Tuesday, November 29, 2005

stop the zelda bashing

I forgot about sacrag for the last week or so and I just got around to checking it again and I want the Zelda bashing to stop! OK, I get it, the pizza is not for everyone, but complaining about the waitresses and the ambiance? I know the waitresses have a rep for being gruff, but I don't find this to be true. They are normal. They are not obsequious, they are not perky, and they do not write their name in crayon on your tablecloth. Go to Macaroni Grill if you want that shit. They do their job. Yes, there is a quirk that the pizzas take a while to cook because of the style of crust. No big deal, either chill at the bar and drink small glasses of beer for like 75 cents or a pitcher for 4 bucks (!) OR call ahead and place your order. They will seat you within a couple of minutes of arrival and your pizza will be out shortly. And complaining about the ambiance? So a black sparkly ceiling and Christmas lights and funny signs are not enough for you? One person complained that the wall was dusty. Oh my God call Martha Stewart so she can decorate it in the French country house style that you desire.

101 comments:

Beth said...

I was one of the people who said I didn't go to Zelda's. The last time we went there, we called ahead, checked in when we got there, and waited an hour and forty-five minutes before we gave up and went somewhere else. Every time we asked how much longer we got told to be patient, even though others were getting seated. The time before that, they never brought our drinks and the pizza (which I usually love) was swimming in an inch of olive oil and was basically inedible. I don't mind crabby waitresses if they actually do a good job, but the servers at Zelda often do a terrible job. I think it is worse than it used to be -- I used to wonder what everyone was talking about when they complained about the service there.

cooldmz said...

"forgot"? daaaaang!!

i had to restrain myself but i agree about Zeldas. I haven't been there in a long time, but the ambiance was great and the pizza was worth waiting for.

Anonymous said...

I love Zelda's pizza and I also love that it is one of the last remaining eating establishments downtown with any originality. That is to say that it is not staffed by 20 something chippies with exposed mid-drifts in low rise pants and highlighted hair and there aren't any plasma screen tv's and fake industrial stainless steel everywhere. Amen.

-Connie

leon said...

I'm a lifer when it comes to Zeldas (been eating it since I was in 6th grade). When people hate on it, I take it personally.

I don't get Giovani's at all.

Maybe since the Loft vs. True Love rivalry is dead, we can start up a new one, but make it pizza related.

Yeah.

the head said...

Zelda's is what it is, crabby delicious pizza.

And to get crisp clean service theres no need to go all the way to the Macaroni Grill try and of the douche magnets of midtown, Dragonfly, zocalo,
or any of the thousand of other new places. most of which seem to be sushi. Bah, too much sushi. I like spending 20 dollars to not get full as much as the next guy, every once in a while at least, but please can some other kind of restaurant open up?

I heard that in order to open a new restaurant in Sac you mucst have a flat screen and an Ahi appitizer.

rambling and grumbling, its what I do.

Anonymous said...

I've yet to have a really mind-blowing pizza at Giovanni's but I also always cheap-out at the last minute & just get something simple. I feel it's overpriced. The pro-con Zelda's debate is totally personal!! People who hate it HATE it with a passion not usually reserved for restaurants & people who love it LOVE it because it fucking rules!!!!

miller

Beth said...

I want to love Zelda's. I did love Zelda's for many years. But the time with the oily awful pizza, we had brought friends there to introduce them to this awesome Sacramento tradition, and we had a dirty table and our beers never came. That is hard to forgive.

I love the pizza and the sparkly lights and the grunginess, as long as the grunginess does not extend to someone else's old pepperoni on my table, but I want my damn beer.

Beth said...

Also I don't get Giovanni's. I had some pizza with bacon and feta or some crap on it there, and the place was full of soccer kids, and I wished I'd gone to Roma II instead.

Anonymous said...

I love Roma too!

-Connie

DB said...

Both Zelda's and Giovanni's are overpriced crap.

Anonymous said...

Is Zelda's that much more expensive than other pizza places? I mean besides Pizza Guys. And of course Cafe Samz - home of the $5 large pepperoni.

miller

Anonymous said...

I can't understand how can anyone could hate Zelda's. Everything about it is fab: the pizza (although I think Zachary's in Oakland makes better pies), the black, glittered ceiling, the atmosphere... So, yeah, stop the Zelda's bashing! And the waitress bashing, too, while we're at it!!!

-Emily

beckler said...

yeah, how is zelda's expensive? i spend five dollars every time and am totally full. no leftovers, sure, but for five bucks? and like i pointed out the beer is laughably cheap.

Anonymous said...

I never got the Zachary's thing while I was at Berkeley. It's too sweet for one, I'm sure they put sugar in the sauce. Everytime someone thought they were doing something special they would get a Zachary pie. Lame. I would praise Zelda's while eating the crap Zachary's pie. Why didn't they go to Cheeseboard and get the World's Best Pizza? Fools!

G Bomb

Anonymous said...

Romas!!! I love it, that's my childhood pizza place. I'll never forget flirting with Mike Hermes over free refills of root beer and delicious sausage pizza.

Anyway, as someone who is not crazy about the actual pizza at Zelda's (I like my pizza thin and greasy), but someone who is very fond of Zelda's the establishment, I feel like the complaints against it are tedious. If there's peperoni on the table, wipe it off, if your beers don't come, ask for them, again. And complaining about service is one of my pet peeves (I can't write that phrase without remembering that the words 'pet peeve' are Gorman's pet peeve-so funny). Who cares if the service is bad? You're there to hang out with your friends, not the waitresses. But maybe I feel that way because I feel like I've never had truly bad service. And I eat out a lot. Never had bad service.

-michele

slop-dawg jr. said...

the wedge of iceberg rules. more dressing than you thought could fit in the bowl.

zelda's really needs a walkup window off the kitchen, where they could sell slices.

Anonymous said...

I love Zelda's and I like it when I get a surly waitress which hasn't happened to me for years. I eat there pretty often since it's close by.

I also like Fox & Goose where I've had water knocked over on my from the waitress twice and been served eggs benedict that must've been kept in the fridge because it was so damn cold.

Anonymous said...

Also for the record, Roma's is in College Greens, not Rancho (in reference to a post on sacrag). After College Greens comes Rosemount (shout out to Johnny C!) then Bradshaw (shout out to King Skate!), then Rancho.

-michele

beckler said...

oh my god last time i had the iceberg salad i felt queasy because i had consumed about a quart of the delicious blue cheese dressing. so much dressing!

can we talk about the toast at the f & g? not acceptable.

also, I'd like to assert my claim that the guiness marinated corned beef hash at subshack is now the best breakfast in sac.

Anonymous said...

Anby Rosemount I mean Rosemont

-m

Anonymous said...

And by 'Anby' I mean 'And by'.

Anonymous said...

I think Giovanni's is the best pizza I've had in Sac. Try something with ricotta. It may be overpriced, but I think it's worth it.

I also love Zelda's but refuse to think of it as pizza. I just consider it another wonderful way to combine bread like objects with cheese like objects, my two main food groups.

Miss B

Stephen Glass said...

Of all the Zelda's bashing I shall not at all abide by, the one up high on the list is any slander against the decor. I used to go in there in the mid-80s and we would joke, "my word it's like 1973." I went there a couple of years back and I think erhaps it had made its way up to 1979 or so. And I mean that in the best way possible.
I don't think anyone actually said "my word," I'm just paraphrasing.

DB said...

I meant "overpriced" not in relation to other pizzas, but in the sense that if you offered me a giant plate of vomit for 99 cents, I would call it overpriced, even if it is a good deal for vomit. I just hate Zelda's is all.

Anonymous said...

People need to understand that when a small restaurant is packed to the gills, it just takes a while for a waitress to get your drinks and the kitchen to make the food. I don't consider a place to have bad service when servers are running around like Chucky trying to take care of their tables. Zelda's is a small restaurant that does not have alot of seating and room for for a bunch waitresses and bussers. I don't go to Zelda's on a Friday night or the Fox and Goose on a Sunday morning because I know that it's going to take forever and the food won't be as good as it is on a weekday. I would go to Luigi's (which is the second best pizza in town)for dinner and Melange for breakfast instead.

BREW

Beth said...

Sorry. Everything east of Home Depot is Rancho Cordova. I don't care what the map says.

Anonymous said...

Tell it to the yuppies in "Gold River", which is the next neighborhood after Rancho.

Anonymous said...

Fuck that! I don't care what the map says either, College Greens is College Greens, Rancho is Rancho.

-michele

Anonymous said...

Pretty soon, it'll all be "Green Place". I for one can't wait.

miller

Anonymous said...

I wish Ampm had pizza. I bet it would be the best

dn

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is acceptable to excuse bad service. A lot of people in Sacramento don't make a whole lot of money, and going out to eat is a special treat for them. It is not too much to expect to have drinks refilled, and be treated with respect by people who are paid to be temporarily serving you. It sucks to go out for your big dinner/movie night and have a bad experience.

Anonymous said...

I wish Ampm had pizza. i bet it would be the best.

I've only been to zelda's once. I dont really remember the pizza because we had a party of like 6 and i got too beered up in the 3 hours while waiting for pizza and a table.

Dear connie- you better not be dissing on Willies in your anti-sheet metal plasma tv rant!

dn

Liv Moe said...

Since when did folks in Sac get so up tight? Zelda's rules because the waitresses are normal people who aren't gonna shine my ass for a tip and handle a huge volume customers on a regular basis with a fair amount of patience. Having been a server for about 5 years I can attest to how difficult that is to pull off and sometimes crap goes wrong and as a server you can't help it but in my experience at Zelda's surly service not negligent service is the norm.

Second the ambience is great! It reminds me of the restaurants and bars in Fargo. It's a little grimey and little dark, but is that gonna kill you or make you sick? NO

But if yall want spiffy pretentious eating establishments lord knows Sac is full of 'em these days.

This last thing is for Miller. You gotta get the meatball pizza at Giovannis it may change your mind.

Anonymous said...

I would say that straight bad service is pretty inexcusable -though expecting great service when a place is slammed is another thing. Now, gruff service doesn't bother me & I love the surly Zelda's waitresses - it wouldn't be Zelda's without it. But recently Becks & I went to Moxie & we were pretty psyched & had been looking forward to it but the service really did put a damper on the evening. We were a total afterthought to our server & I felt like since we weren't dropping a bunch of money that we weren't a priority at all. Then again, I've had great service there too so this isn't exactly a dis on Moxie - but I will think twice before I go there again.

And as far as Willies is concerned, I've never been to Willie's, I never will.

miller

Anonymous said...

Where do you get your fast food beignets, miller? Willie's is a lot closer than Louisiana.

G Bomb

Anonymous said...

Willie's beignets are nasty. But you gotta try the Willie's Chili fries.

Anonymous said...

I've got a friend named Willie...It's amazing how often that gets stuck in my head. Thanks Norman Greenbaumm and the Jay and Joel Show!

Brew

Anonymous said...

The thing about Willie's is that the Willie's guy is gonna recommend the Willie's chili fries.

miller

P.S. No Whiners

Anonymous said...

Dude, i've been to Willies with Miller! I also have an A-2 memory (A-1 is photographic) so I cant be wrong.
I think some day someone should eat a Large order of chili fries. I cant imagine how big it would be considering the medium is gigantic.

ninja

Anonymous said...

There's a man for that job & his name is Joel Goulet.

miller

Liv Moe said...

Bad service is inexcusable. I ate at Dragonfly on my birthday and it was the worst service I've ever had and I wont go back. I think there is a difference though between someone who is overtaxed and straight forward and forgets something and someone who just doesn't care.

I'm sure there was more than one morning when I missed a coffee or beer refill at the Goose.

the head said...

but wait, Miller, I have a friend at Willies

And he always recommends that same damm thing.

the head said...

damm I was way to slow
stupid people wanting their stupid books.

Anonymous said...

Stupid Willie's guy & his stupid chili fries.

miller

Anonymous said...

sliceny.com

Anonymous said...

I agree with Liv, about the difference between a waiter who is overtaxed and a waiter who just doesn't care...but I feel like the latter scenario is really rare. And having worked in restaurants, it always seems to be the case that the servers are overtaxed almost all of the time! So, as a customer, if I'm not being paid that much attention(which I actually prefer-provided I have my food and drink), I just assume it's because the server is slammed. And if not I just get their attention.

That being said, I can understand that if you can only afford to go out once in a great while, and when you do you get what you perceive as bad service, then that would really suck.

-michele

katymonster said...

Anonymous, i'm sorry for dropping water on you twice.
and for the cold eggs benedict.

katymonster said...

oh yea, what's wrong with Fn'G toast?

Anonymous said...

A homsi ordered a pizza... and waitress asked if she should cut it in 6 or 12 pieces?

A:"6, please, I could never eat 12 pieces."

has anyone heard ween's jingle for the new cheese stuffed crust pizza at pizza hut or someplace?

"i don't know where they put the fucking cheese," homsi!!!

Anonymous said...

Beth, I can physically DRIVE your ass to the sign on Folsom Blvd. that says "Rancho Cordova City Limit." It is so far from Home Depot it's like saying everything east of Sunrise Mall is Folsom! Or that East Sac is "Downtown" because it has numbered streets. The Sac city limit actually ends at Watt Ave. Which makes College Greens definitely Sac and Rosemont more Rancho than Sac but it's still Rosemont; never Rancho!

As for my childhood pizza place I have a soft spot for Round Table. This may sound crazy but when I come home from New York I always order Round Table. But Zeldas is still the only bomb pizza in Sac.

And as someone who has worked in many a service job, I tend to treat nice people extra nice and assholes like assholes. Same goes when I am being served and I have rarely received bad service.

Yo Michele! All this pizza talk is bringing back Mountain Mike's memories! I can't believe we worked there with all those fratboys!

JC

Anonymous said...

oh ya I wasn't the biggest fan of zelda's until mike and lisa order that brocoli(spinocoli?)pizza. It was fucking great!
Also its kind of fun to be rude to people when your taking their order,so it doesn't bother me.(but then what does?)
unbotheredhomsi

Anonymous said...

JC,
When you are home for Christmas, you should get a wombo combo from Round Table. I'm not ashamed to say I love it! (okay, I'm a little ashamed.)

Anna

Beth said...

Everything east of Sunrise Mall is NOT Folsom?

You are taking me too seriously, JC. You are free to believe that there is such a place as "College Greens," but in the big map of the Sacramento metro area that lives in my head, there are only five big colored blobs: "Downtown" (anything I can walk to), "Roseville" (anything that requires me to drive towards Reno), "Sal's Tacos" (anything that requires me to go over the bridge), "Elk Grove" (anything south of Broadway), and "Rancho Cordova," which we have already discussed. I was born at Mather and I've lived in the area all my life, but if you start talking about stuff like "College Greens" or that whole Arden-Arcade business, you will only confuse me and I will never be able to find my way to that really good Mexican restaurant on Fulton again.

Also, I don't want to give the impression that I am mean to waitresses. I go to Tres Hermanas about twice a week even though the lady there has dumped water in my lap not once but twice, and I am sure I have always tipped the surly Zelda's waitresses at least 20% even when I didn't get my beer, because they obviously are understaffed. I don't hate the servers at Zelda's or anything; I just get really stressed out by very crowded restaurants and I don't feel like the experience is worth the wait and aggravation. I'm glad Zelda's is around and if I thought they needed my business I'd probably go back, but they are obviously doing fine without me.

Anonymous said...

"It's all Del Paso Heights to me."

-Joan Didion

Anonymous said...

JC!! Mountain Mike's...I know I can't believe we worked there. What a freak show!!!! But, that's what COLLEGE GREENS is all about. When are you and Alicia coming home for Christmas?

Beth, maybe we are taking you too seriously, but people like me and JC who had to grow up "east of home depot" were acutely aware of the subtle differences between our neighborhoods, and especially the difference between our neighborhoods and Rancho.

And besides, maybe it works for you to have a big 5-blob area map in your head. But if you tell someone to go to Roma's in Rancho, they are going to pass College Greens, Rosemont, and Bradshaw until they get to Rancho where Romas isn't. So, specific place names can be useful.

-michele

Beth said...

Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't get that this was about anti-Rancho snobbery. I should have been more sensitive.

Stephen Glass said...

Connie, was that you coming out with the obscure Joan Didion reference?
If not, then that makes three people who've actually read "Run River" AND find that line hilarious.

Anonymous said...

No, it's not about snobbery, although I am glad I didn't grow up in Rancho for various reasons, the biggest reason being how far away it was from downtown.

Growing up in College Greens totally sucked, but there were a few things that we were proud of:1) Roma's, 2)The Spot, 3)how close it was to downtown. So, that's why I'm sensitve about you saying that Roma's is in Rancho. Also it's just kind of weird to have someone deny the existence of the neighborhood you grew up in. I don't know anything about the Mather area, but if you told me stuff about it, I'd defer to you rather than insist that because I didn't know, it must not be so.

But, this line of conversation has dragged on for way too long. I'm probably being too defensive, as I'm known to be about things I hold dear. And for some reason, College Greens is one of those things.

-Michele

Anonymous said...

Zelda's rules taste wise, bitches.... ;)

Liv Moe said...

The flip side.

This asswipe and his "girl" came into work last night, ordered $35 in food and drinks and stiffed me! Now mind you I have been stiffed 3 times in my entire serving career.

I refilled this asshole's Sierra Mist 4 times in a 35 minute meal, all of his food came out in a timely fashion and I provided extra sides of ranch for him to dip his crust in. Though I should of known I was in for it when he asked right when he sat down if soda refills were free and if he could have as many pizza toppings as he wanted. Yeah, dipshit make the ultimate pizza it'll cost as much as a small cheese. What do you think?

I tell yeah, jerko customers can be just as deflating as receiving poor service. I can't tell you the number of times I've bent over backwards for %10, and don't even get me started about state workers. I wish I could run screaming in the other direction everytime I spot a lanyard walking in the door.

Anonymous said...

Getting stiffed is the worst and it's really hard not to take it personally. I've had tables write me notes about what they thought I was doing wrong and I've had a drunk order, "Woman, bring me a beer." When I waitressed, I often found that I would get better tips and more respect if I was stand offish to my tables. When I was nice, I always got irritated looks and a ten percent tip. A lot of people out there just can never be satisfied with anything.

Brew

Stephen Glass said...

Yeah, can we switch the topic to just where exactly Arden-Arcade ends and Carmichael begins? I'm starting to think that I'm not quite sure just which one I grew up in.
Kidding. That's like the most boring topic ever proposed by anyone, ever.

amy said...

one time, i got stiffed by this man whom i'll call "wolfgang", because he was totally dour with a thick german accent, and he actually wrote a note on the back of the credit card slip about how i could have been nicer and more attentive. i think wolfgang had wanted me to toast the pita bread for him, when our restaurant did not even have a toaster. i told him the options were microwave or nothing, and i think it was during the lunch rush (ie 10 other tables, all have 15 minutes for lunch, wolfgang!!!), so i probably didn't put a lot of love into this explanation. anyway, when the manager saw his note, he totally blamed me and i had to be extra perky for like the next week. it sucked! i have spilled water AND red wine on people (and once saw a coworker actually spil a plate of baba ganoush on someone's lap) and i found that that doesn't necessarily hurt your tip... some people surprise you by having an excellent sense of humor, even in snobby pacific heights. what was my point? i dunno, i lost it. fuck wolfgang, and anyone in this world who would stiff a server!

as for Run River, make that four. anyone who has grown up in sac and not read 'notes of a native daughter'... i keep trying to get ella to read it but she insists on "saving it for later." hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Amy,

Is 'Notes of Native Daughter' a novel or an essay?

-michele

Anonymous said...

It's true, I won't read Joan's books. I purposely didn't read even one word that she wrote until I moved out of Sac. Then last year I read part of some book of essays called "where I'm from". I thought it was good. I thought the funniest part was how when she was driving her mom around the south bay, how her mom shook her head in disbelief and said "It's all San Jose now". I'm not into reading Joan because I don't ever want anybody to tell me that I copied her when I write. If I never read anything else she has to say, then I'm safe. When I'm old, I can read it all. Unlike ol' traitor-ass, Fancy, New York-New York, Severe-Bob-Wearing-Joan, I hope to be living in Sac, representing when I'm old. That lady will never come back to Sac. She might as well shut up about having lived there. I know, she's wonderful, I know, but Joan! If Sac's so great, why aren't you there? You sure do collect a paycheck off it!

Ella

Anonymous said...

Dear Joan,

Why not at least keep a summer house in Sac? If your long absense from our lovely hot summer weather has weakened your ability to withstand it, how about a Fall house, or a Spring house? If you do not spend at least 30 days a year within the boundries of Northern California, I must repectfully ask you to cease and desist your incessant writing about it. I understand that your daughter lives here. I understand that you are a member of a pioneer Sacramento agricultural family and surpassingly more cultured and thin and educated than we are, but come on Joan. Can't we be friends?

-love, your subject matter

Anonymous said...

No really famous people still live in Sac. Except for John McCrea. And even he has an apartment in Oakland and in New York. I think Joan bailed quite a while ago. To be fair, she probably got the most accolades for "Play It As It Lays," which is set in SoCal.

Brew

Anonymous said...

I can understand her not wanting to come back. I think it would break her heart to see it now. It's not quite the same, but having to watch my just-so hometown of Merced turn into a sprawling little Fresno kills me daily. And Sac has changed a lot more than that since she left.

-Connie

Anonymous said...

I tipped the waitresses who spilled water on me heavily. I almost always way overtip -- family of waitresses. I mean, "artists".

I only tipped 10% for the cold eggs benedict because it was whatshisname. The owner guy. Screw him. He doesn't count as wait staff since he owns the place. I should've bitched to him about the ice cold eggs only I've never sent anything back and it'd still make me feel guilty.

Speaking of famous writers from Sac, don't forget the half living in Sac half living in Thailand guy uh... William Vollman. Huy's friend with a drug problem. I don't think he's from here though. And the guy that wrote Jarhead.

Anonymous said...

But how can she make peace with it, or see that although it's changed that it is the same place and will always be the same place in bits and pieces anyway, if she never comes back?

And Connie, although change is not necessarily good, would you rather just never lay eyes on Merced again rather than see it change? I don't think so. I think when you love someplace, you love it. Sure it hurts to see Newberts hardware turn into the fucking Beat, but it could have been worse I supose. Sure it hurts to have acres of yuppie "loft" apartments, settle like a blight upon downtown. BUT what I'm saying is, Joan doesn't even know what it's like to be a Sacramentan anymore. And I think that she should. She should at least be a NorCalifornian, for crying out loud! Evidently she does not see eye to eye with my grand plan for her life, which is ok too.

Ella

Anonymous said...

whoa! Smiller, was that you that posted about William Vollman? If not, who? I'm very curious about him because he is one of my customers and I just found out that he is a big deal, just one the National Book Award, along with Joan Didion!

Anna

Anonymous said...

I think Vollman lives on 8th Avenue and Freeport. I grew up on 7th. I've read Butterfly Stories, which I liked, but found very depressing. What's he like as a Taylor's customer, Anna? He doesn't seem like the cheery type.

Brew

Christian said...

Anna:

In my opinion, Vollman will be remember as one of the most important writers of this era. I'm not kidding. His work has sense of freedom (in terms of theme, subject, genre, and style) that appears only in the very best writing--American or otherwise. I always keep my eyes peeled for him in Sac but have not yet run across him. What would I say if I did?

Christian

Anonymous said...

Vollman is quite nice. He is always traveling, I think he was recently in Russia and maybe Afghanistan. He also enjoys very fine spirits. When he told my he was a writer, I didn't believe him, because he didn't strike me as a writer. I feel stupid now.
Christian, What would be a good book to start with? The book he won the award for is called Europe Central.

Anna

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed The Atlas.

-emily

Beth said...

Vollman's books are difficult but I liked The Royal Family. I also liked his short stories although I can't remember the name of the collection I read. I think he kicks Didion's ass.

Anonymous said...

I posted the Vollman thing. I like posting anonymously on here damn it. The Atlas ain't my favorite.

How do you drink beer with a dead guy? He won't laugh at my jokes anymore.

Liv Moe said...

"Your subject matter" might want to revise the content of their letter to reflect the fact that Joan's daughter passed away last year

Just sayin.'

Anonymous said...

It's a Didion. Aren't they all dead but Joan?

Anonymous said...

I thought it was her husband who passed away. I think her daughter had some medical condition, but is ok. Isn't her new book "The Year of Magical Thinking" (I think that's what it's called)about that?

Brew

Stephen Glass said...

Yeah, Joanie -- the Sacramento you knew and loathed, of the Sutter Club and provinical, narrow-minded types like my grandmother, is pretty much all gone (and yep, you did get to mine it for good literary fodder). Not like the one that's replcaed it is by any means idyllic. And she's found all kinds of aspects of California, north and south, to put under the scope in her pages. In any case, it might make her long for the Sacto of her youth, oddly enough. But I doubt she's been back to visit in decades.
And as for Merced, Connie, all the soul of places up and down the valley and the foothills are vanishing. But you and me and Robert Mitchum will always have Bridgeport.

Anonymous said...

And Waterford. They'll suck your dick in Waterford.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Didion clan still resides in Sac, so I'm sure she pops in for a visit. I met her cousin - who looks just like her, but wearing brighter colors - at a political fundraiser in Curtis Park.

I don't know, Sac has changed a lot for sure. There's way more money and all that. But I still get stuck waiting for a train every other day trying to get to midtown. I love that.

Brew

Liv Moe said...

Her daughter developed septicemia after falling and hitting her head in an airport in Southern California on her way back from her father's funeral. Because her system was already vulnerable from a recent bout of pneumonia the infection killed her about three months after her dad died. There was a piece about it on NPR recently that was pretty heartbreaking.

Stephen Glass said...

Yeah, I don't picture Joan has a bright-colored type (her author's photo on the back of the "Run River" edition I have is priceless). She's the same age as my mom, although she went to McClatchy, not Sac High. Ma said she seemed "quiet, but very, very smart," which I imagine seems right on th' money. I didn't know she still had relatives in Sac but that sure makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Is it the picture of her with the cigarette or her wearing the big seventies glasses? I think she looks great in both. She definitely kicks Vollman's ass in the style department.

Brew

Anonymous said...

My computer at work has some kind of pop-up virus that crashes internet explorer, so I got to read this chain one comment at a time, from pizza to paperbacks! I don't have a strong opinion about Vollman or Didion (or pizza). I've actually only read one book a piece: Vollman's The Atlas and Didion's The White Album. But no, really.. thank you, everyone, for entertaining me at work today. This discussion sure beats filing.

ez

amy said...

hey michele
"notes" is an essay, compliled in slouching towards bethlehem. i always thought her essays were better than her fiction (the white album is also very good), and her early work better than the more recent things i have read. i was also unaware that she continues to write about sacramento...

-amy

Stephen Glass said...

It's Joan with a cigarette, clad in black and looking dour (and 24) with some shadow on her face; wonderful photo. It's a first printing from a publishing house called Obolensky, which I have most certainly never heard of in my life.
Yes, the evolution of this chat from Zelda's crust to Didion and Vollman has been quite worth the ride...

Liv Moe said...

I wanna take it back to Zelda's for minute and say that I love the horse racing painting inside and feel that it is one of my favorite pieces of art in Sacramento. Dark walls, a long narrow claustrophobic space, and then WHAM all these horses are racing right toward you while you're eating dinner! Crazy! Non sequitor at this point I know but it was on my mind.

I also agree with Amy that Didion's essays are the best.

Is everyone noticing my top notch spelling BTW?

Anonymous said...

I think the most depressing thing about places like Sacramento and Merced changing is the amount of ag land being gobbled up at an alarming rate by oversized beige housing tracts. I read an interview with Joan Didion recently and she hasn't been back to Sac since she was in college at Berkeley, or just after. Can you imagine how different it looks now? Not just that a hardware store turned into a record store. And no, if I didn't have to come back to Merced I probably wouldn't want to see it stretch out to my parents house in the country north of town like it will be in a couple of years. But, in reality, ol' Joan probably just has no interest in a place she only spent like 2% of her life. Bridgeport here I come.

-Connie

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is the best work diversion ever! Back to bad service, the only time I've ever stiffed someone was at the new Celestin's. We sat down, our server came to the table, took our drink order and the ONLY time he came back was mid-meal when he was half-assed apologized for forgetting about us. And after that he still didn't come back with our check or to see if we needed anything else! A guy who was basically the host took our order, brought us our food and finally our drinks that we had ordered half an hour ago. It pretty much became the night's entertainment. Between the host who was completely annoyed with the fact that he had to keep apologizing for the server, and the server who spent most of his time at the back of the restaurant joking around with the kitchen & bar staff - it at least elevated bad service to what basically seemed like a comedy sketch. It was Thursday night so it was semi-busy but this dude wasn't sweating anything. He just seemed like a stoney bro who was soaking it all in and whaoh, did I forget to take your order bros? Sorry! Now I feel bad that we left him a note since the servers on here think that's lame - and I guess it is - but I still felt bad for not tipping him so I felt we should at least explain it. It wasn't, like, a lecture note, it just basically pointed out that he didn't wait on us so we didn't tip him. I think it started out, "hey you seem like a really nice guy but...". I was eating there with Jason D who was the food reviewer at SNR at the time - man, imagine the hilarious review that would've come out of that meal had he been working! Speaking of Celestin's, does anyone here like that place? I've been twice & I feel it's lost 100% of what was good about it when it was on J.

Really great job on the comments everyone!

miller

beckler said...

Shirley you remember the chicken-skin incident that I blogged about last time I ate at Celestins. If you read my blog more carefully, you would recall that it resulted in a later call to complain about the vast quantity of pimply undercooked skin that had been an uninvited guest in my gumbo. I could have resurfaced my ass with it and had some left over to snack on later. Do you like it when I call you shirley? See I like writing that joke because it only works when you SAY it because of the different spelling. Is it getting funny now?

Stephen Glass said...

Anyone feel like forwarding these comments on to the Upper West Side so Joan Didion can pointedly confrim or deny her revisiting/not revisiting of Sacramento?
I wish, Connie, I felt as passionately about the fate of my homewtown as you. Seriously. Instead, I did the innoble thing and fled into the boondocks. But as I said, that mute kid's waitin' in Bridgeport at the filling station any time now so I propose you and the Iti meet me there. There'll be less hippies.

alice said...

miller,

celestine's owner is a complete nut job. i worked at the j street location for about three months many years ago. after every shift he would pull me into his back office and critique the minutest detail of my performance--like if i took the cups off the table before the silverware or which direction i brushed the crumbs on the floor AFTER the restaurant was closed down. he also had a 'you can't ever call in sick' policy which was totally effed. this one girl was in the emergency room due to a high fever and then had to come in the next day despite the fact that she was laying on ice bags and getting an IV like 18 hours prior. on one of my last days i made a snotty remark to him because i felt like he was such a manipulative prick. we had just finished up a long, meandering discussion about something useless and then he started to ask me if as a child i had a hard time asking for help (his wife was a shrink). he was trying to relate that to how i wasn't delegating responsibility when things got busy at the restaurant. it was so inappropriate and offensive that on my way out the door i said "thanks for the counseling session, i hope it was as healing for you as it was for me." i'm surprised he didn't fire me for saying that.

Anonymous said...

oh my god! i worked at celestins too and i will agree that patrick celestin is a total nut job and phoebe celestin thinks/wishes she was black! once i had to hose down the back patio at the old J street location and Patrick gave me a lecture on the "proper way to detangle a hose" and another time he told me i was mopping the floor wrong and showed me how to do it right; walking backwards, mopping in a figure-8 motion. and phoebe's horrible watercolor paintings of tribal african women with pepsi bottles made me sick!

JC

Anonymous said...

wow. i forgot about that figure 8 while walking backwards thing! oh, phoebe once told me that i couldn't wear a white tank top while closing down despite the fact that it was summer and the inside of the restaurant was a furnace. she prohibited the kitchen staff from wearing sleeveless shirts so i couldn't wear them either. but the way she said it was totally creepy. it was like she was morally offended that my shoulders were showing. i think she even used the word "suggestive" when telling me off. i felt like i was being lectured by a Baptist minister or something. so glad i don't work there any more.

alice

Anonymous said...

These Celestins stories crack me up! I worked there for one night and quit because they gave me three thick ass training binders to study from just for a fucking bussing position.

Brew

alice said...

yeah. i worked my ass off there as a busser for those three months. patrick told me that on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, my performance was a 7. Which he considered a compliment. The dude who got a 10 was a co-worker of mine that was clearly insane. He was so juiced up on caffeine every shift that he was sweating profusely and talking to himself!

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that was caffeine? When I was a busser at Mum's we used to snort speed in the bathroom. Those were some good times. I was able to vacuum the place up real quick at closing.

Brew

Keith Lowell Jensen said...

I got my nose broke after eating at Zelda's. Still not sure if the seemingly random face punching and the dining at Zelda's are related. The puncher came at me from the direction of the restaraunt where I'd just dined with two gay southerners who got snotty with the waitress.
I still eat there, and if it leaves me at risk for another bump on my nose it's well worth it. Love the Zelda's.