Sacramento, California: We woke to clouds and chilly floors in Chowchilla. After switching-out the duvet for a blanket months ago, I think it’s about time to switch back as we continue north? I also found a much needed item in my closet – a sweater. Our pack-up and hitch-up routine went smoother this morning, our third time departing a campsite on this trip, requiring only ONE quick stop, one block from the RV park, to separate clinking glass jars and bottles in the fridge. Yeah, us!
Highway 99 between Merced and Sacramento is notorious for terrible road conditions and horrible car crashes. A few stretches have been repaved, but most of the road is two lanes in each direction, with a scraggly oleander-filled median strip. The right lanes are completely filled with semis, delivering all the stuff we need (or think we need). Drivers piloting cars would prefer this big motorhome remain in the right/slow lane. Never mind we have 650 horses in the rear and can easily travel the speed limit. But these cars do not obey the speed limit, and My Driver is uncomfortable carrying this bus anything over 60 mph. (It’s not the going, it’s the stopping.) So… in the right lane we remain, chugging along through all the grooves, ruts and potholes created by the trucks.
I earned over 2000 steps on my Fitbit this afternoon, and it was in a drawer in the bathroom. Yeah, me!
One stop for fuel. It is my job to go into the truck stop and give the attendant a credit card pre-authorizing – Dear Lord, $400 – to fill our tank. Dave remains at the fuel island to pump the fuel into our 150 gallon tank. While inside, I am witness to some fairly odd food items for sale, amongst the energy drinks, head sets, and candy. Today I saw not only hot dogs on the usual heated rolling conveyer, but cheese hot dogs and some sort of spicy hot dogs that reminded me of a dog treat. Then I noticed an enchilada-type thing on the roller. Blech! I can’t un-see this stuff, nor will the aroma leave my memory bank for quite a while.
Our bus only required $350 of diesel today.
We didn’t check-into the campground until late afternoon, just in time for Dave’s next scheduled conference call. It was nearing seven o’clock when we decided to get something to eat. There are plenty of decent places near the fairgrounds and the University, but we decided to give Biba one last try.
One of my favorite restaurants in America is Biba, a classic old-school, white table cloth place in Sacramento. The last time we dined at Biba, May of 2017, I decided if it were my first time dining at Biba, it would have been my last time. The food was so-so and the service was terrible. Something was just wrong – and Biba was no where to be seen. (Biba herownself is usually cruising around her restaurant, or in the bar, dining.) While discussing this with Brother Steve (he and Gina were with us at this last sad meal) this weekend in Merced, he reminded me that we have dined at Biba countless times – lunch and dinner – and every time has been fabulous. Maybe we experienced the odd off-day?
So late last night, DT and I tossed on decent clothes and drove the ten minutes to downtown Sacramento, valet parked, and scored a very nice table in the dining room of Biba. Our service was perfect. Maybe more than perfect, as our server was super nice and friendly and maybe even a bit amusing. When I told him my appetizer was too pretty to eat, he suggested I take a photo and share it on Instagram.
Biba has moved into the modern times?
This amazing starter (which only a half-portion is pictured above, as DT and I split) consisted of a preserved tomato (hidden underneath!), burrata (fresh mozzarella), micro-greens, fava beans, drizzled olive oil and garnished with a pickled cippolini onion. Perfect! Our waiter explained to me how Biba prepared the preserved tomatoes. Next on my list of experiments?
I chose the Veal Milanese, because if I am ever in a restaurant offering Veal Milanese (or Weiner Schnitzel), I will order this dish. The side dish (right) was parmesan mashed potatoes… but I think the recipe required more parmesan than potato. Delish! Carrots and more fava beans rounded-out the meal. Fava beans are in season, people! Enjoy now, or wait until next spring.
My Driver ordered Lamb Pappardelle – a lovely veggie-rich lamb ragu tossed with ribbon pasta.
Biba is back on our list. I feel so bad that I ever doubted the Empress of Italian in Sacramento.
Until my next update, I remain, your Sacramento correspondent.
RV PARK: Cal-Expo RV Park