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Make a Maki
Stop, chop and roll your way to becoming a sushi master at Mikuni’s “Sushiology” classes, where you’ll step behind the scenes with the popular restaurant group’s chef-owner Taro Arai. At “Sushiology 1A”—held next in the Roseville location on Oct. 12 and 26—learn the history of sushi, which dates back to the ninth century, and make temaki (hand rolls) and inside-out uramaki (e.g. a California roll). Or head to “Sushiology 1B,” which next takes place on Nov. 9 at Mikuni in Roseville, to build some of the local chain’s original creations (such as the Fair Oaks roll), as well as find out how to select the freshest fish (“The eyeballs have to be clear,” counsels Arai) and adroitly dip the sushi knife in water to cleanly slice fish. At the end, your edible masterpieces become your meal, accompanied by beer, sake and appetizers like crispy gyoza. Plus, with a take-home kit that includes a bamboo mat and sushi knife, you’ll always be ready to roll. $65. Locations vary by class. mikunisushi.com

photo by Jeremy Sykes

Cook Farm-Fresh Meals
Find your farm-to-fork footing at private, in-home cooking classes led by chef Laura Kenny, a local food advocate who co-wrote the popular cookbooks Placer County Real Food and The Art of Real Food. For the full locavore experience, your group can start at the Auburn or Roseville farmers’ market, where Kenny will introduce you to regional farmers and offer tips on selecting seasonal ingredients. Armed with fresh produce, you and the gang will then head to your kitchen, where you’ll prepare a rustic, multicourse meal together—sample dishes include seared scallops with a Meyer lemon relish, roasted romanesco, citrus vanilla crème tartlets or strawberry trifles. Home eat home. $45-$65 per person (additional $10 for farmers’ market tour). 530-906-3215. realfoodcaterer.com

Steam a Wow Bao
Expand your kitchen horizons by turning baos, which have been a staple in Chinese cuisine for 18 centuries, into a star at your dinner table. Sally Wu, an instructor at the Confucius Institute at UC Davis, reveals how the steamed buns go from dough to dish in an evening class put on by Sacramento Learning Exchange. The session begins with a quick tutorial on the ingredients, including a filling containing chicken, mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Students then practice rolling and pinching the dough to construct buns and encase the contents. While the dumplings cook in a stainless steel steamer for 12 minutes, Wu discusses the history and legend of bao—for example, it’s believed a Chinese general dreamed up the savory treat as a diversionary military tactic. Then it’s chow (bao) time. $45 (plus $15 for materials). Lulu’s Commercial Kitchen. 701 16th St. 929-9200. learningexchange.com
Editors' Note: This lesson is no longer being offered. Please check the class website for updated information.

photo by Jeremy SykesPerform Feats of Clay
Get some hands-on art training and maybe even spice up your love life a bit at MyStudio’s couples pottery class called “The Ghost Experience” (the title is a playful nod to the sexy pottery scene in the 1990 romantic drama Ghost starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze). The studio’s owner and teacher Lisa Johnson starts off with basic tips on technique—including how to center the clay and “throw the bowl” on the wheel—and then stands back as you mold your clay into a decorative bowl (to be glazed weeks later). And no, you won’t share a wheel like Demi and Patrick did, but feel free to exchange furtive glances if you must (keep your hands on the wheel, people). “The couples who have the most fun are those who can embrace the process rather than the outcome,” Johnson says. Even if your bowl would be laughed off Pottery Barn’s shelves, this hour-long date experience is far more hands-on than your standard dinner and a movie—even one starring a shirtless Swayze. $30 per couple. 2325 J St. 476-4121. mystudiosacramento.com

Become a Vino Virtuoso
Amateur oenophiles can drink in knowledge (and plenty of vino, too) at “Demystifying Wine & Wine Tasting,” a first-ever Sacramento Learning Exchange class taught by Owen Smith, director of winemaking for Mendocino County’s Redwood Valley Cellars. The interactive seminar (Smith encourages questions) begins with the basics, like what wine is and how it’s made. Then Smith goes further behind the label by delving into topics like wine vocabulary, the cause of disparity in bottle prices, the role of oak and the science of developing great wine. The evening ends with tastings of various varietals like grüner veltliner, a European white wine. $49 (plus $25 for materials). 1111 Howe Ave. 929-9200. learningexchange.com
Editors' Note: This lesson is no longer being offered. Please check the class website for updated information.

Watch a Hawk Like a Hawk
The first indication that you’ll get up close and personal with a raptor at West Coast Falconry comes via a stern warning after you book an introductory falconry class: Do not, the email states, wear anything with fur or feathers. Master falconers Kate Marden and Jana Barkley introduce participants to their beautifully trained, majestic hawks, owls and falcons and to the ancient sport of falconry, which has been fascinating people ever since its first mention in the 4,000-year-old poem Epic of Gilgamesh. Only six falconry centers in the U.S. are licensed to let amateurs handle their birds; one, West Coast Falconry, occupies a peaceful valley outside Marysville, where the birds can take wing and hunt. The school offers a full range of classes (on weekends, Fridays and Mondays), from a basic falconry experience, in which participants don the traditional leather glove and learn to call a Harris hawk, to the longer, more scenic “Hawk Walk” excursions. All include plenty of insider information about raptors and training them—and the promise that you’ll get nose to beak with what Marden calls “the ‘it’ birds of the 21st century.” $60-$350 per person. 10308 Spring Valley Rd. Marysville. 530-749-0839. westcoast-falconry.com

photos by Jeremy Sykes

Fear No Beer
Sacramento’s ongoing craft-beer renaissance has seen new breweries and biergartens open around the region, beer bikes roll down the streets of midtown, and suds flow at local beer festivals year-round. The boom has also proven to be an educational do-it-yourself opportunity, with more and more adventurous hopheads trying their hands at home brewing. Shops like The Brewmeister make it easy to get started, offering classes for beginners who learn everything from when to drop hops into your boiling brew (hint: the earlier you add them, the more bitter the beer will be) to crucial sanitization standards (after all, you wouldn’t want wayward bacteria to ruin your fermentation) and the proper way to bottle, carbonate and store your final product. While you don’t need to buy materials to take the class, if you want to take what you’ve learned home, costs can add up quickly—a beginner’s equipment and brewing kits will set you back as much as $350. However, the lesson is invaluable, and the more beer you make, the more the savings add up—one batch can make for at least a month’s worth of happy hours. We’ll drink to that. $25. Multiple locations. shopbrewmeister.com

Build a Lego City
Coloring books are making comebacks for adults. Why not Legos? That’s what Davis Arts Center executive director Stacie Frerichs thought when she created “Connecting With Legos,” a series that gives the titular toy building blocks the grown-up treatment. Students taking the classes, which are taught by Lego experts at Play-Well TEKnologies, work together in small groups to assemble 4-foot-tall plastic structures inspired by worldly locales. Mesoamerican temples are on the syllabus for February and, as an extra incentive, the classroom will be stocked with chili-infused chocolate from Latin America. The curriculum for March includes building Japanese pagodas as well as snacking on sushi and sipping sake. Next, can we agree to reinstate naps? $50. 1919 F St. Davis. 530-756-4100. davisartscenter.org
Editors' Note: This lesson is no longer being offered. Please check the class website for updated information.

Create a Garden of Eatin’
How does your garden grow from decorous to delicious? Find out during Redwood Barn Nursery owner Don Shor’s “Easy Edibles” class, which familiarizes you with consumable plants that thrive even if you have the brownest of thumbs. During the two-hour seminar, which is hosted by UC Davis Extension, Shor walks you through the vegetables, herbs and fruit trees you should choose given the climate, soil and water conditions of the Sacramento Valley, and how to properly tend to them to produce food year-round. “This [class] really is for anyone with a little sunshine, a little space, and a desire to grow something edible,” Shor says. “People often feel overwhelmed by gardening. I want to make it simple.” $55 (including required membership to UC Davis Extension’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). 1909 Galileo Court. Davis. 800-752-0881. extension.ucdavis.edu
Editors' Note: This lesson is no longer being offered. Please check the class website for updated information.

Learn to Hang Ten
If you’ve ever wanted to learn to rip, but were dissuaded by the Pacific’s mighty swells and chilly temps, you can make waves at SurfXtreme. The indoor complex in Elk Grove, which offers group and private sessions, is home to the Flow Rider, an automated surf simulator that shoots water at photo by Max Whittaker30 miles per hour up a slope to replicate ocean waves, but is also newbie friendly with positively tropical 84-degree waters and a trampoline-like surface that absorbs the impact of falls. Before riding the wave standing up (an experience co-owner Kathi Ellis compares to a combo of snowboarding, skateboarding and wakeboarding), start with bodyboarding, an excellent activity to acclimate to balancing in the fast-moving surge. You’ll be riding the waves in no time. $20-$22 per hour. 3443 Laguna Blvd. Elk Grove. 676-4747. sxsac.com

Get into the Swing of Things
You name the dance, and you can likely learn the moves within a few visits to Spotlight Ballroom in West Sacramento. Wanna swing? Step onto the 5,000-square-foot Junckers hardwood floor (the same standard employed on the set of Dancing with the Stars) with co-owners Ron Thompson and Scott Kaufman, a former Intel engineer and real estate marketer, respectively, who launched Sacramento’s popular Midtown Stomp swing group in 2005 and merged their club with this well-established studio on the other side of the river in 2013. Spotlight’s staff showcases Latin, salsa and other ballroom specialties as well, with free half-hour private introductory lessons and a pair of private follow-ups rounding out the basics for $99. From there, lessons guide students toward their specific goals, from competition and performance to an old-fashioned social network. “We see this all the time with people who have never danced before at all—[they] come out and fall in love with it,” Thompson says. “It really does become a lifestyle.” Free for intro class; $99 for follow-up classes. 2534 Industrial Blvd. West Sacramento. 649-3269. spotlightballroom.com

photos by Max Whittaker