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31Because Once a Month Our Civic Pulse Quickens
Second Saturday may only happen one night a month, but it’s the best one. Suddenly, the city is a canvas, and it bursts alive like a David Garibaldi painting—unpredictable, vibrant and dripping with paint that gets on our shoes. Or maybe it’s a Mondrian, with blocks of color popping off the black and white grid of midtown. Or perhaps it’s an art house film, flickering with light and motion and with musicians on sidewalks providing an eclectic, bohemian soundtrack. Whatever it is, it’s a brief, fleeting glimpse into what it’s like for our city to live to its fullest potential. And we love it so.
32 “One of my favorite places in
Sacramento is the Crest Theatre. It’s sort of like being wrapped in elegant red, green and gold. When you walk in, with the details and the molding, you feel like you’re walking into history. I think it’s sexy.”
Regardless of what happens with this NBA season, this town has already established its own championship team—a passionate group of dedicated supporters of the Sacramento Kings. First and foremost, we have a former NBA star for a mayor at exactly the right time. And while he’s proving that his ball-handling skills are still intact, his new teammates—a rabid legion of fans, local politicians and radio hosts named after suburbs (we’re looking at you, Carmichael Dave)—are wowing the brass at the head office. The league’s relocation committee members couldn’t believe their eyes when they arrived in April to find the city awash in purple passion. And when ticket sales started, league officials were blown away by the enthusiasm, racing to hire more staff to take phone orders and likening to the fervor to the reaction in Miami when LeBron James arrived. They know this level of fan fanaticism is rare, not just in the NBA, but in all of sports. Here we purple!
“The river is my thing. I grew up on it.
Being a little Greek boy, I didn’t have the money to go here or there, so the river was my candy. It made me feel like I could survive right here. And I have so far. The colors are warm. It says “Come on [in].”
35 Because Toys Aren’t Just For Kids
At Art of Toys, fine art equals fun art. Owned by Terri Rehg, who previously worked for Disney’s collectibles di-vision and started collecting dolls at age 5 (a lifelong passion that once resulted in curating an exhibit about doll artists for the State of California History Museum), this new toy store inside midtown’s Sacramento Art Complex houses ceramic roulette-wheel-chested figurines instead of Barbies and vintage model racing cars instead of Hot Wheels. Add to that a collection of exquisite chrome piggy banks and hand-sculpted finger puppets and you’ve got a veritable Toys “R” Us for the kidult in all of us. Let us play. artoftoys.com
the Next Napa
There is no major city in America more centrally located for great wine. An hour drive, max, in any direction gets you to world-class wine country, and yes, that includes south and east. While we have to share ownership of Napa and Sonoma, the foothills, the Delta and Lodi are all ours. And they are no longer “emerging” wine spots, they are bona fide national stars that get mentioned in every discussion by national critics and wine magazines on great California wine regions.
There’s Amador County and its postcard wine trail through Shenandoah Valley. It’s been one of America’s best zinfandel areas for decades. Or the spectacular and varied terrains of El Dorado County, whose vineyards are planted at elevations ranging from 1,200 to 3,500 feet, so they get hundreds of microclimates and have the ability to grow nearly 50 grape varieties. And there’s Lodi, which produces scores of award-winning wines that regularly shine at ZAP, the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers festival every January in San Francisco (2012 dates are Jan. 26-28).
Toss in Clarksburg with its rich history, young wineries, and some of the best terrain for petite sirah and chenin blanc in the country; Nevada County’s host of pretty and high-quality wineries around Nevada City and Grass Valley (named No. 2 of the “Seven Top Wine Regions” to watch by Touring & Tasting magazine—just behind No. 1 El Dorado County); plus Placer County’s smaller but solid bunch of new producers, and there’s no doubt that our wine region is the toast of this town.
37 “I love the arts downtown, everything from
B Street to the symphony to the chorale to the ballet. And I like that you can go to the river and experience Old Sacramento. One night, I went there to hear a blues group, Harley White [Jr. Orchestra] at the Crescent Club. Oh my God, I felt like I was back in the ’20s or ’30s. I was knocked out by them. They have an authentic sound from that period. And I love going down into those clubs in the basement, with the exposed brick. I felt like I was in a speakeasy.”
Because Even Our
Deep-Fried Foods Are Local, Seasonal and Artisanal
In Sacramento’s best restaurants, farm-fresh, artisanal dishes rule. With Doughbot Donuts, which opened on 10th and W streets in September, that same ethos has made its way to the lowly, greasy treat.
Don’t worry—everything’s still deep-fried. But instead of sickly sweet glazes and batters from bagged mix, Doughbot offers bready, from-scratch donuts in flavors such as chili chocolate, dulce de leche, Meyer lemon, cardamom-pistachio, bacon-maple, and White Russian whipped cream (named The Dude for the Big Lebowski character). Local ingredients are heavily and proudly used, such as in the pumpkin pie doughnuts, which are made with pumpkins from Yolo County, and the s’mores flavor, whose marshmallows are house-made by Sacramento’s Sugar and Spice Specialty Desserts. Doughbot also has an extensive vegan menu, using almond milk and egg replacer. And on tap for the holiday season are donuts glazed with homemade cranberry jelly, plus concoctions with eggnog and chestnuts.
Turns out that the business of creating all those custom sweets is anything but a piece of cake. Bryan Widener, formerly of Magpie Café, and his wife Dannah O’Donnell, who own Doughbot, bake in the wee hours starting at midnight, then run the bakery from 5 a.m. to noon, six days a week. But they do make things easy for customers: Doughbot offers bike delivery to midtown and downtown locations via Edible Pedal. There’s a one-dozen minimum order, but we have a feeling that won’t be a problem. doughbotdonuts.com
“For a Midwestern boy, new to the West Coast, Sacramento was
like Disneyland. Sacramento itself had the down-home charm that was both reminiscent of the Midwestern small towns of my youth. I now live up in a rural area of El Dorado Hills, where I spend my days staring at the lazy spirals of hunting hawks and vultures, but what I love best up here is that I can listen at night to the howls of coyotes, [yet] in a matter of minutes I can be enjoying a wonderful meal at Sienna or catch a flick at the cinema in El Dorado Hills Town Center. I get both the best of rural living and the best of the city living all in one.”
“Here in my office, I am surrounded by toys,
books on film and animation, and a large framed picture dated Feb. 2, 1947. It is a picture from opening day at Vic’s Ice Cream in Land Park. I get to see the same picture hanging up in Vic’s every time I visit. Five generations of my family have enjoyed sitting in the same booths, often ordering the same thing year after year. These days, my wife and I take our kids, often with my grandmother, Bammy, whenever we are in Sacramento. I want them to have the same memory of eating there as I did when I was growing up. And for me, even after all these years, I always get the same thing: cheese dog sandwich, mocha chip shake, and of course, a side of red sauce.”