When I get the itch to immerse myself in the feeling of white guilt, I sometimes read motel reviews by my fellow caucasians for their freaked-out hyperbole about abject filth, presumed junkies, supposed hookers, tiny scratchy bath towels, "weird people", and fretting over communicability of STDs by merely sitting on a bed. There's plenty of that hysteria here in these 1-star reviews where some kernels of truth are conflated into keyed-up kerfluffles that cast more light on the sheltered lives of these reviewers who think this place is so revoltingly bad.
I booked the Alta Cienega on Booking.com ("Booking dot, alright whatever...I guess!") where it has only been reviewed by a few recent customers since joining as an affiliate. Its reviews there are skewed by Booking.com's rating metrics which favor a scungy dungeon in a great neighborhood over a spotlessly clean motel across the street from a busy airport but exceeding customer expectations with unusually luxuriant bath towels, sleep-number beds, and free continental breakfast with fresh-squeezed/not-from-concentrate orange juice and Greek yogurt. Thanks to the fantastically high rating customers have awarded the Alta Cienega for its location, its rating average reaches 5.7, putting it in the "good" range. With only 24 hours before our roadtrip departure time, it was the only motel within 4 miles of this location under $100 besides a couple budget chain places in the Valley. At $67 before fees, it seemed like a great bargain. The novelty value of the Jim Morrison room nudged me further toward clicking "BOOK IT NOW".
My feelings now are mixed about it. On the first of our 3 nights, I was a little bit dismayed at the crumbs on the laminate floor in Room 17, the totally stripped hot water knob in the bathroom sink, the poor pressure of the cold water in the sink, the precarious table lamp, and the useless 2nd TV remote which tuned in PBS on 4 different channels and nothing else. Our feet felt gross after walking a few paces on the floor, so we just threw the comforter down and used it like a carpet runner in the short hall to the bathroom.
On the following morning, I negotiated with the manager to get special attention to the crummy floor and the lack of a 2nd towel. I had to cross her language barrier to convey my request, and then she had to cross another language barrier to the huddled, harried cleaning lady, but the room was decently clean if not altogether spotless upon our return after dinner to change clothes and freshen up between a day of serious record collecting and a night of thrashing and hobnobbing at that night's garagepunk show. The manager also agreed to unlock the Morrison room which was filled with tribute graffiti from fans, but rather anticlimactic. I got a chuckle out of seeing some of Jim's least worthy poetry (not that any of his lyrics actually stand alone as anything approaching decent poetry (even if "dead rat" and "top hat" do indeed rhyme!)) transcribed so reverently in Sharpie ink.
Is it the worst place ever? Not by a long shot. If the Alta Cienega was on Union Avenue in Bakersfield, Motel Drive in Fresno, MacArthur Blvd in Oakland, or East Fremont Street in Vegas, it would likely be the best place to stay. Even in L.A., there are entire swaths comprising half a dozen zip codes where no motel is half as decent as this. Would I stay there again? Probably not. Would I rather stay at the Rodeway Inn in Rampart Village for $20 more? Probably yes. But that's just me.
Would it be conceivable that the Alta Cienega might even be recommendable under the right circumstances? Absolutely! If you value this particular location for the lowest possible price, this is it. It won't ace a white glove test even after you ask them to clean it better for you, but after they took care of the floors, it was definitely livable. It's kinda noisy with all the fast traffic on three sides of you, but after a short while, I was able to fall into a restful sleep as the traffic sounds began to swirl like ocean waves over the voice of Peter Thomas narrating back-to-back-to-back-etc.-etc. episodes of "Forensic Files" on CNNHN. I could hear no evidence of hot hooker action going on, nor could I see any evidence of long-term loafers, drifters, weirdos, or halfway-down-'n'-outters. All the cars in the parking lot were of recent vintages of Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW and wore license plates from states such as Oregon, Washington, Ohio, and New Jersey. The neighboring couple spoke in unmistakable Aussie accents. The clientele were mostly travelers.
The parking lot is a notably tight squeeze and costs $8 for the privilege of parking. No parking pass is awarded, but I guess they don't oversell the privilege because there was always exactly one space for our Subaru even when I arrived late after the show and a shame-inducing gutbomb post-midnight chili-burger binge at Tommy's.
Tonight was the grand opening event at the Witch Room, Sacramento's newest venue for a variety of music including touring bands and artists that might often skip the Valley for bookings in the Bay Area. This is happening in the location of Bows and Arrows which closed only a couple months ago.
Bows was a music venue sometimes, but it was also (and more so) a cafe, bar, art gallery, and vintage clothing store, which led to a lotta confusion. While the Bows bar and beautiful patio still live-on very much the same as before, Witch Room is purposely built out to be a music venue and event space. The stage is in the front of the old Bows store and faces the back, and now you enter through the side door.
There's no more awkwardness of standing in the middle of an art display or in front of people sitting in cafe tables while blocking their view or standing with your ass in front of their faces. There is no more feeling of "If I dance or even nod and tap my foot, will I be the only one?" It's like a real club. And with its atmospheric (not overbearing) stage lighting, black walls and ceiling, sumptuous red velvet drapery, and adequately professional sound system, it's much more like the way a club should be than anything I've ever seen in Sacramento.
The first night featured Wax Idols, an all-female band from the Bay Area that have brewed a hypestorm with their shift in sound from reverb-laden garagey artpunk to taut postpunk deeply in the vein of Siouxsie & the Banshees. Four local support bands played first, but I reckon that five-band bills will not be common, especially on weeknights, but someone said the booking of this show was sorta "double-booked". Regardless, the show ran according to a fairly tight schedule, and I made it back home in time to catch the last couple segments of the Colbert Show. If I'm not a spring chicken tomorrow at the office, it's only because I'm staying up late to write this review. Them witches crack the whip when it comes to stage management.
Between bands, the music is thankfully not too loud like at so many other clubs where you hafta go outside just to think, let alone speak to the person next to you. There are comfortable places to sit inside and, of course, the patio in back. Security carded professionally and kept the yard clear of loiterers, but in a very friendly manner. They don't harass you like those musclehead security guys at some venues. They are permitted to do 18+ shows with beer available to 21+ with ID. Beer ranges from budget-minded traditional domestic choices in the can they were born in to local micros on tap.
Tonight's show brought out a pretty diverse crowd that included some of the people you might see at the weekly goth clubnights, but also included your serious music afficionados, reasonably hygienic bikepunks, garden variety record collector nerds (both bearded and unbearded), fashion-clueless randoms that just happened to walk by and got curious, and enough normal-looking friends and co-workers of local bands that I felt totally welcome and relaxed in my camo cargo shorts and Brooks Cascadia trailrunners in the loudest green and gold combo. Ages ranged from 18 to almost pushing 50 (and maybe more). These normals were true normals, not hipsters of the so-called "norm-core" vanguard. Proto-norms! Sure, there were a few hipsters. Good people-watching. Good people-meeting. I actually met a few new people.
To keep the place booked regularly, I understand that there will be an attempt to keep the variety high so that a multitude of people with different tastes and members of different subcultural groups and social circles can find something to like there. That might also help curtail any cynicism about Bows and Arrows as some sorta dedicated "hipster zone".
It seems like you could fit 200 or more comfortably in there, but 100 or even 60 won't look like a ghosttown. I do believe that some of the bigger bookings for independent touring artists that play medium-sized venues in large cities like the Bottom of the Hill in SF, the Uptown in Oakland, Holocene in Portland, etc., may be viewable by Sac area fans at the Witch Room. That's a niche that Sacto has shied away from far too often since the closure of the Cattle Club nearly 20 years ago.
If I can say anything bad about it, it's the lines for it's two unisex bathrooms. Dudes aren't used to waiting in lines. Reach in your pocket and squeeze if it gets that dire, man. Just be sure to keep the seat clean for the ladies.
Here's hoping tonight's success will be the first of many for years to come.
I know there's a big ol' scandal going on where Foster Farms is telling Consumer Reports to talk to the hand about their salmonella scare, but I was feeling brave, and dammit....I was in the mood for some chicken!
Screen Door in Portland is still the fried chicken of my dreams, and Gus's in Memphis is still the quality-to-dollar-value king, but Tori's fried chicken is surely fantastic and the best in Sacramento. Crispy outside, well-seasoned, and super-juicy inside. It's only $7.50 with a side dish and a brilliant pancake-like piece of cornbread that is like a meal unto itself.
My girlfriend's cornbread is chillin' in the fridge right now. It's tomorrow's breakfast. And she's already scheming to try to replicate it herself. If she makes it half as moist and savory as Tori's, I'll be proud of her. This cornbread is likely the most ingenious cornbread I've ever enjoyed...bursting with equally balanced flavors of honey and butter, yet it's practical as a finger food. You'd think it would leave your hands sticky or slippery, but you'd be wrong!
Tori (at least I think it was Tori) beams with so much pride about the food she serves. She knew it was our first visit to her shack across the street from the Grant High School baseball diamond, so she invited us to enjoy free samples of her gumbo. She gave us about one or two ounces each in a little plastic ramekin. I didn't think such a small sample could overwhelm us like this. It tasted magnificent. The little ringlets of sausage had a sensational kick, and the texture was perfect. We will certainly be back to try it in earnest.
Like other soul kitchen magicians capable of such perfection, Tori doesn't rush it, so if you want it to be conveniently available, call in your order ahead of time. Otherwise, kick back and enjoy the music. When the weather's nice, the patio is plenty fine for dining, but I imagine most people will be taking it to-go.
This location (presumably begun as a burger, ice cream, or snack stand decades ago when West Del Paso Heights was about 2000% more Rockwellian) seems to have a curse. A number of eateries--including some very good ones (such as Maya's and Temptations by Us) and most recently a mediocre but cheaply priced taqueria--have operated here for a few months at a time, or maybe a year if they fought a really good fight. Here's to hoping Tori reverses the curse and prospers here!
Don't get caught in Portland hunting for a vacant motel room anymore...Book before you get there, or you might wind up staying somewhere sorta shady (if not driving out to the burbs)!!
Twenty years ago when I went to college near Portland, the idea of Portland as a tourist destination seemed laughable to many people. It was like a pit-stop for many travelers to the then-magnetic Seattle, and maybe some people afforded a few moments to wayside to the International Rose Test Garden or maybe the Grotto. And nobody really cared to stop in Portland to eat the food, much of which seemed to be trapped in an Eisenhower-era timewarp. My, how things have changed!
And then you have N. Interstate Avenue, the route of the old US Route 99W which was decommissioned decades ago when I-5 was built. Many motels along old bypassed federal routes fell down-market to become flophouses for junkies, hookers, and other victims of unfortunate choices or circumstance. Some of these motels have disappeared recently, and others such as the Portland Super Value Inn, have seen their fantastic steel and neon googie-era signage replaced by boring back-lit plastic panels. But with the Tri-Met MAX Yellow Line and redevelopment of adjacent areas bringing food, fashion, art, and music within walking distance of this strip, a few of these motels (and especially the Palms) have been able to kick out their semi-vagrant clientele and begin to fill up with travelers from all across the continent (as evidenced by the many Canadian plates I saw at the Palms last time). It's really quite remarkable.
However, the trajectory of Portland Super Value Inn from its rock bottom hasn't shot upward so quickly. On my recent visit a couple weeks ago, the tell-tale signs of drugs, prostitution, and long-term guests were still very evident. The Inn is now bookable on Priceline, so I suppose a few travelers get tricked into booking a room here due to the low rate (~$50-55), but mine was the only outta-state license plate not counting a few Washington plates encircled by frames from Vancouver or Longview used car lots specializing in "EZ credit". And I hate to scrutinize people based on their material possessions, but when you are in a motel parking lot, I think it is fair to take a pass if you see nothing but beaters. The only car built after 2000 in the lot was a decade-old Hyundai Sonata with dents in every panel and missing wheel covers. Well...I know this now because I stayed there for no other reason than it advertised a vacancy. My go-to choice, the Palms, was full.
Really, the room was pretty nice. It was spotlessly clean. The bed was comfortable. Even the furniture was fairly attractive. The mini-bathtub was kind of a trip, but it, too, was immaculate. The towels were bigger and fluffier than usual for a room at a mom'n'pop budget motel. The service was also very pleasant. The lobby features an awesome back-lit panel with photos from its heyday as Mel's Motor Inn, including the boomeranging neon signs in all their glory and the Mel's Upper Deck restaurant/lounge. The potential is there for this place to become a destination lodge a'la the Jupiter, but the Upper Deck sits shuttered on the 2nd floor opposite the mid-century office and breezeway, and the paint cracks and peels behind the first row of rooms.
I stayed in the back-row which according to Google reviews is quieter, but I still heard loud sex every couple of hours from the next door room, lots of deranged pacing upstairs by a guy who kept shuffling in and out of his room all night, and on my last night, a couple police cruisers showed up to arrest one of my neighbors. When I poked my head out to have a look, the woman next door (of loud bi-hourly sex infamy) asked me "Have you ever seen that guy before?" I replied no. "How long have you been here?" she countered. During check-in, I recalled that one of the owners was having a serious conversation about some landlord/tenant issues with a regular guest.
For a "lived-in" motel, it's not that bad. Google and TripAdvisor reviews exaggerate things badly. I'm sure you could do way worse on 82nd Ave. But yeah...I've learned my lesson and will never hesitate to book a decent room as early as possible, or just pay more, or even just stay near the airport.
If I could give this place any advice, I'd say re-open the Upper Deck and get a superb chef to make it a destination for food enthusiasts. If you can get a license to serve beer and liquor, even better. And just paint the place. Oh, and if the old Mel's signs are still around, reinstall them and light 'em up. Don't do monthly rates. Raise the price about ten bucks. Let word-of-mouth and Yelp praise get around...before long, the money will roll right in, and you can retire and just drop in to sign the paychecks.
As a semi-annual visitor to Memphis, Tennessee, former resident of Texas and Arkansas, and frequenter of different barbecue pits, I give 3-N-1 BBQ an enthusiastic stamp of approval and dare say it zooms to the top of the barbecue scene in Sacramento. If this place were in Memphis, it might not be the very best, but it would rate strong consideration for repeat visits and would compete valiantly on its own merits.
On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, you'll see the smoke billowing from their barrel-shaped grill in the parking lot in front of a small stripmall at the corner of Rio Linda Boulevard and Rivera Drive. You order inside the Rivera Mart, a clean and orderly convenience store. Skip the cash register by the door. Walk to the far back right corner of the store.
The menu is very simple. Platters combine two sides plus your choice of one, two, or three meats between ribs, chicken, brisket, and hot links. You can choose sauce on top or on the side. There's no tables for customers, so all orders will be packaged to-go in tri-compartment styrofoam. Side dishes include mac 'n' cheese, greens, potato salad, red beans and rice, cole slaw...maybe another I'm forgetting. I typically choose the chicken with sauce on the side and beans 'n' greens.
3-N-1's chicken is equally on par with the fantastic MoMo's Meat Market on Broadway in Tahoe Park, so it's second to none in Sacramento. However, I give 3-N-1 a slight edge because they apparently put a little more effort into their side dishes than MoMo's. The greens are more peppery, more composed, and not stewy like the greens you buy in a can at Grocery Outlet. The sides at 3-N-1 taste a bit more homemade than MoMo's.
A colorful banner announcing 3-N-1's existence hangs above the sign for Rivera Mart, and it advertises that they have lamb. They did do lamb at first, but it was not popular enough among the early clientele, so much of the lamb they bought went to waste, and they discontinued it. However, they said that if you wanted lamb for a large party and gave them some lead time, they could provide it for you. And there is a hope that they can bring it back if business starts rolling and there is an interest.
The young lady who always takes my order might have the most genuinely sweet demeanor you'll ever encounter in a customer service situation. Service is never quick, but HEY...it's barbecue..the very essence of barbecue is slooooowwww, so simmer down and take delight in the politeness and earnest effort.
Here's the Cliff's Notes version of my review...
After having scanned dozens of pages of Etsy search results and faced with a dearth of choices in our hometown of Sacramento for creative handcrafted wedding rings, I figured we'd have a look at Equinox during a visit to Portland. We were wowed by many of the designs, but we were even more impressed with Dian who helped put me at total ease. Although we had a lower budget in mind, we felt that the unmistakable quality of the craft and artistry and Dian's flexibility and willingness to cater to our special needs more than made up the difference, and now that we have our rings delivered via certified mail in time for our wedding next weekend, we are extremely satisfied in our decision to buy from Equinox, and we highly recommend them.
Now, for the full play-by-play...
I had never owned a piece of jewelry in my life, nor had I ever fancied myself wearing jewelry. But I did have more fun than I thought I would when I ransacked photos of nearly a thousand vintage rings to offer my fiancee for engagement. Still, I fretted about actually going inside a jeweler's store. I've only ever casually glanced into a Roger's or Zale's while walking at a suburban shopping mall, and that environment still screamed phoniness with the contrived opulence and sales staff in suits and evening gowns. The private comfort of Etsy shopping suited me for the engagement ring because I knew I wanted to see a ton of options, but I was fearful that I wouldn't have the tangible benefit of dealing with someone face-to-face and inspecting a ring closely. Although we were both satisfied with my Etsy-bought engagement ring, I did feel a bit crestfallen when one of the bevels supporting the diamond became bent, and it was also apparent after re-sizing it that the back of the ring would eventually disintegrate, more likely sooner than later. So, for a wedding ring, I became resigned to the fact that I'd need to go to a brick-and-mortar jeweler.
Discounting anything I read in Yelp reviews of various area jewelers, I researched Portland jewelers online at their own websites, carefully viewing examples of their designs and reading their marketing manifestos, most of which seemed more like boilerplate mumbo jumbo. Equinox stood out from the rest by far in this regard. It sounded much more genuine and approachable even while conveying a commitment to exacting standards and using recycled materials. And the storefront is basically a house.....what could be more approachable?
Upon entering and meeting Dian, we felt right at home. I admitted to her that I had never ever seen myself as a wearer of jewelry, and she greeted that as challenge to put me at ease and just try to find any design that I might find palatable. Soon I had already found a few favorites, and even if it felt weird trying 'em on, I knew I could learn to like wearing something that symbolized my love and commitment for my....er....wife. Wow, that seems weird to type. This still seems kinda unreal.
My fiancee wanted to join her engagement ring with a simple band, but Dian suggested it be fused in the middle of two smaller bands, and that choice seemed like the obvious winner. Dian took notes of our preferences, and we talked about the logistics of a purchase should we decide to make a decision to buy. She made it seem easy. She must've known we weren't ready for a salesperson's closing question, so she wished for us to enjoy a fun time in Portland and thanked us for visiting.
Throughout the remainder of our visit, we began to feel more and more comfortable with adjusting our budget upward to afford to buy from Equinox. Surely, I figured, in 30 years, we won't be saying to ourselves "Gee...I sure wish I had that extra $400 that we spent to have these really awesome rings." Having already seen how my choice of engagement rings under-delivered in terms of durability, I could only imagine the unexpected back-end costs of saving money on the front-end. So, we called Dian during lunch on our first day back at work in Sacramento. She recalled all of the details of our visit including the price quotes. We shipped my fiancee's engagement ring up the next day and made a credit card deposit.
Shortly afterward, Dian called us to explain that the price estimate would need to be adjusted upward about $100 because she would need to repair the partially collapsed bevel on the engagement ring. Recalling her pledge to be painstaking, I welcomed this news without blinking and really appreciated the call. A couple weeks later, we were emailed very well-detailed photos of our finished rings and an invoice for the balance. Extremely impressed, we authorized payment, and the rings were on their way via certified mail the same day. By the weekend, we received an impregnably packaged parcel containing our rings, and we know now for certain that we made the right choice.
We recommend Equinox without reservation. Thank you, Dian!
Located in one of the most disadvantaged and grocery-starved areas of Sacramento, Home Cash Market may appear to the casual driver-by to be generically janky and pride-deficient, but you'd be wrong. Even if the lettering on their hand-painted sign is crooked and badly spaced, they've got plenty of pride in their place and their power to make change in their community.
Home Cash partnered with Soil Born Farms, a local farm, to sell fresh produce as part of a "Convenience Store Makeover" pilot project led by Alchemist Community Development Corporation and the Healthy Eating Active Living Collaborative. They host occasional events in their backyard garden and right in front of the store to promote nutritional education.
I'm fortunate enough to shop at a variety of good supermarkets, but I do sometimes drop by the Home Cash Market to make bad beverage choices when I feel the need for XTREME amounts of caffeine, taurine, L-carnitine, and whatever else is supposed to make me alert and energetic. I do this gladly because they deserve all the support they can get!
Seriously...the seventh entrant to the PDX panucho sweepstakes? How pissed am I to live in a city with triple the population of persons of Mexican descent as Portland, but no one here has ever heard of a panucho? Yelp-search "Sacramento panucho"...zero results! Portland surely must boast the most panucherias per capita this side of Bolonchén, Campeche. How does your city support this many panuchos? Poquito pachucos, yet mucho panuchos?!?! Actually, does Portland really support so so many scrumptious sumptuous panuchos??? I wonder if this place will catch on and survive. I hope it does!
A panucho is a Yucatecan variant of a taco or tostada that is slathered with black beans broken down to the moment before they become soup and topped with meat, diced tomatoes, pickled red onions, avocado, and sometimes cheese. The tortilla's grilled so that it maybe toasted like a tostada, but most panuchos still fold up enough that you can tilt your head and eat 'em like tacos. Yucatecan food is generally much less fatty and greasy than other regional styles (or generic American impressions of such styles) of Mexican food. A cousin of the panucho is the salbute, which is basically a panucho minus the beans. Whereas fatty fried cuts of meat may be more flavorful than grilled lean cubes, Yucatecans bridge the flavor gap with marinades rich in tangy sour oranges and achiote.
I stumbled upon Taqueria Serralta after a hike up, down, and around Rocky Butte on a day that felt much hotter than the mild forecast. We figured that a walk down in a southerly direction would drop us more quickly onto a commercial street such as 82nd Avenue where we could find water, but in the early afternoon with short shadows, it was hard to tell which way we were going, and when I found a thoroughfare called "Fremont", I thought "Oh, hey...That's a pretty major street...It cuts almost all the way to the Willamette." It did seem strange that this street intersected all the others diagonally, but when I found the corner of Fremont Street and Fremont Drive, I felt kinda demoralized, dazed, and dehydrated. We were getting further and further from our car which we parked by the Grotto, and there was still no water in sight.
We dashed the plan to find a mini-mart on 82nd and turned east toward the volcano again, and soon, the taqueria and the neighboring Shopeteria appeared like a mirage...a veritable oasis in a desert of parched late-summer lawns gone brown, betraying the lush green image of Portland with vibrant commercial development every few blocks. The weathered wooden sign of the former Taqueria Mucho Amigo still stands by the curb, but a new banner proudly announces the arrival of Taqueria Hermanos Serralta (or just Serralta on the official-looking Facebook page and business card) in this otherwise downtrodden mini-stripmall since late spring. Sheesh...I can't believe I found a place in Portland that doesn't have dozens of Yelp reviews already!
I'm not so sure that it's worth crossing the entire metro area to eat the panuchos here, but they are plenty good, especially after a Rocky Butte hike that kicks your butt more than it should have. (Half a lifetime ago, I did Mt. Shasta as a day-hike, but now Rocky Butte kicks my ass?!?! Oh, the shame!) The panuchos at Angel Food & Fun are certainly a little bit better. But the rest of the menu here looks fascinating, and I always root for underdogs, so I think on my next visit, I'll come back to Serralta and try some of the more elaborate seafood platters.
I've had my chilango-dar set to sensitive for some time, and it was blippin' pretty furiously last time I drove down north Watt Avenue. El Chilango Taqueria has moved into the spot formerly occupied by Taqueria y Pasteleria San Marcos behind the UPS Store in the Arcade Square Shopping Center (which is anchored by a Grocery Outlet). Tortas Chilangas are their specialty, and pambazos and gorditas en estilo de D.F. are the other chilango delights that stick out on the menu.
On my first visit, my girlfriend and I split a torta called the "guapachoso", and we each had one taco al pastor. "Guapachoso" confounds the Google-translator, but I've learned that it relates to lithe and lively tropical rhythms. I'm not so sure what's so tropical about this torta, but when you split it in two, it's the right serving size if you wanna enjoy the full flavor combination of milanesa and pierna (pork leg) plus two types of gooey cheese and still be lithe and lively.
Typically, any torta combining milanesa with another meat makes for muy messy munching and mucho slippage along the x-axis between the meats, each lubricated in their own grease. But El Chilango's guapachoso was incredibly drama-free. It stayed completely composed despite its fulsome ingredients. Yet, its bolillo buns were not billowy pillows of bad carbs. They were really rather svelte, but certainly spongy enough to aid in keeping the torta structurally sound 'til the last bite. The milanesa itself was remarkable for its edibility, too. Often, milanesa can be a little tough and chewy and the main culprit for torta contents to become dislodged as your incisors try to tear through it, but El Chilango's milanesa was tender from edge to edge.
The tacos al pastor were good, though not truly exceptional. If you might like Chando's adobada better without the bits of pineapple, maybe these tacos would be a worthy alternative for the same price.
Although El Chilango is only a taqueria and not also a pasteleria, there is one sweet treat on the menu which looks eminently enticing....churros with ice cream. In the picture, it looked like a deluxe banana split with churros instead of bananas, plus a sauce of Mexican chocolate drizzled on top.
I've got this dessert plus those gorditas en estilo de D.F. on my list for next time. If that pans out, then certainly El Chilango is not only an excellent taqueria for this area, it might be worth a visit from halfway across the entire Sac Metro area from time to time!
Anthony's recollection is pretty spot-on except for confusing "Primo" with "Pinky".
Of the four watering holes to serve Oak Park as recently as the mid-2000s, Primo's Swiss Club was the only bar or nightclub in Oak Park's historic central business district along Broadway. The other three dotted the southeast edge of Oak Park along Stockton Blvd. Elgin's and the Elks' Lodge (which is not always open to the general public) are the only survivors since The Shanty closed its doors about four years ago.
I've long thought that Oak Park's CBD should have its own traditional watering hole again--a place where neighborhood folks can come together to enjoy companionship, relax, and celebrate--and I'd hoped that the Swiss Club could rise like a phoenix, but in May 2012, a plan was hatched by the owner of Naked Coffee and Orphan to gut the entire building (including the former hair salon next door) and revive it as Primo's Supper Club and the Ruby Room lounge with a planned opening date TBD in early 2013. One idea for the Ruby Room is to make it a piano lounge, while the restaurant features organic and seasonal cuisine. I can imagine that a love-child spawned by Red Rabbit and Shady Lady being a good thing, but this strikes me as the wrong habitat.
This sends me back to Primo's last blaze of glory when it was the scene of some of the wildest and craziest DIY punk and noise shows from about 2002-2005. Just when its business was hanging by a thread, some local DIY show organizers asked Primo, "What if we could bring about 40 or 50 people in here on a Tuesday night?" He had a "Sure, why not?" attitude. Any kinda paying customers would be welcome compared to streetfolk who were just coming in to be indoors.
Primo had some serious problems meeting the demands of a suddenly growing business. There were many times that he was entirely outta-stock of booze, and his staff consisted of two part-time volunteer bartenders. The more dedicated of the two was downright mean. To compare her manner and appearance to the busdriver on South Park is probably exaggerating, but not by much!
As organizers and promoters, we always preferred to book shows at Espresso Metro (R.I.P.) at K @ 11th because more people would show up, we could pay the bands better, and it was all-ages. But many touring bands that played Primo's raved about its post-apocalyptic vibe to their friends, and before long, their friends' bands were DEMANDING to play Primo's. Even the all-ages thing was no problem 'cos Primo's never carded. A regular 15-year-old show-goer started skipping school during the day to go get wasted. She didn't even look 15!
At the top of their hype, SF's Erase Errata played Primo's. I was concerned that they'd be persnickety primadonnas. Primo came in wasted, flicking the lights on and off while yelling "PRIMO'S LIGHT SHOW! PRIMO'S LIGHT SHOW!", and the drummer looked pissed: "What's that guy's problem?" I explained, "Ah, that's Primo...sorry! He gets kinda outta-hand." Then a smile came across her face: "WHOA...That is awesome!" That's how I learned Erase Errata were cool and totally down-to-party. They proceeded to rule that night!
Bits of fluff rained down from a hole in the ceiling during shows. Primo threw a tarp over the hole, but the hole kept getting bigger, and soon you could see it gaping over the tarp edges, so he threw up another tarp. I never much thought about that fluff 'til I saw the warning that was posted on the building during asbestos removal.
My fave Primo's memory was the night Dead Moon played, and I held the bass drum in place so that the wild crowd wouldn't knock the candle over. Surely, we woulda all been charred to a crisp.
I'll never forget the Thunderdome era of Primo's Swiss Club.
"Reindeer Games Spurner"
Sacramento, CA, Vereinigte StaatenYelper seit
September 2007Dinge, die ich mag
psych, weird punk, minimal wave, noise, DIY, house shows, food carts, roadside AmericanaHier bin ich häufig anzutreffen
some weird hole in the wall.Heimatort
Bridgeport, CAMein Blog oder meine Website Wenn ich nicht gerade yelpe, dann ...
Info. for public affairs, weirdpunk record collecting, freeform radio DJingWarum du meine Beiträge unbedingt lesen solltest
I patented my own Q.Q. quotient (quality and quantity).Meine zweitliebste Website Was ich zuletzt gelesen habe
City of QuartzMein erstes Konzerterlebnis
Savage Republic in someone's backyard in DavisMein Lieblingsfilm
After Hours, American HeartMeine Henkersmahlzeit
my mom's sopitaIch schwärme gerade für
1969 Toyota Corona