Readers’ Choice 2015:
It wasn’t easy, but once again you pulled it off. “You” being our readers and natural experts on all that’s good in the Bay Area. You’ve declared your favorites in 40 categories of places to eat, party, pray, shop and more. All 177 winners are deserving of the title, but the top prize goes to our Bay Area Jewish community, which offers so many choices for support and enrichment — spiritual, physical, intellectual and cultural.
Oh, yes, and culinary. In addition to favorite bagel, pizza, hamburger and specialty market, this year we added a new category: fine dining, which includes the destination restaurants that have kept the Bay Area on the map as a foodie haven.
Want Jewish? We have that, too — not only favorite delis, but also the kosher Jerusalem Grill & Bar, which brings “the taste of Israel to Northern California.”
The New York Times writer who recently panned the Bay Area’s bagels apparently missed out on visiting our winning bagelries, but you can go anytime. A few take their cues from the Old Country: Izzy’s and House of Bagels lean toward Brooklyn, while Beauty’s looks to Montreal. With your appetite sated, it’s time for wine. This year we have four favorite wineries, with Hagafen of Napa joined by newcomer Covenant — based in Berkeley, of all places.
Celebrations are a big part of Jewish life. If you’re putting together an event, from weddings to b’nai mitzvah, check out our winners for catering, party venue, DJ and more. We even have the “Mercedes of photographers” among our winners.
We also have great places to shop. Judaica stores Dayenu, Afikomen and Alef Bet are joined this year by the Rodef Sholom Gift Shop, run entirely by volunteers. Another newbie is Ruti, with Israeli fashions.
Ready to remodel? Check our House & Home section, with home-improvement possibilities from construction and carpentry to a bathtub showroom. Meanwhile, Carmel Stone Imports in Palo Alto carries stone from Jerusalem.
Of course, if you want to experience the stones of Jerusalem — or other global destinations — our readers recommend travel agents who will ease and enhance your journey. Check them out in our Business & Professional section.
But on the home front, it’s our synagogues, JCCs, senior facilities and service agencies that make our region a wonderful place to live. All that’s missing are categories for spectacular views and weather. Maybe next year.
Before we go, we want to give special thanks to our summer interns, Liza Mansbach from the Kohn program and Sara Weissman, who worked so hard on this project. Now go read and feast!