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Photo by Jeremy Sykes

Flapjacks to Flip For

If it were up to us, Bacon & Butter would add one more “B” to its name because the breakfast haven’s buttermilk pancakes certainly deserve a spot on the marquee and a place on every diner’s table. Made from scratch with ingredients like free-range eggs from Haney’s ranch near Modesto and topped with fresh fruit like sliced peaches or diced apples, chef-owner Billy Zoellin’s flapjacks come out decadently crisp-edged, yet gloriously fluffy from the griddle every single time (trust us, we’ve done our homework). For weekend brunch goers who are used to the long lines for a table, your wait will soon be over when, after two years in midtown, B&B moves a few miles east to Tahoe Park in mid-June and reopens with expanded seating (including an outdoor patio), beer and wine service—and evening hours. Which, to us, can only mean one thing: pancakes for dinner. (Yes, Zoellin will be serving them at suppertime.) Batter up! baconandbuttersac.com

India Pale Ales are all the rage in America’s booming craft beer phenomenon, making new brew fans daily with their bracing, bitter aplomb. It takes a special brewery to pile on the hops for a double IPA, and few do it better than Auburn-based Knee Deep Brewing Co., whose Hoptologist DIPA won a gold medal at San Francisco Beer Week’s double IPA festival in 2012, beating out beer-nerd favorite Pliny the Elder. As you pour a glass of the top-tier Hoptologist, the color of that accolade is reflected in the golden and copper-hued brew; a whiff of caramel swirls upward, ushered out as citrus and floral notes cascade down your tongue with the lingering bite that makes the style so popular with hard-core hopheads. A great local brew dominating a delicious national movement? We’ll drink to that. 13395 New Airport Rd. Auburn. 530-797-4677. kneedeepbrewing.com

Way to Think Inside the Bun
At a glance, the Fiesta Dog served up at The Wienery in East Sacramento just should not work. On the one hand, it is exactly what the menu says it is—bun and frankfurter topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, refried beans, cheese and taco sauce. On the other, it represents an abomination perhaps better suited to one of Werner Herzog’s sobering documentaries about the human condition. Either way, it is a marvel. The trick is in the pairing itself: The flavors are so familiar (if you’re into hot dogs and tacos, that is) that the meal is less wanton mash-up than a kind of comfort-food calculus. Before you know it, the Fiesta Dog is devoured, and you ask yourself, “Did I really just eat an entire hot dog made over as a taco?” Yes, you did. And frankly, you’ll do it again. 715 56th St. 455-0497. thewienerysacramento.com

Barrel-Based Buzz
There are plenty of places in town to get a great drink, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a sipping substance as uniquely sublime as the barrel-aged cocktails at midtown’s Hook & Ladder. Beverage director Chris Tucker takes a six-gallon oak cask and concocts magical mixes like a negroni made with Plymouth Gin, Campari and sweet vermouth, then ages the blend for up to nine weeks before putting it on tap. The result barely resembles its fresh counterpart, with its time against the grains turning the drink smooth and complex, the ingredients not just mingling but marrying for life. When the barrel is empty, there’s no quick fix—you’ll have to wait until the next casked creation comes out. But never fear: Tucker just got a new batch of barrels to quench your summer thirst. 1630 S St. 442-4885. hookandladder916.com

Excuse to Try Bacon JamPhoto by Marc Thomas Kallweit

You really can’t go wrong with the simple pleasure of a PB&J sandwich, but at Block Butcher Bar in midtown, the “ABJ” panini—head chef Michael Tuohy’s creation made with Marcona almond butter and bacon jam—elevates the lunchtime classic to inventive new heights. Forget about Smucker’s and Jiffy: these spreads, sandwiched between slices of toasted Acme sourdough, are house-made and full of nuanced flavor, like the subtle spice and sweetness of the jam (made with rendered bacon, sherry vinegar, garlic and crushed chilies), which pairs amazingly with the creamy, salty almond paste. Trust us, this is one addicting treat that you’ll go nuts for. 1050 20th St. 476-6306. blockbutcherbar.com

Photo by Julian EliasWay to Meet the Neighbors
At least three times a week, Julian Elias approaches strangers on the street with his Canon Rebel camera and asks them to be part of Humans of Sacramento, his revelatory photography site highlighting people around the capital city. Elias, a part-time ESL instructor at both Sacramento State and Cosumnes River College, modeled the project after the wildly popular Humans of New York series; he began on a whim last fall after meeting and photographing a woman named Juanita (pictured), who was singing and playing the tambourine on I Street. Elias has since snapped musicians, students, artists, gardeners and others while wandering through his neighborhood of East Sacramento and beyond, chatting up his subjects and sharing their stories along the way. The result: dozens of introductions to our fellow Sacramentans that we would likely never meet, but are better off for knowing, even for a moment. humansofsacramentoca.tumblr.com

Whipped Wonder
Calorie-counting coffee addicts have a friend in Fõam, a luscious topping crafted by Gold River inventor Jeff Wilkinson in 2000 so that he and his fellow cappuccino devotees could enjoy healthier alternatives to whipped cream. The entrepreneur (and former COO of Saint John’s shelter for women and children) tried recipe upon recipe in his kitchen, finally succeeding after over 300 attempts with the right blend of ingredients like nonfat milk, sugar, and whey protein concentrate (which provides the product its frothy texture). Especially with beach season coming up, we’ll be sure to stock up on this sweet and creamy—and fat-free—topping (available at Raley’s and Bel Air stores, as well as on Fõam’s website) that should be everybody’s best coffee mate. skinnywip.com

Farm-Fresh Ice Cream
Photo by Jeremy SykesStepping into Treats, a cheery, closet-sized ice-cream shop tucked down an alleyway in Nevada City, is the perfect respite from the summertime heat—not to mention the sweetest way to get your daily serving of farm-fresh fruit. Owners Bob and Peggy Wright offer about 25 rotating flavors of decadent ice cream, sorbet, vegan ice cream, gelato and “Treatsicles” that use blends of produce from the farmers’ market or local grocer BriarPatch Co-op. Just look for flavors like pear-ginger sorbet featuring pears from Auburn’s Boorinakis Harper Ranch, the vibrant scoop that boasts sweet red peppers and strawberries from nearby Riverhill Farm, and a mint chip ice cream often swirled with bits of spearmint from the Wrights’ own backyard garden. Now that’s what we call home sweet home. 110 York St. Nevada City. 530-913-5819. treatsnevadacity.com