Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Street Ahead: A Walking Tour on K Street

Mayor Heather Fargo, the City of Sacramento, and the Downtown Sacramento Partnership invite you to participate in a walking tour of K Street

Come see the activity that is transforming K Street into the epicenter of culture, entertainment, business, dining, shopping and living!

The Street Ahead: A Walking Tour on K Street Saturday, February 2, 2008 10:00 a.m. to noon

To RSVP or for more information, call (916) 808-7223
Please RSVP by Monday, January 28, 2008.

This could be interesting... listening to Mayor Fargo talk about troubled K Street for two hours. The under construction Cosmopolitan Cabaret at 10th and K Street could be the highlight of the stroll.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Top of the City

The crown of 621 Capitol Mall is nearly finished and within the next few months we should see it lit up like nothing this city has see before. The crown will be lit with 100,000 LED lights creating the effect of an animated river.

Oh yeah, the view from the top is incredible.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Chocolate With A Tequila Chaser

I've been waiting for Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates to open for a while now. I'm heading over there this weekend to stock up! A cup of hot chocolate sounds damn good with the current cold weather.


Chocolate With A Tequila Chaser
Appetizers with Mike Dunne
Bite-sized musings about food and wine from our restaurant critic.
January 16, 2008

Midtown Sacramento's thriving culinary scene got two bright additions in recent days - Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates and Azul, a Mexican cafe and tequila bar. Ginger Elizabeth Powers, shown here in her small but busy L Street shop, is cranking out all sorts of exotic chocolates, but tequila enthusiasts will have to wait until Friday before they can belly up to the Azul bar for a margarita. That's when Carlos Ulloa, also seen here, and his brother Jose Ulloa are to get their tequila inventory and their liquor license. In the meantime, however, their kitchen is going full blast.

At Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates, Powers, former dessert chef at Masque Ristorante in El Dorado Hills, is producing chocolate treats that range from the everyday (bittersweet chocolate bar, chocolate-chip cookies, chocolate covered candied almonds) to the esoteric (gianduja cake, cafe cremeaux, Parisian macaroons in flavors like espresso and almond). Sometimes, she combines the familiar with the unfamiliar, as with her hot chocolate, available in four versions, from milk chocolate to "Oaxacan spicy." On any given day, she will have a dozen or so individual chocolates, including such flavors as lychee rose, raspberry, peppermint, creme brulee, toasted coconut, Meyer lemon and peanut butter. And she's already putting up Valentine's Day gift baskets.

At Azul, the brothers Ulloa, born in Jalisco but longtime Sacramento residents, are calling upon traditional family recipes for many of the dishes on their sweeping menu. They're counting on their tortilla soup with pasilla chile peppers, the carne asada with grilled red onions and a chile ancho sauce, the chile relleno, the housemade tamales and a ceviche of red snapper and shrimp to quickly emerge as signature dishes. And just wait, says Carlos Ulloa, until you get a taste of the margarita made with ancho chile powder and blackberry. The brothers will be stocking around 30 tequilas, all based on blue agave.

Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates, 1801 L St., is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays; (916)706-1738.

Azul, 1050 20th St., is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 9 a.m.-1:30 a.m. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays (breakfast is to be served 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays and Sundays); (916) 447-4040.

Friday, January 11, 2008

East End Gateway Site 1 - 16th and N

16th and N Street
- 125 Units: 63 1B/1B, 53 2B/2B, 3 townhouses, and 6 penthouse units
- 3,450 Retail Space
- 15 Stories
Developer: CADA / Lambert Development
Architect: Carrier Johnson

East End Gateway Site 1 at 16th and N is up for Design Review on Jan 16th.

One thing I noticed that I like is how they wrap the parking with housing. That's such a damn site for sore eyes after a couple projects that have don't conceal the garage at all.

The down side is they are looking to use precast concrete...I'm not a fan of that stuff at all.

If these all East End Gateway sites get built, there is going to be a a lot of good stuff going on over the next couple of years. Between the 3 sites, there will be 209 housing units and over 17K in new retail space.

I even noticed today that the other side of the street where the Capitol Unity Center is going to be located has been fenced off ready to demolish the existing building in preparation for the center to be built.

Keeping on the 16th Street, there is also a new clothes boutique called Atelier open for business between P and Q street. Looks like they will specialize in vintage and handmade clothing. If this your thing, be sure to check them out. They will be open late for 2nd Saturday this weekend.

Lot of good stuff happening on this street. 'about time..I've been waiting forever!


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Deal in the works for Greyhound station move

Wow..after 3 tries looks like Shallot got it right.

The part that concerns me is this sounds like it's going to $$$$ to buy out the lease AND build an interim depot at Richards who knows how long it will take.

With that said, between this, the Marshall potentially becoming a hotel, Berry Hotel being renovated, and the 700/800 block, one of the more seedy areas in downtown cleans up quite a bit. All this would all help people feel much safer walking and even coming to that area of downtown.

Does this mean 701L Street is back in play? I can't imagine the city would make this deal to just let it sit empty. I still wouldn't mind a year-round farmers market on that site.

Deal in the works for Greyhound station move
By Terri Hardy -

A much-anticipated deal to move the Greyhound Bus station out of downtown is expected to be signed by Thursday, Mayor Heather Fargo said in an interview Tuesday.

A letter of intent between Sacramento and Danny Benvenuti, the owner of the Greyhound site at Seventh and L streets, would have the city buy out Benvenuti's lease with the bus company and build an interim depot at 300 Richards Blvd., Fargo said.

More discussions would be needed to hammer out further details, Fargo said. If the deal goes through, it would end more than 10 years of serious discussion, she said.

"This is the closest we've ever gotten, but it's not done yet," Fargo said.

It's unclear at this point how long it would take to build a new Greyhound station, which will be an interim location until permanent bus service can be located in the planned transportation hub at the downtown railyard, Fargo said.

The city owns the office building and adjoining acreage at 300 Richards Blvd. The renovated structure that's to house the temporary bus station will also soon be occupied by as many as 390 Police Department employees, including bicycle officers and the Crime Scene Investigations Unit.

Also, more than 300 Department of Development Services will relocate to the building.

Police and business leaders point to the current Greyhound station as a crime magnet, attracting drug activity and the homeless. It also is the spot where the state's Department of Corrections drops off parolees just released from prison, Fargo said.

Fargo said the location receives more calls for police service than any other single spot in the city. However, she said that a number of factors, not just Greyhound, contribute to the perception that the area is unsafe.

Some people have criticized plans to move Greyhound, saying a more isolated location will be inconvenient for travelers. However, Fargo said there will be increased bus service near the Richards Boulevard site, as well as a shuttle to City Hall. A light rail station also is planned for the area.

Restaurants and hotels also are close by, she said.

"Moving Greyhound is a big deal," Fargo said. "People have been hopeful about this for some time."

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Monday, January 07, 2008

The View

Starting in late January I will begin displaying sixteen or more photos at The Espresso Bar on 1011 12th Street in downtown Sacramento. They will be matted; framed and ready for anyone interested in taking one home for a nominal price... there will be several new shots I have not yet featured here and new photos will go up from time to time. Please stop in, the Espresso Bar is both a restaurant and coffee shop.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Meridian Plaza II Renderings

Here are some new rendering of the Meridian Plaza II showing some different angles of the proposed tower. First of all, IMO this tower has got some weird design stuff going on. It appears that there is an attractive side as well as a bland featureless side. It appears that the attractive side with a curve and spire are facing south towards the alley. Why would the cool side face an alley? Where as if you look at the other side of the tower that facing north at 15th and K Street, the tower has a simple box design that doe's nothing to enhance the corner. K Street is the side where the cool curve of the building and spire should be facing. I think K Street deserves some love that this current design is not offering any, it currently doe’s nothing for intersection K Street and seems to forget about this corner altogether. It also appears that eight floors of the parking garage are exposed at 15th & K Street sides... how crappy is that?

Why are developers designing towers like this in Sacramento? Is it to save money on design? Or do they think no one will notice that a 300’+/- tower looks cheap when seen from the north? There are several other towers that have also been designed and built this way in downtown over the last 10 years and no one seems to care… I'll do a post about that later. What do you think?