Special Issues: Comfort Food + Dessert + Coffee + More

The Comfort Food Issue by Steph Rodriguez

This was my original concept and idea as the Dining Editor of the Sacramento News & Review. I was inspired by what I love to eat during the fall and winter months: comfort food. Dishes that warm your belly and conjure positive food memories surrounded by friends and family. I collaborated with not only my editorial colleagues, but also with the design department to create a vintage-style cookbook aesthetic to really make the stories and recipes featured in this food issue pop. I wrote the anchor piece for this issue and asked local chefs what meals bring them comfort and they submitted original recipes. The Comfort Food Issue was the most popular issue that SN&R published in 2019. Full story here.

The Dessert Issue by Steph Rodriguez

Who doesn’t love a good dessert? Sacramento is home to some of the tastiest dessert destinations. In fact, Gunther’s Ice Cream was just named the best old-fashioned ice cream shop in California by Food & Wine magazine in 2021. This special food issue focuses on Sacramento’s sweet staples such as thick slices of banana cream pie from Frank Fat’s downtown to elegant, mini mousse cakes using creative, geometric molds dusted in colorful chocolate powder. This issue won First Place at the California News Publishers Association 2018 Print Contest for Special Sections. Full story here.

Coffee Capital by Steph Rodriguez

Sacramento is home to many artisan and independently owned coffee shops. Did I mention they’re also award-winning? In the Farm-to-Fork Capital, we’re spoiled with an abundance of good java, so I wanted to explore everything from the first coffee roaster in California’s Capital to the varying mom-and-pop shops in between. One thing’s for certain, if you need a morning jolt, Sacramento’s got you covered. Full story here.

KJ’s Comeback by Raheem F. Hosseini and Steph Rodriguez

Sacramento didn’t author Kevin Johnson’s political downfall. Will the city support the accused molester’s makeover as a celebrity restaurant owner? Together, my colleague Raheem and I, explored Sacramento’s disgraced former mayor’s pivot from political figure to restaurateur, and why that’s highly problematic given the allegations of sexual assault from underage survivors. Full story here.