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BEST OF SACRAMENTO     GOODIE BAG      MASTERS CLUB MEMBERS     NEWSLETTERS     WEDDINGS     RESTAURANTS     WINE

Best of Sacramento 2011

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THINGS TO DO

Best Way To Spend a Day
Grady O’Bryant likes bringing people together. And he does just that with his Meetup, SACRAMENTO DAY TRIPPERS. The group, which boasts 2,000 members, has been tripping all around Northern California since 2008: wine tasting in Amador, seeing plays in San Francisco, cheering at football games in Oakland, taking in the sights at Monterey Bay Aquarium. O’Bryant organizes some 50-plus outings a year. The group also holds a big New Year’s Eve bash and gets together to listen to jazz at MIX Downtown during the warm-weather months. (916) 443-8741; escapesac.com

Best Way To Expand Your Mind
Where do you go when you’re craving intellectual sustenance? California State Library’s FOOD FOR THOUGHT CULTURAL PROGRAM scratches that itch. Held the third Wednesday of every month, the free events have a format that varies: It could be a movie screening, author lecture or music performance. But it’s always something California-related. This month, pop-up-book author and illustrator David A. Carter talks about his books. “The series is meant to introduce people to what we offer here at the library,” says Rebecca Fontaine, special events coordinator at the library, which is like the California version of the U.S. Library of Congress. “Most people don’t know what we are really about or that we are even here.” 900 N St., Sacramento; (916) 654-0266; library.ca.gov

Best Way To See the Real Old Sac
In the late 1800s, the city raised Old Sac’s buildings 8 to 12 feet to help combat the effects of flooding. Now you can tour the hidden underground city that was left behind. Hourlong OLD SACRAMENTO UNDERGROUND TOURS ake you below several historic buildings, including the B.F. Hastings and Hall & Luhrs Co. buildings. You’ll learn about interesting residents of the era and view bona-fide artifacts from back in the day. Sturdy shoes are recommended and a new appreciation for Sacramento history is guaranteed. Tours run through November, then resume in April. historicoldsac.org/programs/programs-underground.asp

Best Place To Spot a Celebrity
Sacramento isn’t exactly teeming with famous people. But once a year, a slew of celebs come to town for induction into the CALIFORNIA HALL OF FAME. Founded in 2006 by then-first lady Maria Shriver, the Hall of Fame celebrates remarkable Californians who’ve had a major impact on the world. Past honorees include Tiger Woods, Quincy Jones, Barbra Streisand, Serena Williams, Jack Nicholson, Mark Zuckerberg and Clint Eastwood. In previous years, induction was held in The California Museum’s tiny downtown auditorium. This year’s ceremony will be on Dec. 8 at the much larger Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are available at $125 a pop. For fans looking to gawk for free, there will be a red carpet arrival out front for this year’s inductees, which include Buzz Aldrin, Magic Johnson, Carlos Santana and The Beach Boys. Bring your binoculars. californiamuseum.org

 

Next page: Garden + Design

(page 2 of 7)

 

FOOD + DRINK

Best Gourmet  Doughnuts

You can find all sorts of artisanal products these days: bread, cheese, beer, even popsicles. The latest foodstuff to get the artisan treatment? Doughnuts. This summer, Sacramento’s first gourmet doughnut shop, DOUGHBOT, opened in Southside Park, serving made-from-scratch doughnuts in such cutting-edge flavors as dulce de leche, chai tea, and peanut butter and jelly. Owners Bryan Widener and Dannah O’Donnell got the idea for the shop after trying a bacon maple bar at Portland’s famous Voodoo Doughnut. Doughbot serves its own version of that inspired confection, along with a rotating menu of flavors. Our favorite? The Dude: a White Russian-flavored doughnut filled with Kahlúa-vodka custard. 2226 10th St., Sacramento; (916) 444-5157; doughbotdonuts.com

Best New Bakery
Divine smells waft out of SUGAR AND SPICE, a bakery that opened in early 2011 on a slightly dodgy stretch of 12th Street. Owner Carissa Jones concocts imaginative pastries such as spicy chili chocolate cupcakes, s’mores Pop-Tarts and an upscale version of the Hostess Snowball. She likes to mix things up, creating bread pudding squares in interesting flavor combos such as blueberry/white chocolate and hazelnut/dark chocolate. “It changes on my whim,” says pastry chef Jones, who worked in the kitchens of Slocum House and Mason’s. 1201 F St., Sacramento; (916) 952-5253; sugarandspice.me

Best Use of Social Media
Local chef Jason Azevedo loves two things: pork and people. He recently figured out how to combine the two through his popular Meatups. Held once a month at a local cafe or restaurant, the MEATUPS are a chance for local foodies to mix and mingle while picking up orders of artisanal sausage, bacon, hot dogs and other porky products. Using hogs sourced from local ranchers, Azevedo makes everything himself, including Louisiana-style hot links, Italian sausage, kielbasa and a fiendishly rich condiment called bacon marmalade (caramelized onions, bacon bits, rendered bacon fat and thyme). Azevedo uses Facebook and e-mail to take orders and announce Meatups. To get on his invite list, e-mail him at testadurosalumi@gmail.com or look for Jason Azevedo on Facebook.

Best Food Movement
History will record 2011 as the year GOURMET FOOD TRUCKS finally arrived in Sacramento. Long a mainstay of the food scenes in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland, food trucks got their toehold here in February when Mini Burger Truck hit the streets, tweeting its location as it moved around town. Soon, other trucks started appearing: Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen, Mama Kim on the Go, Wicked ’Wich. In April, 9,000 people jammed into Fremont Park for SactoMoFo, the city’s first mobile food fest. Now, as the City Council is rethinking its anti-truck ordinances, a gathering of food trucks is held every Thursday evening at different spots around the region. Local food blogger Catherine Enfield, one of SactoMoFo’s organizers, says it’s only a matter of time before Sacramento is as food-truck-friendly as L.A.: “We’ve shown that if you tweet it, they will come.”

Best New Bottle Shop
Newsflash: Beer is the new wine. Looking to capitalize on beer’s newfound status as an artisanal product, Rob Archie recently opened PANGAEA BOTTLE SHOP next door to his Pangaea Two Brews Cafe in Curtis Park. He scours the world for interesting craft beers and rare and unusual brews, posting on Facebook when he gets in a shipment. Depending on the day, you might find Fantôme Saison (a Belgian-style farmhouse ale), Pliny the Elder (a cult favorite) or Samuel Adams Utopias, which retails for—gulp—$200 a bottle. Knowledgeable staffers can steer you to an interesting bottle you’ve never tried—Champagne-style beer, perhaps. While you’re there, why not pick up some cheese, crackers and charcuterie and have yourself a beer bash? 2743 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 454-4942; pangaeatwobrews.com   

 

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