● By Style
Photo by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.
According to my taste buds, every praiseworthy dish starts from the ground up – with locally sourced, fresh-from-the-farm ingredients.
(Of course, a pinch of passion and dash of creativity from the chef help, too.) Café Zorro, located in Loomis – a sleepy little enclave off Highway 80 – has been attracting area locavores with its seasonal menu since 2007. On a recent date night with my suitor, we tasted for ourselves what the buzz is all about.
Entering the eatery was like stepping into “Cheers,” where everyone knows your name. Although it seemed we were the only unfamiliar characters, the staff was quick to warmly greet and seat us. First on tap – a pint of red ale from nearby Loomis Basin Brewing Company. As I sipped the full-bodied beverage, we began drooling over Executive Chef Chris Barnum’s innovative menu offerings including Braised Pork Cannelloni, Paella Linguine, and an “off the hook” special: grilled Hawaiian Lehi (snapper) with red curry risotto, Thai basil pesto and mango salad.
To awaken our appetites, we selected the Roasted Beet Salad – a bed of spicy arugula and micro greens decorated with chèvre, roasted beets and balsamic-truffle vinaigrette – and the Steak Frites – flank steak lollipops and polenta fries with blue cheese dipping sauce. Both were aesthetically alluring and bursting with flavor. We also couldn’t resist trying one of Zorro’s pizzas, especially after my eyes met the Spicy Thai selection. A crisp, cracker-like crust served as the perfect base to the red curry sauce and eclectic toppings: prawns, chèvre, carrots, red onions, macadamia nuts, cilantro and scallions. Taking eye appeal, taste and texture into account, this pizza was undeniably a winner. Our meal ended on a sweet note with a slice of Blood Orange Cheesecake; the ginger crust and local honey whipped topping was a true show-stopping finale.
For a breath of fresh cooking in small-town Loomis, head to Café Zorro – your palate (and wallet) will be pleased. Note: Café Zorro is open for lunch Wednesday-Friday and dinner Tuesday-Saturday.
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