Best of the Bay 2011

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST DONUTSOS

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All our lives, we have searched for a pastry that resembles a mosh pit fatality. And now that we've found it — the raspberry jelly-filled Headbanger — small matter that we have go to San Jose to re-up. Such is the glory that is Psycho Donuts, where the employees wear old-fashioned nurse uniforms and preside over a parade of freak-out frosteds, meat-stuffed donuts, tart raspberry-and-key-lime vegan 'nuts, even 14-inch donut pizzas made to order and a cocktail-flavored donut of the month. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST REVENGE SERVED COLD

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At 7.5 percent alcohol by volume, Speakeasy Brewery's Payback Porter is dark, sweet, and potent — good traits for anything, great traits in a beer. This is not to say Payback is cloying; rather, it begins with a fresh bitterness that quickly melts into one of the smoothest strong beers available, whether on tap or in 22-ounce bottles. For all you lager louts, Payback makes for an easy first step into darker brews. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST HAPP(IL)Y( SELF-DETERMINED) HOUR

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Booze cruise to Asiento at 5 p.m. Every day, the first person into the Mission District bar at the designated hour of power gets to name their poison and their drink is added to the day's happy hour specials. A soaring purple comet mural covers one side of Asiento — follow its trajectory and you'll find classy cocktails, tapas, board games, and a comfy yet sleek neighborhood bar. Quietly gaining popularity in recent months as a friendly place to meet your building mates, Asiento also offers a late-night Sunday happy hour from 10 p.m. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST SWEAT FOR YOUR STANZAS

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Fitting, we must profess, that the namesake of George Sterling Memorial Park was a poet. The views from this Russian Hill rec hub make us want to write stanzas between sets of tennis and ballads after basketball runs. Near-360-degree views of this epic setting can be found up at the corner of Hyde and Lombard streets (yes, right where Lombard begins to snake downward). Come for the views but stay for the play — four tennis courts and a full basketball court await the aerobically inclined. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST REAL DEAL BARBER

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Florindo "Flo" Cimino opened his barber shop atop Potrero Hill in 1953, when he was 20. He has been snipping at the same address ever since — he's even lived about three blocks away, in the same Arkansas Street house, since his parents brought him back from St. Luke's Hospital as a baby. Now 80, he's spent six decades as a barber, hair stylist, news destination, and Potrero Hill institution. Many clients have been with him for decades and come from all around the Bay and beyond — for good reason. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST SMILING STAR OF THE SALVADORAN SAVORIES

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Maria del Carmen Flores of Estrellita's Snacks has been cooking since she was six. She took notes from her mother in El Salvador until she had mastered the pupusa. Then she lived in Mexico, learning the local cuisine. Her masa envelopes are plump, griddle-crispy on the outside and packed with toothsome seasoned meats, vegetables, and cheese. The pickled veggies are optional — in name only. Sliced thick, they're best when combined with Flores' hot salsa: all told, a perfectly crafted snack (but really a meal) you'll crave all week long. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST STAR EGG

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You'll want to come back to Oakland's Commis again and again and again for chef James Syhabout's not-so-secret faux breakfast, a dreamy amuse-bouche that is almost always on his $68 five-course prix fixe menu. Behold a blissfully custardy Commis slow-poached egg, a deep-yellow yolk cradled in a "white" of cream and onion and sprinkled with tiny pebbles of granola — you've soft-landed on Planet Sublime. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST WAKE 'N' SHAKE

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The only bad thing about Rudy's Can't Fail Café in Emeryville is the parking — and that's because everything else is so damn good. (A new second location in uptown Oakland may bring drivers better luck.) From breakfast-all-day omelets and tofu scrambles to straight-up burgers and fries, the time-honored diner fare is good enough to keep cars circling the block for a spot. But if you're eco-conscious, you'll consider fueling yourself, rather than your car, to start your day off Rudy's-right. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST SUBLINGUAL HIGH

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The Bay Area's well-developed medical marijuana industry has done much to elevate the age-old practice of smoking marijuana to new heights, with sticky, stinky new strains and a wide variety of edibles. Along with improvements of the herbal variety have come winning technological advances: the formulation of some mighty fine of cannabis tinctures and other concentrates. Our favorite? Alta California tinctures by CBD Science, formerly known as 420 Alchemy. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST BIGGEST BAYVIEW BRAZILIAN BURGERS

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Make sure you're hungry when you roll up to the Junior Barbecue food truck to order one of Junior's famous Brazilian burgers. The sandwich Junior hands you, wrapped in paper to keep the juices from cascading out, will be enormous. The uniquely delicious, stick-to-your-ribs burgers are packed with enough ingredients to equal about three meals — beef patty, egg, bacon, hot dog, cheese, ham, pineapple, grilled onion, fresh lettuce, tomato, and corn mayo crammed into a bun. Eight dollars gets you a burger, which will feed you for a couple days, and a Coke. Read more »