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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 Shopping & Services
Best Beauty Store Where Employees Greet You at the Door: Total Beauty Experience
Employees at this well-stocked beauty supply/gift shop and hair salon on Arden Way always—and we mean always—give you a friendly greeting when you enter the store.
Best Place To Decorate Your Midcentury Modern Home: GoogieTime
Located inside the Midway Antique Mall, GoogieTime sells furniture and other fun items—all authentic, no repos here—right out of the ’50s and ’60s.
Best Small-Town Grocer That’s Big on Charm: Plaza Foods
Shopping at this Rancho Murieta mom and pop—with its ultra-friendly service and clean, well laid-out store—makes you feel like you’ve stepped back into a simpler time.
Best Record Keepers: Dimple Records
You’ll find vinyl galore at this thriving eight-store chain, along with used and new DVDs, CDs, cassette tapes and electronic games.
Best Friend to Musicians Through the Generations: Kline Music
Open since 1963, this family-owned store on Sutterville Road sells and rents instruments and boasts an excellent staff that gives music lessons.
Best Place To Party in Style: Article Consignment Boutique
Host your next purse, jewelry, makeup or other fashion-related party at this East Sac boutique; it’s free to rent out, and you and your guests will get bonus private shopping time—discount included!
Best Place To Get Your Next Fancy Dress: Maria Luisa’s Boutique
This unassuming little boutique on a nondescript stretch of Franklin Boulevard sells gorgeous dresses—in colors ranging from white to yellow to deep magenta, and in styles frilly or not—suitable for quinceañeras, bridesmaids, proms, confirmations and first communions.
Best Rent-A-Retreat: Good Golly Farm
This 1-acre Arden-area backyard—owned by a local nonprofit CEO, collage artist and avid gardener—provides an inspiring space for locals seeking a mini getaway to paint, write poetry, practice yoga or ponder their next creative endeavor. During their stay, guests can help themselves to the fruits and vegetables grown on-site, which also fuel the produce boxes of five local families.
Best Store for the Holistic Pet:
From selling all-natural food and supplements to providing a pet salon and spa and educational classes, Corner Pet is a one-stop shop for health-conscious pets and their human companions.
Best Local Ghostbusters: American Paranormal Investigations
This group’s mission goes beyond collecting evidence of the paranormal; it helps families deal with their haunting issues so they can feel more comfortable in their own homes.
Best Hot Tubs: Sutter Davis Hospital and Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital
The Birthing Center at Sutter Davis and the Family Birth Center at Sutter Auburn Faith boast the only in-hospital birthing tubs in the region for pregnant mothers seeking a warm-water birth for their babies.
Best Toy Store in Rancho Cordova: BrainyZoo Toys
It’s bright, busy and filled with toys, games and art projects you can’t find just anywhere. High-quality brands include Melissa & Doug, Alex, Breyer and Creativity for Kids.
Best Shoe Store in El Dorado Hills: Bella Talloni
Open since December 2009, this pretty little boutique owned by Lin Stommel brings stylish and luxurious men’s and women’s shoes (brands include Dolce Vita, Cole Haan, Steve Madden, Matisse and Uggs), bags, jewelry and more to El Dorado Hills.
Best Seat Covers: The Neat Seat Company
For about $34 a chair, Glenn Riggs creates customized nylon chair covers for office chairs, emblazoned with company logos and employees’ names.
Best Gift for Expectant Moms: Annie & Isabel
These chic coverups, designed by Sacramento nurses Selena Srabian and Anna Ryan, beat the standard-issue hospital gown by a mile.
Best Kids Clothier: Trumpette
This Sacramento-based company makes baby clothes so chic, they’re sold at Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Best Jewelry Designer: Pamela Tuohy
This local jewelry designer handcrafts exquisite baroque-style pieces using reclaimed materials and found art.
Best Place To Browse for Books With Beverage in Hand: Borders
Enjoy a drink in the bookstore’s cafe, plopped down in one of its comfy chairs, or while perusing shelves and shelves of books. Just make sure to put a lid on it.