Feb21 Road Trip: V-Day in Sac

We left our Airbnb in Ashland just after 7am. We stopped at Noble Coffee again, walked Paul a bit first, then got stuff to go and got on the road. We made a few quick stops along the way and got home before 12:30pm.

This was the “vista” at one of those Vista View stops along I-5. We had hoped that the weather would be better and we’d get some decent shots of Mount Shasta and/or the lake on the way home since the rain got in the way on our drive up on Thursday. So much for that plan. It was snowing for the first 30 minutes leaving Ashland.

We stopped at a little marina primarily to use the restroom. Shasta Lake is pretty low it seems. The lake is a funny shape – very spread out, strings of canyons filled with water rather then a single round entity like Tahoe. This is about in the middle of it.

We did a 3 mile walk in the afternoon. This is the center walkway in Capitol Park. For the non-locals reading, which is most of you!, this is about 6 blocks from my house.

A very pruned Rose Garden in Capitol Park.

Here’s a recent pandemic development that I hope stays. This block on Capitol Ave between 18th and 19th Streets has been shut off to traffic to allow the restaurants to expand their outdoor seating into the street. Also true of 20th Street (where I live) between J and K Streets. Both of these blocks are 3-4 blocks from my house in different directions.

The signs say “The Handle District” which refers to the blocks surrounding L St, 19th St, Capitol Ave, and 18th Street. There are 18 restaurants within it along with other businesses. It’s an official business district that levies a 1.5% sales tax to pay for maintenance of public spaces, events that benefit all members, etc.

For dinner we went to Hook & Ladder, which is on S Street between 16th and 17th, about 5 blocks from my house. I picked this because it’s a foodie restaurant and Ash is very much a foodie. Who am I kidding? So am I. And we were not disappointed. We’d eaten very little all day knowing this was coming.

They have a back patio that’s nicer but we didn’t luck into that so were seated out front. That’s Ash in the orange cap and mask. It threatened to rain the entire evening but never did, thankfully. It was about 50 degrees out but felt colder than that at times for sure, especially once it got dark.

We had called ahead to see if it was OK to bring Paul and it was. Half or more of the patrons had dogs with them, including a couple sitting 2 tables behind us who asked if they could bring their very scared dog over to say hello. Paul is super chill as I’ve said; they are trying to get their dog more comfortable around other dogs so thought this would be helpful. Hard to say if it was, she was pretty skittish! Paul didn’t care one way or the other.

They had some fun non-alcoholic drinks so we started with those. On the left is a sort of lemonade with with thyme and other things I now don’t recall, but it was very good; had an interesting savory feel along with the sweet and tangy. The right is based in pomegranate juice with some sparkling water.

It occurred to me I hadn’t included any photos of me yet on this trip so had Ash take this just to get one in. Same as always.

This was a light salad with radish, blood orange, olives, and goat cheese. Wonderful flavors together.

Garlic butter shrimp. Wow.

Roasted Brussel sprouts. This has sort of become “our” dish. I’ve made it several times on Friday evening when Ash gets in from SF for the weekend, and this is the 2nd time we’ve had it on this trip. We love Brussel sprouts and it’s fun to see how everyone does it a little bit different.

So I learned with this dish that burrata is a cheese – that’s the white blob that looks like a large poached egg. Think mozzarella – has that taste and consistency but creamier. Which isn’t a bad thing at all. With beets, which was the main reason I wanted this, another vegetable we both love. And fennel and pistachios. Another fun mix of flavors.

Ash had the halibut baked in parchment paper, with orange and onion.

I had the ribeye with crab and scalloped potatoes. It’s rare that I eat a steak but every now and then it hits the spot perfectly, and this one certainly did.

Dessert is one of the reasons I enjoy coming to a restaurant like this, and these did not disappoint. Ash’s favorite cookie is chocolate chip so that was a no-brainer for him. My default is white custardy things so had to go with the panna cotta. You can barely see it smothered under huckleberries and a coconut-something-else crumble. Smooth, sweet, crunchy; hard to go wrong with that.

And that was the day. We have literally not one thing planned today. So we’ll see how it goes, but it’s unlikely you’ll see us again until after we get to Santa Cruz, which we will Tuesday afternoon.

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