Summer Guide 2013 Food & Drink picks
Shake ya ass
Skip the “McCafé,” and head straight for West Sac for the best summer milkshake in town. Whitey’s Jolly Kone is an old-school burger stand with the requisite dogs, burgers and chili fries. But zero in on the shake menu for a blackberry shake made with preserves and, starting around July 4, transcendent peach shakes made with fresh, local fruit. For about six weeks, Whitey’s blends ripe, juicy peaches with ice cream to make a thick ambrosia of summer goodness. This family-owned throwback has been around for more than 30 years and boasts an enormous parking lot. Head there after a day at the pool for a memorable treat. 1300 Jefferson Boulevard in West Sacramento, (916) 371-3605. A.M.R.
Nutritious way to not look bloated in a swimsuit
For cultural-heritage day in the fourth grade, I brought in little packets of roasted seaweed to share with my class. Everyone (minus the one other Asian-American kid) thought this was gross. Fast-forward 15 years, and these seaweed snacks are all the rage, being sold at grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and Safeway at a hefty markup. (FYI, you can get them in bulk and on the cheap at most Asian-food grocery stores.) If you’ve recently become addicted to these delightfully oceanic snacks, I have a next-level recommendation for you: the mixed seaweed salad at Kru Contemporary Japanese Cuisine. A spectacular leap beyond the wakame salad that’s ubiquitous at sushi places, this salad features a mix of seaweed varieties dressed in a kimchi ponzu and garnished with apple, cherry tomatoes and asparagus tempura. It’s delicious and nutritious—an excellent source of iron and calcium, and it supposedly reduces bloating (hey, swimsuit). 2516 J Street, (916) 551-1559, www.krurestaurant.com. D.D.
Roger Ebert's favorite soda?
The greatest thing about West Sac (a.k.a. “Best Sac”) is the diversity of residents, which means a diversity of ethnic markets. In a few short blocks you can visit an Afghani, Indian or Russian store, and delve into the mysterious world of labels in Cyrillic, unlabeled fresh foods and enigmatic spices. Fortunately, there is a guide to help you navigate the unfamiliar—a friendly shopkeeper. Buy Russian candy by the pound or many varieties of European breads baked locally at the Amin Foods. Or try a Thums Up cola or some ayurvedic soap from Delhi Bazaar. Amin Foods, 2216 W. Capitol Avenue; (916) 371-2646; Delhi Bazaar, 2905 W. Capitol Avenue; (916) 669-8787. G.G.
Lose the muffin top
If there were ever a time to embark in a culinary adventure into a raw-food diet, summer in Sacramento would be it. Besides having a wide variety of fruits and vegetables available at farmers markets during this season, it’s just too hot to be cooking over a blazing stove. And, yeah, you’ll probably ditch your muffin top by ditching muffins with the 30-Day Raw Food Challenge at The Green Boheme. Its $150 tuition includes a weekly demo class and coaching—plus the support of others going through the program with you, who will surely understand your cheese-detoxing pain. The cycle starts at the beginning of each month. The Green Boheme also will make challengers’ meals (at an additional cost), but don’t expect it to be all salads, all the time: “Chocolate Silk Pie,” anyone? Testimonials by participants of the challenge on the website found their blood-pressure and blood-sugar levels were reduced, their energy was increased, and they dropped major poundage. 1825 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 920-4278, www.thegreenboheme.com. S.
Most delectable sundae in the history of Earth
Yes, Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates is a top-notch confection boutique. But its annual summer Ice Cream Socials are legendary. For each Second Saturday from May through October, proprietor Ginger Hahn has dreamed up indulgent sundaes full of organic ice cream and local fruit. Available for just one day, the June extravagance includes Ferrari Farm Bing-cherry Brown Betty with Manresa Bread Project pain au levain, cherry-butter sauce, frozen custard made with Contreras Farm duck eggs and Chantilly cream! Translation: The best cherry pie à la mode you’ve ever tasted. Future pairings include exotics like fromage blanc ice cream and fresh apricots, blackberry compote and Buddha’s hand ice cream, and bananas Foster made with 18-year rum; $8 each, while supplies last. 1801 L Street, Suite 60; http://gingerelizabeth.com/events. A.M.R.
Antidote for suffering (in flower-shaped cups!)
You will suffer. It is certain that for several consecutive days each summer, temperatures won’t budge from hovering in the triple digits, and you will uncomfortably sweat it out, waiting for the cool relief of dusk to put an end to your fried agony. That sweet time of day is how sorbetto from Devine Gelateria & Cafe tastes. In decadently fruity flavors, such as classic lemon or raspberry, and gently boozy strawberry champagne or black-currant lemon vodka in little flower-shaped cups, enjoy it before it—or you—melts on the cafe’s garden patio. Take it in until 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 1221 19th Street, (916) 446-0600, http://devinegelateria.com. S.
Like petting a kitten's belly
If you find yourself at the Davis Farmers Market on a Wednesday night or Saturday morning this summer, chilly salvation comes through Fat Face popsicles, a cult Davis favorite that quickly spread to Sacramento. Popsicles are $3, which may seem rather steep for ice on a stick. However, the quirky and elegant flavors bring more delight than petting the downy underbelly of a kitten. Kaffir lime and avocado is buttery, verdant and floral in flavor; while the Thai tea and sweet potato is mellow and earthy. For something more approachable, try the refreshing strawberry lemonade or the rich and caffeinated fudge espresso. Fourth Street in Davis, (530) 756-1695, www.davisfarmersmarket.org. G.M.
Take time to appreciate the surprises this summer at Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co., which opened in the past year in Midtown. Tasty Neapolitan-style pizzas (smoked eggplant, nice job!) and thoughtful salads (anything kale) are light, affordable hot-weather offerings with quality ingredients. Inimitable cocktails by local bar-scene godfather Chris Tucker and staff never disappoint. And there’s a solid burger. Plus, if you don’t give a damn about watching your weight during beach season (me!), H&L’s pastas are the real surprise. There was that fettuccine made with beets last month, or the ravioli stuffed with bacon—some of the best handmade pasta on the grid. I’d concede I’m hooked, but that’s pretty cheesy. 1630 S Street, (916) 442-4885, www.hookandladder916.com. N.M.
Take a lunch run, run, run
Don’t listen to your boss: You so have more than an hour for lunch. Which is why there’s ample time to drive way, way out of your zone to the Noralto neighborhood of north Sacramento for the best Thai-Laotian eats in town: Asian Café. Some people call this area ghetto; some people are idiots. Sit down, enjoy the usual curry, noodle and rice Thai fare, or go bold—larb; pork-stuffed chicken wings; papaya salad, Lao style (think shrimp paste). All dishes are prepared to order by the owner, who speaks very little English but always smiles. And servers Burly and Koony are the best. 2827 Norwood Avenue, (916) 641-5890. N.M.