Brioche de Paris comes straight from France!

On Sept. 30th, owner Wissem Kheruji opened Brioche de Paris in downtown Walnut Creek. He is from Paris originally, and his family owns many Parisian bakeries. Wissem is the only member of his family in the U.S. He went into health and fitness, but ended up following in the family footsteps. Lucky us!

He opened this French-inspired cafe and bakery at Locust and Bonanza. They use imported flour and butter to make everything besides their baguette bread in-house. They are brand new, so the menu is still developing, but I’ve been told that a sweet and savory crepe menu should be available in a few weeks.

Brioche de Paris also offers espresso drinks, a daily soup, and salads. Their croissants are out of this world. They serve sandwiches between $6-$9 and pastries for $5 or less, and as little as $2.25. That’s right about in line with Walnut Creek prices.

The space itself is quite cozy and open, and they offer free WiFi with tons of outlets, which is usually a frustration in cafes. I’d highly recommend going to visit and getting a fresh croissant and enjoying a cup of joe at the newest bakery in town!

Another brewery in town!

You won’t believe this! Okay, maybe you will. There’s another brewery in Walnut Creek. We just finished recapping Rotator Brewery a couple of weeks ago, and now here I am to tell you about the San Diego-based Mike Hess Brewery that is situated in The Orchards shopping center on Ygnacio and Oak Grove!

The Mike Hess Brewery website isn’t working yet, so I can’t link you. But I stopped by to check it out and got a few pictures! The space has lots of seats inside, but the outdoor seating is the place to be. It is partially covered, and they often have live music on the weekends.

I really like the simple, sleek interior, and they had a spacious, cozy outdoor area with couches and a TV. They do host a trivia night every Wednesday, which should be fun, and they really pulled me in when I found it is a dog-friendly place! Bodie is getting old, but he would enjoy a sit on the patio. They don’t serve food, but you can order from the plethora of restaurants in the shopping center and some will bring it over to the brewery (Mod Pizza, Burger Lounge, etc. to name a few).

One cool thing that Mike Hess Brewery has done in the past is run “HessFest,” a charity fundraiser ever year. We can only hope they’ll bring the event up north with them, as Walnut Creek could use a few good brewfests! Go check out Mike Hess Brewery when you can!

Vici expanded!!

Vici, a hip women’s clothing store is expanding. I went to shop and see what changes are on the horizon. Vici, also has a location in Newport Beach, but the one in Walnut Creek is situated at N. California Blvd. and is open from 10 am to 7 pm Monday-Friday (and shorter hours on the weekends).

They are heavily focused on Instagram and their models always look much better than me in the outfit; they have some really cute, trendy clothing at affordable prices in a stylish and contemporary space, albeit small, but that is changing.

Vici calls itself “a haven for the modern woman,” and wants to make the act of shopping in a modern, digital age as effortless as possible. They offer a range of casual pieces to beautiful statement dresses and are known for eye-catching patterns.

As you can see, Vici is expanding with lots more room to show off all their clothing. It has come a long way from a tucked-away space in an office building on Olympic. Give it a look next time you’re out shopping and wanting some of the latest styles. You can always follow them on Instagram – they are constantly showing off their new items.

Art Town: Mural by MCXT

Two renowned Bay Area artists, collectively known as “MCXT,” have been commissioned by Bedford Gallery to complete a mural on the Civic Park Assembly Hall. I got a picture of the finished product, and thought the individual parts were the most interesting. It does brighten up this spot dramatically!

Monica Canilao (MC) and Xara Thustra (XT) teamed up to create the mural, and it looks awesome! MC is an internationally-acclaimed multimedia artist from Oakland who has a BFA from California College of Arts and Crafts. And XT is an activist for art and a member of San Francisco’s “Mission School” art movement.

True to form, the two artists put together a dazzling display of geometry, wildlife, and color to add a nice splash of eye-popping creativity to downtown Walnut Creek. I love the push over the last several years by our town to embrace art and make it a focal point of the everyday experience.

I initially stopped by while MCXT were painting it. They were on their lunch break, there was rain forecasted for Friday (and it was Wednesday), and so they were hurrying to get it finished. I mentioned Monica looked liked Frieda and she acknowledged the reference and said people ask her if she is trying to copy Frieda and her response is she is just being her authentic self.

I also asked about the surface they were painting on as it looked very smooth for an old building. Xara said the city prepped it before they started so there was a clean smooth surface to work with. If you spend some time in front of it, you will realize it is quite intricate, because just in passing it looks like some simple modern art piece. Please take a browse and enjoy.

Props to MCXT and the Bedford Gallery for another work of sheer energy and beauty to add to Walnut Creek’s growing collection. Have you had a chance to stroll through Civic Park and see the mural in person? What did you think of it?

Rotator Taproom rotates in

You won’t be surprised to hear this, folks! There is yet another new brewery to check out in the East Bay. The craft beer boom has really been embraced by Walnut Creek in the last half-decade, and Rotator Taproom is the latest to join the party.

I went to check it out recently and thought they did a fantastic job advertising themselves: happy hours, yoga events, and even poker nights were broadly marketed to anyone who walked in. They had a ton of beer on tap and also some bar snacks!

When I went, we tried four-beer flights for just $12 and thought the selection was pretty good. I also had a refreshing grapefruit lager. They serve beers from a ton of different breweries, and the price was definitely fair for the amount of beer you got in each pour.

Rotator Taproom is a little off the beaten path in the north part of downtown, but still very easily accessible. It’s hidden away on Pine street with lots of automotive shops, just around the corner from either Pinky’s Pizza or down from Walnut Creek BART. Parking can be limited and one of my servers was annoyed with all my questions, but I would recommend checking it out if you like to taste a wide range of beers, they had a lot of IPA’s even triple IPAs!

Pianos everywhere!

The other day, I was wandering in downtown Walnut Creek and had to do a double-take as I passed a spot I’d seen a thousand times before. In that spot, there was a wildly painted piano with a sign saying “play me!”

I’m not sure exactly when this art installation was put in place, but it’s really cool! There are eight pianos around downtown all painted different colors. They are really eye-catching, and all of them invite people to play on them.

Check out this article for a little more background on the project. It looks like the project is called “Painted Pianos” and they were donated by Steinway Piano Gallery and hand-painted by local artists. They will be out there for the public to play until Oct. 18.

Additionally, there will be some live performances by special guests every Tuesday from 12-1 p.m. (September 10, 17, 24 & October 1, 8, 15) from 12-1 pm at three locations: 1655 N. Main St., 1501 Locust St., and 1328 N. Main St.
The goal of the project is to bring community members together to create a musical memory! I love this! Take your lunch, walk downtown, and enjoy some music!

Won’t you be my neighbor!

I have a new listing in my own neighborhood of Parkmead! Come be my neighbor and live in a great little part of Walnut Creek. We are walking distance to downtown, top rated schools, and to Dewing Park pool. We have a small-town feel in Parkmead, where 4th of July parades, chili cook-offs and BBQ pool parties sprinkle the calendar.

This is a great family community, and the house itself reflects that. It’s a huge, flat lot with a play area in the backyard. There is a cabana, shed, and solar-heated pool. The seller is now an empty nester and is ready for her next chapter.

Inside, there is a remodeled kitchen, vaulted ceilings, fresh paint, dual pane windows and a well. Overall, it is a 4-bedroom/3-bathroom with a bonus room that can be an office. It is over 3,000 square feet and has a 2-car circular driveway. This opportunity with such a large, flat lot is rare for our neighborhood!

Come by to see the house this week: 45 Arlene Lane. I am hosting a Broker Tour today from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., and a Twilight Wine and Cheese event on Thursday from 5-7 p.m. f you are looking to downsize in the near future, give me a call!

And if you are looking to downsize in the near future, give me a call.

Event Round-Up: Sept. 7

Well, for most people, school is officially back in session. The events around town may die down until closer to the holidays, but there is still plenty to do! Check out my latest event round-up for local things to do over the next month.

Bedford Gallery: thru Sept. 15 (Walnut Creek)

Susan Lee-Chun_Photo Credit
From BedfordGallery.org

We’ve talked about this before, but the Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts always has really awesome exhibits for cheap. Right now, it’s the contemporary inflatable art exhibit, called Blow Up! Check it out!

Full Moon Sail: Sept. 13 (San Francisco)

Well, this looks awesome! The original event sold out, but you can pick up tickets for Thurs., Sept. 12 to go on a full moon sail in the Bay on a schooner! Tickets are $69 and there is a cash bar on board! More info.

Second Saturday: Sept. 14 (Oakland)

Head to Jack London Square for an awesome street festival that will have live music, more than 50 vendors, and all sorts of fun and games! Oh, did I mention it’s completely free? Here is the link.

Comedy Day: Sept. 15 (San Francisco)

Go to the aptly-named Robin Williams Meadow in Golden Gate Park for five hours of the best local comedy in the Bay Area – all for free! What better way to enjoy a weekend than laughing your head off in the city? See here!

Walnut Festival: Sept. 19-22 (Walnut Creek)

It’s that time of year again! The biggest, can’t-miss event for everyone in Walnut Creek. The 83rd annual Walnut Festival will take place later this month. Get more info here!

Capitola Art & Wine Festival  – Sept 14th & 15th

Enjoy over 160 fine artists while sipping exceptional wines from 22 Santa Cruz Mountain wineries. 

Capitola Beach Festival – Sept 28th  

Capitola’s 2nd Annual Beach Festival – something for everyone, including a 3-Miler Fun Run hosted by Wharf to Wharf, a Horseshoe Tournament, Lighted Nautical Parade, Fishing Derby, Sand Sculpture Contest, Chalk Art Event, Concert at Esplanade Park, Rowboat Races, and more! 

Introducing the Cypress Mini-Plaza

Did you know we’re getting a mini-plaza on the corner of Cypress and N. Main St.? It will be a partnership between the City of Walnut Creek and Walnut Creek Downtown. They plan to make it more of a “European” street environment.

Cypress Mini Plaza
From www.walnut-creek.org

You can see more info and a rendering at this link. There will be a loss of six parking spaces – I counted yesterday when I was driving down Main, though I think the city noted just three. It will enhance the public sidewalk on the west side of the street. The intent, according to the website, is to create a public gathering space in the heart of the traditional downtown area.

In addition to the sidewalk, the project will add new hardscape, landscaping, arbor, lighting, and seating to create this “mini-plaza” space. There will be synthetic play mounds and a new outdoor parklet, too.

From www.walnut-creek.org

It sounds like this project will commence over the Fall and Winter of this year, so look for this to be opened up by next year!

Art Town: Broadway Plaza

You can walk around Broadway Plaza anytime, and between the masses of people and the high-end stores, you’ll discover some truly stunning works of art. This has always been the case, but even more so now that have remodeled the entire plaza.


Not long ago, I was wandering downtown and found this elegant deer sculpture in the bushes on one of the main roads of the Plaza. As you can see from the placard, it is aptly-named “Bronze Buck.” It’s a nice, nostalgic piece in my opinion – I don’t know about you, but I regularly get deer running around my neighborhood! It’s kind of a staple of the suburban areas of Walnut Creek! This statue is almost life-like.

Across the street from the bronze buck, I discovered this gorgeous mosaic on the side of the building next to L’Occitane. It looks like there is a string of flowers coming from each side of the frame and wrapping around the trunk of a luscious tree. It won’t surprise you to hear that this reminded me of walking in the Open Space.

What kind of artwork have you found while exploring Broadway Plaza? What about the rest of downtown? There is never a shortage in this charming little city of ours!