.The Best of Silicon Valley 2016 – Features & Columns

Silicon Valley’s chatter about sending a human to Mars reached a fevered pitch in 2015 with the cinematic release of Andy Weir’s The Martian. The same year, another rocket-shaped innovation took the valley by storm when it landed on Palo Alto’s University Avenue. We are talking, of course, about the sushi burrito.

The crunchy, high-protein and cleverly-branded Sushirrito fused two dominant California cultures with food tech to create a lunchtime phenomenon. Sidewalks were roped off and cut into concrete turf traditionally reserved for people camping out for a just-released iPhone.

We expect these kinds of changes in a region that put supercomputers in our pockets and brought waffles to our toasters. “Eggo”—originally marketed under the clunky portmanteau “Froffle”—was the Tesla of the midcentury, completely disrupting the waffle iron industry.

We’ve been covering these seismic shifts in consumer behavior for three decades now. We’ve seen white tablecloths give way to communal dining and wine coolers evolve to flavored Belgian-style ales.

Metro pioneered the Best of Silicon Valley, which began as the Best of Santa Clara Valley in 1986. It’s the longest continuously running guide to local discovery in this strategically important part of the world.

We’re proud to recognize the hard working people, businesses and amenities that improve our collective well-being. Our “Best Of” began in the early days with staff-selected “bests,” later crowdsourcing readers with a mail-in ballot. Now it’s an online survey. We are continually impressed by our savvy readers’ selections, and occasionally disappointed, but more often than not they’re spot-on. They cover a lot of ground, from Beltramo’s Wines and Spirits in Menlo Park to the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Popular favorites like Opa! are more likely to beat one-percenter hangouts like Evvia in the Greek restaurant category. That’s the nature of a reader-driven system.

This year, we added the Gold Awards, which recognize standouts who’ve exhibited enduring appeal in “Best Of” issues over the past three decades.

It’s hard to believe we’re still at this 30 years on, but our mission of finding the valley’s best things and sharing the results is a privilege we’re humbled to accept.—Dan Pulcrano

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