Favorite Local Restaurants: “I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the heavens!” – Drew Barrymore, Ever After. OK, embarrassing late-1990s historic fairy-tale romance references aside (you know you love it), the sentiment stands. Sacramento is brimming with an array of diverse and delectable eateries. So it’s difficult to pin down my top picks, especially when that list changes almost monthly. It all depends on my mood! Which can be mercurial at times with regard to food choice. But a few perennial faves include Magpie Café & Caterers, Centro Cocina Mexicana, Tres Hermanas, Bangkok Garden and Mikuni. A constellation of flavor!
Favorite dining experience of all time: I’d love to say that my favorite dining experience included some sort of five-star, multi-coursed extravaganza at a Zagat-rated restaurant—but I can’t. Some of my best culinary memories are those involving a large group of friends sharing a meal in someone’s home. Christmastime, 2009 stands out in my mind. The festivities were punctuated with succulent lamb, a Dr. Pepper-braised ham and, most importantly, a colorful cross-section of friends getting into the holiday spirit. And by holiday spirit, I mean wine. And great conversation. Like any great dining experience, the food was stellar; the company, divine.
Most impressive dish you’ve whipped up using only ingredients on hand: I’ve been known to bust out some mighty tasty turkey burgers from time to time. Bread crumbs, a raw egg, chives, garlic and sea salt always seem to deliver something healthy and delish. Fresh summer tomato, butter lettuce and wheat bread give this bird-burger wings.
Favorite family recipe: There’s potato salad and then there’s potato salad. Your mom may be Nigella Lawson in the kitchen—with her compotes and her truffle-infused something-or-other. Your dad, a legend of the grill, with a BBQ sauce recipe that could end world suffering. But in my family? It’s all about the spuds. And my mom has passed down a recipe from her paternal grandmother that, although technically a side dish, often stands as the main course at family BBQs and gatherings. Its creamy, thick, mayonnaisey goodness, bolstered by salty dill pickles, olives, hard-boiled eggs and red wine vinegar has even been known to convert the most staunch of starch-haters. It’s that good. Like, Oprah’s Favorite Things good. I may have even brought it to a job interview once. True story.
Earliest food-related memory from childhood: Not sure, but I’m confident it involved the edible family relic above.