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2010 Best of Sacramento Winner
Farmer's Kitchen Cafe
624 Fourth St.
2010 Best of Sacramento Winner - Best Healthful Lunch
If you’re environmentally conscious and thoughtful about what you eat, you’ll be intrigued by the Farmer’s Kitchen Cafe. Opened in 2003 as an adjunct to the long-established Natural Food Works health food store, the cafe serves up a very interesting variety of “bioregional” dishes. Menu items are free of gluten and casein, and the focus is on locally grown and organic fruits and vegetables, free range meats and sustainable fish. No aluminum pans, “unnatural additives” or hydrogenated fats are to be found in the kitchen of this cafe—it doesn’t even have a microwave oven. Owner Rose Ann DeCristoforo, a former journalist with a “tremendous interest in nutrition,” opened the cafe when she began to realize (as the owner of Natural Food Works) how difficult it was for her customers to implement a healthy diet in their lives. The cafe’s loyal patrons are quite eclectic—UCD students and older folks (“who remember when the world was very different,” says DeCristoforo—“and food was like this”) are seated next to diners “concerned with food issues” and people seeking vegan or vegetarian meals. Bursting with texture, flavor and color, the cafe’s dishes change with the seasons and are a lively expression of Yolo County-produced items. You’re always guaranteed to find a clutch of salads—don’t miss the exuberant “bio-regional salad,” composed, when we visited, of at least 16 ingredients, including local organic carrots, kiwi, guava, cauliflower, peppers, walnuts and romaine lettuce. Soups are predictably wonderful, as are the earthy, cabbage-stuffed fish tacos, served with the most rustic and flavorful corn tortillas I have ever tasted. There’s always a long list of sandwiches (popular selections are the pulled pork sandwich and the curried free range chicken sandwich); and “fancier” menu items might include local, organic Shitake mushroom raviolis or the breaded codfish (with a “spicy Cajun option”) served with Remoulade sauce and a lemon and potato puree. Even the beverages are healthy. Try an organic fresh juice “tonic du jour” or a bio-regional fruit smoothie. Service can be excruciatingly slow, so don’t come when you’re in a hurry, and you may have to ask for a menu when you sit down; they tend to forget to hand them to customers. However, it’s easy to forgive the disorganization after you meet DeCristoforo—engaging and earnest, it’s clear she cares passionately about her customers’ well-being. And you can’t help but feel virtuous after a belly-full of her tiny kitchen’s deliciously nutritious fare. — Kira O'Donnell
Insider tip: The Farmer’s Kitchen Café is known for its house-baked, gluten-free and organic fruit pies.
Payment methods: Local checks; AmEx, Diners’ Club, Discover Card, MasterCard, Visa
Hours: Monday–Saturday: 11 a.m.–8 p.m. (one menu)
Price Range: Inexpensive
2010 Best of Sacramento Winner: Editors' Pick
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