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Best Dressed Burger
At the Squeeze Inn, the diners wear jeans; the Squeeze Cheese burger, however, wears a skirt with an ingenious construction worthy of a particularly over-the-top Project Runway contestant. It’s a cheese skirt, you see, created by some clever cooking on a flat-top grill: After the final flip of the burger, the cook tops each burger with a hefty fistful of shredded cheddar. It melts, it bubbles, it crisps into deliriously greasy ruffles and flounces, and a delicious, cheesy heart attack in a basket is born. A Food Network appearance on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives brought customers in droves to the bite-sized original location, but thankfully, we can all get our Squeeze fix a bit faster now: Not only has the original location moved to a bigger spot, there are also locations in Galt, Roseville, a brand-new West Sacramento spot, and one set to open at 17th and K in Sacramento this fall. And there are plans for more. Constructing the perfect cheese skirt takes time, though, so arrive early for lunch—and plan a workout for the next day. thesqueezeinn.com



Place to Ogle an Ungulate

Looking for a new peek experience? Last year the Sacramento Zoo unveiled Tall Wonders, its state-of-the-art giraffe habitat, complete with an eye-level viewing platform for getting up close and personal with the elegant beasts. (The platform also affords views into the adjacent zebra area and a tortoise enclosure below.) The most popular feature is the one that allows visitors, for a nominal fee ($3), to hand-feed the long-necked creatures (turns out they’re very fond of green twigs). Actress Betty White, who visited the exhibit while it was under construction, loved  it so much that she even mentioned it on the The Tonight Show. True animal lovers can rent out the expansive 1,100-square-foot platform for parties, private dinners and weddings. But the amenities aren’t just for humans: The giraffes’ space has been upgraded, too, with a heated barn so that females Val, Goody and Skye have a cozy place to sleep. There’s also a new birthing area, just in case—and perhaps just in time: A new male giraffe, Chifu, was added to the exhibit in May. 3930 West Land Park Dr. 808-5888. saczoo.org

Place to Take Your Pint-Sized Dates
If you need a night out but the babysitter’s booked, don’t give up and stay in. For good gastropub fare, frosty pints and crayons for drawing, there’s de Vere’s Irish Pub, where kids eat almost free on Family Sundays. Cross the rich, dark wood threshold into a friendly pub right out of Dublin. A lively Irish band plays (4-7 p.m. every Sunday) unobtrusively enough so you can comfortably converse with your spouse, yet loud enough so you don’t get dirty looks when the wee ones start clanging utensils like drumsticks on your salad plate (a delightful take on a house salad topped with caramelized onions and balsamic vinaigrette). Dip toasty, buttered grilled cheese into the sweet and savory tomato soup while even your pickiest eater cleans his or her shepherd’s pie or fish ’n’ chips plate (kids meals are only $2 with the purchase of an adult entrée after 4 p.m.). You and your brood will think you died and went to craic heaven. 1521 L St. 231-9947. Davis location opening by September (217 E St., Davis). deverespub.com

Rallying Cry
When this city came together to save its NBA franchise, it was a thing of true beauty. Never before had this community used the word “we” as loudly and proudly as it did in the weeks leading up to the Maloof’s decision to keep the Kings in town for at least one more year. Never before had we spoken with one voice like this one. Locals dressed in purple garb and Sactown expats in NYC rallied outside the NBA offices. Citizen leaders like #HereWeBuild founder Carmichael Dave and #HereWeStay founder Blake Ellington stepped up and inspired us. Business leaders like Jiffy Lube’s Matt Graham and the Metro Chamber’s Matt Mahood stomped on the notion that corporate Sacramento doesn’t have what it takes. But most of all, Mayor Kevin Johnson rose to the occasion in just the right way at just the right time, and led an All-Star team of passionate purple players to the unlikeliest of outcomes. The game is far from over. But hot damn, people—we’re in it once again. #HereWeProud  #HereWeBuild  #HereWeStay  #HereWePurple  #HereWeRally

Way to Get Linked In
The aroma sends your olfactory lobe into overdrive—a pleasant wave of wood smoke followed by a slightly pungent tang of mulched flesh that vibrates in your nostrils. The sheer carnality of Morants Old Fashioned Sausage Kitchen, which has been grinding, stuffing and curing meat for more than 20 years, may be too much for some. But for others, it’s the perfect antidote to supermarket sterility. Long before “artisanal” became a culinary meme, owner Dirk Müller, who spent five years in Germany earning his “Meister” certificate, was hand crafting memorable versions of German bratwurst, Basque chorizo, and even Hawaiian pork links with pineapple; all made fresh weekly, all with limited or no nitrates. Most of his natural-casing masterpieces are the size of a baby’s arm—big enough to give any bun an inferiority complex—and displayed in a no-nonsense deli case that seems to befit Müller’s philosophy: Sure, add some spice, but always remember that the meat is the marquee attraction. 5001 Franklin Blvd. 731-4377

Domed Domiciles
One of Davis’s greatest assets is its quirkiness—the double-decker buses imported from London in the ’60s, the tunnel built for frogs, the fistulated cow (don’t ask). But now word comes that UC Davis is threatening to raze the 39-year-old student housing development known as “The Domes,” or more formally, Baggins End (yes, from The Hobbit), and they want the students out by July 31. The 14 igloo-like apartments made of fiberglass shells house two students each. School officials say they need to go; students say they can be maintained for at least five years until “Domes 2.0” can be built, and are fighting to save their cooperative community where they grow their own food, raise chickens and practice sustainable living. Hats off to the students for fighting for this unique social and architectural wonder. A Sacramento band, Orange Morning, even wrote a song for the movement: “You won’t find another place like the Baggins Domes/They’re unique and funky and charming and so down home/In a world of clones, they’re in a class of their own.” Home Sweet Dome, indeed. bagginsend.org