Goods and Services
Best Independent Video Store
Blockbuster and Hollywood Video are too big for their celluloid britches. Despite their size, their rates are high and their selection (of anything besides Hollywood’s new releases) is lacking. If you’re tired of the giants, check out Awesome Video. They carry all the recent hits and cater to special interests, including a wrestling section, Spanish language titles, art films, an entire room of Japanese animation and a Hong Kong cinema aisle conveniently subdivided into Jackie Chan, Chow Yun Fat and Jet Li sections. With $1.25 movie rentals and 49-cent, 7-day new releases Sunday through Thursday, you can rent a night’s entertainment with the change in your couch cushions. 5000 Freeport Blvd., (916) 731-4720; 6840 Watt Ave., North Highlands, (916) 334-7411.
Best Place To Buy An Entire Outfit For Under $5
Oak Park Goodwill
Now that there’s money to be made from calling used clothing “vintage” and selling it at new clothes prices, thrift store shopping isn’t what it used to be. It’s still possible to find that perfectly faded pair of Levis or that ‘50s bowling shirt for next to nothing: you just have to be willing to search. A good place to start is the Oak Park Goodwill, where every item of clothing is $1.50. Clothing racks run the length of the store and the radio plays dance tunes to propel you through your shopping experience. Choose an aisle and let the fashion hunt begin. 3409 Broadway, (916) 456-0721.
Best Place To Dress Your Inner Diva
Prevues is the place to explore your wilder fashion instincts. Whether you secretly covet vinyl corsets, butterfly wings, tiaras, turquoise hot pants, multi-colored wigs or sparkly stripper heels, this store has what you’ve always wanted to wear (but were afraid to ask for). The super-fashionable sales girls will help you choose a halter top to match the fake tattoo you bought to offset the false eyelashes that go with your new thigh-high fishnets and, after watching them on their feet all day in the store’s signature high heels, you’ll be convinced you can manage them too. 2417 K St., (916) 448-4556.
Best Place To Turn Into A Vampire
You too can become a blood-sucking creature of the night. Get all the vamp-out gear you require (circa Halloween or any old time) by heading over to Evangeline’s in Old Sacramento. The shop features fangs (regular or “custom fit"), fake blood (liquid or coagulated) and all the coaching on sucking you require. Do steer clear, afterward, of blondes named Buffy. 113 K St., Old Sacramento, (916) 448-2594.
Best Place To Fathom The Fishies
Established in 1959, Capitol Aquarium has evolved from a “mom and pop” fish shop to one of the largest aquarium palaces in California. Still owned and operated by its founding family, Capitol Aquarium has an ichthyological inventory that’s enviable (over 500 species of fish!) and is a blast to browse—plus it’s the place in Sacramento to purchase exotic and not-so-exotic fishies. The store, which boasts on-staff biologists, has an apt motto: “From the beginner to the most advanced breeder; from the saltwater novice to the advanced reefkeeper … if you need anything we can get it for you.” OK, but what’s a reefkeeper? 1920 29th St., (916) 452-5556.
Best Mass Consumption Of Miscellaneous Items
Denio’s Farmers Market and Auction
Owned and operated by the Denio family since 1947, Denio’s Farmers Market and Auction is a mind-blowing cheap thrill for shoppers who want to consume mass quantities of anything and everything. Open in Roseville on weekends year round, Denio’s vast market booths feature everything from designer clothes to used TVs and stereos, house plants to jewelry, pottery to perfume. You name it, you’ll find it at Denio’s. 1551 Vineyard Road, Roseville, 782-2704.
The Oasis Laundry
So you’ve worn the same In N’ Out Burger T-shirt for three days straight. You know what that means—time to acknowledge that mountain of laundry piling up in the corner. Laundry time—the dreaded chore for those of us lacking a washer and dryer. But it doesn’t have to be that painful. In fact, laundry time can be a rather enjoyable experience at The Oasis, the Disneyland of laundromats. This always busy place attracts 20- and 30-somethings by having a big-screen TV featuring new-release movies, video games and a snack bar. It’s a great place to kill time, meet someone, have a cup of coffee and finish that overdue chore. 1250 Howe Ave., (916) 924-0221.
Best Place To Get Sound Hardware Advice
Emigh Ace Hardware
If you’ve ever gotten midway into a home repair project and had it go horribly south on you, the experience of walking into a big-box hardware emporium such as Home Depot can be disconcerting, to say the least. Go to Emigh, however, and it’s most likely you’ll be able to find someone on the friendly staff to walk you through whatever it is you’re trying to do, and they’ll sell you the right tool or piece of hardware you need, too. Plus, the place has damn near everything under the sun, including an impressive barbecue section, and it’s a cool place to blow an afternoon when you’re not in any real hurry to get back to whatever it was that sent you to the store in the first place. 3555 El Camino Ave., (916) 482-1900.
Best Place To Get In Touch With Your Ethnic Self
From batik print dresses to raw silk capes to Native American jewelry, Tasha’s has an ever-changing menu of casual and dressy women’s wear, jewelry, hats, and assorted knickknacks sure to add a splash of urban color to your wardrobe. Prices run from moderate to expensive, but, as regulars of the store know, when you walk out of Tasha’s you can be guaranteed that no one else in town will be wearing your newest find. This makes it a great place to buy gifts for those special occasions where you want a one-of-a-kind present. Check back regularly, as Tasha’s gets new shipments weekly and, if you find something you simply must have, buy it now because if you wait, it’s likely it won’t be there when you come back and Tasha rarely orders the same item twice. 1005 22nd St., (916) 444-5159.
Best Place To Indulge Your Inner Beavis And Butthead
What can we say? This isn’t stuff to show uptight parents or bosses. Fart “pills,” penis “enhancers,” coffee mugs shaped like breasts—we love a place that caters exclusively to the 14-year-old boy in all of us. For our money, How Tacky is the only place to buy those mandated “secret Santa” gifts for the office. (Hey, your bosses and co-workers might not appreciate plastic vomit, but at least you’ll be laughing when they open it.) 2425 J St., (916) 443-1379.
Best Do-It-Yourself Government
City Boards and Commissions
The city of Sacramento is constantly posting new openings for a variety of public boards and commissions, all meant to be filled by regular folks just like you. This is a service that you can help provide. These quasi-governmental bodies are a way for citizens to give their input on issues ranging from parks and recreation, development, small business development, accommodations for the physically handicapped and many, many more. The positions are, of course, unpaid and there always seem to be more openings than there are applicants. That’s a shame, because Sacramento is filled with smart, talented people with a little time on their hands, many of whom could help make this city run a little better. www.cityofsacramento.org.
Best Advice On What To Read Next
New Books Display at Bogey’s Books
When I walk through Bogey’s, usually thinking about some tight little novel I’ve heard rumors about, I’m inevitably snagged by two display tables of carefully chosen literary fiction. Before I know it, I’ve got an armload of Saramago—yeah, I know he’s depressing, but I can’t wait to dive in—and I’m falling for a dozen other titles based on jacket copy. Michael Douglas’ character must have felt this way while choosing between all those yummy dancers in A Chorus Line: so many engaging personalities to choose from, so much artistic skill, such grace. Thankfully, each of these carefully chosen books is discounted just because it made the cut. 223 E St., Davis, (530) 757-6127.
You can’t get a better feel for Sacramento, the capital city, than lodging luxuriously across from the State Capitol building at the Hyatt Regency. The hotel faces the magnificently lighted historic government structure, which rises gleaming and powerful from the lush green of its surrounding park. Within the Mediterranean-style hotel, one may expect to see many of the world’s politicos journeying on their various missions. But that’s not all. If you look up, way up, you might also see the likes of Shaquille O’Neal or Lisa Leslie, who sometimes visit here with their own missions in mind. 1209 L St., (916) 443-1234.
Best Women’s Clothing
There are plenty of women’s boutiques in Sacramento, but few that offer a truly unique style unavailable at the mall. The fashions offered at Bangkok Boomz strike the perfect balance between fancy and real world wearable, ethnic and universal. Many of the clothes are up-to-the-minute Western styles made with gorgeous fabrics from the East. The garments on the racks range from evening gowns to pedal pushers with shoes in every color to match. Bangkok Boomz also sells jewelry and accessories from Europe and Southeast Asia. The store is a must-visit for women who want some substance in their style. 2318 J St. (916) 447-3330.
Best Reason to Boycott Safeway
When you sign up with one of the Sacramento area’s community-supported agriculture projects, you’re doing more than buying produce—you’re helping to support local family farmers and promote environmentally sound farming practices. You pay a fixed amount weekly, and the farm delivers a fresh box of fruits and vegetables to your home or neighborhood pick-up point. Most of the farms listed below are all-organic; all of them deliver seasonal, locally grown produce of the highest quality. Call McLaughlin Farms (916) 371-8421, Terra Firma (530) 756-2800, Full Belly Farm (530) 796-2214.