Seventy-Five years of Old Ironsides

One of the great Sacramento cultural institutions is celebrating its (her?) 75th birthday this weekend. Midtown Monthly did a great salute to the history of The Old I in their November issue. With the same owners for these 75 years, it is also a celebration of Billie Jean Kanelos and her family. I particularly enjoyed the piece from Kim Kanelos, who began booking music there in the early 90s. Kim is also asking that people post their favorite Old I memories on their Facebook page.

MM hasn’t posted the issue to their website, so you’ll have to keep an eye out for printed material distributed for free throughout Sacramento. The Bee also did a brief interview with Billie Jean and her husband Sam.

Their November festivities culminate this Sunday from 1-6pm with DJ Larry Rodriguez and plenty of celebratory food and drink specials.

Old Ironsides
1901 10th Street

Secrets to cocktail crafting revealed!

Erick Castro shows you his O face
Erick Castro shows you his O face
I enjoyed several libations during the 2nd Annual Midtown Cocktail Week, but I am a “hands-on” guy. When I taste a great cocktail, I immediately think, “How can I do that?” Luckily, the organizers created an educational event with burgeoning bartenders like me in mind.

During the two-hour seminar, bartender extraordinaire Erick Castro shared many of his professional secrets, which I will now share with you. Besides these individual tips, the overarching theme of the lesson was that bartending is a serious craft that requires, if you want to be great, an encyclopedic knowledge of thousands of liquors, cordials and mixers; most bartenders make drinks, but only a few are shaking and stirring up liquid art and revitalizing a lost piece of uniquely American culture.
Continue reading “Secrets to cocktail crafting revealed!”

Overheard Hotel Chatter

Mrs. Eats and I ran into the head chef of the Sheraton Grand last night and he couldn’t have been a nicer fellow. (Ok, he could have been nicer but it would have involved full release.) He chatted with us about a number of things, but most importantly all the changes he’s bringing about at the Sheraton. The Mrs. has to go to the Sheraton a lot for banquets and other civic events, so she’s a good barometer in this regard. Apparently, the changes have definitely been for the good.

Everything is being made from scratch (no crappy prebattered frozen nuggets of reconstituted animal chunks), the chef is putting a limit on group size when more complicated dishes are ordered (like souffles and eggs Benedict), and the menu at Morgan’s, the oft-overlooked restaurant at the Sheraton, is slowly adapting to the local/fresh bandwagon that everyone else headed into town on a few years ago. If you haven’t checked out the Sheraton Grand recently, maybe it’s worth a stop. If you’re planning an event, it’s definitely worth a stop.

Also, I’ve discovered a little bar that feels like it’s in Philadelphia or Chicago but happens to be on J Street. It’s Scandal, the bar at Citizen Hotel. No, not the bar at Grange, the overhyped flagship restaurant, but a separate bar on the second story of the hotel. Walk in the front door of the hotel, take a right at the registration desk, walk up the stairs, and find yourself in a relaxed, sophisticated, adult drinking space. They’ve got a great cocktail menu and a neat lineup of California micros. The walls are paneled in dark walnut, the leather chairs look like came out of a East Coast men’s club, and the bookshelves (yes, that’s right, bookshelves) are lined with leather-bound legal tomes. You’ll feel like you’re having a drink with Adam Schiff. Give it a try if you find yourself by CC park; you’ll be surprised.

Casting call: “Up All Nite”

nitelifBob Shallit reports that a local film company is holding auditions Saturday for a new local entertainment and nightlife show called “Up All Nite” that will be debuting on April 23.

“It’s ‘Entertainment Tonight’ meets ‘TMZ,’ ” says executive producer Roxanne Avent.

Isn’t that just called “TMZ”? Producers are seeking a female lead to co-host with Sac native Craig Jackson, host of VH1’s “I Love Money,” which I haven’t seen and which I kind of wish I didn’t know existed. Or it is genius, I can’t tell. They are also seeking a score of “reporters” to cover Sacto nightlife. Anybody trying out?

Continue reading “Casting call: “Up All Nite””

No Mermaids Need Apply

mermaid barI know I made light of the mermaids thing but the larger issue is the proposed $8.6 million city subsidy for the building of the complex. As you might expect, there is a petition out there in opposition to the subsidy. Neighboring businesses argue the subsidy would “bankrupt” their businesses. The Midtown Business Association has collected some documents about the proposal (they call the proposed new bar with swimming girls a “mermaid bar,” which is confusing — if it was truly a bar for mermaids, that wouldn’t necessarily cut into the bottom line for neighboring businesses catering to “normals.”)

Based on the developer’s proposal it sounds like the mermaid bar/mermaid-themed bar is going to be punningly titled “DIVE BAR” and the “adult pizza” (??) joint is to be called “PIZZA ROCK.”

El Patron Cinco de Mayo Festival

This weekend, you could put on a sombrero and drink a Corona Light like a guero. Or, you could go to the best Mexican restaurant in town and enjoy the widest selection of premium tequila in the area. It is up to you, hombre.

El Patron at 66th and Folsom is one of our few establishments serving gourmet Mexican cuisine, and they will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo all weekend. With more than 40 brands and 100 different 100% agave tequilas, you owe it to yourself to enjoy a taste of real cultura Mexicana. Check out the schedule of events.

Continue reading “El Patron Cinco de Mayo Festival”

‘Twas a Weekend of Newness

With the rain falling and the mercury stuck at a stubborn fifty-five, I took it upon myself to go out and experience some new things in our fair city this weekend. Undaunted by the wet weather and soggy spirits I managed to eat, drink, and laugh my way to a pretty darn good weekend.

Friday night was a double dip into newness, visiting the newly remodeled Sacramento Comedy Spot as well as sampling the grub from the highly anticipated Suzie Burger.

The show at the Sacramento Comedy Spot was a rousing success. Labeled a “Grand Re-Opening,” the lineup included four different shows to a sold out audience. Shows run most Fridays at 8pm. Check out for show details.

Suzie Burger was another story. The newly opened burger joint, brainchild of the Haines brothers, has been “coming soon” for quite a number of months now. The former auto repair shop on 29th and P streets has been teasing me with the thought of burgers and cheesesteaks for long enough. It was time to indulge. Continue reading “‘Twas a Weekend of Newness”

Fare-thee-well to Willemina’s

The scuttlebutt on the street says that Willemina’s in Old Sac will be closing in the next 60 days. For those of you whom have not had the pleasure, this young venue has recently been the epicenter of Sacramento’s rockabilly, hotrod and tattoo loving community. It is also one of the few spots in town to feature quality German beers on draught.

Will the new owners of the property be the proprietors of Davis’ G Street Pub? If so, let’s hope they keep bringing the same high quality acts and events as the current owners. Cheers, and good luck!

Watcha Doin’ This Weekend?

Friday– Dinner with the Sacramento Epicureans at Oz, a wonderful Korean eatery on Bradshaw Road.  No reservations necessary, come on by and join the fun, $25 a head (alcohol not included).  Paulie over at Sac-Eps does a great job organizing these events.  If you’d like to try some adventurous foods and do it in a group setting, come on out and join the Sacramento Epicureans at any of there upcoming events.  Oz, 3343 Bradshaw Rd, Sacramento

Saturday– Hitting up my local farmers market at Watt and El Camino.  And later, heading out to TFO (see comments).

Sunday– The sac-eats/Runnergirl braintrust will make its triumphant return to the Streets of London for Sunday Night Trivia.  Come join us as we sip on English ales and do our best to top the top minds in Sacramento at this weekly test of pointless and not so pointless facts.  Trivia starts at 9pm but get there early unless you like standing.  (Or you can be like Runnergirl and bring your own chairs.)  Streets of London, 1804 J St, Sacramento

Uncle Vito’s Grand Opening – Tonight!

Sorry about the late notice, but Midtown’s newest pizza place is selling $1 slices and $2 beers. Uncle Vito’s is attached both physically and financially to Pronto, at 16th between O and P. The decor is typical wannabe New York, with black and white photos of Lennon, Times Square, Coney Island, etc etc. My slice was good, but only a rough approximation of a “New York” style slice. Not that it was bad, just not what I would consider authentic, like Georgio’s, which is Sacramento’s closest cousin to a true NY slice. Bonus points for a full bar and Eye of the Hawk on tap. BTW, is there a law that says that pizza in Midtown has to be sold by chicks with full sleeves of tattoos?
Cash only tonight.