Readers Choice 2010: Some things change, some things stay the same

Last we checked, there is nothing in the Torah about j.’s Readers’ Choice awards. But with this, our sixth annual poll of the best of the Jewish Bay Area, Readers’ Choice is starting to feel like a venerable Jewish institution.

At least, to us it is.

***jSUPPcover8:20:10However, unlike the eternal, unchanging Torah, Readers’ Choice is always a work in progress, shifting from year to year — unless you overlook Barney’s winning Favorite Hamburger in the East Bay every year since the beginning.

Categories come, categories go. This year we welcome Favorite Vegetarian Restaurant and Favorite Jewish Artisan. We say goodbye to Favorite Party Entertainment and Favorite Collaborative Synagogue Programming (yeah, we weren’t too sure what that meant, either).

In the name of gender equality, we have combined Favorite Men’s and Favorite Women’s Organizations into a single, inclusive category.

Winners come, winners go. In addition to the aforementioned Barney’s, perennial first-place winners have returned like a flock of Capistrano cliff swallows.

So say hello –– again –– to the Red Hot Chachkas, winning for Favorite Klezmer Band in the North Bay, Oakland’s Grand Bakery for Favorite Bakery in the East Bay and the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco winning Favorite JCC in the city.

Like pundits poring over election poll “internals,” we noticed some interesting results this year. For example, Joel Abramson came in first place for Favorite Klezmer Band and Favorite DJ in the South Bay, yet he tied for second for Favorite Dance Band. Same guy. Same parties. What’s the deal, South Bay?

We also observed that Amba, a Middle Eastern restaurant in Oakland open less than a year, won for Favorite Kosher Restaurant and Favorite Kosher Caterer in the East Bay. Congratulations to the rookie contender for being both a great place to eat and caterer for your book club luncheon.

Similarly, Shangri-La won for both Favorite Kosher Restaurant and Favorite Vegetarian Restaurant in San Francisco. This suggests that, for j. readers, kosher and vegetarian go together like a horse and carriage.

Read on, and draw your own conclusions. And while you’re doing that, say thank you to our wonderful, hardworking summer interns, Marisa Breall, Oksana Yurovsky and Yelena Tsurkan, who did all the heavy lifting, (and most of the light lifting, too,) in compiling this supplement.

And thanks to the unsung heroes in j.’s production and advertising departments, who also make Readers’ Choice happen year after year.

As always, our biggest thanks go out to j. readers who patronize and vote for the institutions and establishments that end up winning or even contending for Readers’ Choice awards. We couldn’t do it without you. Nor would we want to.

— dan pine

cover design   |   cathleen maclearie



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