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41 Because Our Apples
Reach New Heights

We like to get our apple a day at Apple Hill, outside of Camino just an hour from Sacramento. There, dozens of apple orchards and other farms along a scenic trail make for the perfect day trip for warming cider, just-picked fruit, house-made pies and other desserts at the many bakeshops, or (in December) a fresh-cut Christmas tree. For a grown-up excursion, hit the wineries, like Lava Cap and Madroña; with the little ones, head straight to Kids Inc. to feed chickens or Grandpa’s Cellar for its nature trail, bakeshop and Country Apple Store. Our not-so-secret fave? Rainbow Orchards, where the hot cider doughnuts are to die for and the homey, low-key farm vibe encourages lingering. If you only hit Apple Hill in fall or winter, think year-round: April offers an apple blossom festival, and summer means pick-your-own berries and other fresh fruit. How about them apples? applehill.com




42 Because Once a Year the
Stars Really Come Out to Play

Cooperstown has the Baseball Hall of Fame. Cleveland has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But in Sacramento, the California Hall of Fame honors athletes (Willie Mays, Billie Jean King) and musicians (Merle Haggard, Carlos Santana) alike, as well as an eclectic mix of the world’s leading figures in art, technology, politics, science and entertainment. With a hard-set rule that living inductees must accept the award in person at the annual December ceremony, the Hall of Fame also brings serious star power to Sacramento. Hello, Jack Nicholson!
The six-year-old Hall of Fame was the brainchild of former First Lady Maria Shriver, who transformed the once-sleepy California Museum into an inspiring celebration of the innovators who have shaped the Golden State. This year, with Gov. Jerry Brown (whose father, Gov. Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, was inducted last year) and First Lady Anne Brown at the helm, honorees include The Beach Boys, astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Nobel Prize-winner Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn. Also for the first time, the ceremony (on Dec. 8, co-hosted by Lisa Ling and Mayor Kevin Johnson) will take place at the historic Memorial Auditorium instead of the museum, which means better access for fans to the red carpet arrivals (the event will also be broadcast on Comcast and streamed live on the museum’s website).
Once the flashbulbs die down, stargazers can head to the accompanying exhibition (through Oct. 31, 2012), which features artifacts from the newest inductees, including Carlos Santana’s guitar, the spacesuit worn by Buzz Aldrin on the Apollo 11 moon mission, and Magic Johnson’s championship rings. They just might spark your own bit of California dreaming. californiamuseum.org


"Now that I live in New York, I get very
sentimental about the great Mexican food I grew up eating in California. My new favorite place in Sacramento is Chando’s Tacos on Arden Way. My dad took me there the last time I was in town, and I had one of those experiences where I wished I could bring the place back to New York with me. The lengua taco was superb, and the pork quesadilla nearly brought me to tears. I also make sure to pay a visit to Shoki Ramen House on 24th Street whenever I’m in town. The shoyu ramen is terrific, and I love the warm, friendly and totally unpretentious atmosphere. New York has many great restaurants, but none quite like these two!”


Adrian Tomine
Cartoonist and illustrator whose work is
regularly featured on the cover of The New Yorker
Hometown: Sacramento





We’re One Step
Closer to
Creating Our Own

A tip of the hat to the Central Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, which hosted an ambitious design competition for a new vision of Capitol Mall this past fall, and drew dozens of compelling concepts from around the globe (this one, above, by Arkansas architect Chris Sullivan included an observation tower). While only a few official winners were selected, there were plenty of creative seeds that, if planted,  could finally give our city’s grandest boulevard the extreme makeover that it—and the city—truly deserves.



“Growing up in Carmichael, I didn’t get downtown
as often as I would have liked to.  When I did, I always had to make a stop at the Tower Café. It was the kind of place that I could imagine in a big city, and I loved it for that. It’s hip, cool and the food is great.  I particularly love the desserts there. And I love the Tower [Theatre] marquee. To me, it’s one of the most distinctive identifiers of Sacramento. Though Tower Records is no longer there, hopefully the marquee will always stand.”


Lisa Ling
Host of OWN’s Our America with Lisa Ling
Hometown: Carmichael




“What I love about Sacramento is its artsy and literary history.
There are amazing artists and writers with Sacramento connections. Stephen Kaltenbach, Wayne Thiebaud, Julie Didion and Stephen Holsapple are just a few of the artists I love. Then writers? Oh my, so many. Viola Weinberg, Joan Didion, Gary Snyder, my own lovely [wife] Andi Ashworth and Cornel West. How’s that for a beautiful contribution to American passion and thought?”


Charlie Peacock Grammy-nominated record producer
Home Base: Yuba City


47 Because Mini Pies
Are the New Cupcakes

The tiny pie trend is upon us and the timing couldn’t be better. We don’t know about you, but we’re beginning to sense an ever-so-slight case of cupcake ennui creeping in across the city like tule fog in December. Also, it’s the holidays. That means it’s high pie season and, frankly, we could use a little portion control. Happily, bakeries are obliging. Take, for example, the cupcake-sized apple crumb pies from Icing on the Cupcake (pictured). It’s hard to describe the strange and wonderful sensation of picking up an impossibly delicious, 3-inch whole pie and eating it in four bites. Need a bit more pie for your piehole? Sugar and Spice Specialty Desserts serves up 4- to 6-inch versions, with flavors ranging from pecan to chocolate peanut butter. Or try BeckyJo Pies, with its cranberry pear with walnut or the cinnamon apple with cheddar. And TreyBcakes’ tiny banana cream piece has a buttery shell lined with dark chocolate. OK, so maybe portion control theory won’t be quite as easy as we thought.



Because You Just Might
Bump into the Most Powerful Judge in the World

Long before Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy became arguably the most powerful justice of them all, he was a professor at Pacific McGeorge School of Law, joining the faculty in 1965. But what’s more surprising? He still is. That’s right. Thanks to the fact that the Sacramento native has taught a course on fundamental rights in McGeorge’s Austria program every summer for the past 24 years, Justice Kennedy is actually the longest serving faculty member at McGeorge. And he still finds time to jet home for a Crocker gala and dedication of the school’s library. Talk about a home court advantage.

“By far my favorite place is Folsom Lake.
Growing up in Roseville, I was extremely attached to the lake. All summer long, I would wait until my [swim] season was over (late July or early August) to really take advantage of the all-day water-skiing sessions. Every time I come home, it is one of my first stops. My dad and I go stand by the lake and soak it up before we head to his house. And now, my kids think it is, by far, the coolest playground on earth.”


Summer Sanders Olympic gold medalist swimmer     Hometown: Roseville




Because This Composer
Makes the Whole City Sing

Gregg Coffin, whose musical Five Course Love has been performed around the country, including off-Broadway, couldn’t sum up his love for this city in a single quote (or note), so he wrote an entire song just for this issue. Sing your heart out, Sacramento.

Click here to download the sheet music (PDF format)

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