Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sacramento Eats, Part Deux

Eating out in Sacramento is something I look forward to more and more the more I discover what wonderful establishments this city has to offer. The restaurants that are popping up are proud of and respect their ingredients. They are creative without forgetting the integrity of a dish. To top it off, prices are so very reasonable! This trip, we discovered a few gems...

The Press - 1809 Capitol Avenue - Mediterranean cuisine
 Clean, simple wooden tables and airy ambiance.
 Great variety on the wine list. This Corbieres was quite lovely and affordable!
Crispy prosciutto, asparagus, and arugula with a poached egg. This dish is done often, but it really comes down to the quality of the ingredients and these did not disappoint.
Grilled calamari over white beans, roasted peppers, and arugula. No chewy calamari here. Tender calamari in a bite with the brightly dressed white bean salad and arugula = yum.
Chicken piccata, fingerling potatoes, arugula, lemon caper butter sauce. Perfectly cooked chicken and balanced flavors between salt and acidity.
Linguine with clams, garlic, white wine sauce. Super fresh pasta with that lovely al dente-ness only truly achieved through fresh pasta. Loads of garlic yet the subtle clams still came through.

The Press serves what I consider elegant home cooking...well, a Mediterranean home. The ambiance is warm, the staff very friendly, they have a great happy hour, and the food is fresh and delicious and the prices are extremely reasonable for the quality coming out of the kitchen.

Magpie Cafe - 1409 R Street - New American cuisine

I LOVE this place. Magpie serves seasonal and local fare full of color and flavor! Check out this beet salad with swiss chard!!! Holy color fest! The flavor was insane too. Super fresh golden beets, high quality olive oil, fresh ground black pepper, and vibrant chard. Seems simple, yet I consider this a masterpiece in showing off ingredients.
I ordered 'The Special' - grilled cheese and soup. How beautiful is this grilled cheese served with housemade sweet pickled zucchini and pickles. The soup of the day was vegetable. I cannot even express to you how delicious this all was. Incredibly fresh ingredients. The bread on the grilled cheese came from Acme bread which is local - in Roseville.
The vegetables in the soup maintained their freshness even when in a soup and the broth tasted like those vegetables had been in there for days as the flavors were vibrant and amazing. Talk about antioxidant rich food! They say you should eat colorful foods to help fight carcinogens...well, go to Magpie to get your fix. SO MUCH FLAVOR!
Jeff thoroughly enjoyed the beef stew. Boy was it a hardy dish, filled with fresh herbs and perfectly seasoned.
To polish off all this goodness, a cup of coffee and a ginger molasses cookie. Also delicious. I already can't wait to eat there again...and again...and again...
Did I mention all dishes were under $10!!!!
I wish something like Magpie existed in Santa Barbara. We have wonderful ingredients and restaurants that claim the same mission as Magpie, but who fail to maintain high quality, freshness, flavor, reasonable prices, and a smile all at once.