Let’s face it: this summer has been a hot one. Long gone are the days of seeking warmth and comfort in steaming bowls of ramen or piping cups of coffee. The goal now? Stay cool; very cool. And while Downtown Sacramento boasts some of the best aforementioned ramen/coffee, there’s also a bounty of seasonal eats and drinks sure to delight your palate while keeping the sweat beads at bay. Here’s a round-up of refreshing, lighter fare we’re enjoying all summer long:
I first discovered Mayahuel at the dawn of my infatuation with spicy libations. While most places were beginning to experiment with Serrano-infused tequila, Mayahuel had perfected various sweat-worthy infusions – La Flor and El Beso Ardiente among them. While these sippers will always be near and dear to my heart, I’ve discovered a beverage that doesn’t require I bring a sweat towel to dinner: the Así sabe México. With fresh watermelon, cucumber, lime, tequila and tajin chile on the rim, this is the “true spirit of Mexico,” according to Mayahuel. Order with the Tacos de Pescado al Cilantro (grilled fish with tomato, onions, cilantro and chile guajillo salsa) for a combination your taste buds will surely thank you for.
2. Magpie Cafe
As charming as it is delicious, Magpie never ceases to amaze with their ability to combine simplistic quality with complex variety. Their emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients make their plates some of the most sought-after in midtown. One of their most requested dishes: the beet and egg salad made with fennel, chevre, roasted carrot, arugula, roasted carrot puree and cider vinaigrette topped with the most handsome soft-boiled egg you’ve ever laid eyes on. Pair with a glass of the Laguna Ranch Vineyard chardonnay and you’ve got yourself the perfect afternoon.
Note: Check out Magpie’s new location in the 16 Powerhouse building at 16th and P Streets.
Widely known for their blackberry margaritas made with organic pureed blackberries, Zocalo knows how to put the “fresh” in “refreshing.” And while we all love our tried and true blackberry margarita, do yourself a favor: give their seasonal margarita a chance. The Fresa is made with Maestro Dobel tequila, organic strawberry puree and mint. Place an order for the Ceviche De Guaymas (shrimp or fish, you can’t go wrong) and you’ve got yourself everything you need to beat the heat and enjoy the evening.
4. Karma Bar
They say good things come in small packages and Karma Bar is no exception. Located on the corner of 16th and P, Karma Bar is a small spot with big character. Snag a seat on the patio overlooking Fremont Park and kick back with a glass of their homemade sangria. As refreshing as it is sweet, it’s arguably one of the best infusions in town. While you’re at it, grab yourself an order of the bruschetta made with organic tomatoes, garnished with feta cheese and a balsamic reduction for only $6.
5. The Press Bistro
A restaurant, whose owner/chef seats guests, pours waters and ensures patron satisfaction after food has been delivered? Not something you see everyday, and ever-so refreshing. Almost as refreshing as the Pistolet – a combination of Hendrick’s gin, lemon juice, sparkling wine and St. Germain elderflower served with a lemon twist. And while everything on the menu is fabulous, we’ll be keeping it light this summer with the scallops served on roasted potatoes, corn, bacon and caramelized onions. Trust us, lighter fare doesn’t get much better than this.
As if their spacious and inviting patio weren’t enough to lure you in, Lucca boasts some fantastic summertime eats and drinks. In addition to colorful salads and seasonal sides, Lucca has a Pizetta that couldn’t scream, “IT’S SUMMER” more. Topped with roasted peach, sweet corn, prosciutto, farmstead cheese, garlic oil, chili flakes, arugula and vin cotto, it might just be the city’s best seasonal pizza. Pair with a flute of Italian Prosecco and you might as well be summering on Lake Como (…except for the whole “lake” aspect, but we love you anyways J Street).
7. Blackbird Kitchen
Served by the dozen or half dozen with a yuzu mignonette, Blackbird’s Kumamoto oysters from Washington will have you feeling as if you’ve been transported to cooler, coastal regions of the Pac Northwest. Enjoy with a beer from their extensive list, including a handful of local favorites such as Ruhstaller and Rubicon.