Old Sac and Pink Slime

by | Mar 20, 2012 | Restaurant Overviews, Travel

A sample of the some of the things to do in this area of Sacramento

A couple of weekends ago I attended the California CattleWomen’s Spring Meeting that was held at the Embassy Suites on the edge of Old Sacramento. I looked forward to a weekend out of town, however, I either had a cold or really bad allergies and took naps some of the free time we had when we were not in meetings. I was also recovering from a surgical procedure that I had on one of my big toes and could not wear shoes or walk long distances, so I was not able to venture very far from the hotel.  

The Embassy Suites in Old Sacramento

I love staying at Embassy Suites, especially when kids are involved. The rooms are very spacious and the kids can stay in one room, parents in the other. I was sharing the room with my friends Kim and Melinda, so it was nice to have all of the extra space and the living room area with a couch and chairs where we could sit and visit. Nearly all of the Embassy Suites that I have stayed at have been very clean and well decorated. They also have complimentary cocktail receptions every night with some receptions being better than others. The Sacramento River runs right by the Embassy Suites and there is a riverwalk along the river. When standing in front of the hotel you can see the State Capitol just blocks away.

The Sacramento River runs along side the Embassy Suites

The California State Capital can be seen from the front of the Embassy Suites

One of the speakers at the California CattleWomen’s meeting was an expert in certified meat products and the co-owner of a family owned broadline food service distribution company. His primary focus was to teach us about cuts of beef and he provided a demonstration on the difference between USDA Beef Quality Grades. The demonstration turned out to be quite tasty as we got to taste the difference between steaks that were choice and select grades. He had the steaks prepared and cut up into pieces in the hotel’s restaurant.

Since we had an expert at our disposal, someone asked the question to the answer everyone wanted to know, “What exactly is the pink slime we have been hearing so much about from the media?” The expert told us that “pink slime” aka Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) is lean meat that has been separated from fat using a process similar to the process used to separate milk from heavy cream. Ammonia hydroxide, a natural occurring compound is used in the process. The ammonia hydroxide is a microbial inhibitor, which is a substance that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, or protozoans. It makes the meat safer and is used in the processing or production of many other food products such as dairy, fruits and vegetables, baked goods, breakfast cereals, eggs, fish, sports drinks, beer, and other meats. Hmmm, I think the media forgot to tell us that. By the way, the fat that is separated from the LFTB goes on to make soaps, cosmetics and other beef by products. So, enough about that.

Kitty corner from the Embassy Suites is a Joe’s Crab Shack. Kim, Melinda, and I had never been to a Joe’s Crab Shack before and made plans to go. The guy that checked us in at the hotel told us to get there before 7:00 because later than that the wait is 2 hours or more. We got to Joe’s at about 6:15 and at that time there was a 1 hour, 20 minute wait. No worries. They take your cell phone number and call you when your table is ready, so you can hang out in Old Sac until your table is ready. Joe’s Crab Shack is a fun restaurant. It’s loud, lots of parties going on, and nearly every 30 minutes the servers break into dance. Some of the fun loving customers get up and dance with them–we weren’t some of those customers. Joe’s has an exciting drink called a Shark Attack made of Barcardi Limon, Skyy Vodka, Blue Curacao and sour mix. There is a vial of grenadine “blood” the server pours into the drink when the drink is served along with bells being rung and the servers shouting about a shark attack.  The popular foods served at Joe’s are steam pots and buckets of crab. We enjoyed our dinner at Joe’s.

Joe’s Crab Shack in Old Sacramento

Our other dinner during the weekend in Old Sac was at the Embassy Suites. During the cocktail reception I ordered an onion soup. The soup was served in an hollowed out onion that was sitting on top of rock salt. It was really quite tasty. We also ordered prime rib French dip sandwiches that we took to our room.  The bread on the sandwiches got a bit mushy in the to go boxes, so we would recommend eating them in the restaurant.

The onion soup at the Embassy Suites is served in a hollowed out onion

Well it was nice to get away for the weekend and get that pink slime mystery cleared up. I hope to get back to Old Sac again soon since I didn’t get out to see all of the sights during this trip.