A Weekend Staycation in Sacramento
A few weeks ago, Ian and I had ourselves a nice little staycation to celebrate our anniversary. We spent the weekend after Thanksgiving at a new swanky hotel downtown, exploring the new “up and coming” DOCO area around the Golden1 Center, doing a little bit of Small Business Saturday shopping, and stuffing our faces full of some of the best food Sacramento has to offer.
Check-in at The Sawyer Hotel
We had been inside the new Kimpton Sawyer Hotel before, for a few meals at Punch Bowl Social and movies at the newly-remodeled Century XD Theater. This area of downtown Sacramento is a hot spot for new businesses and restaurants, but this is the only new hotel in the area. It’s gorgeous, as most Kimpton hotels are, with super sleek & modern details that come through in its design interiors as well as the exterior architecture.
The customer service we received was above and beyond — everyone we encountered was courteous and extremely helpful.
We were greeted with complimentary (and celebratory!) rosé & sparkling water delivered to our room shortly after checking in.
We reserved a ‘Queen Queen Deluxe’ room for the weekend and it was beautiful, no surprises there. The bathroom was sleek and had a very nice shower head with adjustable pressure.
Pro tip: If you love space, try to book a double room if you can - the room will, of course, be bigger. When the man at the front desk saw we booked a double, he gave us a quizzical look. We told him that we hated each other.
Dinner at Mother
After a couple of hours of relaxing, we walked down the street for dinner. I booked us a reservation at Mother, a local vegetarian/vegan spot we’d been wanting to check out since it opened. The only way to book reservations here is if you book specifically for the Chef’s Tasting Menu — they don’t take rezzies otherwise. The “Chef’s 10” is a special 8-10 course meal personally prepared, delivered, and described by the chefs. It is often served plated, family-style, and that is how most of our courses came out. The menu is available vegetarian or vegan; We aren’t vegetarian but have been enjoying eating veg a lot lately, so we opted for vegetarian.
The staff couldn’t find us in their system because I, embarrassingly, made our reservation for the week after. They were unbelievably gracious in accommodating us and seated us right away. We were the only guests there for the tasting menu and I felt so bad the whole time. I didn’t feel too bad for long, though, because the food started coming out and my goodness.
I’m not going to pretend that I remember everything that chef David LaRoche described to us, but I will tell you that the meal was incredible. I didn’t know vegetarian cuisine could be so inventive, flavorful, and exciting. We received 9 plates, which was plenty for the 2 of us because by round 4, I was stuffed. Some stand-out favorites of ours were the roasted brussels sprouts served in a soy (or teryaki?) sauce - crispy and sweet, it solidified Ian’s love for the bitter vegetable. The ricotta-stuffed gnocchi with whipped marinara, light and airy in texture, made for excellent leftovers that kept well into the following Monday. The European-style hot chocolate was frothy and rich, unlike any hot chocolate I’ve ever had! Chef LaRoche said it was very much like what you would find in Torino.
Fun fact: Turin (Torino), Italy is known as one of the chocolate capitals of the world. I would like to go to there.
I can’t wait to try the vegan tasting menu. Also, people around us kept getting the chicken fried mushrooms. As a lover of chicken fried anything, I was very intrigued. We’ve since gone back and had them — 100%, all the way.
Fleetwood Mac was playing at the Golden 1 Center that night. On our walk back from dinner, we waded through hundreds of Stevie Nicks look-a-likes to get back to the hotel. It was a weird experience.
The one thing I told Ian I really wanted to do on our staycation was to order room service for breakfast one morning. I’d never done it before and it was exactly as luxurious as I imagined, but logistically more difficult to eat in bed than often depicted. I had the blueberry buttermilk pancakes, which were perfectly fluffy and plentiful. Pro tip: Put on some pants for complimentary coffee/tea downstairs in the lobby in the mornings.
We laid around relaxing and watching movies on TV most of the morning. I saw most of Talladega Nights, finally.
Favorite Talladega Nights quote:
Texas Ranger [complaining about doing community service]: When do we get to stop doing this, Grandma?
Lucy Bobby: Well, I don't know, honey. When are you boys going to stop tossing me the radio in the bathtub?
When we finally defeated the hotel snuggles and got out of bed, we walked around what used to be the old Downtown Plaza, now known as “Downtown Commons”, more
annoyingly lovingly known as simply — “DOCO”. It was Small Business Saturday so we stopped by Display and Shelf and stayed away from Urban Outfitters and Macy's.
HOT TAKE ALERT. Display: California is a “California-inspired shop”, emphasis on the California, that sells items made by designers/makers/artists from all over the state. This shop is like if someone took one of the Old Sac tourist boutiques and replaced the products with more masturbatory Sacramento-themed memorabilia screen-printed by hipsters. If it wasn’t glorifying a hipper Sacramento, then it looked to be wholesale-level, mass-produced garments made of synthetic fabrics and materials. I did see a few brands I recognized (like P.F. Candle Co.), but overall it was a huge, loud boner for Sacramento. After processing this visit, Ian and I discussed how Display is a clear representation of Sacramento’s current identity crisis — Parts of this city want to be the new San Francisco, and others, the new Portland. There are some people who like this new idea of Sacramento and want that for its future - which is fine, but it’s not the Sacramento we grew up in, so forgive us (or don’t) for these hot takes.
Shelf, on the other hand, was much more our speed. A shared retail space that supports & celebrates local makers, their month-to-month rentals allow makers to curate a space exactly for their needs and hold workshops to connect with the community. The products and makers featured were mostly new to us, which was very cool to see. We walked away with a few Christmas gifts as well as gifts for ourselves.
The woven baskets from Beam and Branch Co were such a good find. We picked some up as presents and I got one for myself. It has been so handy to have around to corral my hair styling accessories and perfumes. I’ve since gone back to get another for holding some of my jewelry.
I picked up this beautiful accordion wallet made by RobbieMoto. I can’t wait to see how the veg-tanned leather changes with age. I’m able to keep all of my miscellaneous loyalty/gift cards in it without it taking up a lot of room in my bag. I love their designs, and love even more that their workshop is in North Oak Park. Check out more of their stuff here.
Ian, on the other hand, finally replaced the old wallet I got him years ago with a cardholder from Ome Leather. The leather is thick and supple, and although they say it carries 3-5 cards, Ian keeps a few more in there and doesn’t have any trouble swiping them out. I swipe his cards out on occasion, out of curiosity, and can vouch that there is zero trouble. It’s so beautifully made. Ome Leather handcrafts their goods in El Salvador. We’re not sure of the connection to Sacramento or California, but I’m guessing maybe the products are designed here and made in San Salvador? Or maybe the founders are from around here?
Update: Shelf reached out and let me know that Gabriela, who is behind Ome Leather, is from El Salvador. They are opening doors for all makers from different parts of the world. Very cool.
We stopped by Burger Lounge for a cool 50/50 (order of half french fries/half onion rings). I’m so happy we have this in Sacramento, now. We first discovered Burger Lounge in the Gaslamp area of San Diego on one of our Comic-Con trips. Now they’re opening up a Roseville location, and it just makes me so so happy that I can get these 50/50s whenevs.
Drinks at the hotel’s rooftop bar
We definitely made it a point to check out the Sawyer’s rooftop bar, Revival. I know that by calling it a “rooftop bar” one would expect it to be very high up, with breathtaking views of the city, but it’s really just the 3rd floor of the building. Still beautiful views, but just not as high up is all. The bar itself was decorated very modern, very in line with the Sawyer’s whole vibe. The drinks were delicious. The outdoor pool area was very cute — there were cabana spaces that looked like they’d make for cozy lounging in the summer. However, this is not somewhere I’d go at night. There is a strict dress code and once it hit 9pm, there were oodles of skimpy dresses, stilettos, and graphic-printed button-ups in line inside the lobby waiting to take the elevator up to Revival. The time we went, around 4pm, was perfect for some private lounging.
Dinner at Echo & Rig
Walking around the hotel, we noticed many tall men in athleisure wandering around and sitting in the lobby. Apparently, these were members of the Utah Jazz basketball team. They were playing the Kings the next night. In an elevator ride, one of them asked us what was going on at the Golden1 Center that night (it was a Lindsay Sterling concert), and was surprised to learn that someone who started on YouTube was able to pull arena-sized crowds. So were we.
Saturday night we made reservations at the new restaurant inside of the Sawyer, Echo & Rig. This is the second location — the first being in Las Vegas, so that should hopefully give you an idea about how lavish it is. It was gorgeous, that was a given, but the hospitality was top notch. The managers floated about dressed in snappy suits, armed with charming wit. One of them seated us and gave us recommendations since it was our first visit. They ended up gifting us quite a few appetizers, which was incredibly nice of them. I actually think our order was mistaken but they handled it very well and chalked it up to us celebrating and it being our first experience there. My favorite appetizer, hands down, was the Portobello Fries with basil aioli. The breading was super crisp and made me forget what french fries were (although we were gifted some delish Kennebec Salt & Pepper Fries as well). We also had the Cauliflower with Chili De Arbol and the Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios & Fresh Lemon - both of which were, again, so. good.
For our main courses, Ian ordered the Spencer Steak with chimichurri sauce. I’m not a big steak gal, but he had nothing but good things to say about that one. It was another vegetarian meal for me — I ordered the Brisket Grilled Cheese sans brisket. The housemade potato chips were stuff dreams are made of. Our drinks were divine, as well.
The service was impeccable; everyone we encountered was very pleasant and genuinely kind. The space was beautiful and chic. Literally everything we had at Echo & Rig was mindblowingly tasty. We loved it so much that we took my family there for birthday celebrations a couple weeks later.
After dinner, we made our way over to Century DOCO and XD theatre to see Ralph Breaks the Internet. This wasn’t our first time at the newly-remodeled theatre, but it is very nice. I don’t review movies, so I will just say that it was such a fun film and of course, super cute. The exploration of friendship was so touching; we really enjoyed it. Also, how can you go back to regular, unreserved seats once you’ve experienced the guaranteed seating of luxury recliners? You can’t.
We headed out early in the morning because we missed our kitty. There isn’t much to say about check out - it was a breeze. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and definitely plan to return for another staycation, maybe when it’s warmer so we can take advantage of the rooftop pool next time. It was really convenient to have so much to do in such a close vicinity, especially since we decided to take a Lyft over to the hotel and leave our cars at home.
Having been in Sacramento long enough to see the Downtown Plaza thrive, wither and rebuild is bizarre. It looks nothing like what it used to, and it’s clear it wants to head in a direction and take the rest of the city along with it. It’ll be interesting to see what else develops around this area.
What I Wore
SWEATSHIRT | Everlane Cashmere Shrunken Sweatshirt
JEANS | Everlane Authentic Stretch High-Rise Cigarette Jean
MOTO JACKET | BLANKNYC Meant to Be Moto Jacket
SNEAKERS | Vans Old Skool Pro