Debbie Cunningham of DL Cunningham Photography is a freelance photographer who specializes in food, editorial and event photography, but sees pictures everywhere and in everything. She is a contributing photographer for Comstock’s magazine, Sacramento Magazine and Edible Sacramento, among other publications, and has been published nationwide. When she comes out from behind the lens, you can find her loving on her pets, making messes in her kitchen and eating her way through the Capital Region. Her work can be viewed and purchased at www.dlcunninghamphotography.com.
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The Rise and Fall of the Mall
Sunrise Mall and other shopping centers seek to reinvent themselves in a changing retail landscape
As many as 25 percent of America’s roughly 1,000 malls will close within three to five years, according to a recent study by Coresight Research. Migration patterns, a shift towards online retail and the pandemic are all cited as factors in the struggle of retail centers.
Plant-based fast food restaurants in the Capital Region target all palates
Just as meat alternatives have expanded, so have the eating patterns of people interested in plant-based food. A diverse set of diners are embracing plant-based restaurants, thanks to the proliferation of less restrictive plant-based diets.
A Sea of Hope
Can seaweed reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of California’s dairy industry?
In the span of a year, a single cow burps up 220 pounds of methane, a powerful driver of global warming. UC Davis scientists are experimenting with a red seaweed that can dramatically reduce the methane, but the solution has a few caveats.
A Sacred Mission in the Vines
A small band of wineries save the Adam root of California wine culture
In 2007, genetic researchers in Madrid used new DNA techniques to identify the origin-point of mission vines. What they found was that the mission grape’s backstory involved more travel, travail and endurance than anyone guessed.
Comstock’s Talks: Inflation Hits the Market Basket
PODCAST: Contributor Kate Gonzales reads her Taste
column about inflation’s impact on farmers
markets, and shares her insights researching the
Inflation Hits the Market Basket
How price increases are affecting the micro-economy of farmers markets
In a year of rising costs, farmers have quality as an
advantage. Still, farmers market vendors and shoppers are
struggling to stretch their dollars.
Starting From Scraps
Developers look to convert the region’s rotting eyesores into unique visions for business
While repurposing old warehouses for new use comes with
technical and financial challenges, it also presents great
benefits, and is one way to build green and sustainable.
Street Food Offers a Road to Success
The Midtown Association’s Street Food Sacramento grant supports entrepreneurs creating an authentic taste of Sacramento
Midtown Association’s Street Food Sacramento grant
is helping to better represent the city’s
diversity in the business district and the thriving Midtown
How Meat Markets Meet Needs
Traditional butchers find that skills from the past equal hope for the future
These Capital Region butcher shops are family-owned
businesses that offer meat from high-caliber livestock and
the magic of housemade marinades.
Bowls of Dreams
Sacramento ramen shops are keeping fans fed while adapting to market demands
For these chefs, cult followings are built through
next-level broth, experimentation and a healthy dose of
Cooking to Catharsis
Capital Region nonprofits empower women through culinary career training
Several local nonprofits are leading women to
self-sufficiency through a holistic approach, with culinary
training programs that arm them with transferable skills.
Cooking for Change
Bobbin Mulvaney, co-owner of Mulvaney’s B&L in Sacramento, shares her experiences with Saint John’s Program for Real Change
A Q&A with a restauranteur committed to offering
employment training for women in need.
The New Fusion Food
Young restaurateurs in the Capital Region are rewriting the definition of authenticity
Capital Region restaurant owners with mixed backgrounds are
channeling their points of view into creative dishes.
Mobile eateries find natural home in Amador County’s wine country
Amador County food trucks are expanding the meaning of fast
food by combining seasonality, convenience and relationships
Three Capital Region Restaurants Keep It in the Family
A dedication to the past allows some family restaurants in the Capital Region to survive through the decades.
Are You Ready for the TikTok Challenge?
Social media can grow a business’s audience — but only if it’s done right.
These Craft Distilleries Are Bringing Housemade Whiskeys to the Capital Region
The Capital Region craft distillery scene is starting to catch up with the rest of the country.
Will Curbside Pickup Survive?
Capital Region restaurant owners weigh the future of curbside
pickup, which kept many businesses afloat during the
Downtown Sacramento restaurants plan for a future, although unknowns remain
More than a few downtown eateries have become casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those that remain are embracing long-term survival strategies.
Something for Everyone
How a 90-year-old store with a new owner is surviving a pandemic
Small businesses continue to open, and some longtimers — like Tess’ Kitchen & Culinary — have found ways to thrive under new owners.
Hooked on Hot Chicken
A confluence of food-business trends is behind Sacramento’s fried chicken fad
Sacramento has been invaded by Nashville-style hot chicken.
Taste of Normalcy
Placer County’s mandarin orange growers are having another bountiful season
As farmers and event organizers adapt to climate change and the
ongoing spread of the pandemic, mandarin oranges have offered a
bright taste of normalcy during grim times.
Change in the Grapevine
Capital Region vineyards and wineries are cultivating an environmentally friendly way of life
In the Capital Region, there’s an emerging market among boutique vineyards and wineries focused on low-intervention farming and production methods.
Finding a New Vegan Vision
Food entrepreneurs on the verge of opening brick-and-mortar locations retool their businesses — and find silver linings
Many Sacramento entrepreneurs, when forced to consider what it
means to launch a business during a time of crisis, realized
there could be plant-based opportunities.
Cooking Up a Neighborhood
Food options abound in the up-and-coming Washington District in West Sacramento
West Sacramento’s Washington District has transformed in the past decade, due to efforts by the City of West Sacramento, developers and food entrepreneurs.
Resetting in Historic Folsom
The return of dining is important to the vitality of Sutter Street — but challenges exist
Folsom’s Sutter Street banks on its dining options to draw foot traffic. Now, the community is working to lift restaurants out of record-breaking lows.
More Out the Door
Small breweries that once thrived on beer sales from on-site consumption pivot their business model
While the shelter-in-place measures have helped slow the spread of COVID-19, they have taken a huge economic toll and have been devastating for breweries, especially small breweries that once relied on sales for consumption in their taprooms.
Prepping for Success
Meal prep delivery services thrive in the Capital Region
In the Capital Region, a homegrown meal prep market has been thriving for years. There are more than a dozen meal prep services in the region, ranging from the home-based and dubiously legal to nationally distributed brands.
All in the Family
Capital Region restaurants initiate meal delivery programs to help vulnerable populations
Though restaurants are among the businesses hit hardest by the coronavirus, local restaurateurs have pooled their resources to help seniors, low-income families and others access food.
In the Making: A Daring Brew
Based in Auburn, the Common Cider Company produces around 75,000
gallons of hard cider monthly. Owner Fran Toves began brewing
cider on a dare in 2012.
Spreading Out the Flavor
More restaurateurs are running businesses with a variety of culinary concepts
The Sacramento food scene is often defined more by its restaurateurs than its restaurants. Some culinary titans roll out an array of unique concepts throughout their careers. However, microcelebrity status doesn’t come without challenges.
Local farmers work hard to respond and adapt to the coronavirus pandemic
Comstock’s spoke with Paul Towers, executive director of Community Alliance with Family Farmers, a Davis-based nonprofit dedicated to supporting family farmers and community-based agriculture, to find out how small farmers in the Capital Region are faring during the coronavirus pandemic.
How Are Sacramento Restaurants Handling the Coronavirus?
The coronavirus quarantine has devastated the Sacramento restaurant scene. We talked to several prominent local restaurateurs to see how they are handling the situation.
In the Making: Bringing Colors Alive
Tonja Wilcox has created a lot of watercolor paintings of trees, mainly birch and aspen, but the exact number is unknown. “I stopped counting after 600,” says the Sacramento-based artist.
Repackaging Food Ideas
Davis sets ambitious goals for the future of its food system
In May 2019, the Davis City Council approved the “Food and Economic Development (FED) in Davis” report that urges the city to rethink its relationship with food.
Placer Valley is home to awarding-winning craft beer breweries — and goat yoga
Placer Valley is classic Gold Country, named for the gold-bearing deposits that run beneath its rivers. Today, there’s another kind of gold flowing through the Valley: craft beer.
Loving the Lager
The lighter beer is making a comeback in the Capital Region
While the general American drinking public prefers lagers over ales, craft breweries often give these cold-fermented brews the cold shoulder. Yet some area brewers believe the balance is starting to shift.
Dinner Time: Winters’ Buckhorn Steakhouse Serves a Cut Above
The family-owned restaurant chain celebrates 40 years of tri-tip
The famed Buckhorn empire stretches across the country, with 12 restaurants from the Bay Area and Capital Region to New York City.
In the Making: A Fresh Crush at Coldani Olive Ranch
Unlike a typical orchard with rows of olive trees, Coldani Olive Ranch’s olives are grown on trellises, resulting in dense, long walls of olives for its oil label, Calivirgin.
Seniors in the Capital Region don’t let age and injury keep them away from sports
It took a protruding tree branch this summer to finally sideline Potato Richardson, the legendary 76-year-old endurance horse rider.
Incubating Ideas, Hatching Success
Alchemist Microenterprise Academy graduates its first cohort of food entrepreneurs
Operated by a local nonprofit, the Alchemist Microenterprise Academy is a business training course geared toward food entrepreneurs from underserved communities.
In the Making: Fancy Fabrications
Merle Axelrad says she fell into the medium of fabric collage 27 years ago when she was nine months pregnant, on maternity leave from her job as an architect, and made a baby quilt. Now, most of her works are public art, corporate and private commissions.
Local experts and retailers work to prevent food fraud
With as much as 10 percent of all food products sold around the world mislabeled, experts at UC Davis and elsewhere are working hard to ensure what’s on the label accurately represents what’s in the food.
In the Making: Where Flowers Bloom
“We are flower nerds to the max here,” Melissa Cowan, owner of Placerville Flowers on Main says. “We squeal on the daily when new products come in or when seasons change.”
Fair Oaks Village is experiencing a renaissance fueled by new drink and dining options
Colonized in the late 1800s, Fair Oaks Village is the quaint, charming center of town. It is currently experiencing a renaissance, largely driven by a burgeoning dining scene.
Designing the Future
Sacramento designers transform architectural materials into future-forward fashion at the International Interior Design Association Northern California Chapter Merge Fashion Show
Outside the Hyatt Regency in downtown Sacramento, tower cranes rise above the skyline, harbingers of the city’s burgeoning building boom. Inside, the designers who are determining the new face of our city took to the runway to envision our future through fashion.
Riding Their Rye
How four women are turning the Legado Whiskey passion project into an international brand
Though Legado Whiskey is a dark American rye, the company is as unaged as moonshine. The owners have leveraged their story — homegrown, women-owned — to reach consumers around the Capital Region, a key strategy in the crowded craft beverage market.
For Food Trucks, a Road to Success
Sacramento food truck owners graduate from nomadic life to traditional brick-and-mortar dwellings
Across the Sacramento region, food truck owners are riding their mobile success into more stationary ventures, from sit-down restaurants like Culinerdy Kitchen to food-court outposts and drive-through kiosks.
New Recipe for Success
After a change in ownership, contract manufacturer Mad Will’s is cooking again
Amid the clatter of machinery and the beeping of forklifts, workers wearing white hair nets tend their stations around the assembly line in the warehouse-like production kitchen of Mad Will’s Food Company on the outskirts of Auburn.
Outsider art continues to captivate collectors in Sacramento and beyond
Defining “outsider art” isn’t easy — the term encompasses work by self-taught artists and the artwork of the developmentally disabled — but its popularity is soaring. In Sacramento, Short Center North’s art program is one example.