Sacramento Magazine July 2020

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FOCUS ON THE FACE Kenneth M. Toft, M.D.

959 Reserve Drive • Roseville • (916) 782-TOFT (8638) • Dr. Kenneth M. Toft is considered Sacramento’s expert in facial plastic surgery. He began his surgical training at Stanford University, continued his studies as a Clinical Instructor in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at UCLA, and has been the Medical Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Mercy San Juan Medical Center for thirteen years. This impressive pedigree is backed up with exceptional results. Focusing entirely on the face, Dr. Toft has a reputation of giving patients natural appearing results with a quick recovery utilizing the most modern techniques available. Dr. Toft uses his expertise to minimize the signs of surgery so his patients can return to their active lifestyle looking refreshed, youthful and balanced. Not ready for surgery? Dr. Toft also personally performs all fillers, Botox®, Dysport®, and Photofacial treatments. In addition, a licensed Medical Esthetician can provide expertise in corrective peels, Dermasweep treatments, and pharmaceutical-grade skincare. If you are considering facial plastic surgery or would like to attend an informational seminar, make an appointment with “the expert” in Facial Plastic Surgery, Kenneth M. Toft, M.D.

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Little Miracles Happen Everyday at Northern California Fertility Medical Center


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FOCUS: Our vision is your future family. If you are experiencing difficulty becoming pregnant, we offer a full range of infertility services including in vitro fertilization, family balancing, egg donation, egg freezing, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, gestational surrogacy and vasectomy reversal. EXPERIENCE: Since 1992, our physicians, Dr. Laurie Lovely, Dr. John Gould, Dr. Michael Murray, Dr. Manuel Doblado, Dr. Sahar Stephens have helped create thousands of families. WHY NCFMC? We are the largest fertility center in the region. We are proud of our high success rates and commitment to the highest quality care in our state-of-the-art facility. Our exceptional team of nurses, embryology, laboratory, clinical, and administrative staff are here to help you reach your family goals.

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Contents J U LY 2 0 2 0



DAYS OF DESPAIR AND HOPE Scenes from Sacramento’s protests. Photography by Brian Johnson and Kevin Gomez Jr.


THE NEW PIONEERS These locals live a simpler, close-to-the-land existence. By Marybeth Bizjak


THE MAGIC WE MISSED The pandemic darkened the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera’s single opera of the season. By Sasha Abramsky


SACRAMENTO HOME We present beautiful homes and big ideas. By Marybeth Bizjak, Mari Tzikas Suarez and Catherine Warmerdam

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SACMAG.COM July 2020




51 73


THE 916 Honoring Black Lives Operation Cookie New Summer Read Hospice for Homeless



73 ARTS & CULTURE Then and Now


Food for Good Instagram Tips Taco Time

D E PA R T M E N T S 23 HEALTH Get Out! By Elena M. Macaluso



Fair Fare




ON THE COVER br i a n joh nson


Meet our family at Kaufman & Davis Plastic Surgery. We understand that making the decision to undergo cosmetic surgery is a big one, which is often associated with a little anxiety. We want you to feel warm and welcome, and will do anything we can to make you feel at home. Our greatest asset at Kaufman & Davis Plastic Surgery is the dedicated team of caring professionals who make up our staff. Through this cohesive group we deliver meticulous, gentle, and compassionate care to our patients and strive to exceed their expectations.


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In this issue and online / July 2020

PUBLISHER Dennis Rainey EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Krista Minard ART DIRECTOR Gabriel Teague E D I TO R I A L MANAGING EDITOR Darlena Belushin McKay DINING EDITOR Marybeth Bizjak CALENDAR EDITOR Kari L. Rose Parsell PROOFREADER Sara E. Wilson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sasha Abramsky, Luna Anona, Daniel Barnes, Diana Bizjak, Cathy Cassinos-Carr, Ed Goldman, Angela Knight, Anna Quinlan, Mari Tzikas Suarez, Catherine Warmerdam ART GRAPHIC DESIGNER Debbie Hurst

The 2020 Gaming Guide A Special Advertising Section

Northern California’s gaming options are grand and growing. See page 77 of this issue. SACMAG.COM/SPECIAL-SECTIONS

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Kat Alves, Gary and Lisa Ashley, Beth Baugher, Debbie Cunningham, Wes Davis, Terence Duffy, Kevin Fiscus, Aniko Kiezel, Ryan Angel Meza, Tyler and Christina Mussetter, Rachel Valley A DV E R T I S I N G NATIONAL ACCOUNTS MANAGER Lisa Bonk ADVERTISING MANAGERS Duffy Kelly, Victor Obenauf, Carla Shults SENIOR ADVERTISING DESIGNER John Facundo MARKETING & WEB DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND DIGITAL MEDIA Dan Poggetti MARKETING AND DIGITAL MEDIA COORDINATOR Nicole Kern A D M I N I S T R AT I O N ACCOUNTING/BUSINESS MANAGER Tracy Strong C I R C U L AT I O N CIRCULATION MANAGER Riley Meyers DISTRIBUTION COORDINATOR Michael Decker

Sacramento Home

Showcasing the unique visual style and aesthetic of the capital region. 21 pages of beautiful local homes, great ideas and more! Begins on page 51 of this issue. SACRAMENTOHOMEMAG.COM



PRODUCTION PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Stephen Rice SALES OFFICES SACRAMENTO 231 Lathrop Way, Suite A, Sacramento, CA 95815; (916) 426-1720

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It still isn’t, but ever since mid-March, we’ve been operating a bit more like one than ever. It began when we hurriedly changed our May cover story to address the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s also when we started our popular online aggregator of COVID-19 news. Managing editor Darlena Belushin McKay huddled over her machine late into each night to package up the day’s local coronavirus numbers and stories. Each morning, I checked her links and verbiage, and zipped the file off to Dan Poggetti, our web guy. Meanwhile, dining editor Marybeth Bizjak was reporting about local restaurants for Carrie Boyle of River City Wine Week began writing about the wine industry. And Kari Rose Parsell covered the arts. By the week after Memorial Day, our email subscribers were receiving a daily newsletter guiding them to our website and other reliable sources of community information, including some local social media posts, compiled by marketing coordinator Nicole Kern. Then George Floyd, a black man, died pleading for breath and life beneath the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis. In our city, where two years ago unarmed Stephon Clark was killed by police, protestors took to the streets, marching against police brutality and systemic racism. As the month of May ended, vandalism and chaos erupted after dark in midtown and downtown. National Guard troops rolled into town, and a citywide curfew attempted to keep a lid—or at least a time limit—on people’s rage and grief. Our little team scrambled; our web pieces and aggregated links never felt more important. This July issue hadn’t yet gone to print, but stories were done, photos submitted, layouts well underway, the budget overspent. Yet now those factors seemed trivial. We convened on Zoom to talk about ways to better support black lives in all our coverage and our practices—immediately. This issue’s photo essay from Brian Johnson and Kevin Gomez Jr. is just one result of our ongoing conversations. We pulled a feature to make some space, and added pages. Art director Gabriel Teague suggested we replace our planned cover image with this one. We hesitated on only one factor—we can’t identify the woman—but ultimately went with it because her expression and her earring say it all. The image, we know, looks pretty newsy for Sac Mag. But if there’s ever a time for a change, this is it. Black lives must matter right now—and always. We stand with Sacramento’s black community.

AND THERE’S MORE . . . Social Justice Organizations— Many people are looking to join with others to take their racial justice work to a new level. Here are some local organizations that are working to educate and take action toward creating change. These links, along with descriptions of each organization’s work—taken from their mission statements—appear on Black Lives Matter Sacramento ACLU of Northern California, Sacramento Area sacramento-area Sacramento NAACP Sacramento ACT (Sacramento Area Congregations Together) NorCal Resist Black Womxn United Sac Mag’s Newsletter—For the latest COVID-19 numbers, links to local resources and stories about the latest happenings in the region, subscribe to Sacramento Magazine’s Daily Brief. newsletters



Brian Johnson

A Sacramento-based street film photographer, Brian Johnson grew up in Gary, Indiana and moved to California for “a better opportunity at life,” he says. He began shooting photos to document people and places in his new locale to show friends and family back home the California life. His first book, “Ordinary People,” is on sale at the Timeless Thrills store. “My experience at the protests has been amazing,” he says. “Peaceful, loving and understanding— documenting history, being a part of something so powerful.”



Kevin Gomez Jr.

“It means the absolute world to me to contribute to this beautiful planet we all call home,” says photographer Kevin Gomez Jr. “From the peaceful marches and unity of our community to the warzone-like atmosphere I found myself in the middle of—all in all, it defines Sacramento in the moment of unrest. Even though I am not directly affiliated with the [Black Lives Matter] movement, it is an obligation and honor to provide awareness of such a movement and moment in time.”

Create + Gather

Husband-and-wife photography duo Gary and Lisa Ashley established Create + Gather as a way to showcase their collaborative efforts with artists, influencers and families in our community and beyond. “Meeting and spending time with these people was the best part,” says Gary, about photographing The New Pioneers. “The love and energy these folks put into their gardens and animals was inspiring. Plus, they make it all look so easy. Each subject sent me home with food for me to share with my family.”


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The 916 i n s i d e: Operation Cookie / Rocking Creativity / Masked Man / Hospice for Homeless

Honoring Black Lives In the wake of protests over the death of George Floyd, a trio of local artists turned the boarded-up windows at de Vere’s Irish Pub downtown into an inspirational art installation designed to shine a spotlight on historic black leaders. The artists—D’Aramis Byrd, Raphael Delgado and Fernando Oliva—pasted Photoshopped images of Martin Luther King Jr., Angela Davis, Malcolm X and others on the boarded windows. They also included quotes by people such as Langston Hughes, Cornel West and Dick Gregory, as well as images of Floyd and Breonna Taylor, a Kentucky EMT worker who was killed in her apartment by police. —Marybeth Bizjak

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SACMAG.COM July 2020


The 916

Operation Cookie A local baker delivers treats of gratitude. BY THEA MARIE ROOD


ou can be miserable before eating a cookie, you can be miserable after eating a cookie, but you can’t be miserable while you’re eating a cookie— it’s joyful,” says Donna Webb, owner of Donna’s Delights in Granite Bay. In fact, it is this moment of joy she offers front-line workers by delivering boxes of her gluten-free, proteininfused double chocolate, chocolate chip, funfetti and snickerdoodle cookies to hospitals and grocery stores around the region. Webb, a fitness instructor and personal trainer, started baking 20 years ago when she was told by her physician to avoid gluten. “This was before there were many gluten-free products,” she recalls, “and I went into my kitchen and said, ‘What do I eat?’” At first, she WITHIN SIX WEEKS, stuck to just meat and veggies, but DONNA’S DELIGHTS eventually she “wanted a waffle or a HAD DELIVERED cookie.” She also had three young 2,000 COOKIES TO daughters, so she began to play EVERY MAJOR HOSaround with fun but healthy recipes. PITAL IN THE AREA. Her experiments outpaced her family’s ability to consume them, so she began giving them away to friends. One, the owner of the fitness studio where she worked, suggested Webb sell her products there. She did, eventually expanding into nearby coffeehouses and natural food markets. When the studio closed on March 16 because of the shelter-in-place orders, Webb decided to keep baking—and donate her treats to essential workers. She sent them to her grown daughters’ work teams and then—through a client from the studio who is an emergency room physician—to UC Davis Medical Center. But other small businesses learned of her project and offered to help: Within six weeks, they’d delivered 2,000 cookies to every major hospital in the area, as well as local Safeway, Whole Foods and PetSmart stores. In May, when the UCD emergency room physician volunteered to go to New York City to help treat COVID-19 cases there, Webb scrambled to send him with cookies for his team and continued to provide the NYC staff with regular care packages. “I’m going to keep doing this, regardless of the pandemic,” Webb says. “There are always people among us who are going above and beyond. It’s a simple thing but it brings a lot of joy.”

To Donate

Contact Donna Webb through Instagram (@donnas_delights) or go to, where you can order online and add “Donate” in the comment section. (You can specify a recipient or let the bakery pick one.)




Shelley Blanton-Stroud We recently chatted with Shelley Blanton-Stroud, a writing instructor at Sacramento State and co-director of Stories on Stage Sacramento, about her debut novel, “Copy Boy,” a Depression-era story about a California girl who reinvents herself as a man and lies her way into a job as a newspaper copy boy. Congratulations on the publication of your novel. How are you feeling about it? It’s been kind of a roller coaster. This novel has been in the works for eight years while I’ve taught and raised children and done other things, so the fact that it’s publishing at all is thrilling. But, of course, there was some sadness when I realized it’s not going to have its publication celebration in quite the way I imagined it. No one plans to release a novel during a pandemic. What are your plans for connecting with readers as you promote the book? I was really looking forward to in-person, physical interaction—a launch party at The Barn, giving library talks, bookstore talks. Not being able to do that was a loss at first. However, the more I’ve used Zoom with my students, I’ve discovered that it is possible to connect through a screen. So it won’t be some remote, unfeeling connection with readers; it will be more personal than that. Jane Hopper, the protagonist of your novel, is quite a spitfire. What did she teach you about resilience? I feel that there’s a certain irony in this. My book was really born of family stories. My family were Depression-era immigrants to California from Texas and Oklahoma. All the family stories growing up were about bad things that happened and how they got over them. I’ve always been nurtured on morality plays about grit. Then I found myself curled up in the fetal position because I couldn’t have a launch party for the book. But my character Jane,

she doesn’t give up. She’s a difficult person, and that’s why I love her. I’m definitely having a resurgent feeling about my main character. I feel like we’re being tested together. You’re already at work on a second novel, about a tennis player. Tell me more. I’m not a competitive person and I’m not an athlete and I tend to shy away from things that will pit me against other people. But I wanted to explore how different characters are motivated to compete. Some people come to it from perfectionism. For others, it’s just to win awards. For others, it’s to best someone. I knew I wanted the main character to be a woman and I wanted her to be at the height of her field and to have a colossal, humiliating failure, at which point she would have to decide whether to try again. I felt like it just READ THIS  had to be tennis because I wanted the disaster to be very public. Has the pandemic had any effect— positive or negative—on your work? If there’s one positive thing I can say about the pandemic, it’s that the stress of this moment has, in the writing world, caused people to reach out in ways I find touching and surprising. There are losses everywhere, but if you belong to any type of community, there is the possibility for meaningful connection. —Catherine Warmerdam

Shelley Blanton-Stroud: Anita Scharf / Painted Rock Trail: Gabriel Teague

Creativity Rocks Feeling fortunate to have nature trails in their Folsom backyard, mother-daughter duo Shari Ord and Emma Berkstresser, 10, were delighted when they came across one lined with painted rocks in their neighborhood. In the spirit of expressing creativity and connecting with others, Folsom residents—adults and children alike—have joined in to paint rocks in order to spread messages of hope and joy during the pandemic. Designed rocks are placed along the trails, most notably in the Lexington Hills and Broadstone neighborhoods, as a museumlike pathway. An estimated 2,000 rocks are on display. “The trails are a reminder that when times feel gloomy, there is always a bright side and a way to bring happiness to others,” says Ord. Created by unidentified community members, including someone only known as Bautista, the Painted Rock Trails, as they’re known, showcase a variety of design themes, including school spirit, pop culture, kid-friendly characters, messages to family and friends, and more. The Painted Rock Trails are separate from The Kindness Rocks Project, in which people all over the world hide rocks painted with inspirational messages for others to find, photograph and post on Facebook. That project has existed in Folsom since 2018, according to the Rocks of Folsom Facebook page. “What started as an expression of hope and positivity has become a heartwarming display of neighbors’ talents and creativity,” says Folsom resident Erin Kielty of the Lexington Hills trail. “We’ve loved seeing the Painted Rock Trail grow and witnessing the joy it’s brought the community.” As we continue to stay safe together, enjoy a walk along the Painted Rock Trails—and if you’re feeling a spark of creativity, leave a masterpiece behind to spread joy of your own. You can find the Painted Rock Trails between Wellfleet Circle and Prewett Drive in Lexington Hills, and on Walden Drive between Rundgren Way and Clarksville Road in Broadstone. —Cherise Henry SACMAG.COM July 2020


The 916 S U S TA I N A B L E S A C



Masked Man Jon Stevenson, who founded the hip baby sock company Trumpette, has come up with a new fashion accessory for the COVID-19 era: face masks. Marketed under the cheeky name Cootie Blockers, the masks are sold on Stevenson’s website ( and at the Saturday Midtown Farmers Market on 20th Street. Stevenson got into the face mask business quite by accident. In early April, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended people wear masks out in public, he made several for himself and his partner using old Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton shoe bags from their closet. After posting pictures of the designer-logo masks on Facebook, he was deluged with requests for similar masks. But with no luxury footwear bags to spare, he decided instead to make some out of fashionable cotton jersey knit. The masks come in chic black, white or heather gray, and some are silk-screened with the words “Back up MF!” or “Back up bitch!” in tiny type. “If you can read it, you’re too close,” says Stevenson. —Marybeth Bizjak



lmost immediately after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued his stay-at-home directive on March 19, California’s roadways became significantly less congested. According to data supplied by the California Department of Transportation and shared in a special report out of UC Davis, there was a 20% to 55% decline in traffic on 14 selected interstates and state highways. For example, along Interstate 80 through Fairfield, in early March the peak volume of vehicles during any hour was 5,780. Between March 19 and April 11, however, that number shrank to 4,089, representing a 30 percent reduction. It is reasonable to expect that traffic on Sacramento’s roadways decreased by similar amounts. THERE WAS A 20% Did less traffic result in better air quality? The short answer is TO 55% DECLINE IN probably yes, but not by much. TRAFFIC ON 14 SELECTOne handy resource for information about pollution in our area ED INTERSTATES AND is the Spare the Air website, It is produced from a STATE HIGHWAYS. partnership of the Sacramento Metropolitan, El Dorado, Feather River, Placer and Yolo-Solano air districts. The site posts current Air Quality Index readings, forecasts what they will be the next day, and lets visitors search for conditions on past days. Spare the Air shares sensor readings about two types of pollution, one category encompassing particulate matter and wildfire smoke, the other category being ground-level ozone. The ozone readings are the ones directly related to automobile exhaust. The AQI is presented on a numbering scale that goes from zero to 300-plus. “Good” air quality (represented by the color green) is zero to 50, “Moderate” (yellow) is 51 to 100, “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” (orange) is 101 to 150, “Unhealthy” (red) is 151 to 200, “Very Unhealthy” (purple) is 201 to 300, and “Hazardous” (dark purple) is anything above 300. OK, now for the comparison of air quality before and after Newsom’s directive. In 2019, on May 1 (a Monday), the maximum AQI in the Sacramento region was 67. Exactly one year later, on May 1 (a Wednesday), the region’s AQI was 64. In a side-by-side comparison of those same two dates, Sacramento Metropolitan’s readings went from 47 to 44. Only El Dorado’s rose, and only slightly (from 61 to 64). Of course, that is too small a metric from which to draw any confident conclusions. But it does suggest that during the initial shelter-in-place directives prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sacramentans breathed slightly cleaner air.

Marlene von Friederichs-Fitzwater

Joshua’s House MARLENE VON FRIEDERICHS-FITZWATER wants to build the area’s first hospice for terminally ill people who are homeless. More than 30 years of teaching and public service led her to this project. At Sacramento State and UC Davis School of Medicine, she taught health communication and trained medical students in how to take medical history and interview patients. She also founded a nonprofit called the Health Communications Research Institute, dedicated to reducing health care inequalities. In 2016, she retired to focus on providing homeless men and women a peaceful place to die. “THEIR GREATEST FEAR WAS There’s a personal element to her DYING ON THE STREET,” SAYS quest: Her grandson, Joshua, whom MARLENE VON FRIEDERICHSshe describes as “extremely smart FITZWATER. JOSHUA’S HOUSE and very loving,” was often homeless, mostly due to his drug addiction. WILL OFFER A PLACE TO BE “Joshua would talk to me about “COMFORTED AND CARED FOR.” the things he saw on the streets in the various cities where he was,” says von Friederichs-Fitzwater. “There really isn’t a place, if you are homeless and have cancer or some other disease, for you to go and be cared for, especially not a place where you can get hospice care. We would talk about what we might do to change that. When he died of an overdose in 2014 [at age 34], I became very committed to that.” First, she contacted Sister Libby Fernandez (then the executive director of Loaves & Fishes), who linked her with then mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg and Jeff Harris, the city councilmember for District 3, home of the future location of Joshua’s House. She researched the subject by conducting interviews and focus groups with more than 100 people experiencing homelessness.

“The one thing I learned: For almost all of them, their greatest fear was dying on the street—horrible things they thought about,” she says. “That was disturbing. Just to be able to offer [hospice care] to them was an exciting idea. A place to go and be loved and comforted and cared for.” She used her experience running HCRI to form a board and community advisory committee, and she now counts among her corporate partners all four of the major health care systems in the Sacramento area: Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health, Sutter Health and UC Davis Health. Flex Architecture designed a homelike facility with 20 private bedrooms, a library and a chapel, and building contractor A.P. Thomas Construction is donating a portion of its work. In an exciting recent development, Goodwill Industries has committed to covering all of the operating costs once Joshua’s House is open—approximately $400,000 a year in ongoing funding. Von Friederichs-Fitzwater compared this sponsorship to “winning the lottery.” Even with these fortuitous contributions, there is still a gap of $800,000 to complete construction of the facility at 1501 N. C St., which will provide not only healing and hospice care, but art and music therapy, meals, shelter and clothing. Community help is vital to make von Friederichs-Fitzwater’s vision a reality. “We are excited to get started and open Joshua’s House,” she says. “The hospitals are telling us we’ll be full the first week.” —Becky Grunewald


SACMAG.COM July 2020


Do what you can to shop local first. Every dollar you spend locally will help open doors of local and regional businesses and support jobs in our communities.

Shop safely. Follow our local health guidelines and respect others around you.

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Share on social media how you are safely open for business using the hashtag #OpenForBusiness, tag Sacramento Magazine and we’ll reshare your posts. For Facebook use @sacramentomagazine, for Instagram use @sacmag and for Twitter use @SacMag

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Get Out! Keep safe while staying in shape in the great outdoors.



t’s summer, but it might not feel like it. The State Fair is canceled. There are no concerts in the parks. Fourth of July plans are up in the air. Somehow our carefree summer days seem to have been taken hostage by the dang coronavirus. But one thing you can still do? You can get outside and enjoy nature. Summer is a great time to work out in the great outdoors, but certain precautions are in order. From dealing with excessive heat to what necessities you’ll need to do your chosen sport, we run down how to stay safe while working out outside.

Run With It Runners appreciate the decomposed granite at McKinley Park, Curtis Park and Land Park, as well as along the American River Bike Trail. It puts less stress on your body than the less-forgiving pavement. Still, if a road is wide enough, you can run on the asphalt—in the bike lane—but always facing traffic. “You should never be going in the same direction as cars or bikes because you want to see them,” says Rich Hanna, owner of Capital Road Race Management. If you are on a narrow street with traffic and no bike lane, Hanna says the concrete sidewalk is your safer option. “Although a harder surface than asphalt, the sidewalk is also a better option than running on a highly slanted road.

You are much less likely to get injured on a flatter surface than a cambered surface.” If you are going to run—or do any sort of workout—outside in the summer, give your body time to get used to the heat. “It takes at least two weeks for your body to acclimate to warmer weather,” says Hanna. Wear microfiber clothing, including a hat to keep the sun off your face, and avoid cotton. “It won’t wick away the moisture, so you will chafe and stay hot,” he notes. Find a shady course and hydrate before, during and after your workout. “You want to drink before you are thirsty,” Hanna points out. Consider carrying an electrolyte drink such as Gatorade as well, especially if you will be outside longer than 90 minutes or if the weather is especially hot. “The more you sweat, the more electrolytes you need,” says Hanna. With proper preparation, you can run in the heat; however, poor air quality is another story. “If air quality is bad, you are doing diminishing returns. It’s worse than really hot weather,” says Hanna.

Spinning Your Wheels Did you know that indoor and outdoor cycling deliver many of the same benefits? SACMAG.COM July 2020

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Health “Both work your quads, your glutes, your hamstrings and get your heart rate up,” says Ann Vezey, corporate group exercise director for Spare Time Sports Clubs. But there are some key differTRAIL ETIQUETTE If you plan on cycling, ences. running, walking “Inside you can or hiking, log onto control your regionalparks.saccounty. climb, but outnet to learn about proper side you can’t trail etiquette. control it. There is no turning that hill off,” she says. As with running, when cycling outdoors you have to be mindful of the terrain—including potholes and speed bumps—and the traffic. Keeping that in mind, there’s no reason to shun the outdoors; just ride prepared. Vezey says it’s important to make sure your bike is in good condition—a yearly tune-up is a good idea—and that it fits your body. An improper fit can lead to injuries in the knees, hips and back. In addition to a helmet, gloves and cycling shoes (“they are made for biking—you use more of your upper legs and hips instead of your feet”), Vezey recommends


a heart rate monitor to ensure you are not working too hard in the heat. Other essentials for a smooth summer ride: two water bottle holders, a first-aid kit and a padded seat or padded bike shorts to help prevent chafing and make you “more comfy in the tushy,” she says. And if you are cycling at night (or even during the day on city streets), a flashing bike light is a must, according to Vezey. Finally, carry a spare tire tube and know how to change it, she says. “It should take less than 10 minutes to do, and it’s not that hard.”

Make a Splash Pool, lake or river (if you dare), swimming can be a great way to get in a workout on a hot summer day (or night). “It is actually quite refreshing if it is 100 degrees outside and you can jump in the lake or the pool to work out,” says Tiffiny Ferrell, swim coach for Total Body Fitness. The good news about swimming is that most anyone can do it. “I never see any detriment to swimming, other than people’s fear of drowning,” says Ferrell. She does recommend that everyone take swimming lessons, especially if they did not do so as a child. “Swimming is very technical.

The more efficient you are in your stroke, the more you are going to feel comfortable in the water and the more you are going to enjoy it,” she says. “Even if you are not going to swim for exercise, I think everyone should take swim lessons.” A swimsuit, cap and goggles are universal swimming must-haves, but if you are swimming in open water, you might want to consider a wet suit. “People like wet suits because of the buoyancy. That helps people in overcoming the fear of drowning because you kind of have a floatation device,” says Ferrell. She also recommends wearing a brightly colored swim cap—“something that is going to alert others and boats that you are out there,” she says. Finally, Ferrell recommends swimming with a friend, especially when in open water, or at least letting someone know where you are.

Go Climb a Rock Once considered a fringe sport, climbing, including its subset, bouldering, is growing more mainstream. Case in point: It was going to make its Summer Olympics debut this year. “It’s one of the fastest-growing sports


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Health in the world,” says Carlo Traversi, owner of The Boulder Field in Sacramento. You don’t have to be an Olympic-caliber athlete to enjoy climbing, but if you are new to the sport, Traversi recommends partnering up with a more experienced climber or learning the ropes—sorry, pun intended—at a climbing gym first. “It’s good to come into the gym if you don’t have any experience, because you will learn a lot about how to be safe while climbing,” says Traversi, adding that some gyms offer outdoor expeditions. Once you’re ready to head outdoors, you’ll need climbing shoes and a crash pad—don’t let the name scare you—to put down on the ground for bouldering. If you’re climbing bigger rocks, you’ll need ropes, a harness and someone to belay you. Depending on the time of day or how long you’ll be out, you might also consider bringing sunscreen, water and food, and dressing in layers to prepare for changing weather conditions. Whatever level you’re at, you’ll get a full-body workout, according to Traversi. “You’re using your arms, your legs, your core. It’s anaerobic and aerobic. It’s

a good combination of everything,” he says. It also engages your mind. “It’s a lot of problem solving. You are trying to find a way to get to the top, so you kinda forget you are working out. I like climbing because I am having fun. It doesn’t feel like I am working out.”

Call of the Wild The beauty of outdoor workouts is just that: You’re outdoors. However, it’s important to remember that you’re in nature, so you need to be aware of poisonous plants, other inhabitants and the elements. “Poison oak is prevalent throughout this entire area,” says Mike Howard, sector superintendent for the Auburn State Recreation Area. “Having an awareness of what it looks like can help people prevent touching it or keep their distance from it.” Many an outdoor enthusiast has seen a rattlesnake or two when out on the area’s trails, but don’t let them keep you away. “Rattlesnakes are usually kind enough to warn people,” Howard says, referring to their rattle, “and if you are on a trail, it is pretty easy to see them.” Ticks are another reason to stay on trail. “Ticks will stay on the leaves of a branch

just waiting for a host to walk by,” says Howard. His advice: Stay on the trail and check yourself when you get home. And while mountain lion and bear sightings are rare, according to Howard, your best line of defense if you do see one is to “get big, yell and back away slowly.” Do not run and do not crouch down. “They crouch down before they attack, so if you crouch down, they may think you are a threat,” he says. This may go without saying but it bears repeating: If you’re swimming in open water (without a wet suit), wear a life jacket. “People universally underestimate what very cold, fast water can do to a person,” says Howard. “The cheap orange life jackets are really good and will keep you afloat.” Finally, keep in mind that it’s fire season, especially in remote areas. Howard advises people hiking in remote places to have a plan in case of a fire. “Plan A is fleeing. Plan B is getting down into a river bar where there is no vegetation and where they can get into the river,” he says. “That is something people should be thinking about when we are in fire season.”

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DaysofDe spair AND Hope

IN THE DAYS AFTER GEORGE FLOYD DIED with a Minneapolis Police Department officer’s knee pressed to his neck, thousands of protestors marched onto Sacramento streets, demanding change in a law enforcement structure that disproportionately takes the lives of black people. These protests all took place while a stay-at-home order was in effect, some of them in defiance of a curfew, toward the goal of breaking through systemic racism. As midtown and downtown business owners swept up broken glass and covered their storefronts with plywood, some of the boards started sporting words and images meant to support the protestors’ cause. It makes one wonder: Have the winds changed? Is there a new sense of hope this time?

Brian Johnson SACMAG.COM July 2020


King Bach



Matt Barnes

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Tanya Faison and Stevante Clark



Kevin Gomez Jr. (6) SACMAG.COM July 2020


Morgan and Kyle Hagerty collect produce in their East Sac backyard





hen COVID-19 upended our world in March, many of us found ourselves contemplating a new way of life, whether we wanted to or not. We had to ask ourselves: Do I really need to eat out at restaurants? Go to a concert or a movie? Travel abroad? Shop for new clothes just because? At a time when simply going to the grocery store was fraught with potential danger, the pandemic introduced us all to new ways of thinking. Many of us found ourselves considering a simpler life, one in which we could find contentment in staying at home, cooking a nice dinner and playing a board game with members of our own household. Baking bread became the activity du jour. Planting and tending a vegetable garden seemed like a dandy way to entertain ourselves while giving us a little bit of independence from the food supply chain that had suddenly revealed itself to be rickety. While many of us were doing these mental gymnastics as we tried to wrap our heads around the new normal, some people were already way ahead of us. They’d already planted their gardens, so to speak, and were living a simpler, back-to-the-earth life. Here, we introduce you to three pioneers who have figured out the surest route to happiness doesn’t lie in a new car or a trip to Europe.




SACMAG.COM July 2020


FROM WEEDS AND DIRT TO AN URBAN FARM yle Hagerty is the very essence of the modern homesteader. He grows his own food and has a hefty social media presence, with a YouTube channel (@urbanfarmstead) and accounts on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok. Young, photogenic and media savvy, he and his wife Morgan have been featured in Sunset Magazine and Better Homes and Gardens, extolling the joys of the urban farm they created six years ago in the backyard of their East Sacramento home. As a child growing up in Monterey, Hagerty loved working in the garden with his mom. After high school, he got a state parks job and taught kids how to grow tomatoes from seed. He later took some of those seeds home and planted them. That’s when, he says, the fire for growing things was lit. When he and Morgan moved to Sacramento, they bought a house with a completely empty backyard, “nothing but sunshine and weeds,” he recalls. Hagerty built seven raised beds and started planting. Around the time they harvested their first tomato, the city passed an urban farming ordinance allowing residents to sell homegrown produce from their property. So the couple built a little wooden farm stand and put it out on their driveway. Operating under the name East Sac Farms, they gave away whatever produce they didn’t eat themselves. They plowed any donations they received right back into the farm. Eventually, they had the biggest little farm in town, growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, squash, tomatillos, corn, artichokes and tons of herbs. Not to mention berries: blackberries, raspberries, thornless boysenberries and unique varieties like golden berries and wonder berries—“things you can’t even find at the farmers market,” says Hagerty. And fruit trees, too: cherry, kiwi, peach, nectarine, fig, pineapple and guava. Hagerty constructed trellises for butternut squash and roof-gutter planters for microgreens. All this on a regulation-size (read: not very large) East Sac lot. Because they didn’t want their yard to look like a farm, Hagerty also built an outdoor kitchen, seating area and patio. Through Instagram, they connected with other food-centric folks and held pop-up dinners in their backyard, featuring their own produce and locally sourced meats, wine and beer. The couple recently moved to a new house in East Sac, with a larger lot and room to grow their family. Like their




first home, it had a blank-slate backyard, and Hagerty started a YouTube channel to share the process of creating his new urban farmstead. Every week, he releases instructional videos with titles like “How to Propagate Fig Trees” and “How to Build a Fence Panel Trellis.” Viewers write in with gardening questions. “I seldom tell people that I don’t know something,” he says. “Instead, I tell them I’ll find out the answer.” Hagerty, who works as a Sacramento firefighter, hopes to someday grow 80 percent of the food he and his wife eat. Why does he live this way? “That’s a good and big question,” he says thoughtfully. “It’s a lifestyle that I’ve slowly transitioned into. It brings me so much joy. It’s hard to put into words what it is about living this way and growing so much of our own food. It’s a lot of work and takes a tremendous amount of our time. I could easily go to the farmers market and buy whatever organic produce I want. “But there’s something to be said about putting a seed into the ground and watching it grow. There’s magic to that. The joy of pulling the carrot out of the soil or the tomato off the vine—there’s nothing to compare it to. And when you bite into it, it has so much more flavor. It makes all the sweat and the dirt and the blisters worth it.”




SACMAG.COM July 2020




arolyn Kumpe jokes that when the zombie apocalypse comes, she’ll do just fine. A longtime chef and caterer, Kumpe lives in rural El Dorado with her husband, Ken. Country living requires grit—lots of it. Firing up the generator when the power goes out. Hooking up a garden hose to bring water from a neighbor’s house when the well pump breaks down. Sleeping on the couch, jumping up at the slightest noise, grabbing her rifle and running out to the deck to protect her herd of goats from marauding mountain lions and coyotes. In short, she’s Annie Oakley in an apron. Last summer really put her MacGyver skills to the test. When PG&E turned off the power to her rural community to limit the risk of wildfi re, Kumpe—who was catering a high-end wedding for a New York actress— found herself cooking over a wood fire in the dark with a headlamp and boiling vats of water to wash dishes. “It



was bonkers, the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she recalls, adding proudly, “But the food was fabulous.” After growing up in upstate New York and the Midwest, Kumpe (now 60) moved to San Francisco to go to culinary school. She ended up skipping school and going straight to work in restaurants—the legendary school of hard knocks. Restaurant kitchens were brutal places for a woman in those days. “Back then, women chefs went through hell,” she notes. “You learned to have a backbone, that’s for sure.” She cooked at several celebrated restaurants—Zuni Café, Bizou and Eddie Jacks, to name a few—and opened Tisane, the city’s first “salon du thé,” before moving to the Sacramento region to start a bakery. A divorce forced her to sell the business and take a series of jobs as a cooking instructor and caterer. In 2009, she took the proceeds from the sale of the bakery and bought land in El Dorado. “It was literally a 5-acre junkyard,” she says. By then, she was married to Ken. (“I catered my own wedding and made my own wedding cake,” she says.) During the two years it took them to clear the land and build a house, they lived in a trailer parked on the property. Luckily, they’re both handy—“to live in the country, you have to be,” Kumpe says. To keep the weeds down, they got a few goats. Friends gave them more, and now they have 15. “I call this the old goats’ home,” she jokes. To protect her herd from what she calls “the bloody coyotes,” she tried blasting music by the Bee Gees, Nirvana and Tool—“They don’t like loud noises,” she explains. When that failed, she picked up a Winchester rifle to scare them off. Last year’s PG&E power outages convinced Kumpe that she needed to find an easier way to make a living than catering. So she started Logtown Social Club, a membership-based dining club that gave her a steadier income and a home base for putting on private events and cooking classes. The club had started to find its footing when COVID-19 forced it to shut down. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Kumpe, who laid off her staff, applied for a small business loan and went back to catering and private cheffing. “I decided I’m not going to freak out,” she says. No matter what’s going on in the world, cooking makes her happy. She doesn’t need fancy ingredients—she can forage for miner’s lettuce or make a tincture from California poppies—an herbal remedy for stress, anxiety and insomnia. Under the adage “waste not, want not,” she recently turned a kitchen mistake—caramel corn that didn’t set up—into a delicious batch of caramel corn ice cream. She even barters her services for wine from local winemakers. “Wine is my therapist now,” she jokes. These days, she says, she’s like a surfer riding the waves. “I decided to sit back and let the world happen for once.”


SACMAG.COM July 2020



THE CITY GIRL WHO BECAME A COUNTRY GIRL here are two Niesha Fritzes. One dresses in conservative business attire and works as a legislative staffer at the state Capitol. The other kicks it in cowboy boots, drives an ATV around her Wilton farm with a couple of dogs in her lap and midwives goats in the middle of the night. In 2013, the first Niesha Fritz could only dream of the second Niesha Fritz. At that time, she was recently divorced and living with her two young children—Lex, then 7, and Ellie, 5—in Land Park. But she’d begun to tire of city life and fantasized about having a farm of her own. Growing up in Los Angeles, Fritz had worked as a child actor, appearing in commercials and made-for-TV movies. It was a far cry from country life. Later, she attended college at Chico State, then ended up in the state capital, working as a reporter for The Sacramento Bee. With Placer County as her beat, she met a lot of farmers and ranchers. That’s when, she says, “my head was turned by agriculture. I wondered if I could do it.” So she found a ramshackle farmhouse for rent on Craigslist and moved to Wilton with her kids. She got some goats, then a donkey to protect the goats. Life wasn’t particularly easy. “I was insane doing it all by myself,” she recalls. In 2016, Fritz was at the local Ace Hardware store when she met the man who would become her second husband. A partner in a geotechnical engineering firm, Ken Fritz had grown up raising cattle and was a whiz at building and fi xing things. It was a match made in farm heaven. The pair fell in love, married and, in 2018, bought a 5-acre farm in Wilton. They named it the Rocking K-N Ranch. The farm needed a lot of work, and they did it all themselves: painting the outside of the house, clearing the land, building a perimeter fence and multiple pastures for livestock. They now have two steer, four chickens, nine pigs and 14 goats. (The chickens provide eggs; the steer and pigs will end up as food for the family. The goats, says Fritz, are “glorified pets.”) Watching YouTube videos, Fritz taught herself how to build a chicken coop and castrate and disbud a goat. A typical day for Fritz starts at 5:30 a.m. She exercises, chugs a cup of coffee and heads outside to feed the pigs and water the steer. Then she drives into town for work and is back in her car eight-plus hours later, fighting traffic both ways. At home, she has several hours of night chores: Water the garden. Feed the goats. Feed the chickens. Check on the cows in the pasture. Feed the pigs. Feed the dogs (three of them). “Most nights, we don’t eat dinner until 8,” she says. “It’s a late night, but I love it.”





During kidding season, Fritz remains on high alert in case a goat runs into trouble giving birth. She purchased an old Coast Guard jumpsuit at an Army Navy surplus store for $25—“the best dang thing for helping sick animals,” she says. “I suit up and run out there with my goat-birthing kit,” a Tupperware tub filled with clean towels, scissors, puppy pads, molasses (energy for the mama goat) and chains in case a kid is breech. “I had to use that a couple of times, once in the pouring rain,” Fritz recalls. She has flourished on the farm, and so have Lex and Ellie, who spend half their time in the city with their dad, the other half in Wilton with their mom. They are true farm kids. They raise goats for 4H. They grow vegetables. They know how to sew; Lex recently shortened his own shirt sleeves. Both kids helped build a shade structure for the goats. “It was a multi-weekend family affair,” says Fritz. Last year, Lex’s 4H goat died suddenly just before the county fair, a crushing blow. Scrambling to show an unfamiliar animal, he ended up winning several ribbons, including one for outstanding showmanship. Fritz believes that the dual urban-country lifestyle will turn her kids into “interesting people.” “They know how to do a lot of things they otherwise wouldn’t,” she explains. “We’ve had crazy successes, like Lex winning the showmanship award, and had to say goodbye to animals we absolutely adore. There’s love and there’s loss. It’s made them richer little people.”

Niesha Fritz writes eloquently about her life on Facebook. Here’s a post from earlier this year:

When we bought this house in late fall two years ago, there wasn’t a fence on it. That meant when we moved—which had to happen more quickly than we originally anticipated—our five cows and handful of goats needed a temporary place to call home while we built fence. A dear friend came to the rescue and we spent weeks shuttling back and forth between her place and ours, while sinking posts and pulling wire after work at night and every waking moment of the weekend to get a goat pasture built for my dairy goats. Bringing the goats home felt like victory. But it was met in hand with the realization that we just couldn’t get the perimeter fence and other pastures built quick enough to bring home our three cows and two calves. It was pouring rain the day we hauled them to the cattle auction, and I held back tears as they mooed from holding pens when we drove away. “We’ll get cows again someday honey,” Ken said. We worked week after week, month after month on fence along with other projects over the course of the past year and a half. Slowly but steadily, our lines went up, posts were sunk in concrete, wire was pulled, barbed wire was strung. We’ve worked through heat and exhaustion; tied wire in the howling wind and cold that nipped at any exposed skin peeking from behind layers of clothing. Now, it finally feels like it’s all come together. We’ve added some goats, sold some goats, lost a beloved one to illness. In the midst of the pandemic and as meat suppliers began shuttering plants due to COVID-19, we started raising pigs for our family and a handful of others. We brought home two cattle dog puppies to work our livestock. And yesterday, two Red Angus steers came home to the Rocking K-N Ranch. This morning, a moo carried over the warbling of the birds. A morning nearly two years in the making—and a wonderful one at that.

SACMAG.COM July 2020



The Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera was but one arts organization forced to cancel a long-planned performance this past spring. It was its only opera on the calendar. Our writer lets us in on what would have been. BY SASHA ABRAMSKY


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Back in February (a million

Portraits, clockwise from top left: Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera executive director Alice Sauro; Chris Kenney, resident singer at Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, would have played the role of Figaro in the Sacramento production; guest conductor Christoph Campestrini; Mezzo-soprano Maya Gour was slated to play Rosina.

years ago in coronavirus stay-at-home time), the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera was gearing up to put on a spectacular production of Gioachino Rossini’s comic masterpiece, “The Barber of Seville.” The opera, which Rossini reputedly whipped up in a frenzied 13 days of composition at the end of 1815, was based on a play written a half-century earlier by French dramatist and arms dealer Caron de Beaumarchais. Set in the Spanish city of Seville in the 17th century, it’s been a staple of the opera world since its debut performance in early February 1816. During pre-pandemic days at the start of this year, the most important questions facing the staff of Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera were who they should cast in the star roles of Rosina, Count Almaviva and Figaro. The idea that by April much of the world would be operating under social distancing and stay-at-home orders, and that such a thing as a concert performance would be banned—a reckless public health risk—was inconceivable. Slated for April 25, the opera performance was to have

been the highlight and the finale of Sacramento’s classical music season, a powerful expression of how far the city had come in its efforts to remake itself as a cultural hub. In the dog days following the 2008 financial crisis, it was doubtful a professional symphony orchestra and opera company could survive in the state capital. Orchestra seasons limped along post-2008, with ticket sales and donations flagging. In 2014, the Philharmonic & Opera went dark for pretty much an entire season as a denuded board of directors struggled to keep the institution solvent. “What we needed more than money was expertise in staffing and programming, fundraising, outreach and contracts,” recalls board member Laurie Nelson, a onetime consumer products lobbyist and longtime opera aficionado who joined the board in 2013. Nelson and her colleagues reached out to a group of musicians and administrators in Detroit who had experience working with a big-city orchestra in a troubled financial environment. That group agreed to come out to Sacramento on a rescue mission. And, Nelson recalls, “They made

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magic happen with the musicians. [They] set up a yearlong programming. They brought us talent way above our pay grade: guest artists and conductors, initially connected with Detroit.” The years since have been a joyful renaissance. One concert after the next has sold out, cementing the company’s role as a critical part of Sacramento’s cultural infrastructure. In June 2019, the Philharmonic played alongside the megastar Andrea Bocelli at Golden 1 Center before 17,000 screaming fans. Also in 2019, the organization performed what executive director Alice Sauro— who was part of that initial rescue team from Detroit—terms a “hologram concert,” with the Philharmonic’s musicians performing alongside a hologram of long-deceased opera legend Maria Callas, and accompanied by Callas’ vocals from an early 1970s performance of a medley of her favorite arias. On the one night each year when the company puts on a full-scale opera (“Rigoletto” was last year’s production), crowds routinely come to the Community Center Theater dressed to the hilt—men in suits, women in fancy ball gowns. Imagine silver-tipped cigarette holders and monocles rounding out the scene. It’s Sacramento’s version of the Parisian beau monde. The concert this April was primed to be the ultimate crowd-pleaser. “It’s an old chestnut everybody enjoys,” says board member John Crowe, a retired UC Davis biophysicist. “A period piece that everybody will love.” Sacramentans can’t see “The Barber of Seville” in person this year, but they can read here what was planned, and they can imagine how opera will one day draw those crowds back into Sacramento’s concert halls. “I look forward to sitting in that darkened room and hearing the human voices, and the conductor and the musicians and the audience and everyone is going on this emotional path,” says Nelson. “We’re experiencing


the most amazing thing human beings are capable of.” So sit back, relax, take out your opera glasses, press play on a classic recording of Rossini’s classic—the version I have been listening to recently, recorded in London in 1957, stars Maria Callas, Luigi Alva and Tito Gobbi—and, from the safety of your armchairs, let the show begin.


ossini’s opera, says Matt Buckman, general manager of the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, “has some of the most iconic tunes in the history of the art form. The story is timeless: a girl who falls in love with a boy.” The girl’s guardian, the lecherous Doctor Bartolo, won’t let her out of the house because he hopes to someday marry her himself. “And the plot itself is absolutely ridiculous—which makes it absolutely operatic.” Rosina is in love not with her guardian but with Count Almaviva, a dapper if somewhat tongue-tied suitor who enlists the help of the local barber, the bombastic, happy-go-lucky Figaro, to help him break through the doctor’s embargo and communicate with the girl of his dreams. Eventually, through a series of ludicrous escapades, some of which involve deploying Figaro’s barbering skills against the hapless doctor, Rosina and Almaviva manage to secure enough time together to tie the knot. Mission accomplished, cue the applause. The music is lush and velvety. It pulls you in and swaddles you with comforting melodies, then it unbundles you and—with startling rapidity—launches you up toward the sky. It’s breathtakingly fun, daring, even swashbuckling in tone. It’s mischievous yet tear-coaxing. The renowned early 20th-century opera critic Ernest Newman wrote in his classic book, “Stories of the Great Operas and Their Composers,” that “Rossini’s


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from UNAM, the large public university in Mexico City, and a graduate degree from the Yale School of Drama, the opportunity to work with Williams was a dream come true. “She’s very experiential and open,” says Sanchez. “She was interested in acknowledging the architecture of the space.” Speaking immortal work is the finest flower of the before the shutdown forced the perforolder Italian musical comedy.” mance’s cancelation, Sanchez said she For Sacramento’s production this year, made a decision to “do something bold the director, singers and stage-set debut affordable—since it’s only a singlesigner were slated to come from New night production. We are going to use York, Chicago, Seattle and elsewhere. The the space where normally the audience show—to be held in Memorial Auditois sitting. We are taking inspiration from rium—would be in the round, with the Seville—a red, round surface, a metaphor stage and singers on the floor of the vast for a bull-fighting ring. The outdoors will building, and the audience ringed above be surrounded by flowers and greenery.” them on upper levels. Paradoxically, the Spending only a fraction of the amount vastness of the space would be parceled typically spent on a production by interup to create an illusion of intimacy. nationally renowned venues such as New “I was excited to come work with SacYork’s Metropolitan Opera or London’s ramento Opera,” says 35-year-old Covent Garden, the director and the deJennifer Williams, the Brooklyn, New signer hoped nevertheless to use the space York-based director. She specializes in to help their audience time travel. They immersive productions designed to intienvisioned staircases leading up to a cenmately draw audiences in. “The company tral platform, surrounded by a translucent had an inventive and adventurous apcurtain, with the surrounding space proach. They wanted to use space in a cordoned off by thicker, more adventurous way.” industrial-type plastic Williams, originally “I look forward drapes. Brush aside the from Virginia, lived in to sitting in that curtains and, with a Berlin, Frankfurt and darkened room and little bit of collective Stuttgart before settling hearing the human imagination, a scene out in New York. She was of 18th-century Europe voices, and the fascinated by Memoriwould appear. al Auditorium’s history conductor and the “The story premiered as an arena for boxing musicians and in 1816, but it’s very modfights and exhibition tenthe audience and ern,” says Williams. It nis matches. She decided everyone is going on “has a very revolutionary early on that she would spirit to it. It’s about this this emotional path.” take the singers off of the young woman who reraised stage and move fuses to be confined, and she teams up the action to floor level. She would use with a very unlikely group, including the the soaring balconies and tiered seating barber of Seville, who is mastermind of above as entrances for her performers; the plan to liberate her.” they would act and sing and project their That barber, named Figaro, is one of voices from multiple spots throughout the great characters in the opera canon. the concert hall, “so the story really surrounds the audience.” The stage set that Williams and the designer Mariana Sanchez created was inspired by the artist René Magritte. “It’s up close and personal, interactive. It distills the story to its essence. It’s a 360-degree approach to storytelling,” Williams explains. For Sanchez, who has an undergraduate degree in architecture

Chris Kenney, a 28-year-old Chicago resident and a resident singer at the Windy City’s Ryan Opera Center, knew he had struck gold when he got the part. It would be, he said, “like riding lightning. I love it. Figaro, he’s a character, man. He owns the stage, owns every situation he’s in. It’s a hoot. It’s really restorative. He’s a high-energy character, constantly thinking about the next big thing. And everyone loves him.”


hree weeks before Kenney and the rest of the cast were due to fly into Sacramento to start rehearsals, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s residents to stay at home and all nonessential businesses to close. The opera production was abruptly canceled. For Sacramento’s opera lovers, the cancelation of this year’s one performance was a bitter blow. They didn’t get to see Kenney playing Figaro, or the young mezzo-soprano Maya Gour in her breakout role as Rosina. They didn’t get to experience the sights and the sounds of Rossini’s masterpiece filling the huge space of the Memorial Auditorium. But when pandemic conditions ease up, the music will begin anew, and audience members will once more have the confidence to sit together while watching magic unfold. “These audiences in Sacramento enjoy it, appreciate it and can’t wait for the next one,” says Alice Sauro. “The fact we’re selling out concerts on a regular basis has been thrilling, considering we were dark five years ago.”


he CD with Callas and Alva and Gobbi ends. I lift myself up out of my leather armchair, stand, shout out “Bravo!” and clap as enthusiastically as if I were in the auditorium on J Street. We shall, I know, find ways to persevere.

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THERE’S NOTHING LIKE wallpaper to add drama to a space. So says Sacramento designer Kristine Renee of Design Alchemy, who recently employed three very different wallpapers in a model home at the Ro development in West Sac’s Bridge District. Each one illustrates a lesson in how to use wallpaper in impactful ways.—marybeth bizjak


For the living room, she selected a handmade, textured product similar to papier-mâché to infuse color, character and life into the space. “I wanted something that looked like a mural or art piece,” she explains. ● PRO TIP: “A large-scale design in a small space provides a lot of visual impact.” ● PAPER: Kinship by Phillip Jeffries

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For the laundry room, Renee chose this visually arresting paper, featuring hand-drawn intertwining snakes, to impart personality to an often-overlooked space. ● PRO TIP: “A small space like a laundry room is a great place to introduce pattern.” ● PAPER: Giove by Schumacher


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talking design SACRAMENTO INTERIOR DESIGNER Rebecca Plumb recently teamed up with a Long Beach designer friend to launch a podcast called Hot Young Designers Club. “There’s definitely some irony” to the name, says Plumb, principal of the firm Studio Plumb. She and co-host Shaun Crha of Wrensted Interiors started the podcast as an extension of the IRL conversations they were already having about issues in their industry. While geared toward other design professionals, the weekly pod offers would-be design clients an illuminating look at the business side of making houses beautiful. “Not everybody understands the value of interior design and why it costs so much,” says Plumb, who hopes, among other things, to use the podcast to promote diversity. “There’s a lot of sameness in the design industry,” she notes. “We want to bring different perspectives and points of view.”—marybeth bizjak



EVER WONDER HOW that fork you’re eating with came to be? Or who came up with the idea for the first dollhouse? Or why you knock on a door with your hand rather than your foot? These and other questions are answered in a fascinating new book called “The Elements of a Home: Curious Histories Behind Everyday Household Objects, From Pillows to Forks” (Chronicle Books). Written by former Sacramento resident Amy Azzarito (who conducted research for the book at Sacramento Public Library and the library at UC Davis), it provides an entertaining look at items we use every day with nary a thought as to why. With breezy commentary, charming illustrations and pages tinted a pale, pretty green, it’s the kind of book you might languidly leaf through while lying on a chaise longue (page 26), nestled under a duvet (page 68) in front of a roaring fireplace (page 71), a steaming teapot (page 173) by your side, with one eye on the clock (page 41) until it’s time to pour yourself a martini from a cocktail shaker (page 45). Azzarito, who now lives in Marin County with her husband and baby daughter, has a degree in the history of decorative arts and design from Parsons and is the former managing editor of the Design*Sponge blog. —marybeth bizjak



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The front windows of the living room overlook the pool. “We get a beautiful view rather than looking out onto the street,” says homeowner Christina Valencia. Photo: Kat Alves





Tres The three places you’ll find the Dobrinski family in their modernSpanish home during this stayat-home summer By Mari Tzikas Suarez


ith vacations scratched and camps canceled, Kele Dobrinski and Christina Valencia are looking ahead to another long stretch of at-home time with their sons, Jack (7), Wyatt (4½) and Adler (2), and dog Murphy. It’s quite the juggling act with three young boys and a fast-growing business— Kele and Christina are the husband-and-wife team behind Colossus Mfg., a multidisciplinary design studio focused on reimagining residential and commercial spaces through branding, interiors and communications. Thankfully, their Land Park home is perfectly suited for both quality time and productivity. (The couple completely renovated it before moving in in 2016.) Here are the top three summertime hot spots in their swish Spanish home, the very first project by Colossus Mfg.




When the couple moved from San Francisco in 2016, the idea of spending time around a cool, luscious swimming pool was something they most looked forward to. The only problem was that there were limited options for where to actually put a pool. “Being a corner lot, the majority of our usable outdoor space was toward the street,” says Valencia. “We looked at the big dirt lot outside of our living room window and thought, ‘Why not?’” These days, they find themselves out front expending energy in the pool or out back winding down around the fire pit on the regular.

Below: The backdrop for the backyard: Spanish-inspired tile and plentiful seating. Photo: Kele Dobrinski Right: The pool, fenced in just to the right of the home’s main entrance. Photo: Create + Gather








Kitchen There’s nothing like a massive kitchen island to draw people in like a magnet. “You will find us piled around our kitchen island every day of the week,” admits Valencia who, thanks to the open kitchen layout, is able to keep an eye on the boys even when whipping something up on the stovetop.


Left: Open to the kitchen, the dining room features original exposed brick and a beamed redwood ceiling, which Kele and his father restored themselves. Photo: Kat Alves Below: Kele and Christina pondered what tile to add to the face of their kitchen island—they knew they wanted to make a bold statement. They ultimately chose a graphic black-and-white Spanish tile that helps ground the space in its Spanish roots while keeping the kitchen feeling fresh and fun. Photo: Kat Alves



Office Located above the garage, Kele and Christina’s office is just a quick walk across the back patio and up a flight of stairs—so it’s kind of like leaving the house. It’s here where they recently reimagined the branding, design and storytelling for Canon restaurant in East Sacramento, fleshed out a full rebrand of The Tower District (formerly the Greater Broadway District), helped create a new fast-casual burger joint concept (coming soon) and developed numerous residential remodels throughout the greater Sacramento area.

Top: A kitchenette and loads of natural light make the home office autonomous and inspirational. Photo: Kele Dobrinski Below: The Colossus Mfg. office includes an impressive, 18-foot-long old-growth Douglas fir desk countertop. Coincidentally, the materials came from the rafters of the garage, over which the office resides. Murphy relaxes on the nearby sofa. Photo: Kat Alves



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bucolic beauty A graceful Loomis farmhouse combines contemporary with traditional.

Design:Â Angie Edwards and Whitney Fecteau for Design Shop Interiors



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by catherine warmerdam photography by codi ann backman


e wanted practical. She wanted pretty. That more or less sums up the direction homeowners Chris and Bethany Reeder gave their interior designers as they embarked on a top-to-bottom renovation of their home, which sits on three picturesque acres in Loomis. “Chris is meticulous and wanted everything done just right and for the finishings to be superfunctional,” says lead designer Angie Edwards of Folsom-based Design Shop Interiors. Bethany, an Alabama native who favors a classic look, “wanted guidance choosing timeless fixtures and furnishings that they wouldn’t tire of after a few years.” The full-scale makeover resulted in what Edwards describes as “a modern farmhouse with traditional touches.” Design Shop’s Whitney Fecteau, who managed the furniture plan for the project, incorporated lots of different wood tones and used fairly traditional lines in order to let the character of the home shine. “Angie gave me such a beautiful canvas to work with, and I wanted to honor it by keeping things simple,” Fecteau says. Surrounding the stunning residence is a chicken coop, a garden and a wide front porch overlooking a creek running through the front yard. As far as Edwards is concerned, “It’s everything country living should be.”

The kitchen is a study in practicality, particularly in the choice of finishes. The island is clad in hand-scraped white oak. “I wanted this specific type of surface because it can get beat up and will look even better with age,” says designer Angie Edwards. Durable quartzite with a leathered fi nish is used on the counters and backsplash. The solid bronze hardware on the cabinets was chosen because of its capacity to develop an attractive patina over time.


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Top: “I wanted to keep the furniture plan simple, incorporate lots of different wood tones and use fairly traditional lines,” says designer Whitney Fecteau, who styled the shelves with wares from the firm’s shop and antiques from Round Top, Texas. Bottom: The open-plan living space is flooded with light streaming through black-steel double-hung windows. “We wanted the windows to be the star of the show,” explains Edwards. “You don’t need much else in this space.”



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“It’s everything country living should be.” Angie Edwards

Top left and right: The moody gray used in the powder room and mudroom (Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe) contrasts dramatically with the white walls that dominate the majority of the house. “We wanted a little bit of character in those spaces, something with a lot of personality,” says Edwards. Bottom left: A simple farm table graces the entryway. Bottom right: The durable dining room table and slipcovered chairs make for easy living and entertaining.


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enchanted with plants when decorating her home. “I realized that anytime there was something missing in a room, I would get a plant, and it would fill the space perfectly and tie the room together,” she explains. “In fact, I started collecting way too many houseplants. I had like 50 at one time.” Disenchanted with her public relations job, Okumura fantasized about opening a business dedicated not only to selling plants, but to bringing people together for unique experiences. “I’ve always been a people person, and I love connecting with strangers.” Last August, she turned her fervor into a brick-and-mortar reality with the opening of Propagate, a plant shop and events venue in midtown that hosts everything from intimate dinners to pop-ups and workshops with local makers. “It has been so much fun,” says Okumura. “I truly feel like I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing.”



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Arts & Culture

“Meditation” by Franceska Gamez. “The face sculpture was made in 2015. It was the first figurative sculpture I created. I've since done numerous iterations and played with this concept of a crown/ mask.”


a statement, to connect with people or to get lost in a distraction bathed in color, they create because it’s what they were born to do. These five artists reflect on their past and how they’ve evolved throughout the years, sharing stories about their growth and the journey ahead.

Franceska Gamez In 2015, Franceska Gamez, along with her fiancé, Shaun Burner, and the Trust Your Struggle Collective, roamed the streets of Barcelona looking for free walls to throw fresh murals onto. Free walls are dedicated spaces that muralists are legally allowed to paint; they can even paint over existing murals. But


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Arts & Culture

Mural at 18 Grams in Sacramento, 2019, by Gamez

Gamez says the unspoken rule is the new mural must be better than the one before. “At that time, I was still really fresh and green and still really shy around my work,” Gamez says. “It took me two years to feel comfortable spray-painting in public, or even in front of my partner, just because I felt like I needed to have a handle on it.” In two hours, Gamez painted a blackand-white mirror image of two portraits looking away from each other, a piece that she says reflects her because she’s not just a muralist—she’s multidisciplinary. Although the mural has since been painted over by another artist, it’s a memory she keeps close. “With free walls, they get painted over quick by different traveling artists,” she says. “The wall that I painted actually rode for like a year. That was such a surprise to see people still photographing it.” Since Barcelona, Gamez has expanded her portfolio along with her reputation in Sacramento as an artist. In 2018, she and Burner were the lead artists who restored the historic psychedelic mural in front of Solomon’s Delicatessen. That same year, she also painted a large mural on the Hardin building. The



mural, dedicated to Sacramento’s ricefarming history, was commissioned by the California Rice Commission. She keeps busy with new projects and looks forward to creating a free coloring book to give people something relaxing to do during these stressful times. “I’m literally working on maybe five or six different projects that are all scattered in my house and unfinished,” she says. “I keep hopping between each one. It feels like I’m laying bricks in different houses, and I’m never going to see them built. But I think it’s my way of processing.” Asked to describe her style, she simply says, “I’m still on the journey of trying to figure that out.”

Gale Hart The allure and nostalgia of the circus wasn’t on Gale Hart’s mind when she curated “Circus Show and Other Atrocities” at Verge Gallery 15 years ago. Instead, she focused on the darker side of the traveling show. “It focused on animals in transportation and how they’re treated in captivity in regards to circuses—how they would transfer them from one spot to the next in train cars and things like that. It was a huge show,” she says.


Hart sent out 100 9-by-12 panels to artists all over the world who depicted their interpretation of what it’s like to be an animal for entertainment. More than 200 artists participated in the exhibit, which included live music, games and stand-up. As an artist for more than 45 years, Hart says she’s never stuck to one medium, whether it’s sculpture, paint or mixed media. But her storied body of work always comes with a statement. “I have always done work that has a narrative to it, that has political or social issues,” she says. “That’s what my muse is or the catalyst for my work is: injustices, or things that bother me or frustrate me in some kind of way. Then, I just use that energy and try to figure out a way to manifest it in a piece of art.” During the pandemic, Hart uses art as a distraction. She focuses on creating public art pieces and grand sculptures, such as a 5-foot-tall spraypaint can made out of industrial pipe. “I spent my life being a studio artist, and then in 2014 I started making public art, so it was a dramatic change in not only scale but process,” she says. One of her first public art pieces is placed in front of Golden 1 Center: a series of sculptures that includes six massive


Franceska Gamez portrait by Jen Yarmolyu; Gale Hart portrait by Joan Cusick

Above: Paint can, 2019, by Gale Hart Left: "Missing the Mark," 2016, by Hart


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Top Right: “Shelby Cobra,” 2010, by Raphael Delgado Below: “I Passed a Note,” 2020, by Delgado. “This is from a wheatpaste/ collage series I am doing with found photos I’ve collected over the years.”

Left: “Hiding From Me,” circa 1994, by Sonya Fe Below: “Two Kinds of Lockdown,” 2020, by Fe

fiberglass and stainless steel darts, a dartboard and a giant pair of bronze hands, which she calls “Missing the Mark.” “I went from studio work that had a lot of narrative and content in it to doing that as my first big, major piece,” she says. “The controversy around the arena was should it be there or shouldn’t it be there. It’s also a commentary on sports in our culture. I had to find something that still brought me into it and the story. The way I approached it is definitely me.”

Sonya Fe When Sonya Fe was a little girl, her father would take her into downtown Los Angeles on the bus. There, she would admire lovely paintings depicting Mexican women on the outsides of department stores. She was an artist even then. “I used to think that was so pretty. But my father goes, ‘It’s a pretty painting, but it’s empty,’” she recalls. “And I was like, ‘What do you mean it’s empty?’ He was telling me that a lot of artists, even to this day, they’ll produce beautiful works of art—but there’s no soul. That’s when he would tell me about the paintings the majority of people would have over their couch.”

Raphael Delgado portrait by Kevin Fiscus


She heard him in the back of her mind as she painted into her 20s. Fe paints realism. She captures injustice. Her paintings speak truth to power. “When I was that age, I was producing things that were happening in front of me and things that I wasn’t happy about that I could change silently because I was a painter,” she says. “I’m just an artist for justice.” After graduating from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, she took a trip to Mexico that completely changed her life. There, her true artistic point of view was awakened. She learned perspective and soaked up all the culture that was missing from her American curriculum. “Now that I’m older, it’s basically the same thing. I see things that disturb me and I touch bases on that,” says Fe, now 67. “I do pretty paintings, too. I like to do beauty. I want beauty in this world. But I also do powerful stuff, where things irk me.” These days, she’s inspired by the stayat-home order, migrant children locked in cages and people who protest safety guidelines meant to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. And after all these years, she still listens to her father’s advice. “A lot of times, you see a beautiful


painting or a slick painting, and you’ll look at it, but about a week or two later, you’re bored with it,” she says. “But a great painting will hold your attention forever.”

Raphael Delgado Ten years ago, Raphael Delgado was fresh out of art school. It was a period in his budding career when his artwork reflected a “somewhat academic” aesthetic. “I was making things that were perceived to be ‘real art,’ like figures and classical rendering. I wasn’t thinking about longevity,” he says. “I was thinking about the next Second Saturday. It was a monthly cycle, which is almost not organic for an artist.” He would paint images of leisure, wealth and affluence. He knew what sold. “Google ‘décor’ and it’s got like beach, vineyards. It’s got places of leisure and things that people want to buy, and that’s what I thought art was about,” Delgado says. “I used art as a way to make money instead of using art as a way to reveal myself, or as a way to help interpret the way I’m feeling and perhaps the way other people are feeling as well.” But one day, Delgado stopped caring.


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Arts & Culture

Above: “Self Portrait As Loose Ends,” 2019, by Gioia Fonda Right: “Pile, With Soccer Ball,” 2010, by Fonda Mural at 12th and S streets by Raphael Delgado

Today, Delgado says he paints to connect with people, even in a time when many people are profoundly disconnected. In May, he finished a detailed mural at 12th and S streets that was inspired by a trip to Mexico City, where he saw the Mexican flag motif, with its image of an eagle devouring a serpent, used in a variety of art forms. It’s a symbol he’s RAPHAEL DELGADO wanted to paint for PAINTS TO CONNECT some time. WITH PEOPLE, EVEN “It started to beIN A TIME WHEN come more potent as MANY PEOPLE I was processing the ARE PROFOUNDLY pandemic,” Delgado DISCONNECTED. says. “The symbol of the snake has now become this contagion, this evil, this problem, and the symbol of the eagle has become this savior, this symbol of good swooping in and attacking.” When he was up on a scissor lift painting the snake with its menacing eyes and its angular coiled tail, people would drive by and honk or yell ‘thank you’ from afar. These are the people he paints for, the people who find their own meanings within his art.



“When I was being truthful with myself as an artist, I was revealing myself. There was a stronger connection to people that needed that art,” he says. “I can make things that I’ve always wanted to do, and people gravitate toward it.” sacsraphael, Instagram @artbyraphael

Gioia Fonda An avid bicyclist, Gioia Fonda recalls pedaling through her neighborhood, dodging mountains of garbage that belonged to the victims of foreclosure or eviction. She saw them as harbingers of the housing crisis of 2008. What was first an annoyance became an obsession. She began photographing the piles and turning them into beautiful drawings that reflected much more than abandoned junk. “There were just these huge trash piles all the time,” she says. “A few years earlier, my parents lost their house to foreclosure. So that’s an issue that’s close to me, just how uprooting that is. It’s hard when you see someone’s belongings on the street. It’s very private, but it’s also very public.” Within each pile, she began to see similarities. “There were multiple layers of meaning


that I found in these trash piles,” Fonda says. “Then, I saw more consumer patterns and what we value, what we save and how much stuff that we buy that’s just not repairable, like those plastic lawn chairs.” A decade later, Fonda is an art professor and chair of the art department at Sacramento City College. Art is on her mind, but so are her students and the future of teaching art digitally to young people who want to be the next generation of Sacramento artists. “I’m encouraging my students to sketch and journal about what they’re doing right now because I do think it’s historic,” she says. “In terms of a creative time, it could be really rich, but it is pretty distracting.” Yet Fonda sees color on the horizon. She was chosen to create a public art piece that will hang inside the new California Health and Human Services building. Next summer, a 30-by-9-foot-tall cascade of ceramic tiles individually bathed in color will welcome passers-by. “I’ll be using commercial tiles, but I’ll be doing my own glazing. So basically, I’m using the painter part of my brain, but I’m using glaze instead of paint,” she says. “The look of it is hand-painted tiles. It’s super colorful. I’m really excited about it.”


Mural photo by Randall Holmes/@luustra

He no longer worried about whether or not his art had mass appeal. It was his breakthrough.


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fter months of staying home, you’re ready to press play on summer A fun— visit Sacramento’s newest and hottest casino. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain, just 30 minutes from downtown Sacra-

mento, the Airport and Roseville, be ready to rock. The casino offers worldclass gaming and Hard Rock’s signature, high octane style. There are plenty of ways to play 24/7, with all your favorite card games, roulette, craps, and more than 1,587 of the hottest, newest slots and video poker machines with jackpots as high as $250,000. The 57 table games offer a casino experience like no other in the region. What’s your pleasure? There’s Double and Single Deck Pitch Blackjack, Three-Card Poker, Four-Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em and a variety of so many more games to choose from. California Craps features two dice, six cards, and the in-roll excitement of hop bets. In the beautiful Asian Gaming area, you can enjoy Pai Gow Poker, Face Up Pai Gow, and Tiles. You’ll rack up Comp Dollars while playing slots and table games, so be sure to sign up for the Wild Card loyalty program. For a glamorous VIP experience, test your luck in the high-limit room; Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain is happy to accommodate the highest of high rollers. Relax after gaming at the 169-room modern luxury hotel. A new Safe and Sound program of safety precautions ensures that hygiene and sanitation practices exceed C C and public health officials’ recommendations. Take advantage of Hard Rock’s exclusive “Sound of Your Stay” free amenities package menu. You get free access to record players in your room and can even borrow a guitar. Tracks, a unique Hard Rock amenity, allows you to download or stream curated music playlists perfect for working out at Body Rock, chilling by the pool, or spending a romantic evening inside. The Council Oak Steaks & Seafood signature restaurant provides upscale cuisine in a chic and comfortable atmosphere. The menu features dry-aged beef, premium seafood, shareable appetizers, and a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list. Try the chilled Alaskan king crab with ginger aioli and mustard sauce, or the filet mignon paired with saut ed wild mushrooms. The Legend-

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ary Steak Burger awaits you at the Hard Rock Cafe. It’s served with applewood bacon, cheddar cheese, leafy lettuce and vine-ripe tomato. YOUYU Noodle Bar dishes up fresh, delicious pho and shrimp pad thai, and satisfying stir fries beginning at 11:00 a.m. If nightlife is your jam, Center Bar is the heartbeat, the place to see and be seen. Choose from a variety of domestic and imported beers or taste a signature cocktail, like the hurricane and the classic Caribbean mo ito. For a taste of refinement, sip elevated cocktails at the Council Oak bar. The Fresh Harvest Buffet is now bigger with a new center island featuring soup and salad, new dessert station, an expanded variety of exciting dishes, and more appetizers, more entrees, more sides. Over 30 new additional items to choose from! Remember to check out the $1,000,000 Memorabilia collection from some of the biggest rock legends in history. Hosting a corporate meeting or a private event shouldn’t be stuffy and boring, they should rock. Whether you’re hosting an intimate board meeting, a wedding, or a largescale conference, give your guests something to cheer about at a venue with over 10,000 sq. feet of meeting space that will impress. Being a rock star has its privileges.

HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO SACRAMENTO AT FIRE MOUNTAIN 3317 Forty Mile Road, Wheatland, CA (833) 337-3473 |

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Excellence Served Daily Elevate your expectations of what fine dining should be. High Steaks is an exquisite experience, from the time we greet you until it’s time to say goodnight. Enjoy premium cuts, fresh seafood, expertly prepared desserts, and much more. Or start in the Lounge for Happy Hour for bites and drink specials.


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xperience winning at Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort! This best-keptsecret is located in the Mother Lode of Amador County and boasts more MegaJackpot® winners than any casino in Northern California. One step inside and you’ll already feel like a winner. Play over 1,700 of the most popular progressive video slots, video Keno, and video poker games (1 cent to $100). The High Limit Room fits the bill for high-stakes gaming and its 32 tables, eight Texas Hold ‘Em, plus Blackjack, Four-Card and Three-Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em, Mini-Baccarat, Pai Gow, 3-Card Blitz, and more, provide around-the-clock action. Stay at their AAA award-winning three-diamond resort hotel featuring 86 spacious rooms and get ready to relax and recharge. With amenities such as heated outdoor swimming pool and spas, workout room, free bell service, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a state-of-the-art business center, you’ll feel like a winner before you’ve even hit the casino. For the discerning, indulge in a luxurious executive suite with a private master bedroom, living room, dining room, and two-person jetted whirlpool tub. Dine at the highly-favored Lone Wolf Restaurant and Lounge, an award-winning steakhouse with approachable entrees focused on local, quality ingredients. It is everything you crave: Seared Atlantic Salmon, Chicken Alfredo with house made fettuccine pasta, Caribbean Lobster Tail, 16-ounce Rib-Eye Steak dinner with baked potato and broccolini, and filet mignon. Try more playful dishes such as a Hearth Oven Pizza, Lone Wolf’s Burger, or Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf. Imbibe at the Lounge with a classic or specialty cocktail. For a quick bite, try Margaret’s Bakery Counter with a multitude of grab-andgo items and gluten-free options (open 24 hours). For a dining experience you won’t forget, feast at Rancheria Buffet and watch chefs prepare traditional Mexican dishes, pastas and pizzas, and grill on a live-fire Churrascaria grill

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that roasts meats on a vertical rotisserie. The Fisherman’s Wharf Buffet features warm whole lobster, steamed king crab, chilled Dungeness and snow crab, prime rib, and more, offered every Friday-Sunday. The Great Steakhouse Buffet is offered Monday-Thursday and features herb crusted prime rib, steamed and chilled crab, filet mignon, and many more steakhouse favorites. Dreamcatcher’s Club® promotions give members even more ways to experience winning, so what are you waiting for? Don’t miss special summer promotions such as the Labor Day Weekend Lincoln MKZ car drawing – start earning entries in August. Can’t wait to start winning? Every Friday and Saturday night (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort hosts sizzling summer drawings where guests can win their share of over $20,000 in cash and slot play. Experience Winning, Rancheria Style.® (Some services and amenities are temporarily unavailable due to Covid-19. Please visit for current offerings.)

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For information and vendor applications:

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Food & Drink i n s i d e: Food for Good / Tips for the ’gram / Tacos 1, 2, 3

Fair Fare With the state fair canceled this summer due to the pandemic, how are you going to get your deep-fried Twinkie fix? Easy: Through CA STATE FAIR FOOD FESTIVAL TO-GO, a weekly pop-up at Cal Expo. The menu varies; one week it could be a smoked turkey leg (pictured), mac ’n’ cheese and fried cheesecake, another week barbecue tri-tip, loaded mashed potatoes and Southwest corn. Order online at

f r a n c i s c o c h av i r a

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Food & Drink

A New Model In the wake of COVID-19, restaurants adapt to a changing world. BY MARYBETH BIZJAK IT’S 10 O’CLOCK ON a Tuesday morning,

and Canon restaurant in East Sacramento is bustling with workers. But they’re not setting the tables with gleaming silverware or prepping the high-concept food that earned the restaurant a Michelin Bib Gourmand award last year. Instead, they’re loading cartons of potato salad, baked beans, grilled chicken and freshly baked bread into boxes for delivery to economically fragile residents of low-income housing. This is what a restaurant looks like in the pandemic era. After COVID-19 shut down dine-in service in the spring, Canon turned to a philanthropic model to help keep its doors open, pay its employees and feed people—the kind who normally wouldn’t be able to eat at Canon, where dinner and cocktails for two, pre-pandemic, could easily run $100 or more. In mid-March, Canon owners Brad Cecchi and Clay Nutting teamed up with Patrick Mulvaney of Mulvaney’s B&L to start Family Meal Sacramento, a seat-ofthe-pants operation in which a handful of restaurants made and distributed meal boxes to local schools and community centers. Each acted autonomously as a micro commissary, creating its own menu and preparing its own food. Money to operate the program came from crowdfunding and corporate matches. Soon, the city stepped in with funding, and within six weeks, Family Meal served about 100,000 meals. After dropping by Mulvaney’s for a tour and a photo op, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to create a statewide program based on Family Meal that would pay restaurants to feed senior citizens three nutritious meals a day, a coronavirus version of Meals on Wheels. The program, called Great Plates Delivered, kicked off in Sacramento in early May with 30 local restaurants. Each restaurant receives $60 to prepare a day’s worth of meals—breakfast, lunch and dinner—for one person. At full participation, a restaurant can make up to $3,000 per day— money that goes toward ingredients, salaries, rent and overhead. Funding comes from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. You can trace Great Plates’ DNA to the


wildly successful nonprofit World Central Kitchen, founded by celebrity D.C. chef José Andrés to feed Haitian residents after the devastating 2010 earthquake. In the years since, WCK has fed millions of people: in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, in California during the wildfires, in D.C. when the government shut down in 2018. Andrés has become the patron saint of food relief work, and in 2018 he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. “He’s definitely the model when it comes to this kind of feeding,” Cecchi says. “Without World Central Kitchen, we wouldn’t have been able to bring our model to the city or the state and say, ‘Hey, look at this. It works.’” As paid mentor chefs for Great Plates, Cecchi and Mulvaney have held Zoom meetings and phone calls with restaurateurs all over the state, explaining how to pivot from a tradiGOV. NEWSOM CREATED tional restaurant opA STATEWIDE PROGRAM eration to producing THAT WOULD PAY delivery meal boxes. RESTAUR ANTS TO The program—the FEED SENIOR CITIZENS nation’s first of its THREE NUTRITIOUS kind—targets mulME ALS A DAY, A CORONAVIRUS VERSION tiple beneficiaries. Seniors, who are esOF MEALS ON WHEELS. pecially vulnerable to COVID-19, get healthful meals without leaving their homes. Restaurant employees get a paycheck. Landlords receive rent. Local farmers sell their crops. And restaurateurs end up with enough operating capital to keep the ball rolling until dine-in service resumes at full force and the restaurant industry returns to normal. That is, if it returns to normal. Some industry experts believe as many as 75 percent of restaurants nationally may close permanently as a result of the pandemic. Cecchi doesn’t know how it will all shake out, for him or his industry colleagues. “Restaurants will have to adapt,” he says. “Curbside and to-go business is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. People are still going to need to eat. Whether they want to go out to eat, that’s to be seen.” Which means programs like Family Meal Sacramento and Great Plates Delivered could play a key role in saving restaurants for all of us.

Patrick Mulvaney

Canon’s meal boxes are ready for delivery


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Clay Nutting helps prep Canon’s meals for Great Plates

Breakfast, lunch and dinner from Mulvaney’s B&L

Slicing bread for sandwiches at Mulvaney’s B&L debbi e cu n n i ngh a m

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Canon’s Brad Cecchi

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Food & Drink

Nailing the ’gram Erin Alderson, the creative mind behind the vegetarian cooking website Naturally Ella, is also an accomplished photographer whose photography studio, Grove Haus, celebrates the unforced beauty of fresh ingredients. Her images, like her recipes, stand out for their authenticity—a rare quality that contrasts starkly with the overly stylized food porn that tends to dominate social media. “My style is attainable, approachable, a little messy, with a kind of homey feeling,” says Alderson. “At the end of the day, I want someone to look at what I’ve been cooking and think ‘that’s pretty close’ when they make it for themselves.” We connected with Alderson recently to uncover how she achieves drool-worthy Instagram shots that look utterly natural and effortless.—Catherine Warmerdam

The right props—“I do think serving something on a beautiful dish heightens the look of the meal,” says Alderson, an avid ceramics collector. “I seek out beautiful plates and bowls and collect them as I can. I like that it allows me to support other crafts that run parallel to what I’m doing.” Pro tip: She scours local thrift shops and garage sales for budget-friendly ceramics and rarely spends more than a few dollars for a single piece.

The right light—“A lot of what goes into a good shot is the lighting,” says Alderson. “If I’m not shooting in the studio, I find myself walking around my house to find the best light. It takes a little bit of extra effort to find where the best light is, but it’s worth it. As a photographer, lighting control is three-fourths of what you do.” The right attitude—“Don’t overthink it,” she advises. “Try and make good food and worry less about how it’s going to look on Instagram. The point is to try and have fun cooking and really enjoy the meal.”

The Sacramento region is spoiled with scores of great taquerias, each putting their personal spin on what many consider to be the perfect food. Whether you prefer soft or crispy, al pastor or asada, barbacoa or birria, there’s a taquero ready to convince you that his or her version is the best in town. We asked the owners of three local taquerias to tell us what sets their tacos apart from the competition. At Tacoa Tacos y Tequila (6350 Folsom Blvd.), which opened last summer, owner Jose Valle says the authentic flavors make his al pastor tacos a favorite with customers. “It’s made the traditional way, with pork shoulder cooked on a vertical grill. Al pastor tacos We slice it off of there and from Tacoa Tacos throw it onto the flat top to give y Tequila it a little color,” says Valle. From there, the taco gets all the trimmings one expects—onion, cilantro, tomatillo salsa—plus an unexpected twist: a generous slice of grilled pineapple. “The smokiness of the meat combined with the tanginess of the pineapple . . . people just love it.” To wash it down? Try a cocktail made with one of Tacoa’s 50 tequilas or 15 mezcals. Miguel Hernandez, who co-owns Taqueria Hecho en México (6036 Stockton Blvd.) with his nephew, Alejandro Galindo, serves up Jalisco-style tacos with recipes he learned from his mother and other family members in the restaurant business. One of Hecho en México’s most popular is the crispy taco filled with shrimp or fish. The tortilla is crisped up on the grill, not deep fried. “We make everything fresh—that’s Crispy shrimp tacos what our customers like about from Taqueria Hecho en México us,” says Hernandez. Taco trucks are ubiquitous in Sacramento’s neighborhoods, but few enjoy the enthusiastic following that has made Don Chuy’s Birria (6035 Stockton Blvd.) a legend among taco aficionados. Originally located in a convenience store, the operation shifted to a truck that is regularly stationed outside of Cajun Madness restaurant on Stockton Boulevard. Owner Jesus Muñoz says customers travel from near and far for their specialty, birria tacos. “We marinate the meat, either beef or goat, overnight, then we cook it for five hours. It’s very tender and juicy. My family has been making it this way for 40 years.” As Don Chuy’s has grown in popularity, lines have gotten longer, especially on the weekends. But as Muñoz explains, “We’re on a truck, but this is not a fast-food place. The wait is worth it.” —CATHERINE WARMERDAM


Birria tacos from Don Chuy’s Birria

Top left: Erin Alderson

Trust in Tacos


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Vivian Daley I have been in real estate in the Sacramento area for more than 47 years and with Lyon RE over 37 years, moving here from Georgia in 1970. I have worked in New Home sales for Robert Powell in Campus Commons, East Ranch, Wyndgate and Maddox Ranch. Prior to real estate I was in banking and in the 60’s a Flight Attendant for Eastern Airlines, which nurtured my love for people and eagerness to assist them. I’m lucky to be doing what I love and strive to be the BEST for my clients. Let us all keep an attitude of gratitude.

Sacramento Media is pleased to offer this section for all real estate pros to promote themselves and reinforce their position in the greater region!


Lyon Real Estate, Vice President DRE# 00475888 | SAR (916) 849-7314

Judy Schoer Achieving the status of Presidential Membership in the SAR Masters could not have happened without the support of wonderful customers and my fellow real estate professionals. Thank you! I am proudly celebrating 45 years of successfully meeting the needs of buyers and sellers in greater Sacramento. Integrity, hard work and knowledge of the marketplace and community are crucial to creating longevity as a REALTOR®! I strive to demonstrate my commitment to provide top quality service. Taking extra precautions to keep buyers and sellers healthy and safe during these challenging times. May I help you?

Carla Layton DRE# 01395619 | PCAR Coldwell Banker Realty (916) 580-8018

REALTOR® Emeritus, Broker, GRI, SRES, ASP DRE# 00513104 | SAR Judy Schoer REALTORS® Call: (916) 966-2221 • Text: (916) 716-0558

Nick Sadek Larry Pearson Coldwell Banker Sun Ridge Real Estate DRE# 01938527 | PCAR (916) 521-6516

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Broker/Owner CEO of Nick Sadek Sotheby’s International Realty. Today Nick is renowned as the go-to REALTOR® for luxury properties. His knowledge of the local area, commitment to his clients and complete integrity have propelled his success. He understands the unique needs of the luxury market and high-net-worth buyers and sellers know that they can trust his professionalism. Nick Sadek Sotheby’s International Realty Luxury Home Specialist DRE# 00970410 | SAR, PCAR, EDCAR (916) 966-4444

6/17/20 3:32 PM

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Restaurants When this issue of Sacramento Magazine went to print, restaurants were just starting to reopen for dine-in service following the state-mandated shutdown. Before heading to a restaurant, call or check its website to make sure it’s open.

ARDEN ARCADE ABYSSINIA ETHIOPIAN RESTAURANT If you can’t decide on one of the Ethiopian stews, served here with injera bread, opt for a grand sampler that includes four different stews, along with spicy red lentils, split yellow peas, collard greens and cabbage. 1346 Fulton Ave.; (916) 481-1580. L–D. Ethiopian. $$ CAFE VINOTECA Located in Arden Town Center, Cafe Vinoteca serves some of the loveliest Italian-inspired cuisine in the city. 3535 Fair Oaks Blvd.; (916) 4871331; L–D. Italian. $$$ DUBPLATE KITCHEN & JAMAICAN CUISINE One of the few places in Sacramento where you can get Caribbean food, this restaurant serves Jamaican specialties such as curry goat and jerk chicken. 3419 El Camino Ave.; (916) 339-6978; dubplatekitchencui L–D. Jamaican. $$ FAMOUS KABOB Kabobs are the attraction here. Smokily delicious, the meats are served with basmati rice and grilled tomatoes. 1290 Fulton Ave.; (916) 4831700; L–D. Persian. $–$$ LEATHERBY’S FAMILY CREAMERY Go for the ice cream, all made on the premises and used in shakes, malts and towering sundaes. 2333 Arden Way; (916) 920-8382; L–D. Sandwiches/ice cream. $ TEXAS WEST BAR-B-QUE This no-frills establishment serves slow wood-cooked meat in big portions. Dig into the tender Western-style pork spareribs and beef brisket or the smoky chicken. 1600 Fulton Ave.; (916) 483-7427; L–D. Barbecue. $–$$


Chicken and waffles from Fixins Soul Kitchen

CARPE VINO The welcoming restaurant, located in a historic brick building in Old Town, is one of the region’s best-kept dining secrets. Look for specialties such as halibut with peas and turnips, chicken liver mousse, and arugula and fava bean salad with strawberries. 1568 Lincoln Way; (530) 823-0320; carpe D. New American. $$–$$$

KATHMANDU KITCHEN This family-owned restaurant envelops you in a cocoon of exotic fragrances. Order the lal maas (lamb curry with chili sauce) or chicken saagwala (stir fried chicken, spinach and curry). 1728 Broadway; (916) 441-2172; kathmandu L–D. Indian/Nepalese/vegetarian. $


KATRINA’S CAFE This Auburn institution serves some of the best breakfast fare in the region. Cheery and tiny, it’s packed on weekends, and the menu includes sturdy dishes such as chili con carne omelet and French toast topped with strawberries. 456 Grass Valley Highway; (530) 888-1166; B–L. American/breakfast. $

REAL PIE COMPANY At this homey pie shop, you’ll find the pies of your dreams, made with all-butter crusts and seasonal fruit sourced from local farms. In addition to dessert pies such as jumbleberry and butterscotch banana cream, you can order savory pot pies, shepherd’s pies and dishes like mac and cheese, all available to eat in or take out. 2425 24th St.; (916) 838-4007; L–D. American. $


BROADWAY ANDY NGUYEN VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT This bastion of Buddhist-inspired vegetarian cuisine serves food that is fresh and flavorful. 2007 Broadway; (916) 736-1157; L–D. Vegetarian/Asian. $


SELLAND’S MARKET-CAFÉ Choose from an array of appetizers and hot items along with crowd-pleasing side dishes and pizza. This high-quality takeout food can be a real lifesaver on nights when you’re too busy to cook. 915 Broadway; (916) 732-3390; sellands. com. L–D–Br. Gourmet takeout. $$

ROAD TRIP BAR & GRILL This family-friendly joint serves up classic roadhouse fare, from salads and burgers to chops. 24989 State Highway 16; (530) 796-3777; B–L–D. American. $–$$

D’MILLER’S FAMOUS BBQ Ribs, hotlinks, tri-tip and more are served with traditional accompaniments such as cornbread, coleslaw and baked beans. The food, simple and hearty, arrives on disposable plates at this casual eatery. 7305 Fair Oaks Blvd.; (916) 974-1881. L–D. Barbecue. $$ MARK & MONICA’S FAMILY PIZZA The pizzas here are belly filling and hearty. 4751 Manzanita Ave.; (916) 487-1010; L–D. Pizza. $$ MATTEO’S PIZZA & BISTRO The menu is compact, and there’s no skimping on first-rate ingredients. The pizza crust is damned good, attaining that chewy-


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CATTLEMENS STEAKHOUSE & SALOON Serving exclusively Harris Ranch “Natural Beef”, Cattlemens ages and hand-cuts all beef selections on site. Signature steaks include the famous “Sizzling Prime Rib”, “King of Steaks” 32-oz. Porterhouse, New York Strip and Filet Mignon. Other popular items are Baby Back Pork Ribs, Grilled Salmon, Chicken and Pasta. All entrees are served up with all the fixin’s — All-You-Can-Eat tossed salad, hot sourdough bread and ranch-style beans. A popular spot for “More Beef for Your Buck” weeknight dinner specials and kid friendly dining. Seven days a week, Happy Hour is 4-6 pm in the saloon with savory small plates and thirst quenching hand-crafted cocktails served nightly. Full banquet and reception facilities are available for both day and evening events. Reservations accepted. Open at 4 p.m. seven days per week. 2000 Taylor Rd., Roseville | 916-782-5587 12409 Folsom Blvd., Rancho Cordova 916-985-3030 Hwy 80 at Currey Rd., Dixon | 707-678-5518

LEATHERBY’S FAMILY CREAMERY Sacramento’s favorite ice cream parlour for 35+ years. Our award-winning ice cream and sauces are made fresh daily and served in generous portions. We also offer a large variety of delicious sandwiches–from our specialty crab sandwich to great burgers. Leatherby’s is the perfect old fashioned ice cream parlour for families, friends, large groups or parties. Sun–Thur: 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri–Sat: 11 a.m.–12 a.m. Sacramento | Arden Way | 916-920-8382 Citrus Heights | Antelope Road | 916-729-4021 Elk Grove | Laguna Blvd | 916-691-3334

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Restaurants crispy-airy trifecta. You also can order pasta, steak or a burger. 5132 Arden Way; (916) 779-0727; pizza L–D. Pizza/American. $$

CITRUS HEIGHTS LEATHERBY’S FAMILY CREAMERY For description, see listing under “Arden Arcade.” 7910 Antelope Road; (916) 729-4021; L–D. Sandwiches/ice cream. $ SAM’S CLASSIC BURGERS At this drive-up burger shack, the shakes are great and the burgers wonderfully straightforward. 7442 Auburn Blvd.; (916) 7237512. L–D. Burgers. $

CURTIS PARK PANGAEA BIER CAFE While it’s known as a beer cafe and bottle shop, this casual spot also serves up tasty bar food, including a burger that has taken home top honors more than once at Sacramento Burger Battle. 2743 Franklin Blvd.; (916) 454-4942; pangaeabier L–D. American. $$

DAVIS BURGERS AND BREW The casual, publike restaurant uses high-quality, locally sourced ingredients and serves an interesting selection of beers and ales. 1409 R St.; (916) 442-0900; L–D. Burgers. $ CREPEVILLE This bustling creperie serves many variations on the crepe theme, from entrée to dessert. 330 Third St.; (530) 750-2400. B–L–D. Crepes. $ THE HOTDOGGER A well-loved Davis institution, The Hotdogger dishes up a delectable assortment of frankfurters and sausages. 129 E St.; (530) 753-6291; L–D. Hot dogs. $ MIKUNI JAPANESE RESTAURANT AND SUSHI BAR For description, see listing under “Downtown.” 500 First St.; (530) 756-2111; L–D. Japanese/sushi. $$ YAKITORI YUCHAN This busy little restaurant focuses on skewered grilled meats, seafood and vegetables. Most items are meant to be shared; bring an adventurous palate and a group of food-loving friends. 109 E St.; (530) 753-3196; yakitoriyuchan. com. D. Japanese. $–$$ ZIA’S DELICATESSEN This casual, Italian-style deli makes hot and cold sandwiches, salads and hot entrées such as lasagna, penne with creamy tomato sauce and tortellini with pesto-cream sauce. 616 Third St.; (530) 750-7870; L. Deli. $

DIXON CATTLEMENS This classic Western steakhouse serves up big slabs of prime rib, porterhouse, T-bone and cowboy steaks, plus all the trimmings: shrimp cocktail and loaded potato skins. 250 Dorset Court; (707) 678-5518; D. Steakhouse. $$$

DOWNTOWN BRASSERIE CAPITALE Owned by the family behind midtown’s Aïoli Bodega Española and The Grand wine bar, this beautifully designed restaurant is based on a traditional French brasserie. The menu hits the high points of the brasserie canon, everything from onion soup to steak frites. 1201 K St.; (916) 329-8033; L–D. French. $$–$$$


Avocado cheeseburger from Burgers and Brew BURGERS AND BREW For description, see listing under “Davis.” 1409 R St.; (916) 442-0900; burgers L–D. Burgers. $ CAFE BERNARDO The menu offers straightforward fare guaranteed to please just about everyone. Breakfast includes huevos rancheros and eggs Bernardo, drizzled with housemade hollandaise sauce. Lunch and dinner feature pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and substantial entrées such as pan-seared chicken breast with mashed potatoes. 1431 R St.; (916) 930-9191; B–L–D. New American. $ CAMDEN SPIT & LARDER Highly regarded chef Oliver Ridgeway opened this swank brasserie near the Capitol. It appeals to lobbyists, lawyers and legislators with its gin-forward cocktails and a menu that’s an interesting mash-up of British chop-house classics, English schoolboy favorites and elevated pub fare. 555 Capitol Mall; (916) 619-8897; camden L–D. Steakhouse. $$$–$$$$ EMPRESS TAVERN Located in the basement of the Crest Theatre, this restaurant has a catacomb vibe. It’s a modern version of an old English carvery: whole chickens, prime rib roasts and hams turn slowly on a rotisserie in the open kitchen, and diners can order sides like whipped potatoes with pork gravy. 1013 K St.; (916) 662-7694; L–D. New American carvery. $$$

restaurant is well known for its steaks—especially Frank’s Style New York Steak—and its brandy-fried chicken. This is Chinese cuisine at its most sophisticated. 806 L St.; (916) 442-7092; fatsrestaurants. com. L–D. Chinese. $$$ KODAIKO RAMEN & BAR Partly owned by Kru’s Billy Ngo, this ramen shop takes the Japanese noodle soup to a whole new level. Ingredients are organic, and almost everything is made in-house. For a fun experience, sit at the six-person ramen counter and chat with the chefs. 718 K St.; (916) 426-8863; kodaiko L–D–Br. Japanese/ramen. $$–$$$ MAS TACO BAR Tasty little tacos are the headliners at this casual eatery. They come with all sorts of delicious fillings: braised short rib, Korean fried chicken, banh mi shrimp and roasted cauliflower. You can also get Latin-flavored rice bowls, salads and starters such as elote and habanero fire balls. 1800 15th St.; L–D–Br. Mexican. $$ MIKUNI JAPANESE RESTAURANT AND SUSHI BAR This hip sushi bar serves its sushi with a side of sass. There are three sushi bars and a dense menu of appetizers, rice bowls, bento boxes and sushi rolls. 1530 J St.; (916) 447-2112; L–D. Japanese/sushi. $$

FOX & GOOSE PUBLIC HOUSE This tavern plates up some of the best breakfasts in town, along with pub staples like beer-battered fish and chips, a Cornish pasty or Welsh rarebit. 1001 R St.; (916) 443-8825; B–L–D. English pub. $

P.F. CHANG’S CHINA BISTRO With its lofty ceilings, striking artwork and sweeping staircase, this is the place to come if you’re seeking a little glamour with your Asian cuisine. The extensive menu offers dishes whose origins spring from many regions throughout China but that reflect a California sensibility. 1530 J St.; (916) 288-0970; L–D. Chinese. $$

FRANK FAT’S Downtown Sacramento’s oldest restaurant, Fat’s is a favorite of the Capitol crowd. The

PIZZA ROCK The narrow space is loud, but there’s a sense of festivity in the air, and the pizza is darned


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Restaurants good. Choose from five different styles of pizza: Classic Italian, Classic American, Neapolitan, Sicilian and Roman. 1020 K St.; (916) 737-5777; pizzarock L–D. Pizza/Italian/American. $$ PUBLIC HOUSE Belly up to the bar, where you can watch sports on multiple TV screens or gab with the bartender. Order a giant Bavarian pretzel or pulled pork nachos, topped with pickled jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, guacamole and sour cream. 1132 16th St.; (916) 446-0888; L–D–Br. American. $$ TIGER This casual, late-night hangout serves casual salads, sandwiches, burgers and bowls, along with a nice selection of craft cocktails. 722 K St.; (916) 3829610; L–D–Br. $$ URBAN ROOTS BREWING & SMOKEHOUSE At this casual brewery, a massive smoker turns out succulent meats—brisket, ribs, turkey and sausage—in the tradition of the great barbecue houses of Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee. Sides include collard greens, mac and cheese, yams and poblano cheese grits. Sit indoors or out at long picnic tables. 1322 V St.; (916) 706-3741; L–D. Barbecue. $$ ZIA’S DELICATESSEN For description, see listing under Davis. 1401 O St.; (916) 441-3354; ziasdeli. com. L. Deli. $


CLUBHOUSE 56 This is your classic sports bar, from the multiple TVs and two giant screens broadcasting games via DIRECTV to the local sports memorabilia on the walls. The food, too, is classic sports-bar fare: burgers, sandwiches and apps such as tacos and jalapeño poppers. The place is dark, casual and convivial, Sacramento’s very own Cheers. 734 56th St.; (916) 454-5656; Br–L–D. Sports bar. $$

Firey glazed chicken drumsticks from Tiger STAR GINGER ASIAN GRILL AND NOODLE BAR Offering affordably priced dishes inspired by the street foods of Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore, this restaurant serves a spicy Thai chicken soup that is a delicious bargain. 3101 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 231-8888; L–D. Pan-Asian. $

JUNO’S KITCHEN AND DELICATESSEN This tiny eatery serves some of the best sandwiches in town. Owner Mark Helms also offers an intriguing selection of salads and “pan” dishes such as shrimp mac ’n’ cheese. But you can’t go wrong with the smoked trout sandwich or the grilled chicken sandwich. Though there’s only a handful of tables, takeout is a tasty option. 3675 J St.; (916) 456-4522; L. Bistro. $


KRU Kru turns out exciting Japanese fare, and there’s a craft cocktail bar, outdoor patios and an omakase bar. 3135 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 551-1559; krurestaurant. com. L–D. Japanese. $$$–$$$$

C. KNIGHT’S STEAKHOUSE An upscale dinner house serving steaks, chops and seafood, this restaurant offers classic American fare that’s stood the test of time. 2085 Vine St.; (916) 235-1730; cknightsteak D. American steakhouse. $$$$

ONESPEED Chef Rick Mahan, who built his stellar reputation at The Waterboy in midtown, branched out with a more casual concept at his East Sac eatery. The open bistro has a tiled pizza oven that cranks out chewy, flavorful pizzas. 4818 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 706-1748; B–L–D. Pizza. $$ ORIGAMI ASIAN GRILL This fast-casual eatery serves Asian-flavored rice bowls, banh mi sandwiches, salads and ramen, along with killer fried chicken and assorted smoked-meat specials from a big smoker on the sidewalk. 4801 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 400-3075; origami L–D. Asian fusion. $–$$ SELLAND’S MARKET-CAFÉ For description, see listing under Broadway. 5340 H St.; (916) 736-3333; L–D–Br. Gourmet takeout. $$


AJI JAPANESE BISTRO This casually elegant restaurant offers an innovative menu of Japanese street food, interesting fusion entrées, traditional dishes such as teriyaki and tempura and sushi. 4361 Town Center Blvd.; (916) 941-9181; L–D. Japanese/sushi. $–$$

MILESTONE This unstuffy eatery serves great takes on comfort-food classics like pot roast and fried chicken. It’s straightforward, without pretense or gimmickry. The setting is like a Napa country porch, and the service is warm and approachable. 4359 Town Center Blvd.; (916) 934-0790; milestonerestaurant L–D–Br. New American. $$–$$ SIENNA RESTAURANT A Tuscan interior features a large bar and pretty patios. The menu includes a playful melange of global cuisine, including seafood, hand-cut steaks, stone hearth pizzas, inventive appetizers and a stacked French dip sandwich. Sunday brunch includes a made-to-order omelet bar and unlimited mimosas. 3909 Park Drive; (916) 941-9694; L–D–Br. Global. $$–$$$

ELK GROVE BOULEVARD BISTRO Located in a cozy 1908 bungalow, this bistro is one of the region’s best-kept dining secrets. Chef/owner Bret Bohlmann is a passionate supporter of local farmers and winemakers, and his innovative food sings with freshness and seasonality. 8941 Elk Grove Blvd.; (916) 685-2220; blvdbistro. com. D–Br. New American. $$–$$$ LEATHERBY’S FAMILY CREAMERY For description, see listing under “Arden Arcade.” 8238 Laguna Blvd.; (916) 691-3334; L–D. Sandwiches/ice cream. $ MIKUNI JAPANESE RESTAURANT AND SUSHI BAR For description, see listing under “Downtown.” 8525 Bond Road; (916) 714-2112; L–D. Japanese/sushi. $$ THAI CHILI This plain restaurant offers an entire menu just for vegetarians, plus interesting meat and fish dishes. 8696 Elk Grove Blvd.; (916) 714-3519; L–D. Thai. $$

FAIR OAKS MIKUNI JAPANESE RESTAURANT AND SUSHI BAR For description, see listing under “Downtown.” 4323 Hazel Ave.; (916) 961-2112; L–D. Japanese/sushi. $$ SUNFLOWER DRIVE IN This casual spot serves healthful, wholesome vegetarian and vegan fare. Faves include the Nutburger, the nutty tacos, egg salad sandwich and fruit smoothies. 10344 Fair Oaks Blvd.; (916) 967-4331; L–D. Vegetarian. $

Eat See

CANON This breezily chic restaurant offers an ambitious menu of globally inspired sharable plates. Much of the menu is vegetarian, vegan or gluten free, but you can also order from a small selection of hearty meat, poultry and fish dishes. 1719 34th St.; (916) 469-2433; Global/New American. D–Br. $$$–$$$$


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Westin Sacramento, Scott’s has a patio and a view of the river. Breakfast dishes include crab cake Benedict, and lunch entrées range from petrale sole to a prawn Caesar salad. For dinner, splurge on a lobster tail or choose a more modestly priced grilled salmon. 4800 Riverside Blvd.; (916) 379-5959; scottsseafoodon B–L–D. Seafood. $$$–$$$$

JACKSON LONE WOLF RESTAURANT & LOUNGE If classic steakhouse cuisine is your thing, try this nicely appointed restaurant at Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort. Enjoy a prawn cocktail or Caesar salad to start. In addition to steak, entrées include ribs, gumbo and salmon. 12222 New York Ranch Road; (209) 223-9653; jack D. Steakhouse. $$$$ STANLEY’S STEAKHOUSE This upscale restaurant, located inside the historic National Hotel, offers a traditional steakhouse menu and an extensive wine selection. 2 Water St.; (209) 257-2595; nationalho D. Steakhouse. $$$

LINCOLN HIGH STEAKS This Thunder Valley Casino restaurant is a meat lover’s paradise, offering up everything from an 8-ounce prime filet to a 26-ounce bone-in New York steak. The kitchen sources some of the best products in the country, and side dishes range from sweet potato casserole to five-cheese macaroni. 1200 Athens Ave.; (916) 408-8327; thunderval D. Steakhouse. $$$$

The BLAT from Crawdads on the River

FOLSOM BACK BISTRO A warm pocket of coziness and urban sophistication in a retail center, this place offers an appealing menu of casual nibbles and swankier entrées. But it’s the wine program that really knocks this charming little bistro out of the park. 230 Palladio Parkway, Suite 1201; (916) 986-9100; backbis D. New American/Mediterranean. $$–$$$ CHICAGO FIRE Oodles of melted cheese blanket the pizzas that fly out of the kitchen of this busy restaurant. Here, you get to choose between thin-crust, deep-dish and stuffed pizzas. 310 Palladio Parkway; (916) 984-0140; L –D. Pizza. $ FAT’S ASIA BISTRO AND DIM SUM BAR This glamorous restaurant looks like a set from an Indiana Jones movie, with tall palm trees and an enormous golden Buddha. The menu focuses on Asian cuisine, from Mongolian beef and Hong Kong chow mein to Thai chicken satay. 2585 Iron Point Road; (916) 983-1133; L–D. Pan-Asian. $$ LAND OCEAN The menu hits all the steakhouse high notes: hand-cut steaks, lobster, seafood and rotisserie, entrée salads and sandwiches. 2720 E. Bidwell St.; (916) 983-7000; L–D–Br. New American/steakhouse. $$$ SCOTT’S SEAFOOD GRILL & BAR This restaurant offers a solid menu of delicious seafood, from crab cakes and calamari to roasted lobster tail. 9611 Greenback Lane; (916) 989-6711; scottsseafood. net. L–D. Seafood. $$$–$$$$ THAI PARADISE Standouts on the extensive menu include spring rolls, tom kha koong (coconut milk soup with prawns), green curry, spicy scallops and

pad thai. Try the fried banana with ice cream for dessert. 2770 E. Bidwell St.; (916) 984-8988; thai L–D. Thai. $$

GARDEN HIGHWAY CRAWDADS ON THE RIVER This riverfront restaurant draws crowds looking for a great place to party on the water. Boats pull up to the restaurant’s deck, where you can sip a cocktail, and roll-up doors blur the line between indoors and out. The Cajun-inspired menu includes fish tacos and several fun entrées. 1375 Garden Highway; (916) 929-2268; L–D–Br. Cajun/American. $$ THE VIRGIN STURGEON This quirky floating restaurant is the quintessential Sacramento River dining experience. In summer, a cocktail pontoon is connected to the restaurant, where you can drink and enjoy the breezy proximity to the water below. Best known for its seafood, The Virgin Sturgeon also offers weekend brunch. 1577 Garden Highway; (916) 921-2694; L–D–Br. Seafood/American. $$

GRANITE BAY HAWKS One of Placer County’s best restaurants, Hawks is known for its elegant cuisine and beautiful interior. The seasonal menu is full of delicious surprises, such as seared scallop and sea urchin. 5530 Douglas Blvd.; (916) 791-6200; hawksrestaurant. com. L–D–Br. New American/French. $$$–$$$$


MERIDIANS Located in Sun City Lincoln Hills’ Orchard Creek Lodge, this elegant restaurant offers comfort and reliability. The dining room has live piano music and a patio overlooking rolling hills. The menu is American to its core, featuring classic dishes such as grilled pork chop and pot roast with mashed potatoes. 965 Orchard Creek Lane; (916) 625-4040; meridians B–L–D. American. $$$.

MIDTOWN AÏOLI BODEGA ESPAÑOLA Aïoli features lusty Spanish cuisine. Tables are covered with burlap and brown butcher paper, and the patio is intimate. The main focus of the menu is tapas, and the selection is broad. 1800 L St.; (916) 447-9440; aiolibodega. com. L–D. Spanish/tapas. $$ BRODERICK MIDTOWN This midtown outpost of West Sac’s divey Broderick Roadhouse serves the same fare, but in slightly nicer digs. The menu is dominated by burgers. Wings, fries and beer round out the bro-friendly menu. 1820 L St.; (916) 469-9720; L–D–Br. Burgers. $$ CHICAGO FIRE For description, see listing under “Folsom.” 2416 J St.; (916) 443-0440; chicagofire. com. L–D. Pizza. $ THE GOLDEN BEAR Remember the adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Keep it in mind when you come here. You may have to wave cigarette smoke away from your face as you cross the patio, and you might even have to dodge a leashless dog to get in the door. But once inside the dim bar, you’ll find a surprisingly sophisticated menu. 2326 K St.; (916) 441-2242; L–D–Br. Gastropub. $$ HAWKS PUBLIC HOUSE At this sophisticated gastropub, the menu includes beautifully executed dishes like country pâté and baked rigatoni. The pastas are made in-house, and even the burger is top-notch. 1525 Alhambra Blvd.; (916) 588-4440; hawkspublic L–D–Br. Mediterranean gastropub. $$$ SACMAG.COM July 2020

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Restaurants HOOK & LADDER MANUFACTURING COMPANY Located in a Quonset hut, this restaurant is both hip and cozy. Despite the barlike ambience, Hook & Ladder is serious about food. All the pastas and desserts are made in-house. 1630 S St.; (916) 442-4885; hook L–D–Br. Californian. $$ LOWBRAU BIERHALLE This chic yet casual watering hole serves house-made sausages and stand-out beers. Long communal tables make for an experience that’s noisy and convivial. 1050 20th St.; (916) 706-2636; L–D–Br. Beer hall. $ MULVANEY’S BUILDING & LOAN This topflight restaurant exudes the generous affability of its owner, chef Patrick Mulvaney. It’s housed in a brick firehouse from the late 1800s, and the lush patio is a popular spot. The menu changes frequently and is focused on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. 1215 19th St.; (916) 441-6022; L–D. Californian. $$$ PARAGARY’S This legendary restaurant focuses on elegant, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. 1401 28th St.; (916) 457-5737; L–D–Br. New American/Californian. $$–$$$ THE PORCH RESTAURANT AND BAR The menu here is built on a core of Lowcountry staples and Southern fare: shrimp po’ boy, crawfish boil, fried chicken, brisket and cornbread. 1815 K St.; (916) 4442423; L–D–Br. Southern. $$ THE RIND At this cheese-centric bar, you can savor cheese in a number of ways. The menu includes variations on macaroni and cheese, cheese boards and creative grilled cheese sandwiches. 1801 L St.; (916) 441-7463; L–D. American. $$ SAIGON ALLEY KITCHEN + BAR This hip restaurant and bar serves modern versions of Vietnamese street food, such as a “Pho-rench” dip (a French dip with pho flavors) and a “banh mi” burger (garnished with pickled daikon and carrot on a baguette). A big draw is the $3 happy hour, featuring snacks like taro fries and sugarcane shrimp for $3 each. 1801 L St.; (916) 758-6934; L–D. Vietnamese. $$

Salmon from Paul Martin’s American Bistro mole sauce. It also boasts a full bar and an enticing menu of craft cocktails. 3501 Third Ave.; (916) 4004676; L–D. Mexican. $$


THE WATERBOY This restaurant produces perhaps the finest cooking in the region. Chef/owner Rick Mahan honors local farmers with his commitment to simply prepared, high-caliber food. You can’t go wrong if you order one of the lovely salads, followed by the gnocchi, ravioli or a simple piece of fish, finished with butter and fresh herbs. You’ll also find French classics such as veal sweetbreads and pomme frites. 2000 Capitol Ave.; (916) 498-9891; waterboyrestau L–D. Mediterranean. $$$$

THE FIREHOUSE Since opening in 1960, this has been Sacramento’s go-to restaurant for romantic atmosphere. Located in a 1853 firehouse, it’s white tablecloth all the way, with crystal wine glasses and topnotch service. The outdoor courtyard is one of the prettiest in town, and its canopy of trees sparkles at night with tiny lights. The food is special-occasion worthy, and the wine list represents more than 2,100 labels. 1112 Second St.; (916) 442-4772; firehouse L–D. Californian/American. $$$$

ZOCALO This Mexican restaurant is one of the best places to while away an evening with friends over margaritas, and the wraparound sidewalk patio is one of the most popular spots in town. 1801 Capitol Ave.; (916) 441-0303; L–D– Br. Mexican. $$

RIO CITY CAFE Located on the riverbank, the bustling restaurant offers stunning views of Tower Bridge. The menu changes seasonally and offers a wide selection of creative, solid dishes. 1110 Front St.; (916) 442-8226; L–D–Br. New American. $$



FIXINS SOUL KITCHEN This bustling place, partly owned by former mayor Kevin Johnson, serves up friendly Southern hospitality along with delicious Southern fare, including chicken and waffles, gumbo, fried catfish, and shrimp and grits. 3428 Third Ave.; (916); 999-7685. B–L–D–Br. Southern. $$

CATTLEMENS For description, see listing under “Dixon.” 12409 Folsom Blvd.; (916) 985-3030; cattle D. Steakhouse. $$$

LA VENADITA This inviting, casual taqueria has a concise menu that includes inventive street tacos, a brightly flavored ceviche and an enchilada with rich


ROCKLIN RUBINO’S RISTORANTE This intimate, dimly lit restaurant serves classic Italian fare such as veal scallopine, fettuccine Alfredo and shrimp scampi. It also offers a fine selection of steaks. 5015 Pacific

St.; (916) 624-3401; L–D. Italian. $$$ ZEST KITCHEN Everything served at this casual cafe is vegan, and most of the dishes are gluten-free. 2620 Sunset Blvd.; (916) 824-1688; zestvegankitch L–D. Vegan/vegetarian. $

ROSEVILLE CATTLEMENS For description, see listing under “Dixon.” 2000 Taylor Road; (916) 782-5587; cattle D. Steakhouse. $$$ LA PROVENCE RESTAURANT & TERRACE This elegant French restaurant offers some of the region’s loveliest outdoor dining. The seasonal menu features items such as bouillabaisse and soupe au pistou. 110 Diamond Creek Place; (916) 789-2002; laprovence L–D–Br. French. $$$–$$$$ MIKUNI JAPANESE RESTAURANT AND SUSHI BAR For description, see listing under “Downtown.” 1565 Eureka Road; (916) 797-2112; L–D. Japanese/sushi. $$ PAUL MARTIN’S AMERICAN BISTRO The bustling, comfortable restaurant is a local favorite. The kitchen offers a great list of small plates and robust, approachable entrées. 1455 Eureka Road; (916) 783-3600; L–D–Br. New American. $$–$$$ P.F. CHANG’S CHINA BISTRO For description, see listing under “Downtown.” 1180 Galleria Blvd.; (916) 788-2800; L–D. Chinese. $$ RUEN THAI Simple and serene, Ruen Thai is a fam-


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ily-owned restaurant that offers a surprisingly large selection of fresh-tasting food. 1470 Eureka Road; (916) 774-1499; L–D. Thai. $ RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE This swanky dinner house serves some of the tastiest meat in town. Expertly cooked steaks are seared at 1,800 degrees. Don’t miss the cowboy rib-eye or the fork-tender filet mignon. 1185 Galleria Blvd.; (916) 780-6910; D. Steakhouse. $$$$ SQUEEZE INN For description, see listing under “Midtown.” 106 N. Sunrise Ave.; (916) 783-2874; L–D. Burgers. $ ZOCALO For description, see listing under “Midtown.” 1182 Roseville Parkway; (916) 788-0303; zocalo L–D–Br. Mexican. $$

SIERRA OAKS CAFE BERNARDO AT PAVILIONS For description, see listing under “Midtown.” 515 Pavilions Lane; (916) 922-2870; B–L–D. New American. $ PIATTI The food here is Italian with an American influence, and the menu includes delightful variations on Italian staples—margherita, pesto or roasted chicken pizzas; ravioli, pappardelle and fettuccine pasta dishes. 571 Pavilions Lane; (916) 649-8885; L–D. Italian/ American. $$ ROXY RESTAURANT AND BAR From the cowhide booths to the sparkling light fixtures in the bar, Roxy is a class act that happens to also serve chili and

fried chicken. The innovative New American menu is seasonal and locally focused. 2381 Fair Oaks Blvd.; (916) 489-2000; L–D– Br. American/Californian/steakhouse. $$ WILDWOOD RESTAURANT & BAR This chic restaurant serves New American and global cuisine, with naan, ahi poke and rock shrimp risotto sharing the menu with an all-American burger. The patio is a great place to grab a drink and listen to live music. 556 Pavilions Lane; (916) 922-2858; L–D–Br. American/global fusion. $$$

SOUTHSIDE PARK BINCHOYAKI Small plates of grilled meats, fish and vegetables are the stars at this izakaya-style restaurant. But you can also order ramen, tempura and other Japanese favorites. 2226 10th St.; (916) 4699448; L–D. Japanese. $$ –$$$ SOUTH In a town of great fried chicken, this casual restaurant may serve the very best fried chicken of all. It’s moist on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and comes with braised greens and a flaky biscuit (made from a secret family recipe). Other delights include a fabulous hamburger and traditional Southern desserts such as sweet potato pie. 2005 11th St.; (916) 382-9722; L–D. New Southern. $$

TAHOE PARK MOMO’S MEAT MARKET This family-run business serves simply first-rate barbecue, smoked over wood in huge drums in the parking lot. Sides include pepper Jack mac ’n cheese, cornbread and deep-fried

cabbage. 5780 Broadway; (916) 452-0202. L–D. Barbecue. $$

WEST SACRAMENTO DRAKE’S: THE BARN Located in a modern indooroutdoor structure along the river, Drake’s serves thin-crust pizzas, along with a few salads and appetizers. You can get table service indoors or on the patio. But, for something more casual, find a spot at the fun outdoor taproom and enjoy a pizza to go beside the fire pits. 985 Riverfront St.; (510) 4230971; L–D. Pizza. $$ LA CROSTA PIZZA BAR From the people behind The Rind in midtown Sacramento, this pizza joint serves first-rate pies along with inventive flatbread sandwiches and a small selection of Italian entrées. 330 Third St.; (916) 389-0372; L–D–Br. Pizza. $$–$$$ Subscription rates: $18 for one year, U.S. only. All out-of-state subscribers add $3 per year. Single copies: $4.95. Change of address: Please send your new address and your old address mailing label. Allow six to eight weeks’ advance notice. Send all remittances and requests to Sacramento Magazine, 5750 New King Drive, Suite 100, Troy, MI 48098. Customer service inquiries: Call (866) 660-6247. Copyright 2020 by Sacramento Media LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. Prices quoted in advertisements are subject to change without notice. Sacramento Magazine (ISSN 0747-8712) Volume 46, Number 7, July 2020. Sacramento Magazine (ISSN 0747-8712) is published monthly by Sacramento Media, LLC, 231 Lathrop Way, Suite A, Sacramento, CA 95815. Periodical postage paid at Troy, MI and additional offices. Postmaster: Send change of address to Sacramento Magazine, 5750 New King Dr., Suite 100, Troy, MI 48098

SACMAG.COM July 2020

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William Lee holds a copy of his newspaper, which reported on the November 1972 riots and killings of two students at Southern University in Louisiana.


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anniversary of his newspaper in this Sacramento Bee photo from Nov. 26, 1972. The Observer was created to help share stories of African Americans, and it soon experienced phenomenal growth, becoming a six-time winner of the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s John B. Russwurm Trophy for journalism excellence, the nation’s top award given to a black-focused newspaper. Though Lee died in 2019, The Observer is still a product of his family; it’s now run by Lee’s son, CEO Larry Lee.—DARLENA BELUSHIN MCKAY

Center for Sacramento History, Sacramento Bee Collection, 1983/001/SBPMP04925



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Wichert Homes is exclusively a Serrano builder and has built more than a hundred homes in the neighborhood Wichert Homes Construction is a family owned business currently being operated by the owner Craig Wichert and by his daughter and project Manager, Payton Wichert. • Craig personally supervises the construction of all his houses and has a great working relationship with his subcontractors. Therefore, they are able to speed up with the building process which can save months. | (916) 439-3472 Wichert Homes.indd 99

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