Road Eats

With the sun up and a three day weekend only hours away, the open road may be calling you like that creepy disembodied voice in Field of Dreams. Sacramento being that great metropolis lauded for its proximity to prime destinations, it’s inevitable. The decision to hit the road usually involves two decisions–where to go, and when to leave. The one decision we leave to the traveling gods is what we’ll eat on the way there, so here are a few suggestions organized by driving routes:

80-East: If you’re heading up to Truckee, Tahoe, or points beyond, don’t forget to stop at Ikeda’s in Auburn. A great place to stop for fresh fruit, killer pies, and gourmet groceries, Ikeda’s (pronounced ee-kay-das) also has a mean grill that turns out some ridiculously good burgers and perhaps the finest BLT west of the International Date Line.

80-West: I know, I know, you miss the Nut Tree too. Well, trust me, it’s universal. Not one person who drives by the sorry excuse calling itself the Nut Tree is happy to see a bunch of big box retailers taking the place of their beloved memories. The ‘Tree was by far the best roadside attraction in recent memory after Texaco stopped their “Gas, Food, BJ” campaign. And while there’s not nearly as much fun to be had in the faceless shoppers’ paradise that Vacaville has become, you can still find some decent grub in the surrounding communities. If you’re heading west on I-80, pull off at t Travis Blvd in Fairfield and grab a sandwich at Kinder’s fine meats. The barbecue ball-tip sandwich is happy-dance inducing. Try it with he solid potato salad and you’ll be a happy traveler. Continue reading “Road Eats”

Daytrip #2: South Shore

Visit Beautiful Lake Tahoe!Eventually it will snow.  I know right now it doesn’t seem like it, but someday the clouds will loose their flaky bounty on the nearby peaks, and you’ll be able to dust off your old tobaggan and hit the slopes.   Now here’s the thing: skiing, snowboarding, or just sliding down the mountain on your ass tends to build up one’s appetite.  So, here’s a quick trio of eateries guaranteed to make your day worth it, even if you flame out on the kick rail and wind up with a split camber (or whatever it is the kids do these days):

#1- The Brewery at Tahoe: When you’re freezing and wind-chapped, there’s nothing you want more than an ice cold beer.  So belly up to the bar at the Brewery and order one of the many craft brews on tap.  While you’re at it, order a pizza from the extensive menu.  You won’t be disappointed.  The pizzas are magical, infinitely customizable, and without peer in the Lake Tahoe surroundings.  The beers are pretty outstanding too.  I can’t recommend this place highly enough.  3542 Lake Tahoe Blvd, 96150 Continue reading “Daytrip #2: South Shore”

Daytrip #1: Amador County-Wine, Women, Ravioli

In the first of a new series of daytrip recommendations, I offer a few nuggets (no pun intended) of goodness tucked away in the golden hills of Amador county.  And, since good things come in threes–Beastie Boys, incarnations of the Catholic God, Stooges–here are three stops guaranteed to make your Amador daytrip memorable.

Stop #1:  Dry Town Cellars– Perhaps the most casual winery outside of a penitentiary, Dry Town Cellars prides itself on great wines and groovy vibes.  Trust me this place is laid back.  Don’t believe me?  Just check out what the guy running the tasting room is drinking–that’s right, Miller Light.  Winemaker and owner Allen Kreutzer, originally a Santa Cruz dude, has a deft touch with the wine and a heavy (and sometimes dirty) hand when reaching for the tasting room crackers.   Nevertheless, he’ll do right by you with great wines at a fair price.  Try the Barbera, play fetch with the dogs, and don’t forget your antibacterial wipes. Continue reading “Daytrip #1: Amador County-Wine, Women, Ravioli”

Watcha Doin’ This Weekend?

Sorry for the lapse in entertainment recommendations last weekend.  We hope to make it up to you with a prime time, Sacramento-sized deep fried bucket of weekend entertainment:

FRIDAY– Perhaps the greatest musician to come out of Berkeley High School, and a former Sacramento resident, Charlie Hunter and his ultra funky 8-string guitar (that’s 3 strings of bass and 5 strings of guitar for those keeping score at home) will be performing with his trio tonight at Marilyn’s on K St.  I’ve personally seen Charlie dozens of times, from his formative gigs in Bay Area clubs to his more polished later group outings.  He is one of the most popular figures on the jazz scene and only comes to Sacramento once every two or three years.  Check him out.  Buy tix here.

SATURDAY– (from Runnergirl) If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to run up what people ski down, here’s your chance this Saturday.  It’s the Squaw Mountain Run and it’s a 3.6 mile jaunt up from the valley floor to the Escarpment. At the top, participants will enjoy music, food, beer, and raffles.  The less energetic can take the cable car to the top of the mountain and take part in a three mile “flower walk.” This is also the first few miles of the Western States course, and the views of Lake Tahoe are amazing. Continue reading “Watcha Doin’ This Weekend?”

Speaking of fact or fiction…

There is an interesting article on about JetBlue’s new fall fare sale. Flights from Sacramento, CA to/from New York/JFK are priced at $149 each way and Sacramento to/from Long Beach are $49 each way. However, the detail that caught my eye was JetBlue’s announcement that they have been named…

“The Official Airline of Springfield” — the hometown city of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson — to celebrate the summer theatrical release of The Simpsons Movie.

Uh, uh, say what? This is an airline, right? That flies high in the air with hundreds of human beings on board? Oh wait, there’s more you say?

In honor of America’s favorite animated family of comedy, JetBlue also unveiled its first-ever specialty aircraft, christened “Woo-Hoo, JetBlue!” and featuring an image of Homer along with a permanent logo of its new Springfield status. To celebrate Fall travel, the low-fare airline is offering special sale fares for Springfielders and non-Springfielders across the country.

What’s next? Do I get a Bart Simpson Black Box toy with each round trip ticket purchased? Perhaps a Milhouse fuselage complete with air sickness bags?

The Fresher the Avocadoes…

mmm…avocadoesWe have a bit of a penchant here at the ‘Rag for discussing what makes Sacramento…well, Sacramento. How is it different than other cities? What gives it its unique Sacramentoness? What makes the people constantly run into buildings with their cars?

After traveling the country, talking with its various inhabitants and doing my fair share of research, I’ve found that there are two things that separate Sacramento from the rest: the weather, and the freshness of the avocadoes. That’s about it. Those two factors are, in fact, really the only things that separate any mid-size American city from any other mid-size American city. Continue reading “The Fresher the Avocadoes…”

Speaking of NorCal sports…

Northern California’s only NHL hockey team, the San Jose Sharks, have reached round two of the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs, and are currently leading the Detroit Red Wings in that best-of-seven series 1-0 in games. The next game is tomorrow night.

The Sharks have had a strong season. After eliminating the Nashville Predators in the first round, San Jose and Detroit are renewing old playoff hostilities:

The teams also have some playoff history dating back to the Sharks’ post-season debut in 1994. San Jose shocked the top-seeded Wings, ousting their highly favoured foes in a seven-game classic.

However, the Wings returned the favour the following season, sweeping the Sharks in the second round.

If the Anaheim Ducks (who play in the same arena that is the rumored future home of the Sacramenno Kings) dispatch with the Vancouver Canucks in round two and the Sharks get by Detroit, it’s quite conceivable that round three of the NHL playoffs will feature an all-California Western Conference Final, with the NorCal Sharks playing the SoCal Ducks. Those would be some bragging rights. The winner of that series would then go on to play in round four – more relevantly known as the Stanley Cup Final – against the best team in the east.

GSWs’ hoop dreams come true tonight

Run M and C and their
terrible terrible friend

I’m gonna “show my Norcal” today and throw a shout out to the Golden State Warriors, my — and probably many Sacramentans’ — first favorite basketball team. The team will host its first playoff game in 13 years tonight.

The Bee’s report by Scott Howard-Cooper highlights an expected 50% increase in season ticket holders by the start of the next season that got a jump-start even before the playoff berth was official. That’s great news for a franchise that has been in the dumps since dumping Chris Webber. Hey, wait a minute…