In January there are a group of downtown restaurants who participate in Dine Out Sacramento. For $30 you get a 3-course meal. All of the restaurants sell out. I was able to get the Dining Group a reservation for 12 at Spataro's. Unfortunately it dwindled to 10 and then we had 3 no-shows. (It should be noted that flakers are at jeopardy of being kicked out of the group.) But the seven that were left ate very well. Unfortunately I forgot my camera. Sigh. Here were our choices:
BLOOMSDALE SPINACH SALAD WITH TANGERINES, BEETS, FENNEL, ALMONDS
TUSCAN KALE, VEGETABLE, AND BREAD SOUP WITH NEW PRESS OLIVE OIL
BRAISED NIMAN RANCH PORK SHOULDER WITH BALSAMIC ONIONS, ESCAROLE,
TAGLIATELLE WITH FRESH MAINE SWEET SHRIMP, PARSLEY, MEYER LEMON, GARLIC
QUINCE AND APPLE CROSTATA WITH CHESTNUT HONEY GELATO
BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH WHIPPED CREAM AND CARAMEL
Because Dean was with me, we decided we would just select both selections from each group and split them. This was a great decision. The salad was light and fresh with a citrusy dressing. The soup was our only disappointment of the meal. It arrived only warm and was not all that flavorful. I make a Tuscan Ribollita soup every summer with veggies and bread and it is so much better than this version.
Next came the main course. I started with the shrimp pasta. It looked very simple and had the small shrimp in it. But it was delicious. The pasta was homemade and it was tossed with a nice, light sauce. I could have eaten it all but we had to switch. This was a bit difficult because Dean didn't want to give up his pork dish. I finally snagged it and found out why. The caramelized onions were so flavorful! The pork was tender and flaky. There was the creamy mashed potatoes and crunch of the escarole. We enjoyed it.
Last was dessert. I saved chocolate for last. The apple crostata had a nice crust. But the chocolate was oh so much better - because it's chocolate!
We had a lovely time and thought of some future dining events for the next couple of months. I definitely felt we got a great $30 deal.