Eating in Old Fair Oaks

I recently spent a day eating in Old Fair Oaks, a short trek inspired mostly by my desire to eat cookies at Dianda’s Italian Bakery and Cafe and a nut burger from Sunflower Drive-in. Dianda’s is an old-school Italian bakery — apparently a Sacramento outpost of the Dianda’s in San Francisco’s Mission District — that specializes in traditional Italian-American cookies, pastries and cakes.  These kind of Sinatra-era treats can be hard to find in Sacramento, so when I had a hankering I headed east.


If you’ve been to Old Fair Oaks, you’ll know there are roosters everywhere, which you will either find charming or annoying. Or both!


Dianda’s has a large variety of old-fashioned Italian-American cookies that they sell by the pound


They also have cannoli and cakes; the almond torte is really good, and makes a nice gift for a dinner party host

Strongly recommended are the delightfully chewy meringue cookies with marzipan filling and sliced almonds and pine nuts on top. The butter cookie pinwheels with maraschino cherries are also very tasty, although my young son who was pulled in by the pretty chocolate and cherry decorations on the butter cookies kept asking for bites of my almond meringues, affirming their superiority.


A good old-fashioned cup of drip coffee is the perfect accompaniment for the cookies

After having your elevensies at Dianda’s you’ll need to kill some time while you wait for the next meal; there are plenty of antique shops, access to the American River, and a couple of parks. Then: Sunflower Drive-in. This places serves classic California hippy food: nut burgers, nutty tacos, falafel, millet burger, avocado and cheese sandwiches, whole wheat tortilla and black bean burritos, smoothies, juices, and milkshakes. Since the 90s, this kind of food has been pretty hard to find in Sac, so Sunflower is well worth the trip. It would be ideal to ride there on the bike trail.


Making hippy comfort food since 1978


My order is a nut burger, peach milkshake, and chips and salsa on the side

Dianda’s Italian Bakery and Café: 10131 Fair Oaks Blvd

Sunflower Drive-in: 10344 Fair Oaks Blvd




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