San Francisco Magazine recently hosted their tenth annual Best of the Bay party, honoring the people and businesses that make the bay area the best place to live, work and play. Rows and rows of the best food and wine vendors lined the walls of the Metreon, offering well dressed guests a selection of delicacies to choose from. A variety of entertainment booths provided eye popping art, live music and several auction items to give the event extra flair.
The Tango Diva Team was in attendance to check out what all the rage was about and to report back on our best picks of the night:
Best Retail: San Franpsycho – Originally started as a film producer featuring San Francisco surfers, San Franpsycho has evolved into a full brand, creating hand printed clothes and accessories. The up and coming company hosted a table at the event, creating customized t-shirts for guests. Electropop music blasted from a boom box set up in the corner as the two highly entertaining artists created their masterpieces. They used a painting canvas with a stencil cut out and bright fluorescent paint in a variety of colors to stamp unique designs on plain t-shirts. Once the design was heat dried, a layer of gold paper was laid down over the shirt, ironed on and then torn off, creating a sparkly, gold finish. We spent some time observing the process, were extremely entertained and impressed and even got a shirt of our own! Sad you missed out? San Franpsycho doesn’t have a store, but you can order your own t-shirt on the company’s web site!
Best dessert: Kara’s Cupcakes – We don’t know about you, but we have a serious sweet tooth. No snack satisfies a sugar craving like Kara’s Cupcakes. With five stores located throughout the Bay Area, Kara’s has advanced from a small catering business into a well known provider of baked goods. They still cater, but in addition they host baking parties and deliver their treats as gifts. The menu is full of moist cakes and cupcakes in a variety of flavors, from chocolate to vanilla, raspberry to banana. At the Best of the Bay, Kara’s had a table covered in mini cupcakes of every flavor just waiting to be gobbled up. They went fast, but we managed to taste a few. While there is no wrong choice, we recommend you try the Kara’s Karrot cupcake: a moist carrot cake cupcake topped with a soft cream cheese frosting. Our mouths water just thinking about it…
If your counting calories and want a healthier sweet snack, we recommend checking out the gluten free delicacies of Mariposa. Based in Oakland, this bakery creates delicious baked goods using high-quality organic and natural ingredients. So, satisfy that craving in a way that won’t make you feel guilty.
Best Bubbly: Gloria Ferrer Cave and Vineyards – Rooted deep in Spanish heritage, Gloria Ferrer was the first sparkling wine house in the Sonoma Carneros region. It is a family owned vineyard, with 335 acres of estate, producing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and a selection of sparkling wines. They have studied over 40 different clones and have spent almost two decades creating the perfect growing conditions for their grapes. After taking a sip of their wines, we found that the Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut was our pick. With a hint of citrus and apple, these tasty bubbles quickly satisfied our palates. Get a taste for yourself and check out the winery. Their tasting room is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Best Wine: Jacuzzi Family Vineyards – Whether you prefer red or white, Jacuzzi Family Vineyards has the perfect wine for you. The winery is based in Sonoma and applies Italian and Greek wine making customs that have been passed down through the generations. Jacuzzi produces several wines, including a Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir, a Barbera and a Sangiovese. For a nice white wine, set your taste buds on the Pinot Grigio, crisp and bright with pear and citrus flavors. If red is more your style, take a sip of the Cabernet Sauvignon, full of blackberries, vanilla and carmel. This wine will have you thirsting for more. Get your hands on a glass of these scrumptious grapes when you visit the winery. They are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Best Food: A16 – Named after the highway that runs from Naples to Canosa, Puglia, A16 is a restaurant filled with the flavors of southern Italy. The menu features pizza, fresh pasta, and a selection of meats, all inspired by the region of Campania. Since they opened in 2004, A16 has been serving renowned Italian wines along with their delicious meals. They are open for lunch, dinner and dessert, serving their selection of wines by the bottle and the glass. They set up next to a few wineries at the event, serving finger foods to compliment the wine selection. The tastiest morsels were the baguette slices topped with ricotta cheese and roasted bell peppers. Tasty to the last bite, we came back for seconds… and thirds. We couldn’t get enough! We highly recommend that you make a reservation to visit A16 at their Chestnut Street location in San Francisco. They take reservations Wednesday through Friday for lunch and every night for dinner.
Even though the Best of the Bay was a party, it was also an amazing fundraiser. Raffle tickets were available, with all profits donated to Family House, an organization that provides housing to families whose children are being treated for life threatening diseases as UCSF Children’s hospital. If you missed the event this year, make sure to check it out next year and support this great cause! We’ll be there. Will you?