Good Eats along I-80 this winter

A WINTER JOURNEY UP THE INTERSTATE for skiing, snowboarding or tubing (or west-bound for warmer weather) doesn’t mean you have to compromise when it comes to a road stop for lunch or dinner.

Just like the old Route 66, you can “get your kicks” and enjoy fresh, local and well-prepared food along I-80 between Sacramento and Tahoe, all at a reasonable price.

There are hidden gems off the interstate, for fine dining or a quick “to go” meal—in Loomis, Newcastle, Auburn and elsewhere. Tired of the traffic? Stop for dinner, recount your day and let the traffic clear. Here are some options:

CAFÉ ZORRO Though filled with locals, Café Zorro is just minutes from I-80, making it an easy stop. The menu would hold its own in any food-obsessed city. It includes roasted chicken, veal picatta; skirt steak and strawberry and spinach salad. The pizzas are made with home- made sausage and dough. 5911 King Rd., Loomis 916-660-1612

TRE PAZZI The new Italian trattoria is a “home away from home.” Dishes include lasagna, pan- roasted chicken, mussels and fish, pizzas and pastas and charbroiled meats. The atmosphere is cozy, lively and festive. I-80 is virtually at the restaurant’s door, so you can enjoy lunch or dinner and get back on your journey. 928 Lincoln Way, Auburn, 530-823-2994

NEWCASTLE PRODUCE Located a minute from I-80 at the Newcastle exit, the deli offers “to go” sandwiches, as well as home-made, ready-to- eat meals, including soups, casseroles, salads and wraps. Grab a fresh Mandarin orange. “I get their sandwiches for ski trips to the Sierra,” as one regular puts it. 9230 Cypress St., Newcastle 916-663-2016

MONKEY CAT In downtown Auburn, their menu has a continental flair, with some exotic items. Examples include rack of lamb, chicken picatta and a blackened mahi-mahi. Other items include build-your-own pasta and vegetable risotto. 805 Lincoln Way, Auburn 530-888-8492

MAX’S AUBURN The popular San Francisco chain just opened its first restaurant in the foothills. With a motto “Everything you’ve always wanted to eat,” Max’s offers home-made soups (including chicken matzoh ball soup), a Cobb salad, “made to order” meatloaf and back ribs. 110 Grass Valley Hwy., Auburn, 530-888- 6100

Read features of these restaurants and more at our magazine’s website,

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