Five Faves: Restaurants to Jump-Start your Palate

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Has it started to feel like everything you eat tastes the same? It’s time to get out of the house and wake up your senses.

Mehran Restaurant & Catering
Electrify your taste buds with Mehran’s karahi gosht, goat cooked with tomatoes, green chilies and fresh ginger; or the indulgent, creamy chicken tikka masala. Serving up hearty Indian and Pakistani cuisine, this friendly, family-owned restaurant offers an array of vivacious dishes for adventurous diners.
2333 Fair Oaks Boulevard, Sacramento, (916) 568-0494; www.mehranrestaurantandcatering.com

Blue Nami
Half the enjoyment of a visit to Blue Nami is the restaurant’s ambience – it feels like snug, dimly lit cave, with a curious waterfall rushing down one wall and a lush, magical display of bamboo poles that are lit from within. Your lazy palate will spring to life with Blue Nami’s “Fire Cracker” appetizer, deep-fried jalapenos stuffed with scallops and spicy crab mix.
1465 Eureka Road #120, Roseville; (916) 787-1177; http://www.bluenamisushi.com

J.R.’s Texas Bar-B-Que
Carnivores, rejoice – J.R.’s has a lineup of meaty menu items guaranteed to perk you up. Sink your teeth into the fabulous, tender beef brisket, the smoky barbecued chicken or the enormous, chewy-crackly beef ribs. And the best part? J.R.’s offers three different barbecue sauces – sweet, spicy, and the popular “original” – so you can eat ‘em just the way you like ‘em.
180 Otto Circle, Sacramento, (916) 424-3520; www.jrtexasbbq.com

Tres Agaves
The new Tres Agaves in Roseville is all about lusty, rustic cuisine from the Jaliscan state of Mexico. Sample the spicy, satisfying carnitas and the rustic, hand-pressed (and baked to order) corn tortillas, and wash it all down with one of the restaurant’s fabulous “artisan” margaritas. 
1182 Roseville Parkway (at The Fountains shopping center), Suite 110, Roseville,
(916) 782-4455; www.tresagaves.com/locations/roseville

Bamiyan Afghan Restaurant
You’ll quickly crawl out of gastronomic somnolence after nibbling Bamiyan’s moist, saucy kofta – Afghan meatballs – and (my favorite dish) the addictive, sweet-savory halwaiy kadu (pumpkin puree). Make sure to order a mug of the kitchen’s delicate, delicious cardamom-flavored tea. If you’ve never tried Afghan food, Bamiyan is well worth the trip out to Citrus Heights.
7622 Greenback Lane, Citrus Heights, (916) 725-6009; www.afghancuisine.com