Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

I am not a restaurant critic, really.

MSN has a list on its website of the 10 hottest restaurants in Sacramento. I have only been to three out of the ten. A mini rundown of where I’ve been:

Dragonfly: good. Unusual interior design, but good for large groups.

Bistro 33: haven’t been there in about 7 years– if it’s the one I think it is.

Pronto: good, but greasy. Don’t go there if you’re dieting (unless you want to break your diet).

There you have it. My one and a half cents on the local hip restaurants. Hey, if it costs more than 10 bucks for a lunch plate, it’s unlikely I’ll be going there…the budget crunch is not just in the capitol building.

Suzie Verdict

Okay I admit it. I was one of those folks in line for a free Suzie burger cheeseburger today. They’re handing them out until 1 PM, so you might just get in there if you’re lucky.

Cheeseburger, fries, a small beverage, and also included in the bag of free goodies were pickles and a few cut carrots. I’m not sure why the carrots were there, but I ate mine.

Now, about the burger: moderate size, toasted bun, not excessive on veggies. Good flavor…BUT pink in the middle. I don’t usually like my burgers pink, and so I didn’t finish it, but I’ll give them a try when they open for real on January 3rd. We figured they haven’t gotten all the glitches worked out yet. That’s a glitch they’ll need to fix ASAP.

The fries were good and the ketchup was carefully hand-served by an elderly gentleman. The menu and prices seemed reasonable. The kid cheese steak meal is advertised as $2.25 for sandwich, fires and soda. I don’t think you can beat that around here…I hope I didn’t misread it.

The décor of the place is charming–it still looks like the inside of a garage. The floors are concrete and the seating is black indoor picnic tables along with cheery decorations of a Jetson-like character that I imagine must be Suzie. It’ll be worth a visit with the kids just to see how the kids react to Suzie (Jetson).

I’m actually more interested in trying the cheese steak than the burgers but shhh, don’t tell anyone.

Looking for lub or just a friendly greasy spoon?

Check out the website for the 49er truck stop here in Sacramento, where the I-80 crosses the I-5. I was “blessed” with an opportunity to meet a friend there recently (longer, more convoluted story). And no, I was not purchasing drugs or a companion for the evening, but I suppose you could do that anywhere, even at Mikuni’s or Rick’s Dessert Diner–if you look hard enough for purveyors of such things.

As with all things truck stop like, I was concerned about the appointed meeting place so I looked it up on the web and was reassured. Seemed like a nice place–online. But it wasn’t AS nice and pretty as it is on the website. Overall, though, it wasn’t as bad as a truck stop might be. (I worked at one once when I was in my teens, back in the Dark Ages. Scary.) The staff was friendly and it reminded me of the Midwest–yes, right here within a few miles of the center of the city.

Real pie in the face?

I read the Bee’s article on the 6-months-new The Real Pie Co. with great interest. I am a fan of baked goods–and “artisan” real butter, real crust pies appeal. I went to the bakery’s website for more information: how much, how often, and which kinds. How disturbing to find that the Pie Co. is closed all this week for vacation, just when the clamor for pie might be extremely loud. It is a real pie tragedy.

It seems like the Bee got one over on us, this time. Dangling pie in our faces…and now we’re forced to purchase a substandard pie from a place that shall not be named!

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.

New openings

Okay so Daphne’s Greek Cafe finally opened in Midtown, and as predicted, it HAS added to the mayhem that is the 19th Street Safeway’s parking lot. I also got a coupon flyer in the mail for the new restaurant, but I haven’t used it yet. Anyone venture in? Yesterday we were over at the Silver Horse (who’s actually “The Iron Horse“) Safeway, and the smell of Gyro meat was tinting the air. Yum.

At the same time, Fin’s Market across the street is also open. They were strangely bereft of customers, although it WAS only about 11:30 on a Saturday morning. Perhaps it was too early for fish. Some people eat fish for breakfast, but apparently not too many eat it in Sacramento. (It should be noted that this is number four for Fin’s here in the city region–maybe it’s just not a midtown brunch item, when you can go to the Cornerstone restaurant, a few blocks over.)

Turbot turpentine, anyone?

Fins fish market is due to open sometime this summer, next door to the auto body paint outlet which is already open, and the previously mentioned whine wine bar with high (self) expectations, Bacchus.

I still don’t quite fathom how a restaurant/market selling something as delicate as fish will be able to operate efficiently next to a paint shop? (Or wine either.)

Reminds me of the dark ages when I worked for Godiva Chocolatier and one of the managers had a smoke break in the chocolate storeroom. We had to write off a lot of chocolate THAT day. The point here is: you just don’t smoke around fine chocolate, unless you LIKE the taste of ashes. Fish, being (in my mind anyway) of similar delicacy, prepared next door to vats of fume-inducing paint …well, you connect the dots.

On the other hand, perhaps it will be the auto paint sellers who will suffer from the scent of tons of trucked-in fish? Certainly the smell of day old sole is something worth swooning over?

A trip to MARRS may be in order

Hip Midtown sounds like it’s going to be even hipper with the opening of the Midtown Arts, Retail, Restaurant Scene (MARRS) on 20th and J Streets.

More “places to go” for after hours chat is something Sacramento needs–I mean, who wants to be wandering around K Street at midnight? Most everything is closed, and, while it’s quiet–it’s too quiet.

I appreciate this Michael Heller’s sentiment in jazzing up Sacramento.

Heller said he decided to devote himself to livening up his hometown instead of bemoaning how boring it is. “I said, ‘Let’s not complain about Sacramento anymore. Let’s do something about it.’ “

The idea is long overdue.

Pizza to spice up a rainy night

The weather forecast certainly had me bummed until I remembered how wonderful a nice hot pizza from Zelda’s can be. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you have to go at least once. Sooner or later, it’ll come up in conversation. Trust me.

If you’ve ever been to Chicago and had the authentic stuff, that should give you a clue what to expect. Before you go, there are a few things everyone should be aware of:

1. This place is about the food, not the atmosphere or the service (it doesn’t come with a smile), so it’s unlikely the Bee or Sacramento Magazine will ever do a big story on them

2. This is not diet food–no whole wheat or thin crusts

3. Good food can’t be rushed, so be prepared to wait quite a while if you don’t call ahead (they recommend 30-45 minutes at least)–and don’t dare try to speed it up

4. Leave your attitude at home because there is definitely no valet–in fact parking is all on the street, so be prepared to walk a few blocks

Do yourself a favor and get a deep dish pizza before comfort food season passes.

Restaurants yield to new color-coded system

Seven days into 2007, I’ve yet to eat out, which means I’ve missed out on the long-awaited color-coded food inspection system. According to the Bee, only two restaurants have gotten red-carded so far, which forces restaurants to close until they fix the violation. Has anyone noticed the sign? If so, any yellow cards out there? Did they stop you?

I think this new system is great, even though you could always look up the latest inspection on the county’s website. Now only if someone could implement a simple restaurant rating system. Safety and cleanliness are key, but what you do with the ingredients means the difference between fast food and The Firehouse.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.