Appetizers
January 12, 2012
Cafe Capricho receives national nod for its healthful food

Cafe Capricho in east Sacramento is one of our favorite places, and now it has been recognized in a national way. First, some background:

The collaboration between two food-centric websites that cover the nation's dining scene has produced some insightful and entertaining stories. Gourmet Live (www.gourmet.com) is the "reimagined online version of Gourmet magazine," said one of its editors (the newsstand edition folded in 2009). BlogHer (www.blogher.com) is a consortium of food-related blogs by home cooks.

Each month, BlogHer puts together a "Road Trip" feature for Gourmet Live. The current one features restaurants that the writers consider to be among the most conscientious about serving healthful foods, including Cafe Capricho.

In part, BlogHer writes, "Chef-proprietor Marina Figueroa-Winchester is a stickler about fresh ingredients, and she prepares almost everything herself using a wide variety of unassuming spices. There are no canned sauces, heaps of lard or artificial ingredients in sight."

Earlier today, I called Figueroa-Winchester to break the good news. "I'm stunned, I'm going to faint," she said. "My commitment is to cook (at the restaurant) the same way I cook for my family and friends. I would rather run out of something than use (an ingredient) that's not the way I want it to be."

In my 2010 "Counter Culture" review of the restaurant, I spotlighted the shrimp burrito ("A silken flour tortilla stuffed with excellent black beans, firm white rice, good-size shrimp, crunchy purple cabbage, guacamole and chipotle sauce") and the Strand's salad ("A super-fresh mix of tender bibb lettuce, creamy goat cheese, strawberries, avocado, sunflower-seed kernels and crunchy-sweet slices of pear and fennel...with a splash of citrus vinaigrette").

That review also notes the menu's five hamburgers, onion rings and three kinds of french fries. Call it "balance." Cafe Capricho is at 3269 Folsom Blvd., (916) 457-3916.

Another California restaurant on the list is Gather in Berkeley: "The food shows that eating for health doesn't have to mean leaving behind taste or joy. In fact, it can bring a new appreciation for real, whole, healthful foods." Gather is at 2200 Oxford St., (510) 809-0400, www.gatherrestaurant.com.

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