.Short List

Best Way to Get Really High

Mount Umunhum, Sierra Azul
The new Mt. Umunhum trail and summit is open to the public. A well-executed, inspired design with stunning views and a Native American ceremonial ring make it a trek worth taking.

Best New Restaurant

Braise
Willow Glen
Anthony “AJ” Jimenez and Josh Hanoka are culinary veterans of some of the South Bay’s best kitchens and have teamed up to occupy the former Haymarket location in Willow Glen. The small plate dishes are innovative and designed for sharing, and while trendy millennial food seems to be everywhere these days, this duo has really nailed it.

Best Typewriters

Los Altos Typewriter & Business Machines
Los Altos
Like many classics displaced by the computer revolution, typewriters are experiencing a renaissance. In the heart of Silicon Valley lies one of the few remaining shops keeping the tradition alive. They have lovingly restored antiques for sale and can repair and renovate ones found in attics or at flea markets.

Best Korean Comfort Food

HoM Korean Kitchen
San Jose
With vegan and carnivore-friendly options, locally-sourced produce and a powerful homemade ginger ale, HoM Korean Kitchen has been drawing long lunchtime lines. The lines move quickly, give time to fry a fresh egg to top a dish off and it’s worth a short wait.

Best Sunset Cocktail Spot

Rosewood Sand Hill
Menlo Park
The outside lounge-style seating area at Rosewood’s Madera restaurant is a relaxing place for craft cocktails and small plates. As the spring and summer nights grow long, it’s a perfect place to enjoy views of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Best New Coffee House

Academic Coffee
San Jose
We’re delighted that the sketchy laundromat behind our former office is finally gone but even more pleased that a true coffee artisan now occupies the corner location at Williams and S. 2nd Street. Its sparse, modern decor and friendly service gives coffee snobbery new social acceptability.

Best New Kids Park

Railroad Park
Morgan Hill
It took two hours to pull our little review team out of this colorful and imaginatively designed playground next to downtown Morgan Hill’s Caltrain depot. With railroad themed climbing structures and slides, the newly opened family play venue has public art, kinetic and musical features, and restaurants nearby.

Best Exotic Lumber Source

Aura Hardwood Lumber
San Jose
Since Southern Lumber’s demise, many DIYers have been pining (okay, that was bad) for their bubinga, cocobolo and purpleheart lumber fix. Tucked away in an industrial area in a no-frills warehouse is the region’s best source of exotic boards, veneers and cabinet grade plywoods.

Best Big Printers

Plotter Pros
San Jose
Large format digital printing has been embraced by sign makers, artists and event promoters, and Plotter Pros has been a leader in this revolution. They stock a selection of new and used printing equipment, paper and inks, and liberally dispense high quality free advice.

Best Restaurant Revival

La Foret
New Almaden
We’ve seen the Grandview restaurant blossom and the legendary Palermo return in recent months, but the most outstanding reboot is the Carrubba brothers’ purchase and renovation of La Foret. This gem of a fine dining restaurant tucked away in the New Almaden wilderness has been immaculately restored and reimagined. It offers a welcome escape from the valley’s bustle.

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