Best of the Bay 2011

Best of the bay 2011: BEST SWEET TREATS FOR TECH GEEKS

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Sure, there are plenty of places in the Mission to park it and plug in, but the Summit Café provides the chance to nosh on cocoa nib nougatine and buttermilk bubbles (no stale croissants here) while the ol' MacBook boots up. The Summit my seem steep — a tiny mocha is $5 and most desserts are $9 or $10 — but the payoff is oh-so-sweet. The concept behind Summit is innovative in a techie way: it hopes to combine work and home into a "third space" to foster broader interaction and creativity. Read more »

Best of the bay 2011: BEST CRAFT CHEERS

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When the Bourbon and Branch crew took over the former Tenderloin bar Club 441, it dubbed the bar Mr. Lew's Win Win Bar & Grand Sazerac Emporium for a birthday party for B and B creative director. The renaming was meant as a one-night joke, but the name stuck (regulars shorten it to "441". Whatever you call it, the dive — naturally — serves quality Sazeracs and other classic cocktails. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST IMPERSONATION OF AN ART GALLERY BY A RESTAURANT

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You are to be pardoned if you approach the nondescript brick SoMa building that houses Una Pizza Napoletana, walk through the door (plate glass, like the rest of the façade), and have the brief sensation of arriving at an art gallery between installations. Or perhaps the high-ceilinged, white-walled cube — with a turquoise-tiled conical shape rising from the center — seems more like a museum? No. It's a pizzeria, home to tattooed chef and former New Yorker Anthony Mangieri, and the tiled shrine is the pizza oven. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST CLIPSY WHISKEY

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Meet Salvatore Cimino: barber by day, 1512 Spirits whiskey distiller by night. His unaged but surprisingly balanced Barbershop Rye — of which he makes only 350 bottles per month — makes it clear that this man knows spirits as well as he does scissors. As plainly evidenced from the bottle, which displays a 1923 photo of Cimino's grandfather in Prohibition-era Potrero Hill, he hails from a long line of distillers. But his eyes are on the future: Cimino hopes to release a classic bourbon and cherry-smoked bourbon to expand 1512's lineup. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST SOUTHERN SLICE OF GLASS PIE

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Aficionados of Southern cooking will agree that a slice of pecan pie is a nice way to end a meal. But even if you don't like pecan pie — or you're forswearing all desserts for some reason — you can still help yourself to a big slice of the glass pie at Criolla Kitchen, because the New Orleans-influenced restaurant is itself a big slice of glass pie. The wedge-shaped space is window-intensive, looks westward, and is splashed with sunlight in its many shades and tempers. It's like the second coming of Zuni Cafe. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST PORK DESSERT

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If they shoot horses (don't they?) and make garlic ice cream, they might as well whip up a dessert with pork in it. And they do: the peanut butter pie at Straw, a nifty little carnival-themed restaurant that opened recently on Octavia Boulevard in Hayes Valley. The pie filling is a luxurious mousse and the crust is chocolate, so you could make a good case that such a confection wouldn't need pork — or anything else. But in the spirit of fun, the kitchen does lay some bits of candied bacon atop each slice. Candied bacon! Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST RETURN OF THE MAC

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A one-room schoolhouse feel, minus the 'marm but plus the mac? That seems right for a light-hearted, full-flavored spot that zaps you back — maybe not to Little House on the Prairie days (although the ingredients are Ingalls-fresh), but at least to second grade, when a grilled cheese and tomato soup were all the haute cuisine one needed. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST BEELZEBUBIAN BEIGNETS

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A beignet craze has swept the Bay, and really, who could withstand the fiendish temptation of these deep-fried, sugar-sprinkled, French-by-way-of-New-Orleans brunch delights? Our current favorites come courtesy of the new Devil's Teeth Baking Company in the Sunset which, despite its intimidating name, traffics in heavenly pastries. Read more »

BEST OF THE BAY 2011

From Best Burrito to Best Strip Club - our 37th annual celebration of the best people, places, and things in the Bay Area

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Welcome to the Guardian's Best of the Bay 2011! This is our 37th annual celebration of the people, places, and things that make living here such a great experience — from Best Burrito and Best Local Band to Best Strip Club, Best Shoe Store, Best Drag Queen, and beyond.Read more »