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 Sacramento trip - Original Mel's Diner and Nationwide Meats

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Buffalo Tarheel

Sacramento trip - Original Mel's Diner and Nationwide Meats Sat, 10/23/10 1:36 PM (permalink)
Last week I had a business trip to Sacramento, and traveling to California is never hard to take as the days grow chillier here in Buffalo.  For the most part work took up a lot of time, and I suppose that's why it's called a business trip.  I did manage to visit two Roadfood restaurants listed in the restaurants section of the site (what a surprise).  I did not take the camera along and so have no pictures to post.
Wednesday night my coworker and I went to Mel's: the Original Diner at 565 Howe Avenue.  Mel's is a regional chain with several locations in Northern California (Sacramento, Placerville, Roseville, Vacaville, Folsom, Walnut Creek, North Natomas, and Rocklin) and one in Reno.  It is an old-style 50's diner with a lot of chrome and glass, and it does look like something out of "Happy Days."  The menu is pretty varied: sandwiches, salads, blue plate dinners, hot dogs, and hamburgers.  There is also a wide variety of milkshakes, and of course they boast an extensive breakfast menu.
My coworker ordered the hamburger and fries platter and found it very good.  The burger was fairly large and looked to be fresh, not frozen.
I remember reading Billyboy's comment on an earlier thread that the hallmark of a good diner is how they prepare a turkey dinner.  Mel's offers a turkey platter and an open-faced hot turkey sandwich.  I opted for the sandwich,and it came with mashed potatoes, vegetables, and cranberry sauce.  The platter has a choice of side dishes and also has dressing.  I was hoping that eating the smaller portion would leave room for dessert, but that did not happen.
The turkey sandwich was outstanding.  It came with large pieces of real turkey, not the processed deli stuff you find on some sandwiches.  The bread had been toasted and buttered, and it added to the flavor of the hot sandwich.  The gravy had a nice taste, and the mashed potatoes were a bit lumpy, enough to give them some authenticity.  The steamed vegetables (cauliflower, brocolli, squash, and carrots) had some reasoning and were easy to eat (instead of being like some vegetables that you know you should eat but don't like it).  The meal was one I would order again, although next time I might have the blue plate dinner to try the dressing.  After all, either meal makes me too full to try dessert, so why not have the dressing as well?
Service was attentive but not overwhelming, and Mel's does take credit cards.
Thursday night we tried Nationwide Meats on 1930 H Street.  As the RF restaurant review states, the place is a storefront in downtown Sacramento.   The place was pretty empty when we arrived about 6:30 PM, but we were ready to try the food.  The specialty is a French ground hamburger, and I don't quite understand the meaning of the term.  You can order single, double, or triple burgers.  We had the single  burgers, which come with lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onions, and a special sauce.  The sauce is like Thousand Islands dressing but better.  The fries are thick wedges of potato, just like the pictures on the RF restaurant page.  Whatever the French ground process is, it works because the burgers are very good.  If you like thin fries, like the ones from In-n-Out, Nationwide Meats may not be your choice, but you ought not to miss the burgers.
Nationwide does take credit cards (except for Discover).  The restaurant is located near a fairly busy part of town, and so I could see visiting the area, walking around and exploring what else is around.  It would make a great stop after landing on the next trip to Sacramento.
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