[Best of the Santa Clara Valley 1997

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Editor's License

The Best Short List

By Dan Pulcrano

This drive-by list contains collected intelligence and some personal favorites from more than a decade of scouring the valley.

Best Mexican Supermarket:
Mi Pueblo Mercado, 114 S. King Road, San Jose.
Small, clean and festive, Mi Pueblo's carnicería keeps company with warm-weather fruits, vegetables and salsas.

Best Middle Eastern Food Store:
International Food Bazaar, 2052 Curtner, San Jose.
Syrian soaps share shelves with Israeli pickles. Oh, if the world were only that way.

Best Big Bag of Greasy Fries:
Burger Bar, 1101 S. First St., San Jose.
The family-size fries costs $1.94 and weighs about a pound.

Best New Restaurant:
Crescent Park Grill, 546 University Ave., Palo Alto.
Fresh ingredients and artful preparation in a casual atmosphere.

Best Cal-Mex:
Aqui, 1145 Lincoln Ave., Willow Glen.
Grilled fish burritos just taste better in a neon orange tortilla.

Best Italian/French/California Cafe:
Cafe Marcella, 386 Village Lane, Los Gatos.
Classic, friendly Mediterranean dining and wine bar.

Best Bacchanalian Brunch:
Doubletree Hotel, 2050 Gateway Pl., San Jose.
All you can eat off tables of crepes, meats, smoked fish ...

Best Tacky Restaurant Decor:
Beppo, 643 Emerson St., Palo Alto.
Also, a great place for a birthday song.

Best Bagels:
House of Bagels, various locations.
Boiled not baked, and hold the oat bran, thank you.

Best Downtown Coffee:
Vigal Coffee Roasting Co., Santa Clara and First streets, San Jose.
Through three ownerships has managed to serve consistently excellent coffee for the downtown business bunch.

Best Margarita:
Steamers Seafood, 50 University Ave., Los Gatos.
Bartender Greg Bardakos hand-squeezes oranges and lemons, then chills and strains a mix of El Tesoro and Cointreau into a martini glass.

Best Rum Selection/Best Mojito:
La Bodeguita del Medio, 463 California Ave., Palo Alto.
The classic cocktail popularized by Hemingway tastes pretty close to the ones in Havana. Bar stocks 30 varieties of rum, many of which are best enjoyed over ice or in a snifter.

Best Liquid Refreshments:
Beverages Etc., San Jose, Santa Clara, Mountain View.
Expensive and exotic spirits, stogies, vintages, mashes, mineral waters and gourmet treats coexist comfortably with steals like $5.99 Moskovskaya vodka.

Best Place to Buy a Rice Cooker:
Yaohan USA, 675 Saratoga Ave., San Jose.
Supermarket features an expansive selection of Japanese housewares.

Best Salsas:
Salsas Etc., 126 Great Mall Way, Milpitas.
An entire shop dedicated to hot sauce.

Best Kosher Food Selection:
Mollie Stone's Market, 164 California, Palo Alto.

Best Afghan Food:
Kabul Afghan Cuisine, 833 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale.

Best Indian Food:
Swagat Indian Cuisine, 68 S. Abel St., Milpitas.

Best Sicilian Food:
Palermo Rotisserie, 452 University Ave., Palo Alto.

Best 80 Cent Miso Soup:
Miyabi-Tei, 675 Saratoga Ave., San Jose.

Best Photographic Equipment:
Keeble & Shuchat, 290 California Ave., Palo Alto.
Largest selection for serious photographers, knowledgeable staff.

Best Custom Color Lab:
Calypso Color Lab, 2002 Martin Ave., Santa Clara.

Best Community College:
De Anza College, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino.
Impressive technology center, first-class campus and registration by phone, Internet or friendly humans.

Best Big Color Prints:
San Jose Blue, 835 W. Julian St., San Jose.
Large-format digital color output up to 30 feet long.

Best Gourmet Kitchen Tools:
Draeger's, 1010 University Ave., Menlo Park.

Best Perfume Shop:
Le Parfum, Valley Fair, San Jose.
Recently renovated 11-year-old store consistently imports fragrances ahead of the department stores.

Best Humidors:
Stewart Beckwith, 425-1/2 S. Second St., San Jose.

Best Koi:
T&T Aquarium, 950 S. First St., San Jose.
Ponds of high-quality Japanese carp in various sizes and colors.

Best Jewish Gift Ghop:
Bob and Bob, 151 Forest Ave., Palo Alto.
The whole megila.

Best Old West Art:
Bingham Gallery, 170 S. Market St., San Jose.
From A.D.M. Cooper to Xavier Martinez.

Best Maps for Foreign Travel:
Phileas Fogg's, Stanford Shopping Center.

Best Old World-style Furnishings:
Vanderbilt and Company, Stanford Shopping Center
R.S. Basso, 355 University Ave, Palo Alto
Casa Casa, 1355 Lincoln Ave., Willow Glen.

Best Place to Get Rid of an Old Car:
Battered Women's Alliance, 800/565-8905.
They tow, it's tax-deductible, and it supports a good cause.

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From the Sept. 18-24, 1997 issue of Metro.

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