Sacramento

Pizza Rock

We all had a pretty good work out at the Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink. Skating our hearts out to the crowd and picking up flowers from our fans on the ice rank made us pretty tired and hungry. We decided to celebrate our gold medals that we won from our unofficial competition against each other.

We went over to Pizza Rock for some rockin’ pizza. Ok, that was really cheesy. That was also an extra cheesy joke.

First, we got some Pizza Rock Meatballs as appetizers. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of these meatballs because I was so focused on eating that I forgot to take pictures! You will just have to go to Pizza Rock to know what they’re like! I highly suggest ordering them if you get the chance.

And of course, we got pizza! We ordered a classic Margherita pizza.

We also ordered one of their popular items called Stromboli which had three different kinds of pizza all on one platter! It was one very long pizza!

On one end of the pizza was the Romano’s Original 1950. It had Prosciutto di Parma, Italian sausage, pepperoni, mozarella, American cheese, and sweet peppers.

Then the middle of the pizza was the 3 Cheese Roll which had mozzarella, ricotta, and crushed red peppers.

On the other side of the pizza was the Pepperolly that had pepperoni, mozzarella, garlic, and oregano.

It was such a bittersweet moment at dinner since it was our last night together! I wish we could have spent one more day hanging out in Sacramento. I must say that I think overall we maximized our time pretty well in a short amount of time. After dinner, Alex and I had to get going because we had a long drive ahead of us. We left Sacramento around 10pm and were on the road for 7 hours heading back to home sweet home.

There are so many things that I’m truly grateful for from this trip! Thank you to the Vu Family for letting me tag along on this trip! Alex, tell your parents I said thanks again. By the way, I still can’t believe your mom was a news anchor! Thank you to Briana for I don’t know what actually. Just kidding! Thank you for letting me crash at your place and for showing me all the popular spots in Sacramento. We need to get started on The Brina Band Tour 2015. Can’t wait! Thanks Justin for driving us around and for the cronuts! If you’re ever in SoCal, I will treat you out to some good milk tea! Thank you Jaclyn for making time to hang out with us from your busy schedule and thank you Phil aka Snow King for taking us to the best shaved ice place in Sacramento. I’m so glad that I was able to see you both from SoCal to NorCal! I hope we can all get together again one day! Thanks everyone for everything!

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Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink

Once I had a taste of those cronuts from Bakers Donuts, it was time to ice skate! Well first, I had to pack my belongings at Briana’s place since it was my last day in Sacramento. I packed, helped Briana clean up her place, and then off to the next adventure!

Sadly, Briana wasn’t able to ice skate because she had other plans for the night so she dropped me off at my next destination. From there, we said our goodbyes and parted ways. Tear, tear.

Going to Downtown Sacramento to ice skate was like going to Rockefeller Center in New York City because of the outdoorsy feel. Actually, I’ve never been to NYC but I imagine it would be something similar. Coming from SoCal, you don’t see an outdoors ice rink quite often. It’s not a significant attraction to check out nor is it available in SoCal so it was nice to experience a new kind of winter culture in Sacramento.

At the ice rink, I met up with Phil, Jaclyn, and a bunch of other people! To be more specific, I met some new friends who were friends with Jaclyn. Also, Alex and Justin joined in on the fun!

Since we skated on a Friday night, we got a dollar discount on admission fee. We ended up paying $9 each, eight for the admission and a dollar to rent the skates. We skated for a good 2 hours!

The rink was big enough for me to practice my triple axels flawlessly like Yuna Kim. Just kidding, I have no skills in ice skating except moving forward and opening up my arms gracefully like a ballerina.

I don’t know what it is but ice skating around the rink is a lot of fun. Whether you’re skating with your friends or even by yourself, to skate through the cold is ironically fun. Maybe you get a sense of freedom like an eagle soaring through the sky and from that comes out joy perhaps. It’s just liberating to skate in a circle for some odd reason.

I was having so much fun like a little kid that I really didn’t want it to end! But, we had to get going since it was our last night there and we were planning to leave a few hours after ice skating.

Thank you, thank you Briana for taking care of me and showing me your favorites spots in Sacramento! I’m glad that I was able to hang out in Sacramento for more than 24 hours unlike last time! Ok, talk to you on the phone soon!

 

Bakers Donuts

Briana and I were pretty confident that we were done eating for the day. We were stuffed from Bon Mua Vietnamese Restaurant and Vampire Penguin, but it didn’t end just there.

Thanks to Justin there was round two for desserts! He pre-ordered cronuts from Bakers Donuts. Yes, he pre-ordered them a day in advance! They tend to run out so if you want a dozen, make sure to give them a call ahead of time.

I don’t think any of these will disappoint you. I would say come here every day to try something new!

I’ve never seen cronuts so beautiful like these and I’ve never seen so many in a box! If you forgot already, this is how they look like:

My friends, if you’re in the Sacramento area, please treat yourself to one of these cronuts at Bakers Donuts. They have 4.5 stars with 264 reviews on Yelp so how could you say no to them?

I regret not buying a dozen to take home. I should’ve known better. SoCal definitely needs to step up their dessert game! This time in the world of cronuts!

Briana, I’m glad that you were able to try cronuts for the first time from a popular donut shop! Huge thanks to Justin for treating us out to these mouth watering cronuts.

I miss you, Bakers Donuts.

 

 

Vampire Penguin

After Briana, Phil, and I grabbed lunch at Bon Mua Vietnamese Restaurant, you know what we were missing? You got it, dessert! We already had in plan what we were going to get and that was shaved ice on a rainy day!

Anytime I hang out with Phil for a catch up session, somehow he always wants shaved ice. In Orange County, we will usually hit up Class 302 or The Balcony. He said he knew the best place for shaved ice in town. He wanted to take me and Briana to Vampire Penguin. It was conveniently located right behind Bon Mua Vietnamese Restaurant. We walked over to the plaza next door in the rain but the rain wasn’t too bad since it was nice to experience some weather change.

When you enter this little dessert shop, you’ll immediately get the vampire and penguin feel. I have no idea how they came up with the concept but I love it. It’s different and cute!

Before ordering, we were mesmerized by the art of shaved ice. I’ve only seen shaved ice shaped like a hill and it’s usually covered in fruit. At Vampire Penguin, shaved ice is taken to another level. I didn’t know this was possible.

The three of us shared a large Tuxedo for $7 and this is how it turned out.

Dun, dun, dun! How amazingly beautiful is that to the hungry eyes? I was definitely not expecting it to look anything like this. Some of the shaved ice places in SoCal need to step up their game!

Who knew you could turn shaved ice into this? Still mind blowing even after trying this and looking at the pictures.

All you need to know about the actual taste is that it is really the best shaved ice ever like Phil said. Due to my lack of imagination of what shaved ice can be like, I initially doubted Phil’s judgment about Vampire Penguin being the best place for shaved ice.

The shaved ice is so much finer and smoother than Class 302 or The Balcony. Imagine how an angel cake is probably one of the lightest and thinnest in texture compared to any other pastry. Well, that’s how the Tuxedo was like. It was so light and thin because of how fine it was. It wasn’t just plain simple condensed milk but it was chocolate shaved ice with chocolate syrup drizzled around it. It didn’t end just there. It was topped with almonds and there were strawberries and marshmallows on the side.

After our first bite of the Tuxedo, Briana and I declared Phil as Snow King! Congratulations Phil! He deserves this title for showing us the best of the best shaved ice places wherever we go!

If you don’t believe me about how good this place is, check out Yelp! They won’t disappoint you with their solid ratings of 4 stars with more than 500 reviews.

Thanks Briana for the last picture and for suggesting Tuxedo! Thanks Phil for treating us out to Vampire Penguin! I will not forget this. I probably won’t try shaved ice in SoCal knowing that there’s always a better one but in NorCal. Le sigh. I’m glad that we were able to continue the tradition of eating shaved ice when we’re hanging out from SoCal to NorCal! Also, thank you for forcing us to get the large when we thought we wouldn’t have space for it in our bellies. Thanks again, Snow King!

 

Bon Mua Vietnamese Restaurant

On my last day in Sacramento, I wanted to eat a warm toasty sandwich on a cold day. I was trying to avoid any Asian food because I had Vietnamese food on my first night. On the second night, I had homemade Korean food at Briana’s place. We made a mixed bowl of vegetables, meat, and rice! In general, I’m honestly not a picky eater but for some odd reason, I just did not want Asian food again even though I eat Asian food everyday in life.

For convenience of location, we ended up going to Bon Mua Vietnamese Restaurant on Stockton Boulevard and met up with Phil there. Briana shared some positive Yelp reviews about this but I wasn’t excited too about it because I just did not want Asian food.

I ordered Briana’s usual, Sample Appetizer. I was reluctant to order an appetizer as my meal but I had to follow Briana because I trust her. I know that she only wants what’s best for me because she is my best frenemy,

This Sample Appetizer had a little bit of everything, hence the name. There were some spicy garlic chicken wings. I personally don’t like to touch food because of how messy it can get and because I’m a germaphobe. But! These wings were worth getting my hands greasy. There was a slight kick from the spiciness, crispy on the outside, tender in the inside, and best of all it was sweet! I was surprised how good these wings were!

I fell in love after my first bite from the spring rolls that had spam in them. I know spam isn’t the best thing for you but it sure does taste good! Luckily, the vegetables evened out the unhealthiness of the spam. I liked how the spam was warm and the vegetables were cold and fresh.

There was also a shrimp spring roll which was stuffed with lettuce and rice noodles.

The egg rolls were probably my least favorite because of how it tasted like any other egg rolls. It was still good but it wasn’t as exciting compared to the other ones.

Make sure to dip the wings and the rolls in the two sauces they provide! Both of the sauces add a subtle sweetness to the whole Sample Appetizer experience.

I would love to find a Vietnamese restaurant that has an appetizer like this in SoCal! I’m sure there are some but I must begin my research soon!

Thanks Briana for taking me here when I had no choice. I’m glad you know the ways of the good places to eat. Phil, thanks for coming out in the rain and eating with us especially on my last day!

The Capitol

I finally got to see the White House! I mean, the White House in California! In other words, the Capitol! Briana and I probably had the time of our lives taking pictures with a selfie stick in front of the Capitol. I don’t know what it is but selfie sticks are fun!

Alex and Justin joined us a little later for the fun with the selfie stick!

We look like a happy family there, right? Right! After taking millions of selfies together, we finally decided to go check the Capitol building!

During the security check, they thought the selfie stick was a weapon! We almost had to leave Briana behind. Just kidding, we wouldn’t have left her alone. Luckily, the security guards knew what a selfie stick was so Briana was good to go.

We walked around for a good hour in the building. There was so much rich history and beauty to the building that I felt like we could stay there forever. Unfortunately, our parking meter didn’t allow us to stay there that long. For the short time we had, we saw a good chunk of the Capitol.

We explored outside to see the garden but we had a hard time finding it. So here are some pictures of trees:

I would love to come back here and spend more time in the museum and just soak in more of its history. It was a little surreal to be at the Capitol because you grow up learning all this stuff from textbooks. Thanks Briana for making this trip to the Capitol possible! Thanks Alex and Justin for hanging out with us for a short period of time!

Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates

Briana and I have the biggest sweet tooth ever. We take desserts pretty seriously because it’s what brings complete closure to a meal. After Shoki II Ramen House, we went to Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates in downtown Sacramento. Briana was raving about how good their hot chocolate was. I had to try it myself to see what she was talking about.

I got myself their famous hot chocolate for $4. I was thinking about getting a macaron or some other sweets like a slice of cake or pieces of chocolate but I had to pass. I didn’t think my budget allowed me to treat myself to more sweets.

Let’s start analyzing outwards in of the hot chocolate experience. First off, the cup. When you initially look at the cup, you think it’s just a normal cup with a flat base but it’s slightly shaped like a funnel! There’s more hot chocolate than expected!

Also, I loved how the spoon was placed into the handle of the cup. At first, I thought the cup was uniquely designed just so that the spoon could slip right through the handle but I realized you can do that with any cup. The presentation of the hot chocolate was so sophisticated that every detail of it caught me off guard.

Ok, onto the marshmallows. These aren’t ordinary marshmallows from your local grocery store. They are homemade with love and shaped into abnormally large cubes. The marshmallows add a creamy texture to the hot chocolate. They melt pretty quickly so make sure to get your Instagram picture of the hot chocolate immediately!

Finally, now onto the most important part, the actual hot chocolate. There’s only one thing that needs to be said about this drink and that is, it is rich! The chocolate is dark which gives a bittersweet taste to it. The richness can be overwhelming if you’re not a sweet person. (Did you get that? Pun!) Because the drink is heavy with the chocolate and from the marshmallow, you can get pretty full from it like a latte. I was pretty full from it but it was ok because it was perfect for the cold weather that day in Sacramento.

Thanks Briana for taking me to a hip chocolate shop for some fancy hot chocolate!  Thank you also for the close up picture of those marshies and the selfie stick picture at the end! Selfie stick for the win! Whee!