Before I start this month’s food reviews, I want to update you about two restaurants in Jackson: Villa Privata and Luka’s Restaurant and Bar.
On March 6, Villa Privata in Jackson announced on their Facebook profile page that they have closed permanently. The property that houses the restaurant has been for sale by Davenport Properties in Jackson for $1.05 million. The Davenport Properties website says the sale is pending, but the Realtor.com website says the property sold for $980,000. It’s unknown who has purchased the property or if a new restaurant is planned for the building, but we’ll have news as it becomes available.
Luka’s Restaurant and Bar’s new dining room is open with plenty of spaces for tables as well as an expanded bar. The additional dining room is at 33 Main Street, which is next door to the main restaurant at 35 Main. Luka’s is still working on the event space at the back of 33 Main Street, as well as an expanded patio behind the building. You can get updated information on Luka’s Facebook profile page.
Vinciguerra Ravioli Redux
In a post on the Ticker Facebook media page last month, I promised that I would have a follow-up review of the mushroom ravioli at Vinciguerra Ravioli because we only ate half of the 54 ravioli pieces during one dinner. So, I’ll start with the follow-up ravioli dinner.
We both tasted mushrooms in more ravioli pieces the second time around. And the sauce tasted better to me after a few days unfrozen in the refrigerator. So, you may want to consider keeping the ravioli in the freezer and the sauce in the refrigerator for a few days before you eat it. You may have a better experience as we did with our second dinner. Vinciguerra Ravioli still gets a green light.
Don Luis Taqueria
Don Luis Mexican Restaurant has two locations—Stockton and Ione—and now they have a third, albeit smaller, location in Martell. Don Luis Taqueria opened in January and my mother and I decided to stop by after running errands late last month.
The space is interesting because the main dining area is an outdoor covered patio outside of the main building (where there seem to be additional tables) as well as the food truck where the cooking is done. The front table with a menu board are to the side of the food truck.
I ordered a cheese quesadilla plate with Spanish rice and beans. My mother didn’t know what to get, but the helpful employee behind the counter suggested a chicken burrito and my mother readily agreed. She, too, received rice and beans with her meal. Each meal was stored in its own Styrofoam box for us to take home.
My mother was pleased with her burrito and said it was chock full of grilled chicken and vegetables, but it wasn’t so large that she couldn’t finish it. The two halves of the quesadilla were stacked on top of each other in the box, but the bottom half was still crispy. The quesadilla came by itself with no pico de gallo, guacamole, or other condiments. So, I used taco sauce in the refrigerator and that worked just fine.
We agreed that the Spanish rice was almost bland but the beans, which had melted Monterey Jack cheese on top, were notable because we ate whole beans, not a pile of mush. In all, we bring out our green light for Don Luis Taqueria. The price for our meals was a little over $23.
Unfortunately, there is no online information on Facebook or on the web that I could find. However, you can get their hours on a Google search page for Don Luis Taqueria. You can also call them at 209-217-8044 for more information.
Kennedy’s Pioneer Burger
On President’s Day, my mother and I decided to drive up to Pioneer to check out Kennedy’s Pioneer Burger. Though we reviewed Pioneer Burger previously, a recent article in the Amador Ledger-Dispatch noted that the burger place recently changed owners. Though I tried to order by phone, I was put on hold for several minutes before I tried calling again—and got a busy signal. So, I ordered at the restaurant instead.
My mother ordered a Robert’s Grilled Cheese sandwich with small fries. This sandwich sports Monterey Jack and American Cheese, ham, grilled onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes on grilled bread. I ordered a cheeseburger with onion rings. The burger includes a half-pound patty, cheddar and American cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes, white onions, and mayonnaise on a brioche bun.
We had to wait for about 15 minutes to get our meal before we could drive back home to Jackson. My mother said her sandwich was one of the tastiest ham and cheese sandwiches she’s ever eaten. The thick, steak-cut fries with skins on each fry were tasty but not quite as salty as she wanted. And there were so many fries in the “small” size that my mother enjoyed them for lunch over the next two days.
I’m happy to report that the onion rings were made with the same sweet onions the previous owner used, and they’re still second-best to the onion rings served by Mel and Faye’s Diner.
Our green light is out for Kennedy’s Pioneer Burger. The total price for our meals was a little over $25. You can view their latest menu and information on their Facebook profile page.
It turned out that I had to go to Sacramento the last couple of weeks, so on my way back from my appointments, I stopped in Folsom to pick up early dinners to take home with me.
On February 28, I went to Red Robin to order one of their new Donato’s pizzas. Last year, Red Robin paired up with Donato’s Pizza, which is based in Columbus, Ohio, to sell their pizzas. The pizzas were hard to order. First, the Red Robin app didn’t include pizzas. Then I had to call Red Robin four times—they hung up during the first three calls—before I could order from the Folsom Red Robin for curbside pickup.
I ordered the 14-inch Very Vegy pizza for $18. The pizza includes tomatoes, green peppers, yellow onions, mushrooms, spinach, and green olives. (This was the first time I could remember ever having green olives on a pizza, but we liked them.) I also ordered Red Robin’s Cinnamon D’Oh Rings for dessert because it’s our favorite Red Robin dessert. The D’Oh rings are eight half-sized donuts sprinkled with cinnamon and come with fudge and caramel dipping sauces.
When I came home and opened the pizza box, I was surprised to find the crust was so thin—like the flatbread pizzas you can find at many other family restaurants. The circular pizza wasn’t cut into slices but into rectangular shapes (or wedge shapes at the outer edges of the pizza), so that made it hard to get the slices out. The pizza was tasty with fresh toppings and a crispy crust.
The D’Oh Rings were as flaky and full of cinnamon as always. And the leftover four donuts were just as tasty two nights later.
So, our verdict is that Donato’s pizza is fine but not remarkable, and there’s no reason to drive to Red Robin when the pizza here in Amador County is at least just as good. The D’Oh Rings are unique and a reason to go to Red Robin if you want to visit one of their restaurants in the Sacramento area. The Red Robin website includes a full menu and the ability to order ahead, which is a better option than using the app.
Let’s Dine Two (from Folsom)
On March 9, I picked up dinner at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in Folsom. I ordered a Cauliflower and Quinoa Power Bowl, and my mother ordered a Cauliflower, Quinoa, and Shrimp Power Bowl.
The number of vegetables in both power bowls are impressive and will please your doctor: you get roasted cauliflower, quinoa, brown rice, black beans, corn, fire-roasted red pepper succotash, cucumbers, pickled red onions, pico de gallo, cilantro, feta cheese, a scoop of guacamole, and Greek yogurt crema. As you guessed, my mother’s bowl included medium-sized grilled shrimp with the rest of these veggies and condiments.
When you eat in the restaurant, the food is served in a large bowl with a scoop of guacamole on top and the crema drizzled over the entire dish. With takeout, you get the food in a rectangular lidded plastic box with the crema in a small lidded plastic cup.
Having the meal in a box makes it appear that there isn’t much food, but we soon found out that there was plenty to fill us up. Best of all, these bowls are filling without a lot of calories—my Cauliflower and Quinoa Power Bowl had only 530 calories. The shrimp only added another 170 calories to my mother’s meal.
There’s one caveat, though: If you’re sensitive to spicy food like my mother is, then you may want to order another meal from their Enlightened Entrées menu section. My mother wondered aloud if she could eat some of the spicier veggies, but she ate everything for dinner and for lunch the next day.
So, if you’re looking for a filling but light option that’s also healthy for you, the Enlightened Bowls at BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse are a good option if you plan to eat at one of their Sacramento-area restaurants. There isn’t anything like them in Amador County or any other restaurant we’ve been to.
Our green light is out for the BJs Enlightened Bowls, and the total cost was a little over $37. You can view the entire BJs menu on their website.
Amador Business Ticker food reviews are adventures in local dining with Editor Eric Butow and his mom.