Readers Choice 2011: Getting to know your community, winner by winner

We’ve got balloons!

It’s true. Readers’ Choice this year has a new balloons category.

But we’re not calling it Best Balloons because, in our infinite wisdom, we’ve dropped all the “Best This” or “Favorite That” stuff. And no more “Second Place,” either (we still remember the lamentable Second-Favorite Mohel prize many years ago).

So for Readers’ Choice 2011, everybody’s a winner.

We’re seeing some familiar names taking home the Readers’ Choice gold this year: Shangri-La and Kitchen Table for kosher restaurants; Oakland’s Grand Bakery for bagels; Dayenu at the JCC of San Francisco for Judaica shop.

On the flip side, we have a few new — or new to you — winners. So hello, Holey Bagel in San Francisco, and welcome back, Bay Area Discovery Museum and Renaissance ClubSport. We missed you. You’re all in the Readers’ Choice inner circle of winners.

Every summer, we recruit three crack interns to help us put together Readers’ Choice. We really lucked out this year with Rachel Levy, Jon Roisman and Eliot Storch. They did a bang-up job reporting and writing the section, and along the way they elicited some fascinating tales.

Did you know artisan winner Aimee Golant designed a mezuzah that Israeli astronauts took into space? Or that accountant winner Sandy Stadtler earned a degree in Hebrew literature from the Jewish Theological Seminary? Now you know.

Add it all up, and we have another thrill-a-minute section for you. Now go out there and patronize our Readers’ Choice winners.

By the way, our balloon winners are Balloon Thrills in Concord and the Balloon Lady in San Francisco. Mazel tov to them and all the chosen of Readers’ Choice!

— dan pine


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cover design   |   cathleen maclearie

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.