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Zinfindel Grille, Tex Wasabi, and Marriott Residence Inn Reviewed (and some links)

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This weekend, my wife added another candle to her birthday cake. Trying to be a good husband, I took her to Sacramento for some good dining and a night away from home. If you ever find yourself in Sacramento, you may want to come back and look at these reviews.

We rolled into town around 1PM, time to catch lunch at Tex Wasabi's. Tex Wasabi's claim to fame is being co-owned by Guy Fieri, star of several Food Channel shows. It doesn't stand out as a special restaurant - in fact my wife passed it dozens of times while working in Sacramento without thinking it was special. She caught his show one night where it was mentioned and we decided we had to give a shot. As a little background, the restaurant is aptly named - it's a cross between BBQ and Sushi. This is big for the wife and me, because she likes sushi and I like my BBQ. We can both be happy at the same place.

We started off with a Code Red Bowal, a 64 ounce fish bowl drink for adults. I would say that 32 ounces were ice and though it was good, it wasn't worth the $27. If we had to do again, we would have gone a different route, but it was a celebration, so we splurged. As for the food, my wife had the Crystal roll (a special of the day). She said it was the fantastic - some of the best sushi she's ever had. I had the BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwich. It was about average - I couldn't give it more than that. We split a Big Bird on Fire which is chicken in a sushi roll. That was fantastic.

One thing that I have to give Tex Wasabi high marks for is that the service was outstanding. The waiter took care of our every need and the owner (or someone that we presumed to be the owner) stopped by to chat with us a bit. The head waiter even came by for a spell. There were some other intangibles like live music nights and beer pong nights (this is legal in public restaurant?). I have to dock them a few points - though they had a decent beer special for Sunday football, the owner-type guy said that they didn't have the NFL Sunday ticket to get the games from out of town.

After Tex Wasabi, we checked into our Marriott Residence Inn. Some might find it weird to have a celebratory weekend at such a run-of-the-mill hotel/motel. Since we were only going to be there for one night and not in the room for very long, we didn't feel the need to spend a lot of money. For our $114 in Sacramento, here's what we got: a large room, visco-elastic bed, a full kitchen (stove, pots, pans, full size fridge/freezer, etc.), free Internet access, an on-site gym, pool, and hot tub. There's also free breakfast daily (eggs, potatoes, sausage, cereal, muffins, fresh fruit, etc.) as well as social events Monday through Wednesday at night. I have to give the Residence Inn my highest value rating. I've stayed at places upwards of $200 a night that charge you for Internet access as well as breakfast.

After relaxing in the hot tub and heading back to the room to watch a movie (Bring It On sometimes just sucks you in), we went out to Zinfindel Grille for dinner. When my wife is in Sacramento on business, she makes it a point to have a meal there. I was prepared for it to be overhyped, but it delivered the goods. The menu had food in all price ranges. My wife has only ever eaten the $12 small calzone (which was quite big - easily enough for a meal). I wanted to take them to the test and got the $30 Filet Mignon. It was fantastic. For drinks, I chose the white wine sampler. Yes, I broke all the rules ordering white wine with red meat at a place named after a red wine (Zinfandel). My wife when with the red wine sampler. The sample has 3 glasses of different wines - 3 oz. each. For $10 it's a pretty good value for what amounts to about 2 glasses of wine.

All-in-all, it was a successful weekend. My wife liked her excursion as well as a couple of gifts I got her - one of which I'll review at a later time.

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Posted on December 1, 2008.

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