Should you find yourself in Sacramento’s downtown area, be sure to try Red Lotus Kitchen & Bar for some of their well-presented, unique and seriously good dim sum on their dinner menu.  The fresh water eel and shrimp dumplings with cilantro and pistachio puree, tobiko and truffle oil ($8) might sound odd together but the flavors were subtle, yet flavorful and blended well for each luscious mouthful.  Two roughly 3 or 4 inch beef marrow bones split lengthwise, delicately spiced with five-spice powder, and roasted– unusual, rich and tasty ($11)–and six perfect shrimp dumplings (har gow) with house-made XO sauce ($7) easily stand high above run- of- the- mill har gow.  Family style portions are generous, service gracious and attentive, and you can sit and eat at the lively horseshoe shaped bar as well. 2718 J Street, Sacramento, 916-231-0961, open from 3pm.

Also downtown, at 11th and K Street, in the area known as Cathedral Square, Ambrosia Cafe & Catering does a fine job with breakfasts such as crème brulee french toast ($4.95) or grilled jambon & gruyere croissant ($4.50), lunches that include salads, house plates and panini, and desserts from owner and pastry chef, Patricia Murakami as well as Nicole Becker who now handles most of the desserts and pastries.  Open now for desserts after the theater or a long day jawing with politicians a few blocks away Thursday to Saturday from 7pm to midnight. 1030 K Street, Sacramento, 916-444-8129, Open 6:30am to 5pm Monday through Friday, Saturday and Sunday 8am to 3pm.

Night owls who love cooking and television shopping, note that the Home Shopping Network (HSN) will feature a weekend of cooking related items from world-renowned chefs, including Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, Padma Lakshmi, Ken Hom and others.  Check out the schedule for HSN Cooks Spring Weekend Event presented by Bon Appétit on March 26-27.


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