The month after graduation has been a whirlwind—one of the best sorts though.  I don’t think I have stayed put in Davis for more than a week, and I have loved the distraction from the real world.  From traveling to lakes, home, San Francisco and exploring all the food that Northern California has to offer, I couldn’t be more happy with my post-grad (yikes) summer.

clockwise from left: a beautiful day in North Beach, a San Mateo tradition at B Street and Vine, the view from the tram at Squaw Valley, and a homemade steak dinner

clockwise from left: World famous pizza at Tony’s Pizzeria Napoletana in San Francisco, catching a (12 inning!!) Giants game, post graduation oysters and champagne at Tuco’s in Davis, and reuniting with some old (and the best) friends

So, as you can see, it’s been quite the adventure.

SPEAKING of adventure, I have as yet neglected to mention my favorite part of summer so far—my first meal at The Kitchen in Sacramento.  Now, if you even remotely know me, you probably know how long and how hard I have obsessed over this fine dining restaurant.  Since I discovered it sophomore year of college, I have religiously checked the ever-changing menu once a month to peruse all the offerings they serve.  Two things precluded me from ever actually eating here, though, and they were the price point (not exactly college budget friendly) and the difficulty of obtaining reservations (the restaurant seats only 50 people a night, and therefore books up MONTHS in advance).  Lucky for me, I have the BEST DAD IN THE WORLD (hi Dad!) and after three years of dropping not so subtle hints, we headed to Sacramento for this “demonstration dining” experience.

see the resemblance?

I want to keep it short and sweet, but I also want to do this restaurant the justice it deserves.  Although the price is high, it is absolutely, 100% without a doubt worth it.  The whole concept of The Kitchen is that it is fine dining in a laid back environment.  The fifty seats, arranged around a full cooking station, give the diners the opportunity to watch as their meal is prepared.  In fact, interaction and observation is encouraged here—guests are given free reign around the restaurant to walk into the prep kitchen, venture into the wine cellar, and even ask for seconds—or thirds!—of whatever they like (yes, I will admit this was the main draw of the restaurant).  The staff is incredible—friendly, knowledgable, and funny, and most of all accommodating.

Here was July’s (FANTASTIC) menu:

 

The courses are arranged in “acts” to contribute to the sense that the dinner is a show.  Not pictured here is the excellent wine flight that my dad and I split (which was more than enough—seven glasses!!), which I definitely would recommend.

clockwise from left: fried green tomato, pork trotter beignet, mozzarella, corn puree; fresh lobsters right before we ate them!; sushi intermission—all you can eat, including oysters; paella with Maine lobster, frog legs, chorizo, crayfish bouillabaisse, and bearnaise

clockwise from left: salmon before cooking; salmon with blood orange butter, fried rock shrimp, fresh pasta; peach chevre gelato, peach sabayon, and tres leches cake; prime tenderloin with beef tartare taco, potatoes, mushroom, and bone marrow reduction

My favorite course was the second one—the paella—but there was not one bad part about this meal.  I am usually not a huge red meat fan, but the steak absolutely blew me away, and the dessert—which I generally skip—was incredible.  I really can’t recommend The Kitchen enough (or thank my dad enough!)—one of my favorite meals of all time!

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