Grab a Quick Meal

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Have a half an hour to grab lunch before that multi-hour afternoon meeting? Forget the local fast-food joint—here are five eateries with great “quickie” food.

Papi’s Pizza
Nothing satisfies gnawing hunger like a big fat slice of pizza. Drop into Papi’s on J Street when you’re hungry and in a rush—they’ll plate you up a huge, hot slice with an exquisitely thin, crispy crust in moments. Selections include a simple, pretty tomato and basil pizza; a pepperoni pizza; and a shredded chicken pizza with soft, caramelized yellow onions. If you have a moment, check out the extreme dirt bike footage playing on Papi’s multiple televisions.
2724 J St., Sacramento, (916) 443-4000

Lalo’s Restaurant
Craving real Mexican food? Lalo’s dishes up super-tasty, super-traditional Mexican fare that will keep your tummy happy all through that afternoon meeting. Don’t miss the delicious quesadillas—there’s a great selection, from the chicken and potato (my favorite) to the hongo (mushroom),  pancita (tripe) and flor de calabaza (gourd flower) quesadillas. Other recommended dishes are the juicy tacos (only $1 each!) flavors include grilled pork, beef tongue and buche (fried pork stomach); and the plump steamed tamales.
5063 24th St., Sacramento, (916) 736-2389

The Sandwich Spot
Sure, delis abound in the Sacramento region, but where can you find a really great sandwich? Check out the wonderful lineup of tasty lunch selections at The Sandwich Spot, located in a cuter-than-cute renovated historic building along busy Q Street. Sandwiches are all they do, and they do them marvelously. Sink your teeth into the “Sac Bee,” loaded with marinated chicken, bacon, avocado and cheese; or the “Manwich,” a hearty sandwich filled with hot pastrami, roast beef, salami and your choice of cheese.
1630 18th St., Sacramento, (916) 492-2613; www.thesandwichspot.com

Capitol Dawg
Your head will spin as you contemplate Capitol Dawg’s extensive menu of hot dog combos. Ever considered putting ranch dressing or crushed pineapple on your dog? You can experiment with these toppings and many more at this teeny, friendly establishment, located next door to Jack’s Urban Eats in midtown Sacramento. Selections range from steamed, grilled, or deep-fried beef frankfurters, pork Italian sausage and beef Polish sausage, and there’s even a vegetarian option (vegetable and grain protein franks). Be sure to order the addictive and crispy sweet potato fries.
1226 20th St., Sacramento, (916) 444-1226; www.capitoldawg.com

Pooja Indian Grill
If the clock is ticking, head to Pooja Indian Grill in West Sacramento for the restaurant’s bountiful buffet. For $8.99, you can grab a roomy to-go container and pile it high with Pooja’s luscious tandoori chicken and lamb curry; the velvety saag paneer (creamed spinach blended with a mild housemade cheese) and the crusty pakora, chick pea-battered vegetable fritters. Other not-to-miss delicacies you may discover in the buffet include the kitchen’s bengan haratha (baked and mashed egg plant, cooked with onions, tomatoes and green peas) and the indulgent, rich chicken tikka masala, simmered with tomatoes, butter and cream. Race back to the office, tuck a big, absorbent napkin into your shirt, and dive in.
1223 Merkley Ave., West Sacramento, (916) 375-8906; http://poojaindiangrill.com