2010:life/day trip |  by adam saake 
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Wallet Talk:    
What they have:
Stop by in the Summer for ice cream bars. Flavors include Peanut Butter Banana and my favorite, S’More with graham cracker ice cream and house made marshmallow.
price $5
What we tried:
It’s all about the chocolates. Choose from over seventeen varieties that are offered in small squares that will smoothly melt in your mouth as they are made with fresh cream and contain no preservatives. The Chewy Lavender and Peanut Butter are out of this world, but I learned quickly why the crowd favorite is Vanilla Bean Caramel.  
price $1.50 each
Fall and Winter is a perfect time to stop for hot chocolate that will change your life. Forget about powder in the packets, Ginger Elizabeth serves up an Oaxacan Hot Chocolate with a blend of semisweet chocolate infused with cinnamon, chilies, vanilla and ginger.  
price $3
Hint, hint:
Try the hot chocolate with their house-made marshmallows or grab a Parisian Macaron to nibble on in between sips.
Hop, skip and a jump:
Grab a glass of wine at L Wine Bar and Urban Kitchen located next door or walk to the corner of 19th for some frozen yogurt at Yogurt A-Go-Go.
All chocolate is not created equal. So is the case with Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates, a chocolaterie that was started by the talented Ginger Elizabeth in January of 2008.  Elizabeth, who is a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, started her humble beginnings by night inside the Old Soul Co’s wholesale coffee and bakery space (see Old Soul Co on this same page). She has since received media praise for her delicatessen chocolate as well as her know-how that she has made graciously available to the public via classes and workshops.  
Her chocolate boutique that is located on L Street was beautifully designed by Sacramento based design gurus Blank Blank who worked closely with Elizabeth to get the interior just right. A gorgeous frosted glass barrier divides the counter space from the back kitchen where all the chocolate magic takes place. A clean white interior with simple and sleek displays make for a very inviting shop experience, and on our visit one of Elizabeth’s elaborate chocolate sculptures was on display in the corner. A Sacramento jewel and a culinary marvel, Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates is a sweet stop that will leave you spoiled rotten.
“All chocolate is not created equal.”
Wallet Talk:    
What they have:
A must have is their breakfast sandwich that is made with a fresh baked English muffin and comes with egg, cheese, avocado, tomato, red onion and your choice of bacon or ham.  
Hint, hint:
I recommend bacon on the breakfast sandwich. It’s thick-cut, peppered and delicious.
What we tried:
Old Soul Co. are followers of the slow food movement, so when you come in for lunch, don’t be surprised to see seasonal lunch specials. We lucked out and were treated to a spicy pumpkin soup with cheesy garlic bread.  
One of the few places in town that will serve you French press, so take advantage.  Go for the Nicaragua.
Hop, skip and a jump:
Nothing goes better with a cup of Old Soul coffee than a quality vintage clothing store to help you look chic while you drink it. Try Bows and Arrows on the other side of the alley; owners Trisha and Olivia will treat you right.
Old Soul Co. Old Soul Co. Old Soul Co. Old Soul Co. Old Soul Co. Old Soul Co.
1716 L Street, Rear Alley Sacramento, CA 95814  . (916) 443-7685  . www.oldsoulco.com
The buzz around town went something like this: “Have you been to the secret coffee shop in the alley? There’s a roll-up door and it’s a big warehouse bakery with an espresso machine in the center.  Everything is 2 bucks!”  
It was really that cool and more importantly, it turned out to be really that good. Old Soul Co., started by proprietors Jason Griest and Tim Jordan, are “creators of fine breads and coffee” and have been since they first rolled up their doors in 2003. In the beginning, there was just a jar on the counter and customers would make their own change, but over time they evolved and a cash register replaced the jar and the IRS turned the heat down. This helped them turn the heat up as they prospered with wholesale and retail sales of their delicious coffee and baked goods from their downtown alley location. Classes and community gatherings made them a hub for epicureans, coffee buffs and aspiring chefs, and their influence continued to spread through Sacramento with the opening of a second location and plans for a third.  
La Martine Floral Design
904 12th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 492-8804
Just on the outskirts of Alkali Flats, you’ll find La Martine Floral Design. Tucked neatly inside the bottom half of a beautiful brick building, this quaint boutique flower shop is the perfect place to pick up unique gifts for the garden savvy or to book flower arrangements for your wedding or special event. Owners Kimberly LaMar-Damiani and her husband Victor started the business in a different part of town but decided to move the business to a cozier location. They wanted something older and with more character and were happy to find their storefront that was once a Greek owned shoe store. Treasure hunting didn’t stop with the building and it’s reflected in all the eye candy that will have you doing laps around the store.
“I get a lot of my stuff from antique shops and estate sales,” says LaMar-Damiani. “It’s not mass produced.”
What we saw:
Venus fly traps ready for glass terrariums, white porcelain vases, Chinese lanterns and flowers everywhere. Check out the ‘air plants’ growing out of giant snail shells.
Chic peak:
Make sure you say hello to Simon and Francois, Kimberly and Victor’s two Spice Finches.
Hop, skip and a jump:
If shopping at La Martine and talking to the birds has got your hunger rising, hop next door to Amarin for some Thai food that is sure to please.
They say Sacramento is a drinking town, and frankly I agree. In the downtown/midtown area there is no shortage of bars or clubs to help quench your thirst. Most of them offer your standard libations and variation occurs with the chosen interior design.  
One watering hole stands out above the rest - the Shady Lady. Don’t let the name fool you; the women are lovely and the drinks are tasty. The modern saloon fits perfectly into the corner of 14th and R in the block-long, brick D & S developed loft project by Bay Miry. Owners Jason Boggs and Alex Origoni have created a time warp where pre-prohibition era fun can be had by all. Bar staff is decked out in high waist skirts with long strands of pearls or newsboy caps and suspenders. Live jazz bops and croons through busy Saturday night crowds, and a lot of the cocktails come sans ice so you can sip and enjoy the attractive company.
Don’t wander in looking to get a Coors Light and a Purple Hooter because you’re missing the point. The bar staff at the Shady Lady hand makes all their syrups, bitters, grenadines and tonic waters as well as fresh squeezing all their juices. Sure, you can get a whiskey and soda, but with hundreds of spirits and over forty different specialty drinks like Horse’s Neck or Blood and Sand it’s recommended that you grab a menu and find a cocktail to your liking. Still can’t decide? Just ask the bartender who will be happy to find you something that makes you feel right at home. If you don’t like it, they won’t charge you. But according to owner Jason Boggs, “no one’s ever returned one.”  
Wallet Talk:
What they have:
With hand crafted cocktails, a delicious menu of small plates and the addition of weekend brunch, there’s sure to be something that will tickle your fancy.
Specialty Cocktails $8
Small plates $6-$10
What we had:
The fried green tomatoes that come with a tarragon remoulade (like an aioli sauce) are simply out of this world.  
Hint, hint:
Come in on a Sunday, order some brunch and ask for a Ramos Gin Fizz (it’s not on the menu).
Hop, skip and a jump:
The street is buzzing with good food and hip hair salons. Neighbors Magpie Catering is worth a stop, if only for their carrot cake cookies.  
1050 20th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 448-2874
Newsbeat, located inside midtown’s marvelous MARRS building, is one of my favorite spots in the city to escape and get away from it all. Far more than a magazine shop, Newsbeat offers an array of unique and often times limited edition greeting cards and postcards along with an eclectic selection of candies and clever gifts.  For the eighteen and over, there’s a small but impressive selection of cigars that the staff will gladly let you cut before you leave.
Newsbeat originally opened in Davis, CA and eventually was relocated to 10th and L across from the capitol. Owners Janice and Terence Lott loved being downtown, but the area was shutting down too early which was difficult for a retail space. After much scouting, the Haynes brothers (who own Bistro 33 downtown) alerted them to the MARRS building space that was opening up. With the help of architect Maria Ogrydzia, the space was remodeled beautifully to fit the urban feel of the rest of the neighboring businesses. Upon opening, the Lotts jokingly remarked to Michael Heller, developer of the MARRS building, “you thought we didn’t have it in us.”
Apparently they did.
Wallet Talk:
What they have:
Magazines, magazine, magazines. Gift cards, postcards, candies, sweets, treats and cigars.
What we bought:
You don’t have to spend a ton of money to enjoy a good cigar. We went for a Baccarat Rothschild, which are handmade in Honduras and have a bit of a sweet gum aftertaste.  Goes great with a glass of red wine.
$5.95 ea
Chic peak:
Newsbeat is open until 10 pm, so you can stop by after dinner and do some people watching from behind the cover of a Dwell.
Hop, skip and a jump:
With Peet’s on one side and Luigi’s Pizza on the other, there’s plenty of places to sit and get your read on. Feeling classy? Lounge On 20 offers a great selection of champagnes and delicious small plates.
Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates
1801 L Street Suite 60
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 706-1738
Shady Lady
1409 R Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 231-9121
Adam Saake is a full time arts and culture snob living in the beautiful city of Sacramento, CA. Whether he's playing drums, writing articles or sharing his artwork he lives by one motto: Don't talk about it, be about it. His strength comes from the amazing network of people he's met along the way and he's dying to meet you.
Read other articles by Adam Saake:
Angel Lopez Photography
“A nerdy man trys to start a business. Hilarity ensues.”
- Angel Lopez
Day Trip photography work by Angel Lopez
Learn more about Angel and his photography work:
vhcle-09:life/day trip
adam saake Day Trip 

Adam Saake 

Angel Lopez
California’s capitol city is having trouble retaining its infamous nickname of ‘cow town’ these days. Restaurants, boutiques, specialty bars and fine coffee shops are popping up left and right in Sacramento‘s growing downtown and it’s clear that they are here to stay. In fact, they’re setting a new standard for quality.

Vhcle contributing writer Adam Saake and photographer Angel Lopez took a day trip through their own lovely city to show you a few of these note-worthy places that are making Sacramento a premier Northern California destination.