George’s Giant Hamburgers – new and improved!

The Burger Blogs Continue…George’s Giant Hamburgers is under new ownership, and I, for one, am happy with the change! 

I used to love going to George’s to get a burger, but the old owners didn’t take credit cards and gave me a hard time on my to-go order when I asked for my toppings to go in a separate bag so my food wouldn’t be soggy when I got home. It felt like they were being cheap, so I stopped being their customer.

Now, the new friendly owners not only takes cards, but had no problem giving me an extra bag. I know those are small things to worry about at a restaurant, but the experience and how you feel makes a difference.

When I was in the other day checking it out, I noticed a little bit of re-decorating, but it’s pretty much the same old George’s that has been a Walnut Creek staple for years. One thing I did notice was a Marine Corps. flag on the wall, which hits close to home with my family’s military background.

There was a group of young Marines in the restaurant, and the owner’s son was in the Marine Corp (who also works at George’s) and is mentoring them. It sounds like the owners work the night shift and their son works during the day. A perfect little family business!

As for the food itself, George’s still grinds their meat fresh every day and has a tasty burger – I am not sure if the patty is slightly smaller. They added a couple new things to the menu and are applying for a beer and wine liquor license. I love the new ownership and the food is still good.

They earned four Mt. Diablo’s from me, and I’ll definitely be back, especially since I live only a few blocks away. I would love to hear what you think of George’s Giant Burgers under the new ownership.

Burger Lounge, Hella Good!

Burger Lounge, the new burger joint on Oak Grove Rd., is making its first foray into Northern California with its Walnut Creek location.

Rooted in San Diego, they are well-known for their grass-fed beef, craft sodas, huge salads, half-and-half fries and onion rings and delicious shakes. The decor is fresh and stylish; I saw lots of people comfortable and conversing.

(Note: if you get there after 11:30 on weekdays, there will be a line out the door)

Burger Lounge also serves wine and local craft beer (Calicraft at the Walnut Creek location). Maybe the coolest aspect of the Burger Lounge mission is that they try so hard to make food that tastes good but is also as sustainable as possible. As mentioned, their burgers are grass-fed and they avoid a lot of the processed ingredients other places use.

I really liked my burger. I got mine to go and it was gone before I hit 680. Overall, I give Burger Lounge FIVE Mt. Diablo’s! Give it a try and let me know if you agree.

Are Walnut Creek’s In-N-Out dreams dead?

According to ABC7, the new In-N-Out location Walnut Creekians have been salivating over might be in trouble.

Just TRY to say no to this picture…

Apparently, a community near the proposed site (N. Main St. at Second Ave.) of the new location is trying to stop the construction because of the expected long drive-thru line that will cause traffic and late night noise.

The city has not taken a stance yet, and the owner of the property already has it zoned for a restaurant, so it may very well still happen. Would In-N-Out have a restaurant without the drive-thru window? If so, how will In-N-Out feed all the folks who don’t want to leave their cars to eat their fast food?

Anyway, the local community rightly likes its quiet, peaceful street and think there is already a plethora of fast food restaurants nearby, making In-N-Out unnecessary.  My son will be bummed, I for one am indifferent.  They are not my favorite, the patty is too small…stay tuned for future blogs on our areas burger locals.

This would look great on N. Main St. Just saying.In all seriousness, it looks like the city will plan a few public hearings after they review the proposal again. It remains to be seen if the local community will have their way, or if residents of Walnut Creek will be able to save themselves 10 minutes of driving on 680 (in either direction…) for those juicy burgers.

For what it’s worth, the anti-In-N-Out petition on Change.org has about 10 times as many signatures as the pro-In-N-Out petition. At least our town gets involved.

Just Be Yoga is my go-to spot in Walnut Creek

About 1 1/2 years ago, I joined Just Be Yoga after I went on a Just Be and Dragon Fly Yoga retreat to Nosara, Costa Rica. I went with my favorite yoga teacher who I originally met at Forma Gym, named Kelli.

The owner of Just Be Yoga, Jenny Wendell, has created an amazing community. The people and the instructors there are incredible. The yoga studio itself has a 2-door glass garage that opens and shuts whenever necessary. They have heated classes, a little courtyard outside of the studio, and multiple yoga retreats per year from Yosemite to Hawaii, among other domestic and international locations. Another of my favorite instructors, Malia Hill, even offers an occasional SUP (stand-up paddleboard) yoga class in Alameda! This summer she is headed to Croatia for a SUP/Yoga retreat.

Courtesy of Just Be Yoga’s website.


I think my favorite thing about going to Just Be Yoga and the retreat in Costa Rica, were meeting all the great people and instructors and just feeling like I belong. The benefits of learning to breathe, sweat and get that afterglow/relaxed feeling is a big release from the stress of daily life as a real estate agent.

A big benefit to yoga, in general, is that they really get you in touch with your body. I had no idea how much I lacked in range of motion and flexibility. Kelli’s classes often focus on areas I never knew I could stretch like hips, IT bands and sides. These tend not to be the Deep Yoga class, but they have some great Vinyasa flow and I love the Yin classes. Just Be Yoga is located right behind Wish downtown. Check them out, try them out and come be part of this wonderful community. You can do an introductory trial month for $39.

Courtesy of Just Be Yoga’s website.

As for the retreat, we stayed at Blue Spirit and I stayed in the Eco Hut. I thought it meant “eco-friendly hut,” but I was wrong. Oops! It had no A/C, it was a shared room, and it was more than 100 uphill steps to get to the yoga studio and it meant economy hut ;-).

Despite all that, the experience was unforgettable! There was evening meditation, yoga twice a day and plenty of time to enjoy the beach (which was right next to our resort), horseback riding, surfing and more. Check out this slideshow below!

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Cornology & Chaology on Locust St.

Has anyone ducked into Cornology or Chaology on Locust St. downtown? They are in the old Bead House location, two doors down from Peet’s Coffee and across the street from Lark Creek Cafe.

 

I went in there recently to check them out and both spots are pretty unique! Cornology is expensive for popcorn, but they do give you a ton of popcorn in each bag and have some cool, different flavors. You can get anything from kettle corn to truffle oil corn there!

Chaology serves everything from tea to smoothies to boba, but also has a wide-ranging menu to give a bunch of different options. They do sweet and savory crepes, yogurt and pan-rolled ice cream. Both shops in that location are well worth a try, but if you’re on your way to the movie theater, I would just get my popcorn there!

Newell Promenade becoming apartments soon?

I have some unsurprising news, fellow Walnut Creekians: another block of high-rise apartments is expected to go up in the downtown area soon.


This time, it’ll be where the Newell Promenade is (360 Burritos, former home of Taxi’s, etc.), across from Kaiser. A developer bought the commercial space and they want to develop it into a mixed space with retail on the bottom and more apartments above. It would include a 5-story, 120,574-sq. ft. building with 102 residential apartments, more retail than is currently in the plaza, plus two levels of parking.

There have been discussions about utilizing the creek in that area; I can see a restaurant with a patio overlooking the creek, but then where would the front entrance be?

The developers who bought the buildings in the Newell Promenade have had conversations about presenting ideas formally to the Parkmead and other surrounding neighborhoods. So far, they’ve had two conversations with members of the Parkmead Community Association but only got some basic input and opinions; not a representation of the entire community.  There have also been some informal meetings amongst home owners and attendance at the planning committee.

Walnut Creek City Council asked the group to prove more what they want to do and to make the presentation more user-friendly.  Then we will see how it works out. I asked my favorite cleaners – Vogue, who currently are doing business in the Newell Promenade, what their thoughts were. They think it will be a few years out before anything happens and they have another two years on their lease, so they can’t worry about what will be and only continue to focus on their business. My biggest concern will be how much the rents will go up and whether my cleaners will be able to stay at that location.

You can get more information on the development proposal at this link.

Also, on a sidenote, the city is finally putting in a z-shaped crosswalk to make it safer. We won’t have to worry about running over people scurrying across that busy road between Kaiser and Newell Promenade!

The 2017 Walnut Creek Citizens Institute

A few years ago, I participated in the Walnut Creek Citizens Institute classes. It was a great experience educating me about the ins and outs of the way the city runs Walnut Creek, and a way to get involved with various city initiatives.

Credit: walnut-creek.org
Credit: walnut-creek.org

For those who haven’t heard of it, the Citizens Institute is a 7-session class that includes tours, presentations and Q&A gatherings with City Council members, the City Manager, the Police and Transportation departments. It gives a good chance to get up close and personal with those who make decisions for our town.

Topics for 2017 will include city finances, getting to know the WCPD, the role of public works and how to improve one’s quality of life in Walnut Creek. The final class meets on Apr. 1 for a graduation of sorts, including a neighborhood showcase and lunch.

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If you live in Walnut Creek or are thinking about moving here, it’s a good opportunity to further increase your knowledge of this wonderful city and how it operates. If we learned anything from the Presidential election, it’s that every level of government is essential and it is important to be involved and participate!

If you want to join in 2017, the sessions will take place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. every Thursday from Feb. 16-Mar. 30. There is a $25 fee, which you can pay on the first day of class. For more information, check out the details here.

Wish is your go-to gift boutique

img_4779I had a client who recently  moved here from Seattle and texted me asking if I knew of any shops to buy cute gifts for the home, kitchen, and/or baby. She had found these types of boutique shops in Seattle and Minneapolis, but didn’t know where to go in the East Bay.

She was insistent that it be a small, boutique-type store rather thanwish-family your typical Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn stores. I immediately recommended Wish on Boulevard Circle in Walnut Creek. They are located in front of my favorite yoga studio (Just Be Yoga – another blog coming soon!), and I often meander through their store when I finish yoga.

Wish opened in 2013 and is owned by three generations of women: Susie, Sasha and 2-year-old Mila, who the website says is working on expanding their baby department! They’ve been in retail for decades, as Susie has owned retail stores all of her life and Sasha was in corporate retail in San Francisco. Wish also has a great vision of supporting the local community and giving back to it.

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They always have creative, unique gift ideas and they sell my favorite candle, “Votivo Red Currant.” There is barbecue stuff for guys, jewelry, bridal shower gifts, decorations and tons of baby items. If you need to buy a gift or something special for yourself this is the place to go. Just take a look at the photos – a picture is worth a thousand words!

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Two new breweries have opened in Walnut Creek!

img_9237 Attention, beer lovers! The Walnut Creek brewery scene has added two new hotspots to supplement shops like ØL. The most well-known, probably, is Calicraft Brewery, which opened its doors recently over by Shadelands, just off Ygnacio Valley Rd.

Calicraft, famous for its fun, local beer names (“The Bay,” “Oak Town,” and my personal favorite, “Buzzerkeley”) and for using unique California-grown ingredients like starthistle honey and cluster hops, was officially founded in 2012.img_9235

The small taphouse is in an industrial area at the back of a parking lot across the street from Fieldhouse Sports Center. Besides the beer on tap, Calicraft sells chips and jerky and growlers. They have a cool interior space with a huge TV and an outdoor deck with corn hole and a grass area with Adirondack chairs. It’s a really cool place to spend an evening with friends after work!

Closer to downtown is Farm Creek Brewery, which is literally just a small img_9346tasting area next to the tanks of the brewery. It’s located on Pine St., just around the corner from Pinky’s Pizza. Even though the space is small, it’s very hip and fun, and the service is friendly.

The owner and founder started homebrewing years ago and finally made img_9347his dream come true to open a location in Walnut Creek, where he and his family live. The brewery has a 12-tap system and homemade flights.

I can’t recommend their “Heather’s Limit” stout highly enough. Even members of my Walnut Creek Lifestyle team who hate stouts said it was delicious, and it made for a really nice addition to my homemade chili – a future blog!

Calicraft is open Weds.-Fri. from 4-10 p.m., as well as Saturday from 12-10 p.m. and Sunday from 12-8 p.m. Farm Creek Brewery is open Mon.-Fri. from 4-9 p.m., Saturday 12-9 p.m., and Sunday from 1-7 p.m. Enjoy!

Anthropologie in Walnut Creek is irresistible

Last week, I walked into the new Anthropologie location in Walnut Creek just to check it out. The store, which moved to the old Barnes & Noble building on S. Main, is a perfect combination of funk, style and art. A few hundred dollars later, I was walking out with bags full of must-have, unique jewelry and a wonderful spiced candle that reminded me of Fall.

But it was more than just the items that made Anthropologie irresistible. Walking through is truly an experience made for all the senses. There are shopping options, browsing options and relaxation options. One of the three largest Anthropologies stores in the nation, this store immediately hits you with a floral scene upon entering, with a wide range of succulents and potted plants. There is a plethora of candles, an outdoor terrace with plants and furniture, a bedding section and, of course, tons of clothes and art. Knobs, aprons, dishes and cake stands filled the kitchen section, and I was surprised to find a bridal department, too!

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It was like shopping in your living room (of course, all the men were sitting around looking at their phones while the ladies shopped). Some items are new to the Walnut Creek location, such as the shoe department. As you saw in the slideshow, there are even zebras for sale (kinda…)! Go check it out when you get a chance!