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Roo Burger $5.50
COOKIE’S DRIVE IN makes burgers from kangaroos? You betcha. Check out this juicy specimen: a quarter-pound patty served on top of one of the finest buns in town and partnered, of course, with the requisite mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. 5640 H St.; (916) 457-8353

Cheddar Bacon Barbecue Burger $5.89
Head to TAYLORS and strap a bib on to tackle this baby—there’s no way to avoid the glorious mess as you work your way through layers of crisp bacon, flavorful beef and cheddar cheese, your chin bathed in vivacious barbecue sauce. Wash it all down with a custom milkshake, a specialty of this Loomis burger joint. 3636 Taylor Road, Loomis; (916) 652-8255; taylorsloomis.com

Skip’s Original Burger $7.99
SKIP’S KITCHEN is where swank meets oldfashioned burger dining. Sip a glass of Pinot Grigio as you savor this burger fashioned from a hand-packed sirloin/chuck blend. Cradled in a poufy brioche bun, it comes with your choice of cross-cut or sweet-potato fries. Bargain bonus: If you choose the joker card when ordering, your whole party gets a free meal. 4717 El Camino Ave., Carmichael; (916) 514-0830; skipskitchen.com

Grand Junction Burger $5.91
Plunge deep into the heart of South Sac for BURGER JUNCTION’s famous burger: a one-third-pound patty piled with pastrami, melted cheese and sweet grilled onions and enlivened with an enticing Thousand Islandish sauce. (If you’re an onion ring fan, Burger Junction’s may just be the best in the city.) 7900 Florin Road; (916) 393-4420; myburgerjunction.webs.com

Johnny Cash Burger $8.75

Best known for its outstanding selection of beer, SAMUEL HORNE’S TAVERN also cranks out some fabulous burgers. Most popular is the decadent Johnny Cash, whose Angus beef patty is smothered with bacon, cheddar cheese and grilled onions. But it’s the palatejolting bourbon-espresso red-eye sauce that raises this burger to superstar status. 719 Sutter St., Folsom; (916) 293-8207; www.samuelhornestavern.com



Apple Walnut Waffle $7.75

Sometimes dessert and breakfast can be interchangeable. Such is the case with WAFFLE BARN’s apple walnut waffle, a decadent concoction that’s sure to please both kids and their parents. Studded with walnuts, the marvelously crispy waffle is topped with a sweet, apple-pie-like apple compote and more walnuts. 1050 Pleasant Grove Blvd., Roseville; (916) 783-1752

Corkwood Big Breakfast $6.50
CORKWOOD RESTAURANT, a worn but cozy coffee shop in an abandoned bowling alley, is about as authentic as its gets, offering lots of roomy counter space for your morning newspaper, swiveling bar stools and a warm, friendly waitress who knows everyone’s name. Order the Big Breakfast: your choice of ham, sausage or bacon with two eggs, a big, crusty pile of hash browns and toast. 154 W. Main St., Woodland; (530) 662-9386

Buttermilk Pancake Combo $6.50
Arrive early, or expect to wait (and wait . . . ) on weekend mornings at CAROL’S RESTAURANT in West Sac. But your reward is one of Carol’s famous breakfasts, including this simple but satisfying combo: two plate-size pancakes, two eggs and two pieces of bacon or sausage. You won’t leave hungry. 1201 W. Capitol Ave., West Sacramento; (916) 372-4631; carolsrestaurant.net

Biscuits and Gravy $6.45
When you’re in the mood to ingest a week’s worth of calories in a single meal (and thoroughly enjoy every bite), head to STAGECOACH RESTAURANT for a plateful of biscuits and gravy. Crusty, airy and warm, three housemade biscuits are swathed in a lake of country gravy, accompanied by your choice of bacon, sausage or ham. 4365 Florin Road; (916) 422-9296

The Duke Scramble $8.99
Two hungry people will be very satisfied by this outstanding dish at CHARLIE’S CAFE: a lusty egg scramble laden with ground beef, mushrooms, onions, fresh spinach and lots of cheddar cheese. It’s plated up with crispy country potatoes and a biscuit with pepper-flecked gravy. 8000 Auburn Blvd., Citrus Heights; (916) 726-4772



Spaghetti and Meatball Lunch $6.95
Lusty and bellyfilling, Español’s enormous portion of made-with-love spaghetti is drenched in a meaty, bold tomato sauce, then crowned with a single oversized meatball. Plunge into this dish on a rainy day or when you need to tackle a case of the grumpies—it will nourish your soul. 5723 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 457-1936

Rainbow Noodle (Kot-Swe-Thot) $7.75
You may not think of eating cold noodles, but congenial little Green Elephant Restaurant will convince you otherwise. These lovely yellow egg noodles are prepared “salad style” with minced chicken, chopped cabbage, tangles of fried yellow onion and the vibrant addition of tamarind juice. 5911 King Road, Loomis; (916) 652-6325; greenelephantloomis.com

House Chow Mein $7.50
Packed with chunks of chicken, fat pink shrimp and tender strips of beef, Sunrise Chinese Restaurant’s house chow mein is one of the finest in the region. Pay $1.50 extra to substitute wide chow fun noodles in the dish. (It’s worth the splurge.) Pair the noodles with Sunrise’s excellent wor won ton soup for a sumptuous—and economical— winter meal. 4689 Mack Road; (916) 428-8882

Supreme Noodle Soup $8.50

This lavish, exotic, goodie-packed soup is one of the most delicious dishes at Andy Nguyen Vegetarian Cuisine. A spicy lemongrass broth contains noodles, velvety chunks of shiitake mushroom, squares of soft tofu and assorted soy meats that look an awful lot like bologna. Floating bits of carrot and broccoli clusters brighten up the dish, and thin slices of jalapeño pepper add a zippy burn. 2007 Broadway; (916) 736-1157; andynguyenvegetarian.com

Bun Ga Nuong (Grilled Chicken and Vermicelli Noodle Salad) $8.95
The perfect nibble on a sweltering Sacramento afternoon, East West Cafe’s bun ga nuong pairs cool, thin rice noodles with fabulous, freshly grilled chicken and shredded lettuce, cucumber and carrots. Sprinkled with roasted peanuts and served with a complex, slightly sweet dipping sauce, the dish is exuberantly fresh and light, filling you up without weighing you down. 9261 Laguna Springs Drive, Elk Grove; (916) 684-9988