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What’s your favorite place in Sacramento?

For the 2nd holiday season, Sacto Politico takes a step back from raw politics to ask another non-political question of a varied collection of California office holders, candidates, strategists, activists, and members of the media.

Last year, we asked 15 politicos for their personal favorite political movie, book or TV show. This year, we’ve asked 21 to close out 2021 by answering the following: “What is your favorite place to visit when in Sacramento and why?” Enjoy their answers which range from fun to poignant, but always personal. And thanks to each of them for participating.

Shirley Weber

California Secretary of State

“Before Covid, I loved to entertain with friends and colleagues. But that’s on hold for now. When I go out in Sacramento, I love the soul food at Fixins Soul Kitchen in Oak Park. I also enjoy that the diversity of the clientele that ranges from African Americans from the Oak Park neighborhood to elected officials to downtown professionals. For barbeque, I love Urban Roots.”

Anthony Rendon

Speaker, California Assembly (AD 63-Los Angeles)

Pine Tree House on Folsom Boulevard. Great homey Korean food. It feels like you’re in your Korean grandmother’s kitchen. It’s also far enough away from the Capitol so that I will never see anyone I know.”

Angela Chavez

Director of Communications, Courage California

“Narrowing down my favorite place to dine in the ‘farm to fork’ Capital should be a daunting task – but there’s no place I enjoy more in Sacramento than Sampino’s Kitchen at Joe Marty’s. Pair that with a film at the Tower Theater and drinks after at Old Ironsides, and you have yourself a delicious, comforting, and perfect post-Prohibition-themed evening.”

Scott Wilk

State Senate Republican Leader (SD 21-Santa Clarita)

Kupros Craft House holds a special place for me as it reminds me of my youth. I held my Senate swearing-in reception there because it’s not pretentious. It has a low-key vibe with good food. Also, close enough to the Capitol that I can walk, and just far enough that it feels off-the-grid. All of the food is good, but sadly my favorite dish – the chorizo mac and cheese – is no longer on the menu. Maybe if the chef reads this article, he or she might consider bringing it back?”

Josh Harder

U.S Representative (CA-10), Turlock

“Well, if I’m being honest, my favorite place in Sacramento is the I-99 South exit because it means I’m headed home to Turlock. If I can stop off at Dust Bowl Brewery on the way, all the better.”

Rob Bonta

California Attorney General

“Lucky for all of us, there isn’t a deficit of good food in Sacramento. But when it comes to favorites, mine is Mikuni. As a child and teenager, I remember my parents taking me and my siblings to the first location in Fair Oaks for birthdays, celebrations, and special occasions – and I’ve loved making memories there over a plateful of sushi ever since.”

Lorena Gonzalez

Member of California Assembly (AD 80-San Diego)

“The Sheraton [Grand Sacramento Hotel]. I’ve lived there nine years, and some of the workers are like family to me. Also, it’s union. I really like when my food and drinks come with a living wage, healthcare and retirement.”

Basim Elkarra

Executive Director, CAIR Sacramento Valley/Central California

Sand Cove on the Garden Highway is where I go to fish and escape the world. There have been a few days that I went at early dawn and after work on the same day, and I was hooked. Sand Cove helped me get through challenging times.”

Sue Frost

Sacramento County Supervisor, District 4

“Lunch at La Cosecha (next to Cesar Chavez Park). In the heart of Sacramento, a quick walk from my office, I can eat indoors or on the patio, Mexican is my favorite food and their food is amazing! It’s casual dining at its best.”

Phil Serna

Sacramento County Supervisor, District 1

“I love spending time on Sacramento’s rivers, casually cruising via a well-shaded pontoon boat with my beautiful wife Roxanna. There’s nothing more calming and enjoyable than spending time with the person I love as we take in the unique waterside perspective of our community and the area’s natural riparian environment.”

Mai Vang

Council Member, City of Sacramento, District 8

“My grandparent’s home in South Sacramento is my favorite place to be. I love the smell of my grandma’s cooking every time I visit. One of my favorite traditional Hmong dishes that she would make for us is “nqaj npuas hau nrug zaub ntsuab” boiled pork with Hmong greens! Hits the spot every time.”

Braden Murphy

Candidate for California Board of Equalization, District 1

“Without question, when I am in the City of Sacramento, I love going with my family to Golden One Center to watch the Sacramento Kings. I have been a Kings fan since I was 4. I have loved getting my boys into it. It has been rough lately, but I hope the playoff drought ends soon.”

Tracie Stafford

Chair, Democratic Party of Sacramento County

“When venturing into Sacramento for leisure, there are two businesses that I frequent. The first is Cyclelife Sacramento, a women-owned small business on Freeport Boulevard. There is nothing like a rigorous cycle class with upbeat music to burn off steam. My second favorite place is Sincere Ceramics, also a small business on Power Inn Road. Who doesn’t like playing in mud? With a bit of practice you might even walk away with a lopsided bowl or two.”

Mike Madrid

Partner at GrassrootsLab, a Sacramento-based public relations firm

“Nothing better than a long, rich conversation at Aioli in midtown that stretches from afternoon to evening. Dish of paella, bottle of Tempranillo and a small group of friends – perfection!”

Ann Ravel

former Chair, Federal Election Commission and California Fair Political Practice Commission

“When I was the FPPC Chair, I lived in an alley apartment on 19th near Capitol. Nearby was an oasis of calm for me in Sacramento, the State Capitol World Peace Rose Garden, which I still go to when I am in Sacramento. The dedication of the garden, and its beauty, is really meaningful to me, as my father used to say something very similar to me constantly when I was in high school: “Daily each one of us has an opportunity to make our world a better place.’ ”

D.A. Gougherty


“I’m fortunate to have a partner who is a great cook, so when we go out it is for something we don’t prepare at home. That means we head over to Sacramento’s Little Saigon for any of the great pho restaurants.”

Zima Creason

Board Member, San Juan Unified School District

“I love being anywhere near the Tower Bridge. I just love that bridge. When I was young, I remember watching the bridge rise to let boats pass underneath. It was absolutely magical to me. As I got older, the bridge always stood out as a symbol of my home, especially when it is lit up at night. I love the bridge so much that my husband and I made sure it was included in the background of our wedding pictures.”

Paul Mitchell

Owner of Redistricting Partners and Vice President of Political Data Inc.

Temple Coffee, always. It was my first ever ‘remote working location’ when they opened the original Temple on 10th Street downtown. A small Americano, headphones, and a vibrant surrounding of cool people is the best way for my ADD mind to focus on some maps or data. Also a great place to meet friends.”

Caity Maple

Candidate for Sacramento City Counsel, District 5

“I find myself at Broadway Coffee more days than not. Not only because it is within bleary-eyed walking distance from my house, but also because it embodies the sense of community that I love about Oak Park. The owner, Leo, is a fierce advocate for the neighborhood and never short on hugs. Plus, they always remember my order even when I’m too tired to think.”

Eric Guerra

Sacramento City Councilmember and candidate for State Senate

“My family and I enjoy biking and skateboarding to the Sacramento neighborhood of Tallac Village. It has a lot of incredible small businesses, including Sac City Brews, Milano Pizza, an amazing old-school pizza parlor, Tallac Haircuts, where I get my haircut, and Tallac Lounge.”

John Fairbanks

Editor, Capitol Morning Report

“My favorite restaurant by far is the Virgin Sturgeon, which floats atop the Sacramento River along the Garden Highway. In the summer, my wife and I meet there for an after-work drink on its deck, sometimes staying to watch as the sun dips down behind a colorful horizon and the day’s last rays dance over ripples in the river. This time of year, I like starting a meal with some sourdough bread and clam chowder. But mostly I like the people. Oh, I guess I should mention that my son works there and we’re friends of the owners.”

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