids enjoy blackberries and cherries and think of them as candy. When you start young, kids don’t know the difference. Sharing that message is beneficial to the future of their health,” said Executive Chef Jay Veregge.

California Food Literacy Center, based in Sacramento, supports kids to improve their knowledge, attitude and behavior toward food through community food education. The organization empowers K-5 students to explore new foods, learn to cook healthy, sustainable snacks and make smart choices and truly understand the impact of food choices on health, the environment, and the community.

The winner of California Food Literacy Center’s Kid Recipe Contest will also be announced during the celebration followed by a cooking demonstration of the winning dish alongside Chef Jay Veregge. The recipe will also receive placement on the restaurant’s kids menu.

“Food literacy education is the solution to inspiring a new generation of healthy food habits,” said Amber Stott, Executive Director of the California Food Literacy Center. “As a community we can make food education a priority. We are honored that Ten22, one of Sacramento’s premier dining destinations, is partnering with California Food Literacy Center to support these crucial programs.”

The celebration, from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 22 at Ten22 located at 1022 2nd Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, will feature an expertly prepared seven course celebratory menu from Executive Chef Jay Veregge.

Tickets are just $40 with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting food literacy programs administered by California Food Literacy Center. Tickets can be purchased online at

The Firehouse Magnum Party is coming Saturday the 22nd!!!

Come one, come all!!!! This should be the one that started them all!! In many years in Sacramento and in the wine industry there have been great events here or there for wine and enthusiasts alike. Festivals for this harvest or viticulture area or fair and so on. But for the super wine geek or wine lover in most of us we know WHAT we like and love to share our opinions and experiences on this winery or that style or vintage and so forth. Why not have something that encompasses all of that. Let’s have a party where you come and show off your best wines and try everyone elses treasures.

Why not have two great Chefs get groovy with some awesome food that you do not need to have a seated dinner with, but to have with what they love and to have with wine? Well it is here on Staurday the 22nd @ 7 P.M. in the Courtyard at The Firehouse Restaurant. Chef Deneb Williams of the Firehouse and Chef Jay Veregge of Ten22 will have roasting pigs and giant seafood stations. Some of the greatest wine cheeses and charcutery as well as sweet wonderments as Mario and I have our Sommelier staff ready with the magnums of wine that you, yes you, the guests get to bring in and share the stories of the great bottles. The great memories of what happened with that winery or experience you had. By the way, I will have to say that Mario and I have a few friends that are coming as well from Frank Family, Silver Oak, Kevin and Mark from Kobalt, Linda Neal from Mellowood and Tierra Roja, Row Eleven Winery, Jeremy Nickel’s The Vineyard House, Master Sommelier Fred Dame, and Spoto wines will be here with their magnums (or BIGGER) as well!!!

Now to me, this sounds like it is shaping up to be a Party. Todd Morgan & The Emblems will be playing some incredible music for dancing under the stars and help set the musical tone for the special night. Proceeds from the evening will benefit the California Musical Theatre. The First Magnum Party in Sacramento. The one to start them all. So get your wine enthusiasm ready to share. Get a magnum of wine. Come down and have a night to remember in which we will have everyone else saying ” I just drank a 1973 BV with a Master Sommelier? AWESOME!!!” Sacramento deserves to have their special wine event that everyone talks about. A wine event. A Magnum Wine Party. Starting to smile yet? Let’s get the PARTY started.

I really hope to see you here ready to have a lot of fun, sharing stories, making a new one with me and Mario for a great, great cause. Call to confirm, tickets are $125 per person and icludes tax, tip, and valet parking, just bring your Magnum of wine. -P

Paul Marsh, C.S.

Published in: on June 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tasting Tuesday Presents: Up Highway 50

untitledJoin us tonight as we savor wines from our proverbial backyard. Highway 50 leads to one of the first great wine regions in the U.S. with Amador County, Plymouth, and El Dorado being chock full of great varietals such as Zinfandel, Barbera, Viognier, and so much more. Check us out and try some Old Vine Zin from a vineyard that dates back to the turn of the century. See you at 5:30, $15. -PM

Published in: on March 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tasting Tuesday Heads to Southern Italy…..

……Sort of.  We will stay here at The Firehouse Restaurant and experience some great wines produced in some of the greatest parts of Italy that you may not always here about.  A white wine from Campania, reds from Scicily, Morellino di Scansano,  and Puglia. We will talk about cultural influences and history and how that has affected winemaking since before the Romans. Starts at 5:30, hope to see you there. $15 per person.

Published in: on January 26, 2013 at 3:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Spoto Winemaker Dinner is a Smash!!!!

Friday night, candles lit, bottles are breathing, last of the silver is polished and set, and the kitchen is full steam ahead. This was the scene last evening when Chef Deneb Williams plated a dynamic sold out dinner for thirty guests including Winemaker Stuart Spoto of Spoto Wines. Stuart has crafted incredible cabernets from the Oakville District in Napa Valley that we have enjoyed for years here on our winelist at The Firehouse Restaurant. This event we were able to include all of his wines from around Napa including a wonderful blend called Lenore, which is named after his mom who was also in attendance last night. Also a chardonnay from Northern Napa Valley  and a great Russian River pinot noir from Sonoma to name just a few.

We kicked off the evening with sabering J Cuvee magnums of sparkling wine as guests arrived in our Courtyard Grill with the fireplace setting a great mood.  All four of our sommeliers and servers meeting guests and talking about great wines and past experiences here at The Firehouse. As guests were seated at the Kings table Chef Williams described in great detail the seven course menu and the wines to be paired.  Stuart talked about his gracious endevours into wine all inspired by family winemaking and the strength of the family run operation. As course by course was served in synchronicity, the guests were delving into the dishes and glasses of wine. Everyone comparing notes and tastes that the food and wine were setting for them. The dessert course with Le Tertre du Solis , Sauternes finished the plated part of the night and everyone moved to the Wine Cellar where everyone was a buzz with thoughts and favorites from the dinner so far. Stuart, Mario, And Chef Deneb kept the mood going with the guests with favorite wine and food stories.  It was a great night to be out in Old Sac. Spoto is based here in Sacramento so it was a wonderfully fitting dinner here and his wines are defintely to be treasured.

Published in: on January 26, 2013 at 3:08 pm  Comments (1)