Almonds, burgers and beer

A trip to Sohnrey Family Foods; Durham’s got a new lunch truck; and guess who’s serving beer?

I didn’t make it out on the Sierra Oro Farm Trail this year. It’s always a fun October weekend, though, hopping from farm to dairy to winery to winery (did I say that twice?). One of the new stops this year, Sohnrey Family Foods, had recently made it onto my radar. After driving past the gift shop on my way home from Sacramento a few weekends ago, I decided it was time to pop in.

So, I braved the rain late last week and took the 20 minute drive down Highway 99 to check the place out. I was immediately greeted by Emily, who offered me and another first-timer a tour of the store, followed by some samples of delicious flavored almonds (the balsamic herb was my favorite variety) and rave-worthy almond butter (maple and snickerdoodle flavors!).

As Emily answered questions about the operation—the Sohnreys began farming in 1875 and grow rice, almonds and walnuts—family members came in and out of the store, welcoming customers. I met Derek Sohnrey and his wife, Amy, part of the fifth farming generation, and learned that until a year ago, the Sohnreys farmed exclusively for wholesale markets.

The store, at the corner of Skillin Lane and Highway 99, is part of their effort to create a personal food line. It’s also a cool way to highlight other local growers and artists, from Paradise’s Brannen Gourmet to Oroville’s Mary Lake-Thompson, who designed the store’s shopping bags. I even spied a display of Knaughty Farms olive oil (which is currently in use in my house and is delicious), and learned that Knaughty owners Adam and Jackie Kennedy, of Glenn, are cousins of the Sohnreys. Gotta love this small, flavorful world.

Some tasty burgers On my drive back to town, I decided to swing through Durham because a pool player buddy of mine, Debbie Murphy, had been blowing up Facebook about her new business venture, Two Broke Girls Burgers. I asked her what prompted the new biz and she said it was just time for a change—so she and her friend Penny Stevens decided to invest in a food truck.

As I approached the four-way stop at the Midway, I couldn’t have missed the brightly colored truck, parked right in front of the Empire Club, if I’d tried. Murphy was on the grill. We chitchatted for a bit, I perused the menu—lots of burgers and ’dogs—and asked for a recommendation. She said the Western and avocado burgers are local faves. I had to go with the patty melt, though. Good choice—it was delicious. Visit the truck Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Tapping in If you haven’t stopped by the Naked Lounge Tea & Coffeehouse lately, there are a few cool new things going on there. First, the downtown Chico hotspot installed beer taps—that’s right, it’s now the Naked Lounge Tea, Ale & Coffeehouse! (I kid, but it wouldn’t be a horrible name change.) In addition, they have new T-shirts and mugs emblazoned with the designs of local artist Wyatt Hersey. Cheers to that!