In jazz parlance, a standard is a tune everyone knows and every musician can play. An artist plays a standard to put their stamp on it, toy with it or mold it to their personality.
Downtown’s new restaurant The 7th Street Standard at the Hyatt Centric doesn’t get its name by coincidence. Chef Ravin Patel takes common food constructs and makes them his own. Familiar recipes play with unfamiliar rhythms.
He juggles flavors from multiple continents, often in the same dish. Improvisation feels like an ingredient, yet it’s born of intense study and years of perfecting his craft.
Patel worked at Michelin-starred kitchens and lent his skill to the Selland restaurant group. His knowledge of local, national and international cuisine is on display in a menu that is tight, approachable and titillating.
In May 2019, I wrote my first article on the tragedy of homeless people living on our streets. The column was titled “Is Sacramento Dying?” It was based on the documentary film “Seattle Is Dying.”
The film was produced by Seattle TV station KOMO in 2018. It begins with a bold thesis: This is about an idea. For a city that has run out of them. What if Seattle is dying? Can it ever recover?
The column was the most widely shared article on our website—shared thousands of times. Many readers feared our city was following Seattle’s course, driven by a lack of civic leadership.
The response helped me recognize the inadequacy of Sacramento media coverage. Homeless problems were not being seriously discussed in 2019. At Inside, we vowed to publish news, viewpoints, ideas and solutions in every issue moving forward.
What a difference a pandemic makes. In spring 2019, a buoyant Mayor Darrell Steinberg, doing his best Daniel Burnham imitation to “make no little plans,” unveiled his big vision for Old Sacramento and Downtown.
Sacramento would leverage more than $40 million in hotel taxes left from the Convention Center and Community Center Theatre renovation and jazz up the waterfront. New attractions would include an outdoor concert venue, rooftop bars and a barge docked so people could swim safely near the Tower Bridge in our namesake river.
The central city had arrived. Downtown would finally get its must-see family attraction. Construction cranes were everywhere. The future looked bright. Steinberg would have a legacy other than heartache over the growing homeless and housing crises.
If you haven’t been to Old Sacramento recently, you may not know the historical district has undergone a rebrand. The dining scene remains varied and, like most tourist districts, fluid. But three local treasures—The Firehouse Restaurant, Rio City Cafe and Fanny Ann’s Saloon—have stayed the course. They offer novel dining experiences that are quintessential Sacramento.
The Old Sacramento Waterfront, as it’s now known, aims to draw tourists and locals with an interactive, playful take on the historic district. You’ll find Instagram-ready sculptures, amusement park rides and more candy than a dentist would recommend. You’ll also find food and drink worth a visit.
When people see a bonsai plant, they’re amazed and want to touch it to see if it’s real,” Lucy Sakaishi-Judd says. “They’re flabbergasted by how small it is. The viewing of it is to see the beauty.”
Sakaishi-Judd is president of the Sacramento and Sierra bonsai clubs and a member of the American Bonsai Association, Sacramento. She is also a member of Bonsai Sekiyukai and Satsuki Aikokai, which specialize in Japanese Azaleas. She oversees one of the most impressive bonsai collections in California. Her Rocklin property is a labyrinth of greenery, with hundreds of bonsai plants crowded on workbenches, shelves and swiveling displays.
I was walking on Ninth Street near City Hall and passed a tiny homeless encampment burrowed into the porch of a vacant building. Empty wine bottles stood sentry around two people asleep. Garbage spilled across the sidewalk. The little hovel was sad and filthy and carried a stomach-churning stench.
The scene triggered a memory. It made me think about a documentary film I saw two decades ago, “The Marshes of Two Street,” by Richard Simpson.