Although it is not far away from San Francisco, we seldom get to Sacramento, the capital of California. We recently had the opportunity to do so when we drove from San Francisco into the Sierras by Lake Tahoe and decided to stop there for lunch.
Since we arrived about a 45 minutes before our lunch reservation, we decided to catch up with the fun, albeit somewhat kitchy, Old Town, with a walk along its wooden sidewalks, past its false front buildings and Old Western theme shops. Yep, touristy, but worth seeing at least once.
Then onto the reason for our stop: food. We made one stop in Sacramento on the way to the mountains, and one stop on the way back. This gave us the opportunity to try two of the city’s fine-dining restaurants.
- Biba. On the drive from San Francisco to the Sierras, we got a chance to sample the regional Italian food at Biba. Joyce enjoyed the grilled salmon with diced vegetables, I took advantage of one of our rare restaurant opportunities to get my iron fix, with calf’s liver, bacon and onions. Although the food and the service were both good, my only qualm was that the bacon consisted of relatively few small cubes of pork belly rather than large crispy slices of bacon.
- Ella. Another Sacramento lunch on the way from Carson Pass to San Francisco. Another winner. We especially enjoyed the King Salmon with new potatoes, sugar snap peas and morels in a brown butter nage with ramp salsa verde. Steamed little neck clams had a Spanish influence, with chickpeas, piperade saffron, lobster broth and aioli with grilled bread. I generally enjoyed (albeit not necessarily preferred) this different combination. Joyce found the sauce a bit too smoky and intense for her taste.
Both were good places to stop and would be on our return visit list if we ever get back to Sacramento.