A tableful of foodies and I were talking about guilty pleasures and "best of" lists the other day. We agreed on the obvious both lists are personal and subjective.
I mulled the conversation (and some red wine with cinnamon, cloves and cardamom) and came up with this sampling of dishes that cross over from the two lists.
Baked spaghetti casserole at Roma Pizzeria II, 8491 Folsom Blvd., (916) 383-9264, www.roma2pizza.com.
There's a certain nostalgic, Old World quality to a ramekin of meat sauce, mozzarella and pasta, baked until bubbly. Add two meatballs or two Italian sausages.
Sausage-mushroom pizza at Dominick's New York Pizza & Deli, 187 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom; (916) 351-0900, www.dominicks marketdeli.com.
Cost: $15.45 (14-inch), $20.65 (18-inch)
It took owner Dominick Bellizzi six months to perfect the dough for the stone oven-baked pizza crust, getting it as close as possible to the crusts in the legendary pizzerias of New York and New Jersey. The toppings are tops.
P.S. Dominick's is taking pre-orders for heart-shaped pizzas for Valentine's Day (Feb. 14).
The burger at Bones Roadhouse, 4430 Pleasant Valley Road, Placerville; (530) 644-4301, www.bonesroadhousebar andgrub.com.
Cost: $7.95 with onion rings
The hand-formed half-pound patty is a mix of custom-ground prime rib, ribeye, tri-tip and chuck. With Swiss cheese, thick-cut bacon, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato and "Bones Sauce" on a toasted hoagie roll.
The burger at Ettore's European Bakery, 2376 Fair Oaks Blvd., (916) 482-0708, www.ettores.com.
A half-pound of seasoned ground chuck is served on a house-baked cheddar-scallion bun smeared with herbed mayonnaise. With melted Swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms and lettuce.
Italian sausage sandwich at Capitol Dawg, 1226 20th St., Sacramento; (916) 444-1226, www.capitoldawg.com.
The "hot Italian" is a juicy Italian sausage on a seeded French roll topped with a heap of hot giardineria, the Italian relish of spicy pickled vegetables.
Pastrami sandwich at Mulvaney's B&L, 1215 19th St., Sacramento; (916) 441-6022, www.mulvaneysbl.com.
It starts with Niman Ranch brisket brined for eight days, then rubbed with a spice blend and slow-smoked over almond wood. Served on rye with Swiss cheese, Russian dressing and coleslaw.
Tuna melt at High Hand Conservatory, 3790 Taylor Road, Loomis; (916) 652-2064, www.highhand.com.
Fresh albacore tuna is made into a pâté with celery, green onion, lemon juice, whole-grain mustard and mayo, piled on a ciabatta roll and topped with melted artisan white cheese.
Corned beef sandwich at Brownie's Lounge, 5858 S. Land Park Drive, Sacramento; (916) 424-3058
Owner Clair Brown has cooked nearly 300,000 pounds of corned beef in his career. The tender brisket is stacked on rye, with optional horseradish. Served only on Thursdays.
Monte Cristo sandwich at the Village Bistro, 7984 California Ave., Old Fair Oaks Village; (916) 966-6384, www.village-bistro.com.
Ham, turkey and Gruyère cheese join egg-dipped white bread for an oven-baked version of this traditional sandwich. The Monte Cristo is an interpretation of the classic French croque-monsieur.
Spicy polenta fries with Bolognese sauce at Fabian's Italian Bistro, 11755 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks; (916) 536-9891, www.fabians italianbistro.com.
Chef Tom Patterson begins with locally sourced white polenta, which ends up as crisp french fry-shaped bars seasoned with cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin, salt and sugar. The accompanying Bolognese sauce is thick with ground beef and house-made sausage.
Irish pub crisps at Kinnee O'Reilly's, 1000 White Rock Road, El Dorado Hills; (916) 933-2720, www.kinneeoreillys.com.
Thin slices of russet potato are fried to a crunch and topped with two melted Irish cheeses and a dusting of Parmesan, along with sprinkles of chopped corned beef and a confetti of scallion. Munch them with a glass of Guinness.
Mozzarella roll at 7 Sisters, 8493 Auburn Blvd., Citrus Heights; (916) 727-2777, www.7sistersgf.com.
A slab of house-made mozzarella cheese is layered with salami, capicola, black olives, fresh basil, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomato, onions, garlic and house-made balsamic vinaigrette. It's rolled up, cut into rounds and served with olive oil.
Ham 'n' cheese crepe at Faith's Crepes, Quarry Ponds Center, 5520 Douglas Blvd., Granite Bay; (916) 772-5888, www.faithscrepes.com.
Black Forest ham and melted Gruyère cheese are stuffed into a crispy crepe cooked to order; the from-scratch batter is made daily. The space and the menu have been expanded.