Restaurants Worth the Drive
Sacramento Magazine October 2007
(by: Elaine Corn)
Sure, there are plenty of great restaurants right here in Sacramento. But sometimes a culinary road trip is in order. Turns out, theres a host of gastronomic gems just waiting to be discovered in the foothills, farmlands, and river towns that surround our city. All you need is tank of gas, a bit of extra time and a sense of adventure. Your growing anticipation, and hunger, on the pretty drive to your dining destination are all part of the experience. Here we present six restaurants within an hour or twos drive that prove when it comes to the pursuit of great food, its worth going the distance.
The first time I went to Murphys about 12 years ago, a pickup parked in front of a bar on Main Street had a dead bear in the back. This time I returned to Murphys with my friend Victoria intending to eat vegetarian. We ended up taking a walk on the wild side of meat free cuisine. At Mineral, incongruously located in this unpretensious cattle county getaway, we found vegetarian food that occaisionally was as incomprehensible as modern art. It’s organic, yes. But it’s edgy, with surprising and delicious combinations like agar mango jelly with green goddess sauce. Grass-green jalapeno gastrique shoots across the plate. A garnish could be “dust” grated from mizithra cheese. We arrived in late afternoon, thirsty. Svelte glasses were filled immediately with filtered water infused with lemon and mint. The mostly sake drink menu uses mathematical looking codes from -12 to +4, making Murphys the seat of sake scholarship. A minus sign means sweet, a plus sign dry on the SMV, sake meter value. In Victoria’s flute of blood orange bitters in Champagne, even the sugar cube was organic. My Ginjo sake highball combined lemongrass, citrus, and thyme, with a lime slice floating on top for one of the most refreshing drinks I’ve ever had.
You may have questions about the menu, which lists fried shiso and carnaroli, a cylinder of red aka tofu, porcini cocoa crusted seitan and various treatments of tempeh. Owner Maya Radisich expects them. There is no bread in this open kitchen. Here, the hospitality snack is fried hibiscus won tons with miso butter and carrot jelly- Minerals version of peanut butter and jelly. Radisich’s husband, Steven Rinauro, is the chef. He takes his inspiration from Thai, Indian, and Latin American flavors.
Come for: A culinary walk on the wild side
While here: Shop.
Murphys is southern Gold Countrys answer to Sausalito.