July 6, 2019


Cafeteria 15L
1116 15th Street
Sacramento, California 95814








Some schedules are harder on the body than others. This layover in Sacramento was slated for about a 9 am arrival with a van time later that day of 10 pm. After sleeping during the day, we flew the all night, red eye to Chicago for about a 5:30 am arrival. 

Red eyes are tough because you need to sleep during the day usually way outside of your circadian rhythm.  Everyone comes up with a strategy to cope with this, and if all else fails you can always call “fatigued” so you don’t have to fly in an unsafe situation.  It’s a part of the job, so you need to deliberately learn how to cope with these situations.

For me, especially after multiple deployments and decades of military life, odd rest cycles are normal. Pilots that have been in the airline biz for a few years also learn how to deal with it.  The newer folks may find it a bit daunting.  Resting before a red eye is not typically something a young budding bird-man/-woman thinks about until they’re faced with the situation.  It’s definitely doesn’t fit the stereotypical, sexy, adventurous notion of airline life.  Anyway…

My red eye strategy is: not drink copious amounts of coffee on the flight (only just enough to stay alert), haul butt to the hotel after landing, find a good comfort-food meal, run the temp in the hotel room as low as it can go, keep the room fan on “high” for the white noise (maids and folks in haul are normal during daytime), and bury myself in a pile of pillows and blankets.

I like to eat a filling meal, but there is a breakpoint where if I eat too much, I can’t get to sleep right away. I’m looking for that perfect food-coma level.  On this trip I almost overdid it, but found the PERFECT meal for the situation.

Several captains had told me to get the Chicken & Waffles at Cafeteria 15L.   I usually go on the word of one person, but this place got highlighted by several folks.  Game on!

The captain I was flying with and I got to the hotel to change, I prepared Antarctica for my sleep, and then we walked on over to grab a bite to eat. It was a short walk along the edge of capital park on a beautiful Saturday morning.   Our timing was perfect and were seated immediately.  We had a good vibe walking up as the restaurant seemed vibrant and with great aromas emanating.  It also had a very cherry Chevy Chevelle parked right outside the front door.  Out interest and expectations were high at this point. 

As soon as we sat down the waitress was prompt to ask us if we would like something to drink.  Had we not had to fly later, the Bloody Marys looked good.  We both got water and a flavored lemonade. Mine was Blackberry infused, and had a bit of fizz to it so they must have topped it with 7UP, or something similar. Very refreshing and not too sweet. Considering my brain wanted coffee because it was morning, but knew it would totally screwup my chances for sleep, the lemonade was perfect.

We ordered–I told the waitress the Chicken and Waffles came highly recommended, and she very energetically agreed.  Seemed like a no brained at this point.  Then my eye caught a glimpse of some truffle oil and Parmesan tater tots on the menu.  So, what goes better with carb-loaded fried chicken and thick Belgium style waffles?  More starch!  Yes, this was shaping up to be a gut-buster.

To cut to the chase, the Chicken was awesome!  Slight taste of pepper in the breading, and perfectly deep fried.  The waffles added a sweetness that complemented it well.  Adding to the savory aspect, the dish was served with a sausage and sage (I think) dippin’ gravy. Oh my!

The tots were excellent too.  I had to stop eating something because I could feel myself filling up not even half way thru the meal.  The tots didn’t get finished because the main event that had been recommended by others really was soo gooood! 

Overall, the meal was fantastic and I managed to fill to the point of promoting food coma without a sleep killing overstuffed stomach. 

If you get to Cafeteria 15L, it’s a wonderful place to meet and enjoy a long meal/cocktails with friends.  Indoor and outdoor seating is available and comfortable, if the weather is agreeable.    And as was recommended to me repeatedly, yes try the Chicken & Waffles.   I’m not an aficionado and have only had the Chicken & Waffles a couple times before in my life, so I don’t have much to compare it against, but this dish here is truly wonderful.




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