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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Shopping & Services

Best Trip to the Old West: Sheldon Feed
In the midst of the ever-growing city of Elk Grove, you can still find signs of the old Elk Grove in Sheldon Feed, in business for more than 40 years. The humble farming supply store is an instant trip to cowboy territory, peddling everything from saddles, reins and Western apparel to, yes, even bales of hay. 8928 Grant Line Road, Elk Grove; (916) 686-6400

Best Businessmen on Boards: The Owners of Ground Zero Clothing & Board Shop
With the economy in bad shape, it's understandable to have a bleak outlook on business, but the owners of Ground Zero Clothing & Boards-Del Campo High School grads Seth Sternin and Brendan Mohr-aren't letting it get them down. Their chain of stores for all things boards (skateboards, snowboards, wakeboards, etc.) expanded to five locations in the Sacramento area this past July with the opening of their store at the Roseville Galleria. And they are community-oriented, holding skate contests, an annual snowboard video premiere and other youth-oriented events throughout the year. Oh, and they give away free stuff at these events. groundzero boardshop.net

Best Housewares Department in a Hardware Store: Davis Ace Hardware
This old-fashioned hardware store sells an eye-popping selection of things for the home, from china and giftware to kitchen appliances and cookware. It carries pricey brands such as Viking, Cuisinart, All-Clad, Emile Henry and Le Creuset, but the wall of inexpensive kitchen gadgets and gizmos is pretty cool, too. 240 G St., Davis; (530) 758-8000; davisace.com

Best Place To Celebrate Christmas Year-Round: William Glen Christmas & More
Whether it is right before Christmas or in the heat of July, William Glen Christmas & More is a veritable winter wonderland. The shop, originally open only seasonally, laid down permanent roots when the William Glen staff realized that the Christmas magic needn't fade away once January arrives. 2651 El Paseo Lane, Sacramento; (916) 481-2397; williamglen.com

Best Proof That Second Time's a Charm: Second Season
Saks Fifth Avenue white lined pants for $5. A Burberry blazer for $6. Twenty-five-cent books. Those are just a few of the deals we spotted during a visit to this upscale secondhand shop located close to Country Club Plaza in Sacramento. But the best reason for shopping (besides screamin' deals): The money raised at this all-volunteer-run store benefits the Assistance League of Sacramento, which serves needy children and adults in our community. 2528 Yorktown Ave., Suite C, Sacramento; (916) 488-0828; sacramento.assistanceleague.org

Best Place for a Cheapskate: Bargain Barn
Need office supplies but hate to part with your cash? This is the place for you. Run by UC Davis, the Bargain Barn sells used computers, printers, office furniture, office products and other stuff for a fraction of the original price. They even get the occasional random item among their inventory; think piano, kayak, wrestling mat. Part of the university's commitment to sustainability, the Bargain Barn diverts 8,000 university items from landfills every year. Located on the UC Davis campus on La Rue Road. (530) 752-2145; bargain barn.uc davis.edu

Best Way To Clear Your Brush: Goat Central
Ditch those gasoline-powered lawn mowers now. El Dorado-based Goat Central rents out goats to happily chomp away weeds and unwanted vegetation on your property. The number of goats depends upon the project (the goats are suitable for properties 1 acre or larger), but it can range from 20 to 200, says Julie Austin, who co-owns the biz with husband Roy. You may have seen the hungry critters this past summer munching in the Empire Ranch subdivision in Folsom or the Lake Forest subdivision in El Dorado Hills. (530) 621-2920; goatcen tral.com


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