Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


MidTown Restaurant Reviews

Crepeville, 17th & L
A most excellent place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Low prices, fresh ingredients, friendly and consistent service - everything combines for a great dining experience. We've been here several times since it opened about 3 weeks ago, and this is definitely at the top of our "favs" and "musts" lists. Aside from delicious crepes, the pasta and salad dishes are fabulous, and the staff is always willing to cook everything to order (meaning a high-maintenance foodie like me can be totally satisfied each time). The only minor strike against this restaurant is that the savory crepes are made with the same batter as the sweet crepes - a wheat base would be preferable (and more authentic) for the former.

Michelangelo's, 17th & I
This is my next favorite choice for dinner. Outdoor dining is available in a separate small back courtyard with frequent live music and local artwork on display. The restaurant is adjacent to an art gallery that had a fabulous "faux" exhibit for last month's 2nd Saturday Art Walk - local artists contributed fakes of famous paintings or sculptures in a competition to see who could create the best phony. As for Michelangelo's food, the menu is limited but has a wealth of good choices, including reasonably-priced wines. Excellent salads and yummy piadina as a starter (flat bread - sans garlic! - stuffed with cheese and veges).

Lucca, 16th & J
On one of our first nights in Sacramento, we went out for a stroll to see what was nearby and stumbled upon this chic little spot. Slightly higher prices and interesting architecture make this something of a "see-and-be-seen" dining spot. The service was a bit spotty, which irked me more than E, but the salad was tasty, and the lightly-salted thin-cut zucchini chips were an excellent and rather unusual munchie option. They were supposed to be our appetizer but were neglected until we reminded our server, so they arrived to accompany our meal instead. I'd definitely return for the zucchini chips, a cocktail, and some interesting people-watching.

P. F. Chang's, 15th & J
This upscale Asian bistro is part of a national chain (we ate at one near Chicago, IL about a year ago), but its consistency and predictability are a plus if you're not feeling adventurous. The Buddha's Delight provides a large portion of fresh steamed veges, and the steamed dumplings are a tasty option as well. Nothing spectacular to rave about, but a safe choice with reasonable prices.

Plum Blossom, 19th & J
One our second day in Sacramento, we decided we needed to leave the apartment to escape from all of the boxes and unpacking, so we wandered a few blocks away to check out this appealingly-named Chinese fast-food restaurant. We both ordered from the lunch buffet special menu. The food was hot and fairly fresh but left that weird aftertaste and uncomfortably-full feeling. I think next time I'd order off the menu instead.

HukiLau, 16th & O
E visited this place when he was searching for apartments and was impressed with the casual happy-hour atmosphere and Hawai'i-inspired decor. We attempted to have a late breakfast here a few weekends ago before visting a nearby condo, but the experience was less than successful. My teriyaki chicken & veges with sticky jasmine rice was yummy, but E's order of an interesting egg dish was wrong both the first and second times. Eventually, he gave up and ate just the toast. The manager didn't charge us for E's meal, but that still didn't completely salvage the negativity. E maintains he'd try it one more time, though (he's more forgiving than I am), so we may be due for a return trip.

33rd St. Bistro, 33rd & Folsom
Rave reviews for this Pacific Northwest-inspired restaurant. The breakfast was fabulous - egg panini for me and something scrambled for E. Strong coffee, pleasant outside dining, and great service. We returned for their Saturday night acoustic music and had some fabulous home-made tortilla chips along with a special appetizer of roasted corn-on-the-cob sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Outstanding! And the Jolly Rancher watermelon martini I tried was delicious as well. Definitely at the top of our list for frequent return visits.

Cornerstone, 24th & J
Only open for breakfast & lunch, this unassuming diner-esque restaurant claims to have the best breakfast in MidTown. We finally put it to the test yesterday for E's birthday and were quite pleased with the prompt service, reasonable prices, and satisfying egg dishes (egg-white omelette with mushrooms, tomatoes, and turkey for me; Greek scramble with feta, spinach, and tomatoes for E). Nice to have healthy options (egg whites or egg beaters) at this type of joint.

Jack's Urban Eats, 20th & Capitol
This is a cafeteria-style restaurant known for its great made-to-order salads. I ordered the "half salad" with spinach and a bunch of other ingredients, and the "half" was plenty for me! The rice krispie treat for dessert was light and crispy and not too sticky. E's chicken sandwich was large and tasty as well, and the low prices make this an attractive option for healthy and fairly quick meals. One caveat - the tofu for the salad is marinated in olive oil & herbs, including garlic...

Brew It Up, 14th & H
Do-it-yourselfers can apparently make an appointment at this local brewery to craft their own beer. We haven't tried this option yet, but we did have a pleasant dinner of a salad and grilled chicken sandwich with some tasty calimari to start. One unique standout at this restaurant is the soft hot pretzels that take the place of the typical dinner rolls/bread to accompany the meal. Not quite as good as what the Great Dane in Madison offers, but a close second and reason enough to return for another meal.

OK, that's enough for now. More to follow later, I'm sure...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

LNJ siad:
God, you are a nerd... but I do love reading the meanderings you your mind and seeing where and what it will go about today. I always smile and that is a nice feeling.

So, Ebert may disagree, but LNJ gives the Doc J blog 5 very bright stars, two very fleshy thumbs up, and while were at it, I might as well give it a Coke and a smile too.

5:19 PM  

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