Dinner and a Bookstore – a Perfect Summer Pairing (And, yes, another giveaway!)
The weather’s warm, and you don’t feel like cooking. Dinner out sounds good but, well, a little boring. Try this favorite SacFoodie summer pairing: Dinner and a bookstore. Bury your nose in a NYT bestseller or a literary favorite, and then stroll the local streets, basking in the Sacramento sunshine, and enjoy a fantastic outdoor dinner. Sound like a perfect outing?
Within a few blocks of each other in Midtown Sacramento, there are three wonderful bookstores, each with its own personality: Time Tested Books at 1114-21st St. is floor-to-ceiling books, complete with ladders to reach the highest offerings; The Book Collector, 1008-24th St. offers sidewalk bargain books and other gems indoors; and La Raza Galleria Posada, 1022-1024 22nd St. (note: they’re moving in August) offers not just books, but also Latino art, clothing and accessories. The really lovely part? All three are within easy walking distance of each other – and over twenty restaurants.
Ah, yes, the foodie part. We had our work cut out for us with so many choices! Should we eat at Azul, Lounge on 20, or walk across the street to Original Pete’s Pizza? There’s the Vintage Café, Hashi and Cervantes just a few steps from Time Tested Books. For something really special, we could try The Waterboy or The Broiler, or for more casual fare, there’s Capitol Dawg, Hot Rods Burgers and Jack’s Urban Eats. And that’s only a sampling of what’s available.
I had my research assistants with me (i.e., my kids), and after a lengthy discussion, we decided to eat at Tapa the World, located at 2115 J St. Like shopping for books, eating tapas offers a multitude of experiences, depending on what you choose. So, for this culinary adventure, we sat on the sidewalk patio and sampled:
• Tortilla Espanola (hands down, my favorite tapa – in fact, this was my daily go-to food while studying in Spain)
• Grilled Vegetables topped with balsamic reduction and Romesco sauce, as well as queso Manchego (THE most delightfully salty sheep’s milk cheese from the La Mancha region of Spain)
• Paella Mixta, a small portion of traditional (and delicious) paella with generous amounts of seafood, chicken and chorizo, as well as a side of salad
• Tapa Burger (again, that queso Manchego!) with crisp, golden patatas bravas (perfectly fried potatoes)
The great thing about dinner and a bookstore? It will be your own unique pairing. In fact, this week, a group of us will head out to Roseville for a special “dinner and a bookstore” outing. New York Times best-selling author and Sacramento resident James Rollins will be signing books on Thursday, June 25 from 7-9 PM at the Barnes & Noble located at 1256 Galleria Blvd. Leave a comment here by noon on Wednesday, June 24, and you could win a copy of his new book, The Doomsday Key, personally signed by him!
Now, I just need to decide where we’ll be having dinner. All suggestions welcome!