Matt Bonner's Sandwich Hunter: Feb. 8, 2010 - Sacramento
Entry #14 - Pennisi's Deli: Sacramento
by Matt Bonner
I'm going to give this entry a history twist. I was accused (in good fun) by one of our assistant coaches of using Tim Duncan as a celebrity endorsement to garner readers in my last blog. I'm not going to name names… let's just say it rhymes with Shmip Shmengland. I promised him that was not the case, that Tim was simply the source of that particular sandwich quest. Regardless, I'm going to do this blog using history as my hook. And who knows, maybe it will come in handy some day during Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit.
Today's sandwich hunt took me to the capitol of California: The River City aka The City of Trees aka Sac-Town aka Sacramento. The reference to trees comes from the numerous oaks in the region and The River City refers to the American and Sacramento Rivers which meet at the city's original settlement. The river and region got it's name at the turn of the 19th century by Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga. The vast beauty of the region was described as "like the Holy Sacrament". Sacrament obviously translates in Spanish to "Sacramento". The city itself was established during the gold rush when numerous gold seekers quickly increased the area's population. Prominent Swiss immigrant John Sutter, Jr. planned the city and named it after the river.
Sacramento is actually the oldest incorporated city in the State of California, having adopted its charter in 1849. That is amazing to me. Such a young state. Growing up in New England, most cities and towns were incorporated in the 1600 and 1700s. Although, I bet the Europeans feel the same way about New England as I feel about California.
Like other "gold rush" cities flooded by a diverse supply of immigrants and settlers during the mid 1800s, Sacramento is now a melting pot of eastern and western culture. I couldn't help but notice this as I walked to the sandwich shop. Billed as the most racially integrated major city in America, I walked past Vietnamese, Indian, Afghan, Chinese and Japanese restaurants mixed in with skateboard shops, clothing boutiques, Subway, Quizno's, and other western staples. I LOVE good Indian and Chinese food so I had to fight the temptation to stop my quest and settle for some chicken tikka, basmati rice and palak paneer.