San Francisco has long been the center of gravity for Northern California’s restaurant scene. It once fed hungry prospectors on their breaks from the Sierra gold fields. Now it feeds the designers of apps. San Francisco’s tech-driven economic boom has spawned a host of new restaurants, whether directly across from Twitter on Market Street, or deep in the Mission, where grower Champagne now vies with Tecate.
Down in Silicon Valley—home to venture capital firms and the Googles and Apples they finance—there are more and more spots worth visiting for a glass of wine, or a bottle. Joe Cannistraci of Enoteca La Storia, connected by an old high-school friend (without any assist from Facebook), fl agged the scene for me, and I ventured down from San Francisco to check it out. I shared a bottle of Barolo with a wine-savvy friend from Apple, who lives in Campbell but had never heard of La Storia. It seemed, perhaps, that Silicon Valley could use a dose of old-fashioned gumshoe reporting. So we sent Emily Kaiser Thelin to survey the local wine and food scene. Meanwhile, back in SF, Luke Sykora, Barbara Haimes and Erik Tennyson were busy vetting the latest openings, looking for the most intriguing new restaurants and bars to profile in our New & Notable Bay Area coverage this year. Whether you’re headed to “the City” itself, to the valley of chips, or up to Napa or Sonoma, here’s your guide to where to eat and drink now.
If you go, be sure to check in on one of our Best New Sommeliers, Amy Racine, based at San Francisco’s Sons & Daughters and The Square. She’s one of six voted in by their peers as the most impressive new talent behind wine lists around the country. We’ll also introduce you to Tami Wong at Juniper & Ivy in San Diego, Scott Ota at Arro in Austin, and to three sommeliers in New York City: Jane Lopes at Ristorante Morini, Je Taylor at Betony and Je Kellogg at Maialino. We asked another sommelier, John Szabo, MS, of Toronto, to investigate the Lake Effect on chardonnay. He profiles four producers close to Lake Ontario’s shores, where the tempering e ect of the lake on the seasons makes this marginal climate just warm enough to grow crisp, compelling chardonnay—the sort of wines you’ll soon be seeing on lists in Chicago, San Francisco, New York…and perhaps, one day, Lyon.
This story appears in the print issue of October 2014.
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