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The Anglophile writer Henry James famously said that there are no more beautiful words in the English language than “summer afternoon.” Add a refreshing drink to that picture, and we agree. And the Anglophile drink we love for summer, the official drink of Wimbledon, and the one that makes us feel like perhaps we’re en route to a royal wedding? That would be a Pimm’s Cup, made superlatively right here in Sacramento by the Shady Lady Saloon. What makes it so delicious? First, they make their own ginger ale, just as it was made 100 years ago, starting with fresh ginger root and sugar; they skip the gin that many bartenders blend with the delicate Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur (invented in England in 1840, as a health tonic; we feel better already); and they garnish it with cucumber, mint and an orange slice, in traditional English style. The result is a refreshing, light, lower-alcohol cocktail that you can sip all afternoon. Cheerio! 1409 R St. 231-9121. shadyladybar.com

Summer “Mocktail”
We love everything about Vic’s Ice Cream, from the ’50s vibe and clean-lined black-and-white awning, to the old-school hot dog sandwiches to, of course, the ice cream. But perhaps our very favorite thing in this vintage Land Park soda shop is a simple, old-fashioned drink, the nonalcoholic lime rickey. Each one is made to order, with fresh-squeezed limes (one lime for a single, two limes for a double), simple syrup and soda water. One of the secrets to this simple drink’s effervescent character? That soda water is extra bubbly, thanks to Vic’s special soda fountain, called a soda draft arm, which produces far more bubbles than you would get from your average carbonator. (Vic’s, founded in 1947, is currently on its third fountain, installed in 1984; according to co-owner Craig Rutledge, son of co-founder Ash Rutledge, very few places have soda draft arms anymore.) If you want to add a little extra twist, you can ask for a splash of flavored syrup (cherry is a favorite). And soda-fountain aficionados, take note: That’s just one of the secret items not found on Vic’s menu; another in-the-know drink, the Suicide, which mixes chocolate, cherry and vanilla syrups with Coke, and has been served at the fountain since the ’50s. 3199 Riverside Blvd. 448-0892. www.vicsicecream.com

Incredible Shrinking Woman
When zaftig American Idol finalist Mandisa first auditioned for Simon Cowell in 2006, he quipped, “Do we have a bigger stage this year?” Well, what he really needs is a bigger plate for all that crow he’ll be eating. That’s because while fellow Idol star Jennifer Hudson has been grabbing the headlines for losing 80 pounds, Mandisa has quietly shed more than 100 pounds over the past two years—120, to be exact—by replacing her love of fast food with grilled chicken and egg white omelets, and Zumba-ing her butt off. And the Citrus Heights native is burning up the charts as fast as she’s burning off the calories; by late May her single “Stronger” off her new album What If We Were Real had climbed to No. 2 on Billboard’s Christian songs ranking. Simon, eat your heart out!

Never-ending Storybook
You can’t judge a book by its cover—or a book sculpture, for that matter. What looks like graffiti—a heart doodle here, a “Happy Birthday” scribble there—on Authors of Our Own Destiny, the massive 10-foot-tall, 14-foot-wide steel tome in front of the North Natomas Library, is actually an inspired example of public art. Installed in April of last year, the statue was created by artist Joe Scarpa with the express intention that it be painted over and over again by members of the community. And happily, it seems that every few days or weeks, someone takes him up on his offer, whether it’s with images of colorful fish, the American flag or a spray-painted “Here We Build!” message for the Kings. Tag, you’re it! North Natomas Library. 4660 Via Ingoglia

Down-to-Earth Eatery for your Flights of Fancy

Tucked inside Sacramento Executive Airport on Freeport Blvd., Aviators Restaurant leaves no detail unturned as it envelops you in its aero theme, from the converted fuselage that serves as a hostess stand, to the jet fighter canopy-turned-splash guard for the salad bar, to the bevy of colorful model airplanes hanging from the ceiling and names of menu sections like “Senior Test Pilot” and “Cadet.” Not to mention, it also boasts a view to a thrill, as planes—from propeller-engine Pipers to Gulfstreams to helicopters—take flight. (Those who want to get even closer to the high-flying action can jet to the expansive patio.) As for the menu, chef-owner C.S. Chik puts the kitsch in the kitchen too, where everything is made from scratch, with off-the-menu items like Loco Moco, a Hawaiian dish made of rice topped with a hamburger patty, fried eggs and gravy, and S.O.S., a popular military meal consisting mainly of ground beef (flavored with Worcestershire sauce) and gravy served over toast. (Chik’s philosophy: If he has the ingredients, he’ll make it.) Aviators offers more traditional fare too, like omelets—breakfast is served until 3 p.m. daily—and sandwiches that all come with prices that are almost as retro as the ’70s redwood décor (example: a two-egg plate with potatoes and a biscuit will only set you back $4.25). Ready for takeoff? We are. 6151 Freeport Blvd. (Dinner served only on Fri. & Sat.) 424-1728

Pork We Love to Pieces
Carnitas aficionados come in two camps: those who prefer it moist and those who like it crispy. We’re in the latter camp; who can resist the toasty, roasted flavor of those browned shards of meat? That said, we don’t like the rest of the meat dry, either, a common failing. Lovers of both styles may be able to find common ground at the out-of-the-way Los Gallos Taqueria, where cheery brightly painted walls and slightly kitschy rooster-themed folk art (“gallo” is Spanish for “rooster”) provide a surprising setting for what might just be the best carnitas in town. It’s spectacular on the basic tacos (priced right at just $1.40), but we like to go all out with the carnitas plate, where you get a generous dose of tangles and shreds of perfectly cooked meat, with refried beans, rice, and herbaceous, thin guacamole on the side. Carnitas may mean “little meats,” but at Los Gallos, it equals big taste. 2990 Northgate Blvd. 565-1125

Spot to Marvel at Comics
Last year marked a quarter century for World’s Best Comics. And founder and sole employee Dave Downey, didn’t do a thing to celebrate. The lack of self-congratulation is true to the fans-first approach that’s kept World’s Best afloat during the comic industry’s many ups and downs. Downey’s is a true comic store for true fans. True fans are the ones who, when asked who Iron Man is, say “Tony Stark,” not “Robert Downey, Jr.” This Downey founded the shop in midtown in 1985, but eventually moved to Watt Ave., near the former site of the very first Tower Records. Downey supports local creators, such as Sacramento-bred New Yorker artist Adrian Tomine, who sold his Optic Nerve at World’s Best while in high school. “There’s a one-page story he did of him coming into my store to see how his book was selling, and leaving all disappointed,” says Downey, with a laugh. Tomine adds, “I have no idea if Dave somehow saw some glimmer of promise in that early work or if he was just a nice guy, but I’ll always be grateful for his early support.” 2608 Watt Ave. 973-8973. wbcomics.com