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Our Favorite Things

Wondering where our region’s local leaders and most influential individuals go to eat, drink, and explore? Well, we asked—and 10 of them answered. Get ready to uncover the hidden gems, must-visit “secret” spots, and must-have meals that bring them joy— and make us all fortunate to live here.

Howard Cadenhead

Principal, Folsom High School

Howard Cadenhead


I love the year-round Historic Folsom Farmers’ Market ( on Saturdays; the vibe on Sutter Street is always fun and the market offers a great selection of vendors.

Kingdom Coffee Roasters ( is, in my opinion, one of the best coffee roasters in Northern California. Customer service is excellent, thanks to employees who are always kind and engaged. Any of their coffee drinks, particularly the seasonal lattes, are outstanding!
The food and service at Manderes ( is consistently excellent. Their risottos are as good as any you’ll find; the house-made butternut squash with sage and brown butter is always great.



La Calle Restaurant & Bar ( offers some of the best Mexican food in Folsom, and the staff is super friendly. They have a nice little patio for outside dining.

La Calle Restaurant & Bar


Jocelyn Maddux

Executive Director, Placer County Vintners Association; Publisher, Placer Wine & Ale Trail Guide

Jocelyn Maddux


Restaurant Josephine ( has it all—an amazing vibe, tasteful décor, top-notch service, and a standout locally sourced, seasonal menu. The craft cocktails are a must and Chef Eric's soups are to die for. Pro tip: Sit at the bar for the best experience—and share (all the) appetizers!

Restaurant Josephine


Mikuni ( has the best sushi in the region. The fish is always fresh, and the variety of rolls is unmatched. I always order garlic edamame, BBQ white tuna, and a bunch of rolls for the table to share. Pro tip: Ask for "thin cut" on your sushi rolls.



The Station Public House ( and The Pour Choice ( are chill, hip spots for a meet-up or business meeting. They both have great food, ample beer and wine options, plus outdoor seating.

The Pour Choice


The Placer Wine & Ale Trail ( is easy and down to earth with many different wineries, breweries, and cideries to choose from. Pick a vibe and head out! The owners are always friendly and often onsite to meet, greet, and answer questions.

Casque Wines on the Placer Wine & Ale Trail


The American River Canyon is easily accessible for anyone and has hiking options for all levels. The views of the American River and Foresthill Bridge aren’t bad either! 

Hidden Falls Regional Park ( has easy-to-moderate hikes and beautiful scenery; plus, it’s easy to hit up a local brewery or winery after.

Hidden Falls Regional Park


I love shopping in Old Town Auburn ( and Downtown Auburn (; there are tons of small, independent businesses offering unique items from local makers at fair prices. My favorites include Zhüsh Modern, Typewriter & Moss, Sierra Moon, US. Artisan Marketplace, Martin Mattox, and Little Bird Mercantile. It’s a totally understated and under-visited shopping experience with the charm and history of the Gold Rush era.

Old Town Auburn


The town of Foresthill ( is like "Tahoe-light” with pine trees and cooler temps. It’s far enough away so you could stay overnight but isn’t too far for a day trip. There are lakes and outdoor activities galore—without the crowds or traffic! Pro tip: Book a cabin at Miner's Camp or a group stay at Mountain Shadows Retreat.

Ken Cusano

Fire Chief, Folsom Fire Department


Breakfast at Gold Miner Café (—especially the chicken fried steak—is fantastic. It reminds me of the Yukon Restaurant, a place I used to frequent in high school.

Gold Miner Café


The mac & cheese with parmesan breadcrumbs and chives at Bacchus House Wine, Bar & Bistro ( is a must, and their decorations are always amazing, especially during Halloween and the holidays.

Bacchus House Wine, Bar & Bistro


Visconti’s Ristorante ( serves authentic Italian food and reminds me of Caroma’s in Syracuse, New York, where my grandmother cooked. My go-to is the chicken parmesan. 

Visconti’s Ristorante


I enjoy taking Louie and George (my French bulldogs) for walks at Lembi Park; it’s clean, well-maintained, and the dogs love sniffing all the trees.

Visiting Zittel Farms ( for the pumpkin patch and during Christmastime is a must. I’ve known the Zittel family for over 40 years and their farm gets better by the season.

Thom Gruneisen at the Folsom Public Libary


Thom Gruneisen, director at the Folsom Public Library (, has a contagious enthusiasm and is dedicated to supporting youth programs and lifelong learning. It’s always fun paying him a visit.

Rob Haswell

Executive Director, Visit Placer 

Rob Haswell


Lake Clementine Trail ( in the Auburn State Recreation Area is a gorgeous hike along the North Fork of the American River that ends at Lake Clementine Falls. It also takes you beneath the majestic Foresthill Bridge.

Lake Clementine Trail


I love exploring Placer County’s farm breweries—GoatHouse Brewing Co (, Dueling Dogs Brewing Co. (, and Hillenbrand Farmhaus Brewery ( Situated in the heart of the Placer Wine & Ale Trail, they all sit on picturesque grounds and serve beer using crops grown onsite. Talk about a perfect respite from the rigors of daily life.

High-Hand ( is an anchor of Loomis’ recent downtown resurgence. I love visiting the upscale café, beautiful nursery, local arts and crafts vendors, and fun brewery that features music on Fridays and Saturdays.

Paza Estate Winery


Paza Estate Winery ( is a low-key, laid-back winery with award-winning vinos that can be enjoyed at an open-air tasting shed with some of the best views in the region.

Restaurant Josephine ( has a cool, modern French ambiance with locally sourced ingredients; sitting at the bar (open without reservations) is super fun. I love their grilled pork chop, but all their food is amazing. Don’t forget to order a craft cocktail, too!

Restaurant Josephine


Tang’s Sushi ( uses incredibly fresh ingredients (my favorites are the hand rolls, Spider roll, and 49ers roll) and promises a fun, authentic dining experience. Heads-up: They don’t take reservations and are often busy, so plan accordingly.

Tang's Sushi


The Pour Choice ( is a hip coffee joint by day and beer and wine bistro by night. The layout is experiential with lots of nooks and crannies to sit with indoor/outdoor space, music on the weekends, and a view of historic Old Town Auburn. I enjoy the avocado toast with a six-minute egg.

Art Pimentel

President, Folsom Lake College

Art Pimentel


I love Thai food, and Thai Paradise ( has authentic cuisine with service that’s consistently excellent. I usually order the spicy eggplant delight with tofu and brown rice, or pad Thai with fried tofu.

Thai Paradise


Bacchus House Wine, Bar & Bistro ( is another favorite to take my family or a group of coworkers to for a delicious meal and wonderful selection of wines. My go-to is the roasted king salmon with potato purée, sautéed organic spinach, and citrus beurre blanc.

Bacchus House Wine, Bar & Bistro


Land Ocean ( is adjacent to Folsom Lake College, so I often make the walk to enjoy their "fitness special," which is always changing but typically a healthy, flavorful seafood dish.

Land Ocean


Barnes & Noble ( at the Palladio ( is my favorite quiet locale to catch up on e-mails and work, or to simply sit and read a book or shop.

The Harris Center ( is the perfect place to watch a classic show or performance. There isn't a bad seat in the house! The facility has wonderful acoustics and books incredible performances year-round for every age. 

Harris Center


I love the outdoors and enjoy hiking locally or regionally. We’re incredibly fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the state. Walking the Johnny Cash Trail ( from Historic Folsom to Legacy Park is a must! The trail is beautiful during all seasons and there’s plenty to see and learn along the entire route.

Teena Hildebrand

President, El Dorado Winery Association

Teena Hildebrand


Ambiance ( has wonderful owners and staff and a nice selection of clothing, jewelry, and accessories at reasonable prices with something for everyone. It’s a great place to buy a gift, and exchanges are easy.



Pamela Findleton ( and Tom Tankersley ( are my favorite local artists, each excelling at different forms of art. Pam paints a diverse array of subjects, and I have several of her beautiful wine/vineyard/vine paintings in my home. Tom created the doors, shutters, and tasting bar (using foraged barn wood) at our winery (Narrow Gate Vineyards) and built a beautiful mantle over a fireplace in our home. His artforms expand to sculpture, metalworks, furniture, garden art, and much more.

Year after year, the paved El Dorado Trail (—which winds eight miles through wildflowers and lush oak and pine landscape—keeps improving. I like accessing it from the trailhead at Missouri Flat Road and often spot wildlife. It’s a great excuse to get outside.

El Dorado Trail


My husband and I have been part of Westside Church ( for over 22 years. The church is made up of an awesome, generous, and diverse community of people who genuinely love God, people, and our area. It’s a safe place with practical biblical teaching; opportunities to explore and grow in the Christian faith; connect with other families, youth, and young adults; overcome addictions; and find healing in relationships and marriages, etc. I highly recommend it!

Whether it’s a rainy-day lunch, casual weeknight dinner, or special celebration, Allez! ( is my go-to. The quintessential French café has an incredible trio of talent: Chef Christian Masse is behind the scenes turning out classic French dishes with fresh, high-quality ingredients and seasonal produce; his son, Shane, leads the cozy restaurant’s front of house where he fosters a warm, friendly, and always welcoming atmosphere; and Mike does an amazing job with pastries, desserts, and whatever else he puts his creative hand to. The wine list features both French and local El Dorado wines by the bottle or by the glass, is extremely well-priced, and represents both quality and value. The seafood paella with aioli is my favorite; however, everything is delicious and well prepared—from the rack of lamb and coq au vin to the boeuf bourguignon, cassoulet, escargot, and fish of the day.



My fondest memory of dining at Bricks Eats & Drinks ( was sitting at a table in the bar area watching snow fall under the streetlights on Main Street while sipping a generous pour of local red wine. The brick interior is adorned with what seems like billboard-size images of historic Placerville and takes me back to why I fell in love with the area. My favorite menu item is an appetizer called “babas”: spicy blackened lamb chops served with sweet pepper relish, but the apple chicken salad is great for a light lunch, and the burgers and sandwiches are delicious, too (they even have a great gluten-free bread option!).

Bricks Eats & Drinks


The diversity of the rich, high-altitude agricultural regions of prolific Apple Hill/Camino, historical greater El Dorado, lush Pleasant Valley, and the hamlet of Fair Play—each dotted with family-owned wineries—makes this truly the most hidden-gem wine region in California.

Wayne Woo

Sheriff, Coroner, & Marshall, Placer County Sheriff’s Office

Wayne Woo


El Agave Taqueria ( has wonderful food; my favorite is their Agave tacos, which come with beans, freshly made guacamole, cheese, sour cream, pico de gallo, and your pick of protein.

El Agave Taqueria


Located across from Auburn’s historic courthouse, Tap & Vine ( has a great view and serves amazing food. Their crispy Brussels sprouts—served fried with roasted butternut squash, shaved parmesan, bacon lardons, and lemon vinaigrette—are one of the best appetizers ever.

Tap & Vine


The PB&J burger with pesto fries at The Chef’s Table ( is a must. The service is always top-notch, too.

The Chef’s Table


Hiking in the American River Canyon below the Auburn Dam Overlook is a wonderful way to exercise while enjoying nature and the beauty we have here in Placer County. 

The Ridge Golf Course & Events Center ( is a well-manicured and challenging public golf course with a wonderful staff.

The Ridge Golf Course & Events Center


Saturday morning’s Old Town Auburn Farmers’ Market (, sited just below the courthouse, is one of the best to visit in Placer County; plus, it’s open year-round!

Jody Franklin

Executive Director of Tourism, El Dorado County Visitors Authority

Jody Franklin


Pure Gold Vine Bistro ( is such a surprise. It’s off the beaten path, but their menu is creative and diverse. The seasonal specials are always a good choice—the stuffed acorn squash is wonderful—but I typically order the jägerschnitzel. They have a great selection of local wines that pair perfectly, too.

I love the craft cocktails at Aji Japanese Bistro ( They create all their own mixers, which makes such a difference; you’ll never want to go back to sweet and sour mix again! 

Aji Japanese Bistro


Japanese food is my personal favorite, but I have friends who won’t eat sushi; luckily, Aji has lots of cooked options and some great vegan choices as well. The poke tacos and kalbi tacos are two of my favorites.

I love sitting on the deck at Georgetown Distillery ( sharing the baker’s loaf (cheese and pesto-stuffed sourdough loaf) and sipping one of their handcrafted cocktails, like the refreshing rosemary greyhound (made with gin). The chicken pesto flatbread is one of my favorites as well.

Georgetown Distillery


Saluti Horse Adventures ( is such an amazing, unique experience, especially when paired with wine tasting at Saluti Cellars ( The business just opened last fall and is a great addition to our area. I rode a lot when I was a kid, but they have horses for all levels. The scenery is beautiful, and the people couldn’t be nicer. 

Saluti Horse Adventures


I love kayaking and Wrights Lake is my new favorite. Threading through the canals, it feels like you’re in Costa Rica. It’s so peaceful and a great place to have a picnic after. Summer holidays can be busy, so Stumpy Meadows in Georgetown is a solid second choice (and is never busy). 

Lisa Hausmann

President, Dignity Health Mercy Folsom Hospital

Lisa Hausmann


My family enjoys Folsom Lake, the American River, and the abundance of trails and outdoor recreation. We can enjoy it together while also focusing on personal wellness; plus, it’s a great way to fully experience and connect with all the seasons in a more tangible way. From the colorful leaves in the fall to the wildflowers in the spring and stand-up paddleboarding in the summer, there’s always something for everyone to enjoy.

Downtown Sutter Street ( is truly a gem and testament to the strong sense of community here. From the Folsom History Museum ( that showcases the town's rich heritage, to the charming shops and restaurants, there is so much to appreciate. And Sutter Street Taqueria (@sutterstreettaqueria)—owned by Folsom's former mayor—is just another example of the close-knit community that exists.

Sutter Street


Mercy Hospital of Folsom ( has truly become my second home. As health care professionals, we enter people's lives and form connections with them during some of their most vulnerable moments. These connections and experiences serve as a strong reminder to me of the importance of empathy and compassion. I feel honored to work alongside such an amazing network of people who serve and give back to our community.

Visconti's Ristorante ( is a local, family-owned restaurant with excellent service and amazing food. You can't go wrong with anything on their menu, but my favorite is the mostaccioli al forno.

Visconti’s Ristorante


I love the cider, craft beer, pizza, and bahn mi sandwich at Moonraker Millhouse ( in Cameron Park. They have nice indoor and outdoor spaces with family-friendly games (including cornhole) and can also host events and small concerts.

Moonraker Millhouse


If it’s a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion, my go-to restaurant is Mulvaney’s B&L ( in Sacramento. The location is beautiful and intimate, and their menu changes daily—in sync with the region’s growing season—but always includes locally sourced ingredients and unique cocktails. Dinner here is an experience. 

Kathleen Dodge

Executive Director, El Dorado Lake Tahoe Film & Media Office

Kathleen Dodge


The Breakroom ( is a great place for the entire family to hang out and play pool, darts, or video games. The staff is friendly, and the food (especially the fish and chips with sweet potato fries) is yummy.

The Breakroom


Sitting around a fire pit with artisan pizzas and fried zucchini, listening to live music, and enjoying the views at Hwy 50 Brewery ( and Nello Olivo Winery ( /tasting-room-camino) is my kind of outing; Nello’s grand cuvee and sparkling rosé are amazing.

Hwy 50 Brewery and Nello Olivo Winery


You can’t beat hiking, rockhounding, and/or kayaking at Brown’s Ravine State Park in El Dorado Hills any time of year.

Brown’s Ravine State Park


It’s fun to donate or shop at Snowline Thrift ( They have everything, and it’s entertaining just to look at all the unique items. Recycle, repurpose…an all-around win! They’re good people with a good cause. Grateful Threads (@gratefulthreads)—an upscale thrift store in Placerville —also has cool finds.

by Megan Wiskus

Howard Cadenhead and Manderes photos by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup. Historic Folsom Farmers’ Market photo by Menka Belgal. La Calle Restaurant & Bar photo by Dante Fontana ©stylemediagroup. Kingdom Coffee Roasters photo courtesy of Kingdom Coffee Roasters. Jacelyn Maddox,Mikuni and Restaurant Josephine photos by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup. The Station Public House photo by Ted Tribur. The Pour Choice photo by David Thuman Photography @david.thuman. Casque Wines,Hidden Falls Regional Park, Old Town Auburn and Foresthill photos courtesy of Visit Placer. Gold Miner Café, Visconti’s Ristorante and Bacchus House Wine, Bar & Bistro photos by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup. Other photos courtesy of their respective companies or organizations. Rob Haswell, Tang's Sushi and Restaurant Josephine photos by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup. The Pour Choice photo by David Thuman Photography @david.thuman. Other photos courtesy of Visit Placer. Thai Paradise, Land Ocean and Bacchus House Wine, Bar & Bistro photos by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup. Harris Center photo by Menka Belgal. Other photos courtesy of their respective companies or organizations. Allez! and Bricks Eats & drinks photos by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup. Ambiance photo by Charp Lenz Photography @charplenz. Other photos courtesy of their respective companies or organizations.
El Agave Taqueria, Tap & Vine and The Chef’s Table photos by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup. Auburn Farmers' Market photo courtesy of Placer County. Other photos courtesy of their respective companies or organizations. Aji Japanese Bistro and Georgetown Distillery photos by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup. Other photos courtesy of their respective companies or organizations. Lisa Hausman and Visconti’s Ristorante photos by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup. Lake Natoma photo courtesy of Folsom Parks & Recreation. Sutter Street photo by Menka Belgal. Other photos courtesy of their respective companies or organizations. Kathleen Dodge, Hwy 50 Brewery and Nello Olivo Winery and The Breakroom photos by Taylor Allred ©stylemediagroup. Browns Ravine photo by Kassie Lee. Downtown Placerville photo courtesy of Visit El Dorado. Grateful Threads photo courtesy of Grateful Threads.

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