Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Rapturous Breakfast

I can't think of a better trailer for this blog. Last weekend was a fairly kickback affair, and I mostly palled around with my best friend Peter, in what is certainly one of his last Sacramento visits before his departure for the great New York City at the end of June. We went to the R Street Cafe Bernardo on Saturday, where I enjoyed some seriously tasty chorizo and eggs, as well as an enormous chai.

We had a fun couple nights hanging out with as many members of the old crew as we could get a hold of, and eating some delicious food in between. Sunday found us, after a foiled attempt at Tower, enjoying our Post Apocalypse at Iron, where we both had the steak and eggs, while John tried the decadent Elvis breakfast I'd mentioned earlier!

Not that adventurous a weekend, but definitely a nice break. I'll conclude my Old Town Gastronomic Adventure next week!!

Accidentally Classing Up The Joint!

I continued my exploration of Old Sacramento a couple weekends ago, but I did pick up a Saturday shift at work (unusual for me) that began at noon. I decided to wander down to the local 24 Hour taqueria, La Garnacha, to yummy down on a breakfast burrito and horchata. It was a surprisingly chilly walk, and once I got to the patio, I grabbed a Sac News & Review and pulled out my laptop, snagging internet from the bubble tea place across the street. La Garnacha is actually located pretty squarely in the middle of Sacramento's Asian community (not far from Harry's Cafe). I felt exceedingly "Midtown," internetting in the open air and chomping on my enormous burrito; a burrito so big, in fact, that I couldn't finish it!
I went out for Second Saturday, the monthly opening of the city's gallery doors in a citywide party. It was a little lackluster, and gave way to a vague sense of unease, like being alone at an awkward party. I did a little gallery hopping before heading home and to bed. I figured I'd be seeing plenty of art the next day, anyway.
That, by the way, was the end of our clear weather for the weekend. It went from "fairly chilly" to "freezing rain." I traipsed to Old Town with my stately umbrella, and took the more traditional path to the old city, a tunnel that runs under the highways from the Downtown Plaza to Old Sacramento, that I've always thought of as a Time Tunnel since I was a kid.
I made my way to the pier to see the delightfully promising sign posted at the top of this blog. After a rainy walk across town, a hot, delicious, breakfast sounded incredible! Unfortunately, it was a total lie. After making it to the dining room, I was told that Brunch did actually not start until 10 am. I'm not sure if "breakfast" and "brunch" are different, but I arrived about twenty minutes to ten, which seems well within the poster hours. A little perturbed, I decided to go back across the street to Steamers and get myself a delicious Irish Creme White Mocha while I waited. Steamers gained points for their extensive selection of Torani syrups (shortbread!) even while Delta King lost points for LIES! After killing a sufficient amount of time, I made my way back on board. The hostess greeted me very nicely ("There you are!") and I just missed window seating. Nonetheless, I had a fun view across the rain-pelted river.
Now, a little background; the Delta King is, in fact, a historic riverboat cum hotel cum dinner theatre establishment... And I was immediately unsure whether or not they thought I was a guest or not. Which wouldn't be awkward if it had been the menu'd affair that the, y'know, menu out front suggested, and not a buffet. I helped myself to a heaping plate of breakfast foods, ordered a coffee and orange juice, and ate them a little awkwardly, staring out at the storm.

The first round was pretty damn tasty, Nothing necessarily extraordinary, but a good spread of good food. My second go, taking a cue from my eavesdropped neighbor, was to go with foods a little more unique to the riverboat aspect, so I piled my plate high with shrimp, oysters, salmon, and grilled squash. And here's where the buffet both hit and missed; some items, like the salmon, were really good and unique, whereas the squash and shrimp definitely suffered from the "buffet" storing aspect, and both were ice-cold by the time I got to them. This wouldn't have been so bad in the shrimp's case, if it hadn't suffered a little freezer burn from sitting directly atop ice. I made one more trip back for a plate of dessert. Figured I might as well, right? The dessert was perhaps the tastiest bit of the whole breakfast; very well executed chilled cream in a puff pastry.

So I ended up paying the fairly steep bill -- depending on your tummy size, I suppose -- of thirty dollars and making my way over to the Crocker Art Museum. Being the Third Sunday, it was pay-what-you-want day, and I enjoyed several hours of hanging out in the John Buck exhibit and the photoreal area, before making the rainy trek back home, and heading out for some Sunday afternoon karaoke.
All in all, it ended up being a good day, and the class decor of the Delta King was a fun change of pace. I didn't end up using the bathrooms on-ship, so the bathrooms in the rating section are the surprisingly clean Old Town public restrooms. Also worth mentioning is the fact that I was too full, and perhaps a little sheepish, to visit the omelette-scramble station; freshly prepared egg foods could have improved the whole experience tremendously!

Atmosphere: 11/13
Clean: 3/3
Structural: 3/3
Decor: 3/3
Signage 1/2
Service: 1/2

Menu: 5/8
Variety: 2/2
Size: 2/2
Beverages: 1/2
Prices: 0/2

Food: 6/9 pts
Presentation: 1/3
Portion: 4/3 (Bonus Buffet Point!)
Taste: 1/3

Bathroom: 1/5 pts.
Clean: 1/2
Structural: 0/1
Decor: 0/2

Overall: 23/35

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Old Town Adventure Begins!

Last weekend was long and family-filled (not at all in a bad way; my family is kooky and extra fun), but I knew that I would essentially have to slip away to get any breakfasting done. I took Saturday morning's opportunity to go see Thor, and made the decision to try to explore Old Sacramento's breakfast areas.
For anyone not from the area, or just not in the know, Old Sacramento is in fact a State Historic Park, and covers several riverfront blocks. The buildings are made to approximate the state they held after the fire of 1852, as well as years of flooding. It's definitely the most "touristy" part of town, aside from the Capitol Building itself, but I think locals tend to overlook how genuinely cool it is. Aside from the sludge of Old-Timey photo places, and gag t-shirt shops, it's home to a couple different candy stores, as well as Evangeline's Costume Mansion, a delightfully bizarre store all year 'round, aside from being the Halloween Hub of town.

My original plan was to try to hit up the Embassy Suites Bistro by Tower Bridge, but they were closed. I took the opportunity to walk most of the River Walk actually on the river, allowing me a different view of town than usual, something traders might have seen over a century ago as they pulled into port... But enough with all this history business, I'm hungry! I was delighted to find a number of places to get an early meal in Old Town, and I'll try to document all of them in the coming month. I decided to stop into Steamers Cafe. It's named after the steamboats that used to travel the area, and as can be expected from most places in the Old City, has a quaint, turn-of-the-(19th)century vibe. I got a white mocha, and "The Full Deal," which included the two eggs any style (I chose scrambled, a I am wont to do,) house potatoes, a choice of bread (English muffin!) and choice of side meat (or meat-related items... I went with Veggie Sausage). I hung out on the sidewalk -- or boardwalk, as all of the sidewalks in Old Town are -- and enjoyed the lovely morning. The guy at the counter was supercool, and managed to make the jump from trying-to-be-cool to actually being a very charming and funny guy without being annoying.

My white mocha was pretty durn tasty, as was the rest of the meal. The English muffin had tones of butter in a delicious way, although it only came with one Grape jelly! The veggie sausages were also really good. All in all, it was a tasty little meal, even if it was nothing life-changing. I wrote a stack of cards; Birthday for Gramma, Mother's Day for my mom and my best friend's mom, and a congratulatory wedding card for my cousin, then packed myself off to Thor. The movie was thoroughly entertaining, and full of extra geeky references. I felt like a kid in a comic shop noticing all the details they through in. They did a good job, too, of "specializing" the movie; it's not just a superhero movie, it's an epic fantasy as well. This ws a nice touch, and made it stand out from a lot of schlock. I could geek-tweak all day, but my legs are getting restless and I still have more computing to do. So it's sayonara for now, but I plan on continuing my Old Town explorations this month, so stay tuned!

Atmosphere: 8/13
Clean: 2/3
Structural: 1/3
Decor: 2/3
Signage 1/2
Service: 2/2

(They get some extra atmosphere points just by dint of being in Old Town)

Menu: 6/8
Variety: 1/2
Size: 1/2
Beverages: 2/2
Prices: 2/2

Food: 4/9 pts
Presentation: 1/3
Portion: 2/3
Taste: 1/3

Bathroom: 3/5 pts.
Clean: 2/2
Structural: 0/1
Decor: 1/2

Total: 17/35

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sparkly Bachelor Breakfast

Last weekend was a doozy. Knowing that I'd probably only have time (and/or energy) for one quick breakfast, I decided to head over to the lovely N Street Cafe before shipping out with some work friends to do some community service.

The Cafe is a quick walk from my house, and always reliable for a quick, simple, and tasty breakfast. It's also fun people watching, as any five minutes will probably yield hipsters, business people, and methadone clinic refugees. Their breakfast is of the simple Choose Your Own Adventure style. Pick your bread, meat, and cheese. I got a roast beef and cheddar on a croissant, along with a White Mocha, which I knew I would need to keep me awake for the long day ahead!

The meal was quicky and tasty, and I managed to snag a quick bout of internet time. The Cafe is nicely decorated, with coffee bags hanging from the ceiling, and a bathroom only tall enough for hobbits. Somehow this seems to add to the charm. The community service was through my work, and we helped clean up the Orange Grove Adult School. Our immediate supervisor annoyed me by weaseling out of doing anything actually productive. He even went so far as to bring his tiny chihuahua; proving he really had no intention of serving the community. Other than that, it was pretty rewarding, and fun working with friends.

I quieted any annoyance by reminding myself I'd be attending a World Premiere movie later that night! In the meantime, I had planned on attending Sacto MoFo; a Mobile Food Festival/Protest in Fremont Park. Sacramento recently passed a law prohibiting any food carts or mobile food trucks from staying in any one location longer than a thirty minutes, once again thwarting its own aspirations of duplicating Portland's awesomeness. The response was Mo(bile)Fo(od). However, it seems it was promoted a little too heavily, and ended up -- by all accounts -- overly crowded. I instead hung out at home and prepared for said Premiere; TFO's "Planet of the Vampire Women!" Trash Film Orgy has been running for just over a decade in Sacramento, and has graduated from simply running their annual summer festival of awesomely bad movies to producing their own exploitation-sci fi-horror flicks. "Planet" is their latest effort, and stars pretty much the entirety of what has become my group of friends these last couple years, including one of my best friends Stephanie Hyden as the adorable "pleasure clone" Astrid Corvair, and my roommate Ashley Marino as the saucy Pepper Vance. The VIP party was a lot of fun and featured delicious free eats from Ink. I decked myself out in face paint from LCD Soundsystem's "All My Friends" video, commemorating both All My Friends being in the movie, as well as my background role as a sparkly bachelor.
Ashley bounced around in a dress I had custom-painted for her, and a vampire necklace made by Stephanie. The movie was even better than anyone hoped for; deliciously trashy, full of gore, shameless nudity, and effects that ranged from awesomely cheesy to just plain awesome. It's definitely a labor of love that all involved can be proud of, and I think we're all excited to see what comes from it! I went to the afterparty and had a fiercely good time, not admitting defeat until after three in the morning!
The sun found me fighting consciousness at around eight am when my good friend (and fellow Sparkly Bachelor) reminded me of my breakfasting mission. He was enjoying a baby-free morning (he's only a bachelor for pretends), and wanted to get some nosh with yours truly. We decided we'd try out Sweetwater, as they serve a later brunch and it's just a hop, skip, and a jump from his house. They have a fairly small menu, and a server who was clearly unfamiliar with tea in general (just because it comes form a red bag does not make it a red tea), but they did have tiny muffins!
Note my still-silver nails! We got the Shamrock French Toast, which boasted some connection to Bailey's which I couldn't quite discern. My buddy got a side of sausage, and I a side of bacon. The sides were served on strangely large plates, which made them look like smaller-than-usual helpings, but the French Toast was beautifully prepared and delicious.

We enjoyed the sunshine and talked about our excitement for "Planet" and any other future projects. We then wandered the area a little bit before we both retired to our own late-morning naps, full of tasty food and dreaming of distant moons.