Archive for November, 2010
The Broiler Steakhouse is celebrating its 60th anniversary, and to reward the rest of us (?), they’re offering this fantastic dining deal. I wish, wish, wish I could say I’m able to give it a go, but it lessens my lament a bit to at least share this opportunity with you. Please go and enjoy yourself heartily. But hurry, the deal ends November 30.
Happy Anniversary to you, Broiler, and lucky, lucky us!
916-444-3444, 1201 Kst Sacramento
In the New World that was America in the 1920s, the land of opportunity unwittingly welcomed both the good and the bad. Or perhaps all that possibility – and in some cases hardship – helped create and shape some lives and characters for the worst.
My husband and I like to watch the television show ‘Boardwalk Empire’, even though we’re not as dazzled by it as we’d hoped. What keeps me hanging on is the historical significance (and I’m not ashamed to say, beautiful clothes). But now I’m even more intrigued about what transpired during (and after) the Prohibition years, because I can literally see how my own backyard was affected by it.
Downtown Sacramento Partnership gives a Speakeasy Tour (and Pub Crawl) on the 3rd Saturday of every month. I was surprised how many people showed up this past weekend, considering it was raining hard enough to flood the old town once again. But with umbrellas and curiosities in hand, we followed the easy-speaking tour guide Shawn Peter from place to place, hearing stories about what transpired underground, both literally and figuratively.
I’m not going to give all the good stuff away – because the tour is really worth its $10 price and the two hours you’ll spend peering into the past – but it’s not hard to imagine Old Sacramento as it was back then and how it too succumbed to the “new world” of the “underground”. Just imagine a bustling new Gold Rush town, how the city itself was not supportive of Prohibition, and all that sprouted from the rich soil of possibility.
Sacramento’s rivers became the West’s major alcohol trade routes, the city’s literal underground labyrinth became littered with “illegal” activities, businessmen turned into crime bosses, boats became floating bars, and speakeasies cropped up everywhere from attics to high schools.
The quality of liquor went down while its demand went up, bathtubs turned multi-functional, and trap doors became all the rage. People learned how to be sneaky, how to get around the law, and how to love the allure of things forbidden. Others learned how to utilize the laws now in place to make a fortune and seal their questionable fates.
Old Sacramento, still looking much the way it did back then, is full of intrigue, ambiance and charm, especially at night when the lights dim, the sights soften, and the separation between then and now blurs. When down in an old dark basement bar, it’s easy to imagine oneself alive during the tumultuous time of Prohibition… The question is: what kind person would it have brought out in you?
Cirque Dreams Holidaze
At noon on November 16 a trio of acrobats from Broadway Sacramento’s upcoming production of Cirque Dreams Holidaze will entertain lunchtime crowds for free with their acrobatic skills. The acrobats from Uzbekistan will showcase their hand balancing feats as a preview to their show coming to the Community Center Theater December 29-January 3.
Drag Queens on Ice
Outword Magazine will host a charity LGBT night, Drag Queens On Ice, at the ice rink on November 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. This all ages event will benefit the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center, NorCal AIDS Cycle, and CGNIE, and will be hosted by local drag queens Felicity Diamonds and Rusty Nails. 100 percent of the money raised during the 2-hour event will benefit your choice of the aforementioned organizations. Tickets are $5 per person in advance and includes admission and skate rental.
Harry Potter 7 Horcrux Hunt
Muggles beware. Wizards and witches will take over the ice rink on November 18 for Harry Potter Night at the rink. Costumed characters receive free skate rentals between 4 to 8 pm. To celerate the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part I, the ice rink has teamed up with the Esquire IMAX Theatre for the Harry Potter 7 Horcrux Hunt. The Horcrux Hunt begins at 8 p.m. at the ice rink. Witches and wizards will be guided by a series of riddles leading them to the seven Horcruxes hidden throughout Downtown. Teams will have until 11 p.m. to complete their quest and meet at the Esquire IMAX Theatre. Teams will use smartphones instead of wands to post their photos on Twitter using QR codes as they complete each task.
The rink will be open daily November 5 through January 17. Regular admission to the ice rink is $8 for a two-hour session and $2 for skate rental. The Ice Rink offers parking validations for the Westfield Downtown Plaza garages located at 5th & J streets and 4th & L streets.
For more event and contact information:
Lisa Martinez or Kelsey Perry
Shrimp sizzling in garlic butter; peppers, onions and sea snails; chicken, chorizo sausage and risotto; sangria with pomegranates and lemon, sangria sweetened to near perfection, sangria with jalapenos?! It can’t be often that the wine at Berryessa Gap takes second stage…. But on this night of sangria, tapas, paella dishes and festive people, it was difficult for me to give the wine I love so much all the attention it truly deserves. November 6th was Berryessa Gap’s annual Paella Cook-Off & Dinner, and this being my first, it certainly won’t be my last. Sometimes when you fall in love with something, it actually loves you back.
One of the owners, Mike Anderson, escorted a few of us around the grounds and showed us how the magical elixir is made while dispensing some very frothy champagne into our glasses. I sipped carefully and tried to absorb the lessons at hand: An immense respect and care for the grapes, an unfaltering appreciation for good wine at an accessible price, a unique approach with exotic varietals… The really important stuff was coming across, while on another level (and to my delight) I felt I was re-living scenes from ‘Bottleshock’.
Fast forward a bit into the evening: Nick Toma from Good Day Sacramento, Charlotte King from The Grand Adventures of a Food & Wine Diva, a few other community pillars and food lovers, and myself are judging the paella dishes. Having sat next to her, it is clear to see how much Charlotte knows about food, and I know I have a lot to learn, but the soft-hearted ‘can’t-we-all-just-get-along’ part of me wants them all to be winners. Still, there’s a lot to consider: Is the meat or seafood under or over-cooked? Is there any flavor overwhelming the rest? Does the flavor of the rice reflect the complexity of the dish? Is it a more traditional or bold style paella? And on and on.
The sangria and paella themes of this event pay homage to the area’s Spanish roots. If you visit the tasting room in downtown Winters, there’s a binder with the history of the area, which is quite impressive for such a tiny town. But that’s the thing ~ How small a town is does not define its depth. And the same can be said for Berryessa Gap wines. You’re not going to find them mass produced and put on every store shelf… But if you sip, focus and think about what really matters in life – good company, good health, good food – this wine pairs well with it all!
It was nearly six-oclock on a November evening, but the large corner restaurant had all its extra-large windows open wide. The unusually mild weather made the temperature outside feel the same as inside, so there seemed no separation from enclosure to community… Which is exactly what the owners of Zocalo (which means “town square or plaza”) had in mind.
It wasn’t crowded so the service was especially fast and my Chicken & Avocado Salad arrived speedily and in one piece. By ‘one piece’ I exaggerate, yes, but not by much because I literally needed a cutting board to cut the sizeable chuncks down to more edible sizes. Aside from the time-consuming labor-intensiveness of it, the salad was delicious and I found nothing more to complain about. Everyone at the table, in fact, was heartily satisfied with their meal, the chips and trio of dips (mild, hot & black bean), and unlimited sodas for the (20-year-old) kids.
For cocktail connoisseurs the highly-reputed mojito should be mentioned, but at $9 and $10 a pop, they cost nearly as much as a meal – and that always makes it hard for me to justify. But for the sake of full disclosure, Zocalo’s meal prices range well above the mojito from $14 to the high 20s, so one might wonder if my quandary still existed…
Regardless, the mojitos are good, the ambiance is grandiose and exotic-feeling, and Zocalo knows how to create a quality experience that takes you away while putting you right in the middle of it all. Personally, however, I’ve been here too many times when it was standing room only so highly recommend trying it on a weeknight or off time. Perhaps when Fall really truly arrives… I’m seeing a drizzly day, a late lunch, and a quiet, cozy table for two….
Zocalo is located on the corner of 18th & Capitol in Midtown Sacramento. Check out their ’2 for $20′ menu on Tuesdays. 916-441-0303, http://www.ZocaloSacramento.com