We’re totally gay and loving it!

Sacramento beat out cities like Austin, Portland, San Diego, and, would you believe, New York, coming in as the sixth gayest city in America.  The ranking over at the Daily Beast credits our central location (ah, the old “two hours from everywhere” credential!) and status as the state capital as attractive to gay couples looking to avoid the buzz of SF or LA.  Certainly Second Saturday’s epicenter at 20th and K helps keep the community vibrant and at the forefront of Sac social life.  So are you surprised we get such high marks?  We’re above even LA and DC.  Small towns can be more welcoming after all!

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Thursday Nights At The Zoo

No, no, don’t adjust your news feeds and readers – this is, in fact, a new post at Metroblogging Sacramento.  Time to brush away the cobwebs and get on with things.  I’m back from an extended maternity leave and trying to, you know, like figure everything out.  If the posts from now on sometimes take on family-friendly theme . . . well, hopefully that’s cool with y’all.

And speaking of . . .  if you’ve ever wondered where all the families go on Thursday nights in July, I think we found them – at the Sacramento Zoo’s Twilight Thursdays.  (No, not that kind of Twilight.  This is strictly Team Giraffe v. Team Red Panda.)

The Thursday events cost no more than regular admission, but the Zoo is open until 8pm, rather than the usual 4pm. Each Thursday through the end of July has its own theme, car show, and dinner special.  Tomorrow is British Night with, of course, British cars, a Beatles tribute band, and a fish-n-chip special.  If the higher prices of Zoo food scare you, bring your own picnic and eat on the lawn by the band.  Don’t like noise? Enjoy a less-crowded, hopefully cool, evening stroll through the zoo – some animals are more animated in the evening hours too.  Last week we enjoyed some Giraffe World Cup soccer (yeah, they were playing with a ball), some red panda antics, and a great view of a chillin’ lioness.

For around $10 – free if you’re a member! – it’s a great way to burn those hours after work but before bedtime.  Even if you don’t have kids.

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Dreaming about Happy Hour

I’m always looking forward to the end of work week by dreaming about Happy Hour.

On my normal days in the newsroom, I’m heading to the bars by 2 p.m. Last week, my friend/co-worker introduced me to Jamie’s Bar and Grill on Broadway. Guy Fieri dubbed it one of his “Funky Joints.” He salivated over Jamie’s prime rib, cooked in a smoker, for “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”

Cosmo at Jamie's

The bartenders know how to make classic cocktails taste strong, clean and addictive. After my Happy Hour “appetizer” of a dirty vodka martini, I ordered a Cosmo. Yum! On top of all that, Jamie’s served up free chicken wings for Happy Hour customers. The crispy, spicy wings hit the spot for folks toasting the beginning of the weekend.

Cheers!

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Down by the river

Who says California doesn’t have seasons?
Sacramento River

For the month of April, we had our fair share of Spring storms. Mother Nature has also made wet weather somewhat convenient for folks who had outdoor plans for the weekend. After listening to thunder crashing outside of the newsroom, I found my car dusted with hail.

Hail in Sacramento

By the end of the work week, the stormy weather moves out of our area and leaves behind a sunny weekend.

Ginger Mojito and beer

Earlier this month, we took advantage of the warm weekend weather with dinner on the patio at Pearl on the River. We had a shaky start to our dining experience, but the delicious food and our thoughtful server transformed it into enjoyable evening.
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Second Saturday: April 2010

Spring seems confused in Sacramento.

We kicked off April with a wet and dreary Easter Sunday. Mother Nature followed that up with gray skies and chilly breezes for Second Saturday.

Second Saturday in Midtown Sacramento

Still, it looked like Midtown businesses, galleries and outdoor vendors got a decent amount of traffic from this monthly shopping affair.


Outside of Plum Blossom

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Spring Forward

Daylight Savings is killer to anybody working on a graveyard shift.

I am not looking forward to losing an hour of sleep. I am also dreading more sunlight shining at my bedtime. Last Spring, I remember smelling BBQ wafting over the neighbors, kids screaming and everyone enjoying their non-Vampire lifestyles. I’m grateful for investments in blackout curtains, earplugs and cocktails.

Still, I’m happy to welcome back warmer weather, flowers blooming and other signs of Spring.

One way to celebrate the season: exploring fresh veggies and tasty products at a farm. Today – Capay Organic Farms is holding an Open House. According to Edible Sacramento – folks are hiking around the farm, making lemonade and enjoying live music. It’s also free :)

I’m also looking forward to seeing Spring bloom at the U.C. Davis Arboretum.

U.C. Davis Arboretum


Slippery

Sacramento meteorologists say we should expect more wet weather this week.
Sigh.

My future garden could use the water. But rainy weather is a pain when I’m trying to stay awake on Eastbound I-80.
[vimeo]http://www.vimeo.com/9863372[/vimeo]

My solution: drinking plenty of water and singing along with my iTunes playlist. Good times.


Slurp It

Waking up to more rain. This weekend – I’m sure plenty of people are ready to hunker down at home with a decent supply of beer and munchies.

On Sunday – some folks want to stay inside and watch Team USA kick take down Team Canada for the Gold Medal Match in Hockey. USA! USA! USA!

On a dreary day like this one, I’m also willing to leave my cozy home and venture outside for a great bowl of noodles.

Dumpling Soup
I enjoy warming up inside Noodle City in Davis. It’s a small food spot packed with savory aromas of meat, soy sauce and soupy goodness. I ordered the Dumpling Soup on my last visit. It was a fine mix of broccoli, carrots and dumplings – all swimming in a savory broth.

On the other side of the Pacific, the New York Times posted a fun, educational article on the art of finding and enjoying the perfect ramen shop in Tokyo.

By the way, I’m still on the hunt for a yummy noodle/ramen spot in Sacramento. Any recommendations?

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Variations on Comfort Food

The ladies who lunch….

…end up at Tuli Bistro. On my lunch dates in Sacramento, ladies always suggest meeting up at this intimate foodie spot on S Street. Folks who have been working for 10-hours in a windowless office will enjoy the sunny skies on the patio. On colder days, we can warm up by the bar and the woodfire oven.

Mac-n-Cheese from Bistro Tuli

“That’s not from a blue box,” pronounced one chef behind the bar.

Tuli’s lunch menu offers modern, gourmet versions of burgers, fries, pizza and more. I always come back to this classic comfort food: Macaroni and Cheese. Tuli’s bakes gemelli pasta with three cheeses and cured ham. This scrumptious dish works for me in warm and cold weather.

Lately, I’ve been challenging myself to whip up my own versions of comfort food. This year, my hubby asked for Mac & Cheese for Valentine’s Day.
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Pizza and a Movie

Blue tails whipping in the air.
Wispy souls dancing on a breeze.
Metal monsters blasting anything that moves.

Yes, I finally saw Avatar in IMAX 3D. This our second attempt to watch the James Cameron film at the IMAX theater on K Street. On our first attempt, we made the mistake of trying to purchase our tickets at the theater. This time around, we reserved our seats online.
Great Success.
IMAX Theater in Sacramento
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Mulvaney’s B&L Rewarded – Justly

My affection and admiration for Mulvaney’s B&L is no secret.  I’d give it the Best-in-Sac title and happily battle anyone championing other venues.  I now have new ammo for my side: the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce awarded it Small Business of the Year.  Even if you’re not a foodie and don’t care much about sustainable or local eating, it’s hard not to appreciate Mulvaney’s vision:

Small business awardee Mulvaney fit the bill on several counts, said Mahood, adding that Mulvaney’s was a unanimous selection.

“Mulvaney’s Building & Loan built a business in a very difficult climate,” Mahood said. “He considers sustainability and local sourcing and he’s given back to the community.”

The New York-born Mulvaney has called the Sacramento area home since the early 1990s. At his midtown restaurant he’s carved out a reputation on dishes that spotlight the area’s abundance of fresh food, culled from fields and farmers markets just miles from the eatery’s doors.

“We’re so blessed. It’s mid-November and I’m looking at the lettuce we’re going to have in three or four days,” Mulvaney said. “What farmers bring through the door will be on the plate that night. I can stand in the field and still see the skyline of Sacramento. It’s a valuable thing.”

And he helps feed the poor.  That’s the kind of business person we need in Sacramento.

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Sacramento parking free between Thanksgiving and Christmas

Well, some Sacramento street parking will be free – but it’s still not a bad deal.  Starting the day after Thanksgiving, metered spots between I and L and from Front Street to 29th Street will be free after 4:30pm and all day Saturday and Sunday (but still pay attention to time limits and curb colors, etc).  Even some garages will be free.  Not a bad bonus for keeping your spending money local this holiday season.

Here’s a map of the free parking areas.

By the way, don’t read the comments on the article as your eyes will bleed out of your head.  Do only unhappy people comment on Bee pieces?  Best comment might be that this free parking does nothing to help people who work downtown during normal business hours. Duh. It’s not supposed to. Those people will be down there anyway. I think it’s  a great idea and pretty easy to understand.  I’d love to think people will swarm the Grid to shop and eat now that parking is free (swarm on non-Second Saturdays, that is).  Whatever might help, go for it.


Spring Awakening – Unfocused but Moving Fun

Can something be moving and fun?  Sure, why not.

Full disclosure: I was lucky enough not to pay for my ticket to see Spring Awakening at the Community Theater – though I would be happy to pay for the show.  One of the few new shows on stage these days (it didn’t come from a movie, TV show, another stage show, nor is it a revival – though it is based on a book).

If you watched last season’s 90210 (I only watched the first few episodes, swear), you might be familiar with a few bars of  a Spring Awakening tune.  Having seen the show, however, I am fairly confident you won’t find it produced by too many public high schools.  This show is not suitable for parents.  (Also, there be partial spoilers ahead.) Read more

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Local Theater Post: That girl from Glee; changes for two theaters; time left to catch a good thing

First – a bit of shameless (shameless!) self-promotion: Tonight will be the Sacramento Comedy Spot’s final show at it’s Broadway studio.  Starting next week, the laughs will continue in the MARRS building in midtown (so you should maybe check out Lounge on 20 after all).  We’re doubling capacity and quadrupling the funny. Swear.  Don’t miss the historic close out or the big open.  Get tickets before they are gone! And for the grand opening, two words: confetti cannon.

Also new to that general area of midtown: the Lambda Players now call Lavender Heights home with their new space at L and 21st above Postcards, Etc.  A rising tide of great local theater lifts all troupes!

And: you still have about a week to catch The Maintenance Man over at B Street Theater.

Lastly:  Elle Woods has left the Sacramento Community Theater and that girl from Glee has moved in! Okay, that character originally played by that girl from Glee.  Next week marks the opening of Spring Awakening the next in this season’s Broadway Sacramento series.  Having already been yelled at for having missed Awakening‘s stops in San Francisco previously, I’ll definitely be checking out the Sacramento show and passing on my thoughts to you next week.  It’s teen angst and coming-of-age with singing.  I hear there’s sex too.  So  you know I’m there. Here’s a video of one of the show’s tunes to check out.

More videos on making the show an opportunity to talk about big issues with teens available here.

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NYT spends 36 hours in Sacramento – some of it spent well, some of it not so well-spent

I agree, mostly, with this run down of how to best spend 36 hours in Sacramento.  It’s a mostly up-beat and complimentary piece.  Sadly, they opt for some obvious choices in places, but overall, I suppose the NYT gets it right.

I disagree most fervently with the inclusion of Grange and the exclusion of Mulvaney’s.  Likewise, I wouldn’t hit Lounge on 20 before I’d opt for 58 degrees (can’t hear your companions in the former, and the cheese plate is better and a better value at the latter).

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