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A-list actresses, authors who win Pulitzer Prizes, a 91-year-old painter in his prime, locally cured pancetta, the highest-rated coffee in the country, a major minor league team, a divine wine region, a Christmas light show with a little bit of Disney magic—and 42 other reasons we totally, utterly, absofreakinlutely adore this town. Sacramento, scroll down, and let the lovefest begin

By Chloe Daley, Rick Kushman, Elyssa Lee, Anne Shulock,
Tim Swanson, Rob Turner and Kate Washington


Because We’re
the Caviar Capital of America

You read that right. Natomas’ Sterling Caviar is the largest producer of farm-raised cav-iar in the U.S. Why here? Because sturgeon are native to the Sacramento River. And thanks to Christmas and New Year’s, up to 70 percent of all caviar sales happen during the months of December and January. Massive tanks filled with thousands of spiny gray sturgeon lie inconspicuously in the middle of rich farmland. The site not only draws famous foodies like the French Laundry’s Thomas Keller, but also protects wild sturgeon from being overfished to the point of extinction. Who knew luxury could be so eco-friendly? sterlingcaviar.com


My favorite golf course is Whitney Oaks in Rocklin.
It’s one of the most scenic and challenging golf courses [here]. It will test every aspect of your game, and in the meantime, you have such a good time because it’s so beautiful. My favorite hole is the second hole. It’s a slight dogleg to the right and has an elevated tee box. It’s also got a beautiful lake. When you look at the hole, you think it’s pretty simple because you’ re hitting downhill, but it narrows off the tee where the driving area is, and the water comes into play. And once you get to the fairway, it’s even more challenging. The green is really long and not very wide, so for such a short hole, it always eats a lot of golf balls.”


Natalie Gulbis
 LPGA golfer     Hometown: Citrus Heights



3 Because That Sound Tells Us That
We’re Still on the Right Track

We hear it late at night, when city sounds have diminished, that wheezing snort from an iron beast echoing through our town. Plenty of songs have commemorated the plaintive wail of a train, that timeless cri de coeur of the American West, which somehow ties us to our past, present, and, yes, future, as we inch forward toward a high-speed reality. Part of this sonic pleasure is pure nostalgia, a longing for a time not so long ago when hard work created fortunes, capitalism seemed less like cannibalism and democracy was made of stone instead of clay (a thumb-through of Richard White’s new doorstop-of-a-book, Railroaded—partially set in Sacramento and focusing on the epic battles between the railroad owners and the workers—will cure you of these false yearnings). But still, we live in a town rich in train history, and there is something eternally optimistic in that single low note, which signals that ours is still a place of progress, where people work, goods are delivered, and success happens to those who earn it.


4 Because the True Spirit of the Alhambra Lives On

Memo to the major studios and the multiplexes: We don’t want anything to do with your needless remakes of Footloose and The Thing. No and thanks. For substantive foreign and American art house films, we look to our city’s glorious historic theaters—the Tower and the Crest—two neon-plumed movie palaces that despite their old age, continue to show quality fare that challenges, transports and inspires. For many of us, these classic theaters have been our best friends, our muses, our teachers, our passports to distant lands and to worlds larger than our own. This is where we witnessed our first big-screen Kurosawa, had our initial conversation with Kubrick, experienced our first Lynchian freak-out. There’s a reason why both of these beloved buildings have steeples that stretch toward heaven and inspire awe. Make no mistake. For true cineastes in Sacramento, these are our churches. And we get to eat popcorn during the sermon.



5 “We loved to go shopping at Denio’s huge farmers’ market and
auction [in Roseville]—we knew we made it there once we saw the big wooden statue of a guy that looked like Paul Bunyan. It was here that we walked around eating corn dogs and cheese on a stick and buying like 10 shirts for $10 so that we could get ready for school come Monday. A visit to Evangeline’s in Old Sacramento was always fun as a kid. Last but not least, overnight skate at Cal Skate [now Lord’s Gym]. I remember hitting the rink floor over and over and over, learning how to skate and playing Street Fighter for the first time.”

Lance Briggs

Chicago Bears linebacker and comic book writer
whose book Seraph came out in November

Hometown: Elk Grove





6 “I like Sacramento because there is
Skatetown [in Roseville]. Sometimes you use buckets for learning, but I already know how to skate, so it’s fun for me to go out on the big skating rink without the buckets.”

Tyree Brown

The 7-year-old star of NBC’s hit series Parenthood
Hometown: Elk Grove





7 Because Our
Airport Director
Built a Billion Dollar Airport
During The Great Recession

Sacramento International’s air chief Hardy Acree has pulled off a jumbo-sized feat in this wretched downturn—he built a billion dollar civic amenity and set the stage for the region to take off even faster once the economy bounces back. And with more than a little help from Turner Construction, it actually came in under budget and ahead of schedule, opening in October instead of the scheduled spring of 2012. Now if we can only mimic the airport’s success with a new arena, we’ll all be flying high.



8 “Davis is an exceptional town and it’s becoming more so all the time.
It’s very cosmopolitan now, with people from all over the world. The really great thing is the public school system. My kids went to public schools in Davis. It’s really impressive, especially Davis Senior High. It’s also an impressive place to live, the way they’ve maintained the downtown and kept it alive. Newsbeat is a real resource for Davis. I go there when I want a certain magazine. I know they’ll have it. The other one is Avid Reader, which is a really good bookstore.
So between the Avid Reader and Newsbeat, you’ve got two major assets in that town that are hard to beat.”

William Langewiesche

International correspondent for Vanity Fair   Home Base: Davis



9 Because Monday Mimosas Has
a Very Nice Ring to It

For many of us, brunch is our favorite meal of the week. And there are few luxuries like a Monday brunch. Mondays are supposed to be work days, but when holidays like the Fourth of July fall on a Monday, few restaurants are open, let alone serving brunch. One notable exception: Capitol Garage at 15th and K, which broadcasts its holiday brunches with eye-catching posters by designer Brian Breneman. In addition to the usual tasty assortments of scrambles, pancakes and French toast, the rotating list of specials is always filled with inventive concoctions—like the deep-fried cornbread pudding layered with house-made sausage or the jambalaya omelet with Lousiana crawfish—making for some very happy Mondays indeed. capitolgarage.com



10 Because We Save Great Old Buildings
A great city is every bit defined by its beautiful old structures as its brand-new ones. Sacramento learned a painful lesson in 1973 when the Alhambra Theatre was torn down. Since then, we’ve rehabbed the Memorial Auditorium, Stanford Mansion and others. And in recent years, developers like Rubicon Partners (the Citizen Hotel), Fulcrum Property (The Elliott Building) and D&S Development (Maydestone Apartments) have also been restoring historic structures to their former glory. D&S’s next big project, set to begin this spring, is restoring a block of buildings (above) on K Street between 7th and 8th, including a ’60s-era Tower Records (yep, they’re saving that cool mural). It turns out that what’s old is very new again.


See numbers 11 through 20

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