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Best of Sacramento 2009

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It’s an annual tradition: the Best of Sacramento, celebrating the best in the region, our editors hand-chose 40 local “Bests” they think you should know about. 

 

Food & Drink

Best Wurst: Morants Old Fashioned Sausage Kitchen
We first gave this award to Morants in 1994. But 15 years haven't changed one thing: Morants sausages are still wonderful. This South Sac butcher shop is the place for authentic German sausages such as bratwurst, weisswurst and bündnerfleisch, as well as other German favorites. 5001 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 731-4377

Best Reason To Visit a Strip Mall in Rancho Cordova: Udupi Cafe
The Indian cuisine at this unassuming restaurant located between a used bookstore and an animal hospital in Rancho Cordova's Sunriver Shopping Center is 100 percent vegetarian with numerous vegan options. Want to sample a little of (most) everything? Stop in for the lunch buffet, offered every day except Tuesday (when the restaurant is closed). 2226 Sunrise Blvd., Rancho Cordova; (916) 851-5900; udupicafe.net

Best Southern Hemisphere-Style Coffeehouse: Chocolate Fish Coffee
The self-described coffee geeks at this New Zealand-inspired cafe turn java into an intellectual pursuit and an art form. Not only are the drinks finely crafted; the cafe itself looks smart with its cool, refined, dark interior. Don't leave without a chocolate fish; made of 82-percent dark chocolate (from Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates), the candies are 82 cents apiece or three for $2. Corner of Third and Q streets, Sacramento; (916) 400-4204; chocolatefishcoffee.com

Best Reason To Move Over, Mrs. Fields: Chocolate Chip Cookie From Nopalitos Southwestern Cafe
Try one of these big, golden goodies–baked fresh by Nopalitos' owner Rose Hanke and you might find yourself driving to this East Sacramento establishment, not for the smothered burrito or huevos rancheros, but for the dang cookie! Hanke makes the cookies most days, but the cafe closes at 2:30 p.m. on weekdays and is not open on weekends. Bottom line: Call ahead. 5530 H St., Sacramento; (916) 452-8226; nopalitoscafe.com

Best Energy Drink on a Stick: DavePops
The brainchild of Sacramentan Dave Feldpausch, these nondairy frozen novelties come in such flavors as mint chocolate chip, strawberry, root beer and Red Bull. Yup, as in the energy drink. Did we mention they are virtually dripless and most pops contain about 100 calories? The only thing you might have to worry about when eating one of these is brain freeze. davepops.com

Best Tequila Bar: Tres Agaves
You can get a margarita just about anywhere. But this is the only place in the region where you can order a $500 shot of Jose Cuervo 250 Aniversario tequila. This new Roseville restaurant stocks about 120 premium tequilas- 100 percent blue agaves only–including its exclusive Tres Agaves Tequila Casa Noble Single Barrel Reposado. In addition, the well-trained staff can educate you on the differences between, say, a blanco, a reposado and an añejo. 1182 Roseville Parkway, Suite 110, Roseville; (916) 782-4455; tresagaves.com

Best Dim Sum: Capital Tea Garden
No trips to Hong Kong planned for the near future? Fortunately, Capital Tea Garden, a downtown hole-in-the-wall restaurant, cooks up some of the most authentic-and delicious- dim sum imaginable. Its low-key atmosphere, rock-bottom prices and juicy shrimp bonnets induce multiple visits. 1110 T St., Sacramento; (916) 448-1218

 

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Just For Fun

Best Face Not Only a Mother Could Love: Pabst 
There's ugly, and then there's Pabst, a boxer mix from Citrus Heights so unattractive, he's cute. Winner of this year's World's Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair, the dog with the humongous underbite and a rather unimpressed expression is apparently very sweet on top of funny-looking. Pabst's award-winning mug- he also was awarded "Best Smile" at the Sacramento 2009 SSPCA Doggy Dash- has garnered him spots on "Live With Regis and Kelly," a tryout for "Deal or No Deal" and a modeling contract with House of Dog out of Southern California.

Best Henna Tattoo Artist: Renu Lal
Renu Lal can trace her practice of the ancient art of mehndi- henna tattoos- to her childhood in New Delhi. That's where she learned how to paint henna designs on the hands and feet of brides and pregnant women. Today, she even uses her skills to embellish pregnant bellies and bald heads. The curvilinear red or brown designs (depending on how long the paste is left on) last from one to three weeks. Lal refers to the adornments as "prayers to wear." (916) 717-0211; hennadesigns.com

Best Pool Party: Faces
The midtown club has been an institution since 1985, but it underwent a major renovation in 2007, making the gay, straight-friendly mecca even larger and more stylish. At that time, owner Terry Sidie had a swimming pool installed on the back patio so guests could splash in the water and tan poolside during scorching Sacramento summers. 2000 K St., Sacramento; (916) 448-7798; faces.net

Best Way To Say "Cheese" With Class: C'est le Cheese
These two-hour cheese-appreciation classes, held at the Penthouses at Capitol Park in downtown Sacramento, are taught by leading Nor Cal cheese experts, including a Sonoma cheesemaker and a former consultant to Cowgirl Creamery. Each student gets a plateful of artisan cheeses, paired with appropriate wines or ales. (916) 761-7674; cestlecheese.com

Best Ode to a Local Stretch of Road: "I-5" by The Regulars, CA
Sung by The Regulars, CA, a Sacramento bar band, this song is about a trip the band took from Sacramento to the Pacific Northwest via everyone's favorite interstate highway. Written by the band's lead singer, Brian Guido, it appears on The Regular's latest CD, Songs About Love and Depression. (An earlier CD included another local-transit-related tune, "Driving Down J Street.")

 

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