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Monday, May 2, 2011

lalo's

Oh Lalo's, how I love thee! This has got to be one of the best Mexican joints in the whole city. I've tried lots of things here, so let me gather myself for a moment and try to give you a proper rundown...there.
Okay. You have to try the Al Pastor Burrito. It is amazingly tender pork, seasoned with bacon and pineapple. Yes, seasoned with bacon. Everything is better with bacon. It comes smothered in hot sauce and crema fresca...awesomeness.
You also must try the molcajete. It is hotter than hell, so be careful! Hot in flavor and in temperature. It is essentially two pieces each of beef, pork, lamb, cheese, and cactus in a spicy green sauce. It is served with tortillas and comes in a boiling hot lava rock bowl. Definitely worth trying.

The tortas are great, my kids love them. The chili rellenos are very good.

They make several different quesadillas with interesting ingredients, like squash blossoms (flor de calabaza) or corn smut (huitlacoche). Both of these are interesting and worth giving a try, just for something different. The beauty of Lalo's is really that in addition to being incredibly delicious, it is incredibly cheap. You can easily try two or three things and only spend about $10. You should not eat here if you are on a diet. You should not eat here if you are thinking about starting a diet in the next month. You probably won't need to eat for the rest of the day...

The other notable thing about Lalo's is their weekend menu. They offer bar-b-que (barbacoa) on Saturday and Sunday. The barbacoa is grilled lamb which you order by the pound and comes plunked down on your table on a big piece of foil. It is served with tortillas and several different sauces. The orange colored sauce will burn your lips off of your face, so be careful. On the weekends, the place gets packed. Plan on waiting for a table if your party is large. There is sometimes live music.

Their fresh juices are excellent and reasonably priced, and the juicer is old and loud and shakes the whole building...

You should go here and have some amazing truly authentic Mexican soon. It's the best. It is in Hollywood Park, so midtowners should drive or plan on a 20 minute bike ride to get there...

Lalo's
5063 24th St.
Sacramento

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

pooja indian grill

indian food is hard to come by in this town. i used to frequent a place up in roseville called bombay bistro. they have a killer lunch buffet, which tells you it is real indian food, and it was as cheap as could be. i found them a few years ago while pouring wine at the grape and gourmet. a few weeks ago, cooper and i set out to find some indian food on a sunday afternoon and ended up at bombay bar and grill on 16th st. it was pretty good, but VERY expensive, and it was no damn buffet...

i heard that this place in west sac is good and it has a lunch buffet, so i decided to give it a go...

http://poojaindiangrill.com/

pooja indian grill is not a super swanky place. it doesn't really matter to me as long as the place is clean and the service is good, but i did take note.
the first sign that it is not a super swanky place is the location. it is on merkley ave one block east of jefferson in west sacramento.
the second sign that it is not a super swanky place is the fact that the basmati rice was being served out of a regular old white with flowers on it like your grandma used to have crock pot.

swankiness did not seem to matter.

the food here is rocking good. there were 12 main dishes, 3 desserts (not including the mango ice cream soft serve, which i will address later), and 6 different chutneys, yogurts, and garnishes, all of which looked fresh and homemade. everything i tried was delicious, with a few notable highlights:

  • the aloo tikki (deep fried potato patties) were fresh, hot, and had a nice flavor.
  • the saang paneer (homemade cheese with creamed spinach) was savory and satisfying.
  • (i am a total sucker for chicken tikki masala. i know that it is not a traditional indian dish. i don't really care. i like it and it makes me happy. they didn't have any on the buffet. i was kind of bummed. what they did have in it's place blew my head off.) the chicken makhni (butter chicken with nuts) was off the hook. it is like chicken tikki masala except instead of pan fried chicken they use tandori (bar-b-qued) chicken which gave the dish a slightly smokey flavor...awesome. there was also a tofu equivalent on the line that was equally as good, but less meaty.
  • fresh and hot naan was delivered to our table by an indian looking gentleman who would not stop smiling.

every one of the three dessert options satisfied my sweet tooth. there was kheer (traditional rice pudding), rasmalai (homemade cheese in a sweet sauce with nuts), and gulab jamun (the sign over this dish on the buffet line simply said "sugar balls" which made me laugh out loud, earning me a dirty look from the state worker behind me in line). to top it all off, there was a soft serve machine that dispensed the most ridiculous looking cal trans orange dog turd piles of mango ice cream imaginable. i couldn't stop staring and giggling, but i had to give it a try...it was delicious, although the texture was bizarre compared to normal soft serve...very funny stuff, and fun to eat.

the bill for two came to $19.55 after tax, which is pretty goddamned cheap for an all you can shovel in affair....

if you plan on going in for lunch, give me a call...it will be a regular stop for me.

Monday, July 26, 2010

cafe capricho

cafe capricho opened just recently. it is on folsom blvd near 32nd st. the signage touts mexican american food. they have a selection of mexican dishes (which are americanized) and american food. this was my second trip to this place, and both times i was surprised by the quality and flavor of the food. i have never ordered "american food" here. they have quite a few burgers on the menu, as well as burritos, quesadillas, salads, and dinner plates. on our first visit, i had the enchiladas suiza. the enchiladas were good, flavorful, and satisfying...the sides of rice and beans were excellent. sasha had the butternut squash and almond burrito. she seemed to like it alright...it was definately something new and different to eat. the rest of our party had a good sampling of the menu and no one went away disappointed.
http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/36/1524165/restaurant/East-Sacramento/Cafe-Capricho-Sacramento
this time around i went in for lunch. i ordered the red potato and black bean burrito. my dining companion had the chili verde burrito....the chips and salsa were fresh and tasty...the burritos were about half of the size of what you would get in a traditional taqueria, but there was enough food there to fill one's belly. the thing that strikes me is how wholesome the food tastes. not in a health food, chewing on leather sort of way. this food tastes good and has good flavor, and yet genuinely tastes low in fat...good for you...

word on the street is that the salads are ass kicking great, but i haven't tried them yet...

they serve beer. they have wine. there is a small little patio to chill out and watch people cruise by. the prices are fucking dirt cheap...seriously...
lunch for two for $11 including a tip and i'm still full 3 hours later...try to do that anywhere in sac that's not a pizza by the slice joint...

take the kids!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

sugar plum vegan cafe

for me the name of the place was enough to avoid. where i grew up in auburn, there was a group of middle aged ladies called the sugar plum fairies who dressed up like fairies and walked in the local parades. they were very scary to me, and they still are...i don't know how many times i've been wanded by one of those weirdos...
sash and i were on a bike ride saturday, touring midtown thrift stores and bike shops. we ended up riding down k st. on our way to city cyclery, and decided it was time to eat. on a tip from a friend, sash wanted to try the ruben at sugar plum.
vegan food has never excited me...vegetarian food is alright. at least vegetarian food can contain cheese, milk, eggs...to me vegan food is a pile of lettuce.
the place is in the old true love...it is less cluttered and still kind of "coffee house" feeling with the couch and coffee table in one room and the mismatched furniture throughout...still a welcoming place...
http://www.sugarplumvegan.com/
i ordered the black bean nachos, and sash ordered the ruben. we decided to share. the food took a fairly long time to come out, but it was obvious from the start that it was going to be a wait. this place is fairly new, and running on a skeleton crew. the guy who took our order and our money also brought our food out when it was done and bussed all of the tables. he never once looked stressed or bothered...a very cool cat.
when the food arrived, i was shocked. the ruben was of average size. it included marinated tempeh "bacon", avocado, pickle, and thousand island dressing on grilled rye. it was flanked by a generous portion of lightly dressed mixed greens...very good looking sandwich. it tasted great.
the nachos were seriously piled so high i was concerned for their well being...a tremendous amount of chips, smothered in 2 vegan cheeses, mild salsa, jalapenos, black beans and sour cream...
both dishes were delicious. the fake meat on the ruben had a nice texture and a really nice flavor. the pickles and the avocado were a nice touch...very original.
the nachos continued to impress...somehow they had gotten beans into the middle of the large pile of chips...surprises around every corner.
everyone was happy. i thought the baked goods in the cases inside also looked great...can't wait to go back and try them. they also cater, and have a bottomless sunday brunch...
i might have to head down there right now.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

why

i'm starting this because i love food. not any old food, but all food. i'm in the wine industry and food is an important part of what i do...so...i'm in restaurants every day, sometimes all day...why not blog about them? i'll give out tips on where to eat...what to eat...
this isn't going to be critical, like in the newspaper...no stars...no ratings...
this is going to be factual. i'll let you know what i like and don't like...