Karen’s Bakery Café
If Karen Holmes stopped serving food—which would be a disaster for people who love imaginative-yet-comforting eats—her cafe-slash-community center might still stay busy. That’s because it’s become a happy crossroad for Folsom and its historic district. The bright, cheerful room with windows for walls is regularly filled with people doing business, friends catching up and cyclists taking a break. But it’s the food that drew everyone in the first place. Breakfasts are inventive and satisfying, like the puff pastry tart with Gruyère, bacon and a sunny-side-up egg. Lunches range from sandwiches like egg salad, to a salsa verde slow-cooked pork. And the baked goods—for instance, the vegan apple walnut muffins and, of course, the addictive chocolate chip cookies—can heal the soul. Portions are big, but not too big, and just about everything Holmes does in her kitchen manages to be both familiar and ingenious, not to mention tasty.