Craft breweries are everywhere in Silicon Valley these days. Take a spin through any one of the South Bay’s myriad business parks, and it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to find a cohort of hop-heads fussing over a new lager, pilsner or ale. Until the arrival of 10th St. Distillery, however, the region was home to precisely zero whiskey makers.

The distillery’s peated, single-malt whiskey—produced just a few miles from the heart of downtown San Jose—is now being distributed throughout the Bay Area and is already earning accolades. They recently claimed a “Best in Class” gold medal at the 2018 Whiskies of the World showcase, which was held in March at the downtown San Jose Marriott.

Their whiskey is the culmination of more than seven years of hard work. Co-founders Virag Saksena and Vishal, who goes only by his first name, spent five years honing the recipe, designing their own 100 percent copper stills and setting up their distillery; then they spent another two years aging their spirits in oak barrels. Though they can’t legally call their product “scotch,” they import their peated barley from Scotland. The result is a smooth, fruity and lightly smoky whiskey that pairs exquisitely with barbecue, a hearty steak or even a delicate cut of sashimi.

Distribution is just starting to take off, but whiskey aficionados can already find their product at various bottle shops throughout the South Bay and some high-end restaurants, such as Forbes Mill, Oak & Rye, Paper Plane and both Alexander’s Steakhouse and The Sea by Alexander’s Steakhouse. Check the 10th Street Distillery website for a full list of local shops and restaurants, which will soon include Total Wine & More.

Bubblin’ Up
Popular Las Vegas breakfast spot Mimosas Gourmet has made San Jose home to its second location. Now open off of Monterey Road on the South Side, Mimosas is known for its large selection of sparkling wine cocktails, which come in a variety of exotic fruity flavors—like lychee, prickly pear and papaya—as well as their gigantic Super Mimosa. The menu consists of classic breakfast staples, all with a Mexican twist. Try their fajita steak benedicts, churro waffles or their super torta with eggs, ham and jalapeños.

Speaking of Mexican twists, San Jose is now home to a Taco Bell Cantina. Slaking the millennial thirst for booze and fast food, it is essentially a regular Taco Bell that also serves beer and spiked slushies. It opened last week in the former location of Louisiana Bistro on Market Street.

Pho Grows
One of my favorite pho houses, Pho Ha Noi, has opened up a second location in Cupertino, at the corner of Stevens Creek and DeAnza boulevards. Ha Noi is renowned for its northern-style broth, which has a deep beefy flavor and is accented with hints of ginger and green onion, as opposed to the star jasmine and yellow onion of the more pervasive southern-style broth. Be sure to order up a side of delicious beef ribs to accompany your soup.

Aloha, Aloha!
Another personal favorite, Aloha Fresh Poke, officially opened up their new larger digs in San Jose’s Japantown neighborhood last month. This comes after they closed their Cupertino location back in June. Aloha Fresh is might just be the most authentic Hawaiian poke in the South Bay. Their fish is pre-marinated in their signature blend of sauces, as opposed to the endless combos at the more ubiquitous Chipotle-style poke places. Be sure to upgrade to their earthy and toothsome black rice, and for a completely unique experience, try the Surf ‘N Turf bowl with Kahlua pork and a poke of one’s choosing.

Bye-Bye BYOP
Locally owned build-your-own-pizza restaurant Top This! Pizza abruptly closed last month. The brainchild of Scotts Valley entrepreneurs Jerry and Yovette Raymond, Top This! was one of the first BYOP spots in the South Bay. They opened their Los Gatos Boulevard shop in the summer of 2013. They are now the second casualty of what might be a bursting BYOP bubble; most local Pieology locations closed last year due to “staffing shortages.”