Author: Photos by Max Whittaker

From the (Uncluttered) Desk of Dr. Robin Zasio

Feeling a new type of winter blues? Over the past two years, many of us have become increasingly plagued by a host of pandemic-related mental health issues, ranging from burnout to PTSD to depression. As we navigate our second holiday season under the cloud of Covid, Dr. Robin Zasio—a Sacramento clinical psychologist who has appeared on the long-running A&E series "Hoarders" for more than a decade—talks about the importance of living a “value-driven life” and pressing play at the end of a workday in our effort to go from Anxiety to Zen.

Stronger Together

Patrick and Bobbin Mulvaney are arguably Sacramento’s First Couple of Farm to Fork. With Sacramento celebrating our region's agricultural bounty in September, we sit down with the owners of Mulvaney’s B&L to talk about the impact of the pandemic on the restaurant industry, the life lessons learned from Bobbin’s bouts with cancer, the controversy surrounding local caviar purveyor Michael Passmore, the importance of openly discussing mental health issues in the workplace and the community, and their efforts to lend a helping hand, one loving spoonful at a time.

The New Golden Age

By weekday, they’re construction workers, utility mechanics and registered nurses. But on weekends, they abandon their respective vocations and venture far up into the storied Sierra foothills and far back in time—circa 1849—dodging rattlesnakes, poison oak and the stink-eyed gazes of seasoned treasure hunters as they transform into passionate modern-day prospectors. And they’re not alone. The global pandemic drove gold prices to record highs this past year and left many with a lot more time on their hands—and knees—searching for the precious yellow metal that’s so deeply entwined with our region’s historical DNA. Yep, there’s still gold up in them thar hills, and the rush to find it is on (again).

Perfect Picnics

We’ve filled our wicker baskets with the best takeout en route to eight sonnet-worthy spots across the region for your alfresco dining pleasure. Whether you’re unpacking a gourmet BLT on toasted artisan bread while gazing upon a sweeping view of Gold Country or digging into a bucket of crispy fried chicken while smelling the roses at McKinley Park, we prove that life in the wake of a pandemic can be a picnic after all. (Just don’t forget the sunscreen.)

The Fisher King

He started by selling sturgeon under the W-X freeway and grew to become a blue-chip name on local menus. But after finding a niche crafting bespoke caviar for top chefs around town and Michelin-starred restaurants from San Francisco to New York, Michael Passmore is now casting a much wider net in the hope of bringing his cult cured roe to the masses. Caviar-topped Tostitos? You might just get hooked.

Sactown's Best BBQ

Sweet, savory, spicy, smoky… There’s no flavor that doesn’t come through in the magical realms of barbecue. And there’s no better time than these warm-weather days to bite into the meaty marvels grilled up by 10 of our region’s best barbecue wizards. Whether you prefer tender ribs straight out of Cajun country or Texas-tinged pulled pork smoked for 18 hours—or a heaping helping of both with three-alarm sauces and five-star side dishes—we’ve got your ’cue cravings covered. Dig in!

A Winters Tale

As the son of one of the most controversial figures in American history, Craig McNamara grew up in the presence of presidents and others who helped shape our world. Now, from his organic walnut farm in Winters, he’s shaping the future of our state by trying to feed the millions of Californians who don’t have enough to eat, and by nurturing the next generation of farmers. Oh, and by helping his son grow hops for really cool Sacramento craft beer.

The Incredible Edible Eggs

What are superstar chefs like Thomas Keller and Charlie Palmer doing out in the middle of a big, dry field a few miles north of Arco Arena? Fishing. In the wake of global bans on wild caviar, one unassuming  local fish farm is basking in the worldwide culinary spotlight.