What do the stars of this year's Valley dining scene look like so far? Like many across the country still adapting to the effects of the recession (so long, fine dining) and reacting to a culture more informed about food than ever (11 seasons of Top Chef and counting), they're cooking street snacks with culinary flair, re-imagining comfort food, and putting bold spins on dishes from around the globe -- and they're doing it with top-notch ingredients and lots of local love.
In no particular order, here are five of my favorite Valley restaurants so far. And with just four more months left in 2013, I'm glad I won't have to wait long to see what the rest of the year will put on my plate. Enjoy.