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BAY AREA'S HIGH END ONLINE MAGAZINE
RESOURCE GUIDE FOR ALL THINGS BEST  

BEST RESTAURANTS
BEST THEATRE

BEST SYMPHONY
BEST BALLET
BEST EVENTS

BEST COMEDY
BEST FOOD
BEST ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN
BEST SIGHTSEEING
BEST DANCE

BEST LOCAL WINERIES
BEST ART SHOWS
BEST TRAVEL DESTINATIONS
BEST JOBS
BEST HEALTH ADVICE
BEST WINERY EVENTS
BEST FOOD RECOMMENDATIONS
BEST RESTAURANT VIDEOS
BEST AMUSEMENT PARKS
BEST MUSEUMS
BEST OUTDOOR FUN
BEST KID FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS
BEST SPORTS ACTIVITIES

SF Symphony 2014 Opening Night Gala
SF Symphony 2014 Opening Night Gala

The Eclipse - April 2014 Eclipse & Golden Gate Bridge
Photo Courtesy of Mike Moir

Bay Bridge - Courtesty of Stephanie Tovrea Guilin, SLG Photography

Pier 39: Fresh seafood and sea lions
Photo courtesy of California Travel and Tourism Commission/Andreas Hub
Mandarin Oriental San Francisco: Best rooms with a view
Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental
San Francisco Pride: The largest LGBT gathering on the planet
Photo courtesy of Victorgrigas
Alcatraz Island: Former home of Al "Scarface" Capone and Robert "Birdman" Stroud
Photo courtesy of Dawn Ellner
Chinatown: A city within the city
Photo courtesy of Ed Schipul
Beach Blanket Babylon: Longest running musical revue in the country
Photo courtesy of Beach Blanket Babylon

San Pedro Square San Jose
 henner7

Photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners

 David Herberg

Photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners

San Jose Center for the Performing Arts 
 Andrew Sims

Photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners

 hempomania

Photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners

San Jose State University (Tower Hall with Ivy)
 d. yalamidis-gr

Photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners

Knight Ridder Building San Jose
 JiPR

Photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners

 stevenjssanders

Photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners

Adobe World Headquarters San Jose
 RamaReddy Vogireddy

Photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners

VTA Train and Bus Stop Downtown San Jose
 Nathan Cook

Photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners

The Sainte Claire Hotel San Jose
 hookjaw

Photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners

Balloon Ride Over Napa: Get a romantic bird's eye view
Photo courtesy of chadh
Di Rosa: Art, wine and gardens
Photo courtesy of Di Rosa
Cycling Napa: An active winery tour
Photo courtesy of Neeta Lind
The French Laundry: Award-winning French cuisine
Photo courtesy of Matthew Hine
Auberge du Soleil: One of Napa's best hotels
Photo courtesy of Auberge du Soleil
Uptown Theatre: Live entertainment
Photo courtesy of Uptown Theatre
Harvest STOMP: Napa's annual fall festival
Photo courtesy of fall-line
World Class Spas: Relaxation and romance
Photo courtesy of Villagio Inn & Spa
Yountville: Home to some of Napa's best restaurants
Photo courtesy of Dave Dugdale
Mustard Flowers: Napa beautiful during low season
Photo courtesy of RC Designer

Saint Teresa of Avila Church in Bodega, CA. It was built by shipbuilders in 1859 and is the oldest church in continuous use in Sonoma County. The church is located directly next to the Bodega schoolhouse, which was the setting for the schoolhouse scene in Alfred Hitchcock's film, The Birds. Photo Courtesy of Kenneth Bradley Photography

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Ticket Give Away

Marin Shakespeare Company in association with BoBA are giving away 2 tickets to ROMEO AND JULIET.  Winners will be allowed to attend any show except closing weekend. July 26 - September 28  For a chance to win, please subscribe to the newsletter

Subscribe to our Newsletter Now... Text "BOBA" to 22828

Power Glider Tours

Byron Carman, Best of Bay Area

August 2014 Palo Alto ---There is always something to do for the person who says they've done it all.  Power Glider Tours is a unique experience to add to your tool box of adventures. Based at the Palo Alto Airport, Power Glider Tours allows you to discover San Francisco, Napa, Monterey and more. They provide one to four hour tours over the Bay Area. 

I recently took a unique tour of the Bay Area in a 1998 Diamond Model HK-36 Austrian Powered Glider that departs out of the Palo Alto Airport. I say "unique" because there are only 1,000 of these in the world and only 17 in the United States. With its 53' wingspan and quiet turbo engine, you are able to easily sail all over the greater San Francisco Bay Area and fly closer to the terrain than a typical aircraft. 

Facebook Campus
Facebook Campus

I took flight with Pilot Joseph Rategar, who has been taking aircraft enthusiasts, hackers and people from around the Bay Area for various excursions for the past two years. The aircraft has a small two-seat cockpit that accommodates only you and the pilot.The intimacy of the aircraft allows you to enjoy fantastic views and great photography opportunities. 

I was amazed just how quiet and smooth the ride was. It seemed as though we were floating; however, we were cruising at approximately 60 Knots. During the ride, I was able to take off my headset and have a conversation with the pilot. This is something you usually cannot do in most private propeller planes.

After take-off we were immediately able to view the Facebook Campus, Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (2 miles long—the longest linear accelerator in the world).  Depending on weather conditions, your tour can take you north from Palo Alto up the Peninsula over Half Moon Bay, San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Oakland, Berkeley and back to your origination. Additionally, you have the option of being picked up at other Bay Area Airports for an additional fee. 

"Funny Girl" at 6th Street Playhouse, Santa Rosa CA

 
Adorkable, Dazzling "Funny Girl"

Suzanne and Greg Angeo, Best of Bay Area
Members, San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle

Photos by Eric Chazankin

We owe a debt of gratitude to YouTube. Thanks to this ubiquitous online video site, there’s a historical record of nearly every human activity that was or can be captured in visual form, from lessons on how to apply eyeliner to grisly executions; from old TV reruns to ballet and opera. And YouTube is one of the remaining places where you are sure to see Fanny Brice in all her original glory. 

This legendary and trailblazing singer, comedian, actress and radio star performed from the dawn of the 20th century until her death in 1951 at only 59 years old. She was an ordinary-looking woman possessed of extraordinary talent that captured the hearts of generations of theatregoers. Her legend took a flight of fancy in the retelling of her inspirational story when the musical “Funny Girl” first appeared in 1964, catapulting Barbra Streisand into the stratosphere. The show had a tortuous beginning with false starts in casting, directing and choreography. After many long delays, writes and rewrites, the book was finally completed by Isobel Lennart with a musical score by Jule Styne and Bob Merill. The story begins in 1910 with Brice’s early work in vaudeville, chronicles her rise to international fame in the Ziegfeld Follies, and ends in 1926 with her heartbreaking separation from her husband, the gangster and professional swindler Nicky Arnstein. 

Safari West

Discover Africa on the Sonoma Serengeti - Safari West is Home to Over 800 Exotic Animals

Adrianne Goff, Best of Bay Area

Up Close And Personal With A Giraffe, photo by Wendell H. Wilson
Up Close And Personal With A Giraffe, photo by Wendell H. Wilson

Safari West is an authentic African Safari experience that allows guests an opportunity to see animals from all over Africa, rather than from one specific region. Nestled on 400 acres in the heart of California’s wine country, Safari West is home to over 800 exotic mammals and birds many of which are critically endangered. Not a zoo, not a drive-through park, it’s a wildlife preserve where the whole family can experience some of nature’s most beautiful animals in a natural habitat. Safari West has 14 safari vehicles (including a handicap accessible tour vehicle), 30 tents and 1 cottage. 

Safari West is much more than a wildlife preserve, they raise awareness of their exotic animals and promote understanding through in-person contact.  They offer intimate and professionally guided three hour safari tours. Most people’s only experience with a zebra, rhino, cheetah, giant tortoise or giraffe has only been on TV, Safari West provides an opportunity to see these majestic animals in a naturalistic habitat. A member of the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) they have an emphasis on breeding. 

Founded in 1993 by Peter and Nancy Lang, the creative vision of Safari West belongs to Peter. While growing up in Southern California, Peter was surrounded by exotic wildlife. 

When he was 13 years old a film company asked Peter to raise lion cubs, he cared for them from Easter through summer vacation for years, even taking them on the bus to go to the beach in Los Angeles. Peter’s father, Otto Lang was a ski pioneer and film and television director who exposed Peter to magnificent animals while working on shows such as; Daktari, Flipper, and Sea Hunt. “I was always hanging around the trainers and the animals and I guess I just never grew up,’’ Said Peter. In 1978 Peter discovered his passion for African hoofstock when he developed “the last working cattle ranch in Beverly Hills’’. He procured three African eland, the largest of the African antelope to eat shrubs so that grass would grow. Peter has also designed his own line of exquisite furniture, a myriad of pieces can be found throughout the Safari West property. 

 

Fogo de Chao Santana Row

 
Fogo de Chao Santana Row
Fogo de Chao Santana Row
Where every table is a Chef's Table

Byron Carman,
Best of Bay Area

Fogo de Chao (fo-go dèe shoun) is Portuguese for "fire on the ground" and is a traditional Brazilian way of cooking which was brought to the United States 27 years ago by two brothers born and raised in Southern Brazil.  Family gatherings for the brothers were all about hospitality and family members bringing this and that to the table.  The brothers brought the same concept to the US by opening their first restaurant Dallas. The focus was to pamper every guest and to provide prompt service and fresh food right out of the kitchen. 

Fogo de Chao Santana Row opened their doors in February this year. Each location is a bit different from the rest. For example, the Santana Row location is the only restaurant that features an open kitchen view for their guests. You can elect to dine inside or outside overlooking Park Valencia where periodic  concerts take place.

Up, Up, and Away in My Beautiful Balloon

 
by Cari Lynn Pace

Watching colorful hot air balloons rising into the sky is a treat, but being in one is simply awesome. Bay Area residents and their guests are incredibly lucky to have the Napa Valley Balloon company right here in our backyard, just a drive away. It’s the most stunning “soft adventure” you can do, as long as you can get up early.

We gathered at 5:30 AM (yawn!) in the pre-dawn darkness at the Domaine Chandon winery in Yountville, above Napa. Napa Valley Balloons has their act together: there were plenty of directional signs guiding us to where we checked in, even at that early hour. They welcomed us to enjoy steaming coffee, tea, fresh fruit, orange juice, and fresh-baked croissants.

J Vineyards Annual Pink Party

Bubbles With A Splash Of Pink: J Vineyards Annual Pink Party

Mandy Hulse, Best of Bay Area

Healdsburg August 9, 2014 --- The pink carpet was rolled out and hung above were twinkling crystal chandeliers that lit the perfectly straight path into all things pink. Saturday night at J Vineyards & Winery annual Pink Party guests enjoyed a celebration of bubbles, new friendships, and paired tastings. Even the fountain burst forth in its own special pink!

Guests began the evening by walking the pink carpet with their flutes brimming with J’s renowned Brut Rose sparkling wines. At the end of the carpet choices had to be made as all directions led to a different fantasy of food, drink, and cozy ambience. The evening included specialty pairings of culinary delights that were prepared by J’s Executive Chef, Erik Johnson, a major proponent of local and sustainable farming and fishing. In addition to Erik’s preparations, the Hog Island Oyster Company joined in the fun offering their Tomales Bay oysters on the half shell.

The pairings were abundant, delicious, masterfully prepared and were displayed within the many terraces, all created for comfort and informality, an important and fundamental theme to Judy Jordan’s vision of J Vineyards & Winery.  The pairings included: 

 

Best of Durst - The Slacker Congress by Will Durst

 
"In essence, they're taking a vacation from nothing"

More fun than fourteen barrels of flunkies watching our elected officials exit Washington like scared rats streaming out of a sewer to escape Godzilla. And really, who can blame them. Anybody who’s ever spent a summer in DC can tell you the climate is real similar to Hell. With humidity. Then again, not sure even Hell has winged insects the size of footstools. It’s not called Foggy Bottom because that’s the first thing that springs to mind when Diane Feinstein walks away, you know.

Funny thing is, this is the same Congress that lies on the verge of breaking all previous records for complete and utter futility. The Zero Zip Zilch Crew. Who have ridden lethargy into the ground and taken loitering to bold new heights. Or is it depths? Folks who would need hydraulic mechanical assists to raise their attitudes from stuporous to torpid. From the lair of the drugged slugs. Debi Does Drowsy.

In essence, they’re taking a vacation from nothing. Which is a lot like waking up to take a nap. Topping breakfast off with a sleeping pill. Floating off to a loafing, lay- about layoff. Playing hide and seek with the mirror. And losing.

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