Archive for July, 2007

For all the tea in Midtown


A few months back, a new, space-age, clean-lined store opened on K Street in Midtown. It’s called Hina’s and its all about tea. Located next door to the more homey, eclectic True Love Cafe and across from Rick’s Dessert Diner, Hina’s creates one of the more interesting food blocks in town.

I popped in the other day, camera in hand, to capture some of the tea action . . . .

I Swing.

I do. I love it. It’s a great work out.

I also like swing dancing.

Try it – swing dancing – you’ll have so much fun. The premiere place for Sacramento Lindy Hoppin’ you ask? Midtown Stomp. They’ve been organizing dances, and coaxing swing bands to perform here for years, and it’s paid off. Their Friday night dances (at the Eastern Star Ballroom, 2719 K Street) continually bring in 100+ dancers, and performers like Steve Lucky and Stompie Jones (trust me, they’re good.). Admission is reasonable; $6 on DJ’d nights and $10 on live band nights.

Oh, and your paid admission includes a free lesson. I know! Great deal!

8-9pm – Beginning East Coast Swing
8-9pm – Series Classes
9pm – midnight – Dancing!

You get a lot for a few bucks. Groups like this deserve our patronage. They offer a great product for a reasonable price, and contribute to Sacramento’s fledgling nightlife. Let me know if you’re going. Maybe I’ll see you there.


It happened one summer, and every one thereafter

When I lived in Minneapolis, we had a saying. “There’s only two seasons in the Twin Cities–winter and road construction.” Here in Sacramento, summer is becoming synonymous with construction, not just on the roads, but commercially as well.

Virtually overnight there are multi-layered buildings appearing. Mini shopping plazas where once there were only a few dusty weeds. Bustling restaurants where chain link fences twisted and writhed.

The corner of P Street and 30th Street is a fine example. Within a few weeks, the dirt lot has sprouted a multi-story iron cage that will be the home of…a parking lot? A medical office building? Rumors abound as to what it will become. (If you know, please post a comment!) I note the flapping U.S. flag at the top of the iron behemoth. Last week they had a Christmas tree up there. A little early perhaps, but maybe someone was inspired by a Christmas in July sale?

You’ve already read about Fin’s Fish Market and Daphne’s Greek Café opening in Midtown. There’s some sort of commercial space going up at Florin and South Land Park. The corner of Freeport and Sutterville (finally!) is coming to life with a new plaza, as well.

Meanwhile, the corner lot at 29th and P sits silently, waiting for some attention. Any will do. There’s a beat up old car that has rusted in the lot for months. The weeds are taller than a grown woman (me) and the fence tilts madly. What’s the hold up? Everywhere where else the buildings are sprouting like acne on a teenager. But the future site of the Suzie burger restaurant lies fallow. I’m still waiting for that revolutionary Suzie burger. Okay, maybe next year.

How do they compete?

How does Freeport Bakery compete with the mass market bakeries like Raley’s, Nugget, Safeway? We’ve already seen another local bakery, Philipp’s, close down, as well as the Brioche Artisan Bakery closed, for reasons unknown to this blogger.

We stopped in Freeport Bakery tonight for a look-see and the cakes were lovely but the prices…wow! Although I guess the prices are similar to the big supermarkets…with the high end cakes at Nugget ranging up into the $20s and the cakes at Freeport Bakery about $26. Now, because Nugget has 1 slice purchases available, I knew what the Carrot Cake was like before I bought the large one for a gathering. I didn’t catch whether Freeport sold by slice or not–difficult to figure out with all the chalkboard signage.

Daphne’s Greek in Review

Okay, yes, it is a chain. But it’s new in Midtown, and well, it’s Greek, so we have to say something about it. Love Greek food. I’ve been twice to Daphne’s in the last month. Once before Independence Day, and once recently, like last Friday. Two slightly different impressions, both solid. Daphne’s will be on my “go to” lunch plan in the future.

Both visits: friendly staff, rousing Greek music pouring out of the overhead speakers. Quick service. I recommend if you’re going for lunch that you go a tad early–say, 11 AM. You’ll miss the big rush.

About the food: good, standard Greek fare. Daphne’s is to Greek like Panda Express is to Chinese. If you want something really exotic, don’t do Daphne’s. But what they DO have is a nice selection of dishes for “regular folk.”

Seen around the streets of Sactown recently

Bird word: A large red tropical parrot was seen frolicking with its human pet on a stoop on T Street, midtown.

Spelling error: Near Broadway, on 24th Street, the side of a bagel shop proclaims “University Bagles”–what *is* a bagle, anyway? (Aside from a computer virus?)

Turbo veggie diesel: A Mercedes on 21st Street proclaiming by bumper sticker that it ran on vegetable oil. The scent of grandma’s fried chicken coming through my air vents from the Mercedes at 8 am confirmed this progressive and fantabulous claim.

Truck munch: A big rig on W Street was turning right when a little silver car tried to sneak in behind him. The silver car got crunched (no one appeared hurt) under the big rig. Looking in my rear view (continues after the jump)

Speaking of vandalism

I’m still hoping the marking on the sides of this downtown highrise at 10th and J Streets are some sort of contractor code. But I don’t think so.


Click to see a larger version and evaluate for yourself. There’s a lot of discussion in other corners of the Metroblogging network about “Street Artists” that aims to distinguish tagging with gang or gang-like scrawled lettering from tagging with cute little stickers or spray-painted bunnies or whatnot. I think vandalism is vandalism, regardless of the level of artistic accomplishment of the vandal. Maybe this building is just being marked for construction purposes. If it is, I’ll eat my words. But I still doubt it. Anyone have input?

Update: From KCRA via Sac Forums – someone was arrested in connection with this incident. It caused $50,000 worth of damage. Jerk.

Okay, but only if you stop vandalizing sidewalks


We’re number 4

Out of the top 25 cities, Sacramento is number 4 on the list. Number 4 in what, you say? Foreclosures. Number 4 in foreclosures.

Perhaps you noticed that house across the street, vacant now for several months? Or maybe the grass grew so tall it nearly overtook the realtor’s sign on the front lawn?

Whether you think it’s because of “creative financing” or the inability of the homeowner to budget, it’s not good for anyone. If home ownership is the pinnacle of security and comfort, losing that home must be the pits.

Meanwhile Sacramento makes the news in another foreclosure article.

In and around Sacramento, Calif., mosquitoes that may carry the deadly West Nile virus are thriving in the thousands of uncared-for swimming pools on properties left vacant by slower home sales and rising foreclosures. With 30,505 foreclosure filings reported in April, California documented the largest foreclosure total in the country for the fourth month in a row, according to RealtyTrac.

Not only are we up with the best of them in the foreclosure world, but now we gotta worry about the vacant house spawning a mosquito-fest. It’s enough to make you want to sit in your rocking chair with the blinds drawn and do nothing but watch infomercials until you doze off.

Free Improv Comedy Friday: Paul and Tiff

The Sacramento Comedy Spot is getting more interest these days, especially with all their free shows. Take advantage this Friday, July 11, with another free performance at 9:30pm. This time Paul and Tiffany, two experienced improvisers take the stage for a show aptly named Paul and Tiff.

Think Battling Bickersons! Think Laurel and Hardy! Think Marx Brothers! Think I’m crazy? You be the judge! This Friday, take advantage of free hilarious improv. It won’t last forever.

Below, you’ll find the address and contact information for the Sacramento Comedy Spot.


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