The Dollar-Wise Gourmet


For Lounge ON20 executive chef Pajo Bruich, a piled-high, fresh-carved pastrami sandwich from Sam’s Hof Brau (2500 Watt Ave., Sacramento) hits the spot. “On a day off, I usually want something comforting,” says Bruich. He orders it up simple: horseradish and mustard on the sandwich, macaroni salad and pickles on the side. “I love the simplicity of it,” he says. Bottom line: $5.19

A big bowl of Mongolian barbecue from Great Wall Bar-B-Q (1537 Howe Ave., Sacramento) is a steal of a deal, says Matthew Jones, executive chef of Pearl on the River. “You can get as much food as you want—whatever meat you want, veggies, garlic, sauces—and they grill it up. It’s really good,” says Jones. He usually drops by with his wife and takes it to go. “We just jam in as much in a bowl as we can,” he notes. Bottom line: $6.99 (lunch), $8.99 (dinner)

The Firehouse executive chef Deneb Williams is partial to the pesto scramble at Orphan Breakfast House (3440 C St., Sacramento), his favorite breakfast haunt. “They use super-fresh ingredients and prepare everything with skill,” says Williams, who also croons about the coffee. The three-egg scramble features fresh basil pesto, Jack cheese, tomatoes and scallions, and it’s served with grilled zucchini and a spinach tortilla. While it’s not dirt cheap, says Williams, Orphan offers “great food at a great value, which in my opinion is far more important.” Bottom line: $8.50

Noodles are always a bargain meal, and Supper Club chef/owner Matt Woolston finds his at the highly reputed Shoki Ramen House (2675 24th St., Sacramento). “The ramen is killer,” he raves. “Best pork broth in town.” Also on his hit list: the delicious dim sum at Capital Tea Garden (1110 T St., Sacramento). “I usually feel guilty for how little the bill is,” says Woolston. Bottom line: $6.90–$7.90 (ramen)

For a quick, satisfying, low-cost lunch, Christophe Ehrhart leaves France and heads to Vietnam, all without leaving Placer County. (He’s the chef/owner of Bistro La Petite France in Granite Bay.) He likes the bánh mì sandwich at Wayside Noodles (1060 Pleasant Grove Blvd., Roseville), where they come in five varieties (beef, chicken, pork, pork paste and garlic tofu) and are served with mayonnaise, cucumber, pickled carrot, daikon, cilantro and jalapeños. “It’s very fresh and tasty,” says Ehrhart. Bottom line: $4.50