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There’s a good reason why the rustic artisan breads from Old Soul Co. (1716 L St., Sacramento) are served at many of the area’s best restaurants. Whether it’s herb focaccia or an Italian ciabatta roll, you’ll want to inhale it.
If you’re gonna eat calamari, go to Biba (2801 Capitol Ave., Sacramento) for a pile of beautifully crisped, deep-fried small squid, peppered with paprika.
At L Wine Lounge & Urban Kitchen (1801 L St., Sacramento),chef Ame Harrington lends her name to Amelia’s Salad: a bed of baby romaine, cilantro and shallots tossed with a lime-Worcestershire vinaigrette, topped with anchovy-garlic crostini, avocado and a prettily poached egg.
Nothing says autumn quite like the Death to Butternut Squash soup at Mulvaney’s Building & Loan (1215 19th St., Sacramento). Chef Patrick Mulvaney keeps it seasonal, organic and local by buying the heirloom squash from Del Rio Botanical farmer Suzanne Peabody Ashworth.
Organic heirloom Bloomsdale spinach gets special treatment at Paul Martin’s American Bistro in Roseville (1455 Eureka Rd.). The godly greens are sautéed with extra virgin olive oil, garlic and shallots before being sprinkled with Point Reyes blue cheese, which nestles into the nooks and crannies as it melts.
Tender are the Dixon lamb shanks served at Hawks (5530 Douglas Blvd., Granite Bay), which are slowly braised with aromatic vegetables and herbs, wine and chicken broth.
We’re not sure what’s more famous: Frank Fat’s restaurants or his banana cream pie, a local legend for its fabulously flaky crust, fresh bananas, inches-thick custard filling and wonderful whipped cream. If it’s your birthday, you might even get it for free.