Last night some of our travel industry friends from China came to Sacramento and it was my job – like actually in my job description – to take them out to a nice dinner. It’s a tough gig sometimes.
Here’s a little inside glimpse into how these “fam trips” go. If you want a primer on what a fam trip is, click here for a poorly written post all about them.
Sacramento was this group’s third stop on a Northern California tour. They were coming in from the San Jose area and were supposed to arrive around 6pm at the Hyatt.
Of course, this trip coincided with the first real rain storm of the season. Look, I know “we need it” but I also have a schedule to keep!
Anyhow, I got to the Hyatt at 5:30 and sat around the lobby for an hour. About 80% of my job is waiting around hotel lobbies. The Hyatt is not a bad one because they always have this delicious cucumber infused water that I really enjoy. I know a lot about all the lobbies in town.
One hour and about 50 cups of cucumber water later, I decided to check in with the group. Our dinner reservations were set for 7pm and it was getting a little close. Of course, the rain meant traffic was awful, so they were still half an hour away.
So we changed plans and I told them to head straight to the restaurant. I grabbed the smallest, most-feminine umbrella I could find and walked over to Frank Fat’s.
So yeah, taking a group from China to a Chinese restaurant….always awkward. Years ago when I first started hosting groups like this I thought it was a horrible and borderline racist idea. But it turns out Chinese people love Chinese food! Or as they call it, just “food.” And, really, our American version of Chinese food isn’t too similar to what they have back home…at least that what I’ve been told. Anyhow, these days the fam trip organizers specifically request dinner at Frank Fat’s, so I’ve gotten over the awkwardness. Plus, it’s always delicious.
Plus, I’ve taken Brits to the Fox & Goose and real Germans to fake Oktoberfest, so I guess it’s fine.
Anyhow, I walked over to Fat’s and was pleased to see this sign. We scored the cool upstairs room!
The group still wasn’t in town, so I ordered a mai tai and hung out. Feel free to endorse me on LinkedIn for “waiting around.”
They rolled in a little after 7pm. For the record, they had no trouble parking a mini-bus downtown, right by the new Golden 1 Center on a night when Maroon 5 was playing.
Only three out of 15 of the group spoke English and I don’t think many of my awesome jokes came across through the translator, but that didn’t stop me from firing away. I want to say that they didn’t hate me.
I stood up and spoke all about Sacramento, the Gold Rush, the state capitol, farms, food, wine, beer, outdoor recreation and everything else. Then the translator said like 5 words to them and everyone laughed. Still, I think they got the gist.
Of course, dinner was a huge hit. We had steak, prawns, some amazing wild rice dish and, of course, the famous banana cream pie which had special pink cream for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The groups are always hesitant to try the pie, but always end up eating the whole thing enthusiastically…which is basically what I’ve done at every meal I’ve ever eaten anywhere except for the “hesitant” part.
Sometimes these groups will come in, eat dinner and want to party all night and I try my best to stay up with them even though I’m old and sleepy. Luckily, this group was still a little jet-lagged and just wanted to shut it down after dinner. Phew!
Today they will see the rest of Sacramento while I sit at home eating leftovers for breakfast, writing this blog and watching “Murder, She Wrote” with my dog.
Like I said, it’s a tough gig sometimes!