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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 "Just for Fun"
Best Swing Set: Midtown Stomp
Every Friday night, midtown’s Eastern Star Ballroom teems with toe-tappin’ energy as dancers of all ages and experience levels convene for lessons in East Coast swing and Lindy Hop, followed by hours of open dancing to DJs and live bands.
Best Way To Indulge Your Inner Rock Star: Skip’s Music’s Weekend Warriors
You provide the talent, time and money, and Skip’s Music will pair you up with like-minded musicians, loan you equipment, offer a little coaching and—at the end of four weeks’ practice—give you your own gig!
Best Example of Defying the Rumors: West Wind Sacramento 6 Drive-In
We’ve heard rumors that the area’s only remaining drive-in theater was closing for the past 10 years—yet the reels roll on.
Best Wild Ride for Moviegoers: D-BOX Seats at Folsom’s Palladio 16 Cinemas
D-BOX seats allow you to feel action-movie rumblings and rollings in your back, butt and thighs. The 22 seats, limited to one theater, cost $8 more than standard seat admission.
Best Art-filled Hotel: Embassy Suites Sacramento Riverfront Promenade
The lobby of this hotel is filled with depictions of regional landscapes in various media by local artists Gil Amavisca, Joseph Bellacera, Paula Wenzl Bellacera, Terry Pappas and others along with sculptures by Camille VandenBerge and Masatoyo Kishi.
Best Bet for Your Budding Artist: ArtBeast Studio
Young children not only can unleash their inner Picassos at this midtown art center’s open studios but can take classes in movement, drumming, yoga, glee and more. Proceeds benefit Tubman House, a nonprofit serving young, homeless parents and their children.
Best Ambassador for UC Davis: Melanie the Cockatoo
This sociable Moluccan cockatoo—a full-time resident at the vet hospital since 1998— charms visitors with her playful antics.
Best Girls’ Night Out: TwinSoup.com’s Stiletto Crawl
Because shopping + dining + a limo + a bunch of gal pals = loads of fun.
Best Lunch Bunch for 15 Years: The Dining Divas
Since 1995, local lunchers Gloria Glyer, Paulette Bruce, Bernice Hagen, Joan Leineke, Gayla Mace and Peg Tomlinson-Poswall have dined out together for Sacramento magazine, introducing readers to new restaurants, regaling them with chatter—and raising almost $400,000 for local charities in the process.
Best Brain Trust: The Sacramento Living Library Series
This free monthly lecture series, around little more than a year, already has featured many movers and shapers of the Sacramento landscape, including former mayors Heather Fargo, Anne Rudin, Phil Isenberg and Burnett Miller; author Peter Schrag; Tower Records founder Russ Solomon; and Sacramento Bee editorial board member Ginger Rutland.
Best New Hotel Amenity: Mac Mini Computers at The Citizen Hotel
Earlier this year, the hotel put Mac Minis in every rooms so guests can check e-mail, download music from iTunes and stream movies from Netflix and Hulu.