City life, by its very nature, requires places to escape. Even in our most livable urban areas humans need sanctuaries to get away from traffic, noise, congestion, crowds and other annoyances.
That’s why we cherish parks, museums, beaches and other oases. Calm, relaxing locations where we slow down and forget the stress.
Few places offer the peace and beauty of a well-designed, plush botanical garden. Now a group of determined Sacramentans is working to bring this amenity to the capital city.
Santa’s workshop has been in full swing since November, but it’s not manned by elves. It’s run by volunteers and administrators of the county’s Gifts from the Heart program.
Gifts from the Heart celebrates 35 years this season of bringing Christmas joy to children ages 0 to 18, seniors and disabled adults.
Since 1988, the program has annually provided gifts to more than 3,000 clients served by the Department of Child, Family and Adult Services thanks to the generosity of more than 100 community partners.
Headed to the theater for a holiday show? I’ve got the place for you. Juju Kitchen & Cocktails, a drinks and small-plate enterprise at 15th and L streets, offers a sophisticated stop for the discerning theatergoer (or anyone else).
Chef David English brings his pedigree and penchant for tasteful simplicity. Having closed his Press Bistro in late 2019, English offers many familiar dishes at Juju but with a different vibe.
Juju is a cocktail lounge. It’s a bit of a restaurant too, but alcohol comes first. A cleverly situated circular bar dominates, but a partial wall bifurcates the bar and splits the room in two.
The inner space, all ferns and soft surfaces, opens onto the Marriott Residence Inn. The outer space, all windows, is an urban fishbowl with funky cocktail vibes. The menu is the same on both sides and bears the hallmarks of English’s journey from New Orleans to Sacramento.
“Everybody talks about having a green thumb, as though that implies it takes something special to make things grow,” Henry Wirz says. “Anyone can have a green thumb. A garden is not that difficult if you do the basics. And once you start, you develop a lot of confidence.”
Wirz uses his green thumbs to beautify the garden and help residents at The Salvation Army’s E. Claire Raley Transitional Living Center. It’s a place where struggling families get back on their feet through structured programs and safe housing.
My dinner tonight is tender, flakey and buttery black cod, known as sablefish, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, torn basil confetti and crushed cherry tomatoes.
It’s the freshest fish I’ve had in town—and it came from a waterfront stand off South River Road in West Sacramento.
Down South River Road’s bends and twists, across the river from Pocket and just before Vierra Farms, there’s sign for Ferrari Fisheries. The trail leads to a stall with a table and containers.
The sign brings to mind the timeless, muddy Sacramento River floating past. Yet here is some of the area’s freshest ocean fish. The fisherman is Anthony Ferrari. He carries on a family tradition started decades ago by his father.