Sunday, August 31, 2008
Frisco Road Trip, Pt. 4: Schmoozing in Sacto
A direct line is my preferred route. No shilly-shallying, no roadside attractions, no stopping at rest areas unless bursting is imminent. But this trip was different. We toodled, we toddled, we stopped on a whim, knowing that we had a place to rest in San Francisco when we arrived.
So stopping in Sacramento to have lunch with a colleague seemed reasonable, especially since this journalist and blogger extraordinaire is also the brother of friends Lickie and Loo. Plus, in my goal-oriented single-mindedness, I'd never stopped in "Sacto" to check out the capital of this powerhouse state to the south.
We met at Spataro, preferred schmooze-spot and watering hole for movers and shakers just across the street from the Capitol itself, and walked into a room full of suits and hundred-dollar haircuts. We were seated in a booth across from the open kitchen, just two tables away from The Governator's chief of staff, who undoubtedly chose that table because the kitchen noise would cover up any confidential disclosures.
Still stuffed from dinner the night before, not to mention our big B&B breakfast, Dave and I both opted for the lunch special salad, a light plate of arugula with tuna, dried cranberries and nuts, while our host had his favorite, their house burger with light, crispy fries, both excellent.
He then mentioned that we would be missing a pillar of Sacramento food consumption if we didn't stop on our way out of town at Corti Brothers, a gourmet food and wine emporium that has been in business since 1947. So after lunch we drove to an obscure strip mall and found what looked like a grocery store from the 70s, rickety carts and all, and entered this shrine of imported goodness.
What did we find there? Just the biggest selection of imported goods I've seen, from salamis and cheeses to olive oils, pastas (including five-pound bags of De Cecco pastas for...gasp...$7.99!) and canned goods. Several kinds of Spanish paella rices? Check. Four brands of anchovy-stuffed olives? Duh!
And don't even get me started on the wine selection, from $200 Burgundies sitting right there on the shelf, not sequestered behind barred, theft-proof cases, to $4.99 slurpers to have with your pizza. Plus a decent selection of beers and (I love California for this) hard alcohol to go with the olives mentioned above.
Oh, and those Coit Tower souvenir keychains you were going to bring back to your friends and family? Buy them something from here instead and you'll get a sincere thank-you instead of that pasted-on smile that says, "Whaaaaa...???"
Details: Corti Brothers, 5810 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento, CA. Phone 916-736-3814.
Update (thanks, Glassylady): On their website Corti Bros. notes: "After 38 years of operation at 5810 Folsom Blvd., Corti Brothers will be moving our store. The upcoming re-location of Corti Brothers brick and mortar operations in October of 2008 will not affect our internet and mail order customers." So if you plan to visit, call ahead or check the website for their current status.
Late-breaking news: Glassylady now sends word that in an article in the Sacramento Bee, Corti Bros. rival Good Eats, who was to have taken over the site, has backed out of the deal in response to public uproar over the potential loss of Corti Bros. Stay tuned!
Read the other posts in this series: Getting There, Paying Our Respects, Resting in Redding, Schmoozing in Sacto, Home Away from Home, Off on the Right Foot, Choosing Chinese, The Ferry and the Hog, The Point of It All, and The Last Meal.