On Saturday, I and a friend went up to El Dorado, near Sacramento, to visit a friend.
I had a lot of preconceptions of what Sacramento would be like beforehand. I expected cows and pigs to be grazing in the streets with politicians and lawyers running to-and-fro chasing constituents and ambulances. Shockingly, the area was nothing like how I imagined.
For one, the weather was actually quite nice. The last time I was up in Davis, the weather was hot and dry; I felt like a finely-baked potato after the trip. The weather in El Dorado was totally different. There was nary a cloud in the sky and it had a nice soft breeze. The temperature was around the same temperature I would have expected in San Francisco.
The atmosphere in El Dorado matched the analogy my friend mentioned–that of a retirement community. It was quiet. There was no one walking on the sidewalk and I don’t think a soled shoe had ever touched the sidewalk until we came along. The sidewalk was as clean as can be–no scuff marks, no old gum, nothing. I felt dirty for even walking on it.
So, we walked to our lunch spot instead of driving. Big mistake. Felt like a prison march. We should have drove; do as the locals do I say.
We ate lunch at the Bistro 33 which was pretty close to the apartment. The main reason for coming up to El Dorado, besides visiting a friend, was to eat the kobe beef burgers at Bistro 33. Personally, I’ve heard rave reviews of kobe beef but never had the chance to try one. This day would be the day!
Taking a glance at the menu, every dish was pricy. The kobe mini-hamburgers were $13 and from a casual glance around the area, they were super tiny. Bite-size. With a small amount of fries situated in the middle on an egg holder. I needed something more substantial then that, even if it is kobe. Since it was my first and maybe last visit to the area, I decided to splurge and get the $38 kobe butcher cut. I was not disappointed. Well, maybe a little. The accompanying fries were super skinny. I did not know how to eat them. Picking them up with my fingers felt weird and they are not scoopable with a fork. The steak was good, required minimal amount of chewing. Overall, the atmosphere in the dining area was nice. There was a large window view of the lake and the server was attentive and friendly.
Back at the apartment, there was absolutely nothing to do. No new game consoles, no board games, not even a basketball court outside. Only a TV. Luckily, the NBA playoffs started and we were able to watch three of the four contests.
There was an epic contest between the San Antonio Spurs and the Phoenix Suns that stretched into two overtimes with clutch shots made by both teams. Finley made an three with time expiring in regulation to push the game into the first overtime. Then Tim Duncan made an improbable three to push the game into the second overtime; Duncan had not made a three all season, no one expected the ball to go to him. During the second overtime, with the Suns down by three, Nash received the ball in the corner and hit a game-tying three while falling out of bounds. But with Shaq and Stoudamire out of the game, there was no one in the middle to stop Ginobili from driving into the lane for the game-winning layup.
After the game, I was a bit hungry. After surveying the pantry and refrigerator, I noticed the lack of food. How can someone expect to a host a guest, let alone two, with the meagar amount of food available? Two slices of wheat bread, an almond ice cream bar, two slices of deli meats and a hot pocket later, I was raring up for some Costco munchies. The foot long hotdog held me over until we returned with the combo pizza and a bag of frozen BBQ sandwiches. Two slices of pizza and a BBQ sandwich rounded out the day. I did not have one of those days in a long time, when my bottomless stomach opened up to accept all comers. Good day, good day.
The trip back was a bit scary at times. The car was swaying back and forth; my friend said it was due to the wind, but I doubt his word. Speaking of the commute, the host said it takes him an hour and a half to get from San Francisco to El Dorado in the same traffic that we encountered. Based off the Google direction maps and my own experience, there is absolutely no way that is possible unless he was weaving in-and-out of traffic at an 80 mph clip.
To sum up my experience in the Sacramento area, it was pleasant. Not a place a single guy like myself would live, but a nice and safe neighborhood for retirees and child-less families.