Best of the Bay 2011

Best SF smiles: The Best of the Bay winners photo

With over 350 people that make this city great

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We like to call it "the best picture in San Francisco." It's the annual Best of the Bay winners photo -- with more than 350 winners standing together at our recent party at Horatius, smiling and saying "best of" for the camera. 

Go here to see the winners...

And here to see them with their identifying numbersRead more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST HOW SOON IS WOW

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Smiths-mania is an admirable torment that afflicts any teen worth her salt who craves morosely literate lyrics paired with driving, jangly melodies. It can continue to affect its victims well into adulthood, too — from nostalgic Gen-Xers who slip on Meat is Murder when the sky is gray and the black dog is growling softly, to folks like author Simon Goddard, whose Mozipedia meticulously breaks down the particulars of every song the 1980s British group recorded. Another work of genius that a feverish Smiths obsession has engendered? Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST CAKE-TASTROPHES

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"I just want to make people read my evil shit," gleefully wicked Bay Area meta-baker and blogger Shannon O'Malley of Apocalypse Cakes told us last year. "Fatalistic gluttons!" Branch Davidian Texas Pecan Pie, Seismic Haitian Mudcake; Bird Flu Feather Cake, "Inexplicable" Blackbird Pie, Global Jihad Date Cake, even Gay Wedding Cake (there's bondage involved) — O'Malley's hilarious, conceptual "recipes for the End" play up our primal fascination with food and disaster while tweaking the foodie propensity for perky cultural appropriation. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST SHABU-SHABU FOR KLUTZES

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We're not sure what your list of priorities looks like when it comes to promising soulmate candidates, but for us, that person better damn well know how to cook. Here's one nifty little trick for finding out if the person across the table can adequately steam your beef: schedule a shabu-shabu date. The Japanese cuisine, which requires you to use chopsticks to cook your own thinly sliced meats and veggies in a shared hotpot, is incredibly fun and tasty — once you get the hang of it. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST KOREAN CHICKEN GARAGE

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You hear tales of a magical Korean restaurant located in a converted garage near Ocean Beach, barely marked by a strand of Christmas lights and a winking chicken with a bowtie and green hair. The restaurant is open until 2 a.m. and is perfect for after-bar snacks: kimchee fried rice, calamari and beef bulgogi, heaps of noodles, crispy fried clucker, and jugs of thick, soju-infused cocktails. When you enter Toyose, it's actually the quaintly decorated Korean restaurant of your imagination, with a tasty underground vibe to boot. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST RUM LEED-ER

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When Bar Agricole opened earlier this year, the provenance of its architectural design made almost as many headlines as its food. Impeccably eco-contemporary and obsessively LEED-standard compliant, the striking tavern in SoMa raised the bar for restaurant design. Good for it. It's lovely; it's immaculate; we would almost eat off the walls. But — besides the fact that all this green-edged conception has actually yielded a comfortable vibe, stellar drinks, and spectacular cooking (please try the sauerkraut soup and roasted mussels with chorizo) — what's the real news? Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST SWEET HOOKERS

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We used to love watching David "Hooker" Williams rule the pool table and patio at the Pilsner Inn back in the day. But who knew then that lurking within him was the potential to blow our sweet tooth into the stratosphere? Good thing he let that scrumptious light shine, following his muse to create Hooker's Sweet Treatshandmade, habit-forming, sea-salted, dark chocolate-covered caramels. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST LIQUOR LOWDOWN

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Why is it that we like to read about food and drink so much on the Web? In no other Internet area, except maybe porn, is the meeting of the weightlessly virtual and the essentially physical so addictively fruitful. And while crackerjack local liquor expert Camper English's Alcademics site doesn't tear off your panties with glossy cocktail shots, his entertainingly detailed descriptions of the latest drool-worthy liquors will have you practically licking your screen. Read more »

Best of the Bay 2011: BEST PANCAKE WITH A SIDE OF CHOW MEIN

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Punjab Chinese American Restaurant (the name's not a reference to the Indian state, here it means "fire dragon") offers free mimosas with its weekend brunch, a standard Americana menu of eggs, pancakes, french toast, and the like. Standard that is, until one considers that the weekday menu is also fair game, from traditional Chinese fare to trash food staples like hot dogs and cheeseburgers — and some say the joint's Polynesian fried chicken is among the best cluck in town. Read more »