Usually, I know what I want to order within seconds of scanning a menu. But at *Magpie Cafe, on the edge of downtown Sacramento, California, I’m at a complete loss. My first instinct is to go with the duck confit salad. But then I see an absolutely loaded, pulled-pork sandwich slide past on a server’s arm. Hmmm. The grilled Diestel natural turkey sandwich, with sage cheddar, also looks enticing. And I’m only halfway through a lunch menu of sandwiches and salads. Aaargh!
I finally settle on a boring, summer BLT (a steal at $9.25), if you can call bursting-with-flavour orange heirloom tomatoes, thick-cut bacon, cress and caper aioli on a fresh baguette boring. Even the scoop of potato salad seems to contain heirloom, blue potatoes. In all, it’s simple but simply outstanding ingredients, creative details and great execution by owners Ed Roehr and Janel Inoyue and their attentive staff. Sandwich makers of the world, take note.
I’m so focused on the food, I scarcely look at the inviting surroundings—scrubbed, old brick walls and exposed ductwork running along the high ceiling. But I do notice the line of salivating customers forming behind me in late morning. They’re no doubt waiting for me to make up my damn mind.
1409 R Street, Sacramento, California
Monday to Wednesday 10:30 am-9 pm, Thursday-Friday 10:30 am-10 pm, Saturday 8 am-10 pm, Sunday 8 am-2 pm
I finish my midtown Sacramento afternoon with an exacting pour-over at elegant, spare Temple Coffee, arguably the best California roaster not located on the coast.
Temple Coffee Roasters
1010 9 Street (two other Sacramento locations)
Daily 6 am-11 pm