Hungry for history

Illustration by Mark Stivers

San Francisco has clam chowder in a bread bowl, and Philadelphia has the cheesesteak. But what does Sacramento have? It's hard to say, really. Perhaps Merlino's Orange Freeze or Frank Fat's banana cream pie, suggest Maryellen and Keith Burns in their new book Lost Restaurants of Sacramento and Their Recipes ($19.99; American Palate, part of The History Press). The book explores the capital city's historic dining hot spots and tries to figure out if there really is—or ever was—a signature Sacramento dish. To research the book, the pair spent many hours eating at various restaurants, including one that is 100 years old; digging through archives; and speaking with restaurant owners, chefs and historians. Head to Time Tested Books (1114 21st Street) on Wednesday, July 17, at 7 p.m. for an official book launch. Pick up a copy and see if there really is a historic dish that's synonymous with Sacramento.