Thursday, November 01, 2018

The wonder of Old Sac

I'm working on a review of Hao Bao Dumpling House on Stockton, and it's turning out pretty negative. I had more of a meh feeling when I was there, it's certainly cheap as hell, but it's one of those reviews I'm writing of a place that I know I will never go back to, so that seems pretty worthy of a negative. Why recommend it to peeps if I myself will never again darken the door?

What are your favorite dumplings spots? I like Journey to the Dumpling ok, but if I was going to drive to Elk Grove I'd probably rather eat at Kotteri Ramen, which I reviewed recently.

Liv said that the dumpling place on Freeport is better than Hao Bao, so I am hoping to get there this weekend to give me some timely perspective. I recently had a friend who grew up in Taiwan say that I Shanhai Delight in Old Sac is legit. I didn't even know there was a dumpling place there! The wonders of Old Sac.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Million dollar idea

Idea: custom kitchen wallpaper based on Corti ads. Supposedly custom wallpaper is a thing, according to Google. Any peeps with decorating knowledge want to chime in?


I was on my way to work on the causeway this morning as the sun came up. I look to my left, a guy in a Tesla in the fast lane is on his phone. Oh well, they practically drive themselves, right? Then I look to the right and a guy has a notepad in the middle of his steering wheel that he is writing on. Look to the right again and a driver is eating a massive burrito with both hands. I feel like I'm in a comedy where I'm going to look to the left and see a woman playing a violin.

I've been commuting for 15 years, and I understand better than anyone that it's super boring, and I don't want to be doing it either, but I feel something close to despair when I see that the majority of people on the road are paying attention to something besides driving. I have to watch for the swerve that means the person is texting, and stay away from the car. All I can say is: bring on self-driving cars!!! People are idiots.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Japan musings

I'm missing Japan, since I was there exactly a year ago. I was sure it was two years ago, and that I just couldn't remember what I did last Halloween, but Scott had to remind me it was one. Shows how fast life is flying by (nervous laughter). It's very nice to go to Japan in the fall, although we did catch one night of a gnarly typhoon. That just meant we had to stay near our airbnb for dinner, nothing worse than that, unless there was and I forgot (rueful laughter).

The NY Times magazine has a loooong (and very good) piece about Japanese Kit Kats and all the special flavors. My favorite little nugget of Japan knowledge buried at the end is that in the Yamanashi region, southwest of Tokyo, she sees tourists who are there to pick fruit, and they pay a flat fee for an allotted eating time! That is amazing.

I can't wait to go back to Japan. I have a resolution to take the Monday evening adult Japanese class at Sakura Gakuen, at the Buddhist church on 10th street. I almost do it every year, and then something gets in the way. Scott and I were talking about just doing a short trip to Tokyo next time. I love everywhere I've been, but Tokyo the best.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Annual Heckasac Rant

In my last review for SNR, of Kotteri Ramen Bar in Elk Grove (which has decent ramen and really good tsukemen), I started it with a rant about how "real" cities can support listicles such as's 13 best ramen shops in San Diego. We are smaller than San Diego, but we basically have two ramen places, Shoki and Ryu Jin.

Now they just listed 18 (18!) "splendid shakshukas" in the Boston area. Shakshuka is an egg-and-tomato dish that got trendy YEARS AGO, and a search of Yelp yields 1, that's right, 1, place to get it in Sac (Pushkin's). Oh, all right that weird Seasons 52 place at Arden Mall too. Boston is quite a bit bigger, but proportionately we should have....let me do some imaginary math....5-8 places to get this dish that has been trendy so long that it has now jumped the shark, yet never came here.

That is what bugs me, not that we are not trendy, that's fine, but that when good food and drink trends happen (like natural wine), they never come here and instead we get like 10 places riffing on the same trend or concept. And meanwhile, in the rest of the country, the trend builds, reaches saturation, is declared over, and on the the next thing, and there still isn't one restaurant where I can consistently get a glass of delicious natural wine, or shakshuka, or I have to go to the one ramen place over and over and over.

On another topic, I'm not always a fan of Marcos Breton, but this story is chilling on the subject of what sexual assault survivors go through, and also a wonderful profile of this brave woman. It is hard to take that her story was doubted, mainly because she got a ride to UCD campus from her attacker.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

First post since March

AAAAHHH new post new post. Japan! Smiller and I were there from Oct 20th-Nov 4th.
 We got a bullet train pass for two weeks. That's 400 bucks each, it was hard to decide on the two week vs. one week, but I just hoped I didn't end up spending more in the end. Not having to deal with buying tickets for any JR (Japan Railroad) train is pretty sweet. You just flash the pass. The train stations all have sick bento box shops. The bento range from maybe 5 bucks to less than 15 max, for special seasonal ones. Above is the packaging for one. Japan must be heaven for train nerds. More after the jump

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


Went to see Colson Whitehead at Placer High in Auburn on Monday night, LM was driving and let me know about it. He was super funny and rad. Beth Ruyak interviewed him and I was cringing a bit, ok that's an understatement, I was dying from secondhand embarrassment, due to the racial nature of some of the questions and her wide-eyed naivete. He handled it all with grace. He also revealed that Barry Jenkins (of Moonlight) will be directing a miniseries based on Underground Railroad. I started reading it last night. It's brutal, of course. He did say all of the brutality in it was based on true accounts. Insane.
 Me and SM went to Journey to the Dumpling last night in Elk Grove. We had concluded that it was too far and were going to go to Quan Nem, but then I realized that by the time we got to 47th ave we were about halfway there so why not? It was in the midst of blocks of massive strip malls and kind of hard to find. These are pan fried pork dumplings with corn. They stayed hot forever, we were warned about the possibilities of hot soup squirts. They were ok. The wrapper was too much like bread.
 Beef roll. It was ok. Not as good as Yang's and had the odd touch of lots of strong, raw red onion.
Soup dumplings. Really good. Best I've had around here. I liked the really malty vinegar that came with. I will probably go back to get these, and try the wontons. The menu was pretty boring besides the dumplings, but promised more kinds of dumplings will be coming soon.
I saw the move Toni Erdmann with CH at Tower. I was dreading an almost 3 hour German movie, since the preview looked terrible, but every critic was going so apeshit over it! I'm very glad I saw it in the theater. Unique and the female protagonist gives an incredible performance. There is a lot of stuff about corporate culture, and since CH and I are both enmired in it (spellcheck is telling me that is not a word), she more than I, it was stressing us out thinking of the week to come, prepping for meetings, etc. That made it more interesting, but more relevant. If you aren't in any type of  corporate culture that might make a lot of it boring.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

stock image fun

I'm doing some mandatory online trainings, and of course there are some pretty good stock images.
This one is about difficult people. There is a lot of truth in there. Good thing I am never difficult, ha. They strongly delineate between whining and complaining.
That sweater should be gripe #1
Huh, they say complainers can be useful when you need critical thinking. I'm more of a whiner. According to this course, they are never useful.
"Blamers have the worst quality of whiners and complainers". So blaming is the worst of all!
"Complainers may become blamers when they think they are being ignored" I'm getting confused!