Thursday, November 01, 2018

The wonder of Old Sac

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Million dollar idea

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


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

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Japan musings

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Annual Heckasac Rant

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

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

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

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