Thursday, September 11, 2014

food (get it?) for thought

I am trying to get a block of Kings tickets for my work and you might be surprised how jank this process is. Maybe you wouldn't. It's kind of just talking to a guy and waiting for him to call you to let you know which games you can get tickets to. I submitted a 200 dollar deposit and am still waiting for the call. I just called and the guy remembers me and is trying to figure out if my survey on what games I want to go to was even submitted. It seemed like it was, but again, it was jank so who knows. All I'm trying to do is give them like 1000 for some crappy seats to a not-very-desirable game.

Jesus Christ, I think I always say this and am surprised anew by how good Magpie is. We were going to go to Waterboy but opted for the "cheaper" spot. HOWEVER, Magpie prices are THE SAME as Waterboy! I am shocked, but our 180 dollar bill last night for 4, in which we only drank maybe 6-7 glasses of cheap/beer wine, clued me in to think wait a minute here!

Here's the breakdown:
Waterboy- $4-14
Magpie- 5-14

1st Course
Magpie (does not have a first course per se but I am including salads and a pasta dish - 6.5 (for cup of soup) -17

Waterboy- 21-29 or AQ for daily fish dish
Magpie-15-30 (15 is for a roasted vegetable plate, the next lowest is 25 - so kind of actually higher)
Smiller had scallops for 28 at Magpie - they are 29 at Waterboy

I think desserts are about the same - both of them have outstanding desserts. I love the avocado chocolate mousse at Magpie and the seasonal crostada at Waterboy is always good, and right now is Delta pear, goat cheese ice cream, red wine caramel, and hazelnut praline. I would say the crostada wins out! It's always warm and melts the ice cream. My mouth is watering.

That is kind of crazy for such a casual atmosphere and quicker pace than Waterboy. I love settling in at Waterboy with the white tablecloth and the whole deal. The servers at Magpie are excellent usually, but the ambiance is kind of cramped and noisy, and ubercasual. This bums me out!


beckler said...

actually the Magpie prices are within spitting distance of Ella's as well. The exception is that some of the entrees at Ella go up to 40. But, pork chop at Magpie = 25 Ella=28 Half chicken Magpie = 29 Ella = 23

Magpie gives you pretty hefty sides w/your entrée, usually potatoes.

Again, this is with all love for magpie. That chicken for two dish is the bomb.

Anonymous said...

I went to Magpie alone recently to read my book, drink some beers and eat a snack. You know like a lady does. And the prices sort of ensured I won't do it again. I think its moved into the fancy meal range out of the impromptu dinner range. Still delicious but would think price if its not an occasion. And their choice to get rid of happy hour still bums me out so hard.


Anonymous said...

The casual restaurant market is growing in popularity and the fancy restaurant market is slowing down, so maybe the prices are reflecting that. I bet a lot of the "expensive casual" diners don't even realize that they're paying the same or more, but it might not matter if casual is more appealing than fancy. Maybe it's also a generational thing; you definitely see more oldsters at fancy places and youngsters at casual places even when the prices are the same.

beckler said...

I think maybe it crept up and I didn't quite notice. Basically I still love it but next time I spend that much I am going to do fine dining cuz I do that like once a year, and I really do like it. And then after I have a white table cloth evening next time I will go back to Magpie and try to not order extras. I always get excited and don't think about cost when ordering.

wburg said...

Not sure how they are going to set up the new Magpie location in the 16 Powerhouse building, but it will be a lot bigger, and may be a bit more white-tablecloth in approach if not in appearance. At the very least it won't be as cramped as the current location.

DJ Rick said...

It always pisses me off how expensive this level of dining is in Sacramento. You know me...I always gotta do the "But what if they tried to do this in Portland?" comparison. Depending on the neighborhood, I think Magpie would go outta business if they didn't lower their prices by at least 33% while maintaining the same quality. Hook and Ladder would get 1-star-Yelp'd into instant oblivion.

Anonymous said...

Rick, you have to keep in mind just how ridiculously high commercial rents/leases are in Sac. I bet Magpie could charge 33% less in Portland and make the same profit. I'm not saying this in defense of Sac but more as a criticism of the absurd real estate market here that prevents a lot of cool inexpensive stuff from ever happening.

Anonymous said...

Any documentation on comparative square foot costs, Portland to Sac?


Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for Rick Perry to post here about how all the cool restaurants are going to be from CA to TX. You can look at Heckasac in jail, right?


DJ Rick said...

I think I told the story here of eavesdropping in a vintage clothing store on the rapidly-gentrifying SE Division Street in Portland late last September when the landlord of the building walked in and had a tense and awkward discussion with the guy who rant the store. He said "Y'know...I've been looking around and hearing things about changes here, and... Well... The rent just simply has to go up!" I was like OH DAMN...This is too good. The landlord looked like he walked right outta the days when every old man in Portland looked like Elmer Fudd. Then he said the rent would be going up to $1100. This was for a store on a corner with two window frontages. Not the nicest place, but waaay better in terms of location and visibility than where Phono Select used to be before its rent went up to something like triple that amount.

I don't know what the comparables are on average, but I would expect in such walkable areas as SE Division near Pok Pok and Salt & Straw and other places with lines coming out the door and surrounded by expensive 2500 square foot craftsman bungalows and weird new condo developments above all the business frontages, it would be way more expensive than Sac. Certainly not $1100.

Caroline said...

Yeah that vintage store is no longer and the space has been empty for months. :(

DJ Rick said...

Well, that building including the mysterious ID Tavern (which should remain a mystery to all who never knew what it was (I mean...I feel gross just knowing what it was)) was definitely needing some major renovations to compete toe-to-toe even with the storefronts across the street. Of course, for $1100, it was light years ahead of the space where Midikat and that smoke shop on 21st Street near the Lucky Cafe for the same price or less, and that if that is exaggerating, it's only a little bit.

beckler said...

The cost of living is just so much higher here. I think Magpie does really well and I am really happy for the owners and I'm sure they treat their employees really well, since they seem to stay forever. They can charge whatever they want if the people keep coming. I just wish it was more affordable so I could go there more often.