When you are a food blogger, critic, or writer, the number one question has got to be, "What are your favorite restaurants in town?" To that end, I hereby submit my current list.

Links are to my posts of each place.

First, The Kitchen cannot be put on a list. I recommend it and like it, but it is so expensive that it is hard for the normal Joe/Jane to pony up unless it is a special occasion. So it is in it's own category.

These restaurants are the ones I return to on a regular basis

- Ella $$$ fine dining, affordable happy hour and lunch specials
- Empress $$$ meat focused fine dining
- Kru $$-$$$ best sushi/Japanese in Sac
- Fish Face $-$$ same owner as Kru, but only serves poke in a fast casual concept
- Lou's Sushi $$ my 2nd favorite sushi, addicted to the seafood nachos
- Broderick's $$ best burgers in Sac
- Raijin Ramen  $$ large selection of ramens
- Viet-ha $ fast casual Vietnamese - banh mi sandwiches and rice/noodle bowls

Fine dining:
- Waterboy $$$
- Mulvaney's $$$

Restaurants I will happily return to when someone wants to go there:

- Hawk's $$$ fine dining in Granite Bay
- Hawks Public House $$-$$$ on Alhambra Blvd.
- Meadowlands - $$-$$$ in Sloughouse
- Localis $$-$$$ exceptional farm to fork
- Skool - $$-$$$ Asian influenced seafood
- Grange $$$ fine dining in the Citizen Hotel
- Matteo's $$-$$$ neighborhood Italian in Carmichael
- The Press $$-$$$ downtown bistro
- Biba's $$-$$$ landmark Italian
- Magpie Caterers $$ a Sacramento bistro favorite
- South $$  Southern cuisine
- Mother $-$$ vegetarian even carnivores love
- Cafe Plan B $$ - French bistro fare
- Boulevard Bistro $$$ CA bistro
- Porch $$-$$$ Southern
- Roxy $$ American
- Lucca $$-$$$ Italian
- Binchoyaki Izakaya $$ Japanese (no sushi)

In the chain restaurant category:
- Texas Roadhouse BBQ - my go-to when I'm in the mood for a ribeye

In the ethnic category:
- Cafe Morocco - favorite Mideastern
- Siam - Thai
- Katmandu Kitchen - Nepal/India
- Boon Boon - Thai
- Jimmy's Peruvian
- Macau Cafe - Chinese
- Yang's Noodles - Chinese
- Vallejo's - the one at 4th and S - Mexican
- Lalo's - very authentic Mexican

Fast food:
- Popeye's Fried Chicken
- La Fiesta Taquerias
- In n Out
- Chando's
- Suzy's
- Buckhorn Grill

- Dad's - American style

- Tower Cafe
- Ettore's

- Bacon and Butter
- Tower Cafe
- Original Pancake House
- Capitol Garage
- Mama Kim's

#1 Alonzo's!!! $$- in Citrus Heights, but the best stuffed pizza
- Federalist $$
- Masullo's $$
- Pizza Rock $$ - every style pizza imaginable
Forget about buttered popcorn. While I am a butter lover, my favorite popcorn is actually Sriracha flavored, followed by Thai curry flavored.

These aren't seasonings you find in ready-made powders to sprinkle on your popcorn. Those seasonings in the grocery store or at the movie theater contain all sorts of artificial seasonings, colors, and preservatives.

Instead I use organic coconut oil.

  • Scoop coconut oil into a mason jar.
  • Add seasoning of choice. More will, of course, mean stronger flavor. It's all up to you!
  • Microwave the jar to melt the coconut oil.
  • Using potholders or a thick towel, add the mason jar lid and shake!
  • Pour and toss over your popcorn!
Super easy! Enjoy!

Is this the new date night for book nerds? Perhaps. The new Barnes and Noble bookstore in Folsom's Palladio becomes one of the first in the country to house a new restaurant.

Folsom residents were out in force for the much anticipated opening. Many were unaware of the restaurant; they were just excited for a bookstore in their area. Located on the behind the Whole Foods, the new store is large, spacious, with a sterile look. It's not as comfy as bookstores of years gone by.

For months we've watched and waited as the Century Cinedomes at Arden and Ethan were demolished and rebuilt as a brand new, shiny theater - the Century Arden 14 and XD as they are known.

As the name denotes, there are 14 theaters. While there is still a medley of big and small, all now have "Luxury Lounges". Basically, they are nice, cushy, wide, electronic recliners. They have buttons on the right so that you can move back and forth. My complaint is that they don't push back very far and have no lumbar support, so I'll be stashing a back pillow in my car for if I ever go to these theaters again.

large theater

The more important thing to note is that every theater is reserved seating, meaning as you buy your ticket, you'll be asked to select a seat. This is going to take some getting used and will definitely encourage people to load the app on their phone. After all, once you make a decision to go to a movie, you should choose your seats because if you wait to the last minute and just show up, all the decent seats might be already assigned. This will mean a real change in thinking and prepping to go to a movie at a Cinemark. 

Since it's opening in October, the new Sacramento Natural Food Co-op has been a busy hive of activity. So much so that they even extended their hours till 11 p.m. While the downstairs is abuzz, there's great things happening upstairs as well.

The second floor houses the Co-op's business offices but also has a wonderful new classroom. The room itself is probably at least four times the size of the old classroom. It houses a demonstration kitchen with all the latest appliances and plenty of counter space. There are a number of tables with wheels that can be moved around for events or set for class. Behind all this is more kitchen where additional grilling, cooking, and prep can done, as well as the washing of all the dishes.

Not all of the classes that are taught are cooking classes. There are also wellness seminars, gardening workshops, and special events. While learning how to make gnocchi is always popular, there are opportunities to take a class on nutrition or how to create a terrarium. 

OK. It's really a double birthday. My birthday is December 8th, but the bigger news is that this blog is 9 years old. One more year and it will be a decade! 

That might not seem like much, but in blog years nine is a big deal. When I started there were only a handful of Sacramento food blogs and about a thousand worldwide. Now there are many thousands and the blogging world has changed a lot.  It's always been more of a hobby based on my love of good food.  

What started as a hobby turned into SactoMoFo, the Sacramento Food Film Festival, and Have an Offal Day. I am so thankful to all the fans, restaurateurs, chefs, and supporters for helping me along the way. Most of all, I send my love to the city I love so much...Sacramento!

Sneak peek disclaimer: This is not a review as I was invited to taste the menu before the official opening. I also know the owners and chefs of this restaurant.

Anyone who drives the Jackson Highway is familiar with the two landmarks in Sloughouse. There's the Davis Ranch farmer's market on the left side and on the right side has always been the Sloughouse Inn.

The Sloughouse Inn is no more and in its place is the new Meadowlands Restaurant from the owners of Lucca, Roxy, and Lucky Dog Ranch. This means you'll get the same great service and food that you've come to love at the other restaurants. Many of the ingredients come from Lucky Dog Ranch. The beef is all grass fed and free of antibiotics and hormones and many of the vegetables come from their own gardens. 

The menu is farm to fork, new American and with similarities to Roxy. For instance, you will find the Elvis Burger and the Lucky Dog Ranch Burger on both menus. The idea here, though, is to showcase the seasonal produce that is produced in the area and that you might find down the road at Davis Ranch market.