3 New Places to Eat in Midtown Sacramento

Check out this authentic northern Italian Deli.

Check out this authentic northern Italian Deli.

First, welcome EATUSCANY, an authentic northern Italian deli, to the midtown neighborhood. Located at 1801 L Street between the Sushi Burrito and Yogurtagogo. I ordered the fusilli pasta daily special to take home. I plated it and added a slice of sourdough from New Roma Bakery and a glass of red wine. It was simple: pasta, tomato sauce, and pancetta. Yum!

artisan gelatoThey also offer an artisan gelato bar. My dog walker Chantay said if their lemon ice was a man “I’d have got naked for it.” That sounds beyond good. My son-in-law gave the cookies and cream flavor (with a fancy Italian named) gelato got two thumbs up.

Fusilli pasta of the day replated at home.

Fusilli pasta of the day replated at home.

They have lots of coffee drinks, but no decaf, so it limits my consumption to before noon. They are open Tuesday through Sunday opening at 11:00 a.m. and closing between 8:00 and 9:30 depending on the day.

Broderick's second location is more obvious later in the evening when people are dining outside.

Broderick’s second location is more obvious later in the evening when people are dining outside.

Also new to the Midtown neighborhood is the second Broderick. Broderick is the only decent restaurant in West Sacramento and it has been a hit. The same owners had a success with Capital Dime. They are remodeling Capital Dime for a more upscale restaurant. Then they took over the space at the 18th and L lofts  (where Wahoo Tacos opened and closed) to open a second Broderick. I look forward to their lamb burger.

Finally, Magpie is another favorite restaurant that moved from their R Street location to a new, larger restaurant at 16th and O Street. Mom and I went to lunch and we liked the ambiance. I loved my BLT sandwich. She was not terribly impressed with the lemon chicken salad. “It looks pretty,” is not really a compliment if you are into food.

Midtown Sacramento is just getting better and better.


3 Short Hikes at Rush Ranch in Suisun Marsh

View from first hill on Marsh Trail at Rush Ranch.

View from first hill on Marsh Trail at Rush Ranch.

You will feel your blood pressure lower as you turn off Highway 12 at Grizzly Island Road to drive to Rush Ranch. The landscape quickly changes to grazing land or marsh and the noise drops to sweetly quiet. In about 5 minutes you will reach the gate to the Solano County Land Trust’s Rush Ranch. Slow down to 5 mph and let the beauty sink in and slow your heart rate further. You can see Suisun City and the fringes of Fairfield off in the distance but they also seem a million miles away.

Low tideThere are three hikes ranging from 2.2 miles to 4+ miles. My friend and I chose the Marsh Trail so I could show him the remnant of original salt water marsh. It was just after 8 in the morning and the Ranch had just opened the gate. We wore jackets at the start of the hike because of a brisk breeze.

Gentle Marsh TrailThe tide was going out and already fairly low. It is hard to remember that tidal action has so much sway this far inland. The tides influence actually influences water levels in the Delta all the way to Sacramento’s I Street bridge.

Views from Rush Ranch On the Marsh Trail you can get by walking in tennis shoes but they will get muddy. I wore long pants because of my worry about attracting ticks. Turns out we should have given more thought to mosquito repellant. The mossies got a nice snack off us.

There are a couple of hills that offer expansive views, but most of the trail is flat or a very gentle climb. We did not see much bird life on this hike. Nor did we encounter cows though we did dodge cow pies. There are blackberry bushes with some small berries for picking at the marsh edge.

After our hike we drove into downtown Suisun City for breakfast at Bab’s Delta Diner. There was no wait at the counter and the food was fine and the service efficient. Afterward we walked along the marina and onward toward the marsh on a trail. It was not even a mile round trip but aided our digestion.

On way back to ranch headquarters.

On way back to ranch headquarters.

The hikes are not demanding, but the views are rewarding and it makes for a good introduction to the Delta.

Wild Animal Bike Racks

Giraffe bke rack by Gina Rossi

Giraffe bke rack by Gina Rossi

Check out Gina Rossi’s latest bike rack at the Sacramento Zoo on Land Park Drive. This giraffe is one of three zoo residents recreated in horseshoes.

Update: These sculptures have been moved inside the zoo. Walk past the reptile house and towards the kangaroos and you will find them on the right of the path.

BDCP Morphs Into California WaterFix and EcoRestore


The Bay Delta Conservation Plan has pivoted away from a Habitat Conservation Plan with 22 Conservation Measures to an update of the water conveyance facilities in the Delta with the required mitigation for the impacts of that project. This is often shortened to “the tunnels” but is actually California WaterFix. The proposed project creates dual conveyance with intakes on the Sacramento River near Hood and a new pumping plant at Clifton Court connected by tunnels. The design is meant to provide resilience with continuing sea-level rise and seismic risk but mainly to stop the negative effects of reverse flow in the Delta on native Salmon and Smelt. No one outside of the state and federal agencies believes it but it is not necessarily going to result in more exports to people and farms outside of the Delta; it does however have the potential to stop the continuous cutbacks on exports due to endangered species regulations.

There remains a plan to restore habitat but on a much smaller scale than the BDCP. It may grow in time but the initial 30,000 acres is primarily to meet the existing Biological Opinions for the State Water Project and Central Valley Project. This program is called EcoRestore.

You have the opportunity to comment on both of these programs in the new public document released on July 10. See the except from the Department of Water Resources’ announcement:

60-Day Public Review and Comment Period Extension Announced
Lead state and federal agencies have extended the public comment period by 60 days for the BDCP/California WaterFix Partially Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report/Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (RDEIR/SDEIS). The comment period began on July 10, 2015 and now concludes on October 30, 2015. This extension gives the public more time to consider refinements and changes that have been made since the 2013 Draft EIR/EIS and provide comments.

Written Comments may be submitted via:

Tortoise Sex and Other Sacramento Zoo Attractions

Flamingoes at the Sacramento ZooAfter reading the profile of the new zoo director in Sacramento Magazine I was curious to check it out. It has been a number of years since my last visit to the Sacramento Zoo. There have been a great many changes. There are fewer animals residents, but they are better housed. I miss the hippo Jewel and since going on a safari in South Africa I have mixed feelings about zoos. And it is best to see the animals in more spacious enclosures.

Besides few people can afford to go on safari and see animals in their natural habitat, and there is something relaxing and fun about watching animals just being animals.

Giraffe Experience at the Sacramento ZooI arrived at the Zoo at about the time of the Giraffe Experience, so I walked directly to the giraffe enclosure and paid $3 extra dollars to feed some leaves to a giraffe and get an up close look at his gorgeous eyelashes and sensitive tongue.

I am tempted to say that if a family saved all the money they would spend at the zoo say twice a year they could afford to go on safari in no time. Except that would be a gross exaggeration. Still I was put off by the cost of everything. The entrance fee is $11.75 per adult and $7.75 for children 2-11 years of age. The train ride and carousel rides are extra. The giraffe experience is extra. The food is ballpark expensive. A family could save money by buying a family membership and sneaking in snacks and drinks. But gone are my memories of an inexpensive day out for young families.

Train ride at the Sacramento ZooI was enjoying the zoo on a hot July afternoon. Most of the animals are from Australia and Africa, so they were not particularly bothered by the heat. None of the animals were very active. I always feel a little guilty observing the chimps because they are so intelligent. They sat with their backs to the windows and who can blame them.

Chimpanzees not paid performers.

Chimpanzees not paid performers.

I found the zookeeper and her young intern at 2:30 and enjoyed a chat. I asked lots of questions. They both love reptiles best and their favorite is the Blue Tree Monitor.

Zookeeper and intern during chatThe reptile house is nice and cool. It has not changed since the 1970s when I first entered as an elementary school student on a field trip. I especially looked for the Blue Tree Monitor and could not spy it in its cage. The zookeeper said a remodel of the reptile house is coming soon. I find it so retro it is cool again.

Reptile House at the Sacramento ZooThere is a funny sign on the giraffe viewing platform that basically says “finders keepers” to anything that drops into the tortoise’s space below. I heard the tortoises before I saw them—huffing and puffing and enjoying tortoise sex. You never know what you will observe at the zoo.

3 Attractions in Land Park Sacramento

Amy showing at Tower Theater

Amy showing at Tower Theater

I had a free afternoon so I rode my bike from Midtown to the Sacramento Zoo in William Land Park. It has been years since I visited the zoo and it is much improved. I will dedicate the next blog to tell you about it.

It was a very hot afternoon so after a few hours and several bottles of cold water, I headed to the Avid Reader. There are so few independent bookstores left in the world. The Avid Reader is located in an old Tower Books location. In fact the corner of Broadway and Land Park Drive is historic for the Tower book and record empire now gone. The record store is now a Dimple Records. Avid Reader offers a decent selection of magazines and a good variety of books.

It was about 4:00 p.m. and the heat was intense. I looked across the street and saw the Tower Theater. A quick check of my smart phone and I realized that a few hours in an air-conditioned theater was just the remedy for a hot July afternoon. I pushed my bike across the street and bought a ticket to view the movie Amy. It is an old-fashioned theater that could use some freshening up. It is funky and shows artsy films and I love going to see films there. It was $16.50 for admission and a medium popcorn. The movie was fascinating.

When I left the theater about 6:30 p.m. the air had cooled and pedaling the rest of the way home was much more enjoyable.

It was a great afternoon. If you have children you might be tempted to substitute feeding the ducks at the pond in William Land Park or doing a double-header of Fairy Tale Town and the zoo. If so, I recommend going in the morning not the afternoon. I also recommend riding your bike so parking is a cinch.