Recalling Mr. Steak

Yesterday I was telling my wife about Mr. Steak. From my interweb research it looks like the brand is thriving in the Midwest, but the Sacramento location, which stood somewhere near the Border’s on Fair Oaks, is of course lost to all but the memories of those of us who ate there in the 1980s (and before, I assume).

So I was telling Mrs. Cool about it (for the dozenth time I’m sure, although probably less frequently since I started this here web log) and I got to the part where I was describing some of the items on the kids’ menu and I distinctly recall there being a chicken dish on there labeled “Matt Chicken.” Am I remembering that right? I remember from the time assuming that it was a play on “Matt Houston,” the brilliant Texas millionaire/LA private dick (played by Lee Horsley). And that’s about as far into the nether reaches of my subconscious as I think we should go today. Matt Chicken, anyone?

Rah Rah Hall!!

In researching the below “beat the heat” post, I came across info about the city swim league and it brought back a wave of nostalgia for my days as a Glenn Hall River Rat. There seems to have been some contraction in the City’s recreational swim league since those days. Apparently now there are only 6 teams–Glenn Hall, Clunie, Oki/Sim, and then 3 conglomerates of Cabrillo/Mangan/Meadowview/Kennedy, Tahoe/McClatchy/Johnson/Southside and Doyle/Johnston/Natomas.

I do remember a Cabrillo/Mangan/Sim combo team, but I also distinctly remember teams existing at Southside, Doyle, Oki, and Tahoe. (Of course, since almost all of the older pool facilities look identical I might be misremembering.)
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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.
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Is it just my imagination?

Photo of The Fireside sign

The Sac Rag
never forgets

I don’t take H or J street to or from work as often as I used to, but on occasion I like to mix it up and give it a go. Lately I’ve noticed that there is a lot of remodeling going on near the college and/or East Sacramento. For example, a few days ago I stopped at the light on H & 53rd and glanced over to my left and noticed a Starbucks. Seriously, when did this happen? I swear, these joints pop up like those inflatable rafts you’d always see on old 60’s sitcoms. And for the life of me I can’t remember what was even there before. These places ARE everywhere. Speaking of, check out this dude that has taken it upon himself to visit every Starbucks in the world. And how soon before the Yahoo! lawyers come calling the YaketyYak cell phone store next door? But, I digress.

What’s going on, Sacramento? Are local coffee houses dead? It’s no secret that I’m a coffee chain lover myself, but I’m all for patronizing a local establishment when possible. Speaking of, what happened to Mace’s? Man, this town can get away from you if you’re not paying attention.

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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