There’s something primal and deeply satisfying about grasping something delicious and sinking your teeth into it with no assistance from a fork or spoon. There’s also the added joy of finger-licking, once you’re finished with your treat. Here are five local delicacies best eaten directly out of hand.
Suzie Burger, Sacramento
No ordinary dog, this behemoth is piled high with finely chopped tomatoes and raw white onions, sliced pickle, jalapeno peppers and relish. Drizzled with a mustard-mayo combo, the dog and its contents lie on a splayed, cushy bun, mocking you to open your mouth wider than humanly possible. Pair this puppy with Suzie’s outrageously oily, crispy fries and you’ll have a full belly—and terrible breath—for the remainder of the day.
2820 P St., Sacramento, (916) 455-3500; www.suzieburger.com
Sunflower Natural Foods, Fair Oaks
Healthy-minded folks need to make the trek to Fair Oaks’ Sunflower Natural Foods, a little shack o’ goodness offering a great menu of wholesome products. The popular falafel is one of the tastiest—and largest—items served. The cumin-scented falafel patty, made from ground garbanzo beans, cashews and sesame seeds, is stuffed inside pocket bread, then drizzled with yogurt and piled high with onions, tickly alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, lettuce and crunchy slices of cucumber. The result? A massive meal you can feel virtuous consuming.
Sunflower Natural Foods, 10344 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Fair Oaks, (916) 967-4331
Village Bakery, Davis
Got a case of the hungries? Grab a slice of Village Bakery’s excellent pizza, hot from the oven and large enough to satisfy the most ravenous appetite. The pizza comes in three varieties—cheese, pepperoni, and a veggie “combo,” and all have thin, chewy, crackly crusts. Settle outside on one of the bakery’s tables or a nearby bench, and watch the world go by as grease trickles slowly down your arm.
814 Second St., Davis, (530) 750-2255
Enotria Restaurant & Wine Bar, Sacramento
Wickedly hot and satisfyingly crispy, Enotria’s addictive pile of deep-fried calamari comes with two finger-licking sauces: a clear-your-nostrils, horseradishy cocktail sauce, and a frisky, pungent lemon-caper aioli. Accompany this lively appetizer with a glass of wine from the restaurant’s lauded wine list (900 selections!) and get those fingers working.
1431 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento, (916) 922-6792; www.enotria.com
Gunther’s Ice Cream, Sacramento
The ice cream cone goes uptown at Gunther’s, where it’s turned upside down and transformed into a cute little clown. Who could resist the pointed, crunchy brown hat (a sugar cone), the criss-cross icing eyes or the fat, juicy maraschino cherry nose? This yummy clown rests on a chocolate wafer, which is the first thing you’ll eat before diving into the ice cream face. This is a sweet treat for all ages.
2801 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento, (916) 457-6646; www.gunthersicecream.com