Limon Opens Up In Walnut Creek

I checked out a new taco place in Walnut Creek recently: Limon! It’s located just down the street from where Cost Plus World Market used to be located. With no shortage of Hispanic food in our town, I wanted to see how it stood up to the competition.

I thought the food there – tacos especially – was just…okay. They serve tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and a bunch of other Mexican food favorites. Limon operates a food truck in Fremont, as well as two other locations (Fremont and Martinez).

As mentioned, I thought the tacos were decent. I’m not sure they impressed me enough to go back, especially with so many good tacos in the Bay Area. I’m still a fan of Las Panchos, which has been an East Bay staple for several years now. Limon in Walnut Creek is one of three locations – the original being in San Francisco.

Have you visited Limon? What did you think about it?

NOTE: Correction – we originally confused Limon with a different restaurant of a similar name that serves Peruvian food. We regret the error!

A Celebration At Capullo

The second weekend of April, Walnut Creek was hopping! Restaurants are open both inside and out. It was chilly, so we sat indoors. It did not feel like 25% capacity (maybe I’ve been sequestered so long that a small amount of people felt like a lot!).

We started the night celebrating the closing of Teresa’s condo in the Keys with champagne at Residual Sugar. Then, we were a little bit hungry so we headed to Capullo Cocina Mexicana! It offers authentic Mexican regional cuisine from five different parts of Mexico.

We ordered chips and salsa, house margaritas, and shared the Tamales en Cream de Frijoles. I realized after the fact that it was creamy beans over the top – we both thought it was a little bland, but it was vegetarian. We kept seeing people ordering big stone bowls with steak, chicken, cactus, and prawns hanging over the edge, filled with guacamole, chorizo, and jalapeño (and served with corn tortillas).

Apparently, this is their signature dish for $40 called Capullo’s Molcajete. These are the bowls that you are often served salsa or guacamole in. They have three or four legs and are the Mexican version of a mortar and pestle. Next time I visit Capullo, this will be the order. It was large, festive, and looked amazing!

Capullo is next door to Havana and also has outdoor dining, along with the indoor seats shown in the pictures. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Everyone Is In For A Huge Treat!

Heather, Aron, and I have been working on getting them into a commercial space at the Rossmoor Village Shopping Center on Tice Valley Blvd. There, they will be opening The Yogurt Spot (targeted to open later this summer). It has been a lifelong dream of Heather’s, who previously worked in events with Prima in downtown Walnut Creek.

A signed lease was just cemented in March. It will be a family-owned business serving the highest quality frozen desserts, from gelato and shaved ice, to many different flavors of frozen yogurt.

Heather and Aron are excited about being part of the community. Their son Aiden plays varsity football for Las Lomas and are very much looking forward to supporting the team along with a few other organizations near and dear to their hearts (such as Underdog and ARF).

The Yogurt Spot will be tucked between Starbucks and BurgerIM.

I can’t wait to see what they do with this small business yogurt stop and taste some of their frozen desserts!

New coffee shop just opened!

It looks like a new coffee shop just opened in downtown Walnut Creek! Good for them for opening during a lockdown, when so much is up in the air. I truly hope they do well! I saw their sign up in the Schroeder Insurance building a few weeks ago, but they hadn’t yet opened. I hav always admired this brick building it has such a cool architectural vibe, with the faux metal panels at the front entrance to the color of the bricks and now it is open for all to enjoy.

Now, according to their website and their Instagram, they are officially open for business, though at limited hours due to the pandemic (I’m guessing). The menu looks fantastic, and I really can’t wait to walk over and give it a try. Tellus Coffee is all about the healthy, good vibes. I mean, check out that plant wall!

That reminds me a lot of Rooted Coffee, which I’ve blogged about before. They found a brick-and-mortar home in Pleasant Hill after years at the Farmer’s Market. It seems like Tellus Coffee also has a ton of potential. Their menu includes everything from coffee to avocado toast to empanadas.

Here’s to hoping that COVID ends soon and we can all give Tellus a try indoors! For now it might just be grab and go. I know I’ll be placing a to-go order and visiting with my mask in the near future. I always love seeing what a new neighborhood coffee shop can offer our community!

The best street tacos! Who knew?

Of all the great taco joints in the Bay Area, I did not expect to find the best street tacos in front of the Concord Home Depot. But, I did! I found Kelly’s Deli, and I’m so happy that I stumbled upon it.

I met my handyman, Costa, there over the weekend to pick up some items for my client’s rental home. I commented about something smelling good as we walked through the store and Costa said that the taco truck has good food.

I thought it would all be junk food, but Costa said their street tacos were the best he has ever had. I couldn’t wait – I had to taste them even before I got home to take a picture! You can order chicken, pork, or steak. I got the chicken and hot or mild salsa/sauce.

Three tacos full of juicy deliciousness! Costa got the breakfast burritos to go for him and his wife. I will be back, because for $8.95, this is much more than your average taco truck.

Check out Batch & Brine!

Batch & Brine in Lafayette is the newest venture from the siblings and cousins who co-own Broderick’s. I’m not the biggest fan of the latter, to be honest, but since this was a separate venture, I wanted to check out their new place. I’m so glad I did!

Batch & Brine was created by a dynamic group of relatives — siblings, Mike, Rolla, and David Ghaben, cousins, Sam Ghaben and Celina Gonzales, alongside their son, Victor Ghaben. With roots that extend from New Mexico and the Mediterranean to California, their restaurant’s culture captures the essence of growing up in their family’s kitchens and restaurants.

Their craft cocktail/Mixologist manager Casey Carr personally came to our outdoor seating area. We wanted margaritas, but not too sweet, so he made a recommendation on tequila and used all natural ingredients (no purchased sweet and sour), and the result was delicious, smooth, and not too sweet. We really appreciated the personal attention and had a nice chat. He mentioned the family hired a chef who has worked in some San Francisco restaurants, but is from New York with Jewish and Cuban family roots who uses quality ingredients in the food.

I tried their sliders, and my friend had the blue burger with whipped Roquefort and pretzel roll; both had homemade pickles. Our meals were clearly made from quality ingredients and all the food was very tasty. This is a place that will definitely be one of my new go-to restaurants.

What made it even more special on a Friday night was they had live music and happy hour M-F from 2-5 pm, all which make the ambiance more comfortable, enjoyable, and inviting. They are not allowing indoor seating right now because of COVID-19, but they did have a fire pit and heat lamps outside, so you can still enjoy the “normal” sit-down experience.

Socially distance at Social Bird

I recently went to Social Bird in Lafayette, the latest venture from Esin & Curtis deCarion, who own Esin Restaurant and Bar and Revel Kitchen & Bar in Danville. I love exploring the new restaurants in the East Bay, and Social Bird is another great one!

Social Bird has two patios with lots of heat lamps and I was amazed on a Monday night how crowded they were, there was also 25% indoor seating and it was spread out well with side doors open to allow for ventilation. We went for a quick bite and some social time. I started off with one of their signature mules and what is great about them is they are not too sweet. They have small bites plates which are great for sharing and appealing happy hour from 3-5 pm.


This his restaurant is where Yankee Pier used to be, on Lafayette’s main drag Mt. Diablo Blvd. We had the chicken sliders and the meat balls recommended by the server. It was very good and the ambiance just perfect in the midst of covid.

Social Bird offers craft cocktails and rotating selection of beer, wine, and sustainable American fare. I’d highly recommend giving it a chance next time you go out to eat!

The changing face of downtown Walnut Creek

COVID-19 has proved a tough hurdle for all of us, but businesses have been hit especially hard. With California’s phases changing, going backwards, we’ve seen businesses shutter and the economy as a whole begin to dip.

Fuego

It’s no different for us in the real estate industry – home sales and the buying/selling process are looking different than they were even back in January due to the pandemic. Anyway, I was wandering around downtown Walnut Creek the other day after work (yes, with my mask on!) and noticed the innovative ways it is changing.

With indoor seating banned, the city streamlined permitting for outdoor dining by getting parking spaces blocked off to allow for more seating. It’s sad to see how this is all affecting the downtown that thrives on human traffic. There is a bunch of outdoor seating on Locust from Brodericks to Limon. A few spots already have outdoor seating (Sauced, Torsop but got more out front

Among the other casualties of the pandemic economy, PRIMA Ristorante has decided to close its doors – a Walnut Creek staple that had been around nearly half a century. I’m sad to see it go. Salons were open for a month and as the state recently pushed back opening, caused the salons to re-close. Some such as Ashley Flowers Hair found they have some outdoor space where they can still legally operate. Hopefully as a country, we can get a grasp on the spread of this virus as other countries have done before winter. I really need a mani/pedi. Continue to be careful, wear a mask in public and follow the local health guidelines so we can get back to some semblance of our previous lives!

Morucci’s: A History

During shelter-in-place, I did some giveaways supporting local businesses. One of them was a gift card to Morucci’s on Boulevard. I had an opportunity to speak with the owner, Robert Fambrini (a very Italian name for the owner of an Italian deli!), and ask a few questions.

He told me he spent 25 years in the Petrini’s market chain, a family-owned business until 1989. It was founded as a butcher shop in San Francisco in 1935 by Italian immigrant Frank Petrini and later expanded to specialize in gourmet foods. At the start of the 20th century, grocery stores were a lot like department stores, with different partners owning and operating their departments.

Robert was in six of the Petrini locations from San Francisco, Novato, and Moraga, to Walnut Creek. When asked what words of wisdom he would give his 18-year-old self, Robert replied, “Go slow. When you are young, you want to conquer the world, however financial issues will arise and you don’t want to extend yourself too far!”

He found trying to manage six locations at once was too much, and in 1989 Petrini’s ultimately sold to a Canadian company. Now he has been happy to focus on just one deli for the last 20 years – Morucci’s, in Walnut Creek. He says it is more profitable and much easier to manage. “It’s been a wild ride,” says Robert.

He said having one bigger deli is always better and that he’s happy it is in Walnut Creek. In hindsight, I wished I’d asked him how the name “Morucci’s” came about, but it was crowded and busy (no surprise to those who have been there!), so I’m grateful for his time.

Searching for the best local Chinese food…

I recently ordered takeout from Peony Garden, which is right next to Las Lomas, across from Kaiser. It is always a search for the best Chinese food, because from different regions the flavor and dishes change. I have had takeout from Peony before and, for me, it was good, not great. I am not a fan when restaurants make sauces too sweet when they shouldn’t, such as on Kung Pao Chicken.

I ordered a lot of food thinking I would eat it over a couple of days because Chinese is wonderful as a leftover dish, but I found a hair in my asparagus beef and ended up tossing it. That said, I struggle to note that because restaurants are struggling and have had no issues in the past. Surprisingly, they have dim sum and some great appetizers, so I would love to hear your feedback.

It is super close to my neighborhood so very convenient, however, I’m still searching for that local Chinese restaurant that I completely fall in love with. If you have any recommendations, please let me know!