East Sac Expanding?

Riding down J St. on my way to work, I see myriad yellow lawn signs that say “East Sac has enough traffic, Expand Elsewhere.” “Have Mercy, stop driving to work and making a living.” “Work from home, $1500/wk.” Any idea what this lawn demonstration is referring to?

Quick Hits: Local Mexican

I was walking downtown yesterday, the wind blowing full throttle, sheeting down fall leaves like Technicolor snowflakes, the ipod playing some intellectual Keith Jarrett piano solo and I thought “Christ, I feel like I’m in some independent film.” So, before I went all Zach Braff and convinced myself I could write a screenplay, I went to go get some tacos, because nothing is more down to earth than some good greezy Mexican food. If you need to shake the cotton loose try any of the following, they’re some of my favorites:

Angels Fresh Mex– 16th and U St.

Yes this is that place you see every time you take the 16th St. exit and head for downtown. And on occasion, you’ve said to yourself, “I should check that place out. It looks just run down enough to be good.” Well, it is run down, and you can only get your food at a walk-up window, but the food is fantastic. The meats used in dishes is so laced with flavor and spices that one can only imagine that they actually feed the hogs cumin and cilantro before they’re slaughtered. Prices are criminally low. Stop the car next time you’re heading downtown.
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2nd Saturday Cry For Help

To me, the 2nd Saturday “Art Walk” or “Art Meander” or “Gallery Gallop” never quite feels right. I’m continuously wandering from gallery to gallery, not sure if I should leave 50 cents for the bad dixie cup of chardonnay I just swigged down, or cavalierly wolf down any food left on any table with free abandon. Also, I never quite know where to go. The sheer volume of galleries throughout the area that host 2nd Saturday events is a bit daunting. I feel as if I’m simultaneously overwhelmed and yet missing a whole lot.

As a trained Art Historian (Art History minor, ’98), I don’t feel uncomfortable with modern art, but invariably find myself instead drawn to the latest fashions in piercings and tattoos that fellow patrons are sporting. Call it sensory overload, or call it “not in the club.” Whatever it is, I’m definitely given the feeling that I’m on the outside looking in. This Saturday alone I almost stepped on a display of ceramics cleverly hidden in a sidewalk patch of grass. Then I managed to stumble into an “off the beaten path” gallery on 21st and N to find some interesting pieces, most of which depicted lounging females in a tropical setting and were probably destined for the walls of some suburban day-spa.

I really need some help here people. So if you could possibly throw me a bone and tell me what I’m supposed to get out of these monthly events, I’d truly appreciate it.

Barbary Coast Savannah BBQ

Quick bite here: Barbary Coast gets a JPG rating for “Just Plain Good.” The Carolina bbq plate is scrumtious with a spicy vinegar sauce that clears the sinuses and tempts the tummy. My only disappointment was that they were not offering potato salad at lunchtime. What’s bbq without potato salad? And why did the owner feel he had to give me a Forrest Gump-esque rundown on why they didn’t have the potato salad ready? It went like this: “Oh, we ain’t got no potato salad yet. We make it fresh here ya know, but it takes a while. First we got to boil em, then cool em, then peel em, then slice em, then dice em, then julienne em, then run em though a mandolin slicer, then pasteurize em, then cauterize em, then wring em out, then flambe em, then hoist em up a flag pole, then dry em, then use them to make a 3-D portrait of William Henry Harrison, then we add some mayo, then it’s ready.” Good food means never having to say you’re sorry.

Barbary Coast Savannah BBQ
21st and Capitol
Food*** Ambience** Service**

McRib and the Aloha Gag Reflex

Just a couple of quick morsels, I really need to get back to the “What’s Happening?” marathon on TV Land. Right now the episode where Rerun bootlegs the Doobie Brothers concert is about to come on:

1) As Sacramento was chosen as one of the fist cities in the country for the McRib farewell tour, I thought it only right to go and try one. I’m not the biggest McD’s fan and have never tried the cult favorite boneless rib sandwich. So, I tried one. It reminded me of eating a barbecued kangaroo anus…actually no, not even barbecued, just smothered in barbecue sauce. It was if a marsupial’s lower GI had been ground up, pressed into a lumpy sponge shaped patty and served with breath rottening onions. Yeehaw, why had I never tried this before? Oh, that’s right, it’s disgusting. Farewell McRib and don’t pull a Michael Jordan and come out of retirement. Hang it up and keep it up.

2) There’s a Hawaiian bbq place on the corner of Hurley and Howe, right next to the defunct Ocean Lounge. It sounded intriguing. I tried it. I felt ill. The “chicken” I was served was prison grade at best and the “sauce” on the “chicken” was, if not an identical twin, at least a very close DNA match to ketchup. Do not go there if you have a fragile constitution or any taste buds left after that horrible lawn tractor accident.

OK, gotta go, Rog and Duane are about to blow the lid on the bootlegging team with the help of Dee and Shirley. Take it slow, good readers.

Endodontic Shout Out!

Well, looks like “sac-eats” has been opting for dessert too often on his nightly forays into the Sac eating scene because he had to have a root-canal yesterday. Apparently this surgery caused him also to refer to himself in the third person, which will cease immediately. I just wanted to give mad dental props to the folks at Sacramento Endodontics at 2 Scripps Dr. They made the harrowing root canal procedure painless and brief. I was especially fond of their use of chlorine in their irrigation water which led me to think of hot summer days and backyard swimming pools and not the eight inch probe sticking into my head.

If you need a root canal, you can always go to the town blacksmith, who will cauterize your face with a white-hot horseshoe or go to Sacramento Endodontics, where every tooth is special.*

*I was in no way given compensation for my testamonial.

Sacramento Endodontics
Food n/a Service**** Ambience****

Kasbah Lounge

Last night, after taking in the show at Arco Arena…What show you say? Well, Disney on Ice of course, duh. Anyway, after experiencing that cultural blitzkrieg, my lovely companion and I needed something more mellow. How bout Tapas? How bout Ink? Wait, wait, I know, let’s try that Kasbah lounge, we haven’t been there yet? So we went.

Let me just give you a quick summation of my internal thoughts as we spent an hour at the Kasbah:
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Cafe Rolle

For those of you old-school suburbanites who reside in the narrowly defined neighborhood known as East-Sac (which encompasses an area roughly one block square staring and ending on H St and a fixed point on a graph defined by a the equation X+Y=Elvas) you already know about Café Rolle. But, for those of you that don’t know of its allure, you have truly been missing out on some hot “joie-de-vive” action.

Café Rolle, in its simplest incarnation, is French food with panache. (For those of you who are not Francophones, “rolle” is French for “what a ball does when you throw it down a hill,” and “panache” is French for “panache.”) I had always heard of Rolle referenced as a lunch place, which seemed odd to me since French cooking and lunchtime eating usually don’t go together in my mind. Mais oui! (But yes) This place is a luncheon fantasy of good smells, great visuals and above all, indulgently delicious food that is luncheriffique (made-up word).
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Unofficial Apple Hill Guide

NOTE: For an updated 2007 Apple Hill Guide, click here. (Don’t worry, it’s not link to another website.)

Fall is in the air, and on the calendar, and in the malls, but nowhere more omnipresent than up highway 50 at Apple Hill. I’ve had a few shocks in my life, including that time when I missed two straight periods (turned out to just be work stress), but none more jarring that finding out that several good friends and close acquaintances had never been to Apple Hill. Hating to think that those unfamiliar with the joys of the hill might not want to venture east because of the alien nature of the trip, I’ve concocted my own little visitor’s guide. The following are just suggestions, mind you, and please feel free to let me know if there is anything that I missed, but more than anything, I provide this little guide because I don’t want to hear anyone say that they didn’t head up the hill this year because they “didn’t know where to go, what to do, my kids were sick, I had a flesh eating virus, I’m a big puss-puss, etc.”
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Bali Wine Bar & Grill

If you’ve kept your ears open, you’ll notice that Bali Wine Bar & Grill has gotten a lot of press lately. Recent reviews in the Bee, the News & Review and Pravda have given this place a good deal of visibility and no small amount of buzz. All of the buzz, however, is not necessarily aimed at Bali’s food, but rather the fact that it’s a nice restaurant on Broadway. Broadway, usually known for its divey ethnic joints and the iconic but rather shady Pancake Circus, is undergoing a bit of a culinary renaissance. With the renovation of several restaurants, including Sweetfinger’s Jamaican Restaurant (see previous review), and a new cookie cutter complex containing a Starbucks and Jamba Juice, the Broadway corridor is getting its urban gentrification on right in front of our eyes. So, is Bali an usher of things to come? Let’s hope not. Unless, of course, high prices and mediocre food are the hallmarks of an elite neighborhood.
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