I had a really good dinner at hook and ladder yesterday. I'm not sure if the food got better, but I think a big factor is that giving up the food critic hat means I can just be ok with ok food if it's because it's a neighborhood spot (or in the case of h and l a pleasant 30 minute walk from my house). The kale salad was more than ok, with a ton of parm and whole boquerones on top, and the pizza was damn good too. I'm guessing gas oven rather than wood-fired (I was chatting so didn't really examine it) but the burrata and fresh oregano topping is a really good combo.
I am not trying to stir anything up, but Bill Burg has been getting a lot of press for his assertion that what our central city needs is the return to the downtown dense population we used to have. To get back there we need what, like 30,000 people (I am having trouble finding the exact number that is being quoted). To put it succinctly: fuck that. I consider Bill a genius, but I would not want to live in that city. If it's sprawl or doubling the population of downtown/midtown I say sprawl, for yes, purely selfish reasons. I realize that.
Let's call a Sac a Sac and admit that there will be some awesome things brought in from growth downtown, but mostly lame lip service to smart growth and chains. Do you know how mad it makes me that BevMo is going in? (although I am less mad since they can't skirt the stupid single bottle law - hopefully they will push to end it. I assumed they would get a special exemption). Yeah, sure a cheap six pack here and there instead of the horrible selection at safeway, but will add nothing besides that.
Are there a lot of people who live in sprawl areas who would love to live downtown or close in older, connected to downtown suburbs but can't afford it and would like to live in new apartments instead? I'm sure some but really how many? My experiences with coworkers in Davis is that they either choose Natomas or Woodland for cheap big housing and never come downtown except sometimes to visit the Mermaid Bar or Pizza Rock. I know there are reasons that people make these choices for schools and things, but if it's a family that wants a house, those aren't going to be built anyway. Dense housing is not going to make old downtown houses any more affordable.
Many many things were different in Sacramento at the time of this dense population including mostly local businesses instead of chains and no mall (and no big arena where the mall stands now). Will Sac really ever get smart about public transportation? Probably not. The other day I was over by Richards and watched the empty light rail green line come and go but we still don't have light rail to the airport.
Some of these points have nothing to do with the others.