Wednesday, July 26, 2006

California: Sacramento... The Freshmaker!

Before I left, one of my friends (let's call him Little Bear) was telling me about how much fun he had on a business trip to Sacramento. He was telling me what a cool city it was and I kept rolling my eyes and thinking, "whatever." After all, Sacramento is located in the notoriously lame Central Valley--good for agriculture, clearly, but for adventure? And, secondly, how often are state capitals any fun at all? With the exceptions of Boston, Austin, and Montpelier, is there any state capital that you would want to spend more than 5 hours visiting? I think not.

So here is my official apology to Little Bear: MEA MAXIMA CULPA. Sacramento is... COOL. (Sigh).

But not literally so. When I arrived, the temperature was 106. True, it's a dry heat--but then so is sitting in an oven.

And, I don't recommend driving there during rush hour. I think Ron Artest cut me off on the freeway. I honked and gave him the finger because hey--what's he gonna do? Hit me or something?

The most enjoyable part of Sacramento was dinner at the amazing Lucca restaurant. The food was exceptional and the prices were extremely reasonable.

Mi companero for dinner was a Guatemalan named Miguel who was painting the exterior of the hotel where I stayed. He was quite dark--clearly had Indian blood--and had that beer gut that can be so attractive on Latino men. I think he was 35, but our communication wasn't very efficient.

At Lucca, I had

  • Zucchini Chips: paper thin and lightly salted. These were EXTRAORDINARY--I am not normally a zucchini fan, but I could eat buckets of these every day.
  • Golden Chicken Risotto with fontina and field mushrooms, topped with crispy pancetta.
  • Sauteed Garlicky Spinach with grilled Meyer lemon.

Miguel had the Penne topped with roasted tomatoes, green olives, capers, chili flakes, and pangriata.

I wish we had saved room for desert, but, even without, this was the most exceptional meal of the drive. I will return to Sacramento again (and may even try to look up Miguel--I did enjoy him).

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