Now that you know how to properly use the Caltrain, it's time to find somewhere worth taking it, which's where this roundup comes in. Here're seven incredible new spots that opened South of SF in April, from a Hemingway-inspired beer garden to a bacon-wrapped filet mignon paradise.
Jack Rose Libation House (click here for address and info)
Named after Ernest Hemingway's favorite cocktail, and located just a few miles from where he penned some of his novels, this half-cabin, half-bachelor pad is an awesome spot to enjoy on-tap Manhattans or a couple pints on an incredible, backyard beer garden deck thing. As Hemingway once wrote, "'This is a good place,' he said. 'There's a lot of liquor.' I agreed."
The Lexington House (click here for address and info)
Now open in Downtown Los Gatos, this small, classy-looking spot is adorned with exposed brick and a dominating central bar serving small-batch spirits, local drafts, and delicious, constantly changing fare like crispy pork shoulder (w/ chevre ravioli, seared chicories, salsa verde, and pork broth) or "Duck... Duck... Carrot!", which could either be a great dish, or an interesting party game. Probably the former.
Lure + Till (click here for address and info)
Remember when we told you about that place with the exploding volcano pasta? Yeah, turns out they have a ton of other awesome stuff, too, including an insane, egg-topped brunch burger, ice cream sandwiches with bourbon ice cream between carrot-walnut cake slices, and jalapeño-garnished cocktails.
Paper Plane (click here for address and info)
This recently opened spot in San Jose has a legitimately innovative cocktail menu that plots all of its signature drinks on a Cartesian plane (sorta like NY Mag's Approval Matrix), so you can choose which quadrant you wanna be drinking in (the axes go from Comforting/Familiar to Adventurous/Bold and Refreshing/Easy Drinking to Spirituous/Bold). Also totally fantastic? Bar bites that range from brown butter and basil popcorn to a Kennebec tater totem w/ candied bacon.
Fogo de Chão (click here for address and info)
Finally making its Northern California debut in San Jose, Fogo de Chão is that awesome kind of Brazilian steakhouse where you pay one price, flip your card to green, and they bring out a gauntlet of 15 skewers of meat like bacon-wrapped filet mignon or signature sirloin, until you flip the card to red/roll away.
Johnston's Saltbox (click here for address and info)
This outdoor-seating-rich, no-reservations spot is run by a guy who was raised in his family’s coast-side pub in Northern Ireland (probably not literally?) and a Jeremiah Tower protege who's putting together some seriously arresting sandwich options. Bread-meat-bread highlights include a fried chicken guy with jalapeño/cilantro slaw, a rib eye burger with melted onion, and a BLTA with a ridiculously large piece of candied bacon, gem lettuce, avocado, and tomato jam so good it'll make everyone else jelly of you.
Pizzeria Delfina (click here for address and info)
Yep, that's right -- the already-beloved SF pizza institution has expanded to Palo Alto, so now you can grab both of your favorites (Prosciutto Pie w/ prosciutto di Parma, caciocavallo, mozzarella, panna & arugula, and the 4 Formaggi (tomato, mozzarella, Fontal, Provolone, Pecorino) while chilling with your friends who rooted for a tree mascot in college.
Joe Starkey is Thrillist's SF Editor and thinks the 7x7 needs a Kennebec tater totem w/ candied bacon, too. Get on it, SF chefs. Oh and follow him on Twitter.
1. Jack Rose Libation House18840 Saratoga Los Gatos Rd, Los Gatos
2. The Lexington House40 North Santa Cruz Blvd. Suite A, Los Gatos
3. Lure + Till180 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto
4. Paper Plane72 S 1st St, San Jose
5. Fogo de Chão377 Santana Row Ste 1090, San Jose
6. Johnston's Saltbox1696 Laurel St, San Carlos
7. Pizzeria Delfina651 Emerson St, Palo Alto
This exciting Bay Area bar pretty much does it all when it comes to drinks, with an extensive wine list (on tap and in bottles), beers, and handcrafted 'tails.
A seasonal menu means that this rustic inspired locale is constantly changing up things. So while chicken liver mousse with housemade pickles or Fort Bragg black cod might be on our recommended list, we're not even sure they will still be there by the time you are. Our guarantee: whatever cocktails are dotting the list are required sipping as the founders are both mixologists.
This indoor-outdoor dinner spot in downtown Palo Alto's Epiphany Hotel is helmed by chef Patrick Kelly (Gitane, Angele, La Folie). Known for its one-time pasta volcano, complete with an exploding egg yolk, Lure + Till serves a mix of hearty meat entrees, vegetable sides, and glam pastas. The swanky spot is usually filled with VC-types, but hey, it's Palo Alto.
Paper Plane, the spacious Downtown San Jose speakeasy, features craft cocktails -- signature, old school, and new school. The list is long, and includes barrel-aged cocktails and punches served on draft, and the menu is laid out with a graph and key, so you can find just the right amount of refreshing/adventure/comfort/booze to suit your cravings. Go for the cocktails, but when hunger strikes, Paper Plane’s got you covered with a menu New American-inspired snacks like deviled eggs, chicken wings, a Paper Plane original burger, and artichoke mac and cheese.
If you're going to have Brazillian, then churrascaria from a chain owned by Brazilian brothers is the way to go. As there are 17 styles of steak, lamb and chicken that will be winding their way around tables looking for a plate to be sliced onto here's one pro tip: go light on the mashed potatoes and Pas de Queijo(cheese bread) to leave room for the good stuff.
Head South of SF to San Carlos and don't miss this new-American bistro deep with sun-soaked outdoor seating and memorable between-bread action like a ribeye burger covered in melted onions and tomato jam and a buttermilk chicken sandwich topped with jalapeno, spicy BBQ, and honey mustard slaw. If you're in the area for brunch, you'll find buttermilk pancakes topped with malted whipped cream and strawberry orange compote, and you'll also find bacon hash, which is just what it sounds like.