Photos: Nicolette Skidmore, Samuel Ithurburn

4 Fall Menus to Try in Sacramento

As the end of the year approaches and temperatures drop, we all begin searching for warmth from hot coffee, heated patios, and comforting meals. If warm food is your go-to when the leaves start falling, we have just the list for you. Hook & Ladder, Localis, Mother, and Paragary’s have all rolled out new menus to bring us the best of fall. Classic autumnal ingredients, such as butternut squash, are transformed into dynamic ravioli at Mother, while Localis shows us that duck confit should absolutely be on our list of fall classics. At Hook & Ladder, the team delivers with apple, cranberry, and cinnamon cocktails. So, without further ado, here is your guide to eating yourself into a nice, long nap.


For most, cooking a strictly vegetarian meal is a challenge, but at Mother, it’s simply second nature. Mother produces flavorful vegetarian comfort food highlighting seasonal vegetables in casual yet classy dishes. Start your meal off with a refreshing salad of roasted beets, farro, fennel, arugula, radishes, and a hunk of mozzarella to top it all off. The citrus vinaigrette drizzled on the veggies is so delicious you could practically drink it like juice.

Feel free to indulge yourselves, my fried food friends, with a couple of buttery deep-fried latkes. These latkes are addicting and a more elegant approach to your standard fried potato dishes, as they sit on a refreshing avocado puree and a mélange of other seasonal veggies.

Butternut squash ravioli dressed in olive oil and garnished with Parmesan, butternut squash cubes, cauliflower, and arugula is just what you need as the weather gets cooler. These ravioli are melt-in-your-mouth smooth.

Mother’s fall menu embodies everything you expect from an autumn meal—warm, hearty, and comforting, all without meat! Meatless Monday isn’t just a trend here; it’s a lifestyle.


Localis works closely with farms to not only source local produce and meat products, but to design a menu centered around the season’s harvest. This fall’s tasting menu was additionally inspired by owner and chef Christopher Barnum-Dann’s recent trip to Thailand, and is a nod to the sweet, yet spicy, flavors found in dishes like the duck confit.

This tender, juicy duck takes four days to make, and begins its journey with a brine of garlic, lemons, and shallots. A nest of carrots, thin corbaci peppers, and crunchy shallots sit atop the tender shredded duck. This trio of vegetables lends a beautifully sweet crunch to the hearty duck. A few dollops of mango gel also create a sweet balance to the overall rich and savory main course.

But the superstar of this delicious spread was the “cheese plate”—a unique take on a typically savory start to a meal has been transformed into a gorgeous dessert. This bleu cheese ice cream is served on a bed of oats, crunchy walnuts, and fig jam spread. The unusual flavor of blue cheese is a wonderful and creative surprise. It catches you off-guard initially but becomes more and more delicious until finally, you realize it’s all gone.

While many items are available a la carte, some items, such as the Thai duck confit, are available exclusively on the tasting menu. Sacramento prides itself as the Farm-to-Fork Capital, and Localis truly hits the nail on the head with its full-bodied, sophisticated and yes, farm-to-fork meals.

Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co.

Before you delve into the menu at Hook & Ladder, warm up your palette with two of their signature cocktails. Senor LaFrog combines notes of cranberry and prickly pear, while Autumn Wind brings together the warmth of cinnamon-apple tea with the spice of Templeton rye.

Share a snack over drinks, tapas-style, and try the polpettes—breaded and fried meatballs smothered in tomato sauce and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. For our vegan readers and eaters, Hook & Ladder has options for you on their menu as well: white bean hummus, mac and cheese, a concoction of orecchiette pasta, Miyokos vegan cheese, and breadcrumbs.

The Broke Madame—a play on words of the standard croque madame—whips up a delectable brunch option of sliced brioche bread, cured meats, hollandaise sauce, and a delicate egg as well, commanding our attention as the centerpiece of it all.


Before even thinking about sitting down for dinner, hang out at the bar, admire the gorgeous floor tiles, order some drinks, and get to know the friendly and knowledgeable bar staff of Paragary’s.

When we went, three cocktails, in particular, caught our attention: the Paragary’s ’83, the P.S.L., and the Pecan Old Fashioned. Anchor Junipero gin, sparkling wine, and fresh lemons are mixed into the Paragary’s ’83, a refreshingly bubbly drink for those who enjoy a taste of citrus. If you did a double-take when you read “P.S.L.,” then read on. At Paragary’s, P.S.L. actually stands for Pomegranate-Spiced Lemon Drop, a strikingly different drink from our standard autumn-time coffee beverage. Pomegranate-infused vodka and Laird’s apple brandy come together for a bright cocktail. For those who crave a classic cocktail with the flavors of fall, try the Pecan Old Fashioned. Weller Antique 107, raw sugar, pecans, and spiced aromatic bitters transform this timeless drink with a twist.

Once you’re settled, start your meal off with the elegant tuna tartar. These smooth, bite-sized pieces of tuna are rich in flavor. Fun surprises can be found in this dish, such as the thin slices of Asian pear, the side of miso spread out onto the plate, and the soft quail egg.

The Kabocha squash ravioli is the essence of fall in one bite. Tossed in brown butter sauce with bits of pumpkin seed granola and fried sage, this dish does not disappoint.

Lastly, the pork tenderloin is a comforting main course that will warm your body and soul. Wrapped in pancetta and cooked in an apple cider sauce, indulging in this dish is a luxurious experience. Housemade sauerkraut throws a punchy tang to the couple of heaping spoonfuls of tender, white beans. Paragary’s continues to wow the crowds (and us, we’re wowed) with delectable food and cocktails to match.  

Now that you have your fall food checklist, grab a foodie friend and eat all the things. ’Tis the season.

Note: Menu items may have changed since the writing of this piece. Review restaurant websites for any changes.