May 12, 2008
Blazing a Trail to 15th and L

If I'd get my hair cut more often I might be more up to speed on Sacramento's culinary scene. When my stylist - go ahead, chuckle - asked what I knew of the new wine bar at Marriott's Residence Inn at Capitol Park at 15th and L I drew a blank. Hadn't heard of it, I had to confess.

Thus, over the weekend we dropped in to see what it was about. Actually, 3 Fires Lounge, which the place is called, isn't a wine bar so much as a casual cafe with a few international wines by the glass and several Belgian beers. While it's casual, it's also comfortable, with plush chairs and tall barstools spaced considerately through the dark and spacious quarters. Grab a table on the 15th Street side and you can watch joggers at Capitol Park, theater goers strolling to the convention center, and limos depositing prom attendees at Mason's across the way. There's also a whole lot of wide-screen plasma TVs. The name comes from the coalition of three Native American tribes that owns a substantial piece of the hotel.

The menu runs to modern bar food - barbecued duck-confit crepes ($13), risotto fritters ($6) and mango cheesecake ($6). The happy-hour menu 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday includes a cilantro Caesar salad ($5), avocado egg rolls ($5) and a petite buffalo burger ($5).

When my stylist asks about the wine, I now can tell her to try the young and beefy malbec by the Argentine producer Gascon.

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