Goodbye Sacramento!

Sacramento pleasantly surprised me. It is a really nice city – or at least the downtown/midtown areas are.  I was able to explore the city a little bit more yesterday, and the weather is so perfect out here…not too hot, not too cold.  I’m on my way back home today, yay! I can’t wait to smother my husband and daughter in hugs and kisses.

On to food (as always).

On Wednesday, I had a delicious, perfectly made “chicken caesar lavash wrap”.  The Lavash bread was crispy and light.  The chicken was flavorful (garlic and spices), the tomatoes and lettuce were nice and crisp, and I wanted to bathe in the garlic yogurt sauce.  I had this deliciousness at the Crest Cafe, a VERY unassuming looking little restaurant.  But I’m glad I gave it a chance because I wolfed that entire sandwich down.

For dinner that night, a couple of friends and I went to Aioli Bodega Espanola.  Can I say wow?  We sat in the gorgeous courtyard, and it was a beautiful night.  We started with a pitcher of the Sangria.  I thought the Sangria I had at Lucca the night before was good, it did not even come close to the Sangria at Aioli  The Sangria at Aioli was so different from any Sangria I’ve had. It was barely sweet, with nutmeg, cinamoon, and other spices in it.  It was dry.  We asked the waiter how they make it, and they put port and triple sec in it.  I will need to see if I can recreate it because I probably could have drank the whole pitcher by myself.

Since Aioli serves Tapas, we ordered one to share at the table, a dish with mini chorizo sausages and garbanzo beans in a red sauce.  It was great! It was like a high-end frank and beans dish.  The sausage was nice and smoky and the tomato based sauce was so good, we were dipping our bread in it.

I ordered the Pollo Aragon (chicken in a wild mushroom sherry sauce). My friends ordered a Salmon dish and a grilled marinated Chicken with arugula and fennel salad dish.  My chicken was very flavorful.  The sauce was nice and rich but not overpoweringly so.  The chicken itself was a tad overcooked, and had red chili flakes on it which added a nice hit of heat to the dish.  The sides were mashed potato and sauteed spinach.  The spinach was cooked perfectly and was pleasantly garlicky.  The mashed potatoes were very good in the sauce.  My friends were very satisfied with their dishes as well although both the chicken and salmon were again. slightly overcooked.

I was very happy that night walking home, after enjoying such a wonderful meal on a beautiful night.

I have to mention I was extremely jet lagged this entire week. I kept waking up at 4:30 AM on the dot.  It was really fun, NOT!

Yesterday, I was beat but I forced myself to search out some more good food. I’m such a slave to food.

I really wanted some good Vietnamese Pho (beef needle soup).  I found a place right around the corner from my hotel, Kim’s Vietnamese. It’s like a tiny cafeteria, you put your order in and they bring your order to you. I was happy to see a BIG bottle of Sriracha on the table.  I knew I was in the right place.

They brought out my chicken egg roll out first.  It was cold.  Not an appetizing thing for an egg roll to be.  I sent it back and asked for a hot one, and they obliged.  They brought back a nice, crisp eggroll back.  It was so good. The outside was nice and crispy and the chicken/cabbage filling was yummy.

Then the Pho came out (I ordered it with the well done flank steak).  The bowl was bigger than my head, literally.  I squeezed some lime in it, threw in some bean sprouts, and Thai basil and started the business of eating.  I love piling the noodles on the big soup spoon (why aren’t these spoons used everywhere? They are so efficient!), I then drop some Sriracha and a slice of fresh jalapeno on the spoon.  I then place the whole wonderful concoction in my mouth.  Perfection.  The broth itself was good but a little too sweet.  But really, the entire dish was so enjoyable.  I didn’t even make a dent in it after working on it for 15 minutes straight.  I tried my best! But I just could not fit anymore food into my body.

I then took a nice long walk around the city, it was really pleasant with cute little shops here and there.  As a light dessert, I enjoyed some frozen yogurt (raspberry and vanilla) with lots of fresh berries, shaved coconut, peanuts, and a tiny amount of chocolate chips.  The shop, Yogurtagogo, was one of those new yogurt shops that weighs the final cup of yogurt and the yogurt has live cultures in it.  So good!

I then broke a travel rule of mine and instead of trying a new different restaurant, I went back to Aioli Bodega Espanola.  I just really wanted another glass of that Sangria!  So I went by myself this time, and again sat outside.  Unfortunately, my second time at Aioli didn’t inspire the same raptures of delight from the night before.  The Sangria tasted slightly watered down, the flavors weren’t as powerful as the night before.  I ordered their version of the Tortilla Espanola and I ordered the mini chorizos again. The tortilla espanola (potato and egg pie, this one had red peppers in it), was kind of gross. I mean I ate the whole thing because I was hungry but it was cut up into 4 slices, and each slice was DRENCHED in garlic aioli.  Then they had this dropping of tomato sauce in the middle.  Tortilla Espanola is delicious by itself without all of the unnecessary accoutrements.  However, this pie was tasteless, and the texture was slightly off.  The tomato sauce didn’t add anything to the dish, and I just sopped up the aioli with the bread.  I am happy to report that the chorizo was as enjoyable as it was the night before.

Leaving the restaurant, I definitely regretted going back as I didn’t enjoy my meal half as much as I did the night before.  So I will need to reinstate my travel rule to keep trying new things when I have the opportunity to do so.

I got home safely and on time!  I rushed home and felt so happy to be with my family again.

This weekend, we will be going to Blue Spice in Colonie, stay tuned for our review!

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