East Broadway Rundown

Other than being the title of one of the best and most overlooked Sonny Rollins albums (I know you don’t care about jazz, just humor me), the title above refers to the fact that we’re going to race through your myriad dining options on Sacramento’s Broadway with a no-holds-barred, no-stone-left-unturned, no-child-left-behind attitude.  Are you ready?

Let’s go.  These will be in no particular order (other than geographically west to east):

Jamie’s Bar & Grill– Decent prices for hearty food. My experiences have been underwhelming, but others swear by it. Expect burgers, sandwiches, barbecue, comfort food, cigarette scarred tables, and waitresses that call you sweetheart. Don’t expect a sign above the door.
Two stars– 427 Broadway

Market Club– If you’re looking for a breakfast dive, you’ve found it. Standard breakfast fare with a few Asian touches (fried rice and fried eggs anyone?). You won’t find a better divey yet friendly place located in a produce warehouse yard anywhere.
Three stars-2630 5th St (off of Broadway in the fenced in produce yard) Continue reading “East Broadway Rundown”

The Favorites List: Proceed at Your Own Risk

In writing about restaurants, one tends to put himself in the work. It’s inevitable, really. Food, restaurants, people, likes, dislikes, cannot be written about with the cold, impartial pen that so many professional journalists carry. There are certain things I like, certain things I love, others I can’t stand, and some I simply tolerate. This makes me human, makes you human, makes all of us human (except for that Chris Matthews guy, who I swear is a muppet). So, this means, every now and then, you may disagree with a review. I’m totally cool with that.

I’ve come to conclusion that there is no way that my expectations, prejudices, leanings, and passions can be superimposed on some faceless recommendee. My opinion is not universal, but I think it’s a good divining rod for a large portion of the eating public. Nevertheless, there will be those that have an entirely different idea as to what the average dining experience should be and to them, I wish nothing but good tidings. In order to be a mature and thoughtful writer, one needs to not only acknowledge that others are entitled to their opinions (a premise on which we can all probably agree), but to understand how those others can actually form opinions different from one’s own. So, to help you figure out where I (and subsequently you) stand, I offer you this list of my favorite places in the Sacramento area. If you’ve gone to these spots and totally disagree with me, then odds are you’re not going to do well by following any advice I dish out. But, far be it from me to stop you from trying: Continue reading “The Favorites List: Proceed at Your Own Risk”

Restaurant Openings in the ‘Cade

Two openings to report in the Arden/Arcade area;

1) At the corner of Arden & Eastern, a storefront previously inhabited by a tax preparer, an electronics repair shop, and an online gaming center will soon be the home of “Cheffrey’s An American Bistro.”  This restaurant, opened by the founders of the “Refer-a-Chef” catering company will be the first new restaurant in the area for quite some time.  Drop on by for the grand opening, August 9. 

2)  Boudin Bakery, long-awaited and much anticipated, shows signs of an imminent opening.  Work seems to have reached a peak at the Fair Oaks and Munroe location formerly a Java City.  Signage is up and the contractors’ dumpsters are full, so don’t be surprised to start chowing down on chowder in a bread bowl within the next 45 days–just in time for fall.

Now if only the Food Circus would reopen in the Watt Avenue Tower Records & Books location, all would be right in the world.

Thursdays at Ruby Tuesday’s

When you take the time to write about food as incessantly as I do, you find yourself in the weighty role of dining adviser to friends and family.  Whether for a small bite with an old friend or a recommendation on where to take the clients from out of town, my opinion is sought.  I’m not trying to say that I’m the cool like Shatner, I’m just saying that with the “sac-eats” moniker comes responsibility.  Most of the time I’m happy to help those I know find the best dining experience within their parameters (i.e.  close to Music Circus and in and out within 30 minutes, or Thai food in W. Sac, or “I’m in the mood for Viking food and I’m stuck in traffic in Placerville.  What do you suggest?”).  However, every now and then someone takes my advice and has a thoroughly rotten time.  I wind up feeling like an asshole for recommending places that don’t live up to the hype and feel guilty about it for days. 

So, this was my mood the other day after recommending “Cervantes“ to my sister and her friends.  The food was bad, the service weak and the drinks lousy.  I felt extremely bad about the whole thing, so I offered to take said sister to the new Ruby Tuesday’s in Folsom.

Continue reading “Thursdays at Ruby Tuesday’s”

The skinny on the fat

News10.net reports that California is moving to ban the use of trans fats in restaurant menu items.

The bill is being challenged by restaurant owners across California who worry the trans fat ban will force them to use more expensive alternative oils that could change the flavor of their food for the worse.

Why is it that I can hear sac-eats’ stomach grumbling now as it ponders a world without artery clogging, heart attack creating, yet oh so creamy industrially created as a side effect of partial hydrogenation of plant oils – a process developed in the early 1900s and first commercialized as Crisco in 1911, trans fatty acids?

“It’s going to be a big fight,” said Terri Mead, manager of Sacramento’s Pancake Circus Restaurant. “We don’t want them telling us what we can and can’t use in the restaurant.”

You tell’em Terri (a nay sayer from the Pancake Circus? Get out…). We don’t want those health freaks telling us what to do. Next thing you know we’ll have the government telling us that we have to maintain a certain level of “cleanliness” and “freshness” in order to “pass” a random “inspection” or face being “shut down”.

As someone who just threw back 3 or 8 zero trans fats per serving Tagalongs, let me just say that I don’t miss the trans fats at all.  And if it is good enough for our Girl Scouts of the USA, it’s good enough for me.

Weird things are afoot at the CPK

BibbyKnocked off early at the widget factory yesterday and took the family to Barnes & Noble at Market Square. Gotta love that kid’s section–plenty of fun for the kids, but with only 2 exits it’s super easy to monitor. Afterward, while eating some really authentic Chinese food from a little restaurant I usually just refer to as “Orange Chicken” who walks in to the humble Market Square but NBA superstar Mike Bibby. He did some holiday shopping at B&N, graciously signing a few autographs for his adoring fans, before dining at California Pizza Kitchen. Gods among men. I tried to give him a what’s up nod but believe it or not he was talking on a cellular phone the whole time!

Continue reading “Weird things are afoot at the CPK”

Pancake Circus – Gut Budget

On the corner of 21st and Broadway lies a special treat for those in the know, an establishment with high family values, understated elegance and waitresses name Phyllis and Flo. It is, of course, the Pancake Circus, or as I like to call it, “Le Cirque de Crepe.” This is greasy-spoon eating at its best. Silver dollar pancakes, mounds of bacon, cereal and milk that come out of giant machines, men with high, conical chef’s hats slinging hash and gum chewing waitresses who call you “dear” and “honey” and “sweetie.” It’s a blast from the past with all the modern conveniences. You can get pigs in a blanket with a side of egg beaters and pay for it with your ATM card.
Continue reading “Pancake Circus – Gut Budget”

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.
Continue reading “Bali Wine Bar & Grill”