You get the picture. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line a 13-by-9-inch baking sheet. Nearly every table gets at least one iconic #19, the house-made pastrami and coleslaw behemoth that is on par with (or better than) anything New York City has ever produced. Cooking Channel's recipe for Chocolate-Covered Toffee is just the ticket. B.A. Greg Morabito is Eaters pop culture editor. But the Mission stalwart, which Miguel Jara began in 1973, stays eternally packed with a crowd that comprises the breadth of humanity. Satisfy that chocolate craving in your very own kitchen. This Amazon promo code works in the Amazon App and on the Amazon.com website. WHY: Because Northern California is where people go to experience the Good Life, and Shed is here to sell it to you. WHY: Pioneer Boulevard, especially the stretch of it running through Artesias charming town center, is a hub of Indian-American groceries, sweets shops, and restaurants. Its very name invokes a thousand different ingredients and dishes. WHAT: A reverie of a California-Italian trattoria, complete with an oven in which oak logs crackle, a dining room lined with brick and mixed woods, and a menu that includes some of the most exquisite pastas made in the country if not the world. A sedate room keeps eyes focused on the plate or on the stemware filled with wines, sake, and beers selected by master sommelier Yoon Ha. He surrounds it with soubise (a trompe loeil puree of alliums resembling egg whites) that hides smoked dates underneath. Do you lust over lobster? 18525 Pioneer BoulevardArtesia, CA (562) 402-9102 | rajdhaniofartesia.com, WHAT: The casual vanguard of a culinary revolution thats poised to transform the San Gabriel Valley a suburban hub of Chinese culture just east of Los Angeles from a repository of nostalgic regional cuisines into an American hotbed of creative Chinese cooking. The masa wonderland has that unique quality of feeling simultaneously like a secret, but also like an essential destination so charming that those in the know cant bear to keep it to themselves. All you need is baking chocolate and a little know-how. the , . Mix the butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. WHY: Sacramento has yet to fully shake its cow town reputation, and the looming shadow of its neighbor 90 minutes to the west, San Francisco. WHY: In the state with all the tacos, if you try just one it should be Raul Ortega and cook Martn Ramirezs taco dorado, or golden taco, inspired by a crisp specialty of San Juan de Los Lagos, Jalisco. S.S. 365 Gellert BoulevardDaly City, CA(650) 992-9000 | koipalace.com. WHAT: Paco Perezs 30-year-old family restaurant, specializing in pre-Hispanic Mexico-style pit-roasted whole lamb and its consomme. B.A. Enjoy with the lightest or localest available cerveza. Nuts for Nutella? Celebrate Valentine's Day by prepping these sweet, romantic heart-shaped chocolate cakes. Order dishes as hot as you can possibly stand funk combined with blazing spice is what makes a meal here truly exceptional. But visiting Sqirl just to photograph its famous dishes is like visiting Los Angeles to photograph the Hollywood sign. His influence is indelible and undeniable, but at this very moment Id steer you, for example, to Benu and Meadowood before the French Laundry. (Voices weighed in from Eater HQ in New York as well, because the open secret around the office is that half of us want to move to LA.). Break the sheets of graham crackers on the perforated lines into smaller 1-by-3-inch rectangles, and lay them out on the prepared baking sheet as close together as possible, covering the entire sheet. B.A. M.M. Theres a reason why this was the late Anthony Bourdains favorite place to eat in all of Los Angeles. The cost is steep $285 for a dozen or so courses in the clubhouse of a dining room, or $500 for a worth-the-splurge thrill ride at the kitchens four-seat counter, which could include a wheel of cheese hidden in a candle. Of course the fineries of Los Angeles and San Francisco dominate. The carefully dressed Caesar salad, the fussed-over burger, the platter of small, briny oysters to begin a ros-fueled lunch: Decades ago, Rodgers took the lead on these now-ubiquitous dishes. WHAT: A scenic oyster farm on the edge of bucolic Tomales Bay a narrow inlet surrounded by wide-open farmland and accessible only by long and winding roads that boasts picnic areas, barbecues, and a bar stocked with beer, wine, and the option to shuck em yourself. WHAT: Chef Niki Nakayamas singular kaiseki restaurant, where she forges a cuisine melding her Japanese heritage and Californian upbringing. WHY: In its solitude and its paradoxical ability to attract a colorful clientele, theres a cinematic quality to La Copine. 1043 BroadwayChula Vista, CA (619) 427-4045 | aquiestexcoco.com, WHAT: The venerated 30-year-old ocean-view restaurant, comprising three individual eateries in one multi-level space, anchored by fine dining stalwart Georges California Modern. 320 Village LaneLos Gatos, CA(408) 354-4330 | manresarestaurant.com. For the past three-and-a-half decades, crowds have descended upon the shop for tremendous bowls of pho dac biet brimming with brisket, tripe, and beef meatballs. 1517 Polk StreetSan Francisco, CA(415) 673-1101 | swanoysterdepot.us, WHAT: A day-to-night showstopper from the team that brought San Francisco its most famous bakery. Carl Chu, 1900 W. Valley BoulevardAlhambra, CA(626) 283-4622 | szechuanimpressioninc.com. B.A. WHAT: A Gujarati restaurant serving an endless, staggeringly delicious array of vegetarian dishes as an all-you-can-eat thali. Stacked bamboo baskets of xiaolongbao pile high while youre still navigating the menu, comparing whats arrived to whats anticipated. Kinch operates beyond the big-city fray Los Gatos sits at the end of the Santa Cruz Mountains 55 miles down I-280 from San Francisco and its a beautiful drive. for sale, its also the gorgeous plates that chef Perry Hoffman serves in the cafe. Matthew Kang, 955 S. Vermont AvenueLos Angeles, CA (213) 380-1717 | parksbbq.com. Bring a date, bring your mom, bring out-of-towners or your best friend, and dont skip the large-format Ode to Zuni roast chicken. From a tiny seat in one small corner of the restaurants only room, its easy to pass an hour watching the majesty of big pots of Armenian ikra eggplant caviar cooking slowly over low flame, while Alvard flips fat skewers of beef over with a skilled flick of the wrist. B.A. Kinchs creative freedom emboldened his Bay Area peers to stretch their own ambitions, talents, and imaginations. The tasting menus, taco trucks, and farm-to-table havens that exemplify Americas most dynamic dining region. The theatrics begin upon arrival as hordes of soon-to-be diners anxiously await the call of their number at the entrance. A tongue-in-cheek T-shirt for the restaurant reads, The Center for Contemporary Breakfast and Lunch, and theres no better installation capturing where American food is headed in the 21st century. WHY: Michael Tusk is San Franciscos pasta savant. WHAT: The California-style burger by which all others should be judged. Cue, then, an impossible exercise: to identify Californias 38 most important and defining restaurants right this minute. WHY: Want to know, and eat, whats in peak season in San Diego home to the nations largest concentration of small farms? WHY: As the name suggests, freshly milled corn is the restaurants foundation organic stone-ground kernels metamorphosed into exceptional tacos, enchiladas, tamales, and (very) stout corn chips.

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