Rose Garden Thai Restaurant - Vacaville, CA

This past Sunday was an occasion for a drive out to Napa to visit the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville. Currently on exhibit are two photography collections. One from actor Jeff Bridges, who, since 1984, has been shooting photos on the sets of films with a WideLux 35mm panoramic camera. There are photos from Lebowski, Texasville, Heaven’s Gate, Tucker, Fabulous Baker Boys and more… Some really stunning and unusual perspectives.

The 2nd is from his spouse, Susan Bridges, who has been a professional photographer for ages. She recently unearthed a set of negatives taken on the set of the famous Hollywood financial disaster, Heaven’s Gate, directed by Michael Cimino. The film is most known for bankrupting the studio and being (at the time) one of the most expensive (and most money-losing) films ever made. Time has led to a critical reevaluation of it, and while its length (220 min!) is challenging, it’s undeniably beautiful. The sets and costumes are so stunning that many of the displayed photos could pass for historic snapshots. Worth your time if you’re in the area.

After a lunch of oysters at Hog Island in the Oxbow market and some Dungeness crab sandwiches next door at Gott’s Roadside (they’re on special. not on the regular menu online. Steep ($26) but it’s Napa. That’s what happens) we hit the museum and after, met some friends for dinner in Vacaville.

Forgive the lack of photos. I’m awful at food photography and never remember to take them before digging in.

Rose Garden, like seemingly all the best thai restaurants, is in an unassuming strip mall. Along with all the usual pad thai and drunken noodles and ‘choice of protein’ with red/green/yellow curry, there’s a little more breadth to the menu. The crab fried rice is a nice, simple treat, with generous chunks of crab along with bits of egg and green onions and carrots. The partner’s garlic fried tilapia served over stir fried veggies was flaky with crispy edges and had a great balance of flavors. The Tom Yum soup was rich and creamy with hunks of chicken and button mushrooms.

The fact that the portions were big enough for lunch the next day is a bonus.

One nice little touch, a complimentary basket of the styrofoam-like shrimp chips with a ramekin of peanut sauce for the table. Because who doesn’t love an excuse to eat peanut sauce?

Spice Thai (no closed) in Nut Tree was the only other place outside L.A. where I found crab fried rice regularly on the menu. It’s nice to know Rose Garden is here, both for when we visit our friends, or if we happen to going through on our way to other places. It’s about a 40 min drive from home, but I could absolutely see myself deciding I really wanted that fried rice and making the drive.


FWIW Crab Fried Rice is on the menu of Isarn Garden Thai Cuisine in San Carlos…

Oh, I know it CAN be found other places. But up here in Sacramento, we’re still very much in the ‘drunken noodle’ segment of thai restaurants without a whole lot of variation. The fact that Vacaville, of all places, had at least two (that I know of) broader menu places was surprising.

The Sacramento region in general has traditionally lacked a lot of the broader cuisine choices you might find in the more immediate SF Bay/Silicon Valley area or SoCal. While there’s no shortage of clubby 'steak ‘n potatoes’ places (that, I assume, are the favorites of politicians who are doing ‘working’ meals, as opposed to going out for the food itself), it’s often been difficult to find things even a little off the beaten path. It’s probably only the last 7-8 years that we have more than a couple of ramen places to choose from (even if many of them are chains). Finding soup dumplings is a challenge.

As SF and the surrounding 'burbs have grown less and less affordable, more and more folks are figuring out how to telecommute and fleeing up here in search of slightly more affordable accommodations, both for rent and purchase. And with that comes the bad (rent and housing prices through the roof, like almost everywhere, homeless population explosion. ) and the good (people WANT their boat noodle soup and mapo tofu and Jamaican patties, and, eventually, the market responds).


“Vacaville, of all places”

Yay! Positive comments about Vacaville food!

That’s about a mile from my home. We’ve been there more times than I could possibly count. I also like their larb and seafood salad, for low carb options.

Jamrock is in the same strip mall, and has Jamaican patties.

For Thai, I think Buddha Thai,

and Rice Barn ( crab fried rice, among other things, currently on the menu)

… are even better.

Both in their own strip malls😁. We have a lot of strip malls.


Paste Thai in Davis is pretty good.

You could do a lot worse than a order of their Pineapple fried rice and Basil stir fry

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Sorry, didnt chk your profile or realize you are in the SAC area… If you’re ever in the SF Peninsula Area, I would really suggest you check out Isarn Garden Thai. I have no vested interest in the place, only know they make a great (to me) Crispy Rice Ball Salad & also their Thai Sausage, both dishes we love & don’t see on many menus, especially down my way :wink: