University Park Inn & Suites

Lodging, like rental housing, in university towns are in much demand during part of the year.  Sometimes you can be picky and sometimes you just can’t.  Our travel was paid for out of a federal grant, so we get good rates for nice hotels, but that doesn’t mean that we necessarily choose the locations that are the most expensive hotel in town.

This is one of those that I would consider to be somewhere in the middle.  You are not going to walk in and be blown away by the elegance, but on the other hand, it is an inviting and  pleasant place to spend a week  learning with friends.

Several amenities make this a comfortable place.  The most obvious is the even bigger sign for the restaurant, Caffé Italia.  The food was great, reasonable, and twins, Karen and Christy, took care of us the whole time.

It literally was just a step away.

Another major advantage was the nice setting outdoors.  The pool was clean and inviting, though most of us never actually got into the pool.

The evenings were the perfect temperature, let me clarify, about 80 degrees.  Bugs were scarce, and there was always an assortment of food and beverages.  Ok in all fairness, snacks and drinks were not included in the price of the hotel even though a help-yourself breakfast was included.

During the day, when we were all leaving or gone to class, the pool area was pretty subdued.  Again in all fairness, I was gone in the afternoon when the pool area might be the most popular.

As you walked the perimeter of the pool, the grounds were quite inviting.

If you faced the back of the complex and looked right, there was a conference room which we never used.  We had all our informal meetings around the pool, and our formal meetings were at U.C. Davis, which was a 15 minute walk from the Inn.

Just beyond the conference area was the back gate, and across the street from that was an entrance to the bike path, which I will write about at another time.  In Davis the University Bike Path is quite a famous feature, and is well used.

The rooms were spacious and comfortable.  A couple of women said the bed was too hard.  The bed felt comfortable to me.   I had a nice suite, but the weather was too nice to invite people to stay inside.

What was nice about the bedroom was that you could open the door and have a breeze go all the way through the room.  It added a lot of light as well.  The rooms were pretty dark.  the refrigerator was not packed with expensive cheeses and other items for purchase.  Several people brought home leftover dinner or breakfast so that was handy.

I spent most of my room time in the office area, and much of that with the door open as long as it was light outside.  You know, blogging and such, but I didn’t want to miss any parties.

The bathroom was adequate, not fancy.  It was nice that it had a bathtub, and the sink was outside of the bathroom itself, so more than one person could stay there and be comfortable.

All in all I would recommend this site.  There is one thing about Davis that you can’t escape no matter how much you pay for a room, and that is the train.  the whistles blow late at night and early in the morning, so if you like trains, you are in the right town.  If not, well…

Mikuni’s

This is the place to go, the Davis Commons, a little mall that used to have a Borders.   Now you can find lots of little eating places with plenty of tables outside to enjoy the scenery – which is mostly college kids.

It’s a short walk under the bridge on the bike path from the University Park Inn and Suites hotel in Davis.  I’m not sure if it is a safe place for big-footed angels, but it was great for us.

Three of us met at a sushi restaurant called Mikuni’s that was recommended by one of our instructors at the Teaching American History Institute.  Usually fairly expensive, the best time to go is during happy hour.

Just because I went there, doesn’t mean that I had sushi.  Oh no.  They had tempura.  Broccoli, sweet potatoes, onion.  I had to give the mushroom away.  Anyone who knows me know that is a pet peeve of mine.  Mushrooms always sneak onto the menu masquerading as a vegetable when they are obviously a fungi.  I hate fake food.  If it is a fungi, call it a fungi!

Tofu faking it as a juicy piece of ham in a ham and cheese sandwich is just wrong.  If you are going to have tofu, call it tofu.  It’s delicious when it’s not pretending to be something else.  My friends thought that the sushi was great.

The green things that look like beans are beans.  Their official title is edamame, but don’t try to eat the salty pod.  I know from experience that it won’t hurt you, but it’s just too much work. In front next to the red wine is a plate loaded with Puff Daddies,crab mix-stuffed shrimp with creamy house sauce, masago and onion.  To the left of that I’m going to have to guess.  I have the menu open for reference, but I’m still guessing that it is a spicy salmon hand roll, with the hand being made of seaweed.  Anyone that knows anything about sushi will probably be able to identify the next plate towards the back.  But I’m not one of those people, so I’m going out on a limb here and calling it California 2 Roll with crab mix, avocado and sesame seed.  Finally the top right- hand dish is the special on Monday night – Nigiri Tuna.

Debbie, Jennie and I enjoyed this so much on Monday night, that we brought more friends back with us the next night.  Believe it or not someone else there didn’t like sushi.  She tried it.  I couldn’t be outdone by another sushi hater – I tried a Philadelphia Roll – SMOKED salmon, cream cheese, avocado, and masago.  It was delicious.

BLANK SPACE HONORING MY FRIENDS’ PICTURE THAT GOT ERASED.

I was going to tell you about masago, but when I tried to Google it last night, the entire internet system went out hotel-wide, and I didn’t feel a bit responsible.  BUT, I just Googled masa_o right now – TWICE, and the webpage wouldn’t display which is just what happened last night.  In addition I lost my last picture, so I left a space blank in honor of my friends who got erased.  So I think that m_sago must be something that triggers an international crisis, so you’re on your own to learn about m__ago.  I’m almost afraid to even write the word when I see what happened to the angel in the Davis Commons.  I hope it wasn’t the ma____0.