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It was Brian's turn to pick a restaurant, and he didn't really have any particular restaurant in mind, so one evening during work, he asked me for a suggestion.  I recalled reading in the major Sacramento newspaper a few months ago a small review of Rivers Edge Caf and Espresso, and as I recalled, the restaurant sounded interesting, as I bookmarked it in my brain to visit it with the club in the future.  When Brian asked me for a suggestion, the memory of Rivers Edge came roaring back like a freight train, so when I suggested we dine there, Brian readily agreed.  Of course we had to do a bit of advance scouting, by looking at their web site, to see what goodies their breakfast menu offers.

Photo:  Rivers Edge Caf and Espresso is located in a beautifully landscaped, attractive shopping center, near the American River.

Maybe I'm a bit weird, but I get vibes from a restaurant, as soon as I open the front door, and I can pretty much sense what my dining experience will be like, as soon as I enter the restaurant.  During the first few seconds, my brain goes into sensory overload, as all of my "restaurant sensors" kick into high gear.  My brain switches to a "go" mode when I get a friendly smile from a greeter or server, observe staff, busy performing their jobs, relaxed, happy patrons, good smells, and a comfortable, tasteful decor.  Yes, all of this registers in probably the first five seconds, and I've been known to do a '180 and leave, if my brain sends up a "no-go" warning to me.  Back to our story... when I opened the door to Rivers Edge Caf and Espresso, my senses immediately kicked into the "go' mode.

Photo:  Looking from our table, across the dining room, towards the espresso bar/cashier's station.  Note the pictures on the wall, and the pastel colors, which lend a light and airy feeling to the restaurant.

Rivers Edge Caf and Espresso is located in a small shopping center, near the busy corner of Watt Ave. and La Riviera Dr., and as the name implies, the cafe is very close to the American River, and Sacramento's famed American River Parkway.  The shopping center is beautifully landscaped with lots of maple trees, which not only provide shade, but they help to further Sacramento's reputation as "Tree Capital of the World."  In keeping with the beautiful landscaping, Rivers Edge offers outdoor dining, but on this rainy Friday morning, January 23, 2009, outdoor dining wasn't an option for us.

Photo:  Mike takes Brad's order, while Tony chats with a customer, in the background of the photo.  Note the fishing tackle mounted on the wall, above the open window to the kitchen.

I walked into the restaurant, ahead of the rest of the members of the Sacramento Breakfast Club, as the majority of today's members were still at work, and I was on my own time...  I was greeted by a friendly server by the name of Ruby, who asked how many were going to be in my party.  When I told her there would be 7 or 8 of us, she, along with fellow servers Mike and Tony, arranged three tables together to allow ample seating for today's breakfast club members. Seating at Rivers Edge consists of a combination of tables and booths, but it takes a bit of creativity to seat more than six people, at one table, but the staff at the restaurant was up to the task, and rearranged three tables to suit our needs.  I sat down at the table, and was immediately presented a menu, and a cup of some of the most delicious coffee that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy.

Photo:  Ruby fills a customer's order for espresso.  Note their extensive menu of drinks posted on the wall.

As I waited for the rest of the club members to arrive, I got a chance to look around the restaurant, enjoy a leisurely cup of delicious coffee, and surf the Internet on my phone.  The decor of the restaurant impressed me, as it is light, airy, and it gives the illusion of an open, spacious feeling.  That's probably due to the fact that the walls and fixtures are painted in pastel colors, and two of the walls are composed of floor-to-ceiling windows, which allow natural light, and a view of the outside landscaping.  The dining room is quite large, and features mostly tables, that give the appearance of spaciousness, with a few booths near the perimeter, and an espresso bar near the front door.  If you're a fan of espressos mochas and blends, it's a grab 'n go operation, as you bypass the restaurant entirely, and just deal with the espresso bar.  I got a laugh at the rod and reels that decorate the wall above the kitchen... does that mean the staff catches fresh fish from the American River?  Hmmmmmmm...

Photo:  Mike and Tony bring our orders to the table, while Ruby seems to have captivated Dan's attention.

By the time the gang arrived, I was ready to order from the extensive and complete breakfast menu, but I had to hold off until everybody else had decided what they wanted to order.  Rivers Edge Caf and Espresso's breakfast menu is quite complete, and has something for every taste, plus a few surprises that aren't published on their web site, or don't appear on their regular menu.  Stuffed Hash Brown Potatoes, an item on a supplemental menu, caught our eyes, as none of us had even heard of stuffed hash brown potatoes, let alone eaten them, so in the interest of science, all of us decided to give the stuffed hash browns the ol' college try.  

So what are Stuffed Hash Brown Potatoes, anyway?  The menu describes them as an order of hash brown potatoes, stuffed with chunks of bacon and cheese, and our server Mike concurred with the menu, and recommended that we give them a try...  sure, go ahead and sign us up!

Photo:  Ruby poses behind the breakfast counter, by the window to the kitchen.  The completed orders are placed on the kitchen window by the kitchen personnel, to be picked up by the servers.  Note the pastel colors, the squeaky clean stainless steel fixtures, and the decorative fishing tackle mounted above the kitchen window.

After placing our orders, it was time to get down to the club agenda, and the proposed model of the business plan for our club.  In rolling out the business plan for the year 2009, Dan related the story about a lazy hound dog, relaxing in a country bar, who had the flexibility to lick himself anywhere required, to keep himself clean, and to keep the ticks away. By the time he got to the punch line, everybody was laughing so hard, including Dan, that he managed to knock over his cup of coffee, and wouldn't you know it, the spill was aimed in my direction.  By skilful maneuvering, and quick thinking, I managed to avoid the brown flood, but the whole affair brought more rounds of laughter from our group, and the comment from Brad that maybe we should present Dan with a Tommee Tippee "sippy cup" for his coffee, instead of a mug, like the rest of us use.  Too bad Dan celebrated his birthday last month, but I'm sure we can think of another occasion to present him with a  "sippy cup" of his dreams...

Photo:  Today's Sacramento Breakfast Club members, from left to right:  Brian Gardiner, Brad Holther, Dan MacLeod, Eric Rench, your author and webmaster, Mark McIntire, David DeMario, and Matt Donnelly.

We really like the staff at Rivers Edge, as all the servers are very friendly, helpful, and they keep the coffee cups full.  We noticed that they're very busy folks, but they always seem to have a moment to chat, and never make you feel rushed.  I especially enjoyed a conversation that I had with Ruby, (I love talking to beautiful women!) as she answered quite a few of my questions about the restaurant, and provided information that made publishing this article easy.  Tony was gracious enough to take a group photo of us, upon my request.

It took the combined efforts of servers Mike, Tony, and Ruby to bring our orders to our table, but they managed to accomplish the task in an efficient, and timely manner.  All of us ordered the stuffed hash brown potatoes, and from there, our paths diverged.  In my case, I ordered Italian sausage, two eggs, fried over easy, stuffed hash brown potatoes, and sourdough toast.  For some reason, I diverted from my usual method-of-operation and didn't order gravy with my breakfast, and I got a bit of kidding about that from my fellow club members... dare I say that I dare to be different?  

Photo:  My breakfast of stuffed hash brown potatoes, two eggs over easy, sourdough toast, two Italian sausages and coffee. Most restaurants only give you one sausage, but Rivers Edge gives you two.  You won't leave hungry.

Rivers Edge Caf and Espresso serves a quality breakfast, as the food is perfectly prepared, exactly as ordered, composed of fresh ingredients, and features an innovative and attractive presentation.  By looking at your entre, you can tell that the staff takes pride in what they do, and the meals that they serve, as the presentation makes the meal almost too pretty to eat.  Well, almost... Good food doesn't last very long when the Sacramento Breakfast Club comes to visit.  All of agreed that our breakfasts were outstanding!

What about the stuffed hash brown potatoes?  For starters, the hash browns were cooked perfectly, as they were golden brown on the outside, and chewy on the inside, and not greasy, perhaps due to the fact that the menu advertises that they use cooking oil that contains no Trans fats.  Pieces of bacon and cheese were stuffed inside of the hash brown potatoes, omelet style, which made the hash brown potatoes almost a meal by themselves. Actually for Dan, he did make a meal out of stuffed hash browns, as the only enhancement that he ordered was a bowl of gravy on the side, which he promptly placed on top of his stuffed hash browns.  

Photo:  Ruby prepares a Caramel Freeze for a customer, in the restaurant's espresso bar.

Boys and girls, the Sacramento Breakfast Club has found a winner in Rivers Edge Caf and Espresso, as they not only serve wonderful food, but they offer friendly dining, great service, in truly gorgeous surroundings.  We're truly glad that we paid them a visit, and we'll be back for more.  Highly recommended.

Rivers Edge Caf and Espresso
8740 La Riviera Dr.
Sacramento, CA 95826
916 362-2221

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