Slow Food and Cycling in Sacramento

When I was growing up, my friends and I could not wait to get out of Sacramento. From the time one of us had both a driver’s license and a car, we headed to San Francisco as often as possible. There we could find art and culture and cool restaurants and shops, everything our cowtown hometown seemed to be lacking.

Fast forward twenty-plus years. I rarely go home because my parents (thankfully) like to visit me, so it’s been about three years since I was last there. Boy was I surprised last week when I attended the Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference (blog to follow)! Downtown Sacramento is now all about slow food and cycling – in short, a place I’d now be happy to live in!

Bicycles were locked up outside of every restaurant in downtown Sacramento.

Over breakfast at long-ago favorite Fox and Goose, a friend explained Sacramento’s new “Farm to Fork” status, and the Slow Food movement with “Snailies” – snail awards for participating slow food restaurants in town. As someone who supports, although can’t always afford, slow food, I felt obligated to try one. I dragged my BikeArlington colleague, also at the conference, to Lucca Restaurant, and we were so impressed by the delicious food! And the prices weren’t bad either.

Lucca also does a farmer’s market dinner on Sundays. I’d love to try this.

I hit a few other new places, as well as visited a long-time favorite coffee shop, now in a new location.

Cafeteria 15L – grown up comfort food in a huge space, with a courtyard shared with two other places.

Skillet S’mores at Cafeteria 15L


Yes, I have been going to Capitol Garage for 20 years – boy does that make me feel old.

Having so many great (and huge! Every place downtown was in a space that could hold several NYC restaurants!) within walking distance to just about anything in downtown and midtown would have made me a much happier person. Let’s ignore the fact that I was then a poor college student, shall we?

I had been told that Sacramento had become a huge bicycling city, so I shouldn’t have been surprised at the number of bikes and bike racks I saw everywhere, yet I was.

One of the Edible Pedal delivery bikes cruising past a Sacramento landmark.

More delivery bikes, this time for Pizza Rock.

Lots of fixies – the city is pretty flat, so I guess that would be fine. I love the lights on this bike!

Out for a spin on my mother’s adorable cruiser bike.


I was disappointed to not have had time to cruise around on a bike, but I did take Light Rail from my parents neighborhood to downtown, and was HUGELY impressed by the bike racks in the light rail cars. Yes, that’s right, I said IN the cars. Bikes are permitted in the light rail cars at all times, in designated areas, although signs to say cyclists may be asked to leave if trains are too crowded. When I rode it, there was a high volume of what people might consider “undesirables,”  compared to New York or the Washington DC area, where everyone rides the subway system. I was continually cautioned against riding it at night.

I guess now I need to return to Sacramento soon and explore more of this slow food cycling city. The Mechanic needs to experience my hometown anyway. But I will offer Napa Valley and San Francisco to sweeten the deal.