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Photos by Jeremy Sykes and Max Whittaker

Wacky Road Warriors
We love a parade. But we especially love a parade (or walk or race) that marches to the beat of a different drummer. That’s why we’ve been cheering from the sidelines at the many local fun runs and quirky cavalcades that have been cropping up lately. In March, we saw the following funky trifecta: the ArtBike parade in midtown, where people rode everything from towering tricycles to purple horse bicycles; the Undy 5000 in William Land Park, where contestants competed in their—you guessed it—undies; and the Donut Dash, which kicked off with a fried feast at Marie’s Donuts on Freeport Boulevard. In April, we had the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes race, in which men hoofed it in high heels down Capitol Mall. And coming this summer: the Sacramento Bastille Day Waiters’ Race (July 14), where restaurant servers will attempt to balance a bottle of water and glasses on a tray with only one hand as they speed-walk through midtown, and The Color Run (Aug. 4), where participants will race along a 5K route that starts on Capitol Mall and get pelted with brightly hued powder along the way. Color us happy.

Sandwich That Runs Hot and Cold
No, it’s not the late, unlamented McDLT. It’s the fresh spin on a banh mi from Mark Helms, chef-owner of Juno’s Kitchen & Delicatessen, where the Duroc pork loin—marinated in fish sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil—is grilled to order for every sandwich, creating a perfect temperature contrast with the cool house-pickled vegetables, herbs and aioli (which nods to Helms’ background cooking in a Spanish-Mediterranean style at Tapa the World and his former restaurant Ravenous Cafe). It’s all layered on a soft-inside, crusty-outside baguette, which is made in-house, too—as are all of Juno’s breads—from a natural leaven, with no added commercial yeast. Super cool. Or is it hot? 3675 J St. 456-4522. junoskitchen.com

Way to Get Your Just Desserts
When we want inspiring dessert ideas to sweeten our Pinterest pot, we look no further than Best Friends for Frosting, which launched last year and brings together the best of all the dessert blogs and recipe sites out there, from Joy the Baker to Martha Stewart, plus original recipes and content from founder Melissa Johnson and her team of 14 contributors. Johnson’s dessert obsession started when she was little, baking with her mom (the “best friend” of the site’s name), and continued when she worked at area sweet shops like Freeport Bakery. (The South Land Park resident now partners with Tessa Lindow Huff of The Frosted Cake Shop when styling dessert photo shoots.) The site is a gold mine of recipes for treats like mini mojito cupcakes, tangy watermelon Rice Krispies treats, and Nutella waffle sandwich cookies. If you’re looking for a frosting recipe, Johnson highly recommends the vanilla buttercream from New York’s famed Magnolia Bakery. We’d pin that. bestfriendsforfrosting.com

Illustration by Austin Madison
Animated Teacher
Thanks to Shawn Sullivan, Elk Grove might be the next Marceline, Missouri. The tiny town of Marceline is best known for producing one great animator named Walter Elias Disney. And because of one tenacious teacher at Sheldon High School, Elk Grove has become an unexpected hotbed of budding young animation stars. In 1998, Sullivan established an animation and game design program there called K9 Studios and has already seen a slew of his students land at studios like Pixar, DreamWorks and Cartoon Network, as well as go on to great acclaim, like performance painter David Garibaldi, who is a contestant on this year’s America’s Got Talent. Equally impressive is the number of students that Sullivan has shepherded into CalArts, founded by Disney himself. The Harvard of animation programs, the school is highly selective, and Sullivan has had 20 former students accepted (including eight currently enrolled with more on the way this fall). One alum of both Sullivan’s K9 Studios and CalArts is Austin Madison, a Pixar artist who has worked on Ratatouille, Up and Toy Story 3 (and is the lead animator on the new Pixar film, Brave) and who jumped at the chance to animate his mentor (artwork pictured). Mr. Sullivan, get ready for your close-up. k9studios.org

Foodie Flashback
We’re not averse to a rich dose of nostalgia, especially when it comes to our sweet tooth. And neither is Karen Holmes, the creative chef-owner behind the much-lauded Karen’s Bakery Café in Folsom, who turned her wistful gourmet eye to the pre-packaged snacks that she treasured as a little girl. The result is a lineup of treats that delight with their old-school charm and modern flair, like her Myers’s Rum-spiked Ho Hos, a sliced chocolate roulade with rich tiramisu cream, and a crispy, peanut-filled Do-si-dos equivalent that would woo even the most resolute Girl Scout cookie fanatic. And don’t fret if you don’t see your favorite childhood treat on the menu: Given ample notice (usually around a week), Holmes will whip up just about any special order you dish out, like the Stareos, a shortbread sandwich with mascarpone filling in flavors like chocolate, cinnamon and orange, and the ganache-covered, York Peppermint Pattie-inspired chocolates that she first created for a customer who requested them for his wife’s birthday celebration. So head to Folsom and get the sensation. 705 Gold Lake Dr., Folsom. 985-2665.karensbakery.com

Enchanting Forest
The 107-acre UC Davis Arboretum, which celebrates its 75th anniversary thisPhoto by Max Whittaker spring, is no garden variety, well, garden. The horticultural gem, which functions as a living laboratory for university researchers and houses over 2,600 types of plants and trees, is arranged into 17 zones representing climates, regions or species, like the T. Elliot Weier Redwood Grove—touted as one of the largest collections of coastal redwoods outside their native range—or the Carolee Shields White Flower Garden, which is modeled after medieval moon-viewing gardens of India and Japan and features fragrant, pale flowers like calla lily, oleander and Southern magnolia. But you don’t have to be a green thumb to appreciate the arboretum: Simply strap on your running shoes and join dozens of bikers, joggers and walkers who frequent its 3.5-mile main trail, or learn while you smell the blue lady lenten roses on one of the free walking tours (led by experts like arboretum superintendent emeritus Warren G. Roberts, who is guiding one on June 13). Plus, you can make your own garden grow with one of the arboretum’s 100 All-Star plants like California fuchsia, Chilean jasmine and Santa Barbara daisies, which have been tested for their toughness and resistance to drought, and are available at various local garden shops like Loomis’ Flower Farm Nursery and Capital Nursery. UC Davis campus. 530-752-4880.arboretum.ucdavis.edu