Sarah Hamblen

Favorite food: I started college with a pathetically underdeveloped palate – I had never had bell peppers or onions, and refused to go near any type of chunky soup. Lucky for me, I was befriended by some pretty great cooks throughout college. After being exposed to so many different flavors and cuisines, picking one favorite food is a little mind boggling; however, since I have to choose, I will go back to my days of an underdeveloped palate and pick spaghetti. This is one dish that truly showcases the food transformation my taste buds have been through. When I was a kid I’m sure my spaghetti consisted of canned spaghetti sauce and noodles, but now I love to make my own sauce, add ground turkey or sausage and a plethora of vegetables. Sometimes I even use spaghetti squash instead of noodles, a substitution my 7-year-old self surely would not approve of.

Favorite local restaurant: Being a Sacramento native, I have witnessed the transformation of the restaurant scene and have thoroughly enjoyed trying out all of the new restaurants. I could go to Paesanos any day of the week and always enjoy a fresh salad from Jack’s Urban Eats, but it is places like Grange Restaurant & Bar and The Press Bistro that truly make me appreciate the growing food scene. The Press has the most mouth-watering pork chop you’ve ever had, and Grange always delivers first-class customer service and the best bourbon in town.

Favorite dining experience of all time: I was visiting friends in Europe during spring break a few years ago, and as we were wandering the streets of Florence one evening, we stopped to ask a shop owner where he recommended we go to dinner. He said his favorite meal in all of Florence was the pear tortellini from Trattoria 4 Leoni. In typical European fashion, we ordered a handful of plates and decided to share everything – except we ended up fighting over the pear tortellini. It was so incredibly delicious that we ended up ordering three more servings. I would go to Florence just to experience this dish again and see the beautiful sunset, of course.

Most impressive dish you’ve whipped up using only the ingredients at hand: Most of the dishes I “whip up” usually involve vegetables, some sort of meat and either pizza dough or pasta; however, more recently I whipped up stuffed bell peppers using leftover chicken, a few veggies that really needed to be eaten and cous cous. Needless to say, I was very impressed at how good they were for being thrown together.

Earliest food memory from childhood: When I would sleep over at my Nanny and Pop’s house as a kid, I would wake up really early and go to the farmer’s market with my Pop. I still remember tasting all of the fruit samples at the market and asking my Pop to buy all of my favorites.

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