reconnecting with my city

Although I love daydreaming of living in far away lands, spending weekends in nearby destination spots, and every book I have read as of late is about traveling, I really enjoyed staying locally this weekend. 

Friday kicked off with dinner at home with our friend Abby, which was a delight.  She just returned from a quick trip to NYC and brought us back some goodies from Mario Batali's Eataly!  We stayed up til after midnight gabbing and drinking wine, while Gabe kept the fire stoked and nodded off a few times... ;)

Saturday started with a baby shower for our friend Jill, who is due with her first baby {a girl!} in February.  The party went by pretty quickly, but there were good people, good food, great gifts, pink everywhere, and entertaining kids.  I was really bad and ate both a slice of super chocolaty cake and a strawberry cupcake.  Oink.

After I returned home from the shower, since it was still early in the day and I was all cute and stuff, I asked Gabe if he would like to go see a movie.  While he showered and got ready, I browsed the in-theaters titles and found nothing of interest.  Plan B.  We decided instead to park in the hub of downtown and take part in Sacramento's Second Saturday festivities on foot.  So fun!  And, while Gabe was putting together his outfit, he said to me, and I quote, "I can wear my Jack Tack!"  He too loves EmersonMade.  So, we both wore a Jack Tack.  Prepare to gag from cuteness:

The streets surrounding the main J St. were bustling with people; musicians played on street corners, artists peddled their goods, the weather was perfectly cool, and we could feel the holiday cheer in the air.  On various streets were vendor booths, one of which had handmade art from Ghana, where we picked up this number:
 love my Eataly tote! {thanks, ab}
Ten percent of the proceeds help fund the building of orphanages in Ghana, which made the painting even more special.  It now hangs as part of our growing collection, framing {read: distracting from}our flat screen.

We also scored a ton of CDs from this seriously bad-ass new music store.  Musician hubby even thought it was bad-ass, so you know it's good.  Yes, we still buy CDs; no I don't think they're old school.  Gabe was thrilled to find Nick Drake, and also picked up Cream, Sonic Youth, and Tom Waits.  I got The Helio Sequence, The Black Keys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and two Grant-Lee Phillips albums.
The guys running the place were totally cool {a refreshing change from the depressed emo clichés found in most other stores around downtown}, and thanked us a bunch for checking out their store.  Dude even gave us a muslin tote for our goods!  We'd picked up a flyer for this store a couple weeks ago at a downtown cafe and then kinda forgot about it until we walked by--and we're so glad we stopped in. If you are local, you have to check out this place.  They told us they get new stuff in all the time, so we're planning a budget to see when we get to go back...their prices are awesome...we just go a little nuts in music stores.

All this shopping made us hungry, so we discussed our options.  We wanted to be able to walk to a restaurant, since it was only seven o'clock and the weather was so nice, and wouldn't you know it, before crossing the street from the crowded rainbow district corner, we were handed a booklet by a woman wearing a large sign.  She told us the booklet specifies great vegetarian/vegan restaurants in and around the city.  Amazing.  She was like our vegan fairy!  We talked to her for a bit, about how we had just adopted a plant-based diet only a month ago, and she encouraged us to check out the Vegetarian Meetup Group because they have a great forum and do monthly events like potlucks and movie screenings.  I already had joined Sac's Vegan Meetup, but her group seemed better connected, so I will have to check it out. 

We crossed a few blocks, rounded a few corners, and made our way to Zócalo restaurant.  The place was so alive with a live band playing right inside the entrance, people seated at every table and swarming the giant bar, so we initially thought there was no way we were getting a table.  Wrong.  We were sat immediately and served quickly. 
I love this place.  The food is so delicious {consistently!}, the service is awesome, the decor and lighting are very warm and inviting, and it's just an overall hoppin' place.  We ordered a couple of beers and the guacamole to start.  Our server also brought us their housemade trio of salsas and beans with chips.

For dinner, we ordered what I thought was their only vegan dish besides the guac: a vegetarian burrito without cheese or sour cream.  {Note: as I am typing this and linking the restaurant's website, I found this article; good to know for next time!}  Since we were splitting the burrito, the kitchen had sliced it on the bias and placed each half in separate bowls, with fresh pureed salsa pooling at the base of the bowls. 
It also came with cilantro rice and black beans that we added to our burrito bowls, and heaped the remaining guac on top.  Seriously yummy.  Our table was located right next to the bar, so we were surrounded by large groups of friends meeting up, and even ran in to a few friends of our own.  We had clearly picked the right place to dine that night.

We were thankful for the long walk back to our truck after dinner.  The weather was still nice, albeit a bit chillier, and on the way there was still music playing at open-door shops and shoppers shopping on every street.  Second Saturday in Sacramento sees police officers strolling and chatting in small groups with coffee cups in hand, dogs {we saw a husky!} on walks with their masters, teenagers being loud and obnoxious in equally loud clothing + hairstyles, the smell of mj wafting through the air, music, food, and art...We need to go more often.  There's no excuse for not going.  It's free.  It's local.  It's fantastic.

Luckily we have a five disk CD player at home, because we couldn't decide which album to play first.  Since I loaded the player, I got to choose.  The Helio Sequence.  Blasting. 

Gabe made a fire in the fireplace and we both passed out in the living room next to it and the furry children. 

It's fun to go out, but it is always nice to come home.

We were the typical married couple on Sunday:  Gabe cleaned out the garage and emptied the pool while I lazed around the house, only getting around to washing one load of laundry, cleaning the kitchen, and surfing the web.  Leftovers for lunch and dinner.

And now it's the start of the work week.  Happy Monday, friends!  How was your weekend spent?

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