Do you wonder who puts Via together every issue? By way of introduction, here are some of our editors' and designers' answers to "what's the best thing you've eaten or drunk?"
Whole smoked pig at BarBersQ in the city of Napa, Calif. (707) 224-6600, barbersq.com. — Dan Warrick, senior editor
Just south of downtown Portland, Ore., there's a restaurant in Multnomah Village called O'Connor's. Despite the Irish name, the food was diverse, though slanted to southeastern fare. I ordered the jambalaya mac-'n'-cheese special. Gooey, spicy, and filling, it was possibly the single greatest dish I have ever had. (503) 244-1690, oconnorsportland.com. — Brett Shanley, intern
After a long journey on foot from San Francisco's Mission District to Ocean Beach, garlic fries and a locally brewed Riptide Red Ale at the Beach Chalet in Golden Gate Park did the trick. (415) 386-8439, beachchalet.com. — Kim Velsey, Events editor
Beet ravioli from Gabriella Café in Santa Cruz, Calif. Between two slices of dark beet were a thin layer of beef heart and horseradish ricotta. Zinfandel beet sauce was lightly drizzled on top. (831) 457-1677, gabriellacafe.com. — Matthew Craggs, Events editor
Date shakes from Shields Date Garden in Indio, Calif., are always fun for a cream-loving guy. (760) 347-7768, shieldsdates.com. — Alan Avery, design director
Drink: A Dry Creek Valley zinfandel from wineries in Healdsburg, Calif., including Talty Vineyards (taltyvineyards.com), Christopher Creek Winery (christophercreek.com), or Seghesio Family Vineyards (seghesio.com). Eat: The pumpkin appetizer from Helmand Palace, an Afghan restaurant in San Francisco (helmandpalace.com). It's called kaddo, a pan-fried and baked baby pumpkin slice with sugar, yogurt-garlic sauce, and ground beef sauce. — Tannie Soo Hoo, publication coordinator
The best beverage I've been introduced to in the last few years is Blue Bottle drip coffee —and I learned about it in VIA magazine. (www.viamagazine.com/weekenders/hayes_valley05.asp) (510) 653-3394, bluebottlecoffee.net. — Bruce Anderson, editor
Portuguese sweetbread crunchy fresh toast at the Orchid Court restaurant in the Fairmont Orchid Resort, Hawaii. (866) 540-4474, fairmont.com/Orchid. — Ron Evans, senior editor
My favorite meal was at the Rendezvous restaurant in Fort Bragg, Calif., in a turn-of-the-century historic house. On an overcast day, sitting in the dimly lit dining room, I felt transported. The food was very good—I think I had a pasta primavera—but it was almost secondary to the magical atmosphere. (800) 491-8142, rendezvousinn.com. My favorite drink was at the Crystal Cove/Ruby's Shake Shack at Crystal Cove in Newport Beach, Calif. After an afternoon of beachcombing, I sipped a date shake with whipped cream while sitting on the pier. (949) 464-0100.
— Megan Ma, intern
I have a few! I am all about the food. (1) The Giant Artichoke Restaurant in Castroville, Calif. There's nothing like fried artichoke hearts, artichoke soup, artichoke scrambles, artichoke combo platters, and a giant artificial artichoke in the parking lot. (831) 633-3501. (2) Vivolo's Chowder House in Pacific Grove, Calif. Nothing too fancy, but fantastic seafood. Great bisque, clam chowder, and crab Louie salads. (831) 372-5414, vivoloschowderhouse.com. (3) Fandango in Pacific Grove for a classy brunch, including giant Belgium waffles and great service. (831) 372-3456, fandangorestaurant.com. —Miriam Wild-Smith, intern
Photo by Tana Butler courtesy of Gabriella Café in Santa Cruz, Calif.
This article was first published in January 2010. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.