Best of the Burbs: Best of Folsom writers’ picks

At The Painted Cork in Folsom, you paint, you drink, and you paint what you drink. The second-story studio hosts daily art classes and private parties for those who believe art looks better with wine goggles on. The Cork provides the supplies, you bring the vino.

At The Painted Cork in Folsom, you paint, you drink, and you paint what you drink. The second-story studio hosts daily art classes and private parties for those who believe art looks better with wine goggles on. The Cork provides the supplies, you bring the vino.


Best spot to paint the town red

The Painted Cork

The world is filled with two kinds of people: those born with the crafty gene and those for whom a glue gun turns into a weapon of mass destruction. For those who fall into the latter category, relax: The Painted Cork is less about showing off artistic talents and more about learning to wield a paint brush and a wine glass at the same time. OK, sure, some of the people who attend these basic painting classes are, likely, actually serious about the craft. The rest of us, however, welcome the chance to quaff wine, munch on snacks and, oh yeah, give the old easel a go under the watchful eye of Kimberly Godinho, who, we're sure, is totally not judging your talent or how much wine you throw back in the name of art. Note: Painting materials are included in the sign-up fee, but this is a strictly BYOB-type affair (bottle openers and plastic cups, however, are provided). Nonalcoholic beverages are OK, too. 801 Sutter Street in Folsom, (916) 899-0537, R.L.

Best mom date

Three Stages at Folsom Lake College

Maybe one day this gorgeous performing-arts palace near the center of Folsom Lake College's concentric campus will add a little edge to its playbill. (Wouldn't this be the perfect venue for Iggy Pop and his reunited Stooges to blast geezer punk cuts from their new album? Whadda ya mean, “No”?) For now, be grateful you have a classy venue to bring your parents or guardians on “date night.” Three Stages at Folsom Lake College's current schedule is absolutely jam-packed with PG pleasures, such as Bye Bye Birdie, as well as an assortment of classical-music recitals, dance performances and Latin jazz. In June, the entertainment gets more au courant with blue-eyed soul man Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers fame and a tribute to 1950s pop star Ricky Nelson. Sure, it ain’t old-man Iggy, but your mom will probably be thankful for that. 10 College Parkway in Folsom, (916) 608-6888, R.F.H.

Best German invasion

Whole Foods Market Bier Garten

It's no secret that shopping at a Whole Foods Market can be torturous in that hurts-so-good kinda way: Hella good food, hella spendy bill. Ease the price-tag pain with a cold brew or two enjoyed on the shop's outdoor patio Bier Garten (which is German for, um, “beer garden”). Choose from local craft beers on tap, a large selection of wines and tasty bites from a restaurant-style menu. There's also live music! And it's probably not polka! The beer selection rotates weekly, and the garden often plays host to wine and tap-takeover tastings. It's a brilliant concept, really—blow your paycheck on a week's worth of groceries, and then forgo that home-cooked meal in favor of relaxing al fresco. 270 Palladio Parkway in Folsom, (916) 984-8500, R.L.

Best baked goods

Karen's Bakery Café and Catering

While it may be inevitable that Folsom will continue to get more and more uppity with each passing year, Karen's Bakery Café and Catering is one of the best reasons I trek back out to the burb I grew up in. It may seem like a spot aimed squarely at white-picket fencers, but the food is really good—highfalutin sandwiches and salads, and an extensive pastry-and-dessert spread that changes with the seasons. Tucked between historic Sutter Street and the American River, it's a good bike-ride or kayaking destination—or, rather, if you're like me, a place where you will feel judged by many bike riders and kayakers as you eat that second almond croissant. 705 Gold Lake Drive in Folsom, (916) 985-2665, D.D.

Best place fostering the musical people

Nicholson's MusiCafe

Nestled in one of the many strip malls on East Bidwell Street in Folsom, The Nicholson Music Co. has been in the business of selling instruments for decades. Earlier this year, however, it branched out and opened Nicholson's MusiCafe next door. Besides promoting the use of caffeine—the cafe offers all of the standard hot and cold tea and coffee beverages, plus a pour-over bar and snacks—it bolsters the music community by providing a stage on which musicians can perform nearly anytime they like. There are weekly open-mics and free ukulele lessons, but any budding band or singer-songwriter can sign up for a slot on the calendar and gig out. And, as long as no one else is already scheduled, walk-ins are always welcome. As the kind young cashier said, “It's better than the radio!” 632 E. Bidwell Street in Folsom, (916) 984-3020, S.

Best bike-trail brew destination

Samuel Horne's Tavern

Here's a bike ride you'll want to stay frosty for: Limber up and take the bike trail all the way from downtown Sacramento to Old Town Folsom. It's about 25 miles gently uphill, but whatever. The reward is eats and brews at Samuel Horne's Tavern: It serves only American beers, and does so excellently (right temperature, proper glassware)—all complemented with gut-busting gastro-pub goodness (think blue-cheese-and-bacon fries). Horne's is the best beer haunt on the main Sutter Street drag in Folsom, which is saying a lot, because there's some other nice places, too (like the newly opened Fat Rabbit Public House). Bonus: If you get too drunk to bike back home, take light rail—there's a stop nearby; it's only $2.50. 719 Sutter Street in Folsom, (916) 293-8207, N.M.

Best (case) light-rail stop

Regional Transit's Iron Point Station

Yes, a 48-year-old cyclist did get fatally smacked near here in April when he ducked under the crossing arms, but this suburban way station is usually one of the safer Sacramento Regional Transit platforms to make eye contact at. It's gotten great reviews from users of the Meetup website looking for a place to rendezvous and go hiking, for instance, and there's usually more parking spots than panhandlers and loudmouths. (High praise, we know.) This is the kind of small-scale train station where you can leave your earbuds in and zone out to Maroon 5, Susan Boyle or whatever it is that environmentally conscious, rush-hour-averse commuters listen to. Just watch out for that outbound train. Folsom Boulevard and Iron Point Road, R.F.H.

Best breakfast in a ’90s time capsule

Lake Forest Cafe

Should you find yourself in Folsom around breakfast time with a tricky case of chain-restaurant-induced nausea, Lake Forest Cafe is the antidote. The tiny cafe is homey in every sense of the word, inhabiting a small, ramshackle blue cottage overrun by a huge citrus tree in the front yard. Inside, the dining room is set with wood-carved chairs and tables, and is absolutely replete with fake plants. The menu is standard fare—mostly omelets and sandwiches—with Jewish culinary touches here and there in the form of latkes, kosher beef salami and a dish called Matzo-Bry a la Bunya. If you are hungover, do not miss Meaty Mike's: bacon, sausage or ham with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, avocado and copious melted cheese, all cooked together in a pan and topped with sour cream. 13409 Folsom Boulevard in Folsom, (916) 985-6780, D.D.

Best third-eye view

Ann's Psychic Gallery

I see much adversity in your path and, perhaps, a love interest. You will find the job of your dreams. And, uh, maybe a new hobby. Or jury duty. I don't know. I'm not any good at this. Truth be told, I never apprenticed in the mysterious art of palm readings or crystal balls. But take one look at the beautiful Wild West-looking building shouldered up against the Sutter Club Sports Bar, and you might just be willing to walk in and see what the future holds for you. Hopefully, it involves Deadwood’s Al Swearengen barking profanities at you from the balcony on your way out the door. 722 Sutter Street in Folsom, (916) 353-1161. D.K.