Now Here: Dish&emdash;

After working as an escrow officer for 24 years, Jessica Rankin figured that starting her own restaurant would be a natural transition.  Huh? I mean, I know how numbers work and that’s half the battle in this business, she says as she sips a scotch/rocks at The Dish, her stylish, already popular eatery at 719 Sutter St. in Folsom. The Dish offers lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, Sunday brunch, and live jazz on Sundays and on select nights&emdash;which I’m guessing means when the musicians choose to show up. Asked if owning a restaurant had been a lifelong dream, Rankin, who turns 42 in June, dramatically rolls her eyes and says, Oh, everyone assumes that. (And here I’d thought it was a daringly original question.) But since my real passions are writing, singing and acting, she continues, I figured that the best way for me to find the time to pursue those was by working for myself. What the restaurant really represents for me is freedom from the corporate world. I’m able to surround myself with creative things here. Rankin says she designed the restaurant’s sturdy, full-service bar. The rest of The Dish’s interior features burnt-orange walls, on which she’s hung original art, and a replica of what appears to be a Victorian-era glass ceiling&emdash;something she’ll probably never encounter as long as she works for herself.

Road Stills&emdash;
For his day job, Sacramento native Garrett Crispell roams from Fresno to Oregon, Reno to Montana and everything in between as a sales rep for Sears. But he always takes his camera along since his dual avocations are photographing and saving the environment. I got my first Instamatic when I was 9 and just started taking pictures, but I started loving the outdoors as a Boy Scout, he says in a voice so slurry-casual it would make the late Dean Martin‘s sound anxious (even in his current condition). Crispell, who’s 51, has a particularly keen interest in Alaska, which he’s visited twice. The first time was 20 years ago this June, he says. A group of guys and I backpacked 115 miles and river-floated another 80 miles through the Alaskan wildlife refuge. We ended up at the Arctic Ocean. His return trip a year and a half ago depressed him, he says, when he experienced temperatures that were 5 to 18 degrees warmer than they’d been before and saw that cold-weather animals he’d photographed years earlier had migrated to chillier climes. Examples of Crispell’s photographs, which I find pretty stunning (a word I usually reserve to characterize the effects of a third Boodles martini), may be found in state offices such as the Department of Conservation (natch) and the Department of Justice. (Pictured here: a grizzly bear in Denali National Park.) At the time of our chat, local restaurants and vineyards also were negotiating to hang his work. Even better, Crispell was about to finally launch a website,, which will display not only his wilderness pics but also be an e-gallery for the work of other photographers. He says a portion of the proceeds the website earns from downloads and purchases will go to The Nature Conservancy. If you’d like to ask Crispell far more intelligent questions than I did&emdash;about his pictures, politics or, sure, the best sort of Sears furnace for your home&emdash;you can e-mail him at Regrettably, I wasn’t able to get the grizzly’s URL by deadline.

Reflective Moment&emdash;
This month marks the seventh anniversary of this column, meaning all of you broke mirrors at precisely the same moment in 2001. I’m very grateful you did.