Archive for the ‘Midtown Life’ Category

Sign of Hope

I was riding my little thigh-powered scooter into work along 20th Street the other day, and heard the ominous sound of the railroad crossing arms.  As any Sacramentan knows, the appropriate action to take at this point is to slam on the gas, and hope that you can perhaps beat the train to the C Street crossing.

Alas!  On this day, I had no horses, so I was forced to wait at L Street while the four engine behemoth chugged by.  Up pulled a ponytailed hipsterchik on a black cruiser.  And a business suit on a vintage Schwinn.  And a messenger on a fixie.  And a server, avec apron, on a yellow fat tire.  And a beat-up greybeard on a beat-up grey bike.  And by the time the train was done with us, there were eight bicycles waiting to get through the intersection.

Yay, alternatrans!

Sacramento’s own "red light district"

We’re sitting in the car at Q and 15th, waiting for the light to change. There’s a coffee shop on the corner, with outdoor tables and a neon sign in the window.

“Mama, why do they call that place ‘The Naked Lounge?’ What is it?”
“Oh, it’s a good coffee shop—best lattes in town—“
“Why do they call it, uh—naked–?”
“I don’t really know—to get your attention maybe? There’s nothing naked going in there that I know of—”
The light changed to green , thank goodness, as both my daughters peered into the dark cafe to see what exactly might be happening in the Lounge.
We then turn left onto 16th Street, and the corner ad there proclaims “Hot Italian” alongside a sexy black and white enlarged photo of Sophia Loren. My husband gives me that look, the out-of-the-corner-of-the-eye look, and we both laugh.

Which comes first–a naked lounge, or a hot Italian? Whatever–I’ll take mine hot, and to go, please. Keep the change.

Midtown Cocktail Week?!

There’s really not much else to say, is there? Enjoy. (Responsibly.)

Look out! Everything old is new again.

So, a long while back, grid traffic was streamlined. The city implemented one-way streets to ease traffic into and out of town.  It was safer, faster, more efficient.

But, times change.

We received a post card in the mail the other day telling us that following the City Council’s 2007 approval of “the Central City Two Way Converstion Project” traffic on N Street between 28th and 21st will soon be converted from one-way (eastbound) to two-ways (east and west).  There will still be bike lanes and parking in each direction.

Poor 21st Street – it already sucks in the morning and now more will be forced on at N Street. And I’m guessing the currently sleepy 22nd and 23rd Streets will awaken with drivers avoiding N and 21st. 

The postcard says the plan’s purpose is to increase neighborhood liveability, reduce traffic speed and volume, and improve local access.  Though N can be quite a fast street at peak travel times, it’s relatively quiet outside of morning and afternoon commute hours. I guess I’m a bit ambivalent on this. But I would be ragingly against it if it led to “traffic calming” being inserted onto my area of the grid like what’s in Boulevard Park.

Other upcoming conversions seem to include: two-way traffic on 9th and 10th Street (really? the whole length?) and converting 3d Street between I and J Streets.

Ikea Yogurt

Move over Big Spoon, there’s a new yogurt craze in town.  It’s Yogurtagogo.  If you can get past the name, you’ll find some tasty treats that fit right into the Midtown landscape.  Seemingly based on the Big Spoon business model – Y-agogo adds a certain amount of “hip” that fits it’s 18th and L location to basic structure: enter, grab the one-size-fits-all-appetites container, fill and mix flavors from 6 flavor options, hit the topping bar, and pay by weight.  (At 43 cents/ounce, it’s more than a normal Big Spoon, but less than Big Spoon Raley Field.)  The store itself is still minimalistic, like Big Spoon, decor wise, but with a mod, Ikea design flair.  Where Y-agogo might win some fans, however, is with its fresh-fruit topping options and its “tart” yogurt flavors that much more closely match what actual, non-frozen yogurt tastes like. If you don’t like regular yogurt, you may not like the tart flavors.  Regular fro-yo tastes just like ice cream, for the most part. This does not. Prepare your mouth accordingly.  I happen to love yogurt, so I’m down with the tart flavors. I’ve heard of some non-fans already though.  They DO, however, have more traditional, ice-cream like fro-yo flavors, if that’s more to your liking – and plenty of the traditional chocolate, candy, junk foody toppings as well.  They also get bonus points for frequent buyer cards and accepting credit/debit cards. (Does Big Spoon? I didn’t think they did, could be wrong.) 

Y-agogo should do gangbusters in Midtown. I love that its closer a stroll than Big Spoon. And, for dessert options, it kicks the pants off the consistently, heartbreakingly disappointing Rick’s.

And, for any SoCal transplants or Disneyland lovers, I give you this tip: you ever have one of those Dole Pineapple Whips from the Tiki Room snack bar? (You know what I’m talking about.)  Y-agogo has a non-dairy pineapple flavor substance that’s JUST like a whip. And it is my crack. I love it. Never take it away. High-five, Yogurtagogo.

Overdue Review: Tuli Bistro

Tuli

 Or is it Bistro Tuli? Eh, whatever. It’s tasty. Maybe not as fall-all-over-yourselves-in-a-rush-to-get-there tasty, but tasty.  Full disclosure – it’s taken me a month – er, okay, nearly two months – to get the photos uploaded and get around to writing this. In the restaurant business, that’s like 15 dog years or something. I am walking/driving/cycling by it regularly, though, and still see people there, so this is probably still good information. If not, feel free to advise me in the comments section.

More after the jump.

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Natomas – Aside from the flood risk, is it really so bad?

You may have read something about the housing market lately. Sellers are up a creek because prices have tanked thanks to myriad factors.  We may have hit bottom though: dozens of news articles are highlighting crazy good deals on foreclosed homes and from otherwise desperate sellers.  Supposedly, once you read that we’ve hit bottom, we’ve already hit it an passed.  Homes seem to be selling more quickly now and – in a twist of logical reasoning – saying it is so might just make it so as things even out.

We’ve been house hunting for quite awhile now. In fact, we may be the only buyers who can’t close a dang deal in this buyers’ market.  We have exacting tastes and we’re good at remaining true to our budget and our wish list.  Accordingly, we’re still enjoying the good life in Midtown in our lovely rental that – thanks to even-in-a-bad-market-insane-California-mortgage-land is still far less than what we’d be paying to own a place. And our landlord fixed busted lightbulbs and windows. Not a bad situation.

A week or so ago we ventured where we swore we’d never go, though . . . . Natomas. Eek! Don’t write me off as an evil suburbanite just yet.  I know all the arugments against Natomas: McMansions, big box stores, irresponsible sprawl, shoddy construction, high-five-ably close neighbors, no character, and, the most important, you better have a driveway that can accomodate an ark because, brother,  it’s only  a matter of time.

But,  you know, East Sac and Midtown – or most desireable locations – won’t be high and dry when the river busts free.  Some parts of Natomas will be extra underwater, true, but does anyone have the REAL scoop on flood protection progress and which neighborhoods are slightly less screwed? Because here’s the deal: for literally $200k LESS we can buy 1400 MORE square feet than you’ll find in East Sac – where most homes in our price range spread over a generous 1000 square feet.  We don’t need 2400 square feet.  Yet.  But maybe we will someday. At what point does it stop making sense to crap all over Natomas’s interpretation of the American Dream come-to-life with granite slap countertops, too much ceramic tile, and enough family, great, and formal living rooms so that you’d never have to spend time with your least favorite family members again?

A scorcher!

The temperature here in Sac is supposed to reach triple digits by Thursday. I have a few strategies planned to beat the heat this week. First off, I’ll be bringing shorts to change in to for my bike ride home from work. Second, I’ll be making frequent use of my apartment building’s pool. Finally, on the hottest day I plan on making a stop at the snow cone window at Osaka Ya.

How will you be staying cool?

We are not the Southwest—no matter what they paint us.

There’s a brand new building rising at 30th and Q that I mentioned in a previous blog entry. This new building, a Mercy Hospital satellite, sports a dark New Mexico orange tint. Nearly every new building going up lately in and about town is wearing a similar shade of burnt umber / tequila sunrise orange. Why? We’re not New Mexico; this is not the desert. We aren’t trying to color coordinate with red rock formations. Sacramento is a river city, and if anything, shouldn’t new buildings be in a complementary shade?

Or perhaps “they” know something I don’t know? Maybe the water crisis is worse than we think and river city will become dry creek. I hope not. Meanwhile, the backdrop for a bad western is out there, already. Get yer lassos ready, cuz we’re ropin’ some cattle this weekend, y’all.

Serenity Body Art

Anniversary Tattoo

As I mentioned back on Thursday, my wife and I just had an anniversary. To mark the occasion this weekend we got new tattoos. Specifically we got each other’s initials on our ring fingers.

We got the work done at Serenity Body Art at S and 12th Street. The shop is only a few blocks from our apartments, so we wanted to give it a try. We’re both very glad we did. Jim, the tattoo artist, and his wife Vicky (a piercer) run the shoptogether and are really friendly people. You won’t get any of the “attitude” that sometimes comes with body art, and as you will see from the link, Jim’s art is top notch.

We’d never been in the shop before, and after getting our fingers done, we’ve both got plans to  go back for more work in the coming month.

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