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Dining With Children in Sacramento

Okay, I admit it until as late as last year I thought children should keep to their own restaurants.(McDonald’s and Chucky Cheese).  My husband I were married for almost nine years before we had our beautiful daughter. B.B. or (before baby) we would dine out and roll our eyes in disgust at the ill mannered children seated (well, sometimes seated, sometimes running) at the table across from us.  We’d whisper to one another about how we’d NEVER bring our children out to a nice restaurant unless they knew how to behave, but of course.OUR perfect children would always behave. Oh, the bliss of childless dining.


Fast forward to TODAY. We now have a better understanding of the world of eating with children. There is no such thing as a “perfect child” and toddlers cannot always behave. They have short attention spans. The reason those imperfect children we used to mock were running around instead of sitting properly is not that the parents were horrid, it’s because that’s just normal behavior for children.


We want to go out to dinner as a family, but our daughter can barely sit in the highchair long enough for drinks and Saltine crackers to be delivered. She certainly can’t sit through a meal that begins with appetizers, has salad, the main course and ends with dessert.  We’re sick of burgers and pizza! We long for those dinners at “nice” restaurants with “real” food, but we don’t want to take a toddler into one of those sit down restaurants where it takes 30 minutes for a meal to be served. We don’t want to endure the stares and eye-rolling of those childless couples who, like us in our previous lives, have no understanding of dining with children.   


So, what’s a family in the Sacramento area to do? I’ll let you in on a little secret. There are two absolutely fabulous restaurants in our area that cater to diners like us. (Those that have children!)


The first restaurant is Pasghetti located at 1060 Pleasant Grove, Suite 100 in Roseville. This restaurant serves Italian food, hot, fresh and FAST! You enter the restaurant (which reminds me of a Crayon factory, it is all stainless steel and bright colors) and place your order from the front counter. The food is then brought out to your table when it is ready and the best part is they bring the kid’s meals out first. The staff is friendly and FAST and the food is yummy!


Now, if you’d like something a little less casual and slightly more formal but still want to bring the little people along you should try The Family Room. The Family Room is located at 855 57th St. Suite C in Sacramento. This restaurant has real wooden tables and chairs with tablecloths. They serve more gourmet meals but also cater to the small diners. The menu includes everything from a toddler grazing platter (meat, cheeses and fruit) to filet mignon. In the dining area is a special section where children can go to play, there are puzzles, blocks and doodle boards as well as small couches for the children. Parents can keep an eye on their children while enjoying a fine dining experience.


If you have small children and you worry about dining out with them you now have options. Both of these restaurants are in our area and the best part about going to these “real” restaurants with children is you won’t be the recipient of eye rolling from the other diners since they all have little people with them as well.  Mangia! Eat! Dine!  


Best New Restaurant for Singles

Los Sacramento…the new LA
Mason’s, located at 1116 15th Street, is one of the newer additions to Sacramento’s dining/club options.  I recently went there with a friend for dinner and was really surprised by how unique the atmosphere was in the restaurant.
You feel a bit as if you just walked into some chi chi club in LA.  The staff is polite, but you don’t get the feeling of sincere welcome.  The tables are close together which could either diminish your ability to have a truly intimate conversation or allow you to make new friends with the people at the next table.  If you are planning on going for a romantic evening, you might want to request a more privately situated table when you make your reservation…and yes, reservations would definitely be a good idea.
Per the food and service, I wasn’t impressed.  Of course, I’m a foody and a bit on the critical side.  My friend and I started with a martini while we perused the menu.  Our server was reserved but not unpleasant; frankly I don’t want to get into any lengthy conversations with my server, so this was not viewed in any negative way.  We decided to order a crab and beat salad that we would split, and for the main dish, my friend ordered the Ahi, while I had the beef shanks with gorgonzola raviolis. 
The salad was not split for us, but served on one plate; probably because it would destroy it’s presentation to have done so.  Quite frankly the presentation was the only good thing about this salad.  The combination of flavors just didn’t work.  The chef created a dish for the eyes and not the palate.  Both of our main courses were quite tasty, allowing us to forgive that first course; however, our server was either spread too thin with more tables than she could handle, or she wasn’t the sharpest knife on the table.  We had each ordered a glass of wine to go with our meal.  As I noticed I was almost finished with the meal and no wine had appeared, I decided to go ask our server if she could maybe bring us the wine before we completely finished our dinners.  I actually had to walk across the room in order to get her attention…not good.
Over all, I would recommend trying this restaurant just because of the atmosphere and layout.  The bathroom alone is worth it.  I won’t give that one away if you’ve yet to experience it; let’s just say it’s very different - at least, I thought it was a hoot.  The patio area is another very unSacramento feature.  Imagine large canopied beds you can rent for the evening and then securely curtain for privacy.  Who would have ‘thunk’ to offer these passion pits of pleasure in so public a venue? 
This is certainly not the place for mom and dad to bring the kids, or even a place for some kids to bring their parents, but if you’re hip and trendy and single, I would definitely recommend you try this restaurant/club out.  It may be pricey, the service may be ‘just okay’, and the food decent, but the uniqueness of it is worth it all. 


Vegetarian Restaurants in Sacramento

I love food. I’m one of those people who wake up and plan the day’s meals before even getting out of bed. And the only reason I get out of bed is so I can eat them. A true foodie am I.

Being vegetarian usually implies limitations. But I never feel limited in Sacramento. I can go to just about any restaurant here and find at least one menu item that is either vegetarian or can be made vegetarian. Lucky for me, though, there are several excellent restaurants that already have vegetarian items on their menu so I rarely have to harass waitstaff (although, I have to add that the waitstaff in Sacramento are quite knowledgeable about vegetarian/vegan food- they know what you’re talking about).

Here is a list of my 7 favorite restaurants that serve vegetarian food (in no particular order)(except Queen Sheba is my #1 fave restaurant):

1. Queen Sheba- Ethiopian- Veggie Combo kicks butt! Spicy goodness.

2.  Andy Nguyen- Vietnamese- All vegan, healthy, and scrumptious!

3. Taste of Thai- Um, Thai- Wonderful curries!

4. Chipotle- Mexican- I looooove their hot hot sauce! Tastiest burritos.

5. Hitome- Japanese- Veggie Roll is a MUST.

6. New China- Chinese- Spicy eggplant, Broccoli “Beef”- YUM.

7. Amarin- Thai- Tasty curries, brown rice, excellent eggplant!

I have brought my entire meat-eating family to all of these restaurants and the lack of meat not only went unnoticed, but left nothing to be desired. In other words- rave reviews. In addition, these 7 restaurants all serve excellent vegan food.

Sacramento is surprisingly veggie-friendly for a smallish city stuck in the middle of the state. And it’s come a long way in the 5 years I’ve lived here, which is probably due in part to its close proximity to San Francisco and Bay Area transplants looking for more affordable housing. New stores, lofts, restaurants, spas and fitness studios are coming in every day, but Sacramento has somehow maintained its small-town feel. It’s diverse, offers much to do, much to see and most importantly- much to eat.


My Favorite Restaurant Near Sacramento

Redbud Cafe

3275 Coach Lane Suite A, Cameron Park



It’s a new dining experience for a life less ordinary. The Redbud Cafe recently opened its doors in Cameron Park, and the food is exactly what you would expect from an upscale restaurant at San Francisco’s finest.


For our dinner engagement, my family and I were welcomed with first class style. General Manager and Owner Deanna Glasier has surrounded herself with efficient servers and the most talented of chefs.


Redbud Cafe offers quite an intriguing selection that you simply cannot find anywhere else in the foothills, and the prices are reasonable. They offer a full selection of foothill wines to accompany each course.


With as many enticing options to satisfy our palettes, the appetizer list was especially hard to resist, so we ordered the Hanoi crispy crab spring rolls with chili lime dipping sauce among a fresh herb salad. It was a delightful blend of ingredients and quite succulent in taste.


With six different salads on their menu, we chose the Blue Cherry. It consists of baby lettuces, candied pecans, gorgonzola and marinated cherries in a tangy, balsamic vinaigrette.

Our taste buds were alive and kicking by the time we were elegantly served our main courses.


Some may believe risotto to be boring, but not the way Redbud Cafe prepares it. Enmeshed with butternut squash, roasted cherry tomatoes, basil and crispy pancetta, it was almost a shame when we finished enjoying the course. Another entree we found quite pleasurable was

The Ziti. It’s almost like a glorified macaroni and cheese, perfect for adults and children alike. It was topped with blue cheese and immersed in gorgonzola cream sauce along with smoked chicken apple sausage and granny smith apples certainly not what you would expect from a pasta dish. The King Salmon was the best we have ever tasted. It didn’t taste at all fishy. It was grilled and then glazed in their wood oven and served on soba noodles and julienne vegetables.  The presentation for all of these dishes was a wonderful sight.


But that’s not all. Desserts! The white chocolate cry me brulee was amazing. The light custard was topped with a crispy sugar coating and was unbelievably delicious.  Their fudge brownie sundae was prepared with the finest of chocolates and sandwiched with vanilla ice cream. The banana cheesecake with glazed bananas was a cheesecake aficionado’s delight.


For a special, memorable evening out, do consider the Redbud Cafe. Reservations are recommended.


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