Readers Choice 2016 | Eat, pray, shop locally

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Readers’ Choice 2016

Our readers have come through again, letting us know what they love about the community. They chose their favorites in 39 categories, from eateries and synagogues to cultural institutions and Judaica gift shops.

As always, special prizes go to our Jewish community. Check out the impressive list of charitable organizations in the Community section, and while you’re there also take a gander at the JCCs. Better still, why not visit one? There’s a JCC in your area, presenting cultural programs, festivals, fitness opportunities, preschools and family fun. Local synagogues add to the mix: In addition to spiritual offerings, they provide innovative programs, study groups, lectures and social outreach.

Planning an event? In Time to Celebrate, the venues, caterers, DJs, photographers and more are all vetted by our readers. Need a gift? You’ll find Judaica selections and more at Dayenu and Afikomen, as well as the volunteer-run Rodef Sholom and Peninsula Temple Sholom gift shops. Meanwhile, metal artist Aimee Golant handcrafts Judaica in her San Francisco studio.

What draws people to the Bay Area? Apart from the breathtaking scenery and temperate climate, we live in a foodie paradise, and there’s something for every budget, every taste. Want a bowl of steaming matzah ball soup or a pastrami sandwich? Check our Nosh section. Bagels, anyone? We have winners from Brooklyn-style at Izzy’s and House of Bagels to Montreal-style at Beauty’s. For kid-friendly fare, our readers rated their favorite spots for pizza and burgers. And for blow-out evenings, our fine-dining winners serve Northern Italian and Greek fare along with California creative.

Of course, if you love to cook, we’ve included your favorite markets for fresh produce and kosher selections. What’s a fine meal without wine? Our readers give top marks to four California wineries, including kosher wines at Hagafen and Covenant.

After all that dining, it’s time to take care of yourself. Look at the Health, Beauty & Fitness section, which covers everything from day spas that pamper to dentists who can transform a smile. What follows pampering? Shopping, of course. And where to step out? Try our Culture section. And for a spectacular getaway or a spectacular home, you’ll find top-flight travel agents and real estate pros in the Business & Professional section.

A shout-out to Liza Mansbach and Dalia Jude, both former summer interns via the Kohn program, who helped this project along. And a huge thanks to our readers for their smart choices. Enjoy!