Each day after its opening in 1981, La Bou Café & Bakery’s customers would line up to grab one of owner Trong Nguyen's handmade croissants and a flavorful espresso drink. The plucky local café’s customer base was so loyal that La Bou eventually opened 12 locations across the Sacramento area.
La Bou pairs rich, regionally roasted coffee from Capricorn with apple strudels, scones, and low-fat berry muffins. Without ever relying on passports or wormholes, the eatery brings together light café food from around the globe. Its menu includes salads of soy-marinated noodles and cabbage, turkey sandwiches, grilled chicken paninis, and creamy clam chowder.
The chefs at Rivers Edge Café & Espresso pack lengthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus with more than 150 dishes of handcrafted comfort fare. Commence your recovery from a night of excess or a 24-hour C-SPAN bender with the Hangover, which unites homemade biscuits and gravy with a full order of hash browns stuffed with cheddar, sour cream, and mounds of center-cut bacon ($9.25). A selection of 15 traditional or egg-white omelets halts morning hankerings with farm-fresh eggs and a cornucopia of fillings ($9.99–$11.99), and the griddler combo satisfies the food pyramid's baked-goods requirement with pancakes, french toast, a traditional waffle, or belgian waffle ($9.99). A protein-packed blue-cheese burger ($10.25) staves off energy crashes later in the day, enhancing awareness in meetings and performance during inner-office spelling bees. Plunge forks into a homestyle dinner, such as a four-piece plate of country-fried chicken ($12.99) or homemade meatloaf ($13.99), each accompanied by a medley of vegetables and seasoned mashed potatoes.
While most people would say they like chocolate with coconut, not many would say it changed their life. One exception, however, is Terri of Terri Does Desserts. As a child, she kept begging for German chocolate cake until her mother finally decided to kill two birds with one stone and teach her daughter how to bake. Little did Terri's mother—or Terri herself—know that that was the beginning of her baking career. She now makes her famous three-layer German chocolate cake alongside cookies, cobblers, and cupcakes for friends, family, and customers.
Naturally, Terri specializes in cakes and cupcakes for any occasion. She's got everything from 7-Up pound cakes to Snickers cupcakes, all with a range of coordinating icings and frostings. Her cookies also come in unique flavors, with seasonal varieties such as pumpkin as well as fruit-filled options such as blueberry white chocolate. Even her drinks have a bit of cake in them, as evidenced by frappes served in flavors such as red velvet and cookies and cream.
Every day since “Daddy Dave” Leatherby Sr. and his wife, Sally, opened the first Leatherby’s Family Creamery 30 years ago, the shop has been churning out fresh ice cream layered in sweet sauces straight from the candy kettle. Milk, cream, and sugar form the base of Leatherby’s more than 45 flavors, which range from staples such as chocolate and strawberry to more exotic varieties including mocha almond fudge and spumoni. Inspired by family recipes that date back a half-century, these frosty treats come in cones, shakes, malts, and sodas, as well as in heaping sundaes and banana splits, the largest of which tips the scales at 54 ounces. Leatherby’s menu has expanded over time, and includes savory options such as sandwiches, burgers, soups, and salads.
The glimmering glass case at Donuts, Yogurt & More showcases freshly-baked pastries from chocolate donuts topped with colorful sprinkles to giant cinnamon rolls oozing with frosting. Behind it, staffers bustle about, slicing up bagels to make sandwiches, layering croissants with sliced ham, and doling out scoops of ice cream and swirls of yogurt in a variety of flavors. The shop’s specialty beverages include icy mochas, creamy caramel lattes, and refreshing mango smoothies. And for their selection of "lite" drinks, staffers make health-conscious modifications such as swapping out cream for skim milk and bacon fat for no bacon fat.
Brewing coffee at home is a crapshoot of ratios, freshness, and equipment. Instead of waking up to smell the home-brewed coffee, start leaping out of bed in a streaking sprint to the Coffee Garden to expose your nostrils and fuzzy slippers to the flowerful fragrance of roasted bean juice. Perk up in the midmorning sun amid a potted jungle of greenery on the back patio with a signature cup of coffee ($1.50 for 12 oz.) or an indulgent mocha ($3.25 for 12 oz.). When high noon hangs above, halt sweat beads in their browed beginnings with an iceberg's worth of iced tea ($2.25 for 24 oz.) or a cold café au lait $3.50 for 24 oz.).