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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Doing Good

Best Friend to Animals: Anneke Vos
The cats and dogs of Sacramento have a constant friend in Anneke Vos, a tireless 85-year-old who has spent the past 29 years taking care of pets that belong to local homeless people. Vos- a 2006 nominee for Animal Planet's Hero of the Year award-provides on-site kennels at Sacramento Loaves & Fishes. She pays for the animals' medical treatments, finds homes for those whose owners have died and educates the homeless about pet care. Financed mostly out of her own pocketbook and donations from the public, her work is an act of love.

Best Kitchen Without an Oven: Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen
Bravo to this volunteer-run, do-it-yourself bicycle maintenance program. The group provides a midtown site, tools and staff to promote low-cost transportation, self-sufficiency and cycling safety through education, valuable concepts in this uneasy economic era. 1915 I St., Sacramento; (916) 442-3177; sacbikekitchen.org

Best Way To Horse Around: Equine Assisted Psychotherapy at Sierra Child and Family Services
Healing from trauma and learning to communicate more effectively are two of the outcomes Sierra Child and Family Services' clients have experienced through working with horses via the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy program. Several of the licensed mental health professionals and equine specialists at the Diamond Springs-based SCFS
among the first facilities in the nation to employ the EAP method-are qualified to train other therapists and equine specialists around the country.

Best Volunteer Moves: Morningstar Dancers
This volunteer group of ballroom and country dancers makes monthly visits to area assisted-living homes to entertain-even dance with-the residents. Performing traditional ballroom (waltz, fox trot, tango, rumba, cha-cha, swing) and modern country (partner and line) dance, Morningstar Dancers gets everyone into the groove.

Best Way for Kids (and Young Adults) To Make the Rounds: Washington Neighborhood Center's Boxing Program
Alumni of the Washington Neighborhood Center's nationally recognized boxing program have gone on to the Olympics, some even pro, and include 1990 World Boxing Association light welterweight champion Loreto Garza. The center, which has been serving the Alkali Flat and Washington neighborhoods for more than 50 years, also offers programs in dance, music and art. 400 16th St., Sacramento; (916) 444-6833; akathecenter.com


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