Small Town Food + Wine had been on my list of places to visit for a long while, and my mother and I finally decided to pick up a late lunch there on June 16. Small Town posts its list of weekly specials on its Facebook profile page every Tuesday with a new special each day of the week. When I shared the list with my mother she asked about the special for the day, Cobb salad, as well as a watermelon salad that was the salad of the week.

Early Wednesday afternoon, I sent a message about the salads on their Facebook profile page and received a response within a couple of minutes. The specials list didn’t include any prices, so I asked about those and when I could order, and I got prompt responses to those questions, too.

My mother decided to skip the Cobb salad and we looked at their regular menu on their website. My mother ordered a Tuna Melt with mixed greens on the side, and I ordered a California Melt with potato chips. I called early in the afternoon and ordered our lunches to be picked up at 4:45 p.m., and the man on the phone took my order and said it would be ready then.

After my interview with the owners of Luka’s Restaurant and Bar in Jackson, I drove to Amador City and parked in the gravel parking area behind the building that used to house Andrae’s Bakery. I walked over to the building next door that houses several businesses including Small Town Food + Wine.

When I entered the business at about 4:45, I found a family eating at a table to my left and a counter facing me a few paces away. I walked up to the counter and after about 20 seconds a woman who looked like one of the owners came up and asked if I was there to eat. I told her I was there to pick up my order and though my food wasn’t ready yet, she took my payment at the register.

When I gave her the cash, she told me the business doesn’t carry small change. So, instead of $1.30 in change, I received $1.00. The woman started to justify the fact that 30 cents aren’t all that much, but I told her I didn’t mind giving her an extra 30 cents. I received the bag right after I received my change, thanked her, and left for home.

My Meal

The California Melt is an open-faced vegetarian sandwich, which I would have ordered anyway even if I had known that the next day, June 17, was Eat Your Vegetables Day. The sandwich includes sliced avocado, tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, basil pesto, and melted gruyere cheese on top. All the ingredients sat on top of two toasted sides of a sourdough roll.

Small Town Food + Wine California Melt with Dirty Potato Chips

The paper box that contained my meal also had a bag of Dirty Potato Chips, which I had never heard of before. This brand of kettle potato chips was started in Memphis, Tennessee in 1987 and various varieties of Dirty Potato Chips are now produced by Utz Quality Foods in Hanover, Pennsylvania. The Sea Salted variety came in the box and the bag claims that the chips are cooked in a special peanut oil blend. The “dirty” moniker comes from the practice of not washing the starch from the chips during the kettle frying process.

The bread itself was hard to eat around the edges of the crust, but the interior was only slightly toasted. The thickness of the roll ensured that none of the juice from the fresh ingredients would seep through the bread, and the cheese made sure that none of the ingredients dropped out as I ate it.

Mom’s Meal

The open-faced Tuna Melt was straightforward: melted cheddar on top of tuna salad that rested on two slices of a toasted sourdough roll. The sandwich looked like it had some bits of celery trying to poke through the layer of cheese.

The mixed greens were simply arugula with a small lidded cup of balsamic vinaigrette dressing. My mother took off the lid, sniffed the dressing, put the lid back on, and got out the bottle of ranch dressing in the refrigerator. She gave me the cup, I sniffed it, and decided I’d put it on one of my future salads.

Small Town Food + Wine Tuna Melt and Mixed Greens

The Verdict

The sandwich itself tasted like an upgraded version of avocado bread because I mostly tasted the cheese, pesto, avocado, and bread. But on a warm day, a cool sandwich made for a nice lunch. The chips themselves were a nice addition but they didn’t taste any different than any other store-bought kettle chips I’ve eaten.

My mother said that her sandwich was spicy with the first bite, but when she finished her sandwich, she told me that her first bite was spicy, but it didn’t taste spicy afterward. She didn’t say anything until after she finished her sandwich, which is a good sign that she liked it. My mother added there wasn’t anything notable about the salad since it was just fresh lettuce.

I let my mother eat the rest of my chips for her lunch the next day and she said she liked them. For dessert, we had a cake square from Safeway that I bought a couple of days before. A quick check of the dessert list on the board outside the front door of Small Town, with an average cost of $9.00 per item, didn’t persuade me to change my dessert plans.

In sum, we bring out our green light and put it on our kitchen table for Small Town Food + Wine. The cost for our meal was $24.00.

Want to Try Them?

Small Town Food + Wine is located at 14179 Main Street in Amador City. They serve salads, sandwiches, flatbread pizzas, small plates, and daily specials. They also have a wine bar.

Starting June 24, they’re open from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. They’re closed Monday through Wednesday. You can eat in and take out, and their list of specials is published on their Facebook profile page. You can also view their regular menu on their website. Order ahead and/or ask questions by calling them at 209-267-8008.

Amador Business Ticker food reviews are adventures in local dining with Editor Eric Butow and his mom.