Los Panchos remains my go-to option

Los Panchos, the Pacheco-based Mexican Taqueria (that also has an option in Danville these days) remains one of the best spots in the Bay Area for quick Mexican food. If you want consistently tasty and affordable Mexican food, you can’t beat Los Panchos.

I go there any time I’m in the vicinity of Contra Costa Blvd and Center Street. My go-to is their crispy taco, but they also have a great chili rellano and tasty bean dip. There is no indoor seating and only three funky tables outside – which they put a thick concrete tile over the tabletop and the seats sit low, so you feel like a little kid. I recommend you take it to go, but the funky tables only add to the charm!

You can get anything from a classic combination plate to individual tacos and burritos, or opt for their awesome catering service if you’re bringing it for an office party.

Regardless, you can’t go wrong. Los Panchos has been a staple in the Bay Area Mexican food scene for many years, and I expect it to continue!

A new taco shop in Walnut Creek!

Tacos Walnut Creek is the name of a new taco shop in Walnut Creek. A very appropriate name, I’d say! I tried it recently and really thought the food was great. They make recommendations to which sauce (red or green) depending on the type of meat you are ordering..

According to the website, Tacos Walnut Creek is guided by a father that owns two restaurants in the Santa Cruz area. But, the Walnut Creek location is actually run by his two sons. They’ve grown up going to their father’s restaurant and learning how to prepare authentic Mexican cuisine. Tacos Walnut Creek’s team is committed to working hard in the kitchen to put a smile on your face with delicious food in your tummy!

We really needed a good casual Mexican restaurant and it shows: lines out the door at lunch and this past Saturday evening, plus a 4.9 Yelp rating. That corner has finally hit a home run with a great place to eat that is affordable. With Taco Walnut Creek’s doors now open, I am not sure how long Patron’s (click to see my last blog) doors will stay open.

You can check out Tacos Walnut Creek at the corner of Locust and Giammona downtown! Let me know how you like it! Your comments are most welcomed!

Patron Mexican Grill: Decent, not super authentic

Patron Mexican Grill replaced Cindo de Mayo, a restaurant which I’d enjoyed immensely. In my opinion, Patron is not very authentic, thus the name Mexican Grill, definitely not a Taqueria!

On the bright side, they do serve breakfast. My go-to order is always tacos and I like the crispy tacos, but street tacos are equally as good. I ordered a crispy taco and it was put in a pre-made corn shell – eh. I’d prefer to see Los Ponchos out of Martinez there, but if you need a quick bite of Mexican food downtown or breakfast, it is an option. Not sure they will be around for the long haul, but they did do a nice job with the decorations.

Stay tuned for some more blogs on other Mexican fare. The new taco restaurant on Locust, and one of my favorites: Los Panchos!

Sunol Ridge is now TKK and that means Thai food

It must be a day ending in “y” if a popular restaurant in downtown Walnut Creek couldn’t keep its doors open. Sunol Ridge, which was a great little spot to get together for casual drinks or to watch a game, has given way to a new Thai restaurant called TKK.

It’s the way of the world in our little town now – high rents mean you always have to be busy, so I said goodbye to Sunol Ridge, and checked out TKK! You’ll be happy to hear that all those same TVs and a similar layout grace the building, so it’s still a good hang-out spot after work.

Obviously, the menu has changed now, but there is still a good Happy Hour at TKK, too! I went during the Warriors playoffs twice; once with a friend and once alone (when I ended up sitting next to an old friend!). The first time, we got the lettuce wrap appetizer and a couple of cocktails. The second time I had the lemongrass fish and both were amazing. The volcano beef (which is apparently very popular here), looked very appetizing. I was very happy with the food we got, and will definitely be back!

YardHouse: Apps & tacos at the bar!

You may have heard of YardHouse, which is a relatively popular restaurant chain famous for its yard-tall beers. They recently opened a new location in the East Bay, and I went to check it out!

We had a great time sitting at the bar and ordering a variety of appetizers and tacos. The spicy tuna roll came highly recommended, however it isn’t a roll, it is more like a round dip. The parking lot was full and there was a wait for tables.

When I was living in Germany, we would occasionally go out and get a yard of beer in these very tall hour glasses. The only difference was they had wooden holders to prevent them from being easily knocked over. They also didn’t serve a stack of onion rings. But here all forms of tasty food (that isn’t so good for us) are available at every turn and corner. So when you are looking for a good vibe, a tall beer, and some food, check out the Yard House.

Sichuan Fortune House in Pleasant Hill: authenic Chinese food!

One evening I was working late and another agent had asked me some questions. Then she asked if I was hungry as she was going to get some dinner and wanted to treat me for my help. She is Chinese and recommended going to a Chinese restaurant. I said only if she orders the more authentic dishes so I can try them, as I always get kung pao chicken.

It was delicious and I would have never ordered the items we did. Sichuan can be spicy, so Kathy, my co-worker, was concerned I might not like it. Below is fish soup in a spicy sauce that we got only half-spicy. That is where the bowl of rice really comes in handy: you grab some fish, douse it against the rice, and then eat both. The rice helps absorb some of the heat.


We also ordered their signature tofu dish. Again, it would not be something I would normally consider and it was my favorite! I would order this again. These pictures don’t show anybody there, but there were two groups and I left them out of the picture. By the time we left, there were another give groups eating!

For an authentic Sichuan meal, I’d definitely recommend checking this place out! Just don’t go for the standard Chinese fare and ask your server for what they would recommend as the house special.

Event Round-Up: May 18th

We’re almost all the way into summer here in Walnut Creek! The kids will be out of school soon, and the days will keep getting longer and warmer, giving us ample opportunities to take advantage of some awesome Bay Area events.

Diablo Symphony – May 19th (Walnut Creek)

The Diablo Symphony presents Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and Bach’s Double Violin Concerto tomorrow at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek! You can get tickets at the door, preceding the 2 p.m. concert. The Symphony Orchestra will be joined by members of the San Ramon Valley High School orchestra for this performance!

Rooftop History Walking Tour – May 31st (San Francisco)

Real estate nerd alert! This sounds so interesting to me, and if you like rooftops with beautiful views, you’ll be amazed by which buildings in the city might have them. This is a really cool tour to take if you like history, as you’ll get into some of the more exclusive private buildings in SF. Tickets are just $35.

Art & Wine Festival – June 1st (Walnut Creek)

For the weekend of June 1st, you can take advantage of an awesome event right in our own backyard! Pair your wine and beer with food vendors, art, live music, a Kids Zone, and more! It’s time for the Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival. More info here.

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Walnut Creek First Wednesdays – June 5th (Walnut Creek)

Did you miss out on last month’s First Wednesday celebration? Because they are a great time! You can make up for it by coming downtown on Weds., June 5th to take part in a small street fair right here in Walnut Creek. Get more info here – you won’t want to miss it!

Walnut Creek Uncorked – June 20th (Walnut Creek)

Sip, stroll, socialize. Walnut Creek’s Uncorked event is taking place on June 20th downtown! You can sip wines, eat local food, listen to live music, and just wander downtown with your wine. I’d recommend getting tickets in advance, as this event is popular every year!

Rooted Coffee’s roots in WC

Rooted Coffee, which has been serving the Walnut Creek Farmer’s Market for years, has found a home in Pleasant Hill on Oak Park. They’re known for their paleo waffle and they now have a bunch of vegan and gluten-free items, too!

The owner of Rooted, Jon Gilmore, is a Las Lomas High graduate who says on the website that he’s wanted to open a coffee shop since graduating college. He and his wife, Jenny, focus on making a difference with their business both in the local community and in the global farming community.

One cool thing they do is a promise to donate 10% of profits to local and global charities. They source beans that are organic and fairly traded, only use plant-based milks, exclusively use compostable and petroleum-free cups, and keep a relationship with one independent, local roaster. Very cool!

I think the coffee itself is good, but I really love the paleo waffle and their food menu; though it’s not extensive, it has some awesome items on it. I highly recommend checking out Rooted when you get a chance! I also miss them at the Farmer’s Market, but wish them nothing but success at their new brick and mortar location – it has been a long time coming.

Bounty Hunter Open as of 4/8!

Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of how many new restaurants open and how many old ones close in Walnut Creek. It’s an endless merry-go-round of openings and closings, which can be exciting but hard to track! Recently, my team member Denise tried Bounty Hunter, plus her daughter Erica is a hostess there, so they tried it three times during the past weekend soft opening for friends and family! Here are her insights:

Bounty Hunter Walnut Creek is the second location for this wine and spirits merchant. The rustic decor and only 25 tables create a comfy atmosphere. While the combination of a wine merchant serving BBQ sounds a bit odd, Bounty Hunter pulls it off amazingly well. The food is fabulous! The pimento cheese dip appetizer is a new twist on the southern version with a bit of a kick to it. The BBQ platter is a good way to try the pulled pork, brisket and ribs with the three house made sauces, a great dish to share. Not a huge fan of BBQ? The salmon on shaved brussels sprouts and tri-color quinoa was cooked perfectly (and looked beautiful too). The beer can chicken is one of their specialties and quite a site when the whole chicken (including the beer can) arrives at the table; and you can’t beat mac and cheese as the ultimate comfort food to go along with it all. Ah, the desserts . . . s’mores pie, cobbler, and panna cotta with kumquats are just a few of the tempting options. Even with the soft opening, service was very good with the entire staff creating a welcoming vibe.

The restaurant officially opened on April 8. Reservations are recommended and can be made up to two weeks out but only by phone or in person. The 15 bar stools and lounge area are open seating. The full menu is available at the bar. Beverages and appetizers are available in the lounge area. There are 24 wines by the glass available and 8 wine flights that have been put together for those who want to taste some great wines. Bounty Hunter is one of the few restaurants in Walnut Creek with a sommelier. Brandon has hand picked the 500+ wines that are available for purchase in the retail wine and spirits shop. There is a full bar and Bounty Hunter has 4 specialty cocktails on the menu. There is no happy hour nor door dash at this time 🙁

p.s. I can’t wait to try it and note, there are some vegetarian options!

Salsa Verde – where is that!

Tucked away off Detroit in Concord (near Costco) sits a tiny, family-owned Mexican restaurant that you should definitely give a try. There’s all sorts of great Mexican food in California – especially in the Bay Area and this one is good, especially if you are hungry after Costco shopping and don’t want a hot dog!

Salsa Verde has been there for seven years. I thought it was reasonably priced and the food was good. You can sit outside, and it’s a really cute little spot. One of my team members is Hispanic and used to her mother’s homemade cooking and it authenticity didn’t quite compare.

One specialty at Salsa Verde that you don’t usually see on a menu is a pot of food called mole cajete, which had grilled cactus, chicken, steak, and more in it. I enjoyed my taco and chicken enchilada. Their street tacos were also good! This off-the-beaten-path restaurant is worth checking out. It primarily caters to the businesses around Costco and is closed on Sundays.