Steppin’ Out – Loving Food and More

Fruits and vegetables arranged in word ‘food’

Well, my neighbor Mike Long loves Poke (Hawaiian Sushi) and thought we should give Let’s Poke, the restaurant in the old Z-Pie location in downtown Placerville, a try. A week ago today was a good day for both of us. It was also a day when the weather did not cooperate at all.

Let’s Poke opens at 11:30, so we planned to beat the crowd by showing up about that time. When we arrived, we noticed that there was still a closed sign in the window. When we peeked in, owner David met us at the door and told us that most of the employees lived in the Pollock Pines area and couldn’t make it to work since the highway was pure snow from Placerville east. He had to delay the opening an hour.

We had starved ourselves, so we decided to try the poke the next week and headed for California Kitchen, around the corner.

If you recall, about a year ago I stopped there for breakfast and described their menu of “Old California” breakfast dishes featuring great meals like Huevos Rancheros and Chorizo and Eggs. This time we were there for lunch and although I thought about the Old California menu, I figured I would try something different.

We grabbed two seats at the bar, Mike’s choice, and looked over the menu. Mike says he orders only one thing there, the steak sandwich. “They recently raised the price on it,” he said, “but it is still a great deal. It’s a good steak, and if it was served on a plate for dinner, it would cost a lot more.”

After bumbling through their menu several times, wondering if I should try and “Old California” breakfast for lunch, I finally decided to try their Reuben sandwich, made with lean corned beef (cooked and sliced in their kitchen) and served on toasted marbled rye.

As you know, I love corned beef and pastrami, but really like a bit of fat on them. However, the trend is now to go lean – not as much flavor, but much better for you.

With his sandwich, Mike had chosen a salad. I decided to try their soup of the day, lentil soup, one of my favorites and very good for you.
As an afterthought, Mike also added my nemesis, an order of French fries to split. Remember, give me three fries, I will eat them…give me five pounds of fries, I will eat them.

My sandwich had the right amount of sauerkraut and dressing and was very good.

Mike enjoyed his steak sandwich and said it was excellent, although I thought it looked a bit overcooked from medium-rare.

Neither of us finished our sandwich and took half of it home. I didn’t even eat that many fries. I guess I am just eating less (and enjoying it more).

California Kitchen is located at 251 Main Street in Placerville and is open from 7until 3 daily. For more information, call (530) 622-7500.


Fish and Chips

Being that it is Spring and Easter is just around the corner, as they do this time of year, Wienerschnitzel has added fish and chips to their menu, especially for those who observe Lent.

I tried them and they were very good for a fast food restaurant. The fish comes in long pieces that are easy to dip in their tartar sauce, which is another one of my downfalls. I don’t know if they make the tartar sauce at each store, but it is really, really good, and, I guarantee, not low calorie.

What immediately struck me was not the food, but the hinged container that the fish and chips came it. It looked like it was made from plastic, but it wasn’t. It turns out it was actually made from a compostable material known as bagasse, which I found out is the fiber left over from the processing of sugar cane.

I got in contact with the company that made them, Genpak, and told them how pleased I was to not be getting a Styrofoam package that would end up in some dump until our sun swells up and engulfs the earth (don’t worry, that is estimated to be billions of years from now).

Hats off to Wienerschnitzel for caring enough to select such a package.

By the way, they are making a lot of products out of this kind of organic waste, including wine corks that our own Nello Olivo Winery is using.


Nacho Fries

Have you tried the Nacho Fries at Taco Bell? I was skeptical, so, one day I stopped by and tried them. They were actually pretty good, especially when they only cost a dollar. The cheese sauce that comes with them actually has the taste of Cheddar cheese.


Basketball and Pizza

Little Caesar’s Pizza announced that they would give away free pizza combos if a 16th seed team beat the number one seed in the “March Madness” basketball tournament. Guess what. 16th seed University of Maryland – Baltimore County, a very small college, beat the top team, the University of Virginia.

I believe it is Monday, April 2, from 11:30 until 1:00 that they are doing it. There are some rules, so check before you go.

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