2018,  California,  Food,  Musings,  Sacramento

Musings: My FIRST Best of Sacramento Party

I love my city!

I’m pretty sure you know that by now, but just in case you didn’t…I had to say it AGAIN! We have a local publication, Sacramento Magazine, that has been around forever. Poppa Bear has been a subscriber forever. I always love paging through the magazine at their house or anywhere really. This magazine releases a Best of Sac list every year and then they host an event to showcase the winners, which raises money for a specific charity. Year after year, I’ve seen all the event photos and heard about the event.

I was always too cheap to buy a ticket. And sadly, was never offered a freebie…UNTIL this year. A presale ticket cost $80, at the door, it was $110. Charity is great and all, but I’d rather donate directly, versus buying a ticket to an event disguising it as a charity offering. Just me, no judgment for anyone else. Anywho, Modern Day Couple hit me up Friday night and asked if I wanted to join them. They came across four tickets to use. Thanks, Auntie Maria! I was so hyped because the plans I did have were able to be rearranged so I could make the event. I text the
Bestest to see if she wanted to be my plus one and she didn’t have plans, so it was a date!

I had no idea what to expect from the event. I knew various vendors would be offering tastes from their respective businesses. Sounded great to me, no need to convince me to come along. From doing a little post even research, it says there were supposed to be ‘around 150 of the area’s top restaurants, breweries, and wineries.’ (Source) While it didn’t feel like there were 150 different vendors, there may well have been that. It did seem crowded, but not too crowded.

The event is held at the Sacramento Convention Center, which is great for the number of people they were expecting. Again, I read they expected 8,000+ people. That’s a lot of damn people. Thank goodness, it never felt like that many people. We got there a little after it started, but Ambriss (of a Modern Day Couple) said there was a line at 6:25 PM. When we arrived they were getting close to the front, so we booked it to meet them to get our tickets. The tickets weren’t digital, so we had to physically get them from Ambriss and Peter. We stayed in line with them, our first line etiquette faux pas. You could tell the event is pretty dialed into the logistics now, after years of learnings and whatnot. Security was directing people to the four different lines for metal detectors and checking purses with flashlights. Then we were herded to another set of stantion lanes to grab our wine glass, plate, and reusable bag.

I really didn’t want to carry around that reusable bag, it did not compliment my dress 😉 But being me, I kept it anyways. I ended up tossing my coat in the bag, instead of trying to find my way back to the coat check near the entrance. The bag came in handy, but just seems so off when you are dressed nicely. The Bestest and I took turns holding it, so it wasn’t a bad thing. It was functional, even cute, but not really what I wanted to tote around all night.

When you walk in its kinda like a tradeshow…if you’ve ever worked or attended one, then you’ll have a visual. Stalls and booths seemed to be scattered everywhere, not truly organized in any specific fashion. All four of us were popping our cherries, so we didn’t truly have a game plan or any clue as to what was where. So we just kinda decided to go around the perimeter clockwise. We dabbled in the middle sections here and there but loosely kept to that game plan for most of the evening. To be completely honest, I was disappointed by the lack of decor. It seemed janky. I am grateful for the free ticket, but if I paid for this event, I would have been disappointed. They had a stage and band most of the evening, which also included a dance floor. There were also tables and chairs near the dance floor too.

Lines. Lines. Lines. This was another Sacramento event that is over saturated and leaves attendees waiting in lines for days. Well not days, but you do spend a lot of time waiting. I didn’t have anywhere to be, so I didn’t mind it. But I did notice that there was a discrepancy at play — trying to be a high-end event to just an average event. Some were dressed to the nines and others were as casual as can be. There is no dress code, so this is to be expected. Which also allows me to further understand the lack of actual decor.

Some highlights of our evening:

Wine – TONS of different wineries pouring tastings. Small tastings, but at least they had a bunch of wineries. They were from all over our Northern California region, which was also nice.

Photobooth – The Surgery Center of Northern California hosted a Giggle & Riot photobooth, which we hit up before we left. They printed out a strip of pics for each of us, but oddly we couldn’t get the digital option — which I thought they normally offer. I need to go check their website to see if the posted the album, but the employee never once mentioned it. The props were super fun!

Round Table Pizza – I mean, it isn’t fancy, but its damn good! They had a mini hot bar set up with a couple different pizzas! They were placed next to Mikuni’s, which made for a very popular corner of the event.

Mikuni’s – There were four different lines forming and Pete just picked one. Lucky for us, it was the line that Taro, the master behind the Mikuni’s restaurants, was making handrolls for everyone. I’ve seen him around at various events, but it was cool to have him actually make our roll. He was super nice and rockin’ a pink chef kit. The Bestest doesn’t like sushi, so she ordered one for Ambriss. She ordered celery, cause she thoughts that’s what was in the tub, but really meant cucumber or avocado. Taro looked at her crazy and I laughed so hard. In the end, we figured it out and all had a good laugh. The ahi tuna was fresh and delicious!

Leatherby’s – We spotted this from a mile away and eventually ended the night with their caramel. It was amazing and the employee gave me tons, per my request.

SWEETS Galore – I think there were way more sweet options versus savory options. Which is totally okay, but maybe eating a light dinner beforehand would have been a good idea. I used this event as my dinner, which left me/us looking for non-sweets more often than not.

Overall, the people watching was epic. So much going on and so many different walks of life made the waiting in line less miserable. So did the good company! We may have accidentally cut a huge line because there was a break in the line, but meant to harm nor did we do it maliciously. Thankfully, the people we accidentally cut was my co-worker, so it worked out fine. Our second line etiquette faux pas.

Overall, I wouldn’t suggest you pay for the event. If you are invited to attend, please go and check it out. But beyond that, I don’t think your $80 is really worth the event. Go and donate half directly to Make A Wish and then go have a decent dinner at one of the Best of Sacramento restaurants. Seems like a better plan and less line waiting. We definitely got enough food and booze in our bellies, despite it not being as amazing as I built this event up to be in my mind. But I’m glad I experienced it and can check it off my Sacramento to-do list.

Still, love my city, but don’t need this even to remind me!

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