Archive for August, 2011

Editor’s Letter: Reader’s Choice Issue

The surveys are in, the answers are tallied and the Winners are listed – Midtown Monthly’s first-ever Reader’s Choice Issue is here!

I’ve mentioned before that I was initially skeptical about this idea.  There are so many ‘Best ofs’ being done these days that I wasn’t sure that we could really add anything new to the concept.  Then, I stewed on it for a bit and rethought it as a real look at Midtown itself – Midtown only.  We talked about that concept, and as far as we could remember, no one had ever done anything like our survey just in Midtown proper.  That’s when I started to get excited.

I got even more excited when the entries started to come in.  At first I was a little worried that something really dumb might happen (I well remember the Taco Bell ‘Best Taco’ debacle in an early SNR ‘Best of’), but from the start, the survey responses were thoughtful, informed and, well, Midtownish.  I hope I’m not breaking any confidences here by saying that Taco Bell got exactly zero votes in our survey.  Neither did McDonalds or Burger King.

“But wait,” you say.  “The survey was only supposed to include Midtown… 15th Street to Alhambra, B Street to X.  There’s no Taco Bell in that area.”

Well, yes.  But that didn’t stop some folks from either ignoring, forgetting or misunderstanding the concept of ‘Midtown-only.’ Pangaea Café (corner of 3rd Ave and Franklin Blvd) got some votes.  So did the Crest (10th and K).  So did Lalo’s in Hollywood Park.  All in all, about 20% of surveys included at least one thing outside Midtown in their answers. Nothing outside our geographic boundaries came close to winning a category, but some, like Pangaea, did rack up a considerable amount of votes.

Another concern I had was gaming the system.  There definitely seem to have been a couple of attempts to stuff the box, but they just didn’t include enough entries to make that much of a difference. We’ll never know if it happened or not, but in reviewing the entries – and eventual winners – I can say that everything makes sense in context.

The hardest categories to tally were the completely open-ended ones like Best Place to People Watch and Best Place For a First Date. These types of categories invite all sorts of answers, and it was really interesting to see what people were thinking. The eventual People Watch winner was pretty obvious; the First Date winner wasn’t obvious at all. That’s what impressed me so much about our reader’s responses; both answers were perfect.

The single biggest surprise in the survey was the overwhelming response by Bows and Arrows fans.  I knew they’d do well, I just didn’t know how well they would do!  Part of it was probably lucky timing on their part –  our survey hit the street just before the opening of the new Bows, with all of the attendant publicity and excitement that generated.  They were already getting significant love from voters in the Best Boutique category before the reopening.  Once the new space opened, Ka-Boom.  They simply annihilated the competition.

When I said earlier that the answers seemed ‘Midtownish,’ this is what I mean:

The closest competition in the whole survey was in the Best Live Music Venue category.  Top vote getter went back and forth between Harlows, an upscale nightclub, and the Hub (RIP), an illegal punk venue that has now been shut down. In the end, Harlows won by A SINGLE VOTE. That right there is Midtown in a nutshell.

Thanks for sending in your surveys and I hope you enjoy the issue.

Reader’s Choice: Food + Drink

We’ve opted to break our Reader’s Choice survey winners into sections so they’re easier to digest, and first up are Eats + Drinks Read more »

Reader’s Choice: Life + Style

Compiled by William Burg, Tim Foster, Becky Grunewald, Michele Hebert,
Niki Kangas, Anthony King, Liv Moe, Sarah Singleton and Melody Stone

Photos by Scott Duncan

The answers for the Life + Style section of the Best of Midtown survey offered the most variety of the whole questionnaire. The competition for Best Boutique and Best Auto Repair was fierce, and the Best Annual Event question may have generated the most different answers to any single question. Here’s the winners… Read more »

Reader’s Choice: Art

Compiled by William Burg, Tim Foster, Becky Grunewald, Michele Hebert,
Niki Kangas, Anthony King, Liv Moe, Sarah Singleton and Melody Stone

Photos by Scott Duncan

What a clean sweep! Best Cheap Eats, Best Boutique, Best Place to Have a Beer, and yes, Best Art Gallery, too. Clearly, Bows and Arrows is a spot to watch! Read more »

Reader’s Choice:Music

Compiled by William Burg, Tim Foster, Becky Grunewald, Michele Hebert,
Niki Kangas, Anthony King, Liv Moe, Sarah Singleton and Melody Stone

Photos by Scott Duncan

Last up: Music. Most of the Midtown folks we know are rabid music fans, so no surprise that the Music categories would be some of the most hotly contested areas of our survey. Read more »

Art Picks August 2011

Made in the Pacific
Dean De Cocker

Through August 21
Center for Contemporary Art Sacramento
Reception: August 13, 6–9PM
Artist’s Lecture: August 11, 7PM Read more »

Musical Chairs – Jonah Matranga

Though singer-songwriter/emo hero Jonah Matranga wasn’t born here and hasn’t lived in town for a long time, we still consider him an honorary Sacramentan. After all, his breakthrough band Far was formed here, cutting their teeth at local venues like the Cattle Club and Old I before moving on to fame and semi-fortune. Read more »

Left of the Dial

By William Burg  Photos by Scott Duncan

On Saturday, August 13, Sacramento’s Rock and Radio Museum will celebrate its grand reopening at its new location, 907 20th Street, a space formerly occupied by 20th Street Gallery. Read more »

Mexican All Over the Map

By Becky Grunewald  Photos by Scott Duncan & Becky Grunewald

One of the great things about Sacramento’s diverse population is that we have ethnic enclaves that are big enough to have reached the tipping point at which you get the really interesting food. Read more »

Chasing Chai

by Parie Wood  Photos by Scott Duncan

There are two kinds of people in this world. People who drink coffee, and people who drink tea. As a caffeine-sensitive coffee hater, I drink chai. Read more »