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burgers and more for sacramento magazine

When asked by Sacramento Magazine if I wanted to do an assignment that would include photographing burgers, without hesitation I replied, “YES… all over that one!”

On the day of the shoot, I couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather.  The temperature was in the low 60’s, sky was a lovely shade of blue with big, white, puffy clouds and the natural light coming through the front windows of the restaurant where I set up, made the shooting conditions near ideal.

I met the chef first thing upon arriving at the restaurant and we discussed the dishes he would be preparing for me to photograph. Throughout the shoot he and his staff were great… they kept the food coming at a timely pace and each dish was nicely plated.

Here are a few outtakes from the shoot and some of the photographs featured in the article.


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rodeo burger

I bought my son/assistant for the day, the Rodeo Burger for lunch and he said it was the best burger he ever ate!  I’m no dummy… pay him a decent wage — buy him lunch and afterwards he says, “Wow mom that was cool!” Now if I can just get him to clean his room!


During the shoot, a server was helping me by bringing the various entrees from the kitchen and clearing the food from the table after I was finished with it.  While I was working on the last item for the shoot, the thai garlic chicken wings, the owners asked me to take some shots of them around the interior/exterior of the restaurant. After about half an hour or so, when I got back inside the restaurant to finish up the shots of the wings, they were G O N E !!!  I asked my assistant where they were, and he said, “The server took them.


thai garlic chicken wings via lensandladle.com

thai garlic chicken wings


After locating the server and telling her the wings had gone missing, she laughingly replied, “Oh I’m so sorry, I thought you were done with them.” When she first brought the dish out she had said, “These are my FAVORITE!!!” and apparently she had set her sights on them. She quickly brought them back downstairs, albeit missing one celery stick, but the wings were still intact and I quickly got the shots I needed so she could finish her lunch.


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blue linen cocktail

One of the house specialties, the blue linen cocktail was photographed outside in the patio area which has a very cool granite table with a fire pit running through the middle of it.  Could be a great place for discussing “hot topics.” Okay couldn’t resist!  I watched the bartender mix up the cocktail and it’s pretty simple containing just a few ingredients: Hendricks gin, St Germain elderflower liqueur, cucumber, blueberries, and lemon. A little alcohol, a little veg, a little fruit… mix it all up in a shaker, pour over ice,  add a slice of lemon for garnish and enjoy!


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smoked salmon pasta


tear sheet from the march issue of sacramento magazine


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cocktail shoot for sacramento magazine

I met up recently with Sacramento bartender Brad Peters at the Pour House in midtown, to photograph him and a few of his festive cocktails for the December issue of Sacramento Magazine. Brad was great to work with and he mixed up some really cool drinks. With names like Barrel-Aged Revolver, Whiskey Fig, and North Sea Sling, they are definitely cocktails you drink while wearing your big girl/boy pants!!!

The festive North Sea Sling caught my eye with its exotic list of ingredients, refreshing garnishes of lemon, and freshly grated nutmeg. When I first saw it, the cocktail reminded me of a tall, refreshing glass of fresh squeezed lemonade… but for grown-ups, and one you sip fireside rather than on the front porch. Or perhaps that to.


sacramento bartender brad peters

sacramento bartender brad peters


whiskey fig cocktail

whiskey fig cocktail



sacramento bartender brad peters

sacramento bartender brad peters serving up a north sea sling


north sea sling garnished with lemon slices and grated nutmeg

north sea sling garnished with fresh lemon slices and grated nutmeg


recipe: north sea sling    by sacramento bartender Brad Peters

1.5 oz Krogstad Aquavit
.5 oz Pimms No. 1
.5 oz simple syrup
.5 oz ginger syrup
.5 oz lemon juice
3 lemon slices and fresh grated nutmeg (optional for garnish)

Add all ingredients to a chilled shaker. Place top on shaker, shake vigorously and strain over crushed ice. Garnish with lemon slices and freshly grated nutmeg. Cheers!


tear sheet from the December issue of Sacramento Magazine


barrel aged revolver cocktail

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latest work for Sacramento Magazine

Had a fun shoot recently for Sacramento Magazine photographing some of the entrees at the newly opened Zocalo Restaurant in Roseville, California.


ceviche, fish tacos and a mojito

ceviche, tacos del mar and a mojito


tacos del mar at zocalo restaurant

tacos del mar


each entree so colorful and perfectly plated by  Chef Ryan Rose


cochinita pibil at zocalo restaurant

cochinita pibil


kitchen at zocalo restaurant

chef ryan rose (foreground) and the hustling kitchen staff


salmon con mango at zolalo restaurant

salmon con mango


pastel de mora at zocalo restaurant

pastel de mora


fabulous desserts… wanted so badly to scoop out a teensy little bite but they looked too pretty to disturb. seriously though. the tres leche looks so ooey gooey delish. i just have to go back soon to try it!


dessert at zocalo restaurant

tres leches


tear sheet from the december issue of sacramento magazine


french macarons

I recently purchased a lovely set of french inspired coffee cups/saucers and a serving plate from Sur La Table and wan’t quite sure what to use them for. One morning as I was perusing one of my favorite food blogs, Tartelette, I read some of Helene Dujardins’ recipes for macarons and thought they would be perfect for the dishes.

I purchased a dozen macarons from a local bakery and proceeded to take some shots for my portfolio. Ironically the next day, I was contacted by Sacramento Magazine to photograph of all things, french macarons! Of course I accepted the assignment and once again had the opportunity to photograph these lovely treats!


mararons and french coffee cups


On the day of the shoot, I arrived at Estelle’s Patisserie in downtown Sacramento and met briefly with the owner and chef Esther Son. We chatted a bit as I looked around at her lovely restaurant and as I was ready to leave, she handed me two boxes of the beautiful pastel colored cookies.


box of pistachio macarons

pistacho flavored macarons


I’ve never photographed or worked with these types of cookies and although they were initially crisp to the touch, they soon began to feel a bit “sticky” under the studio lights. I worked quickly to get the shots requested and soon realized once again why I love being a food photographer!


assorted pastel macarons


I couldn’t resist any longer and after a quick survey of the lovely bits of goodness in front of me, I just had to try one! My first choice was the green tea  and oh my what a delicious treat to my mouth. Crispy, chewy, refreshing green tea flavors with a bit of sweetness (honey?) that was oh so good! The next one I tried was the chocolate (heavenly!) and then the blueberry. I seriously had no idea these delicate cookies were so full of flavor.


assorted pastel macarons

Strawberry, blueberry, green tea, chocolate and pistachio nut. Each bite more delish than the first!


assorted macarons


I am now on an agenda to try and make my own batch of these lovely bits of goodness and if you feel inclined to as well, there is a wonderful macaron tutorial written by Helene Dujardin titled, “Demystifying Macarons.”  Until then, I just might have to find an excuse to make my way back to Estelle’s Patisserie to try the latest flavors of my new favorite cookie!


tear sheet from the April issue of Sacrament Magazine:


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an afternoon with a french chef

I recently had the pleasure of photographing Chef Daniel Pont, owner of Chez Daniel for the Restaurant Review feature in Sacramento Magazine.

I arrived at Chez Daniel on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and his pride was apparent as Chef Daniel showed me around his charming restaurant, while explaining he wanted his dinner guests to feel as if they were dining in Paris. The dining room is intimate, less than 10 tables and each set beautifully with white linens, gleaming glassware, and a vase of fresh red roses. French music was playing softly in the background and the intoxicating aroma coming from the kitchen was divine!

As Chef Daniel and I discussed the dishes he would be preparing for the shoot, my eyes were wandering around as they tend to do. As the sole cook for the restaurant, the kitchen albeit very clean, was in disarray and he requested I not take any pictures of it. No photographs?  The various pots with their goodness simmering atop the stove, single servings of creamy crème brûlée waiting to be finished, an enticing casserole dish of potatoes gratin destined for the oven, all added to the charm. But I honored his request and for a brief moment I lost focus (a little photography humor) and merely longed to pull up a stool and watch as he created his magic. Oh the things I could learn from this chef who for the majority of his 70+ years has worked in fine dining establishments around the world… but I soon came back to reality and got to work.


chez daniel vegetable potagevegetable potage


A table set for two by a window naturally lit by the afternoon sun was the perfect setting for the mood I wanted to convey. Although Chef Daniel was also busy prepping for the evening’s dinner reservations, he took the time necessary for the shoot and was wonderful to work with. He mentioned having worked with many photographers throughout his career and it was obvious he was experienced in preparing food for the camera. Each dish was perfectly prepared, meticulously plated and and smelled amazing! We discussed food and wine pairings with  to ensure each dinner setting was authentic and Chef suggested a “fabulous french white” which he brought from the cooler to be photographed with the salmon entree. We had our timing down perfectly — as chef was preparing an entree, I was  setting up the table for the shot, the entree came out, chef retreated to the kitchen, shot was composed then taken, table cleared and on to the next one. As we were nearing our final entree, I asked Chef if I could take his portrait. He paused for a moment, smiled ever so slightly, click click click and back to his kitchen he went.


chef daniel pont of chez daniel restaurantchef daniel pont , owner of chez daniel

 poached salmon entree from chez daniel

poached salmon entree


Chez Daniel Braised Rabbit braised rabbit with rosemary-mustard sauce

After we wrapped and I was gathering up the last of my gear, Chef Daniel came out of the kitchen, shook my hand and as I was thanking him for all his help and lovely food, he smiled and in his charming French accent replied, “Mademoiselle, I can tell you have been doing this a long time. Some photographers come in here and take picture, picture, picture. But you, you care about the food and that makes me happy.” and with a small chuckle he added, “Besides, I try to be extra nice because you know what they say about the French.”  I laughed and then bid this wonderful chef adieu.  It has been a dream of mine to visit France one day and while it may not be in my near future, it is nice to know I can get a taste of Paris a mere thirty-minute drive from home… now if I can just get a reservation!

chez daniel for sacramento magazine

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