Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Day 155: 86 Degrees + 70% Humidity


That's the only word for this type of weather, and it makes me realize again how challenging it might be to relocate to a different climate, now that we're so used to the lovely dry Sacramento weather. 

The forecast in Sacto for tomorrow is 101 degrees, but I'm actually looking forward to that compared to what we're experiencing here in Marshfield today.  It's a good day to leave!


Day 154: Longing for the Farmer's Market

One of the things I miss the most when we travel is access to a Farmer's Market and fresh, local, organic produce.  I know I've already posted about the wonderful Markets we have in Sacramento, both the year-round Sunday-morning Market under the W/X freeway between 8th & 6th Streets, just south of Southside Park, as well as the many seasonal Markets that sprout up in the downtown area from May-October, including the super-convenient Tuesday-morning Market across the street from us in Roosevelt Park.

The lack of access to fresh produce in other places makes me long for our Sacto Farmer's Markets.  Even the supposed organic items in the grocery store just don't taste as good, and I do find it rather amusing and ironic that the organic Driscoll's strawberries come from Watsonville, CA.  Organic?  Perhaps.  But local?  Hardly.  Not when we're 3,000 miles away on the East Coast!!!


Day 153: City of Trees

Sacramento is classified as a City of Trees by the Arbor Day Foundation.  Sacto and Burbank have the distinction of being the oldest such cities in California, both earning this designation 37 years ago.  This aerial view shows the tree canopy in the fall, with a lovely diversity of colour that I didn't think would exist in Northern California:

The Sacramento Tree Foundation works to keep our trees healthy and well and offers lot of opportunities for residents to get involved and also to access free tree seedlings for planting.

I definitely miss the trees when we visit areas that don't have the same amount of vegetation, such as the residential beach area where my Mom lives in Marshfield, MA.  Other parts of this town (my hometown) have lots and lots of trees, but the coastline doesn't support much of this type of growth, and I really miss the shade!


Day 152: California Department of Food & Agriculture Building on N Street

The final building on the block of N Street between 12th & 13th Streets is the California Department of Food & Agriculture:

This building was clearly designed and built by the same team that created the Department of Transportation building, which I wrote about earlier this week, as the vertical stripes above the entry and carvings in the green stone around the door are almost identical, except for the subjects portrayed in the carvings.

Originally, this block of N Street was all residential, but by 1940, the former boarding house at this site on 1220 N Street had been torn down to make room for the Department of Motor Vehicles (note that N Street is at the top of this diagram, so it's opposite the view presented in all of the photos, which show N Street at the bottom):

The tower in the left background of the photo above looks as though it may belong to the Westminster Presbyterian Church, which still stands today, so I'll have to do some research into the history of that structure for a future blog post.

A current aerial view of this block shows, from right to left, the Department of Food & Agriculture, the Thayer Apartments, and Park Place Apartments:

This is definitely an example of mixed-use, medium-density urban development.  At least the pedestrian street-scape remains relatively appealing along N Street, thanks to the setbacks from the sidewalk and the street trees and the view of Capitol Park across the way.


Day 151: Shark Sighting???

I'm making an exception to only blogging about Sacramento, as I absolutely have to share this story about an alleged shark sighting on the beach right near where my Mom lives and where Mr. E and I are currently spending the week:

Apparently, the fin in the picture belonged to a sunfish, not a shark, but Sunrise Beach (where we celebrated the baptism of my new nephew/godson on Sunday evening) was still evacuated for several hours this afternoon.  Mom and I had been on the beach this morning, but we missed all of the excitement as we departed around 12:45pm, and the big fish didn't appear 'til mid-afternoon.  Drat!

All of this comes in the wake of an actual great white shark sighting on Duxbury beach two days ago.  Duxbury is one of the towns next to Marshfield, so it certainly would have been possible for the beastie to swim from one section of the ocean to the other.  The Duxbury shark was confirmed as about 14-feet long with aerial photos:

Mr. E and I very much appreciated this message in the sand from a local beach-goer that was somehow captured and posted to Twitter (of course):

So we may have missed the earthquake in Napa, but we got sharks and pseudo-sharks here on the South Shore of Massachusetts!


Day 150: California Department of Transportation Headquarters on N Street

The California Department of Transportation has two buildings near the Capitol, occupying the blocks along N Street between 11th & 12th Streets (top) and 10th & 11th Streets (bottom):

The building in the lower picture has a long ADA ramp to the right of the entry door, from which Mr. E and I watched some of the time trial around the Capitol during the Tour de California bike race several years ago - a perfect viewing spot!  The building itself, however, isn't terribly attractive in the upper portions, with its stocky and blocky concrete facade.

The building in the upper picture is much more appealing, thanks to the long vertical stripes above the main entry, which to me are reminiscent of Prairie School architecture.  The main entry itself has lovely carvings surrounding the door:

This state department is also known as CalTrans and has a pretty interesting history.  When we first moved to Sacramento, we were surprised that the roadway along Capitol Mall, leading from the Tower Bridge to the State Capitol building and bifurcated by a large grassy median, wasn't used for city festivals or public gatherings of any kind.  We learned that this roadway was owned and operated by CalTrans, which meant that the City didn't have any control over its use or development.

Unfortunately, this sort of tension between the City and State is common in Sacramento, and often what might be best for the overall quality of life for the City and its residents doesn't take priority over the needs of the State, which is a very large landowner in Sacto, especially in the downtown area.

Luckily, within the past few years, the City struck a deal with CalTrans to take over operations of Capitol Mall, so we've seen lots more activation of that space to liven up the downtown, including beer and wine festivals, walk/run events, and other sorts of civic or entertainment offerings.  So great to "reclaim" this space as an amenity for City residents!


Day 149: Sacramento Bag Manufacturing Company

I often pass this brick building on Q Street between 5th & 6th Streets, either when driving or during my morning jog:

I've wondered whether or not this business is still operating, and apparently the Sacramento Bag Manufacturing Company does exist in some form, although it now appears to be part of some larger conglomerate.  And this web site claims that the mailing and street address are in Woodland, CA, rather than on Q Street in Sacramento.  Curious.

I'm not sure I truly believe that the "Sacramento Bag Manufacturing Co has your bags produce bags, bulk bags, mesh, cotton, PE, textile, burlap, sand bags, poly, and many more" if I can't even verify its actual location!


Day 148: Empty Basketball Court?

The basketball court at Roosevelt Park, located in the corner of the park at 9th & Q, tends to see lots of action.  I've never seen it as empty as in this photo, but this image does provide a nice view of our town homes directly across the street:

We also benefit from the seasonal Farmer's Market that sets up on Tuesday mornings around three sides of the park and runs from May-October.  So if we can't get to the usual Sunday morning market under the freeway, at least we have an alternative option for much of the year!


Day 147: SMF Terminal A Changes

We flew out of Terminal A at the Sacramento International Airport yesterday and were rather dismayed at the lack of services and closure of several restaurants that we used to enjoy, including Togo's and (!) Starbucks (!).  Mr. E and I had planned to grab something for lunch before boarding our flight, and out options became quite limited, especially when I experienced extremely rude service at one of the few remaining businesses.

Luckily, according to the airport web site, this is only an interim phase that will eventually include temporary restaurant kiosks during development of the final concessions revamp, with a planned opening of new venues in the Food Court by sometime in 2015.  Let's hope these new offerings are diverse, local, and healthy!


Day 146: Composting

Although we no longer maintain a plot at the Fremont Community Garden, we still make use of the big compost bin there so that we don't have to dump all of our organic waste down the disposal.  We keep a small plastic container under the sink for our organic waste and then take it to FCG when it needs to be emptied.  Since we tend to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies and eggs, the amount of organic waste can build up pretty quickly!  Thanks to the composting option and the mixed recycling, we manage to keep most of our trash out of the garbage can, which is quite a lovely aspect of living here in downtown Sacramento.


Day 145: Park Place Senior Aparments

Along the same block of N Street between 12th & 13th with The Thayer Apartments are the Park Place Senior Apartments:

Park Place offers affordable senior housing apartments for income-qualified seniors 62 and over and disabled 50 and over in downtown Sacramento, directly across from Capitol Park, with its shady arboretum, rose garden and veterans’ memorials.

This independent living community offers one nutritious meal daily, a newly redecorated lobby, computer center, swimming pool, game room and library, in addition to laundry facilities and an active roster of activities. Each apartment is equipped with a refrigerator, and an emergency alert system for peace of mind.

This delightful retirement community is located just over a mile from one of the area’s best hospitals, where a plan is underway to develop the surrounding blocks into a beautifully landscaped village of medical offices, theaters and restaurants. The neighborhood also features eight churches of various denominations within walking distance. Surrounded by a leafy canopy of trees, Park Place captures the stately charm of Sacramento’s earlier days... along with the services and activities you expect, all at an affordable cost.

Park Place features: Affordable studio apartments, Balconies or patios, Walking paths across the street in Capitol Park, Emergency pull cords/safety bars in bathrooms, Small pets (additional deposit required), Utilities included (except cable and telephone), Dining Room (one meal served daily), Entertainment/Activities Room, Laundry facilities, Computer services/coaching, Walking distance to restaurants and shopping, Walking distance to churches, Friendly, dependable staff 24-hours a day.

This development used to be the El Mirador Drive-In Hotel, back in the 1960s:

I was a bit confused by the term "drive-in hotel" until I found this more detailed advertisement, which refers to the convenient underground parking, so I'm sure that was the reason for the original terminology:

From what I can tell when walking or biking by the development at the ground level, the pool is situated on the elevated terrace area between the two buildings.  And the Fluid Espresso Bar on the ground level at the corner of 13th & N Streets seems to be extremely popular with downtown workers, if the lines out the door in the morning are any indication.  I've never tried it, given the rather limited hours and options for coffee shops closer to the office, but I am rather tempted to check out their baked goods after reading the menu on their web site!


Day 144: Lewis Apartments on N Street

Another lovely older residential building near the Capitol is Lewis Apartments, located on the corner of 11th & N Streets:

I'm especially fond of the graceful archways at the top of the stairs that lead to an impressive front entry door and lovely lobby area:

The interiors of the apartments maintain their historical character, with lots of built-in storage and interesting detailing:

I couldn't find any information online about the history of this site or building, unfortunately, so I don't know how long it's been in existence or if it used to serve another purpose.  Regardless, I very much enjoy passing by it during my morning bike commute to work.


Day 143: Thayer Apartments on N Street

Several buildings around the Capitol stand as reminders of the older residential neighborhood and a link to Sacramento's history.  The Thayer Apartments on N Street are a good example of an historic building that remains in residential use today:

The exterior facade of this building is beautiful and stately, with a decent-sized setback from the street to allow a scenic approach for pedestrians to access the front door up the stairs and through the small lawn and landscaping beds.

This building has been in existence since the early 20th century, according to a great web site that features images of Sacramento "Then and Now."  The images below show the parcel map that includes the Thayer Apartments, which replaced a single family home at 1228 N Street, along with an aerial view of the block with the Thayer Apartments easily visible as the largest mass amongst the remaining homes:

I really enjoy seeing this mix of architecture and older urban structures around the downtown area.  Relative to the rest of the country (and certainly to the rest of the world), California is still a pretty young state, so any interesting and attractive links to the past tend to catch my interest.


Day 142: Side Bar Cafe

Many of the state office buildings scattered around the downtown area include cafes that are open to the public.  The Department of Justice (DOJ) building, which occupies the block of I Street between 13th & 14th Streets diagonally across from the CPCA office, is home to the Side Bar Cafe, which is a rather popular spot for certain of my colleagues.

The cafe is on the corner of I & 14th Streets and can be accessed by a side entrance on 14th Street or through the main DOJ entryway on I Street:

I've only been to the cafe a couple of times, usually to eat with co-workers when we don't have time to walk any farther.  Prices are reasonable, sandwiches are made to order, and the small salad bar has some nice offerings.  Even during the lunch rush, it's usually possible to find seats in the decent-sized dining room:

My primary objection to patronizing the cafe is the unfortunate and incessant utilization of Styrofoam containers.  Yuck!  Given the emphasis here in California on recycling and conservation, I'm confounded by the fact that a cafe in a state office building hasn't yet made the switch to more environmentally-friendly food containers.


Day 141: SoCap Lofts

When we were looking to buy a condo in downtown Sac 10 years ago, we didn't have many options, which we found rather surprising based on our experience in Madison where condo development was on the upswing.  Over the past 5 years, the downtown condo market has expanded somewhat, thanks to project such as SoCap ("south of Capitol") Lofts:

This project is composed of 36 free-standing 3-story townhouse units, each with an attached garage that is accessed via a series of private driveways off the alley between Q & R and 6th & 7th, which means that the facades facing the sidewalks are very welcoming from a pedestrian perspective.

Mr. E and I toured a model unit and liked some of the design aspects, including the open layout of the main living area on the 2nd floor and the "extra" room on the 1st floor next to the garage.  This lower room has its own separate entrance from the sidewalk, so it could potentially be used as a home business of some kind.  What we didn't like as much was the typical layout of the bedrooms on the 3rd floor, as the guest room was designed with loft-style walls, so they don't extend all the way up to the ceiling, which results in a lack of privacy for that room as well as extra noise carried up from the 2nd floor living area.

We did get some ideas for our own redesign projects, but we agreed that we still prefer our unit in Saratoga Townhomes and have found that it offers a surprising amount of flexibility for layout, space, and remodeling, despite the relatively small and constrained footprint.


Day 140: Tom's Automotive Service

We frequently pass by Tom's Automotive Service at the corner of 8th & Q Streets, just a block from home, although we've never taken Odo here for repairs, as we prefer to use a certified Honda dealer for maintenance on our hybrid.

This local business is part of our daily urban experience, and it's a familiar landmark when going to and from the gym or driving home from errands.  Since the streets around us are all one-way, and 9th Street is one-way traveling south, we often end up driving north on 8th Street (if we're coming from the south) in order to turn right (east) on Q Street so that we can then access our town-home driveway, which is just south of the intersection at 9th & Q.

Based on the Yelp reviews, it looks as though Tom's could be a good nearby option if we ever need to get Odo access to care a bit closer to home, unless we encounter a problem on the weekend, since Tom's apparently doesn't offer extended hours of car care beyond the typical work day.


Day 139: Can You Identify a Bait Bike?

A couple of years ago, my old bike, which Mr. E had bought me at Budget Bicycle Center on Regent Street in Madison back in 2003, was stolen from a bike rack across the street from Michelangelo's in Midtown Sacramento.  I must admit that I was only using a cable lock rather than a U-lock, but that had been sufficient for nearly 10 years up to that point, so I was quite shocked to come out of the restaurant after having dinner with L to find an empty bike rack.  Grrr.

I ended up purchasing a new bike at Mike's Bikes on 14th & I Streets and have been so much happier with this bicycle, primarily because it's a step-through model so it fits my body better and is far easier to ride with a variety of clothing, especially skirts and dresses.  Stolen bikes are quite frequent in Sacramento, unfortunately, and the Sac PD has begun to implement a bait bike program to track stolen bikes and find the culprits.

One of the bait bike stations is near The Press Bistro, where I met up with S tonight for Happy Hour.  What's sort of funny about this particular bait bike station is that I park my own bike there so often that I actually do know which of the other bicycles is a bait bike!


Day 138: Days of Mexican Food

When given the choice, I don't usually opt for Mexican food when dining out, although I do enjoy an occasional Chipotle trip with Mr. E (yeah, that probably doesn't really count, does it?).  This week, however, I ended up with Mexican food for several days in a row!

Tuesday lunch was at 524 Mexican Restaurant at 12th & F Streets, along the light rail line, just a few blocks from the CPCA office:

I took MJ out after completing her annual review, and I wasn't surprised when she chose this local venue, as I know it's one of her favorites.  I had only visited once before, during a Local Roots Food Tour that Mr. E and I enjoyed several years ago.  I looked at the menu ahead of time and ordered the chicken confetti salad, with no onions (of course), which was both delicious and ginormous.  In fact, the leftovers lasted me for two additional lunches this week!

Tonight, before going to a reception at HALO in honor of National Health Center Week, my colleague CMK and I had dinner at Ernesto's, on the corner of 16th & S Streets, relatively close to home and on the way to the R Street Market Safeway:

Again, I did a little preview of the menu and decided in advance that I would order the enchiladas saute with no cheese and no sauce.  The meal was tasty enough, but nothing terribly special, which wasn't entirely unexpected, given my previous experience at Ernesto's many years ago when Mr. E and I were first getting to know the Sacto restaurant scene.  This place is definitely a local favorite for many, including some of our neighbors, but we weren't overly impressed and haven't been back since then.

It's rather interesting that the online photos I found of the interiors of both restaurants have such similar decor (the colorful flags).  I wonder if there's some sort of cultural significance to that particular type of decoration?


Day 137: Ambrosia Cafe

This morning, I went out to breakfast with my colleague, M, to Ambrosia Cafe on K Street.  This cafe has a nifty corner spot on the mostly-pedestrian-only plaza on K & 11th, diagonally across from the Cathedral and clustered around the plaza with other eateries such as Chops and La Bou:

The photo above is the view from across K Street, and the cafe has a nice outdoor eating patio just around the corner on the plaza side.  It tends to attract patrons from the Capitol (just across L Street) as well as the Convention Center (2 blocks away on 13th Street) and can be quite an interesting place to people-watch, given the variety of folks that either stop to eat or simply pass by the windows.

The interior is homey and appealing (love the black and white tile floor!):

Customers place their orders at the counter and then any cooked items are brought over to the table.  Ambrosia has delicious baked goods and pastries and also offers catering.  When I was still at PPMM, we often used Ambrosia for staff meetings (when we were allowed to provide food rather than doing a brown-bag option) and for external events.  I believe the PPMM Director of Development for the Sac regions knows the owner of Ambrosia, so I think that's one of the reasons we often utilized these services. 

We occasionally have catering from Ambrosia here at CPCA as well, and it's always very fresh and tasty.  I'm just really glad that the business is still open and apparently successful, given the number of other storefronts nearby that have gone vacant, including the former Pyramid Brewery that used to face Ambrosia across K Street.

Let's hope the business continues to thrive!


Day 136: Statewide Plastic Bag Ban?

It looks as though California legislators are moving closer to enacting a statewide plastic bag ban.  Several local jurisdictions have already done so (San Francisco, except for the weird exemption in Chinatown - don't even get me started on that...), and Sacramento has made attempts in the past as well.  Passing a statewide ban would be a boon for environmental reasons, and I'm very much hoping that this legislation is successful.

I get so annoyed when I see folks using lots of plastic bags at the store when there are perfectly good alternatives available.  At this point, who doesn't have at least a few reusable cloth bags lying around somewhere?  They've become the new fad for some non-profits to include with donation solicitations (in addition to the ubiquitous return address labels), and we've actually had to get rid of several cloth bags recently because we just had too many!


Day 135: Sacramento News & Review Newsstand Art Project

With my recent posts about the Capitol Box Art project, I realized that I'd done a disservice to an older and more-established public art endeavor with a similar theme and function -- the Newsstand Art Project by our local alternative weekly newspaper, the Sacramento News & Review. 

This project has been underway for at least four years now, and given the large number of SNR boxes around not only Sacramento but also the surrounding area, the impact of supporting local artists and infusing a decorative element into these boxes so commonly seen on street corners definitely is far greater than the Capitol Box Art project.

The SNR box on the southwest corner of the intersection at 9th & Q Streets, right across from our Saratoga Townhomes complex, has a circus theme.  I'm rather fond of it thanks to the elephant on one side!


Day 134: More Capitol Art Boxes

During my run this morning, I passed three more of the Capitol Art Boxes.  The first was at 15th & P Streets, by artist Ianna Frisby:

This piece is inspired by sewing patterns and designs, which called to mind my recent creative project of making booties for my new nephew, CJ.  I learned to sew initially from my Mom and then during 5th grade at Derby Academy, and I've always been glad to have that skill.  As an undergrad, one of my majors was Theatre, and my primary focus was costume design and construction.  I don't sew full projects much anymore, but I do still often alter my clothes when necessary.

The second box was at 16th & P Streets, in front of the Starbucks in the Fremont Building, and was created by Nathan Cordero:

The artwork looks much more interesting on the box than in this photo and looks like a collage of different pieces of wood scraps and other construction items, such as paint samples.  The variety of textures and colours is quite striking and intriguing up close.

I saw a third box on my way home, at 10th & O Streets:

Susan Silvester designed this cluster of figures in a wooded setting reminiscent of a fairy tale or folk story.  I like the little animal figures in this pieces, but I find the children in bunny suits rather odd.  Perhaps that's the point?

Later today, on my way to and from Massage Envy, I came across two more boxes, including this rather mechanical-looking landscape at 16th & Q, by Erik Hosino, across from Hot Italian:

This image is too small to see the details of the images in the frames on the wall, and I didn't get a close enough look to see each of the photos, but I did notice that the TV screen is showing a baseball scene of some kind!

Finally, the last box I noticed was a bright composition of angular shapes by Mark Emerson at 15th & S Streets:

This colorful collage reminds me in some way of a stained glass window, especially when it's wrapped around a rectangular box so that each of the four faces of the box has a distinctive design.

I'm really enjoying the gradual discover of these electrical art boxes around the neighborhood!


Day 133: Capitol Box Art Project

Mr. E and I recently remarked on some new public art around our neighborhood in the form of colorful and artistic "wraps" on the electrical boxes that stand guard on many street corners.  We passed two of them today along S Street on our way to Safeway, and I noticed a small sign on the tops referring to Capitol Box Art, which turns out to be a new project led by CADA:

In January 2014, the Capitol Area Development Authority (CADA) & the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission (SMAC) received qualifications from local artists to be considered for CADA’s “Capitol Box Art Project”. Artists were selected based on past work and paid to create a design (or designs) that was transferred to vinyl, and wrapped around a City of Sacramento traffic utility box.  The vision is that by using these “blank canvasses” as a platform for the artistic community graffiti will be eliminated creating a beautiful, safe, inclusive, and interesting environment for pedestrians and commuters alike.

Funding for this arts project is provided by CADA in keeping with its mission of creating a Capitol Park Neighborhood that is beautiful, vibrant, transit-oriented, and community-minded.  Beyond CADA’s goal for the utility boxes, these boxes are meant to inspire and promote the recognition and celebration of Sacramento’s amazing local artists.

The 31 identified utility boxes are owned and operated by the City of Sacramento and are primarily located in CADA’s project area. Twenty-nine of the utility boxes have been completed and the remaining two boxes are on-hold until construction has ended in their locations. The artist-designed wraps were applied using a standard fabrication and installation method. Artists used a variety of media; photography, painting, collage, and digital imagery to develop their designs.

The web site provides a walking tour map of the 29 completed boxes along with more detailed information about each artwork and artist and a photo of the full "wrap" that is on the box.

One local news web site has photos of two of the boxes.  My favorite so far is the box we saw on the corner of 16th & S by artist Roma Devanbu (born in Boston, MA!):

I love the whimsy of the cut-outs, the bright and cheery colours, and the bird-like creature in the midst of the flowers and arches.

As I scrolled through all of the artist pages on the web site, I realized that the first box I saw was during a bike ride home from work, when I was riding south along 9th Street.  This artwork is at 9th & O, by artist Gioia Fonda:

This project is such a wonderful idea to dress up something so utilitarian and functional in order to add aesthetic pleasure and delight to the downton Sacto urban experience.  I'm so glad we live in a part of the grid that gets to showcase these pieces!


Day 132: Firefighters' Memorial in Capitol Park

I've already written a few items about Capitol Park, but many parts of it remain to be discovered and appreciated.  As I biked home today, I caught sight of the Firefighters' Memorial:

This structure contains several statues along with a wall of remembrance and is located on the west side of the 13th Street passageway through the Park.  I was surprised to learn that it's been in place for fewer than 20 years (dedicated in 1995), given that firefighting is such an important part of public safety here in California, especially in the wild-fire prone areas.  With the current drought, the risk of fire has increased substantially, as evidenced by the two fires so far this summer that have actually been located here in Sacramento (see previous blog posts).

I can't even imagine what it's like to be a firefighter and put yourself into the face of danger as part of your daily job, and I definitely have a great deal of respect and appreciation for these men and women who devote their lives to helping protect others.


Day 131: Esquire Building

CPCA's office used to be located in the Esquire Building at 1215 K Street: 

This tower provides a neat example of urban mixed-use development, with offices on the higher floors and the Esquire Grill (part of the local Paragary's empire) and Esquire Imax Cinema at the street level:

The most striking aspect of this building is the tall glass spire that extends up the corner on 13th & K Streets.  During the day, this looks like a simple decorative element, but at night, the entire column glows blue and can be seen guiding the way to downtown, even from the I80 freeway that's nearly 1 mile to the south: