One of the benefits of living in a so-called “cow-town” is that you are in an epicenter of agriculture, meaning you can have just about anything and everything on your kitchen table that was grown only an hour away. Sacramento has over 50 farmers markets each week, and most even run through the winter. This and other reason have made the Sacramento restaurant scene a true destination.
Over the past few years, the Sacramento community has begun to take what was happening organically and expand on it by crafting the city as the “Farm-to-Fork Capital” and its evolution is worth checking out. A weekend is only a start but gives you a chance to get a taste of what this city has to offer.
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Check into the Citizen Hotel
If you’re looking for a boutique but affordable hotel full of history the Citizen Hotel is the spot for you. Right in the middle of downtown, with its own amazing restaurant. It has the history of the state capitol scattered within its rooms, elevators, and even the restrooms.
Catch a Uber to Old Sacramento
Old Sacramento is a quaint little spot where you can explore the old school downtown, sit along the riverside and also grab some delicious bites. My recommendation is starting at the Pilot House on the Delta King for some cocktails and appetizers. There might not be a better place in town to watch the sunset than sitting on a riverboat.
Next, walk along the cobblestones to Ten22 a great foodie spot right in the middle of Old Town. The menu is constantly being updated with the freshest food available and it’s never a miss. From their daily specials to the dessert, you’ll walk away feeling satisfied.
If you’re looking for something after dinner head back to the Citizen and stop in the Grange for a late night cocktail or save this spot for dessert. Sitting at the bar is a great spot as the bartender will mix you up a creative cocktail or pour you a tasty glass of wine. Then head back upstairs and grab yourself a good night sleep.
Get up early to avoid the line at Orphan
One of Sacramento’s best breakfast stops is Orphan Breakfast House, named after the Orphan businesses, and it has some of the freshest food around. From the local eggs to their own granola everything is delicious. If you have friends in town have them meet you here so you can share a little of everything. My favorites are the Eggs LuLu, a perfect combo of croissant, eggs and cream cheese, and the Rosemary breakfast. Whatever you order make sure some has rosemary potatoes on your plate. This crispy concoction is to die for. On top of the food, they serve Naked coffee, one of Sacramento’s local roasters. My tips include getting there early to avoid a long wait and bring cash. There is an ATM, but they don’t take cards.
Take a walk to McKinley Park
Take a short walk from Orphan to McKinley and for half the year (May to October) you will find one of the City’s farmer markets. Enjoy the park, the rose garden, maybe even join the group doing yoga in the sun, all while you get in a little farm to fork shopping of your own.
Some Hot Italian for lunch
Sacramento has a dozen of good pizza places, but my favorite has to be Hot Italian. I have no doubt it is the best pizza I’ve enjoyed since I came back from studying abroad seven years ago. Even the stone for their oven is actually from Italy. Their pizza is fresh and light with toppings from ricotta and sausage, to pears and gorgonzola. Sit family style and can watch a futbol game! And don’t forget dessert. One word Nutella!
Dinner and a show
Almost every time we are having a special night, whether it is a birthday or having guests in town, we head over to Red Rabbit. Their menu is full of the freshest entrees and cocktails. We love to sit at the bar for dinner and chat with the bartenders. Pick the “dealer’s choice” where you tell the bartender your liquor of choice and they will make you a tasty concoction. From their burger to their ravioli everything is altered for the season. After dinner head next door to Harlow’s for a concert, they have a great show almost every night and often have artists who are much too big for this venue and some jaw-dropping cover bands. Exactly how I celebrated my birthday last year.
One more day and still so much more to explore!
A light breakfast at Weatherstone
I eat breakfast at Weatherstone at least once a week and my favorite is their bacon english muffin breakfast sandwich. On top of that they have great granola and omelets. Their eggs come from local farms and they change their ingredients and menus regularly. On top of that their coffee is delicious and they have a great selection of teas. Either sit by the giant windows on a foggy day or hang out on the patio in the sun.
A vegetarian lunch at Mother
Now I am not a vegetarian but it’s hard to be any more satisfied than you are when you walk away from lunch at Mother. From their carrot nut burger with a cheese skirt to the chili verde. They change their menu seasonally and do specials for dinners and brunch based on the freshest food they can get their hands on. On top of that they make almost everything in house including often having salted caramel cookies and kombucha. Afterward, walk over to the Capitol to explore a little history and another great park.
An early dinner at my favorite wine bar
58 Degrees & Holding is my favorite spot in town, they have the best wine selection, a knowledgeable and friendly staff, and delectable food. We like to start with the cheese & meat plate, and the Mac & Cheese is a must. Although it is insanely rich so a half order can be enough depending on your taste buds. After that the gnocchi, steak sandwich, burger and whatever Ahi option they have. The menu is constantly changing which I love and hate since favorites will disappear and then be replaced by something new. Also on Sunday evenings the bottles are at “wine shop” prices which typically drops them $15. A long lazy dinner is the best way to end your weekend.
A fresh Filled Weekend
You might walk away stuffed, but it will be of fresh and local foods. This is just a snapshot of all the food you can enjoy in Sacramento and it might even be too much for one weekend. I know I’ve been spoiled by the local businesses focusing on local food in this city but hope others will come visit Sacramento for a chance to taste some of it themselves.
If you’re in town don’t forget to check out our globally-ranked coffee shops as well.
For more information about Sacramento check out these great books on Amazon including Fodor’s Northern California, Lonely Planet Northern California, and Lost Restaurants of Sacramento and Their Recipes.