Japanese Comfort–June’s Cafe

by Sarah on May 13, 2010

If you live in the Sacramento area, have you ever been to June’s Cafe?  It’s kind of a secret.  Even though it’s been right there for probably 50 years.  It’s located in what remains of Japantown, near Southside Park, in this unassuming little mid-century cinderblock building.

pictures 1 & 2 were found here

There’s June.  She’s a whirlwind of activity.

There’s the counter full of regulars.  If you’re not a regular, she might make you sit at a table.

For reasons unknown, the starter is macaroni salad.  This mac salad has plenty of black pepper and bits of carrot and celery.

Also included in your meal is a nice hot bowl of savory miso soup, laden with soft cubes of tofu.

Japanese curry.  Comforting and mild yellow curry gravy over potatoes, carrots, pork and rice.

A giant pot of sukiyaki.  Enough food for both lunch and dinner.  Comes with rice.

Weenie Royale.  What?  You read correctly.

Weenie Royale and it’s brother, Hamburger Royale, were created after World War II. While interred in camps, traditional Japanese foods were not provided.  Families were fed army-surplus foods such as spam, hot dogs, ketchup and potatoes.  After the war, dishes were created that incorporated some of these foods—like spam sushi andweenie royale.  There was an episode of Kitchen Sisters on NPR that talks about it, along with a mention of June’s, and a re-creation of her Weenie Royale recipe.  I’ll post it at the end.

The last time I was over there I had the ginger beef.  So satisfying!  Lots of ginger and tender beef slices, with just a touch of sweetness.  Again, more than I could possibly eat in one sitting, so $5 fed me for two days.

June is only open for business during the week for breakfast and lunch and she only takes cash.  Sometimes it takes a long time, it just depends on how busy it is.  She makes all the food and her husband helps out with serving and clearing.

It’s worth all of these less than modern conveniences so check it out.

June’s Cafe

921 V St.

Sacramento, CA 95818

From NPR:

We received this recipe for Weenie Royale from A.C., a resident of Sacramento, Calif. “A weenie royal is a simple dish to make,” A.C. wrote. “This was something I discovered in college when my friend and I went to June’s Cafe in Sacramento, Calif. After time, I figured out how June made this dish.”

Weenie Royale

Ingredients

1/2 white or yellow onions, chopped

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 hot dogs

3 eggs

Cooked white rice

Saute the chopped onions with a tablespoon of soy sauce and cook at medium to high heat until they are caramelized. While you wait for the onions to caramelize, cut the hot dogs in julienne slices and beat the eggs. After the onions are caramelized, add the hot dogs and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the beaten eggs to the onions and hot dogs until the eggs are done. Serve on top of cooked white rice.


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