Circuit Court Sacramento
1100 Front Street
I have to
confess to something of a prejudice against Old Town Sacramento. It's
my bad, for sure -- Ol' Sac doesn't deserve my scorn, it's just an
innocent tourist destination no different from any other*: candy stores
selling taffy and other dental-work-inducing forms of sugar, souvenir
places with your name on a tiny coffee mug, a token hemp shop (if you
will). My prejudice is perpetuated because those I manage to coerce
into visiting me here usually mention Old Town as a possible excursion.
And I get that sinking feeling and think, not again! What about Sutter's
fort? It's an actual fort! What about that wacky portrait of Jerry
Brown at the capitol? But the word of Old Town has spread far and wide:
It's where we must go. It's like Fisherman's Wharf for you SF residents.
The people demand it.
Sure, there are places
to eat there, but really! Does anyone actually go to a place like that
for the food? You just
know it's going to be
overpriced and under-spiced, like the airport and other contained environments
where your hunger makes you a powerless victim. Thankfully, I was shown
the light by an esteemed co-worker, known as Heavy K. An adventurous
eater, he harbors no assumptions, and fears not the mullet wigs and
message tees of Old Town. He doesn't even fear the weird tunnel you
have to pass
through to get there, where easy listening jazz is piped in at a thunderous
Ted Nugent level, apparently to prevent delinquent teenagers from loitering
about. On his advice, we assembled a panel of experts and headed for
the Indo Cafe.
The Indo has quite
a bit of uncalculated charm. It's small -- in fact, all the seating
is outdoors, so decent weather is
a prerequisite. It's
got a lot of interesting imported items for sale, some of which make
sense (shrimp chips the size of skateboards) and some of which don't
(snowglobes). But one needs more than charm for lunch, and the Indo
delivers in a major way.
This is one of those
places that has photographs of the dishes, making it possible to order
something completely unfamiliar
anxiety. The food that arrives at the table actually looks even
better than the
photos, especially because it all smells really good -- plus it's
served in a boat! A large boat, at that. The Indo gets high marks
We ordered a variety
of dishes. Most intriguing to me was Resoles ($1.50), an appetizer
I have never seen the likes of. It
to be condensed
cream of chicken soup wrapped inside a large soft noodle-like
skin which is then fried in some way, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar,
with peanut sauce. I loved it, and the consensus from the team
was likewise positive. I thought I knew everything you could
do with peanut
sauce, yet here was something new. The Indo has an outstanding
-- sticky, spicy and satisfying. Boyoboy, do I love the sauce.
And they ladle it on, too. My Gado-Gado ($5.49), which is supposedly
was drowning in the stuff. I couldn't even finish it all, so
hearty was this dish: chopped up eggs, lettuce, bean sprouts, and tofu,
the aforementioned sauce and a big handful of crispy shrimp chips.
The Man (Dan) ordered
Bakmi Goreng ($5.49), which is a fried noodle dish with lots of stuff
in it. He consumed it silently
his plate without cracking one joke, which makes me think he
liked it very much. See, on a previous outing to a Greek restaurant,
The Man (Dan)
said something extremely amusing about the many functions performed
by high-tech Japanese toilets, which had me chuckling for a
week straight. My theory goes like this: A superior dish commands
prohibiting the production of quality jokes.
Crazy Izzy and
Heavy K both opted for the Sate ($6.99), a straightforward, meat-oriented
dish nicely seasoned, served on rice, and topped
with fried garlic. You can get chicken, beef, or pork, and
it comes on
skewers, which is always fun. Crazy Izzy left us early to
jog back to the office
-- he really is crazy -- but not before observing that "the
crunchy garlic topping adds texture and flavor without overwhelming
Tim ordered Teriyaki,
which was perfectly serviceable, but the least remarkable of the lot.
we are all a bit
teriyaki for it to seem that special. It's a widely available
all. Tim was probably ordering conservatively to try to
avoid the "Tim
effect," a phenomenon which has cursed him for years.
The Tim effect is when your dish arrives late and wrong,
or maybe not at all, and the
server gets mad if you inquire about it. Even those in proximity
to Tim are vulnerable, so dining with him is a real test
of a restaurant's service.
I'm happy to report that the Tim effect was completely neutralized
by the friendliness and efficiency of the women who run this
While we ate, Heavy
K peppered us with facts about Indonesia. It has the largest Muslim
population of any country
world. East Timor
became an independent state in May 2002. It is a nation
comprised of 17,000 islands, 6,000 of which are populated. OK, I admit
that last one up on the Internet.
All in all, a great
way to spend your lunch hour. I'll be back to Old Town soon, and you
even have to twist
The railroad museum located in Old Town Sacramento is absolutely awesome
and I love it and recommend it to everyone.
Magistrate Louise at firstname.lastname@example.org