California, Here We Come!

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phlmaestro
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Fri, 08/9/13 10:17 PM
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Great report, as always!
I am bound to refer back to it if we ever visit my wife's friend in Berkeley. She was in San Francisco the last time we were out there and we didn't get to Berkeley. But our first stop after arriving at the Oakland Airport was Fenton's. In fact, I remember them having a small ice cream stand in the airport, not too far from the gate that we flew out of.
<message edited by phlmaestro on Fri, 08/9/13 10:18 PM>

tcrouzer
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Sat, 08/10/13 8:30 AM
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Great trip report! If I ever start a restaurant myself, it would be very much like Bette's. And if I ever get to San Francisco, I vow to get me some cioppino!

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Sat, 08/10/13 9:49 AM
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Monday April 22nd, 2013
 
The Bay Area is famous for their traffic and saw enough of that over the weekend.  We had no desire to get caught up in the rush hour version.  We pulled out of the hotel at 4:30AM and still ran into more traffic on a Monday morning than you would ever see at home.  Still, we got out of the area no problem, heading east towards Yosemite National Park.
 
We kept our eyes peeled for a breakfast stop, eventually finding Waffle Factory 

in a strip mall in Escalon.  As far as I know, this is a mom & pop restaurant and not part of a chain, though someone out there might know otherwise.  The inside

wasn't particularly interesting, though did like that one table had a running crew of locals who would sit down and chat over morning coffee.
 
We both kept our choices simple.  Johnny went for the Waffle Factory Combo

with four slices of bacon, two eggs over medium and a waffle.  When asking Johnny how he liked his bacon, she asked, "limp, medium or crispy".  Crispy, of course!  The waffles do appear to be homemade and are thinner than those usual bloated Belgians.  He would have liked it if the syrup was warm, but was still happy with his meal.  My order was the blueberry waffle,

which was the compote than fresh blueberries, but that is to be expected.  On the side, four run of the mill sausage links.  We shared so that each one of got two strips of bacon and two sausage links.
 
Waffle Factory was nothing special, but still just what we needed on this morning.
 
Waffle Factory
2253 Jackson Avenue
Escalon, CA
209-838-8888
 
As we continued on the drive, getting closer to Yosemite, the view just got prettier and prettier!



 
Much more to come.....       
<message edited by buffetbuster on Sat, 08/10/13 9:52 AM>

Ralph Melton
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Sat, 08/10/13 10:37 AM
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Those are some great pictures of the scenery.

CajunKing
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Sat, 08/10/13 3:07 PM
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I think every small mom and pop breakfast place has a table of locals that meet and eat there daily.  I think it is restaurant law!

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Sun, 08/11/13 10:20 AM
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CK-
In my memory, I think they were local farmers, but since it wasn't in the notes I wrote as I went, no way to be sure.
 
Speaking of notes, since the trip was months ago, I have to rely on the notes more than usual.  But it is hardly foolproof.  From the previously mentioned Sprenger's, I had written down "DT Time for Johnny".  For the life of me, I can't figure out what that means.

JRPfeff
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Sun, 08/11/13 10:32 AM
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buffetbuster,
 
This may be a solution to your difficulty in remembering details of your meals. 

You could use this portable video camera to record every bite of your Roadfood experience, then go back later for reference. You might even be able to set it up for live-streaming of your roadtrips (paid subscribers only).  Available for iPhone and Android at Amazon.
 
jrp
<message edited by JRPfeff on Sun, 08/11/13 10:35 AM>

1bbqboy
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Sun, 08/11/13 11:22 AM
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If you were in the central valley, they were farmers. 
Rich farmers, but farmers.

CajunKing
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Sun, 08/11/13 12:57 PM
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Cliff,
 
I have often thought about using my mini recorder for note taking, it fits in my pocket and people are already staring so that is not a big thing. 

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Sun, 08/11/13 3:21 PM
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Interesting suggestion JRPfeff, but the camera makes me conspicuous enough.  The idea of the mini-recorder isn't a bad one, but I would wait until we are back in the car or the hotel to use it.

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Sun, 08/11/13 8:02 PM
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Monday April 22nd, 2013 (cont.)
 
When we reached Yosemite National Park, we stopped to get the obligatory photo with the sign.  While we were taking turns posing, a woman by herself pulled in.  She told us she would be happy to take a photo of both us,

so I thanked her and handed her my camera.  When I started to tell her which buttons to push, she told us not to bother, she has the exact same camera.  After we returned the favor and took some photos for her, she asked if I ever use the vivid setting on the camera.  I told her no and she said someone else had recently told her about it while she was vacationing in Italy and she has been using it quite a bit ever since.  After she showed me where it was, I thanked her and she went on her way.
 
That is a long explanation to tell you part of the reason why I'm not completely enamored with my photos from Yosemite.  The vivid setting (which I am sure many of you know) really brings out the colors in the photos, almost to the point of making them look unrealistic.  While it did make a few photos sharper and brighter, more times than not the photos turned out looking fake.  At this point though, I didn't know that and I spent too much time trying it out, like a child with a new toy.
 
Anyway, the drive into Yosemite is maybe the most dramatic of any of the national parks.  You come in on a switchback road, with a beautiful valley right in front of you.  


The park ranger at the gate highly recommended riding the shuttle to all the major stops.  This was fine with us so we parked at Yosemite Village and boarded the bus.  This turned out to be very convenient.

 
On our previous visit, about a decade ago, the highlight was hiking to the top of Vernal Falls.  Well, nowadays I am ten years older and eighty pounds heavier.  I got part of the distance and my legs started to bother me, so I sat down and told Johnny to go on ahead.  Maybe it was the higher altitude, but Johnny, who is in pretty shape, only made it to the bridge before turning around.  And his legs bothered him so much for the rest of the day that he ended up asking me to drive when we were leaving the park.  So no long hikes for us.
 
Still, even just riding the shuttle bus, we had access to spectacular scenery.













 
We eventually did get hungry and stopped at a place called Degnan's Deli for a sandwich.  I have eaten some bad national park food over the years and luckily for us, this was much better.  All the sandwiches were handmade right in front of us, asking what we want on it as we walked down the line, Subway style.  Mine was the ham and swiss

with lettuce and tomato, red onion and honey dijon mustard.  Johnny went for the Italian and spruced it by buying a bag of kettle chips and putting them right on the sandwich.  The employees at Degnan's looked like college students, who were unfailingly polite and helpful.  This may have been our best experience eating food inside a national park.
 
We spent a good part of the day here and eventually got tired.  Luckily, our dinner destination and accomodations were one and the same and not too far away.
 
Much more to come.....   

leethebard
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Sun, 08/11/13 10:08 PM
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I see what you mean about the color in some of those shots. Sure is a beautiful place!!

will_work_4_bbq
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Sun, 08/11/13 10:20 PM
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Spectacular!

Texascajun
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Sun, 08/11/13 10:36 PM
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Great report as always. Beautiful pictures with and without vivid setting.

ann peeples
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 7:27 AM
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Beautiful pics of Yosemite!

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 7:47 AM
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Monday April 22nd, 2013 (cont.)
 
We were spending the night at a place called Yosemite Bug, which bills itself as a rustic mountain resort.  Those could be code words for a scary overnight experience, but it actually turned out to be a fairly nice place.  The reason for staying here is because their restaurant, Café at the Bug, appears in the 2011 Roadfood book.
 
The building itself is deceivingly large. 

No waitress service, you walk to the back counter

to place your order.  Nice tip jar! 

The menu is on three boards overhead. 



From the descriptions, we had the feeling we were in for something above the ordinary.  The woman who took our order had a strong Australian accent and used the expression "no worries" repeatedly.  As it turns out, she was actually a Kiwi, who was raised in Australia and ended up marrying a local.  Nice lady!
 
The first part of the meal brought out were the soups.  Johnny loved his tortilla soup,

which provided a fair amount of heat.  He said there was plenty of corn, big chunks of tomato and maybe some cilantro, but not many tortillas.  I love trying interesting and unusual soups anytime I can, so the carrot mint soup

was an easy choice.  There was some doubt in my mind whether the carrot and mint flavors would mesh well together, but it turned out to be a wonderful pairing.  I would definitely order it again.
 
Johnny's entrée was the pan seared pork loins. 

He thought they were moist and tender, though a little thin.  On top of the pork loins was a pistachio chutney, with apples, golden raisins and green onions, which he absolutely loved.  This dish came with a side of zucchini and cauliflower (which seemed to be roasted, adding extra flavor) and mashed potatoes.  As you can see, this is not exactly standard campground food!
 
My choice was the grilled salmon filet,

which was an outstanding piece of fish, grilled to perfection.  On top was a sweet corn and black bean salsa, plus rice and the mashed potatoes and vegetables on the side.  This was on the short list of best things I ate on our trip.
 
To drink, you just help yourself from the large buckets

and both of us chose the hibiscus cooler,

which was dark purple and had a refreshing flowery flavor.
 
After seeing the dessert case,

there was no question we would be saving some room.  My banana cream pie

was light and airy and unmistakably homemade.  I could have done without the nuts on top, though.  The one misstep here was Johnny's fruits of the forest pie.

He liked the softcrumb top and that it had lots of rhubarb, but it still seemed like it was several days old and had become liquidy.  Now, after looking back at the dessert menu, how in the world did we not try the homemade ice cream? 
 
The interior of the café is very nice, with a lovely fireplace area
 
for relaxing and a few bugs

scattered around as part of the décor.
 
Our room was part of a duplex and the accommodations were very nice.  Here is a look up

from the Café at some of the units.  They also offer tent cabins,

with regular beds, but I think my days of sleeping in a tent are long gone.
 
If you ever visit Yosemite, this is a fine place to spend the night.  It did have something of a hippy feel to it and we were the oldest people here, but we found everyone very friendly.  If nothing else, the food at the Café is well worth a detour.
 
Café at the Bug
6979 Highway 140
Midpines, CA
209-966-6666
 
Much more to come.....        
<message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 08/12/13 8:10 AM>

ChiTownDiner
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 8:02 AM
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I love your choice for overnight accommodations! Pretty cool!  Did you guys have breakfast there the next morning?

leethebard
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 8:35 AM
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Wow...what a place. I'm envious. Thanls for showing us more of this great trip!!!

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 8:47 AM
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phlmaestro
 
But our first stop after arriving at the Oakland Airport was Fenton's. In fact, I remember them having a small ice cream stand in the airport, not too far from the gate that we flew out of.
Can't imagine have a quality ice cream place like Fenton's in the airport.  It makes me wish the Pittsburgh airport had more local places, like a Primanti's in it. 
 
A big thanks to everyone for all of the nice comments.  It is very much appreciated!


ScreamingChicken
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 9:00 AM
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Very nice shots of Yosemite, BB!  I recognize Half Dome from Ansel Adams' photos.
 

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 10:49 AM
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ChiTownDiner


I love your choice for overnight accommodations! Pretty cool!  Did you guys have breakfast there the next morning?
No, we did not have breakfast at Café Bug.  We had to choose between eating or taking a yoga class. 

Obviously, we chose yoga.  No doubt, you would have done the same! 


lleechef
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 11:06 AM
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Yoga.  Yeah.  Right. 
Your pictures are stunning.  I've said this before......when you stop being a professional Roadfooder you need to become a professional photographer.
I laughed when I saw the "Bear Encounters" sign.  The bear is obviously thinking, "Damn!  I was hoping to stumble across a couple of Roadfooders not these two skinny, scrawny things!  Oh well......they'll make a nice hors d'oeuvre before I have to go back to Yogi class!"

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 1:16 PM
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lleechef-
What was the giveaway that we weren't actually doing yoga?  The fact that they don't make yoga pants that big?

mar52
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 1:27 PM
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Love, love, LOVE Yosemite!  Cliff you did it justice, bus ride and all.
 
I love your fancy camp food.  Great pictures as always.
 
The bears have left Yosemite.  They seem to be showing up here in town these days.

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 2:45 PM
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Tuesday April 23rd, 2013
 
When we checked in at Yosemite Bug, they told us that the office opens at 8:00AM.  So when I told him that we would be gone by then and inquired what we should do with the keys, he seemed puzzled.  He asked, "You really might be gone that early?"  Um, yeah.  Finally after consulting with another employee, he told us to just leave the key in the room and added he will still write a note to the morning crew to make sure I don't get charged for another day.  Is this really the first time this has come up?
 
One of the reasons we wanted to leave so early was that we were headed to Sacramento and had a lot to squeeze in.   Such as the Squeeze Inn.
 
First stop once we arrived in town was Marie's Do-Nut Shop

It is a small building on a busy street and while Johnny was on an important phone call from home, I went up and ordered a half dozen through the window.  The lady who waited on us was very friendly and patiently answered all of my questions about which donuts were which.  Let me tell you, these are some great looking donuts! 




Our half dozen included a plain cake,

apple fritter, boston cream,

glazed, maple cruller and a blueberry cake.  Hindsight is always 20/20, but how in the world did we walk away without getting one of those cinnamon rolls?  All of them were delicious, but the apple fritter and the boston cream were the standouts.  We snacked on those as we drove around, as if we weren't going to eat enough over the next two days.
 
Marie's Do-Nut Shop
2950 Freeport Boulevard
Sacramento, CA
 
Much more to come.....  

ChiTownDiner
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 2:55 PM
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I think you boys are ready for Hot Yoga...that'll get you guys sweating! 

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 3:28 PM
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Hot yoga?  That is almost as scary as the idea that they would be providing props!

ChiTownDiner
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 3:58 PM
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I got this picture in my mind of you guys in the yoga outfits...nightmares tonight! 

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 8:24 PM
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Tuesday April 23rd, 2013 (cont.)
 
Looking for the Squeeze Inn,

we followed the GPS to a strip mall on the outskirts of town.  We were surprised to see it in this unlikely location, because I had previously read that it got it's name because it was so small, the customers had to squeeze in.  I told Johnny I would go in and ask.  When I asked the guy at the counter that I was looking for the other smaller location, he pointed to the corner and told me that

is all that is left of it.   So, I waved Johnny in and settled into counter seats. 
 
I did inquire about the original building and was told that they had been sued twice because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, once by a man in local court, once by a woman in federal court.   I haven't read extensively about the particulars, but it seems like a case of a well meaning law being abused.
 
Anyway, both of us ordered the famous squeezeburger with cheese.  We passed time waiting for our burgers watching the grill,

and walking around checking the place out.  As you can see,

this place is much bigger than the old one.  It would have been nice to experience the atmosphere of the old place, but for comfort's sake, this one is preferable.
 
We marveled at the cheeseburgers when they were delivered. 

This is one of those cases where you just sit back and drink in the beautiful food in front of you.  The cheese skirt here is similar to what we have enjoyed previously at the Shady Glen in Connecticut.  The cheese here is softer, gooier than the Shady Glen.  We were also fans of the sesame seed bun.  The burger itself had a big, brawny flavor and I would think they must use fresh ground meat.  Toppings-wise, it was loaded with lettuce, pickles, red and white onion, tomato, mayo and mustard.  Even after we ate the cheese skirt away,

this was still an impressive looking burger.
 
We split an order of French fries,

which were long, crispy and golden brown.  They give you empty paper cups to fill with ketchup to dip your fries.  To drink, Johnny had a Dr. Pepper, while I drank a root beer.
 
My own feelings were that this was just as good as the Shady Glen, while Johnny thought the Squeeze Inn was much better.  Anyone else out there been to both?  One other thing I liked about this place is that they had a hockey game going on tv, which you certainly wouldn't expect in Sacramento.
 
To sum it up, you no longer have to squeeze in at the Squeeze Inn.  So, if you are in Sacramento and can squeeze in lunch, we highly recommend the Squeeze Inn!
 
Squeeze Inn
5301 Power Inn Road
Sacramento, CA
916-386-8599
 
We headed downtown to do some sightseeing.
 
Much more to come.....     

ChiTownDiner
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 8:37 PM
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That will make squeezing into those yoga tights even trickier!

Michael Hoffman
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Mon, 08/12/13 8:38 PM
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BB, That is one impressive burger.

CajunKing
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Tue, 08/13/13 2:26 PM
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CTD - That is why they make YOGA pants stretchy 
 
BB - That is one mighty fine looking burger.  Cliff I agree with you about the VIVID setting on the camera. The pictures were good, but...
 
I need to visit yosemite, hell I need to visit quite a few more national parks before my list is complete.

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Tue, 08/13/13 6:57 PM
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Tuesday April 23rd, 2013 (cont.)
 
Located right in the center of downtown Sacramento is Sutter's Fort State Historical Park

which goes back to 1839.  The inside living area is considerably bigger


than some of the other forts I have visited in the past few years.
 
There were quite a few guides in period costumes


demonstrating what life was like at the time.  And since there was a big tour group of kids, the guides were being kept busy answering questions.
 
In the doctor's office, they had a cannister for leeches. 

Makes you appreciate living now.
 
To gather all the kids together they rang a bell, which was an attention getter.  This photo

of a young man holding his ears from the noise is my favorite accidental photo of the trip.  If he thought the bell was loud, the next demonstration would far surpass it.  A group of young men went through a long list of tasks necessary for firing the cannon, while the woman at the microphone explained the actions behind her.  Just before they lit the fuse,

they asked us to yell as loud as we could, "Fire in the hole"!  Even though I knew it was coming, the shock of the noise made me move my hands, which is why this photo

is off center.  Let me tell you, it was loud!  And that is a rather small cannon.
 
As cool as the cannon was, my favorite part of the visit to the fort involved some of the kids.  A few of them were also dressed in period costumes

and they were assigned roles to play.  They would come up and be interviewed, all the while pretending to be some historical figure associated with the fort.  This young lady 
 
was particularly knowledgeable and entertaining.
 
We spent a fun 1 1/2 to 2 hours at Sutter's Fort.
 
Now that we had time to get our appetites back, it was time for lunch #2.  One of the places reviewed on Roadfood in Sacramento is called the Pasty Shack.  Pasties?  In Sacramento?  We have enjoyed them in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and in Butte, Montana, but Sacramento?  Hide your eyes wanderingjew, because we were intrigued enough by the review to make Pasty Shack our next stop.  I can see his face of disapproval from over 500 miles away.
 
Pasty Shack

does not have their own parking lot.  There is a small strip mall next door, but that looked like an invitation to have your car towed, so we parked down the next side street.  As for the sign above the door, that just means that pasties were served to the athletes at the most recent Olympics in London.
 
The inside is small,

with just a few tables and a counter in the back where you place your order.  There is some interesting pasty signage around the interior. 

The menu,



with full descriptions are also easily viewed on the walls.  As you can see two of them are only available on certain days and Tuesday is not one of those days, so we had four different pasties to choose from.
 
Johnny went Bavarian,

which contained ground beef, onions, chopped red & white cabbage, bell peppers and special seasonings.  These were on the larger side of other pasties we have eaten and make for a substantial meal.  Johnny thought his was wonderfully moist and liked that it was steaming hot.  I went chicken pasty. 


Besides the big chunks of meat, it also had mushrooms, peas, corn, onion and potatoes.  This was like eating a really good chicken pot pie.  We both really liked these very much.  To drink, we had a "Hey, they have Sprechers!" moment.

 
The man who runs this place is extremely nice and seemed to enjoy having us in his shop.  I liked him immediately because he is a dead ringer for the dad of an ex-girlfriend.  The guy loved me, unfortunately more than she did!  
 
The owner told us that they provide pasties to all the restaurants in the area and they sure seem to do a good business.  We spent a good amount of time here chatting, with a constant stream of people running in to get pasties to go.  We learned that he and his brother also own the bar next door, but he is the one who makes the pasties.  After we finished eating, he sent over some fresh out of the oven apricot bars

for dessert on the house.
 
One of the quirky things about this place is that the owner liked to include himself into photos with famous people.  I saw this

and told him I recognized everyone except this guy and I pointed.  He said, "That's me!"  Here he is

hanging out with Seal Team 6!
 
BTW, in my notes is the following:   GPS liked pasty not pasty.  Yeah, I have no clue what that means.
 
Pasty Shack
4746 J Street
Sacramento, CA
916-454-9630
 
Much more to come.... 
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 08/13/13 7:07 PM>

ann peeples
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Tue, 08/13/13 8:21 PM
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Sprecher!!!!!!!!!!!Awesome! Gotta love gps-we were an hour west of Oshkosh-and the gps said we were on the pickle highway-really? We were lost.......

Michael Hoffman
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Tue, 08/13/13 9:09 PM
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Hey, the kid on the far left stole my favorite dress-up suit from when I was 10.

mar52
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 12:38 AM
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Those pasties look wonderful.
 
The Pasty Shack is now on my want lists.
 
Wonder if they ship frozen pasties.  I'd definitely buy several.

billyboy
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 2:57 AM
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BB, the hits just keep onnnnn comin'!!  Beautiful pics and great write-up.  The pancakes and desserts at Bette's look swoonworthy.  And those pics on the way to Yosemite and while you guys were there, wow!!  I see what you mean though with that setting.  The colors are so bright and vivid that they almost have a Thomas Kinkade quality to them. 
 
So much pie and donuts.  I'm at work right now and all I can think of is hopping on the train to get my fix of some classic sinkers at the 24-hour Donut Pub! 

Sad to hear of the loss of the original Squeeze Inn but times must change and by the looks of things, the quality is still top-notch! 
 
Sprechers seems to be making it's way across the U.S.  The Travelin' Man and I found some of their root beer at an ice cream shop in the East Village in NYC a number of months ago and it went down smooth!

I was surfing online yesterday, putting together a list of new places to check out for my next trip to Boston and a Jewish deli named Zaftig's Delicatessen in my old neighborhood of Brookline serves breakfast all day and has a "San Francisco Joe's Special" on the menu!  Who knew?!
Can't wait to read the rest...
<message edited by billyboy on Wed, 08/14/13 8:27 AM>

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 8:04 AM
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Tuesday April 23rd, 2013 (cont.)
 
Inspired by the legendary ChiTownDiner, we plowed ahead towards lunch #3!  This would be yet another burger joint, Nationwide Meats

Have to admit, that is a terrific name for a Roadfood restaurant.  The inside is fairly large, with plenty of booths and tables.  The décor consists mostly of Coca-Cola memorabilia,  

although the art on the wall, was eye-catching. 


 
You order at the counter in the back and the man who waited on us bore an uncanny likeness to the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld.  Although he never smiled, he wasn't really unfriendly.  Here is the menu:

We decided to get two items and then share.  The French dip

came on a real nice ciabatta roll, with quite a bit of thinly shaved beef.  The meat could have been moister, but I guess that is what the cup of au jus on the side is for.  Not bad, but certainly not in the class as Philippe's.
 
The burger though was something special.  Actually, they call these French ground steak burgers.  Considering how much we had already eaten, we just got a single, with cheese,

though I would love to know what one of the quadruples looks like.  The bun is lightly toasted, but still soft and unless you specify otherwise, the burgers here come with lettuce, onion and tomato.  The sauce you see seems like standard thousand islands dressing.  All of that is fine, but it is the meat here that stars.  It is loosely packed, juicy and it really does taste like they freshly grind their own steak.  One of the best burgers I have eaten in recent memory.
 
We were also big fans of the extra-thick cut fries,

which were perfectly crispy on the outside, but still had a creamy interior.  For the second time today, we were provided dixie cups to hold ketchup for dipping.  Less successful were the milkshakes,

mine pineapple, Johnny's lemon.  He said his shake wasn't very lemony and mine was just average.
 
Nationwide Meats
1930 H Street
Sacramento, CA
916-444-3286
 
At this point, we were now full and checked into the hotel to relax for a few hours.
 
Much more to come..... 
<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 08/14/13 8:05 AM>

mayor al
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 8:30 AM
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Sutter's Fort is a great place to visit, and combining that with a visit to the Cal. State Rail Museum in "Old Sacramento" is a full day of outstanding exhibits and displays.
 
About Sprecher's... We love the stuff  and while the Orange Creme and Root Beer are very good, their Cherry Cola is our favorite soft drink.
 
Your report, even though done "long after the fact" continues to incite strong memories of visits to that historic area.  Thanks, Cliff and Johnny, I appreciate your sharing this adventure with us.

pnwchef
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 8:54 AM
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This is a great story of how Roadfood places become Roadfood places. They started cooking steaks and giving out samples to sell sides of beef. In time people told them to open a restaurant and sell steak sandwiches the rest is History...............Every town should have a burger place like this.......Great report BB
 
 
Thus, Nationwide Meats Steaks and Burgers was launched.  He continued to buy Harris Ranch hind quarters but now trimmed and ground the choice steak and hand-formed the burger patties.  They were an instant success.
Nationwide Meats/ Burgers/ Sandwiches (whatever name you prefer) has continued to have a loyal following.  In early 2000, Frank described it this way: “I’ve had customers move away and come back 10 years later to say that the burgers are still superb,” Gonzales said with pride.  “Some of our customers come into town and this is the first place they come, sometimes by cab right from the airport.  I have one customer that drives here from Santa Rosa just for lunch.”
Frank passed away in 2004 but his standards for making the best burgers out of the best beef still stands with his son, John, at the helm. John loves his work and his customers.  “We use nothing but the best you can buy.”  The best, John describes, includes purchasing an entire hind quarter of U.S.D.A. Choice beef, hand trimming and course grinding the choice-meat, then hand forming the patties.  Potatoes are bought in 100-pound sacks, cleaned and cooked with the skins, The french rolls (buns) are baked and delivered fresh daily, shakes are made with the freshest fruit available.

 

Come on down for the best burger in town!




ScreamingChicken
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 9:05 AM
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BB, did you happen to ask the Pasty Shack owner if he's from the upper Midwest?  The pasties and Sprecher sodas make me wonder if he has some connection to Wisconsin and/or Michigan.

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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 10:57 AM
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buffetbuster


Tuesday April 23rd, 2013

When we checked in at Yosemite Bug, they told us that the office opens at 8:00AM.  So when I told him that we would be gone by then and inquired what we should do with the keys, he seemed puzzled.  He asked, "You really might be gone that early?"  Um, yeah.  Finally after consulting with another employee, he told us to just leave the key in the room and added he will still write a note to the morning crew to make sure I don't get charged for another day.  Is this really the first time this has come up?

One of the reasons we wanted to leave so early was that we were headed to Sacramento and had a lot to squeeze in.   Such as the Squeeze Inn.

First stop once we arrived in town was Marie's Do-Nut Shop

It is a small building on a busy street and while Johnny was on an important phone call from home, I went up and ordered a half dozen through the window.  The lady who waited on us was very friendly and patiently answered all of my questions about which donuts were which.  Let me tell you, these are some great looking donuts! 




Our half dozen included a plain cake,

apple fritter, boston cream,

glazed, maple cruller and a blueberry cake.  Hindsight is always 20/20, but how in the world did we walk away without getting one of those cinnamon rolls?  All of them were delicious, but the apple fritter and the boston cream were the standouts.  We snacked on those as we drove around, as if we weren't going to eat enough over the next two days.

Marie's Do-Nut Shop
2950 Freeport Boulevard
Sacramento, CA

Much more to come.....  

Marie's is very good, I ate my fare share over the years when I lived in Sacramento,
but you missed a very good bakery just across the street, Freeport Bakery
 

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 11:20 AM
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annpeeples-
Pickle highway?  Love that!  Sounds like a highway most Roadfooders would enjoy driving.
 
Michael-
There are probably quite a few people in forum who would love to see what you look like in that suit again!
 
mar52-
The Pasty Shack definitely does sell frozen pasties.  If I remember properly, a good portion of the customers were buying frozen ones to go.
 
ScreamingChicken-
I never came right out and asked him if he was from the UP or Wisconsin, but did mention that these seemed out of place in Sacramento.  Here sure did not sounds like he was from the Upper Midwest.
 
 

ann peeples
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 11:40 AM
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  BB-so now WE have an accent? And honestly-that's what the gps said-but alas, no pickles.
<message edited by ann peeples on Wed, 08/14/13 11:42 AM>

love2bake
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 11:53 AM
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What's "French ground steak?"  How's it different from regular ground beef?
 
Those pasties looked so good.  Savory pies!!

lleechef
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 12:05 PM
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The chicken pasty looks better than any I ever had when I lived in Michigan!

Michael Hoffman
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 12:08 PM
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ann peeples


  BB-so now WE have an accent? And honestly-that's what the gps said-but alas, no pickles.

Oh. yah! Wisconsinites have an accent.


Michael Hoffman
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 12:11 PM
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love2bake


What's "French ground steak?"  How's it different from regular ground beef?


It's really viande de cheval.


pnwchef
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 12:44 PM
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love2bake


What's "French ground steak?"  How's it different from regular ground beef?

Those pasties looked so good.  Savory pies!!


The French Steakburger is made with U.S.D.A. Choice certified quality steak, freshly ground and topped with our signature thousand island sauce. Each French Ground Steakburger is made with a 1/3 pound patty. We cook each patty to the perfect temperature on the flat top grill to seal the juices for best flavor. We add red onions, tomatoes and lettuce and top the whole thing off with a wholesome french roll, soft and chewy; that's what holds the sandwich together perfectly throughout the meal.
 
 
 now you can sleep tonight

love2bake
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 1:39 PM
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pnwchef


love2bake


What's "French ground steak?"  How's it different from regular ground beef?

Those pasties looked so good.  Savory pies!!


The French Steakburger is made with U.S.D.A. Choice certified quality steak, freshly ground and topped with our signature thousand island sauce. Each French Ground Steakburger is made with a 1/3 pound patty. We cook each patty to the perfect temperature on the flat top grill to seal the juices for best flavor. We add red onions, tomatoes and lettuce and top the whole thing off with a wholesome french roll, soft and chewy; that's what holds the sandwich together perfectly throughout the meal.


now you can sleep tonight

Thanks, pnw!!

mar52
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 1:49 PM
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BB, now I have to call them to see if the ship! 
 
I forgot to mention that I thought that the leech crock said lleechef on it.
 
I never knew that Sacramento had so much to offer. 

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 3:23 PM
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ann peeples


  BB-so now WE have an accent?  

That's okay Ann, I don't have an accent either!
<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 08/14/13 3:42 PM>

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 3:39 PM
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billyboy-
You are right, the vivid photos do remind one of a Kinkade painting.  Unfortunately, there will be a few occasions coming up where the only photos I took of something interesting were with that setting.  A few will be used, but others will be bypassed because I don't want the readers to feel they are on an acid trip! 
 
Since you brought up the Donut Pub, thanks so much for sending that box full of goodness down to Baltimore with TTM.  I can assure you they disappeared with honor!  My favorites may have been the donut holes.
 
If you do try the Joe's Special in Brookline, please report back and let us know how it was.
 
MayorAl-
100% agree about Sprecher's.  I am a root beer man, but that cherry beats the root beer hands down.  Have you tried the grape?  And thanks so much for the kind words.  Better late than never!
 
chefbuba-
Thanks for the tip on Freeport Bakery.  After viewing the website, it does look like we missed out on a really good place.  I just don't know how we could have squeezed it in, since we were already making five food stops a day.  Looking forward to your comments on some of the other places we visit.
<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 08/14/13 3:41 PM>

agnesrob
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 7:02 PM
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Just an outstanding report and pictures!! Thank you so much for taking us along!

Ralph Melton
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 9:22 PM
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buffetbuster, have you tried the cheeseburger with cheese skirt at the Middle Road Inn near Pittsburgh? I wonder how it compares to the cheese skirts you've listed. (I tried it once and wasn't impressed, so this isn't necessarily an endorsement.)

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Wed, 08/14/13 10:09 PM
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Ralph, the cheese skirts are nothing new to me since there are three different restaurants just in my small town who also make them.  Only here they are called "old-fashions".  I like them and order them about once a month.  I wasn't aware of a place called the Middle Road Inn or that they offer these types of burgers.  May have to check it out.  Thanks!
 
And I always appreciate your kind words agnesrob!
<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 08/14/13 10:47 PM>

ChiTownDiner
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Thu, 08/15/13 6:55 AM
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With regard to lunch #3, the beef sandwich does look a little dry.  As it's really a cousin of the Chicago style Italian Beef sandwich, I like mine "wet" which is dipped in the Italian beef juice to really soak it through.  Sweet and cheese are occasional options for me also. 

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Thu, 08/15/13 8:13 AM
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Tuesday April 23rd, 2013 (cont.)
 
The last time we were in Sacramento, approximately a decade earlier, we found a great ice cream shop.  Since then, I have thought about this place many times, hoping to get back, but could not recall the name.  Through a little research, I figured out that is was Vic's. 

Before our dinner, we thought that ice cream should come first. 
 
Vic's is family owned and looks like it has been here for a long time.  The inside

is sparkling clean, with both booths and counter seating.  Sorry about the blurry photo of the menu board,

but it is the only one I took and I wanted people to see the nice variety of available flavors.
 
My two choices were a scoop of peppermint and a scoop of mint chip.  My first reaction was: 

that sure is an awful lot of food coloring.  I am not a big fan of vivid setting looking ice cream!  Johnny's favorite flavor is toasted almond, so he ordered a scoop of that and one of cherry amaretto.  After I got the obligatory photos, Johnny asked the friendly young man waiting on us to add some hot fudge sauce to the top of his. 

That is yet another thing I admire about my cousin Johnny, he is an idea man!  The hot fudge was actually more like a thin chocolate sauce and we both thought the ice cream was ordinary at best.  
 
So is this ice cream parlor not making as good of a product or has my taste changed over the years?  Regardless, it was a nice little stop, but next time back in Sacramento, we would probably try somewhere else for ice cream. 
 
Vic's
3199 Riverside Boulevard
Sacramento, CA
916-448-0892 
 
Johnny is a fan of the tv show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and he came prepared with a list of restaurants he had seen on the show.  One of the places that intrigued him was Jamie's Broadway Grille.  

What what he had seen, this place was famous for not having a sign, but when we pulled up they did have a sign in the parking lot.  Regardless, it would have been easy to find anyway.  The inside is not particularly big, with both a bar and a separate dining area.  We were asked if we had reservations, which, of course, we did not.  We were seated immediately anyway in what appeared to be the only open table.  
 
One of the nice things about Jamie's is that you can order half portions.  Considering how much we had already consumed on this day, we decided that was the way to go.  Johnny went with the half of the garlic steak sandwich, which is one of the dishes he saw on the show.  It came on a lightly toasted soft bun and the beef was perfectly tender and ultra-garlicky.  This was a big hit with both of us.  I should mention that the inside was very dark and there were several tables right next to us.  The only way to get a decent shot would have been to use the flash, which I considered obtrusive.  
 
Strangely, the food did not come out all at once.  By the time my food made it to the table, a few nearby tables cleared out, so I was able to get photos.  My entrée was the half portion of the hot turkey sandwich.  

They use real roasted turkey, both white and dark meat.  The mashed potatoes were certainly the real thing and along with the dark gravy, this was even better than the sandwich.  A small cup of cranberry sauce came on the side.
 
Johnny and I also split an order of the extra-crispy onion rings,

another item we thoroughly enjoyed.  Despite being very full when we arrived, there was no leftovers!
 
Jamie's Broadway Grille
427 Broadway
Sacramento, CA
916-442-4044
 
It was back to the hotel for the night.
 
Much more to come.....     
<message edited by buffetbuster on Thu, 08/15/13 8:15 AM>

ChiTownDiner
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Thu, 08/15/13 1:23 PM
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I so hot open-faced sandwiches like your picture!  Were the onion rings sweet like a vadallia or regular?  They looked grease free! 

buffetbuster
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Re:California, Here We Come! - Thu, 08/15/13 1:34 PM
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CTD-
I am also a big fan of open face sandwich, especially turkey and meatloaf.  With lots of gravy!  Now I need to have a hot turkey sandwich for dinner tonight.
 
The onion rings were not the least bit greasy and on the sweet side, but I can't say for sure they were vidalia.

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