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Photo by Anna Wick

Typewriter Doctor

As a student attending American River College in the early 1970s, Ole Kehlet was just minding his own business when one day a friend tipped him off to a job delivering Smith Corona typewriter parts around Sacramento. Nearly five decades later, Kehlet is the city’s last typewriter repairman standing. Indeed, at least three days a week you can find him perched behind the weathered counter of his 200-square-foot storefront on 16th Street just outside midtown fielding phone calls (“the cross street is T, like typewriter,” he’s fond of saying), scheduling service appointments and chatting at length with visitors about the marvelous machines inhabiting his shop. Ask Kehlet, 65, about his folding 1918 Corona, a lightweight favorite of traveling salesmen and journalists; or his French-made 1954 Roxy, encased in a military-green metal shell that’s less than two inches thick; or his puzzling, but beloved 1903 Yost typewriter that has full complements of capital and lowercase letters instead of a shift key. Or ask him to find and restore you a vintage beauty of your own, an aesthetic and creative delight that can be yours for a few hundred bucks. However you proceed, rest assured that this guy is just your type. 1926 16th St. 916-447-7171

Way to Have Your Cake and Drink It Too

Peanut butter and jelly. Bacon and eggs. Batman and Robin. Some things have just gone together for as long as we can remember. But that doesn’t mean some duos shouldn’t get a reboot, which is what the new Folsom dessert shop Whips is giving to the tried-and-true pairing of cake and ice cream. Nick Morris and his parents, Terry and Joanne, who opened their store in January, drop slices of cake in a stand mixer with ice cream and milk to make, well, cake shakes, and it turns out that they’re pretty amazing (and so are their pie shakes). The shop has a rotating lineup of baked desserts—like cookies and cream or red velvet cake, banana cream pie and peach crisp, from folks like Granite Bay’s Little Bliss Cakery and Folsom’s Sweet Cakes—and ice cream (vanilla, strawberry or chocolate), and churns the ingredients into either a “whip,” which is thick like semi-melted ice cream and eaten with a spoon, or—the way we like it best—a shake, which comes with a wide-mouthed straw for easy slurping of the crumbly, cakey bits. With all the available combos, choosing where to grab dessert this summer should be a veritable cakewalk. 711 E. Bidwell St. Folsom. 916-542-7907. whipsdesserts.com

 

New Brewery in a Barn

Barns in California are supposed to be used for two things: housing livestock and hosting rustic weddings, right? Well, at Hillenbrand Farmhaus Brewery, you can add brewing uniquely aromatic and flavorful beers to that list. Owner Patric Hillenbrand began serving up pints at his barn brewery in Newcastle last fall, and we have taken a real shine to both the suds and the serene vistas on the 13-acre ranch, Photo by Jeremy Sykeswhich features a peaceful pond and 100-year-old fig trees (the fruit of which will be used in a new summertime concoction). A perpetual hit is the Juicy Fruit IPA, with complex, layered notes of citrus, hops and pineapple, but our favorite is the refreshing Farmhaus Saison, a smooth quaff finished with lemon zest and toasted coriander. That said, with seasonal offerings on tap like Watermelon Wheat (with estate-grown watermelon) and a local peach-infused Berliner Weiss, our drink of choice may change with each visit. Hillenbrand has also collaborated with top local chefs to host beer-pairing dinners (a recent event brought Mikuni’s Taro Arai to the brewery), where guests can feast in a setting right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Whenever you visit, you won’t need to imbibe on an empty stomach. Try a Pretzel Platter with a giant hot German pretzel from Freeport Bakery, served with salami, olives, cheese, almonds, cashews and grapes. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you can twirl a chocolate cake pop, created especially for the brewery by Ettore’s Bakery with a reduction of the You’re Killing Me S’mores brown ale (made with toasted marshmallows) in the batter. Whether you decide to drink your beer or eat it, a trip to Hillenbrand is sure to be a real barn burner. 5100 Virginiatown Rd. Newcastle. hillenbrandbrewery.com

 

Hidden Vegan Haven

Doesn’t the term “vegan soul food” sound like an oxymoron? Especially when it comes to comfort cuisine, where the gustatory delights tend to be meaty and unctuous—every herbivore has a memory of making do with two sides and a biscuit while his/her carnivorous tablemate’s chin glistens with poultry juice. But in 2012, when the team behind veggie-friendly Capitol Garage opened its Southern restaurant The Porch, head chef Jon Clemons wanted to continue the tradition of offering diners an array of meatless menu options. Okra, collards, tomatoes and beets (grown exclusively for the restaurant by Oakmont Earth Arts in Rosemont) get the full-on, decadent, slow-food treatment, not a calorie spared. Clemons’ griddle and bubbling deep fryer have been known to turn out inventive twists like a French toast dipped in banana-coconut batter with vegan whipped cream, and succulent, delicately crusted Cajun beets with tangy, twangy comeback sauce (a blend of house-made veganaise and ketchup) that are so explosively flavorful that traditionalists have been known to let their chicken and waffles languish while poaching plants from their partners’ plates. When you consider the midtown restaurant’s equally stellar cocktail selection (try the Snickerdoodle), it’s no surprise that The Porch has become one of our favorite places to veg out. 1815 K St. 916-444-2423. theporchrestaurantandbar.com

 

 

Place to Party Like It's 1989

You don’t need a hot tub time machine to rewind to the decade that brought us Flashdance, big hair and parachute pants—just dust off your raspberry beret and head to Back to the ’80s Cafe & More. Whether you were a teenager during the Brat Pack years, or just love to dress like one, this Rancho Cordova restaurant, which opened in December, will give you the full throwback experience,Photo by Marc Thomas Kallweit with movie posters from classics like The Goonies and Pretty in Pink lining neon blue walls, a Ms. Pac-Man machine beeping in a side nook and MTV music videos Rickrolling all day long on flat-screen TVs. The menu, which touts punnily named items like French Toast Busters and Culture Club Sandwich, almost seems like a bonus at this restaurant, where we could gawk at owner Chris Knecht’s impressive collection of Michael Jackson trading cards, Freddy Krueger dolls and Back to the Future Part II solar shades for hours and easily forget to order the food. But do take a seat on a Rubik’s Cube stool and chow down on the popular Risky Business Burger (totally tubular tip: ask the friendly cashier Keith—who channels George McFly with his gelled hair, khaki trousers and a gray bomber jacket—for a side of Tetris-shaped tater tots). It washes down perfectly with a “Time Warp” milkshake, like the E.T. version with Reese’s Pieces. And ’80s aficionados will be thrilled (Thrillered?) to know that Knecht hopes to open a second, larger location in midtown later this year, with space for live music and dancing every Friday and Saturday. We’ll start practicing our moonwalk now. 3084 Sunrise Blvd. Rancho Cordova. 916-368-7616. backtothe80scafe.com

Brass Menagerie

You’re roaming through downtown’s concrete jungle and suddenly, in the distance, the buoyant blast of a single trombone rises above the white noise of the bustling streets. A trumpet follows and soon the cacophonous symphony edges closer. If you’ve been lucky enough to witness the spontaneous sidewalk serenade of Sacramento’s City of Trees Brass Band, then you’ve witnessed the ultimate urban pop-up parade. The ensemble originated when bandleader Ben Hillier gathered a few of his college friends to perform some of his new arrangements in 2013. It has since blossomed into a group of over 30 rotating musicians who have embraced the tradition of busking. The boisterous melodies of the band’s New Orleans-inspired jazz breathe life into otherwise empty street corners. If, however, like us, you’re too impatient to wait for them to stroll down your street, then follow them on Facebook to see if you can catch them at one of the band’s haunts like the Torch Club or Der Biergarten. Wherever you find them, show ’em some love with your applause or pocketbook. Our annual jazz festival may be gone, but its spirit lives on in these troubadours who make our city as proud as their namesake trees. facebook.com/CoTBB

Photo by Jeremy Sykes

Doggone Delicious Global Vacation

In Japanese, “umai” means “yummy,” and you’ll be thinking that often at Umai Savory Hot Dogs, a local chain with a menu of over 20 flavorful and creative varieties. Inspired by his immigrant parents’ San Jose hot dog cart, 43-year-old owner Louie Tran opened his first Umai location in Roseville in 2015 (there’s now also an outpost in Arden-Arcade). And like the elder Trans’ outfit, which offered toppings beyond ketchup and mustard, such as seaweed and sriracha mayo, Louie’s venture is a travelogue for the tongue. If, like us, your ambition is to someday eat ’em all, you’ll be taking a trip around the world. First stop, Japan, for the semi-sweet Tokyo Signature, which comes with a beef frankfurter, caramelized onions, roasted seaweed, teri mayonnaise, house-made teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds. Afterward, head south to Vietnam for our favorite, the bánh mì-inspired Saigon Hustle, with a juicy bratwurst, pickled daikon and carrots, sweet chili and teriyaki hoisin sauces, crunchy fresh jalapeño and salty roasted peanuts. And make sure to stop by Hawaii for the bacon-topped Honolulu Bang Bang, Florida for the spicy Bacon Cubano, Germany for the tangy Blitzkrieg, and Thailand for the peppery Thai Thunder. With these and many other “umai” ways to add stamps to your culinary passport, just make sure you arrive hungry for adventure. Roseville: 1132 Galleria Blvd. 916-774-0707. Arden-Arcade: 1310 Howe Ave. 916-246-9443. umaihotdogs.com

 

Photo courtesy of the Center for Sacramento History

Sudsy Story

It’s déjà brew all over again. Prior to Prohibition, you see, the capital city was also the beer-making capital of the West (not to mention the largest hop-growing region in the nation). And over the last decade, the local scene has bubbled back to life, growing from six to more than 60 breweries, according to the new book Sacramento Beer: A Craft History by Justin Chechourka, a former producer at KCRA. In it, the West Sacramentan chronicles the movement’s past with stories like the one about a Donner Party survivor who made the city’s first lager. He also parses its present through interviews with brewmasters from dozens of local breweries—including heavy hitters like Ruhstaller and Rubicon as well as new kids on the block like Elk Grove’s Flatland and Auburn’s Moonraker—and contemplates our foamy future via UC Davis professor Dr. Charles Bamforth, aka the “Pope of Foam,” and his school’s brewing science program. But our favorite thing about this beer bible—which is available locally at the Sacramento History Museum and stores like Time Tested Books and Avid Reader (visit the title’s website for info on upcoming book signings at regional breweries)—might be that each section comes with a beer-pairing recommendation. Ruhstaller’s Hop Sac ale with chapter 12, about our region’s hoppy comeback? Don’t mind if we do. sacbeerbook.com

Guilt-free Ice Cream

The dairy cows at Long Dream Farm, which is nestled in the foothills just north of Lincoln, must be jumping over the moon for joy—at least figuratively—since their home is one of only a few slaughter-free “ethical dairies” in the country. But the ranch’s commitment to bovine bliss, made by husband-and-wife owners Andrew and Krista Abrahams, doesn’t stop there: Cows are milked only once a day and promptly reunited with their calves, who stay with their mammas until they wean naturally. Very close attention is paid to keeping family and social groups together, so several multigenerational cattle clans inhabit the farm’s picture-perfect fields and live in harmony with the over 1,000 pasture-raised chickens who supply the eggs. And apparently, happy cows and chickens make heavenly custard-style ice cream. Long Dream’s frozen flavors are classic—vanilla, chocolate and coffee—and sublime in their simplicity. The vanilla is sweet and milky, the chocolate is decadently full-bodied, and the coffee—created using beans from a NorCal roaster, like a recent batch boasting brew from Highwire Coffee in Oakland—is well balanced and creamy. One bite, and you too will be extolling the virtues of the Abrahams’ feel-good, taste-great treats until the cows come home. 916-543-0758. longdreamfarm.com

 

Coffee Shop with Superpowers

Having vanquished all comers in Downtown Sacramento Partnership’s 2016 “Calling All Dreamers” contest for aspiring entrepreneurs, self-proclaimed comic book geeks Laura Benson and Neil Estaris opened the superhero-themed Oblivion Comics & Coffee last year, bringing a power-packed punch of graphic novels and assorted pop culture tchotchkes to K Street.Photo by Curtis Yee And here, even the edible options have superpowers. Supercharge your browsing with a white chocolate and caramel Latte of Truth made with espresso from Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters and topped with a cinnamon-dusted Wonder Woman insignia. Hungry? Oblivion’s creative selections of dessert toasts are formidable (and delicious), including country French bread blanketed with cinnamon sugar from nearby Allspicery or covered in cream cheese and Oreo crumbles. But our newest favorite is the savory Edible Hulk, a thick-cut sourdough slice from locally based Grateful Bread, slathered with a muscular helping of avocado and sprinkled with sea salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper. It is, one might even say, Marvel-ous. 1020 11th St. 916-329-8839. oblivioncomics.com