“There is no secret—or magic, as they like to call it—to their friendship. It’s just unconditional love.”
-Ann Brashares, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2001)
The mid-way point of summer vacation has revealed that if all roads lead to home, your home is simply your heart, as long as it is filled with love. Continuing on from ATL/DFW to SMF -> touching down in the capital city of California, meant a long-awaited hug from a wonderful friend, who drove directly from the Sacramento airport to taqueria La Fiesta, to indulge in delicious tacos and spicy micheladas.
Waking up in the USA on the 4th of July provided a wave of patriotic delight synonymous with being in my home country on it’s birthday. An afternoon venture to Thrift Town for their annual Independence (From High Prices) Day sale meant grabbing up bargains and a few souvenirs (29 cents for a sweet mini American flag). The afternoon brought a visit with Vespa owner/State worker mom, Trysh (plus a slow-motion departure crash through her apartment gates), confirming true friends often provide as much sparkle and shine as any holiday fireworks.
Another tradition making this visit to Sacramento exceptional was dining out on Taco Tuesday, when restaurants throughout the city offer happy hour specials, including long-time favorite Azul Mexican Food and Tequila Bar. Joining a long-separated friend, we noshed on tacos, traditional sopes and empanadas, before calling it an early night.
Although it’s true Sacramento has some of the most authentic taquerias far north of the border, a two-hour drive to San Francisco brought a completely different palate, from the city that rarely disappoints with an array of cuisines and unique locations. Driving into downtown across the not-quite-finished Bay Bridge, we admired the view of the city at dusk, with Alcatraz island casting eerie shadows and little lights dancing against a deepening blue sky.
Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar and Izakaya provided the perfect place to delight in decadent (moderatetly-priced) hand-crafted artisan meat-free dishes. From the salty-perfection of miso soup and a chewy, bright green seaweed salad, to plated faux sushi and deep ramen bowls, our party was happy with this Bay Area eatery.
Our table, comprised of original San Francisco Scooter Girls, minus founder Jennifer and a few other members, made our dinner a mini-celebration, collectively giving thanks for each other and our many personal transitions in life over the past twelve years.
The week in Sacramento passed quickly with sunny, slow mornings by the pool and late, saucy evenings out on the town. Regretfully, work and schedules (theirs not mine) meant missing many good friends, but squeezing in time to meet with others, including a night at Midtown standard Shady Lady Saloon, with it’s tasty cocktails, like the White Linen, a drink rumored to have been created at Ella, also located in Sacramento.
· 1 ½ oz gin (try Broker’s Dry)
· ½ oz St. Germain Elderflower Liquor
· ½ oz Simple Syrup
· 1 oz Lemon Juice
· 5-6 thin slices English cucumber
Combine ingredients in a shaker. Shake well. Strain into a highball glass with ice, top with soda water. Garnish with cucumber. (Thanks, Connoisseur Corner for the recipe!)
Another evening, assembling crafty sisters from the original Sacramento Craft Mafia, including the sweet baby of creative founder Amy (is the Party) Cluck-McAllister, we grazed on Mediterranean-focused dishes at Petra Greek Food, carrying on about numerous topics, such as the best links on Pinterest, the disbandment of our original gang, and the power of craft as therapy, while vowing to reunite in another three years (if not sooner).
It’s been said that travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer; perhaps to this may be added that travel you buy with time to visit friends makes you immeasurably wealthy. When you realize you are surrounded by people who graciously pick up where you left off, it’s only natural to carry them with you into to the years ahead.