Exploring Sacramento

My “Summer Food & Fun” series got slightly interrupted … by a trip to Italy. Not a bad interruption if you ask me! I figured I’d finish up this little series and then go on to Italy … and Canada. Yep that’s right, Canada. Guess you’ll have to wait and read about that. For now, let’s just say the whole trip was one part sweet and two parts awesome. Now, back to our originally intended broadcast.

This next little lunch and Music Circus adventure was probably my favorite food wise. I think. It definitely wins for best overall experience. Cafe Rolle is a-mazing (yeah, I’m still not sure how to pronounce the name … is the “e” accented or silent like “roll”?? I studied Spanish and Italian, not French. too many randomly silent letters for my taste). Rolle is a little hole-in-the-wall place run by this guy from France, and it’s been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (you should totally watch the video, because I ordered what he talks about – http://www.caferolle.com/site/index.htm). The place is tiny and we had to wait for a bit. The server was so nice, and when we told him we were on a tight schedule, he made sure to seat us as quickly as possible and provided excellent service. In order to use the bathroom, you had to walk through the kitchen. That’s my idea of a good restaurant. I was fascinated as I watched the chef slicing up baguettes and salmon and whipping things together and talking and calling out orders in French. The kitchen is also open to the dining area, so you can watch everything he’s doing. So fun! I was in culinary heaven. We ordered the prawns and lentil salad (featured in the video), a warm brie baguette, and the hot salmon sandwich. Wow. Everything was incredible! He’s known for his salmon, and I’ve got to say it’s some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Smoked salmon + gruyere cheese + dill creme fraiche = a sophisticated party in your mouth.

After lunch, we saw The Music Man, which was delightful. This was my mom’s favorite out of all the shows we saw. I enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as her. It was kind of like how The Little Mermaid was for me, because she’d grown up seeing this and saw the play when Dick Van Dyke was playing the lead role. So it was quite fun. And afterwards, we kind of had to have gelato again. 🙂


For our Midtown Sacramento adventure #2, I asked for restaurant recommendations on Facebook and got some awesome suggestions. We decided to try a totally new place that I’d never heard of called Paesanos. What sold me on this was one look at the menu. Bocce balls (lightly fried balls of pizza dough smothered in garlic butter, parmesan, and basil) and polenta fries (served with balsamic ketchup and gorgonzola sauce)?? Yes please!! We ended up ordering the polenta fries and a pancetta and prawn panzanella (a special that night). Wow, were these good. The polenta fries were so fun and different. And the gorgonzola sauce?!? Yum. Have to say I wasn’t crazy about the balsamic ketchup, which is pretty odd since I love both balsamic vinegar and ketchup. Weird. And the panzanella? Oh that was tasty. If you’re not familiar with panzanella, it’s basically an Italian salad which consists of chunks of bread and tomatoes and other veggies. This tasted so light, fresh, and summery. Good choice! (And by the way, I had to try making my own panzanella at home. Check out Smitten Kitchen’s Summer’s Last Hurrah Panzanella! It’s delicious!)

polenta fries + gorgonzola sauce = deliciousness


does this picture even need a caption?!

And for dessert? Thank you, Yelp, for pointing out this little jewel. Devine Gelateria has definitely become one of my favorite places. I fell in love with this place at my first glance in the gelato case; it looked legit. It’s the most authentic gelateria I’ve been to in the area, and probably outside of Italy. Did you know that you can go to gelato school in Italy?? (that was news to me) The owner spent time in Italy – at gelato school – and totally knows her stuff. Her baked goods are pretty great too. The waffle cones? Best I’ve had. I would try to tell you what flavors I enjoyed that night … but I honestly couldn’t tell you. I think it was bananas foster and dark chocolate, but seeing as how I actually went here 3 times in less than 2 weeks, it’s hard to recall. 🙂

Mmmmm … gelato.

Next on the agenda … The Little Mermaid. Oh boy, was I ever excited. As a kid, I just loved this Disney movie. I was so excited to see the play. I couldn’t wait to find out how they would do the water scenes and make everyone “swim.” Well I was blown away. They did such a fantastic job, and the girl who played Ariel was amazing. She sounded so much like the voice in the Disney version; I just loved it. Everything from the music to the costumes to the set design was incredible. It was truly a feast for the eyes.

This was such a fun night, and I felt like such a little kid. I mean, we’re talking an ice cream cone and The Little Mermaid. Could this night have gotten any better?!? I submit that it could not.

This summer, my mom and I treated ourselves to some fun. We splurged and got season tickets to The Music Circus.  The Music Circus is a theater in-the-round in downtown Sacramento. It’s a small, intimate, vibrant atmosphere with excellent performances. To say that we had a blast would be a HUGE understatement. We took the opportunity to try new restaurants for lunch or dinner in the downtown Sacramento area with each show. So I’d like to take you on a little journey through our summer of fun.

Our first show was in the evening, so we started with dinner at an already tried and true favorite, Lucca. Lucca did not disappoint. We had a wonderful experience at this Mediterranean Restaurant. From the blue water glasses to the flatbread with hummus to the service, we loved our dinner. We decided to try something really different (for us) for our main course – a pork chop. Unfortunately, I don’t remember all the details about our dish. But what I do remember is this: it was to die for. To truly understand how good it was, you must first understand that I’m not a huge pork fan. The first time I ate pork and liked it was in Italy. But I’ve never really liked big, thick, pork chops. In all honesty, they gross me out a bit (thank you, high school biology). But this pork chop? Best ever. And it was served over polenta with asparagus and had the most delicious sauce.

Love this place!

It’s a good thing dinner was so amazing, because our show that night … not so much. Part of why we bought season tickets was because all of the shows actually looked great, except this first one. So we didn’t go into it with high hopes. The Music Circus’ rendition of Grease was definitely disappointing, on so many levels. Besides the fact that the story line is just plain awful and quite dirty (I didn’t remember the movie being as dirty as the play), there was some sort of trouble with the sound. And while the actors were good, their voices weren’t anything to write home about. And let’s face it … Olivia Newton John and John Travolta are a hard act to follow. But negativity aside, there were some good numbers and funny scenes.

We couldn’t end our lovely evening on this note, so we went back to Lucca for dessert. Again, I don’t remember what exactly we had. I want to say a chocolate semifreddo torte or something along those lines. And again, it was delicious and our service was excellent.

So all in all, our first Music Circus adventure was delightful. And don’t I just have the cutest mom ever??!

A picture of my cute mamma with her program became the tradition at each show.