June 12, 2007
Toasting Local Restaurants, Wineries

As a prelude to the "Grape Escape" wine tasting on June 23 at Raley Field, 21 local restaurants and area wineries are teaming up for series of special prix-fixe menus in Sacramento's first "Wine & Dine Week."

The promotion starts Sunday at some restaurants, Monday at others, and continues through June 22.

The intent is to showcase the Sacramento area's growing restaurant scene and regional wineries, say representatives of the coordinating Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Here's how it is to work: Diners drop into any participating restaurant that intrigues them, order from the special prix-fixe menu, and sit back to enjoy the pairing of each course with a wine chosen for that particular dish. Menus are to include three or four courses and a different wine with each. Prices vary from $35 to $50 per person.

At 4th Street Grille in downtown Sacramento, for example, guests are to start with a salad of baby spinach, roasted beets, candied pecans, boiled eggs and blue cheese with a smoky Dijon vinaigrette; choose from one of three entrees - New York steak with a peppercorn sauce, house-smoked pork loin chop with Granny Smith apples, or risotto with sea scallops and tiger prawns - and finish with one of three desserts. The wines, still being chosen, will be by Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Winery.

Other participating restaurants include Brew It Up Brewery & Grill, Gaylord India Restaurant, Sofia Restaurant and Frank Fat's. A complete list is at the Grape Escape Web site.

More than 100 local wineries and restaurants are to participate in the fifth annual Grape Escape, which is to start at 4 p.m. June 23. A 7:30 p.m. performance by Michael McDonald, formerly of the Doobie Brothers, is included in the $47.50 ticket price.

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