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Where to Eat Tonight? Let Style Be Your Guide

02/26/2015 01:52PM ● Published by Style

Thai Noodle Steak Salad at Land Ocean – Photo by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group

Gallery: Taste of the Town – 25+ Local Eats & Drinks – Feature March 2015 [15 Images] Click any image to expand.

With a bounty of highly rated restaurants in our region that offer every type of cuisine at every price point, the hardest part when dining out is deciding where to go and what to order when you get there. Thankfully, Style staffers put their taste buds together and compiled over 25 of their favorite local dishes and libations. Next time you’re in a pickle about what to eat, let this handy-dandy list be your guide. In no particular order...

  1. From the very first bite of custom-cooked, sliced bistro steak in the Thai Noodle Steak Salad at Land Ocean, you’ll be hooked! Filled with peanuts, crisp romaine lettuce, chow mein noodles, fresh cilantro, mango and avocado, with a spicy peanut dressing to blend everything together, it’s full of flavor and texture. I don’t recommend ordering this as an appetizer; it’s a salad fit for a linebacker! $16.95

  2. The Jalapeño Bacon Mac & Cheese at 36 Handles—with its roasted jalapeños, bacon, garlic and Parmesan breadcrumbs—takes a childhood classic from “comfort food” to “transcendent delight.” It’s merciful that it’s an appetizer, because a meal-sized portion could put you in a cheesy-bacon coma. $8

  3. The Orange Chicken at Lotus 8 is the best and freshest I’ve ever tasted! It’s always served piping hot, with fresh boneless breasts that are breaded—but not overly so—and deep-fried until crunchy. The zesty orange glaze that bathes the meat is perfectly citrusy with a hint of savory goodness. What’s more, the lunch portion is served with soup, salad and your choice of steamed rice, vegetable chow mein or fried rice. Talk about a complete, and filling, meal! $8 (lunch); $10 (dinner)

  4. The Carnitas Michoacan at Mexquite Mexican Cuisine & Tequila Lounge is one of their signature dishes—and for good reason: The slow-roasted meat is always tender and well flavored, while the accompanying marinated onions, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, beans and rice means you can get creative playing with different combos. But no Mexican meal is complete without some tequila. At Mexquite, it’s all about the Folsom Style Margarita. Whether a pitcher or glass is calling your name, a buzz is bound to follow. $15.99 (carnitas); $8.50 (margarita)  

  5. The “W-36” Ginger Magic Wok Stir Fry with Chicken at Folsom Thai Cuisine features fresh ginger with a colorful rainbow of perfectly cooked mushrooms, zucchini, onions, bell peppers, snow peas and green onions. The sauce is über tasty and absolutely delicious! $9.95

  6. Although Whole Foods’s hot food section can cause sensory overload, their Pizza-By-The-Slice offering can’t be beat. Not only is the price right, but the thin crust, light cheese and fresh toppings never fail to satisfy my pizza cravings. They always warm it up before serving, ensuring the cheese is nice and bubbly. Sprinkle on some chili flakes and chow down! 2 slices for $6

  7. The Pineapple Fried Rice at Thai Paradise—wok fried with egg, prawns, chicken, pineapple, onions, carrots, cashew nuts and the most delicious curry powder—is my go-to dish. I love the crunch from the cashews and mishmash of sweet, spicy and savory flavors. $14.95

  8. Whether or not you’re against the grain or not, the Gluten-Free French Toast at Willow Café & Sweetery hits a homerun every time, and provides the perfect morning fuel. Made with thick-cut, house-made gluten-free bread and served with real organic maple syrup, it’s fantastically fluffy and perfectly sweet. $9

  9. The Thai Seafood Fat Pot at Fat’s Asia Bistro is filled with white fish, mussels, scallops, shrimp, carrots, broccoli and steamed rice in a rich, spicy red curry cream broth that’s flavored with coconut milk, Thai curry and jalapeños. It’s great on a cold day, or as a starter for any meal. $17

  10. To go with the pizza-style fare at Sauce’d Cocktail House, I always opt for The Hot Italian. (It’s not on the menu, so consider yourself an insider!) With Bacardi Melon Rum, Bacardi Superior, cucumber, jalapeño, agave nectar and club soda, the cocktail has a refreshing kick and is dangerously easy to drink. $6

  11. Every bite of the Peruvian Albacore Ceviche at Suishin Sushi is palate perfection. Light and refreshing with a hint of spice, it’s pretty spectacular to look at—to the point where it’s almost a shame to eat it. Seared albacore is topped with red onions, bell peppers (red, yellow and orange), lemon juice, sea salt, vinegar, habañero peppers, mango, cilantro and tobiko. Whether you’re a fan of salty, sweet, tangy or spicy foods, this appetizer has it all. $10

  12. The Strings Combo at Folsom Strings Café is sinfully satisfying. It comes with their special “lasagna pastry” that’s baked within a toothsome onion-pastry shell and placed atop a river of marinara and Alfredo sauces, alongside a serving of tortellini alla panna with diced smoked ham in the same milky Alfredo. The price is right, so your wallet (and stomach) always leave happy. $15.80

  13. The Grilled USDA Prime Skirt Steak at Sienna New American Grill is always tender and flavored to perfection, while the accompanying whipped Parmesan potatoes are smooth as silk with a fluffy finish. Usually I would save space and forgo eating the veggies (asparagus in this situation), but on this plate you’d be remiss not to try them! $24.95 

  14. The utter bliss of sharing the Garlic Chips at Pizzeria Classico is most definitely worth the garlicky dragon breath post-meal. I’ve been addicted to this gooey appetizer pizza since I was a little girl; I just can’t get enough of that perfect garlic-cheese-to-butter ratio. It wakes up your taste buds a little more deliciously than it wakes up your neighbor’s nose, though, so breathe with caution! $9.95, 916-351-1430

  15. One bite of the Crispy Spring Rolls at Aji Bistro immediately sets off a flavor explosion in your mouth. It’s magic. There’s tanginess and a zest that hurries you to take another bite. Serious succulence ensues. Add one of Aji’s killer cocktails to the mix and voila—all worries fade away! $6

  16. The Prime Rib French Dip at Bacchus House Wine Bar & Bistro is a delicious upgrade to the classic French dip. The grilled onions, portobello mushrooms and melted Swiss combine wonderfully with the already excellent prime rib. Paired with your choice of French fries or salad, and tasty au jus, makes it the most satisfying lunch in town. $14

  17. The Enmoladas at La Rosa Blanca feature two succulent chicken enchiladas topped with mole sauce that’s surprisingly sweet on the first bite with a pleasant moderate heat that kicks in afterward, balancing out the rich chocolate in perfect harmony; melted cheese and a splattering of sour cream tops off the dish perfectly. $11.50

  18. Some like it hot, and the 10-piece Original Hot Wing Combo at Wingstop does not disappoint. Whether you’re watching the game at home or going out to lunch with friends, or heck, just have a craving—order these smoky-spicy classics with a side of cool coleslaw and wash it all down with icy southern sweet tea. $10.99 (includes a dipping sauce)

  19. The Fireball Roll appetizer at Kanpai Sushi features spicy tuna, cream cheese and jalapeños—all stuffed inside inari (fried tofu pouches)—and is then fried with panko and drizzled with teriyaki sauce and spicy mayo. It’s so stunningly delicious that you’ll likely end up ordering a second. $5.95

  20. If you’re a fan of nachos, then you’ll appreciate the Chilaquiles & Avocado at Early Toast. Crispy corn tortilla chips sautéed with salsa and topped with two perfectly cooked (slightly yolky) eggs, sour cream, cheese and a hefty helping of avocado is a to-die-for combo. $10.99, 916-984-5200

  21. The house-made Bloody Mary at The Purple Place has just the right amount of spice, but Tabasco is on the table if you need more. It features Absolut vodka, and the requisite spear of celery, stuffed olive, wax bean, lime wedge and pepperoncini accompaniments, and there’s not too much ice, so it doesn’t get watered down. It’s a perfect drink to go with their awesome breakfasts on a lazy Sunday! $8.50

  22. There are so many veggies, won tons and meat in the Wor Won Ton Soup at Folsom Palace that you almost have to ask for extra broth! Chockfull of chicken, shrimp, bok choy, oyster mushrooms, Napa cabbage, green onions, carrots and doughy wontons, in a flavor-filled broth, it’s a well-balanced meal no matter the time of day or season. $9.95 (small); $11.95 (medium); $14.95 (large)

  23. The homemade Lasagna from Mama Ann’s Deli and Bakery is homey comfort food that sticks to your ribs in the best of all ways. Meaty, gooey—all the elements of satisfaction are there. Oh, and the cheese! And the sauce! If there’s such a thing as heaven in a dish, this is truly divine. (And did I mention it comes with garlic bread?) $5.99

  24. You say brushetta, I say brusketta. However it rolls off your tongue, the Housemade Bruschetta at Back Wine Bar & Bistro is an appetizer must! Each order comes with eight toasted baguettes with four different toppings; for those who didn’t excel at math, that’s two of each flavor. Between the artichoke and fried capers, white bean and roasted pepper purée, arugula pesto and marinated mozzarella, and herbed Sierra Nevada chevre offerings, picking a favorite might be next to impossible. $9.99

  25. There’s so much to love in the huge Pastrami Reuben Sandwich at El Dorado Saloon. Piled high with thinly sliced pastrami, melted Swiss, sauerkraut and a splattering of creamy Thousand Island, then stuffed into toasted rye, it’s an explosion of flavors that can’t be missed. Add a craft brew and perfectly cooked fries, and you’ve got a party! $9.95

  26. For those holding on to childhood memories of the small, cylindrical, cream-filled then frosted chocolate cakes (aka, Ho Hos), there’s a sweet eatery in town that takes them to an entirely new level. The Ho Hos at Karen’s Bakery are the adult version, homemade with quality ingredients, and a rich, oh-so delectable chocolate ganache covering. One bite and you’ll never go back to the packaged variety again. $4.25

  27. The Pollo Parmigiana at Visconti’s Ristorante is, hands down, the best chicken parm in the entire world! The chicken is moist, the pasta is amazing, and the red sauce cannot be beat. If that’s not enough to make you salivate, the melted mozzarella across the top is browned to perfection, creating a blanket of cheesy goodness. Pair it with the Pineapple Express cocktail, and you have yourself a deliziosa Italian dinner. $19 (pollo parmigiana); $8 (cocktail).

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