Sacramento Wine & Dine Week: A Budget Savvy Way to Enjoy the Region's Best Restaurants and Local Wines

Sacramento Wine & Dine Week is in full swing. This year we have nearly 40 participating restaurants, including all of the region’s best. This event showcases our diverse restaurant scene and acclaimed regional wines with 3- or 4-course, wine-paired meals for under $50. Personally I love this budget savvy way to try higher-end restaurants I’ve been eyeing -- without breaking the bank.

This year I chose Restaurant Thir13en and took my lucky husband! Chef and owner Adam Pechal also owns Tuli Restaurant, one of my favorites. He’s known for using seasonal and local ingredients, which helped to make our first time at Restaurant Thir13en fantastic!

We started with a light and flavorful warm weather treat: a Feeding Cranes Farm baby lettuce salad with figs, candied walnuts, goat cheese mousee and balsamic vinaigrette. The Berryessa Gap rosé was a great complement. It helps that the Sacramento CVB works with the winery often, so I know the heart and soul they put into their wines.

The herb Parisian gnocchi with crispy artichoke hearts, lemon, butter, white wine and grana padana cheese was a great follow up. Like its wine pair the Berryessa Gap malbec, the pasta dish provided a bit more substance yet remained light. The restaurant’s atmosphere is similar in many ways. Although housed in the 1894-era Sterling Hotel, Thir13en is intimate, contemporary and ideal for enjoying the beautiful tree-lined streets and watching theater fans rush to curtain time.

I don’t typically eat pork, but gave the next dish a try – and I’m happy I took a risk. One bite of the pork loin, stuffed with polenta, braised greens and pork jus, left me in a savory bliss… and the Berryessa Gap petite syrah was my favorite wine of the evening! (Can’t write more now that I’m daydreaming about it.)

When I thought I had no more room left in my stomach, we were served the finale: a honey panna cotta with grilled nectarines and olive oil cookies, paired with Saracco moscato d’asti. At first sight I found space for just a few more bites. The rich creamy dessert was surprisingly light and refreshing. It hardly felt sinful. I especially loved the grilled stone fruit, and their sweetness accented by the wine.

Overall I’d rate our experience an A+. Beyond the food and wine, service was impeccable, and presentation creative. Restaurant Thir13en stands out but it’s not alone. Whether you’re a Sacramento local or visitor who will be here through June 10th, make reservations at a participating Sacramento Wine & Dine Week restaurant. After a day of sightseeing or meetings, taste Sacramento as a wine and food destination. www.sacramentowineanddine.com

You can also follow Sacramento Wine & Dine Week on Facebook (www.facebook.com/WineAndDineWeek) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/SacWineDineWk).

For Sacramento Wine & Dine Week experiences written by other local bloggers, take a few minutes to check out the following reviews:

Rob McAllister “Wine, NBA And DeVere's: An Odd Pairing That Was Nearly Perfect

Amber Stott “Sacramento Wine and Dine Week Begins

Jamee Sims “Wine and Dine 2012: Blue Prynt Review