4406 Del Rio Road, Sacramento, CA 95822. (916) 457-8818

My dad left Tuesday morning and I'll admit I'm a bit blue about it. We had a great time during the week he was here, puttering about town. Since he loves Chinese food, we popped over to South Land Park and visited Macau Cafe on Monday for lunch. Macau Cafe offers both Chinese and Portuguese dishes so I figured it would be a good bet that he could find something he'd like there. I hadn't been there in quite awhile so I crossed my fingers and hoped that the food there was still good. I had forgotten about the Sunflower Market opening up in the same shopping plaza; but luckily, parking was still plentiful. The interior of the Macau Cafe had changed very little since my last visit- casual, clean atmosphere, walls covered in colorful photographs of their food and an entirely Asian clientele (always a good sign). My Pops and I were sat immediately at a large table to the right, next to a man happily gnawing his way through a plate of whole crab in chili sauce. The table was nice and roomy but it made it a bit difficult to chat. (At some points during our lunch I felt like we were like the two guys from the Muppets yelling at each other across the table.) We were each handed a large book-like menu. Pops was pretty impressed that such a little restaurant had such an extensive menu. There had to be over 200 dishes in the book. It took awhile for us to look over the vast array of offerings. Their menu ranges from authentic dishes to the more mainstream. Congee, Portuguese style curry, stir-fried frog with bitter melon, lobster e-fu noodles, pan fried duck bills, goose intestines in black bean sauce and Macau style crispy pig knuckles are just a few of the more exotic dishes offered at the Macau Cafe. If you tend to be a bit of a timid eater though, don't let those dishes scare you off; they do offer an array of clay pot, soup and noodle dishes as well.

The last time I was there, I decided to try the steamed flounder along with a plate of pan-fried turnip cakes in XO sauce. The flounder was perfectly cooked and took center stage- it softly flaked away from the bones as we jabbed our chopsticks into the flesh. The fish was moist and tender with a nice, robust ginger flavor. The turnip cakes on the other hand, fell flat. The cakes were soggy and luke-warm and the sauce lacked any sort of flavor. This visit though, I was craving some clams. I ordered the clams in black bean sauce and my Pops went with the shrimp in lobster sauce. Our waitress brought out my dish first and I knew immediately that she had misunderstood my order. I had wanted the clams in black bean sauce entree but she had mistakenly ordered me the clams in black bean sauce over chow fun, which was one of the day's specials. Instead of sending it back, I decided to go with it- especially since the chow fun noodles looked quite appetizing. My Pop's food hadn't come out yet but he encouraged me to start eating, so I did. Halfway through eating my lunch I stopped, as I noticed he still hadn't received his food. It took about a good, long 15 minutes after my order came out for his to arrive at the table and I think that was only because I sat there staring at the waitress until she acknowledged that the food was going to be coming out (easing my fears that she had forgotten to put in his order). I resumed eating once his dish hit the table but was a little perturbed as my food had cooled down considerably by then. Service throughout our meal was spotty but the portions and quality of the food didn't disappoint. The servings are generous (we had leftovers to bring home) and both of us enjoyed our orders. My dish had about 10-12 clams nestled on top of a hearty serving of stir-fried chow fun noodles. There was just enough black bean sauce and onion slices to add flavor but not so much so that it overwhelmed the dish.

Overall, I was glad we decided to lunch at Macau Cafe. The Pops enjoyed his meal and said it was one of the best Chinese meals he'd eaten since leaving New York (high praise indeed!). Definitely, keeping it on the "must return" list.

In William Land Park. 15th Ave off of Land Park Drive

I know I've been a bit MIA recently but I have a good excuse...really! My dad's in town visiting from out of state. We've been spending a lot of time eating out and cruisin' around town, so my kitchen activities have been pushed to the back burner temporarily. I can't help it- my dad's one of the coolest people to hang out with. He loves to try new food and since he used to live in Sac he'd rather go explore a farmers' market with me then hit up a museum. In fact today, we went and checked out the Thursday's farmers' market on Florin Road. I'd never been there and was actually quite impressed with the selection. Mind you, I'm not about to give up my Sunday W Street farmers' market buuuuuuuuuut Florin had a lot more selection then the weekday markets by the Capitol. It's also really handy if you want to get some fresh produce to cook up for a Friday or Saturday night dinner. I also dialed him in to my favorite banh mi joint (Duc Huong) and we popped by there to grab some sandwiches for lunch and a few of their delicious garlic rolls.

Yesterday, we checked out the WPA Rock Garden in Land Park which I immediately fell in love with. Have you been there before? Nestled in the middle of the park, right next to Fairytale Town is this tranquil little garden. It's been there for over 70 years (built as part of the New Deal's Work Projects Administration). If you're curious- it's on 15th Avenue just off of Land Park Drive. Park on the side of Fairytale Town, just follow the foot path by the sign. It'll lead you through the lovingly groomed bushes, trees and paths. The garden was so peaceful! I could definitely see myself coming here often and settling in on the circular stone bench under a crepe myrtle with a book and some coffee for some quiet time.

Afterwards my dad and I went over to Harry's Cafe for lunch. We filled up on big servings of chow fun and bun; when we left, we noticed someone was drying jujubes on a large tarp around the corner from the restaurant. Jujubes are a type of Chinese date. Raw they taste a crisp apple. But oftentimes, they're dried and used in teas, medicines or eaten as a snack. I thought it was pretty awesome that they were just drying them on the city street, but the worrywart part of me was thinking, "Gee, I hope a dog doesn't pee on them!"

We also stopped by McKinley Park on the way home for a stroll. In the garden, we happened upon some rose hips. These didn't look like they were ripe yet but it was still pretty cool to stumble across them. What doesn't grow in our fab city?


Seems like Old Mother Nature was trying to give us one more whammy of sweltering hot weather this weekend. Hope you were able to keep cool and have a good time. I did, well sorta.... Oh the joys of dating a Catholic boy! You are obligated to attend baptisms, confirmations and apparently the Holy Bowl. Mr.S.'s alma mater, Christian Brothers High School (or "Brothers," as him and his buddies call it) has a big rivalry with Jesuit High School and they duke it out in a once a year football game called the Holy Bowl. So Saturday night, we packed up the kidlets and drove over to Hughes Stadium where we met up with several of Mr.S.'s friends and tailgated before the big game. For our contribution, I made up some wild rice salad, cookies and these jalapeno-cream cheese crescent poppers. I actually had bought enough ingredients for two batches (the crescent rolls were BOGO) but I decided to only make one batch, in case they were a total disaster. They turned out to be a hit (and spicy!). And although I thought the initial bite-sized portions were cute, the second go around I decided to try and make the the poppers bigger. I was pleased with the outcome. So if you want to make ones that are teeny-tiny and perfect for cocktail hour, check out the original recipe on My Homemade Life. My version makes puffs that are twice as big. Maybe they're man-sized poppers? Haha.  :) Anyhow, we had fun at the Holy Bowl (even though CBHS lost) and I learned a few things about football...mainly, bring a pillow- those bleacher seats are uncomfortable after the first hour!

Jalapeno-Cream Cheese Crescent Poppers


6 oz. cream cheese (softened)
2 oz. canned, diced jalapenos (half of one of those small cans)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tube regular Pillsbury crescent rolls


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a bowl, stir together your softened cream cheese, diced jalapenos and tablespoon of sugar.  Mix well.

3. Pop open your crescent can. When you unfurl your rolls, you should have 4 rectangles (which have perforations to make triangles). Place two of the rectangles one on top of the other. Use a rolling pin to smooth out the connecting and perforated areas. Smooth the cream cheese mixture across the crescent roll mix. (See photo)

4. Then roll up your dough and cut into rounds. Place rounds (one of the spiral sides up) on a Silpat and place in oven.
5. Bake 13-14 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately.


Isn't it great when you have leftovers in your fridge that you excitedly look forward to consuming? Rather than, those less-than-thrilling ones that you slowly shove further and further into the back recesses of your fridge until you find them a month later unrecognizably covered in green fuzz (and probably incubating some new strain of penicillin)? Well, a few months ago I attended a fantabulous dinner at my friend Unchu's house, you may have heard of her? She writes the food blog, Tate's Kitchen. She's hilarious to hang out with and a phenomenal cook. (Mr.S. still raves about the bulgogi we had there and that was a month ago!) Anyhow, for this particular dinner party she did a slight variation on Bon Appetit's Pork Tenderloin with Plum Chutney. Instead of wrapping the pork with prosciutto, she used bacon and she also opted to cook it in the oven rather than a grill. The end result was an amazingly moist tenderloin (admit it, you've probably kvetched about how tenderloin always seems to dry out, I know I have). I loved this recipe so much that I had to make it at home. I tore the recipe out of my August Bon Appetit issue and took it over to Mr.S.'s house. We went whole hog (excuse the pun) and made the dish with prosciutto and with the sublime plum chutney. Cooking it on the grill also made the prosciutto crisp up and infused the tenderloin with some smoky tasting goodness (not to mention it made clean up a snap). It was such an easy recipe to make- trust me, if you can tie a piece of string into a knot, then you can do this recipe. Anyhow, both of us were pleased as punch with the end results.

So last night, I decided to go for it again but this time sans the plum chutney since I didn't think the kidlets would care much for it's sweet and tangy taste. The pork tenderloin was a hit, so much so that both Mr.S. and I called dibs on the leftovers. Today I'm trying to do some cleaning (my mantra- "Clean All The Things!") but I did allow myself a small break to chow on a sandwich stuffed with the pork tenderloin and some homemade cranberry mustard. The leftovers were no slouch to last night's meal, I tell ya.

(Photo from Hyperbole and A Half)

Prosciutto Wrapped Grilled Pork Tenderloin (from Bon Appetit, July 2012)


2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary

4 teaspoons herbes de Provence

4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 pork tenderloins (~ 2 lb.)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

10-12 thin slices of prosciutto (  I like to use Stockmeyer brand, it imparts slight smoky taste.)


1. If using a charcoal grill, build a medium-hot fire; push coals over to 1 side of grill. If using a gas grill, heat all but 1 burner to high.

2. Stir rosemary, herbes de Provence, and oil in a small bowl. Rub all over pork; season with salt and pepper. Wrap prosciutto slices around pork and tie at 2" intervals with kitchen twine to hold together.

3. Grill tenderloins over hot part of grill, turning frequently, until a crisp brown crust forms on all sides, 8—10 minutes. Move tenderloins to cooler part of grill to gently cook through; cover and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of each loin registers 145°, 15—20 minutes longer.

4. Transfer tenderloins to a cutting board. Let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

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Ally's the one sport I just don't get. I love watching basketball. I can get into a hockey game. I can tolerate baseball, but football...not on your life. Mr.S. and the kidlets are all hyped up about the season starting (in fact they're in the other room hootin' and hollerin' right now as I type). And as if the torture of watching back to back games on Sundays and Mondays isn't enough, there's Mr.S.'s participation in fantasy football leagues to contend with. Good lord...well I guess boys will be boys (insert eye roll here). Anyhow, the boys were willing to set the game aside for a few moments to enjoy dinner tonight. I went with a pork tenderloin, teeny-tiny roasted potatoes and a new Brussels sprouts recipe. A little of this, a little of that and we ended up with one damn fine side dish. Even Kidlet #2 who loathes veggies, ate a huge serving of the Brussels sprouts. Touchdown! What was even better was that I was able to pick up everything at Trader Joe's so it was inexpensive and easy to put together. If you're a Brussels sprout hater, this recipe is sure to convert you!

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Pancetta


1 (10 oz.) bag of Trader Joe's shaved Brussels sprouts

4 oz. diced pancetta

1.5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

5 tablespoons chopped onions/garlic/shallots mix (TJ's sell this already made or you can make your own)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1-2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

salt and fresh ground pepper


1. Pour olive oil into a large pan over high heat.

2. Add pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes, until the pancetta is nice and crisp.

3. Add onion/garlic/shallots mix to the pan. Reduce heat to medium-high. Saute for about 2-3 minutes.

4. Add in shaved Brussels sprouts. Stir often. Cook for about 5 minutes. (The sprouts will turn a bright green.)

5. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

6. Add Parmesan cheese, give it a few good stirs. Serve immediately.


All week I've felt like I've been waiting, waiting, waiting. Waiting for Mr.S. to come home, waiting for the UPS guy to deliver my package, waiting for the weekend to come and even waiting for autumn to arrive. I'm sick and tired of this weird summer weather and that nasty humidity we had earlier this week was the last straw. I've got my boots, scarfs  and cute cooler weather outfits ready to go, dammit! In the meantime, the cooler beach weather of Santa Cruz is going to have to suffice. In preparation for my girls' weekend getaway, I baked a couple of batches of cookies for us to enjoy while we gab. Two were my old tried-and-true standbys- thumbprint cookies with homemade jam and chewy flourless peanut butter cookies (which half ended up mysteriously at Mr.S.'s casa). I also decided to attempt a new recipe that I had bookmarked in a past issue of Food and Wine magazine called, "Tutu's Super-Crispy Sugar Cookies" (January 2012). The Snap! Crackle! Pop! comes from the addition of Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal to the batter. It's a pretty easy recipe to make, just don't knock over half the box onto the kitchen floor like I did!

Rice Krispies Cookies (adapted from Food & Wine, January 2012)


2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups AP flour

1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies Cereal


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and salt together.

3. Add the baking soda and vanilla. Beat until it's nice and smooth.

4. While the mixer's running add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Then add the Rice Krispies. Make sure it mixes well.

5. Place a Silpat on your baking sheet.  Take about two tablespoons of dough and fashion it into a ball. Place it on the baking sheet, make sure to space the cookie "balls" apart about 3 inches as these will be big cookies.

6. Bake for 15 minutes.

7. Remove baking sheet from oven. Using the back end of a spatula, flatten your cookies.

8. Return baking sheet to the oven and cook for approximately 25 minutes more. The cookies will have small cracks on top and the bottom will be golden brown when they're done cooking.


2552 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825. (916) 486-8766

If you're like me, when you go to buy a sandwich you want your money's worth. Nothing irks me more than plunking down $$ and getting a sandwich that looks like it was put together during the Great Depression- stale bread, skimpy produce and a few pieces of see through meat. So when my friend Sheri invited me to check out a new sandwich shop in her hood, The Dugout Deli, I was a bit skeptical (especially when I heard it used to be a Mr. Pickle's location) but I decided to give it a go. Boy, did the Dugout Deli end up surprising me! Clean store with a cute baseball theme, friendly staff, good value and most importantly a tasty sandwich. They also have several comfy booths to plunk down in and watch the game while you enjoy your chips and sandwich.

Oddly, I hadn't heard of the Dugout Deli before my visit but it could be because it isn't on any main strip; rather it's squirreled away in a small shopping center on Cottage Way. Despite it's "hidden" location, the deli seems to do a lot of business. During the two hours we were there (we're leisurely lunchers) there was a consistent flow of customers and every table was filled. Their menu offers a myriad of choices and they all sound so appetizing that choosing just one becomes quite difficult. I finally settled on the "Ryan Express" which included chicken salad, choice of produce toppings, Swiss cheese and fresh avocado. I had them 86 the cheese and opted for a sweet roll (they offer dutch crunch, sourdough, sweet roll, marble rye and wheat roll or sliced wheat). All sandwiches come with a complimentary cookie, which I thought was a nice touch of hospitality. Next time I'm leaning towards trying the "World Series Reuben." I saw one go by on the counter and it looked like a homerun.

In addition to hot and cold sandwiches, the Dugout also offers wraps, sides of potato/pasta/macaroni salads, a kids menu (includes sandwich, applesauce, juice box and cookie) and party trays (sandwiches, veggies or fruit). For the trays, they just need 24 hours notice. Can you say easy Sunday football party set-up?

So, for a solid sandwich at a price you won't choke on, cruise out to the 'burbs and grab lunch at the Dugout Deli. They're making some mean sandwiches out there!