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BEST OF SACRAMENTO     GOODIE BAG      MASTERS CLUB MEMBERS     NEWSLETTERS     WEDDINGS     RESTAURANTS     WINE

Best of Sacramento 2011

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FOOD + DRINK

Best Gourmet  Doughnuts

You can find all sorts of artisanal products these days: bread, cheese, beer, even popsicles. The latest foodstuff to get the artisan treatment? Doughnuts. This summer, Sacramento’s first gourmet doughnut shop, DOUGHBOT, opened in Southside Park, serving made-from-scratch doughnuts in such cutting-edge flavors as dulce de leche, chai tea, and peanut butter and jelly. Owners Bryan Widener and Dannah O’Donnell got the idea for the shop after trying a bacon maple bar at Portland’s famous Voodoo Doughnut. Doughbot serves its own version of that inspired confection, along with a rotating menu of flavors. Our favorite? The Dude: a White Russian-flavored doughnut filled with Kahlúa-vodka custard. 2226 10th St., Sacramento; (916) 444-5157; doughbotdonuts.com

Best New Bakery
Divine smells waft out of SUGAR AND SPICE, a bakery that opened in early 2011 on a slightly dodgy stretch of 12th Street. Owner Carissa Jones concocts imaginative pastries such as spicy chili chocolate cupcakes, s’mores Pop-Tarts and an upscale version of the Hostess Snowball. She likes to mix things up, creating bread pudding squares in interesting flavor combos such as blueberry/white chocolate and hazelnut/dark chocolate. “It changes on my whim,” says pastry chef Jones, who worked in the kitchens of Slocum House and Mason’s. 1201 F St., Sacramento; (916) 952-5253; sugarandspice.me

Best Use of Social Media
Local chef Jason Azevedo loves two things: pork and people. He recently figured out how to combine the two through his popular Meatups. Held once a month at a local cafe or restaurant, the MEATUPS are a chance for local foodies to mix and mingle while picking up orders of artisanal sausage, bacon, hot dogs and other porky products. Using hogs sourced from local ranchers, Azevedo makes everything himself, including Louisiana-style hot links, Italian sausage, kielbasa and a fiendishly rich condiment called bacon marmalade (caramelized onions, bacon bits, rendered bacon fat and thyme). Azevedo uses Facebook and e-mail to take orders and announce Meatups. To get on his invite list, e-mail him at testadurosalumi@gmail.com or look for Jason Azevedo on Facebook.

Best Food Movement
History will record 2011 as the year GOURMET FOOD TRUCKS finally arrived in Sacramento. Long a mainstay of the food scenes in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland, food trucks got their toehold here in February when Mini Burger Truck hit the streets, tweeting its location as it moved around town. Soon, other trucks started appearing: Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen, Mama Kim on the Go, Wicked ’Wich. In April, 9,000 people jammed into Fremont Park for SactoMoFo, the city’s first mobile food fest. Now, as the City Council is rethinking its anti-truck ordinances, a gathering of food trucks is held every Thursday evening at different spots around the region. Local food blogger Catherine Enfield, one of SactoMoFo’s organizers, says it’s only a matter of time before Sacramento is as food-truck-friendly as L.A.: “We’ve shown that if you tweet it, they will come.”

Best New Bottle Shop
Newsflash: Beer is the new wine. Looking to capitalize on beer’s newfound status as an artisanal product, Rob Archie recently opened PANGAEA BOTTLE SHOP next door to his Pangaea Two Brews Cafe in Curtis Park. He scours the world for interesting craft beers and rare and unusual brews, posting on Facebook when he gets in a shipment. Depending on the day, you might find Fantôme Saison (a Belgian-style farmhouse ale), Pliny the Elder (a cult favorite) or Samuel Adams Utopias, which retails for—gulp—$200 a bottle. Knowledgeable staffers can steer you to an interesting bottle you’ve never tried—Champagne-style beer, perhaps. While you’re there, why not pick up some cheese, crackers and charcuterie and have yourself a beer bash? 2743 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 454-4942; pangaeatwobrews.com   

 

Next page: Things To Do

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ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

Best Way To Add Sizzle to Your Life
SIZZLING SIRENS, a sensuous all-woman dance troupe, has been bringing va va voom to Sacramento since 2008, performing everywhere from the Crocker Art Museum to Harlow’s. Make a night of it and check out the The Siren Show at RESTAURANT THIR13EN, which features live jazz and blues from the Harley White Jr. Orchestra, themed cocktails and an optional themed dinner. Another option? Fishnet Friday, a burlesque-themed dance party that takes place every first Friday at Marilyn’s on K. Want to get your own sizzle on? Take a class at Burlesque Academy. Private and group lessons are available. sizzlingsirensburlesque.com

Best Way To See Artistsin Their Natural Habitat
To the layperson, art making can be a mysterious process. CAPITOL ARTISTS' STUDIO TOUR gives Sacramentans a chance to see what an artist’s life is like behind the scenes. Held every September by the Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, the free, self-guided two-day event allows you to tour 150 working artists’ studios and see for yourself how the magic happens. The art on display covers a wide spectrum, with textiles, furniture and sculpture among the offerings. “There’s something for every style,” says CCAS board member Cheryl Holben. The center encourages attendees to start their art collections by purchasing original works, many of which cost less than framed reproductions at major retailers. (916) 498-9811; ccasac.org

Best Alternative to the Multiplex
Sacramento isn’t a top-tier city when it comes to attracting independent films. So Robert McKeown and his wife, DeeAnn Little, started MOVIES ON A BIG SCREEN to bring documentaries, indie flicks and the occasional cult classic to town. Screenings have been held at different venues over the past five years that MOBS has been in existence, but for now they’re on Sunday nights at Oak Park’s Guild Theater. Tickets to most films are just $5. McKeown cites positive audience feedback as a reason why MOBS endures. “Our tagline is ‘We’re 5 years old and it’s all your fault,’” he says. The pair hope to add a second movie night. moviesonabigscreen.com

Best Band To Watch
When we first heard the name SISTER CRAYON, we thought we’d stumbled upon a children’s band. But one listen to the band’s ethereal, sometimes haunting
music and we were properly schooled. The band—Terra Lopez, Dani Fernandez and Jeffrey LaTour—put heart, soul and sometimes sweat into their live appearances. They have a solid fan base in Sac, and they love their fans back. Sister Crayon posted the following on its Facebook page after one Sacramento appearance this summer: “Thank you, thank you, thank you Sacramento. You never disappoint. Truly humbled and honored for your energy and support tonight. 916 got moves.” The Sammie-award winning band is currently touring, so you might not catch it here until next year. In the meantime, check out Bellow, its first full-length album under the Manimal Vinyl Records label.

Best Splashy New Arts Center
Not too shabby for a theater that was conceived as a gathering ground for students to show off their performance skills. Since its opening in February with A Chorus Line, THREE STAGES AT FOLSOM LAKE COLLEGE has drawn the Joffrey Ballet, Hal Holbrook in Mark Twain Tonight!, Gloria Steinem, Harlem Gospel Choir, Rosanne Cash and other top touring acts. The complex also is a venue for professional groups closer to home, such as the Sacramento Ballet and Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, and youthful productions such as those of El Dorado Musical Theatre and Northern California Dance Conservatory. With three performance spaces—847-seats, 207-seats and 95-seats—there’s enough room to fulfill the original mission of showcasing college performances. This season, expect to see FLC’s Afro-Cuban Funk Band’s Jazz After Dark (Nov. 18), Monty Python’s Spamalot (Nov. 17 to 19) and Folsom Symphony’s A Joyful Celebration (Dec. 11) among other inspiring shows.

Best High School Touring Company
We’re busting with pride that MIRA LOMA HIGH SCHOOL was invited to perform at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival this past August. It’s not an easy gig to get: The school was one of 1,500 U.S. schools nominated and, following an arduous audition, one of only 50 nationwide selected to attend the fest. In Scotland, Mira Loma’s thespians performed Almost, Maine by John Cariani, “a romantic comedy with magic realism,” according to the school’s theater instructor Nikki Schallig-Weil. “It’s very American, which is why we decided to bring it.”

Best Usable Art
Fans of TWO ACCORDIONS quilts should be grateful that founders Joe Gallegos and Ruth Hansen met. The duo creates handsome, streamlined designs with a retro, ’60s mod feel, featuring abstract patterns in vivid colors. “Our goal is to keep our quilts simple and original,” says Gallegos, who was inspired by a tattered quilt made years earlier by his grandmother. Once he and Hansen started dating, he shared with her his vision for crafting modern, usable quilts. And these quilts are most definitely usable: Yoga mats and picnic quilts are among the styles they offer. Gallegos performs what he calls the “construction process,” which includes cutting and piecing the fabric, while Hansen sews the pieces together and adds their signature stitch design at the very end. The quilts can be found only at Scout Living on 18th Street while the quilting duo works on building up an inventory. twoaccordions.com

 

Next page: Civic Life

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