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At Sacramento magazine, we’re all about showcasing the very best the Sacramento region has to offer. So it’s no wonder “The Best of Sacramento” is our favorite feature of the year. In the following pages, you’ll not only find out who our subscribers say are the “best” in 55 categories; you’ll also discover 75 of our own editors’ picks, including some familiar faces and places plus others that might be new to you but that we think are pretty darn special. So sit back, relax and join us in celebrating what makes the Sacramento region simply the best.
Food & Drink
Best Place To Ponder Purchasing a Benz Over Panini and Martinis: Bistro 33 Rocklin
The first of its kind in the United States, the restaurant is located inside the Mercedes-Benz of Rocklin dealership and service center.
Best British Fix: Touch of Britain
Located on Watt Avenue in North Highlands, Touch of Britain tearoom and shop serves traditional English tea middays Wednesday through Sunday. Go for tea and a crumpet, or try the steak and kidney pie, spaghetti on toast, or fish and chips.
Best Designer Cookies: Cookieboy Artisan Baked Goods
This midtown landscape designer's custom-designed cookies, sporting expertly iced monograms and more, are a feast for the eyes.
Best Alternative Bakery: Azna Gluten Free Bakery
Thanks to this dedicated gluten-free, vegan bakery in Cameron Park, folks who forego gluten and animal products in their diets can still have their cake (and cinnamon rolls and brownies and scones) and eat it, too.
Best Ethnic Market in Folsom: Folsom Quality Meat Market & Kabul Bazaar
This store and butcher shop is stacked, literally to the rafters, with interesting halal goods, including Asian teas, chaat spices, kefir cheese, organ meats, whole fishes, gas can-size containers of olive oil, huge bags of lentils and dried peas, and olives.
Best New Farmers Market: Oak Park Farmers Market
The weekly outdoor market, open mid-May through mid-October, supplies residents of this urban "food desert" with a place to buy fresh, nutritious produce from local farmers.
Best Press: Frate Sole Olive Oil
This estate-grown olive oil from Woodland is so good, it won gold twice this year—at the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition and the Yolo County Fair.
Best Surprise in Old Sac: Cafe Americain
Who'da thunk you'd find a champagne and caviar bar in the heart of tourist land?
Best Sweet Buns in the Round: Mahoroba Japanese Bakery's Kobe Cream Delight Buns
These buns are sweet, but not too sweet, and the bakery's in a round-shaped building. (OK, technically, it's a decagon—but you get our angle.)
Best Raw Resource: The Green Boheme
The heat is not on at this tiny raw foods cafe on Del Paso Boulevard, where you can dine on vegan "living foods," pick up organic and superfood supplies, and take classes on getting healthy on a diet of plants, nuts, sprouts and seeds.
Best New Frozen Treat: Shari Fitzpatrick's Chocolate
Dipped Berries and Bananas—For $5.99 per 12-ounce carton at Raley's and Bel-Air, you can get frozen chocolate-dipped strawberries, cherries, raspberries and peanut butter-covered bananas whenever you like.
Best Place To Pick Your Own Mandarins: Sunset Ridge in Newcastle
You can pick wicked-good mandarins here (the ones with the baggy skins that peel right off) while enjoying the gorgeous view from the Newcastle hillside.
Best Burger Joint With a Less Than Appetizing Name: Nationwide Freezer Meats
While the name of this midtown dive isn't exactly drool-inducing, its French Ground Steak Burger absolutely rocks.
Best Place To Get Your Candy Fix 365 Days a Year: Kobasic's Candies—You can stop in this family
owned and - operated shop any day of the year for some chocolates and candies made by third- and fourth-generation candy makers.
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Best Doing Good
Best Place To Order Big and Tip Generously: Casa Garden Restaurant
All gratuities and surplus profits from this mostly volunteer-run restaurant in Curtis Park support the Sacramento Children’s Home.
Best Haven for Weary Souls: ARK 2000
Since 2000, Galt-based Performing Animal Welfare Society has welcomed elephants, lions, tigers—and soon, bears—to its 2,300-acre foothills sanctuary in San Andreas, where these refugees from circuses, zoos and the exotic animal trade are living out their lives in peace.
Best Community Mealtime: Sikh Temple of Sacramento’s Langar Hall
Everyone’s welcome to come for a free vegetarian meal at the Langar Hall (community kitchen), where all eat together regardless of race, religion, economic status or gender.
Best Self-Esteem Boost: Compliment Booth
If you stop by the booth on Second Saturday—it’s usually on J Street near the MARRS complex—booth staffers will pay you a compliment, sometimes in Spanish and always for free!
Best Helping Hand With a Green Thumb: Robert B. Hamm
For nearly 20 years, this local plant expert has raised perennials and specialty annuals for his Benefit Plant Sales, raising almost $150,000 to date for local AIDS charities.
Best Home to Animals Often Bypassed at the Shelter: A Chance for Bliss Animal Sanctuary
Founders Deanna and David Bartley provide a “forever” home to some 80 senior and special-needs animals at their Penryn-based sanctuary, and through awareness and education hope to encourage others to adopt a senior or special-needs animal themselves.
Best Land Developers: Soil Born Farms
Celebrating 10 years, this nonprofit urban agriculture project not only supplies organic produce grown on its two urban farms to farm stands, farmers markets, CSA subscribers and local co-ops, but through its many programs inspires us all to reconnect with what we eat, raising our awareness of the importance of everyone having the opportunity to eat healthfully, locally and sustainably.
Best Show of Homeless Families’ Talents: Staging a Miracle
During this five-week summer program, more than 100 volunteers in collaboration with First United Methodist Church of Sacramento teach visual and performing arts to families that are transitioning from homelessness. Every evening that the workshops are held, volunteers and students eat dinner side by side. The program culminates in an inspirational musical production for the community.