A Foodie’s Weekend in Sacramento came about because I was in Sacramento last weekend for the annual International Food Blogger Conference. I’m a California native born and raised in San Diego and have never been to Sacramento, America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital, so I was really excited to see (and eat in) a new city.
Before looking into my trip, I honestly had no idea what a big deal the whole farm-to-fork thing is up there. I was clueless as to just how massive the farming industry is and that Sacramento is the largest agricultural producer in the country. From farmer’s markets, to restaurants, to festivals, Sacramento goes out of its way to highlight their craft, and I was excited to check it out!
The conference I attended was downtown at the Sacramento Convention Center, so when we broke for really long lunches, I spent the entire time walking around, checking out the requisite tourist stops like the State Capitol Building, Capitol Park, the Governor’s Mansion, and eating my way through Downtown and Midtown Sacramento. I have to say, I LOVED what I saw of Sacramento – the people were nice, the weather was great, and the food…the food was excellent!
I met a friend at the conference that actually lives in Sacramento, so I was able to get a little tour from her, which was great. She guided me around showing me the “must see” items on a tourist’s wish list and pointed out great places that I should try before I left.
One stop included a French macaron at Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates, who uses organic dairy from family farms in Northern California. I had a Salty Caramel Macaron that was devine! Delicate cookies sandwiched on both sides of creamy, sweet, salty, gooey caramel. I’ve never had anything like it. It was utterly perfect.
For dinner I wanted to find something that really represented Sacramento. I found Station 16 Seafood Restaurant & Bar in the Midtown area and am so glad I did. This place epitomizes Sacramento – it’s owned and operated by a local Sacramento family, uses fresh, sustainable seafood and local produce and meats. I had a hard time deciding on what to order because everything looked so good, but the couple dining next to me highly recommended the lobster roll, something I love, so I had to get it. It was one of the best food decisions I’ve made since it was THE BEST lobster roll I’ve ever had, plus the Cajun-spiced fries were also dynamite. It was so good that I was tempted to dine at Station 16 for the rest of my meals, but I did need to try other establishments.
My new Sacramento friend recommended that I try Aioli Bodega Espanola, a Spanish restaurant in the Midtown area, so I checked it out the next day for lunch. I had a glass of sangria, a bowl of Fabada, a spicy white bean soup with chorizo and swiss chard, and Gambas Ajillo, or in English, Garlic Shrimp – huge shrimp soaking in a delicious, garlicky, white wine sauce with crushed red pepper flakes. Everything was delicious. So good, I’m going to replicate the Fabada at home!
As much as I loved the food I ate and wine I drank in Sacramento, there is something to be said about how nice the city itself is. The areas that I saw were colorful with personality and unique to themselves. There were restaurants with all types of cuisine – a foodie such as myself would be delighted to dine from any of them. One thing I enjoyed not seeing a lot of is chain restaurants. Yes, they had them, but they were few and far between all the other great choices lined up and down the streets.
Images below: Beautiful Capitol Park, a tiger mural painted on the wall of a building, and the Governor’s Mansion.
So, thank you, Sacramento. Thank you for the food, the sites, the great people that nicely gave me directions when I was lost, and for teaching me what farm-to-fork is all about. I can’t wait to come back and explore some more!