What a long day. A 5:30am flight from Newark to Houston... layover...flight from Houston to Sacramento and VOILA! I'm in Sacramento by Noon. Somehow my favorite charm fell off between the disembarking of the last flight and the rental car terminal. I dashed back to file with the two lost and founds, but I doubt it'll ever show up. It's really pretty and artistic and someone has gotten a new treasure! Hoping they love it as much as I did!
I dashed back to the rental car counter and collected my car. (Thank you Avis rental car lady for allowing me to drop my luggage behind your counter while I raced back to the terminal on one of your shuttle buses!) Before I knew it I was zooming down town to my lodging and to meet Anna Marie for lunch before my afternoon at The Village Hat Shop.
A few words about The Sterling Hotel. Love it. Warm staff, huge rooms and giant tubs & beds. Irons in your room. Desk to work at and easy to connect to (although a little slow) Wi-Fi. They serve a nice continental breakfast and hopefully will have their restaurant back up-n-running soon (new owners or management for the restaurant I believe.) Upon arrival Anna Marie was waiting for me and we dashed to lunch. She'd gotten there a little early and scouted out a fun looking place called Ma Jong's. It's part of The Park Downtown group of restaurants and bars. A group of eateries and drinkeries in one building sharing a central bathroom. Modern decor (see the website.) Between all of the business in that building I think all of the decor trends we've had in NYC over the last few years are present albeit watered down slightly. They are all comfortable at a glance with an edgy "see me here" vibe.
Ma Jong's calls themselves an Asian Diner. It's far less dinery and more order at a counter and we'll bring you your food kind of joint. The decor was inviting, but the benches are rather uncomfortable as they slope forward and we spent a good portion of our energy trying to sit in a manor that was comfortable. The food... so disappointing. By FAR the WORST pot stickers either of us had ever eaten. Ever. Bar none. Flavorless. So sad. I ordered the Mandarin Beef Salad listed as crispy beef, romaine lettuce, vegetables, onions and a lime ginger dressing. Apparently crispy beef means batter-dipped and deep fried beef... which I wouldn't have ordered had I known. The beef was in there, but the batter coating over-powered the flavor. The dressing was tasty on the salad, but left me wanting something far better. My friend ordered the stir-fried rice bowl with brown rice. The rice was a bit over cooked and pasty and the chicken... again, some dry white meat chicken, likely frozen strips with no flavor. The vegetables were tasty though, I'll give them that.
It's wonderful that the company was grand as the food WASN'T!
This will be on the DON'T return list!
After saying farewell to Anna and thanking her for driving up to meet me, I headed over to the Village Hat Shop to select hats for the TV interview that would happen tomorrow morning across town. Viki and her team greeted me with smiles as always and we set about the selecting. Hats packed into the car and I had time for a short nap in an attempt to add to the 5 hours of sleep I'd gotten between 3 flights. Naps. Are. Good.
I was so happy that Toni and I were on the same "passing through Sacramento for the weekend" schedule and after my nap I popped over to meet her. She suggested we eat at the Thai Palace. Good call! Quite good and not too pricey! We enjoyed the Tom-Kha soup which the waiter spooned out from a big bowl with plenty for at least one more person (maybe two!) I enjoyed the Green Curry and my friend had her usual Praram with peanut sauce. The staff took great care of us. Our water was never empty and we were never left waiting too long between courses or for the bill. It's a local spot that will go on my list of places to visit again when I next visit Sacramento!
Bed time it is! Need to be at the TV studio by 7:30am tomorrow!
Friday, April 09, 2010