Southern Fried Chicken, for Real!

1ec1da78-181e-4896-839d-0c102e84e6eb
South: tradition reinvented at 2005 11th Street

I finally made it to South, a Sacramento restaurant specializing in southern home cooking. Three of us shared a bucket of chicken, a plate of fried green tomatoes, and biscuits. It was all delicious. Truly, truly delish. We finished the night by sharing a slice of sweet potato pie.

0e7dc52b-5aa9-4569-9d1c-9128d7b91661

They have indoor and outdoor seating. First though, you stand in line (and there is always a line, sometimes shorter, sometimes longer) and order/pay. They serve drinks with a full bar menu and have great unsweetened ice tea.

 

 

 

Sacramento Scandinavian Festival Easier Than Travel

img_7393.jpeg

It’s a fascinating aspect of American life that we celebrate our cultural heritage, whether it is Norwegian, Lithuanian, or Persian, in a variety of festivals. Food features prominently. It is also an easier way to experience another culture when you don’t have the time or money to travel. Sometimes it just whets your appetite to go!

The Scandinavian Festival, held on one day at the Scottish Rite Temple near Sacramento State University, features many booths with various Scandinavian themed goods. Then in the main ballroom they sell tickets to buy food and have seating to watch the flag ceremony or the fashion show. Many people are dressed in traditional dresses or Norwegian sweaters. All decedents of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, or Finland are welcome, in addition the Sami indigenous people are also recognized as their own nation although they live across Norway, Sweden, Finland and part of Russia.

Two of the people in our group discovered they were Scandinavian thanks to 23 and Me so they were discovering cultural traditions like the food, like the delicious flatbread lefse made with potatoes. I also discovered there is such a thing as Viking reenactment.  I sent a photo (see above) to my brother and found out that he reenacts being a Viking for his history classes at the Community College where he teaches. I learned something about my family too!

Finding Momo in Sacramento

IMG_6861I wondered: Is Momo going to appear with his person Andrew Knapp in Folsom or on Folsom Boulevard? Luckily there are only two Incredible Pets stores in the Sacramento Area with one being ON Folsom Boulevard. Who is Momo? Oh I can’t wait to share. He is a very clever Border Collie who hides very effectively in the most wonderful locations. His person snaps photos and creates books where you can “find” him. Think “Where’s Waldo” with an adorable black and white dog.

I am a fan. I preordered this book to add to my collection of three books plus a board book for children. My grandson and I enjoy finding Momo.

IMG_6863I was pretty excited to be one of the last people to see Momo and his person photographer/author Andrew Knapp at Incredible Pets. Andrew signed my book and posed with Momo for photos. It was a very satisfying encounter. If you want to find Momo yourself there are a few stops left on the Little Left Coast Book Tour.

February 12 at 7 pm at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA

February 16 at 2 pm at Hicklebees in San Jose, CA

February 19 at 7 pm at Healthy Spot in Canoga Park, CA

February 23 at 3 pm at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, CA

Find Momo at one of these events and follow @AndrewKnapp on Instagram.

Learning to Look, Afresh

IMG_6685Taking a walk with my 2 year old grandson always results in looking at the familiar landscapes with fresh eyes or seeing things I never noticed before. My neighborhood library is in an elegant home donated by Ella McClatchy. It is on the ironically named “Poverty Hill” surrounded by mansions. (And in a flood prone community it is a more desirable place to build.)

One morning my grandson and I explored the library upstairs and down before venturing into the neighborhood. Cal loves to run and I can stay apace through quick strides and distraction. “Look at this, Cal.” is one of my favorite tricks to give me time to catch up. This is how we discovered there are six lions living near the library.

IMG_6841
Can you find the “Mickey Mouse” on this snake? Sacramento Zoo 

“Part of normal human development is learning to notice less than we are able to. The world is awash in details of color, form, sound–but to function, we have to ignore some of it. The world still holds these details. Children sense the world at different granularity, attending to parts of the visual world we gloss over, to sounds we have dismissed as irrelevant. What is indiscernible to us is plain to them.” Alexandra Horowitz, On Looking (p. 26)

IMG_6472Travel can also refresh our ability to see. First, we notice so much more of everything wherever we go because it is unfamiliar. And then we see our own familiar home with fresh eyes and appreciation when we return.

9781683691068One of the other ways we can train ourselves to see more of the rich detail in our lives is through “Eye Spy” type games. Cal and I love Momo books. Momo the border collie hides and his person Andrew Knapp snaps a photo. There is a series of books for all ages and one children’s board book for hardier viewing.  The latest book is Finding Momo Across Europe and it is delightful!

Travel in Imagination with Capital Stage

IMG_6650

This afternoon my mother and I enjoyed the final performance at the Capital Stage in Sacramento, California. The cast members of Mary Bennett: Christmas at Pemberley were each so suited to their characters and the dialogue was lively and fun. We found the performance of Mary and Lord de Bourgh especially charming. A Christmas romance with the Jane Austen’s characters from Pride and Prejudice is a delightful play by Lauren Gunderson and Margo Melcon.

IMG_6651It is a small theater and there isn’t a bad view. I have not ever been to the Capital Stage together.

IMG_6647We ate lunch at the Drunken Noodle Midtown and then walked to the Capital Stage. We arrived early and enjoyed the outdoor courtyard. The toastie warm bathrooms are worth a special commendation.

Going to see a performance at the theater is a way to travel in space and time, such as England in 1815.  This particular venue is in Midtown at 2215 J Street, Sacramento 95816.

When Your Hometown Is Suddenly Discovered as a Destination

IMG_4150
Sacramento is the City of Trees even if some boosters are trying to make it the “Farm to Fork” capital. Tree lined streets make our city more livable in the height of 100+ degree summer days.

I’ve lived in Sacramento most of my life. For the first 25 years everyone was content with being the Capitol and a rapidly growing suburban county. As Sacramento-native Joan Didion called it, people had a more mid-western sensibility about their wealth and well-being. Our problems were either hidden or denied. The community was segregated with waves of white flight out of South Sacramento to the burgeoning suburbs.

Our claim to fame was that we were “close to everything.” It was a great place to stop if you were on your way to Tahoe, or Napa, or San Francisco or Yosemite. Sacramento is at the confluence of two great rivers–the Sacramento and American–and a gateway to the Delta, but it’s attraction for the longest time was it was at the confluence of two great highways–Interstate Highways 5 and 80.

IMG_5163
Sacramento has long enjoyed a vibrant artists community. Every year more murals are added in Midtown and Downtown. 

People in the community liked that it was a less expensive, quieter place to raise children. People would complain about “the traffic” that wouldn’t register on the Los Angeles traffic meter. We also don’t have to worry about earthquakes and our floods appear to be managed for now.

IMG_3728
Local artists Suzanne Adan and Michael Stevens created Kit & Kaboodle, an exhibit for kids at the Crocker Art Museum. The Crocker is very kid friendly, and has a great cafe for adults.

The developers who ran local politics began to beat the drum for putting Sacramento on the map and making it a world class city. In the mid-eighties they had a lot of new houses to sell in Natomas, so land speculators and builders began the dubious proposition of making Sacramento famous by bringing a professional sports team to town. The Kansas City Kings basketball team arrived in 1985 to great fanfare and a new stadium in Natomas. It did raise Sacramento’s profile but it also gave other cities opportunity to mock us for being a Cowtown.

IMG_5186
My neighbor created this on her fence and I love it!

Periodically ever since, someone–a mayor or other city booster–declares Sacramento a destination. Self-declaration doesn’t count. In the travel world you have to be anointed a destination by the Conde Nast magazines. Or the New York Times travel editor. Preferably both.

IMG_4409
Sunset Magazine and other publications don’t mention the cemetery, but the Old City Cemetery of Sacramento is beautiful and fascinating. Docents offer a wide range of tours.

At last, thanks in large part to the spotlight that Sacramento-native Greta Gerwig shone on our fair city, Sacramento is getting the attention that some would say is long overdue. The New York Times recently released “36 Hours in Sacramento“!  It is so weird to read about the places you eat or shop regularly as destinations. Lovely too.

Once in my first professional job after grad school, the National Geographic hired our little think tank at UC Davis to review an article they were doing on the Great Central Valley. We looked at their map and shook our heads. They had Gilroy on the west side of the Valley. There were other errors as well and they didn’t correct all of the mistakes we identified for them. It made me skeptically at National Geographic maps ever since.

I love the 36 Hours series, but now having read the writer’s suggestions that would have you crisscrossing all over Sactown, I am going to refer to the 36 Hour recommendations but take the schedules with a grain of salt.  Thanks for the shout outs for local favorite restaurants and shopping destinations. We have always had a vibrant arts community and now more people are taking notice.

Sacramento has also been in the news lately because of the police shooting of an unarmed black man. Stephon Clark’s death has tested our community and revealed some problems many would rather ignore. We also have a serious homelessness problem. It appears the city council and county supervisors may finally be ready to deal with the issue. Hopefully we will begin to reform the inequities so we can truly achieve “great” status.

 

Chalk It Up! in Sacramento

This weekend was the 28th annual Chalk It Up! at Fremont Park in Sacramento. Each Labor Day weekend, hundreds of artists invest a lot of chalk, sweat and creativity into a square on the sidewalk. Most of the mini murals have various sponsors. One artist drawing cartoon characters on the sidewalk also signed up for a double square for a dental group. He was going to draw Austin Powers with his goofy teeth before and after dental work.

People create art with a message or just for the beauty of it. There is also food, crafts and other vendors along the middle walkways. There are also many restaurants within a block of the park including Starbucks, Hot Italian, Magpie Cafe, and others. It can be a challenge to find parking, so consider riding one of the region’s red Jump bikes or walking to 15th and P from anywhere downtown.

2f2f48ee-85df-497d-96a3-9b0eaf24ff94

There is a kids zone for them to draw with chalk., plus a playground in the park.

IMG_5157

Chalk It Up promotes and supports Youth Arts by offering small grants to K-12 classrooms, and youth arts organizations throughout the Sacramento region. We do this in large part with our annual Chalk It Up! Festival which encourages artistic expression of all kinds through a three day celebration of chalk art, live music, and regional food and craft vendors.