January 10, 2009

A Bad Tip is Worth a Thousand Four-Letter Words

For anyone working in the restaurant biz, you can totally relate to this article. For those who do not, take a peak at the, often, harsh realities of what people in this industry go through. This has to be one of the greatest rants I’ve ever read on this neglected issue.

Warning, please put the kids to bed before reading.

http://www.biteclub.com/bc/index.cfm/profiles/milholm/blog/pernicious-barflies/

January 7, 2009

Bring on the Happy!

Financial times are tough right now, but that shouldn’t stop you from going out and having a good time. Now you can get a couple of drinks and appetizers with your closest chums or work buddies without breaking your bank!

Our pals at Cowtown Eats have compiled a database of the best Happy Hours in Sacramento. And what’s even cooler is you can search a listing for each day! With the money you save on these specials, you’ll be able to buy a whole MESS of ShamWows®!!!

Get yourself to Cowtown Eats at http://www.cowtowneats.com/ to see a list of the best Happy Hours in Sacramento.

Cheers!

January 6, 2009

Don't Bug Me, I'm Eating

I thought not to write about this, but how can I not? It’s too good.

So Trish, my amazing girlfriend, and I are hanging out at home, both with the day off. This is a rare occasion, so to capitalize on this event, we decide to go on a couple of dates: a lunch date and a dinner date, followed by the flick, Quantum of Solace. In this story, I’ll only discuss lunch. Well, we decided we both wanted Chinese food. She knew of a great place on the corner of H and Alhambra called Shanghai Garden. So, of course, I’m game.

So we walk up to the building, and as I do with all restaurants in Sac, I take a personal second to search for the required posting for a passing score in their latest health inspection.

“Green…awesome…let’s eat,” I think as my concern is relieved.

We get our table, enjoy our tea, and place our orders. I can already taste the food. I was soooo hungry. She orders the Black Bean Chicken, and I get the Seseme Beef with steamed rice, and we share a bowl of Hot & Sour Soup.

So we’re sitting at this worn down looking table and finally get our soup. Believe me, we were both ready to dive into that sea of hot & sour soupy deliciousness. I take the first sip from those crazy boat-like looking spoons, and enjoy the warmth that the spice ingredients offer and the flavor of the sour. I’ve never liked hot and sour soup, but since Trish introduced it to me, I’ve been a fan. So we’re sitting there, enjoying ourselves, when I take another heaping scoop of what was supposed to be soup for TWO. I bring the mini boat-spoon to my lips and out of nowhere, through my super human peripheral vision, I spot an unknown object just about to high-five my upper lip. I bring the spoon to eye level in hopes that it was an ingredient that I was spotting.

“It must be a bamboo chute,” I thought, “Or maybe some ancient Chinese herb. Please let it be an herb.”

I looked closer, and as sure as the sky is blue, this unidentified object had big round eyes, six little black legs, and clear, dirty, disgusting wings. I retracted my head so fast from that spoon and immediately lost my appetite. Trish knew something was wrong by my expression, and I told her.

“There is a dead fly in my soup.”

There was a dead fly in my soup! Looking at me, laughing at me as though it got the last laugh in a string of practical jokes. If that fly were still alive I would have punched it in its dirty little fly face for ruining my meal. But it wasn’t. This fly was deceased, and it was marinating in the hot & sour herbs and spices that I was supposed to be enjoying.

And it gets better. I tell the server about this intruder of our meal, and he comes up with, “Ok, I’ll get you another soup.”

“Yeah, sure pal, sure chief! Just 86 the fly this time. That would be great. Thanks buddy.”

“WHAT?! ARE YOU SERIOUS?! WOULD YOU EAT THIS?! GET OUT OF MY FACE YOU SERVER OF FLIES!!!” I thought. But instead, I kept my cool, and said, “No thanks, but please take it off our bill.”

We still tipped the guy. I mean, it wasn’t his fault. But needless to say, I will never go back to this place again.

Can you imagine if I didn’t see that fly? I would have eaten it, like it was chicken, or tofu. It kind of makes you think, how many times have you consumed that extra protein in your food without knowing? Just a little something to think about, or not.

Bleh…

January 2, 2009

HOLY FRIJOL-Y!!!

Is it just me, or are there no really good, authentic Mexican restaurants in Sacramento? I’ve tried a few places but they all seem to be nothing short of an El Pollo Loco or a Chipotle. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Chipotle, but I shouldn’t feel like I’m on a quest for food my mom can make right at home. The problem is my mother lives nearly 200 miles away. (However, that still didn’t stop me from getting two dozen of her annual homemade Christmas tamales.)

But alas! The quest comes near a close. Could it be possible that I have found the needle in a haystack? The Holy Grail, NAY! The Holy Frijol-y of them all? Well, I can’t say it’s the place I’ve been searching for since moving to Sac, but it did strike a chord in my foodie heart. It’s a place called Carmelita’s Mexican Restaurant.

Keep your eyes open on the corner of Fair Oaks and Sunrise, because this place really is a hidden gem. As you walk through the double doors, you are welcomed with the Latin sounds of Celia Cruz and Tito Puente, salsa music’s biggest stars. The d├ęcor is reminiscent of a vacation hot spot in Cancun, Mexico. Metal artwork, tropical green plants and hanging ripe mangos take you off to a far way land.

Fresh corn tortilla chips, zesty chipotle salsa and fresh pico de gallo await you as you are seated at your table. I suggest trying Carmelita’s Top Shelf Margarita, served with Cazadores Tequila Anejo. It wasn’t impressive at first, but boy, don’t let it fool you.

I had the tacos with carne asada served with beans and rice, which were nowhere near the flavor of what a taco truck can offer, but were still very delicious. The menu was simple, reasonable, and for the most part, all looked very tasty. They even had flan! You don’t see that too often in bigger Mexican food restaurants.

The wait staff was nice and attentive and the bartender was generous. I would definitely suggest this place to anyone looking for good Mexican food, and will honestly eat there again. However, my quest will continue in finding the Holy Frijol-y in Sac.

Family owned since 1962, with two locations in the Sacramento area:

Carmelita’s Mexican Restaurant
4071 Howard St.
Fair Oaks, CA 95628
(916) 961-3327

Or

204 Riverside Ave.
Roseville, CA 95678
(916) 783-0411