Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

Posts tagged “wine

Gluten Free Menu Shines at Siino’s Pizza, Pasta and Grill in Lincoln

outdoor shot
A few weeks ago, Andy and I visited a restaurant in Lincoln called Siino’s Pizza, Pasta & Grill. We were originally going to sample the gluten free pizzas as a part of National Pizza Month in October, but instead we decided to go with other items on the gluten free menu.

Siino’s story began in February 2011, when Annalisa Siino opened the doors of her first restaurant as a franchisee. When Annalisa took over, the restaurant was an Original Pete’s, and in just three years Annalisa turned it into her own community establishment and gave it her own name: Siino’s Pizza, Pasta & Grill. The rebranding took place in May of 2014.

Siino’s concept is to partner with local growers and feature their produce/products within the new menu. The menu also includes baked goods from Divine Desserts in Loomis, and hand-crafted brews from Loomis Basin Brewing Company & Roseville Brewing Company.

But back to that great gluten free menu. I am not sure of the inspiration for that, but I was pleased to see a restaurant with a whole section of their menu devoted to gluten free items. Patrons can order pizza, burgers and pasta sans gluten.

Gluten Free Menu
Siino’s also has a succinct and approachable wine list and an even more impressive beer selection. They offer a happy hour from 2-5pm, and an all day happy hour on Mondays, with a $1 off pints and $2 off wine by the glass. Then there is Wine Wednesday, that involves half off bottles and $2 off glasses of wine. Sign me up for that! :)

We chose a bottle of 2011 Chateau St. Jean Merlot, because of its versatility. We decided within a few minutes of looking at the food menu, we were going to both order a burger, so this wine was appropriate.

merlot
Our “appetizer” was a salad— the Balsamic Chicken salad. The salad was composed of mixed lettuce with grilled chicken, julienned salami and mozzarella cheese, red onions, roasted bell peppers and pepperoncinis. It was served with balsamic vinaigrette (easily ordered on the side). Another note: the picture below depicts half of the serving. The kitchen staff kindly split the salad between the two of us.

salad

I loved the local touch on the menu of the Zebra Burger (lovingly named after the Lincoln High School mascot), so I ordered it. It came topped with pepper jack cheese, sliced avocado, applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo and a spicy brown mustard.

Zebra burger

Andy ordered Siino’s Mushroom Burger with sautéed red onions and mushrooms topped with melted Swiss cheese. I actually liked this burger more than the Zebra burger. The mushrooms and the Swiss cheese were an incredible combination. We both enjoyed sweet potato fries with our burgers. Sweet potato fries were a nice touch and an interesting alternative to regular fries.

mushroom burger
Siino’s has many great characteristics as a restaurant: a very local gem, family friendly, great beer selection, fun wine list, lots of gluten free options, and I did not mention this previously, but the service at the restaurant was also very good. My only suggestion is for Siino’s to incorporate some local wineries into their wine list, since they are already using local purveyors for their produce.

Thanks to the servers and management team at Siino’s for a fun Friday evening. You can find Siino’s Pizza, Pasta & Grill on Facebook here and on twitter here.


National Pizza Month Concludes with Chicago Fire’s Gluten Free Pizza

facade chicago fire
Our last yummy stop for National Pizza Month was Chicago Fire in Midtown Sacramento.

Andy and I were excited to work with Chicago Fire because it’s so close to home and we had actually been there before a few times (thanks to a $100 gift card that I won at a Christmas party my boss threw last year). Don’t ever try to win Christmas Carol Word Jumble against me. You will lose! ;)

We were able to actually use the gift card twice, so we had already tasted their fabulous version of gluten free pizza and already had a favorite wine we like to drink with our dinner (the Windy City Red blend that Boeger Winery creates just for Chicago Fire). :) We already knew the service was great and were lucky enough once to have a server who had adopted a gluten free diet as well. I am seeing that more often in restaurants and it is very comforting.

It’s been a head-spinning 3 weeks since our visit (my apologies to the team at Chicago Fire for not being a little more timely on this piece–life has been absolutely crazy lately with multiple visits to San Francisco, training for a 20 mile race, working 45 hours a week, and being in the process of moving happening all at once). Still, I remember what a great time Andy and I had that night, and we always enjoy the food at the restaurant. So, here’s a recap of what we ordered:

Starter drinkys!! It was Friday night and I was ready for one of the cocktails I had seen earlier in the day on Chicago Fire’s inventive drink menu! I was interested because I saw a few descriptions that were not going to be sweet (like a lot of other drink menus unfortunately are). I picked the Basil Lemonade with Tito’s vodka muddled with fresh basil & lemon juice over ice. It hit the spot, just as I had imagined it would. Basil and lemon together in my drink, yes please! :) Andy had a glass of Bolla Chianti. OK, now we’re all set…

starter drinks

In an effort to make the entire meal gluten-free, we chose the Baked Artichoke for an appetizer. It’s a whole artichoke, doused with lemony caesar sauce and topped with fresh parmesan cheese. Chicago Fire has quite a Greek influence in their menu and many things are flavored with lemon and garlic. That’s a plus in my book and in Andy’s, too because he is half Greek. :) My favorite part of the artichoke was the cheese on top that had slightly browned and gotten crispy, and the way it tasted with fresh lemon juice on it. It was a great lead in to the salad we ordered.

artichoke

Next up we tried the Chicken Pesto Salad, which is a favorite of mine. It is made of Romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, pesto-marinated artichoke hearts and red onion. We ordered the house made pesto ranch dressing on the side. Pesto is one of my favorite sauces and the dressing that comes with the salad is addictive. ;) The chicken on the salad was grilled perfectly. I recommend ordering a large size salad because it is perfect for sharing if you are a party of two and plan on ordering a pizza as well.

greek salad
I wanted to mention the wine pairing we had. This time, we did not order the Windy City Red that we usually drink, but instead went with a Greg Norman 2012 (Santa Barbara) Pinot Noir (because of the lighter nature of ingredients in our salad and our pizza). We chose the Greg Norman Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara) because it was a better value than the other Pinot Noir on the wine list (La Crema).

greg norman pinot noir
By now it was pizza time! We decided on the gluten free Greek pizza. The Greek is topped with Gyro meat, white Sauce, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives, Red Onion, Fresh Tomato, Feta Cheese & Pepperoncini and served with what else? Tzatziki on the side. Love it. My favorite part of the pizza (other than the super crispy edges on the crust were the little slices of Gyro meat that had also gotten super crispy/crunchy in the pizza oven. We squeezed the lemon juice over the slices for an extra burst of flavor and the tzatziki lemon combo was just paradise. It’s a real treat for Andy and I to eat pizza/things with crust/bread at all even if it is gluten free, so it was fun to try the Greek flavor combination on a crust. Bonus points for the presentation, one slice of pizza was slightly propped up with the ramekin that held the tzatziki sauce. Beautiful!

greek pizza
Thanks Chicago Fire, we’ll definitely be back for more very soon! We’ll continue to work our way around the menu of gluten free pizzas. We’ve already tried and given thumbs up to the Stockyard and Chicken Pesto on previous visits. :)

Chicago Fire has a loyalty program called Square Points. You can points as soon as you get a Square Points card from your server. By registering online, you’ll be able to redeem your points. Then you can earn more points when you buy food, drinks & merchandise. Some of the rewards from the Square Points membership include a free Deep Dish Delight on your birthday, a free specialty pizza for every 500 points, and free corkage. Of course the term FREE CORKAGE was music to our ears, so we decided to enroll in Square Points, too!

Are you hungry for a visit yet?!?! Good news for you if you aren’t near downtown but live closer to Folsom or Roseville, because in addition to the Midtown location on 2416 J Street, there are 3 other locations: Historic Folsom (Chicago Fire made its debut on Sutter Street in Folsom in March 2003), Folsom at Palladio, and in Roseville at Sunrise/Eureka.

Thanks for the wonderful hospitality and service all the way from the marketing team to the staff at Chicago Fire Midtown. We’ll see you again soon. :)

You can find Chicago Fire Pizza on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.


Farm to Fork Wine Dinner Series: Piatti Presents Matchbook Wines, Spectacular from Beginning to End!

short rib copy

rose
If you missed Piatti’s last wine dinner for the year featuring Matchbook Wines, I feel really bad for you! It was even more than I thought it would be––even though I knew it would be amazing. Piatti is one of my long time advertisers, and I have always been a fan of their food, but I never knew it could be pulled off like this. This dinner was probably one of the best meals I have eaten there. I think it’s mostly due to Chef Lance Carlini who combines his take on Italian cuisine with Farm to Fork/seasonal and brings it to a whole new level.

And then there were my wonderful table mates. So, at the Piatti wine dinners, patrons are sat 6 to a table, so you prepare to make new fellow loving wine friends–at least for the night! I was lucky enough to sit with Sharon, Tamara, Eduardo, and James and be a fifth wheel. :)

servers ready
We were sat fountain side with illuminated trees surrounding us. We had been welcomed with an opening glass of Matchbook’s Rosé of Tempranillo as John and Lane Giguiere (owners of the winery) were making the rounds and introducing themselves to each table.

Then it was onto the opening dish: A wood fired spot prawn with Grass Valley polenta and a hatch chili chimichurri. It was paired with the wine we were already enjoying: Matchbook’s 2013 Rose of Tempranillo, Dunnigan Hills.

shrimp copy
As you can see. the plating was flawless on this dish. My favorite element was the chimichurri (a green sauce made of chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and white or red wine vinegar) which I love on anything from seafood to chicken to beef or pork.


The second course presented to us was a Riverdog Farm Potato Gnocchi served with fall squash, Apple Hill apples, lacinato kale and cream. It was served with the 2012 ‘Arsonist’ Chardonnay, Dunnigan Hills. The upfront nose on the wine revealed aromas of toasty oak, caramel apple and crème brûlée. It was an automatic match with the plump buttery gnocchi and apples in the cream sauce. Gnocchi is the only pasta I even missed post-Paleo, so this was like eating dessert for me!  Also, lots of wonderful comments from my table mates––they also loved the squash and apples in the dish. It was the essence of fall! Great pairing, Chef Carlini! :)

gnocchi copy copy

Then it was time to get serious. The third course presented to us was a Tinto Rey Red Braised Short Rib with Thyme Toasted Mushrooms and fresh Horseradish paired with the 2009 Tinto Rey Red Blend, California. The Tinto Rey is a red wine blend of Tempranillo, Syrah, Graciano, Tannat and Cabernet.

So, if you didn’t gather from the course description, the short rib was actually braised in the wine with which it was paired. We didn’t even really need a knife on this one, just a fork to pull apart the meat. Again, the plating was gorgeous and the pairing was genius.

short rib copy

Dessert came soon after that: A Milk Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate Cake, Sea Salt Caramel and Hazelnut––topped with Pomegranate arils. It was paired with the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake County. I boxed up the dessert to take home to Andy, but took full advantage of the Cabernet. :) The Matchbook Cabernet Sauvignon has vibrant ripe red fruit characteristics followed by layers of spice and earth and chocolate and that’s enough dessert for me!

dessert copy

I was completely wowed by this wine dinner and I was seated with the best company! Thanks to the marketing and management at Piatti for the great partnership we have had over the years. And thank you, Chef Lance Carlini! Amazing job. :)

As of October 25 this year, Matchbook now has a tasting room located in Zamora here.  GO VISIT THEM! :)

You can learn more about Matchbook Wines here. You can find them on Facebook here and their parent company on twitter here. You can find Piatti on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.


National Pizza Month: ZPizza’s Gluten Free Takeout–Hasty and Tasty!

italianpizza

So picture this: I work in Roseville (as a graphic designer/life saver) from 8:30am-5pm, and last Wednesday Andy and I have to be at a Kings Pre-season game by 7:00pm. Factor in a 30 minute commute time, and 10-15 minutes to get to the game from my house, and there’s pretty much NO TIME to cook and have a meal before we go.

Enter National Pizza Month and zpizza! They have a gluten free menu and salads suitable for a busy person like me.

All I had to do was call them ahead of time and let them know I wanted to pick up my order just a little after 5:00pm. I browsed their website, and chose what looked interesting to me. I thought their website was fantastic at showing what and was not available in gluten free. All you have to do is check a little box in the upper right hand corner, and the gluten free items remain listed, while the gluten items are grayed out. See?

online menu

So two items on the menu immediately caught my eye, beginning with the Arugula Salad! The salad has cucumbers, caramelized onions, parmesan cheese, candied walnuts and guess what? Arugula! Sold! I added on some avocado and chicken breast for an extra charge.

salad

The other menu item that grabbed my attention was the gluten free Italian pizza with artichoke hearts, tomatoes, ham, basil, pesto (yes!!) mozzarella cheese, and black olives. At first I was worried I didn’t order enough food, but as we ate, we both got really full. I guess we’re not used to having a treat as nice as pizza––even the gluten free variety––and any kind of dough is really filling. I had 3 pieces and it was so gooood. The crust was great and really crispy on the edges. The pesto was terrific and I only wish I had ordered extra on the side to dip the crust in! The crust had a nice buttery flavor and even a sort of flakey texture. I am glad I have Andy to eat the other 5 pieces, because I would have demolished them for sure! ;)

italianpizza

Now, onto the wine we had with dinner! :)

wines

Andy brought over 2 different wines to have with dinner. The white wine he brought was a 2012 Chardonnay from Mercy Vineyards. The second wine he brought (yep, I am pretty lucky to have such premium wines with a take out dinner!!) was a Cinsaut from Miner’s Leap which is produced from 127 year-old vines in Clarksburg!

Andy said he chose the wine pairing to resist the traditional “pizza wines” like sangiovese or chianti, because this pizza had pesto on it and really lent itself to a lighter style of wine. Enter the Chardonnay from Mercy––a less oakey more fruit forward wine, but still a Chardonnay lover’s wine, and the Pinot Noir mimicky Cinsaut from Miner’s Leap. Try either of these two and you’ll just think wow.

Kind of too fancy for pizza, but hey, gluten free zpizza is pretty fancy–especially before a Sacramento Kings game, so OK I’ll take it. :)

You can find Miner’s Leap on Facebook here and Mercy Vineyards on Facebook here.

If you find yourself short on time, order your pizza from zpizza online by CLICKING HERE!!
You can find zpizza on Pinterest here, on twitter here and on Facebook here.

PS: The Kings won the game against the Toronto Raptors, 113-106! :)


National Pizza Month: Gluten Free Options Galore at California Pizza Kitchen!

California-Pizza-Kitchen
Happy National Pizza Month!! Yes, October is National Pizza Month, and to celebrate, Andy and I are selflessly sacrificing being strict Paleo ;) to try out some gluten free pizza options available in the area.

I can’t think of a more iconic place to begin the celebration than California Pizza Kitchen!

It’s been about 6 months since the renovation of California Pizza Kitchen at Arden Fair. This location of California Pizza Kitchen features The Next Chapter menu–updated with fresh and exciting dishes. We were invited to the event along with other local writers and were so impressed by the improvements that I decided I should eventually do a solo feature on their gluten free menu.

Of course, gluten free is a growing trend and a tasty gluten free pizza is in high demand. Especially for a pair of distance runners like Andy and me! :)

Here’s are the pizzas that now come gluten free (including the CPK classic BBQ Chicken pizza:

menu
Andy and I decided to order two salads and two pizzas. Hey, I had planned (and completed) a 10 mile training run the next day! :)

There are several salads on California Pizza Kitchen’s menu that are gluten free. We chose the Cobb Salad: Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon, avocado, chicken, tomatoes,
chopped egg, beets, fresh basil and Gorgonzola with housemade bleu cheese dressing (on the side). OK, so I love Cobb Salad and pretty much order it whenever possible. I have said in the past that a Cobb might possibly be my choice for last meal on Earth. I know that might sound a little odd, but the combination of chicken, avocado, bacon, and blue cheese crumbles is pretty much my favorite thing. New pizza variety perhaps? ;)

cobb

We also tried the Moroccan Spiced Chicken Salad with Roasted butternut squash, dates, avocado, toasted almonds, beets, red peppers, chopped egg, cranberries, and tossed with housemade Champagne vinaigrette.

moroccan chicken
The Morroccan Spiced Chicken salad was a refreshing take on a dinner salad. I loved the fall notes (cranberry) with the perfectly cooked butternut squash. The salads we ordered were the smaller size on the menu, so I can assure you, the portions are very generous.

Speaking of generous portions, the pizzas came out next! We ordered the Margarita pizza with Italian tomatoes with fresh Mozzarella, basil and Parmesan. Now, I haven’t had real pizza dough in as long as I can remember, but I have had about 10-20 different gluten free doughs since adopting a gluten free diet 3 1/2 years ago. I was pretty impressed with the texture and chew of the dough and the almost crispy edges of the crust. I also liked the sauce and cheese ratio on the pizza–as in, there was plenty of it! (See the slice on the lower right with the extra tomato? Mmmm. That’s the first slice I took! Sorry, Andy!)

margherita
And because we are meat lovers, we couldn’t pass up the Mushroom Pepperoni Sausage pizza with Cremini mushrooms, rustic pepperoni, spicy Italian sausage, fresh torn basil, Mozzarella and wild Greek oregano. I loved the huge chunks of sausage on this pie. Andy liked the fact that the pizza was cut into real wedges as opposed to squares. I was just having fun eating pizza with my best friend, no matter how you slice it. Pizza is something we just don’t get to have a lot of anymore, so it’s a pleasure to find a good gluten free alternative.

pepperoni sausage mushroom
For our wine pairing, we ordered a Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina. A reasonably priced, full bodied red wine that reminded me more of a Cabernet. That was not an insult to wine, because typically a Cabernet is a finer wine than Malbec. Andy is always puzzled by my wine tastes and why I like a cheaper Malbec, but my taste in Cabernet is ultra expensive. :) Bodega Tamarí is part of Viña San Pedro Tarapacá, Chile´s second largest group in the wine industry, selling over 27 million cases of wine yearly and exporting wine to 80 countries worldwide.

malbec
I really loved the gluten free pizza at California Pizza Kitchen and I am so happy this restaurant is now giving gluten free people an option besides salad. With the revamped menu and new choices available along with the updated interior, California Pizza Kitchen is a perfect choice for parties or large groups of people. There’s really something for everyone on the menu and it no longer feels like a cafeteria inside the restaurant. Everything on the menu is reasonably priced, making it a good spot for family night out or even a first date.

California Pizza Kitchen has also recently begun a rewards program called Pizza Dough. For every $100 you spend, you get $5 in rewards, redeemable on your next visit. Also, as an incentive to join the program, you get a FREE small plate when you register.

Special thanks to the marketing team I worked with to produce this piece and to Brendon, the Assistant General Manager of California Pizza Kitchen at Arden Fair. I’ll have to try some of those New Zealand Pinot Noirs you told us about. :)

You can find California Pizza Kitchen on Facebook here and follow them on twitter here.


Salmon with Hazelnut Shallot Butter and a Cauliflower Sweet Potato Mash

salmon

I love September and October in Sacramento. There are so many fun events to celebrate Farm-to-Fork and harvest time. There’s an intoxicating energy all around. The wineries are busy harvesting their grapes and there gets to be a little chill in the air in the mornings and when the sun goes down.

Though the Farm-to-Fork celebration has officially come to a close, it’s certainly not over. So many local restaurants and grocery stores have adopted this theme, and it’s exciting to see the concept take off locally just in the past two years. (Even though Alice Waters was practicing Farm-to-Table 40 years ago!! and Sacramento is not doing anything new.) ;)

I know that ever since I went Paleo (3 ½ years ago), I have made it a point to eat non-processed, local and organic foods when at all possible. I was extremely blessed to meet a partner who had adopted the same healthy eating habits as me and we have continued to be Paleo/Primal in the three years since.

We have made some incredible Paleo meals together with the best ingredients from two of my sponsors: Nugget Market and Whole Foods. We have also used other purveyors: Taylor’s Market and Sunh Fish for our meats and fish.

This Salmon dish is only an example of the kinds of things we prepare on a weekly basis. There is almost always something this special, so many times, it is more tempting to stay in than to eat in a restaurant. Don’t even get me started on all the eclectic wine that we have to pair up with whatever we make. ;)

The recipe was adapted from the Salmon Hazelnut Recipe from the book It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. The cauliflower and sweet potato mash was done on a whim and is all my own.

I hope you continue to practice Farm-to-Fork/Farm-to-Table at your house and when dining out beyond this month and celebrate this incredible agricultural paradise we are lucky enough to call home. :)

salmon
The star of this recipe is the compound butter that tops the salmon after it has been baked. You can use all or some of it, but we had a lot left over (even after using 1/2 of it on 20 ounces of salmon).
Make the compound butter ahead of time (recipe below) and use the freezer to re-solidify it if you happen to be short on time.

For the salmon

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp melted butter
salt and pepper to season
20 ounces wild-salmon (it was easier for us to portion after cooking)

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 400.  Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with salt.  Place salmon in the middle, skin side down. Brush salmon with melted butter and season again.

Place salmon in oven and roast it about 10 min. Be careful not to overcook. To serve, portion your filets and top each with slices of hazelnut butter and additional toasted hazelnuts.

compound butter
Hazelnut compound butter

Ingredients:
1/2 stick of butter
4 Tbsp hazelnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 small shallot and 1 garlic clove, finely minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, finely minced

Procedure:
Toast hazelnuts over medium heat until golden, then set aside to cool.
Sauté shallot and garlic in 1 Tbs of melted butter until shallot is translucent. Remove from heat.
Then add shallot mixture to the toasted hazelnuts, along with the remaining butter, thyme, and some salt and pepper.
Place mixture into the freezer for about 10-20 minutes.

Then place a large piece of plastic wrap on flat surface and transfer the butter mixture (after it has set up a little in the freezer) to the center of plastic. Form a log shape like above. Wrap tightly in the plastic and chill until solid. This will take 2 hours in the refrigerator, or about 45 minutes in the freezer.

salad
Spinach salad with red and yellow bell peppers, avocado, mushrooms, and salami from Taylor’s Market.

caulflower mash
For the Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Mash

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower (cut into small pieces)
1 large white sweet potato (cubed)
1 shallot
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs chopped garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
Salt to taste

Procedure:
Cook cauliflower and sweet potato in boiling water until fork tender. Drain water and set aside.
Chop shallot into thin slices and sauté in melted butter in a small pan. Add the garlic. Cook until shallot is translucent.
Place cooked cauliflower and potato into a food processor with the shallot mixture.
Add the garlic powder and chicken stock and pulse until completely smooth. Season to taste.

 

bellagrace
Last but certainly not least was the wine pairing. A 2010 reserve Pinot Noir from one of our favorite (and super local) wineries, BellaGrace Vineyards. The grapes are sourced from Sangiacomo Vineyards in Carneros. It is a fairly ripe Pinot Noir, but with the distinctive strawberry flavors unique to the region. The wine is fairly acidic, which perfectly compliments the fatty characteristics of Pacific salmon.

You can find BellaGrace Vineyards on Facebook here or visit them in person at the winery (complete with a cave cellar) at 22715 Upton Rd in Plymouth from 11:00am to 4:00pm,  Fri-Sun. They also have a tasting room in Sutter Creek (73 Main St, Sutter Creek) open from 11am-5pm daily.

Cheers! :)


Seasons 52 Wows Us with Service and their Gluten Free Menu

l
I try to avoid the Arden Fair Mall at all costs. I have been shopping there maybe about 10 times in the 10 years since I have lived here and it’s always been a pain. Probably because of frustrating trips to the Apple Store and the always promising long wait therein. Even with an appointment. For those of you that have been there you know what I mean. Then there’s the abundant parking at Arden Fair. ;) And the youngsters these days…hmmm. Nothing good can ever come from a trip to the mall. But wait!

But last Friday we did NOT go to the mall! We went to Seasons 52, a restaurant that happens to be tucked into the aforementioned mall. They have been there since January 2013, and I have been eager to come back since the media opening I attended at that time.

Eager to come back because of the concept of the restaurant and it’s direct fit with this website! :)

Every entree at Seasons 52 is designed to be less than 475 calories. Here’s a link to their menu. There are no freezers in the kitchen/pantry, so no meats or fish or vegetables are ever frozen. No butter or margarine is used in food preparation. Instead, extra flavor comes from natural caramelization on their wood-fired grill and brick oven. Seasons 52 also has a chef’s table for chef-hosted events and wine pairings, and features a piano bar with live music currently on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

A few months ago I was pitched to come back to Seasons 52 to try some of their new desserts for the upcoming fall season. I emailed back to say thank you and that the dessert angle was not really an editorial fit, but I would be happy to feature the gluten free menu. I knew the restaurant was popular for their flatbreads, but I was sure they could show me more. And they really did…

Seasons 52 Gluten Free Menu
First, a gander at their gluten free menu. It’s got a lot of choices. So many that Andy and I ordered a starter glass of wine while we decided on appetizers and entrees. :) A Borsao Rosé for me and a Selbach Oster Pinot Blanc for my man. By the way, once we were seated, it was like there was no mall. Just a romantically lit environment with several other couples and small parties dining around us. :)

rose
pinot blanc

Our server for the evening was Tanya, and she was more than delightful. Once we told her about my website and we asked to see the menu, she mentioned that she is also Paleo. I was pleasantly surprised and automatically won over. We were in the right hands!

 

Lobster Tail
For appetizers we ordered the Oak-Grilled Maine Lobster Tail served with melted lemon butter (above).

 

ahi roll
And the Tuna & Avocado Sushi Roll wrapped in soy mame nori, wasabi, natural pickled ginger (above). Our wines both complimented the appetizers, both seafood items. The lobster had a very pleasing texture and taste, but was tricky to navigate with just a butter knife. ;) We survived however, and also enjoyed the sushi roll. The rice was a welcome treat. I don’t have it that often, but really enjoy it when I do.

 

chardonnay
We ordered settled on a bottle of 2012 Markham Chardonnay to drink with our main courses. And the wine selection is the only thing even slightly negative that I have to say about Seasons 52. Sadly, there was not a single bottle of local wine on the menu. That’s a shame because there are so many stellar local wines coming out of Amador, Lodi, and even Placer County. I realize that a Master Sommelier put together the list for the entire chain, but to appeal to more customers (especially real wine drinkers) in a city like Sacramento, there really needs to be an addendum to the wine list featuring local juice. I will now step down from my soapbox and tell you about what we had for dinner! :P

 

 

Branzino
I ordered the Lemon and Herb Roasted Whole Branzino (a European seabass) with Meyer lemon, thyme broccolini, and crushed roasted potatoes. The presentation on this particular dish is pretty neat. A waitstaff member presents the plate with the Branzino closed and the lemon and thyme resting inside. Then, they open the top filet and remove the lemon and thyme, resting it on the side of your plate. The entree also comes with a little olive oil on the side.

 

Brussels Sprouts
We also ordered a side of Brussels sprouts with bacon to supplement our meal–I had a race and long run planned for the next day. The cast iron container is a nice touch––it kept the sprouts very warm so we could spoon a few onto our plate at a time.

 

 

scallops
Andy ordered the Caramelized Grilled Sea Scallops accompanied by butternut squash risotto, broccolini, lemon butter. I didn’t ask him to try the scallops, but he always cuts a little piece for me to try. We love ordering different entrées and eating family style. I was never a big fan of risotto and not eating a lot of rice on the Paleo diet, but really liked the risotto served with this dish. Once again, a buttery flavor is imparted without using butter.

We did clean our plates, but honestly it was the right amount of food. I wasn’t interested in dessert, but if you are there are some great options for you at Seasons 52. There are even two gluten free, but not sugar free desserts you can try from the gluten free menu. The desserts are served in little shot glasses to keep the portion/calorie count down. Each one is a smaller take on a classic dessert (carrot cake, s’mores, for example) Below is a picture of how you might end a meal at Seasons 52, just don’t eat all of what you see on the platter. :)

Photo-Apr-28-1-33-39-PM-e1398817013890
After dinner, we went into the Piano Bar for a little music, and here’s what we heard:

Thanks to the staff at Seasons 52 for their immaculate service. We’ll definitely be back. You can find Seasons 52 on Facebook here and on Twitter here. Make a reservation on Open Table by clicking here.


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