Message in a Best Of

What can we learn from an SN&R Best Of Sacramento issue—from 10 years ago?

On Monday, I read our Best Of issue from 2004. Back then, our writers' picks were about how cool it was that there was finally a Trader Joe's. In this issue, we get excited about things like locovore vegetarian restaurants, and craft beer and artisanal cheese bars.

In 2004, there was a lame nightclub photo site called Napkin Nights, which won the Readers' Choice for best website. Today, we just take selfies. Then, Readers' Choice winners included now-defunct hangs like True Love Coffeehouse and Toyroom Gallery, the latter the only reason to visit “The Kay” in '04. Losing those places was tragic at the time. But today, coffeehouses and art galleries are ubiquitous and exciting.

I wonder if people are embarrassed about the things that got them pumped 10 years ago? The Cheesecake Factory opened in '04 and had just won Best New Restaurant (beating out Zocalo). I remember hearing of hourlong waits for a table. Would you wait more than 10 minutes at Cheesecake in 2014?

It used to be OK to eat at chains, too. In '04, McDonald's won best french fries and Starbucks was the best coffeehouse. Even if we allowed chain businesses to compete in Best Of Sacramento today (we don't), I can't imagine those places beating out LowBrau or Temple Coffee.

Oh, Sacramento, you're so cool and grown-up now. Your palette's so refined, and you're drinking beautifully. Thanks for cutting back on the double-vanilla lattes and mousse cakes with graham-cracker crust.

Although you have lost your edge a bit. Consider: The Readers' Choice winner in 2004 for Best Political Battle? “A new Kings arena.”