Best of Sacramento 2010

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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.


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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.


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