Friday, October 29, 2004
When that fails, which it did for me, you can call this number: 875-6451 and after a minimal amount of time on hold someone will tell you where to vote. I didn't get anything with my polling place on it. When you factor in the registering three times before it worked and then having to call to find out where to vote, it sure doesn't seem as easy as certain people think it is.
Upon arrival, we got into a line to get some materials, including a map of the JKL corridor, pink and blue post-its, and a name tag with a number on it.The number corresponds to a group that we were in for the bulk of the meeting. About 200 or so people showed up! After the majority of people had gone through the lines to get their group numbers, the Mayor said a few words, thanking us for coming, that this meeting wasn't about CineArts or the downtown arena, then a man named Evan spoke. I later found out that Evan works for SMWM, the consultant the city has hired for the downtown revitalization. Evan sent us out on our walking tour and told us that we were to write the things we liked on 5 blue post-its and the things we didn't like on the 5 pinks.
My tour group was led by a woman named Wendy who works for the City's economic development department. Somethings that stood out to me: there is a problem of retail companies not wanting to rent from buildings where the lightrail wheelchair ramp is right in front because it blocks the view of their store. Also,people have a problem with Greyhound. I think she said a developer just bought the block on J Street where the Sewing Machine/Vacuum store is and that made me really sad! I really like the diverse buildings and facades next to each other, I'd had to see blocks bulldozed to make way for a giant ugly building (BTW,I don't even know if the developer will bulldoze, but those were my thoughts.) Oh yeah, Wendy also said that the city has a matching $$ program for businesses that want to improve their facades. She said that when we were in front of a new chinese restaurant in K Street that had a phony Chinese temple stucco look and pointed out that they were a part of the program.
When we went past the Woolworth building site, I told Wendy about my idea of making 10th and K a Sac Cultural Center since Sac is the most diverse city in US. She mentioned that it would be neat if it was a big food market. After we finished our tour and got back to the meeting sight, we put our post-its in awall according to the colors, then Evan gave a slideshow and discussed some of the issues that the city is going through. He also discussed what other cities have done to bring vibrancy. One of the examples was Providence RI trying to attract artists by selling live/work spaces to them for supercheap which created a cool arts community (Michele, you could let us knowif that really happened.)
The next thing was that each group was to discuss our thoughts on downtown and then choose 6 out of 20 things that we thought the city should focus on. While we had our discussion, Wendy was taking notes on a 3 foot high notepad that each group had, which I think will be a part of the evaluation process. My group had a lot of like-minded people on it, it was mostly womenwho live in Midtown or Curtis/Land park. It was in that discussion that a woman brought up her Pike's Place idea for 10th and K, so it seems like a lot of people have the desire for something like that downtown. Then, we were given a giant map of the JKL corridor and we were to design the area according to what we want to see down there, which historic buildings we want to see preserved, etc. This was the point where I felt like it was a sophisticated Monopoly game and that what we were doing was pretty futile. There was a woman in my group that was really into seeing cars back on K Street, from 7th to 10th. Once we were done with this, a representative from each group gave a summary of the group's ideas. There were about 16 groups and the main things brought forth were more housing including "owner-occupied", move Greyhound, historic preservation, don't displace SRO dwellers (erik thinks that there were housing advocates present) and create a food market (several groups said this-Erik's group thought there should be one in the Greyhound site after it is moved).
About Greyhound, the city is going to create an Intermodal Transportation center in the train station area that will bring together Amtrak, Greyhound and lightrail. It probably won't be finished for 10 years,but some people seemed to think that moving Greyhound should be top priority. That was another thing that was a bit annoying, people were put off by anything gritty, which doesn't really surprise me, but come on people, it's a city, what do you expect? Oh yeah, I am kind of impressed with the consultantthat the city hired, SMWM. I got a feeling that they aren't chumps and might do a good job.Cosmo Garvin was there and he is going to do a write up on it soon, maybe next weeks SN&R.
This is very interesting. That sux about people trying to focus on hiding the Greyhound away. It is kind of a hassle to drive on that block, but that's just as much cuz all the cabs hang out as it is because of people stopping for drop-off. Maybe if they kicked out the cabs and increased the loading zone area it wouldn't cause a hold-up. I think that a multi-use transportation area is a good idea, but if it's going to take a while to build, Greyhound should just stay where it is until then. Why spend money to move it twice just cuz some people find seeing/interacting with poor people to be distressing?
Correction, I guess the idea of the Pike's Place-style market in the Woolworth's building was not Anna's idea. It's still a good idea, though. Anna's idea was a community center in that same building that would kind of centralize and promote the various ethnic festivals that occur throughout the Sac area. She also proposed it as a sort of general meeting place that could show political documentaries and stuff like that. Kind of like Sierra 2 but more central. She pointed to the Brooklyn Academy of Music as an example. If you haven't been there, it's a sort of all-purpose cultural center where they have dance, music, and have cool film festivals.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
I haven't been too excited about Halloween this year mostly because I chickened out on my costume of being Nell from the movie Nell, but I have been checking out some spooooooky websites today and it's getting me in the mood. First, some discussion about one of my favorites, The Shining. Apparently there are various theories that it's about either the destruction of the American Indians or television. Here's an amusing site about it:
This second one is about the American Indian theory exlusively:
Here's a very extensive FAQ page on the Shining:
It has a neat bit of trivia about Kubrick's obsessive refilming:
9/ Is it true that The Shining holds the record for the most takes of a scene in a film?Well, according to the Guinness book of records it does. They claim it took Kubrick 125 takes to capture the scene were Shelley Duvall climbs the stairs near the end of the film. But Gordon Stainforth contests this, "I'm sure Shelley never had to repeat a scene 125 times (I think the most takes on one scene was Scatman in the kitchen which was something in the order of 75-85 takes). The scene of Shelley backing up the stairs with the baseball bat was NOT all about acting, it was a very technically difficult piece of Steadicam camera operating as well. Loads of things can and did go slightly wrong on that kind of take. (If my memory is correct it was something in the order of 45 takes.)"
This is making me wish I had a book on Kubrick's filmaking. Maybe I will look for one. By the way, while I'm typing this I'm all alone in the lab and something just fell in the other room, making me jump and I'm still kinda freaked out.
Sac's very own retrocrush (which is linked on the Blacktable today) has a good site with the 100 scariest moments:
Local blogger Amelie is printing Sac ghost stories:
and of course, Art Bell is always good for a spooking. I believe last year on Halloween I ended up listening to Art Bell with Heather and others and it was spooooooky fun. Art Bell isn't the host anymore, but the website still has amusing crap-tastic ghost pictures:
I heard a third-hand account of that J,K,L street city planning meeting that Anna attended (I'm still hoping she'll write something about it), and I heard that she had the excellent idea that the Woolworth's building could be a Pike's Place Market kind of deal. I think that's a great idea. And if not there, perhaps down by the river. There could be little gourmet booths, junk-food stands, coffee, fish and meat stall, fresh vegetables, cheese, etc. If there must be development downtown, this sounds like the kind of development that would actually add something to the city. If Anna will tell me more about her proposal, I'll write a letter to the mayor and my city councilman endorsing her plan. I also heard that rather than jumping on her idea, people were still mired in the "entertainment" idea, which is great if it doesn't mean just showing the same movies they can see in the suburbs. Cuz why would they want to drive all the way here for that? Anyway, I personally don't want the suburbanites driving here despite their loads of cash.
Speaking of suburbanites, I finally went to Mikuni downtown last night. I was prompted to go by a visit to Mikuni in Roseville which, although the ambiance was screamy and awful, had really good food. Thankfully, at least on a Wednesday night, the downtown one had much less screaming and leering by the sushi dudes. In fact, it had less than a typically see at Nishiki, which is definitely 10 points in Mikuni's favor. The last think I want when I pay a buttload for sushi is to see dudes acting like they're at Hooters. The high ceilings in Mikuni give it a constant loud, echoey rumble, though. Grace and I were slightly overwhelmed by the menu, and had to search to just find simple rolls that were not deep fried or covered in ten kinds of mayo. We got a plate called citrus blossom, which was lightly seared tuna in a citrus ponzu sauce. It was very good but I still prefer my standard order of pepperfin, which both Mikuni and Nishiki make deliciously. Grace and I split a large spicy tuna roll, which was just OK. Mikuni's only spicy tuna roll has cucumber in it, too, and I would have preferred just tuna. And it wasn't very spicy. I also got hamachi nigiri, which was also just OK, partly due to that fact that the piece was constructed in such a way to make it impossible to pick up and eat, so I ended up getting a bit of hamachi and then a bite of rice. In this way I noticed that the rice was not really flavored like sushi rice should be. It was basically just plain rice with barely a hint of rice vinegar. The sake at Mikuni seemed to be a bit cheaper, but neither one has a very extensive sake list. So I would say overall that usually I enjoy the food at Nishiki better, although the food I had at the Roseville Mikuni was on par with Nishiki, so maybe it was just what I ordered. Nishiki is a bit cheaper and quieter, so as long as those sushi dudes at Nishiki shut the fuck up I'll continue to go there. Oh yeah, also Mikuni gives no edamame or miso or anything, and Nishiki is inconsistent but will sometimes give you one or both.
I watched 8 mile last night, which I liked and if anyone rents it I'd like to recommend one of the special features. There's a part where director Curtis Hanson (who looks like Harry Shearer, not the cool guy I pictured) talks about freestyling (which is really funny in itself), and then tells how they set up a freestyling contest with some of the extras from the club scene. Fast forward till the end when they are filming some scenes with the 4 winners. The director has told Eminem to just pantomime as if he's rapping cuz his voice is going out, but once the winners start making fun of him he starts freestyling back and he's really, really good at it. It's crazy to watch. It's sad that the winners suck so bad, though. I wanted to see one of them step up and destroy him, but they just stick to making fun of him cuz he's white or saying that he's gay.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
I am back from Nerdoscience 2004. The good points: the house was like a Real World beach house and I got to have the ultimate Cali experience of going straight from a hot tub into the ocean. I got to see a famous scientist that wrote this book that we use in the lab and I, like an idiot, gushed, "We use this book all the time in the lab!", yeah, us and everyone in the scientific world that works with mice. He didn't visibly react to my comment. The bad points: learning waaaaaaayyyy too much about certain co-workers sex lives (the phrase "fucked like rabbits" was used-the horror!). Seeing nerdoscientists partying down by ordering multiple white Russians, which later led to explosive diarrhea and vomiting in the bathroom. Going to Hooters (although the Buffalo chicken sandwich is good) and having an awkward check-splitting situation emerge in which I end up looking like the bitch (I was just trying to point out who had shorted the check cuz I had already ponied up thirty bucks! For fucking Hooters!). There was a twelve year old boy who was celebrating his birthday at Hooters.
In my last post that got eaten, I noted that I went to the defunct S.A.T.T.A.S. Monday night at the Flame and it is still hoppin' even though the society has disbanded. I also made a bitchy comment about certain chop-chop haircuts being out of style but my hair looks bad today so I won't reiterate.
Oh yeah, and I endorsed Dad's over Fog Mountain for best new sandwich shop. Try it. It's good. Limited hours, though. It's open on Saturday, unlike Fog Mountain.
One last thing, there is continuing controversy in the comments about whether or not the Crest had some sort of deal with Century. I'll reiterate that I find this very unlikely. It sounds like a weird rumor.
Friday, October 22, 2004
It's because I didn't drink any yesterday because for some weird reason I didn't feel like it and today I accidentally on purpose made it super strong.
Blind item: Which ex-Cali band was recently cracked out on something stronger than coffee? Namely: crack.
So I wrote a post yesterday about the Tower vs. The Crest rivalry and blogspot ate it. I'll try again.
I guess Cinearts as a specific proposal is for real dead. But the city is still looking into various options including giant megaplexes downtown that would have so many screens that it could be playing every movie, independent or mainstream, currently in release and still have two screens left over for episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond and one for the latest scandalous Paris Hilton video (shame on you racist, jew-hating Paris Hilton with your wonky fake blue eyes I have seen the new Maxim and Nikki's butt is much cuter than your non-butt). At the "Save the Tower" rally, Reading Entertainment CEO Elaine Cotter was up there quaking in her Manolo's about these proposals and whining about Tower losing money. That is not what I came to the rally for. I don't care if she can't buy a new pony for Christmas this year. I just don't want the city handing out subsidies to major corporations and planning stupid projects that won't help downtown.
I looked into Reading Entertainment a little bit and I am confused at why they claim to be "independent". This is the company that owned the Reading Railroad of Monopoly fame. They own real estate and movie theaters. They own quite a few in the U.S. and quite a few in other countries. So if they own a theater, how is it independent?
I didn't hear anyone at this rally mentioning the Crest, and how these proposals will help or hurt their business. They are the real independently owned theater. I know the popular opinion is that the Crest will be OK, but I want to be sure of that. And that brings me to some of the comments on my last entry of this blog that dealt with Cinearts. Someone commented about the Century Theater controlling the screens at the Crest. I highly doubt that to the point where I completely doubt it. In fact, I'll go ahead and say that's not true just on gut instinct alone (if it's good enough for Prez Bush, it's good enough for me). The next commenter, the mysterious "keith" (I can think of two keiths it might be) said this in a more scatological way. I don't like the way this issue is pitting the Crest against the Tower. There is room enough in town for both of them to thrive. When I worked at Tower I used to joke that there was a rivalry (we were always saying we would have a softball game or tug of war to decide it once and for all), and sure we've all heard the stereotypes that the Crest are a bunch of pot-smoking hippies (well, that's kind of an old stereotype) and that the Tower are a bunch of surly slackers, but really the employees are all friends and we all go to movies at each other's theaters. There has even been known to be some Crest and Tower miscegenation. I dearly wish that the owners of the Crest could somehow buy the Tower. That would be the best! And maybe they could buy the Tower Cafe too and turn it into a good restaurant and they could get rid of that hideous multi-colored birdbath and that curtain of beads with Frida Kahlo on it.
I finally went to the new Beers Books and although it lacks some of the funky charm (Ew! I just wrote "funky charm") of the old one, I'm stoked that it's right by my house. They are supposed to open a cafe with coffee and beer (and food) pretty soon, so that should be cool. That way I can read books for free in the cafe and get coffee stains on them and stuff and I won't even have to buy them!
Thursday, October 21, 2004
From Brad Miller
"All I want to say is (expletive) that," he said. "(Expletive) them. (Expletive) everybody. That's (expletive)."
Now since this isn't a family-friendly forum like the Bee, I can speculate on which expletives he actually used and print the straight (expletive):
"All I want to say is (fuck) that," he said. "(fuck) them. (fuck) everybody. That's (crap-lousy)."
C-Webb answered back with a riddle of sorts:
"I don't even want to get into that," he said, "but you can quote me on this. Believe half of what you read and none of what you hear."
But wait, what if I had heard him say this comment on the news? Does that mean I shouldn't believe it? I read it so which half should I believe? What if someone is reading an article out loud to me? Do I believe half or none? This is like one of those tricks that makes the evil robots explode on Star Trek.
Although I was watching the Red Sox game 6 so I missed it, I'm stoked that Adelman played Bluthenthal in the game against the Lakers. I don't understand how these things work so I'm not sure if this means he's on the team. I don't think it does.
And just to prove that I'm not against all change in Sacramento, I am excited about the proposed Jibboom park between the I st. bridge and Discovery Park on the waterfront. Sac needs more parks, and since Discovery is a bit busted, a new park would be cool.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
This interview with a writer for the Onion is funny:
And this article about Bush in the NY Times Magazine is really scary:
I had a nightmare about the Cinearts project last night. I feel so powerless to stop the city from making this mistake. Even if they weren't giving the Century Corp. so many unfair financial incentives, this is still a dumb idea because it won't increase foot traffic on the mall! Speaking of nightmares, the Knightmares are playing at the Save the Tower rally today. This represents a clear conflict of interest for Charles as a Crest employee. He will probably try to sabotage it by playing crappy. Perhaps the rally will be called off due to inclement weather, but I think the show should go on. If the Knightmares have to show their love for the Tower by taking a bolt of lightning, then so be it. Wouldn't that be cool if Joel got hit by the lightning and it inspired him to do the most awesome solo that has ever been heard by human ears whilst smoke came out his ears? That reminds me of when that guy that played Jesus in the Passion got struck by lightning. That shit was so funny. Read about it here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3209223.stm What does G-d have to do to keep Gibson from slandering the Jews? I wish he would smite him already. I would smite the fuck out of him if I could. And to think of all the fantasies I had about him after that butt shot in Lethal Weapon. With that mullet cascading down his taut shoulders. Umm....I gotta go.
Monday, October 18, 2004
There is a "Save the Tower" rally tomorrow from 5:30-7:00. Make a sign and try to get on the news. It's pretty easy to get them to talk to you, but the one time I've done it I got so nervous!
Even more important to attend would be a meeting to decide the future of K street that takes place this saturday from 9-2 at 801 K st. The citizens should represent because if it's anything like an arena meeting, the developers will get about 90% of the speaking time.
Confession: I may not be attending either of these things. Saturday I'm out of town for a work conference, but I'll try to go to the Tower rally. I have a date, so I might not be able to.
I have been discussing with friends lately how unfortunate it is that in a pretty sizable city with a lot of young people that like to go out that we don't have the kinds of businesses that other cities of our size have. My main two gripes are: no film-nerd video store and no hipster/young-person-owned bar. Bellingham, which is far smaller than Sac, had, if I recall correctly, two pretty good video stores. And in Sac as far as bar selection your only choices are dive-type bars or hottie bars. There's nothing in between where there's a decent jukebox, they might have a few good drink specials, maybe some DJs once in a while. Where are all the hipster rich kids to open businesses in this town? Come on kids, make daddy buy you a bar.
The new Safeway is insane. I kept freaking out when I was in it. It didn't seem real that this gleaming new store could be right in my neighborhood. It's way more yuppie than the other Safeway downtown. I didn't expect that. I must admit, it's pretty exciting to live that close to a market. I feel that it will make it much easier for me to make myself cook at home rather than going out for every meal.
I had a real Sacramento Saturday, which, of course, involved the Flame (and even the band Sacramento playing inside). I found out something new, which is that SHARPS nowadays don't look like their counterparts from my youth. I had some pointed out to me and I had been hanging out there all night and had no idea. They don't wear the normal skinhead uniform anymore. Now you can pick them out by their colorful neck tatoos. In fact, between the new biker crowd and the skins, there were more neck tattoos in there per capita than at Folsom prison. That's another new thing, the Flame hired a biker bouncer and they CHECK YOUR I.D. AT THE DOOR! No longer a bastion of underaged drinking, will the Flame survive? Of course you can still slip in the back door if you are quick and inconspicuous.
Quick review of the food at the Zodiac Cafe. Of course, the bubble drinks and juices there are delicious, but have you ever tried the food? Probably not, because they are out of most of it. Vince said that the Vietnamese sandwiches are gross. I got a pork bun-thing, and it passed my standards of not giving me food poisoning, which I worried about because it was sitting out on a Saturday night. Grace got the fried fish balls, which I found to be frightening, but she liked them OK. They were about 1 inch in diameter, very spicy, but the scary thing to me was that they had a weird "skin" that snapped like hot dog skin when you bit into it. What could the skin be?
Friday, October 15, 2004
OK, so first off, I didn't get any oysters. Maybe that makes this review unfair. The only raw oysters I have had are small ones in oyster shooters and while I plan to try them at some point, I haven't yet. When my sister and I walked in (or I should say stumbled in, because the place is so dark) we peered into the gloom and first thing I thought was, "I'm underdressed". Everyone was pretty business casual "fancy" and there seemed to be a few "girls night out" hotty groups. So I'm already at a mental disadvantage and then Song and I stand there awkwardly for a few minutes trying to gauge whether we should seat ourselves. There didn't appear to be a hostess, but because it is a somewhat pricey sit-down restaurant it didn't seem right to just sit down. We waited and waited, and finally decided to try to sit upstairs and someone was bound to notice us. As we headed upstairs, a group of hotties headed up there with drinks told us that the upstairs seating area was closed, so we turned around and filed past them. We grabbed a table and sat there. Nothing. After 10 minutes or so we started to debate other places we could eat, but I could tell my sister wanted to stay. Finally, out of the darkness the waiter appeared. Well, he was actually the bartender, so throughout the course of the meal he was simultaneously waiting on us and working the bar by himself. There were three mysterious blondes who "worked" there but I could not tell what their job was, because the bartender appeared to be doing everything. One of the ladies had a scary sort of Fergie from Black-eyed Peas look (possibly the worst look ever) and she clearly had collagen-injected lips and probably some other work, too. My sister related a story in which she was trying to get a drink there one night and one of the other blondes was a complete bitch to her for no reason.
Anyway, on to the food. We decided to split some appetizers. We got: clam chowder, crab spring rolls, some scallop thing and ahi tartare. The waiter/bartender brought us bread, which was excellent. He also kept calling us "girls" which really bugged me because he was clearly younger than me. The clam chowder was really, really good. During the winter I will probably go back and just order that, and with the really good bread it would be an excellent meal. The rest of the appetizers soon arrived. Boy, the chef there really likes watercress. Everything was either garnished by it, or contained it, or both. I like watercress, too, but this presentation got a bit monotonous. Everything was presented very artfully, stacked and with fancy sauces squiggled on the plate. The spring rolls were terrible. We didn't eat them. They were unucessarily huge, but 90% of the stuffing was unflavored jelly noodles. There was a bit of tasteless crab (I even tried picking some out and eating it and it still had no discernible flavor), an assload of jelly noodles and the aforementioned watercress. No mint, no cilantro, nada. The dipping sauce was cloyingly sweet. The scallops were seared, stacked on a hockey puck of rice, and the outer perimeter of rice was wrapped with grilled eggplant. It took us a minute to figure out it was eggplant because it was too dark for us to see what it was. The whole thing was on a lake of weird white sauce with bits of fresh ginger in it. The scallops had an OK flavor, but the rice was waaaaay overcooked and gummy. The eggplant combo was just weird and not good. The tuna tartare was passable if you kind of scraped of the salsa and just dipped it in a wasabi squiggle, but it was twelve bucks and far inferior to any sashimi at Nishiki, so I wouldn't order it again. We waited around forever for the bill and I joked that maybe the waiter had left it and we just couldn't see it on the table.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
I went by the Antennas Erupt, My whole hand is wet (?), Feeling show last night at Tonevendor. I say "went by" because a certain experimental "music" thingy gave me a headache and I left. A few of the youngsters (as Prez Bush would say) downtown are rocking a look I like to call "camp counselor chic". Mocassins are and imporant part of this look. Pair mocassins (that spelling doesn't look right) with some khaki short-shorts and a frayed t-shirt, and voila! It's a cute look, but I am too old to attempt it. Boy hipsters haven't changed the look up much, besides the abundance of beards. I saw one young guy who rolled up in ski jacket over hoodie with a beanie on his head. It was approximately 80 degrees last night and I was wearing a tank top.
This post is decidedly uninspired. Perhaps I will post more later. Guphy, if you're reading, if you do finish your list about Sac I would be glad to post it.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
I went to Southside park to feed the ducks the other day and they were gone! I guess during that big rainstorm, sewage flooded the pond and killed all the fish, so the ducks must have left, too. I had to try to feed my bread to squirrels, which is really not very fun. The Bee reported that some people were picking up the dying fish on the banks and taking them home, presumably to eat them. There is yellow police tape around the pond but no posted warnings about why it was there. Maybe I am just class-obsessed (cuz after all, America is a classless society), but I can't help but think that if this had happened at McKinley Park that there might have been some posted warnings so that little Lord Fauntleroy won't dip his precious fingers in the icky water. So if you see some scraggly, tough looking ducks at McKinley, they may have just moved from the wrong side of the tracks.
I ate at the Riverside Grill (which used to be the Hereford House) last night, and it isn't even worth writing a full review about. I had had breakfast there before, which was not good, but I went back for more punishment and had dinner. I will say the house chardonnay was good (and by good I mean they gave me a lot of it), and they were quick with the bread, but my spinach salad was overdressed and not very exciting. Paul and Grace both got this ahi tuna noodle thing and while Grace felt that the tuna was good, Paul didn't, and both said that they wouldn't order it again. I think it's lame when I go to a restaurant and the appetizer list is so boring that it is mostly comprised of fried stuff (like calimari) and artichoke dip. Snore. What, did they just copy the T.G.I. Friday's menu? Where's the Bloomin' Onion (TM)? Thankfully, they sat us in the weird semi-patio area (which they took pains to decorate as if you are still inside, rather than outside. Why? I don't know), because inside they have at least 58 flat screen TVs. I hate that because it takes superhuman will to not look at a TV that is on, even if it showing something really boring. The patio is in a word, trippy. Besides the am I inside or outside thing there is a wall of water, and three stacked fake fireplaces. So if you are going to go to the Riverside Grill, I recommend that you take a fat bong rip, order all the fried appetizers that you can handle and trip out to your heart's content. And then you can watch TV when you get bored thinking about "Am I inside or outside? And what does that really mean, anyway? Even when I'm outside, I'm always inside my skin, right?"
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Originally uploaded by becklerg.
Today we have a guest restaurant review from Anna with a surprise celebrity appearance. Although the phrase "favorite Laker" caused me to choke on my coffee a little (that's like having a favorite dictator, but I guess Mobotu did wear those cool leopard hats). I agree with this review. I went to the Plantation (their motto, which explains the iffy name is "where soul food began") a couple of times when it first opened and I enjoyed both visits. I love the fact that it's open so late, but I wish they could serve beer. The service is always great, but the food is a little uneven. Some things are delicious, some are just so-so. Anyway, here's Anna's review:
On Saturday night, Erik and I ate at The Plantation, a soul food restaurant located on Del Paso Boulevard. I had been curious about the place ever since we drove past months ago because it is housed in a very cute, white building and their sign was made of bent iron, which contributed to its unique character. Inside, the restaurant walls are covered with black and white photographs of prominent African-Americans. The menu offers a choice of about 10-12 entrees; each comes with two sides. Erik chose fried ribs with mashed potatoes and mac and cheese. I picked fried red snapper with mac and cheese and collard greens. While we were waiting, we noticed that Derek Fisher (former Laker, current Warrior) was in the restaurant with two other guys. When they were done with their meal, Fisher posed for pictures with the waitresses. He seemed pleasant; he was always my favorite Laker.
So, Erik's entree came out first, but they gave him fried pork chops with yams and mac and cheese instead of the fried ribs with mashed potatoes and mac & cheese. It all looked good though, and we didn't want it to be thrown out, so we kept it, but told the waitress just in case she gave us someone else's order. She was apologetic, and offered to bring us a sample of the fried ribs as well. My entree arrived about 3 minutes after Erik's, which was fine since we were sharing, but technically, that is a no-no. Everything was just as I ordered. Each dinner was a whole lotta food and came with a slice of corn bread and a wedge of watermelon. The mac and cheese was fairly bland, but the greens were so seasoned that it made up for it. The greens had chunks of smoked turkey that had a really neat rose color. I read once that using smoked turkey as a flavoring agent is a new trend in soul food, it is replacing pork products for health reasons. Erik's yams were great, very sweet and spiced. My snapper was okay, it was breaded in cornmeal (I think) and fried. The fried ribs were pretty good! They are just spareribs that are breaded and deep-fried, served without any sauce. The breading was flavorful and the ribs were tender. For me, it was hard to get past the thought that I was eating deep-fried ribs, probably one of the most fattening combinations on the planet. (Actually, it is probably better than the chocolate-covered pork fat, a delicacy in the Ukraine that Michele told me about.)
We didn't order dessert and brought some food home. Overall, I enjoyed the food and liked the ambiance of the place. We figured the service was a bit spotty because of the excitement of Derek Fisher in the house. I am going to return and try smothered chicken, turkey leg, garlic crab and gumbo. I may even wash it down with a strawberry soda, how often is that an option?
The Plantation: 1022 Del Paso Blvd.
PS: It's open until 3am on weekends.
Monday, October 11, 2004
Originally uploaded by becklerg.
Ha! I scooped Graswich last week about the problems at Sammy Chu's, and he doesn't even have the full story in today's column. I have it from an inside source that the folks that run Ink are taking over there and that it's going to be renamed Icon.
The fake grassroots campaign to Save the Tower-remember the goddamn Alhambra continues (OK, it's half fake, half real grassroots). There's a rally on October 19th at 5:30. People have been telling me that the Cinearts project is being revived, but I can't find anything about that on the net, so I'm not sure how that news got out. While I was searching, I found some interesting discussion about the Tower on this online forum called cinematreasures.com. Here are some excerpts:
The Tower is a lovely place that is in "critical condition." If the current management is listening, please make an investment in repairing this deteriorating local treasure. If you want to "Save the Tower," start by restoring some of it's splendor. The bathrooms, fixtures and general cleanliness of the theatre have been neglected for far too long. Start the shows on time, and train your staff to be informed about the current and upcoming films, friendly and interested. As a former independent classic/arthouse theatre employee, I can tell you that the details count to your patrons. The presentation IS your product (including the experience of attending the theatre itself). Give the people what they want...a quality experience.
This next comment is part of a very long post from Matias Bombal (a great local character, and I heard he has come back to town, but I don't know what he's up to lately)
I get the feeling, having been a past theatre manager, (I do not know this to be a fact) that the company running the Tower may be non-supportive to the local management who likely is helpless to make any improvement without corporate OK which, controlled from so far away, may not have a real sense of the intrinsic value that the Tower has in our Sacramento history and current entertainment. Additionally, this possible lack of Readingâs support for the theatreâs local manager is likely what is behind the current poor screen presentation and insufficient maintenance of the building. In spite of this handicap, it seems the current manager has done everything possible with the limitations of his office, and little touches here and there show a respect for the historical integrity of the building and also an appreciation for its esthetic value.
This is also from that same letter. His point was that the "Closing Credits" cover on News and Review was not cool. I think it's interesting that he points out that corporate art-house theaters are inevitable. I guess that's true if there's money there. So yeah, Tower does need to get their shit together, but the city shouldn't be subsidizing the corporate interests.
While I felt that SN&R article was well intentioned, I found it sensational and manipulative of public opinion. The cover was irresponsible, and potentially damaging to the business of the Tower Theatre in that it looked real enough to appear as if the letters spelling out âClosing Creditsâ were actually on the marquee. Big movie chain art house business is coming. Your best way to keep those places, that you believe in and wish to support, alive, making them part of the present and not a memory of the past, is to personally take action by showing your support in the form of going to the movies.
Here's a letter from another Tower hater:
I can't believe they actually held a rally for this place- as far as I'm concerned it was already demolished when it was triplexed in 1974. I refuse to go to this theater, hating it even more due to the fact that they get so many exclusive engagements of movies I'd like to see. That said, the only way for this theatre to survive is to restore it back to the original large auditorium, and don't skimp on the projection and sound equipment like Landmark and Reading have (Landmark had good equipment in the original booth, but the 2 lower sections were awful, all the more reason it shouldn't have been triplexed.) If it's restored I promise to attend it regularly, maybe even work there! Til then, I'll be over at the new Cinearts, provided Century doesn't give it the incompetent staff that currently runs the Downtown Plaza 7!
Ooh, snap! This next one reminds us that Senator, I went to the Alhambra, and the Tower is no Alhambra.
The bottom line is the Tower should not be run the way it has been for the past 30 years, and they certainly should not be getting exclusive engagements. The attitude seems to have been "Why should we put any money into this place when we're the only ones who have these movies, where else are they gonna go?" The "Remember the Alhambra" is a bit far-fetched as well. The Tower is no Alhambra, and does anyone really think the building will ever be torn down? I can't see that happening in any case.
OK, this last one is only semi-literate but pretty amusing:
The Tower is now a pure 100% dump, Last time I saw a Picture there (The Mighty Wind)The Unprofessional Display of the Movie, Trash, Dirt, Grime, Water Stains disgusted me, You can feel the springs not the seats, Filthy bathrooms and a crew that just did not care! I am not a Big Fan of Century Theaters but at least there clean.
I thought that all these letters were very amusing. I used to call the men's restroom the Shrimp Shack because of the delightful aroma that would waft past the snack bar. The screens are woefully underlit. I wish that the owners of the Crest would buy the Tower.
Friday, October 08, 2004
Originally uploaded by becklerg.
I heard that the King's might not keep the first Jewish King, David Bluthenthal and I smell an Anti-Semitic conspiracy. How can we be the Chosen Team without him? They are making a grave mistake. All I can say to the King's management is- kush meer in toches! By the way, I got that expression from this great online Yiddish dictionary which says a funny greeting to you when you log on. Here it is: http://www.koshernosh.com/dictiona.htm
I recommend the greetings and curses page.
"Celebrity chef" Kurt Spataro- A broch tsu dayn lebn! I have eaten at two of your crappy restaurants lately and you owe me like 40 bucks! Spataro is Paragary's partner in crime and helps to design the menus at Centro, Paragarys, Bernardo, Esquire(dreck!), and Sammy Chu's. I ate at Sammy Chu's last night and I couldn't have asked for a more mediocre dining experience. I had heard about the cocktails, so I ordered one. It was called "Dr. Funk" so I tried to order it by gesturing towards it but the waiter forced me to say the name. This was a mixture of rum, fruit juice, and Pernod. I know, I know, it sounds disgusting, but I thought that they wouldn't put it on the menu if someone hadn't at least tried it first. I was wrong. I bet I'm the only person who has ever ordered it and it was nauseating. We decided to order family style and got "dry fried" green beans (I have never heard of this particular technique), crispy fried tofu (are you noticing a pattern here? The menu is tiny and 75% or the offerings are fried), and ginger clay-pot chicken. We had trouble ordering because, much like at the Esquire Grill, very few of the dishes sound appealing. It was a chore to pick three things that we wanted to try. The fried tofu came first, big chunks, lightly fried in a thin sweetish sauce with chopped peanuts. Eh. It was OK. The green beans were good, chewy and mainly flavored with soy sauce. The chicken came in another thin, sweetish sauce and the quality of the meat was not that high. Quite a bit of gristle and fat in that pot. It grossed me out a little bit. I have heard rumors that old' Sammy is struggling a bit and the dining room was mostly empty at 7:30 on a Thursday night. A weakness in the mighty Paragary Empire? By the way, Kurt Spataro is married to local celebrity personality Kitty O'Neal.
After the dinner we saw Ladder 49 while I suffered through painful gas, which I attribute to the practically raw tofu I ate, but perhaps I should attribute it to the wooden acting and painfully cliched plot. I suffered more secondhand embarassement watching this movie than I get during a typical Bush press conference, and that's saying a lot.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Originally uploaded by becklerg.
Kobe Bryant makes me ill. If you read the police transcripts you will conclude that the man is a monster. Nice role model for the kids, a guy whose "thing" is coming in girls faces. But later in the interview he makes it seem like his "thing" is choking girls and leaving marks (consensual choking, though). He should clarify that for all the fans. How can I wear his jersey with pride if I don't even know his favorite way to demean women sexually?
I asked Graswich for an interview via email and he answered me back almost immediately. Does R.E. (or Bob as I like to call him) have a little too much free time on his hands? Anyway, of course the interview is great because he's the best. I only wish I had asked more questions. Like what his "thing" is.
What does R.E. stand for? Bob... First byline in The Bee said "Bob Graswich," but the first paycheck said, "R.E." Sounded classy, so I stuck with it.
How long have you lived in Sacramento? About 40 years.
How have you seen Sacramento change over the years (negatively and positively)? Lifestyle has improved... Restaurants and bars are much better, and getting better all the time... Jazz clubs were better 20 years ago... Suburban traffic has become a nightmare, but that's what people deserve if they choose to live in suburbs.
Favorite neighborhood in Sacramento? Downtown
Favorite local restaurant? Esquire Grill
Favorite place to see a movie? Tower Theater
When did you start working for the Sacramento Bee? 1972
Who would win in a fight, Diana Griego-Erwin or Anita Creamer? Nobody would be left standing.
How do you get all the info for your column? About half comes from readers, about half comes from making the rounds and working sources... Rest are leftover scraps from colleagues.
How many Hawaiian shirts do you own? Lost count. Over 200.
Is it awkward when you see the Maloofs? Not a bit, unless I'm lying down.
What would you like to see happen with the arena situation? The Maloofs should build themselves an arena, if they believe they need one, and pay off their $85 million debt to the city. Doesn't that sound reasonable?
Any prediction for the Kings this year? 41-41, gone in first playoff round.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Originally uploaded by becklerg.
This is Michele and I at an excellent Italian restaurant called Areo in Bay Ridge. Anna recommended it and it was quite an experience. The decibel level was somewhere between lawnmower and plane taking off. Actually, I guess you can just call that particular level: Italians. This is not a dis. I like it loud. We went with a big group of people and it was fun, fun, fun.
So NY styles, if you're interested: Not much new. The eighties thing has died out considerably. Everyone is very casual. I saw a lot of just t-shirts, converse and jeans. The only new things I saw were: galoshes everywhere (I tried to jump on the bandwagon, but all the stores were sold out because they're so popular), a hard to rock style known as pants tucked into boots (when it's good, it looks 70's, when it's bad you are a pirate, AAARRRR!), and the new jeans for hipster girls are Wranglers which I will not be rocking because they will turn my less than J-Lo but into something you could iron your shirt on. Not butt friendly.
Thanks to Scott for blogging while I was gone. I haven't even had time to read your entries yet. Later I may post about NY styles and general stuff.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
First, you have to pay, like, $30 for this honor which immediately separates the men from the boys, or should I say, the classy drunks from the common fuck-ups. This $30 allows you entry in to a maze of sushi, omelettes, prime rib, that disgusting hard boiled egg & shrimp concoction....oh, the list goes on & on. Second, it's in a huge hotel so immediately one feels that worldly flair of the travelling set. "Just grabbing 10 glasses of champagne on my way through town...". And do you know what makes champagne at 10:00 AM even more acceptable? Orange juice! That's right, just a little innocent mimosa. Nothing to see here folks.
So yeah, you sit down, wait until they bring you your water....then your OJ....then your napkin.... then your silverware....then your coffee.....all the while doing your classy best not to yell "where's the champagne already!!?" Oh, here it is. Yes, yes, thank you. After that, it's a crapshoot. The champagne brunch gamble is this: 'do you or do you not have a server who understands why you just paid $30?'. This time, I can happily say that we did. We all agreed that this woman had a very cult-ish vibe, but fortunately she also had a strange, slavish devotion to our table. It was almost as if she were plying us with alcohol so she could kidnap us & lock us in that Scientology building up the street. Either that or they had a bunch of champagne that was just about to go south, because it was flowing like pee from a baby. Sweet bubbly pee. My mimosa constantly looked like it had been made at the Flame Club & Mike C. looked as if someone had spraypainted his face red. To top it off, this 13 year old girl was totally checking me out. If you're wondering how the food was, I'm pretty sure it was good. More importantly, the bloody mary was fantastic. Because, as we all know, champagne hangovers begin approximately 15 minutes after your final sip so a bloody mary is definitely in order for a little hair of the dog. In this case, the hair of a very classy, prize-winning poodle.
I think Becky gets back tomorrow so you won't have ol' Miller to kick around anymore...