Espresso Metro's homey lounge space has something of a do-it-yourself feel, meaning you won't find the predictably replicated furniture of coffee chains. The owners have honed their aesthetic sense since 1988, and their eclectic collection of mismatched chairs that circle each table grants a good view of a hand-painted mural that runs the length of the counter. The mural depicts abstract figures with elongated arms folded over their heads, because they haven't had their morning coffee yet. But the baristas are as serious about their coffee as they are playful about their decor, evidenced by a sleek La San Marco espresso machine and its neighboring burr grinders, each filled to the top with beans. On any given day, the bakery counter might showcase freshly baked cookies, lemon cake, or croissants. These pair well with lattes with such foam art as hearts, bunnies, and lips.
Sandwiches are highly customizable by nature, and The Sandwich Spot Land Park takes full advantage of this fact, creating more than a dozen specialty combinations exclusive to their location. The Bodyguard brims with hot roast beef, bacon, and a house-specialty spicy ranch sauce, and the Mama's Boy grasps a savory combination of pesto chicken, jack cheese, bacon, and cranberries. Salads and traditional sandwiches round out the menu and fill bellies with such steadfast toppings as tuna salad, roast beef, and American flags.
Though Crepe Escape stays open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., the café never stops serving breakfast. Chefs blend gourmet ingredients to concoct unique takes on classic morning-time eats, such as the crab cake Florentine version of eggs benedict or stacks of waffles topped with fruit a dollop of whipped cream. Egg-based crepes sate sweet and savory teeth with a bevy of filling options from strawberries to curried chicken. For those who adhere to a strict breakfast regimen of one grapefruit and one boiled marshmallow, the café also dishes up light salads, sandwiches, and pastas. Crepe Escape's espresso bar and wine list provide drinks that pair pleasantly with any dish or time of day.
Vietnamese and Chinese influences coalesce at Andy Nguyen's Vegetarian Restaurant, named among the top three vegetarian spots in the city according to CityVoter. A Buddhist-inspired ethos permeates every aspect of the restaurant, from its peaceful dining room with rich crimson accents to its dishes made from whole foods that were harvested right after being massaged.
Noodles are put to many uses in the kitchen, swirling around soups, adding heartiness to rice-paper rolls with lemongrass shiitake mushrooms, and laying the foundation for the Awakening of Faith dish with lotus rolls, sprouts, and grilled soy meat. The Ten Thousand Buddhas burger draws inspiration from Vietnamese bahn mi sandwiches, with a soy-beef patty topped with tofu p?t?, cilantro, vegan mayo, and carrot-daikon slaw. Loose-leaf teas and freshly squeezed juices complement the healthful meals.
The bright-green façade of Sawasdee Thai Cuisine catches customers’ eyes, but it’s the aromas wafting from the kitchen that convince them to come inside for a meal. In the airy dining room, beneath a colorful silhouette of a Thai landscape, diners feast on spicy tom yum soup, bright green papaya salads, and drunken noodles pan-fried in a hot wok until they say “uncle”. And depending on the spice level of their meal, customers may want to soothe palates with Thai iced tea or coffee, or a cool, refreshing aloe or coconut drink.
In a white converted home that looks like it belongs on the beach, the Sugar Plum posse churns out vegan baked goods and café fare made from local, fair-trade, and organic products whenever possible. A rotating cupcake menu includes standout flavors such as lemon lavender and mocha hazelnut, and head baker Melissa’s gluten-free and vegan carrot cake, as reported by the East Sacramento News, won a silver medal in a culinary contest where it was the only vegan entry. Sugar Plum renames its Sundays Donut Day in honor of its airy glazed donuts, served from 10 a.m. until stock runs out or the donuts stage a rebellion. Less sweet lunchtime eats often star the kitchen's house-made tempeh bacon, whether on an avocado club sandwich or atop a risotto-and-nut burger with a melty slice of Daiya “cheese.” The staff helpfully accommodates allergies and raw-food diets.