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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 Sports & Fitness
Best Athlete Leaving Others in Her Wake:
Ranked first in the nation and the world in slalom for water-skiers in her age group, and second in the nation and third in the world in the jump, this Rio Linda 16-year-old and St. Francis High School junior, who appeared in Sports Illustrated this past July, helped the U.S. Junior Water Ski Team win the overall team gold medal at the 2010 World Junior Water Ski Championships.
Best Mixed Martial Arts Grappler: Urijah Faber
Dubbed the “California Kid,” Urijah Faber—a two-time NCAA qualifier and the all-time win leader in Division 1 wrestling for UC Davis—is currently ranked the No. 4 featherweight champion in the world in mixed martial arts.
Best Reason To Get Up Early Thanksgiving Morning: Run To Feed the Hungry
This benefit for Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services is a win-win: Participants get a little pre-feast exercise in the form of a 5k walk/run or 10k run, and people in need get assistance in the form of food, clothing, mentoring, education and more via proceeds and, most especially, donations.
Best Spot To Be Asked “What’s Your Sign?”: Michael Mercury’s Astro Yoga Class at Yoga Loka
Noted local astrologer Michael Mercury not only gives an astrological forecast for the week during this 90-minute Hatha yoga class (held Sundays at noon), but participants who e-mail him their birth day and time receive a 25-page astrological report back.
Best Municipal Investment in Fitness: West Sacramento Recreation Center
This city-run facility—unique within the region because it shares space with a high school—operates like a gym, complete with exercise equipment, basketball court, climbing wall, swimming pool, child care and spacious locker rooms.
Best Reason To Cue “We Are the Champions”:
Jesuit High School’s Rugby Team
Currently the state champions, this Carmichael all-boys Catholic high school varsity rugby team ranked third in the USA Rugby National Championships this year, ranked first in the nationals four times in the previous five years and has 11 alumni players on Cal’s roster, the current collegiate champs.
Best New Football Team: Sacramento Mountain Lions
The United Football League’s Sacramento Mountain Lions—quarterbacked by former Minnesota Viking and three-time NFL Pro-Bowler Daunte Culpepper and coached by Dennis Green, also of Vikings fame—have finally brought pro football to town.
Best Between-Inning Distraction: The River Cats’ Hot Dog Cannon
Fans go wild at Raley Field when the hot dog cannon comes around partway through a Sacramento River Cats game, and the free dogs, sometimes wrapped in River Cats T-shirts, have been known to fly all the way into the nosebleeds.
Sacramento Kings’ Sign Lady and Mr. Sign Lady
Longtime Kings fans Barbara and Nick Rust, aka Kings Sign Lady and Mr. Sign Lady, show up to almost every home game wearing their “die hard fan” jerseys, toting handmade signs that show nothing but support for the team, even when times are tough. Their devotion has not gone unnoticed by the Kings: The two were inducted into the Kings Sixth Man Hall of Fame.
Best Gym for Those Who Dislike Mirrors: Bodytribe Fitness
What you will find in this eclectic midtown gym: rotating artwork (check it out on Second Saturdays), plants, abstract-looking light fixtures and sometimes a friendly dog or cat. But mirrors? Not here.