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Good Local Eats

We recently joined Craig and Karen Senders and their children Parker and Julia at their El Macero home for the release party for their newest wine, Julia’s Cuvee, Napa Valley 2007. This is how their website describes the Cuvee: “Julia’s Cuvee, derived of grapes from some of the finest appellations and growers in Napa, consists of 50% Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Oakville Cabernet Franc and 25% Mount Veeder Merlot. Like our daughter Julia, it started out feisty, but is mellowing with age. In the glass, this blend shows garnet fading to ruby, it offers up rich dark cherries and blackberries with plenty bright fruit on your palate and a soft velvety lasting finish. This wine pairs beautifully with one of Julia’s favorites, Steak au Poivre.”

It was quite the party with Kevin and Shar Katz from Caffe Italia in attendance cooking up wood-fired pizzas with a portable pizza oven, live music from UC Davis Idol Winners Friends With Similar Interests, an abundance of gorgeous and delicious cheeses at every turn and some friendly viticulture students pouring all of the Senders Wines. A great group of Davisites were there and we were happy to be there to celebrate their latest release. Julia’s Cuvee retails for $25 per bottle and it’s delicious! http://www.senderswines.com/

The Yellowfin Tuna Carpaccio from Ella.

The Friday night before that, Jon and I headed back to Ella and The Press with a group of friends. We did a progress dinner, our favorite way to eat out in Sacramento. We started at Ella with a couple of dozen fresh oysters followed by my favorite dish of the night, the Yellowfin Tuna Carpaccio served with a poached egg, herb salad, crispy potatoes and mustard vinaigrette, $15. It was fresh and gorgeous with wonderful flavors I hadn’t eaten with Yellowfin. We also shared pâté, a wonderful hot cheese dish and wood-fired meatballs. My favorite drink at Ella is the Elderflower Gimlet with Ciroc Vodka, Elderflower and lime. Besides the great food and drink at Ella, the décor and service is always a crowd pleaser. I always feel calm and relaxed in their environment and no matter how many times I visit, I’m always tickled the whimsical surroundings. If you see a familiar server when you’re at Ella, you’re not mistaken. Chad works at Ella as well as Seasons. We saw him last Friday at Ella and last night at Seasons. http://www.elladiningroomandbar.com/

After Ella we headed to The Press (yes again). David English who I spoke about in my last story is from Davis and was the chef at Ella before recently opening his new place in Midtown Sacramento. After only one visit with him a month or so ago, he recognized us and came over to visit several times during the dinner. He was just as hands-on as our previous visit and the food was delicious. Another reason we love The Press, our bartender friend Scott Martin who used to work with Jon and I in the 90’s at California Fats, then briefly at Tower Café. He’s a great, funny guy. He’s the tall, skinny blonde guy who works the weekend night shifts. If you see him, tell him that Cary and Jon say “Pssst.”

Our dinner last night at Seasons was great! They had just kicked off their new menu and it’s fantastic! Thursday nights are always packed due to their half-price wine nights and last night was no exception. The local real estate market has been busy lately, and our local Realtors were out taking a much-needed break. We ran into Kim Eichorn and Marcelo Campos from Lyons, Carrie Leamon from Placer Title and Jamie Madison and Martha Bernauer from Coldwell Banker Doug Arnold Real Estate. They were all with separate groups, but there on that gorgeous evening and like us, taking advantage of half-price bottle of wine night. Jon and I ate on the patio with my father and enjoyed a slow, lingering meal where we shared wonderful appetizers like their Lobster Deviled Eggs with caviar and chives, the Wood-fired Sonoma Goat Cheese with toast points, the Ricotta Gnocci with spinach, marcona almonds, lemon zest and parmesan (YUMMY!) a wedge salad with gorgonzola dressing and hardboiled egg and a perfectly cooked Cherry BBQ Pork Chop. Great job Tamas, Cullen and company… http://www.seasonsdavis.com/

The community table at Thai Canteen in Davis.

Have you been to the new Thai Canteen yet? I love the clean, urban atmosphere, the ease in ordering, the delicious food and great prices. It’s become a lunchtime favorite for us because you can get in and out quickly and the prices are all around $7. I keep ordering the Pad Si Ew with broccoli and chicken. The rice noodles are delicious, the sauce sweet and the dish very satisfying that will carry me through a long work day that usually turns into night. We’ve been there three times in the past 10 days. Jon and I will sit at one of the two bars, one a traditional bar, the other in the front window. When we have a group join, we sit at the community table. People can show up when they want, order and pay for themselves, then join the large table. If more show up than anticipated, no worries! The community table is large enough to accommodate your growing group.

They also have a great happy hour with a great slogan, “Skip Work, Eat Thai.” From 3-6 p.m. Monday – Friday they have food and drink specials and on Wednesdays, enjoy half off bottles of Sake’. http://www.thaicanteendavis.com/

If you’re looking for an Our House update, you’ve come to the right place! The back bar is almost finished, the new lighting is up, the tables are being finished and the staff has been hired. Orientation and training start next week with the hopes of being open in the next few weeks. We cannot wait to introduce you to our wonderful staff and to see your smiling faces celebrating life in the new restaurant. We’ll open with dinners only first, then lunches will be added and finally, Sunday brunch and Sunday Supper served family style. The menu will start small and new items will be added each week until the full menu is in place. We can’t wait to share our community involvement ideas with you once we open because, Our House is your house!

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