Have you noticed the new little cafe next to the Apple Store in downtown Walnut Creek? It’s a Capital One banking cafe – a new concept they’ve imagined in cities around the country. It took me some time to stop by as it was such an odd concept; banking in a cafe? Here is the company’s blurb about who they are:
Ready for a reimagined banking experience? You’ve come to the right place. Capital One® is a new kind of bank, one that’s built on digital tools and human connections. People are at the heart of everything we do, so we keep the banking experience simple and straightforward
This location gives customers access to financial planning and banking options while grabbing a cup of coffee or tea. The cafe also hosts community events (This Friday, Dec. 15, is Ugly Sweater Day!) and does some philanthropy in the area. Nonprofits, alumni associations and student organizations can book their Private Community Room for meeting space during regular business hours.
They’ve teamed up with Peet’s Coffee and Tea to provide Walnut Creek residents with a great little place to relax while they’re banking or working on their laptops. Now that I have stepped into it, I find it is really a brilliant idea and marketing strategy by Capital One. There is also a cool lounge area with interesting artwork.
They also have a more private nook and conference room should you need it. Jason (pictured below) was very helpful about their concept and even gave me a ticket for a free drink. If you are a Capital One card holder, you get half off your purchases at Peet’s, and everyone can wander in and use the ATM with no fees and get free Wifi.
It is also serving a niche for those self-employed folks who need to get out of the home to have a meeting or a quiet place to work. It is a cool space where you can snag a great cup of coffee, tap free wireless, and work, which might make it worth getting a Capital One card.
One of the best things Downtown Walnut Creek has accomplished in their art scene is making the electrical utility boxes you see scattered throughout any town look pretty. This is a popular trend in various cities and Walnut Creek has jumped on the bandwagon!
This particular box is in front of Talbot’s on the corner of Main St. and Olympic Blvd., and is a nice piece of work by Mary Anne Kluth. It is called “Master Study, Mount Rosalie,” and was commissioned in 2014.
Kluth was born in Colorado but lives and works in the Bay Area after earning her MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2008. Her piece was installed as a digital print on this box (as many are), but the original work used a hand-cut archival photo collage and acrylic paint to get this sort of apocalyptic, bizarre but beautiful nature painting.
Mount Rosalie of course is located in Colorado and is now called Rosalie Peak. I used to interpret this as a religious interpretation, but now that I have more knowledge about the piece, I want to go back and look at it in more detail. Note: Gott’s Roadside (future blog) opened Thursday. If you end up there, walk a block over and check out Mount Rosalie.
Last Tuesday, I hosted a Pie Party as a way of saying thanks to my past clients, referrals and neighbors. It was so fun! We bought 42 pies, had 39 RSVP’s – a few missed the party and thus, five pies were donated to the Trinity Center in Walnut Creek.
Some people didn’t realize we were actually hosting a party too, and just swung by to pick up their pies. Totally fine, but next year, stop in for some holiday cheer!
I can’t thank everyone enough for coming, meeting new people and seeing old acquaintances, and especially for donating to the Trinity Center. Besides the pies, we received cash, checks, gift cards, blankets, coats, socks and hats! What a wonderful way to give back over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Last thing: we had two door prizes raffled off, and it’s time to announce the winners! The winners are:
Amazon Gift Card, donated by Gold Seal Inspections – Teress Deberard
Veuve Clicquot Champagne, donated by JVM – Samantha Okazaki
Congratulations, ladies! Hopefully, everyone enjoyed their pie, had a good tine and a wonderful Thanksgiving. Looking forward to seeing everybody next year!
Recently, the Parkmead community had to say goodbye to one of its most magnificent, ancient, well-regarded friends. A huge redwood tree on Lilac Dr., that had served as a sort of landmark for the neighborhood, was cut down.
Many neighbors were out watching the tree come down, because it wasn’t just any other tree. This was a tree an arborist estimated was more than 150 years old. It was something recognized by anyone who traveled through, or lived in, Parkmead.
In its place now is a big gap of air, which will never replace the beauty of the huge redwood tree. Unfortunately, the tree had a disease in its roots, and was in danger of dying and falling on nearby houses.
Despite that danger, the owner was saddened, and told me it felt like he was losing an old friend. Even my son, who came home for Thanksgiving, noticed it had been cut down and was sad to see a gap in the skyline. It’s disappointing any time a tree has to be removed, but especially when it has lived through so much! Rick – the owner – speculated the neighborhood was designed around the tree as there are two other redwoods in rear neighbor’s houses that are estimated at 50 years of age each.
For the record, 150 years ago? That was 1867, when Walnut Creek was only 18 years old!
I recently tried one of the new restaurants in Walnut Creek, Limon, and it did not disappoint! It’s situated on Locust St., next to Vitality Bowl. I have now been for both lunch and dinner; both times I ate some great food, and right before the Warren Miller movie, fantastic pisco sours!
The vibe is like many new restaurants in Walnut Creek: a nice, hip atmosphere, slightly overpriced, but it delivered on results. The roasted chicken and ceviche are their signature dishes and the Pisco sours do not disappoint.
In our rush to get to the movie, we sat at the bar and shared a half chicken, green beans and we just had to have the truffle macaroni and cheese. My only complaint is when we left, my clothes smelled smoky like cooked food.
Overall, I really enjoyed Limon, especially those pisco sours! They have an extensive bar and a fabulous selection of Tequila. A handful of restaurants have recently closed (Lark Creek, Sunol Ridge and Vic Stewart’s), making Limon a great option for a nice dinner. There are two locations in San Francisco, one in Burlingame, and one opening in Hawaii this year.
I come across a lot of great art when I’m wandering in Walnut Creek. This one hits close to home. There’s nothing necessarily startling about it; it’s just a beautiful painting of Mt. Diablo’s landscape, with a very special message attached to it.
If you can’t read what that says: “This art wrap installation is in honor of Save Mt. Diablo for the important work they do preserving our local treasure.”
That’s right – it’s a dedication to an organization that has been around for nearly 50 years, devoted to saving the unprotected parts of Mt. Diablo from development. So far, the organization has done a fantastic job of increasing protected lands in the parks, and will continue fighting to do so.
This artwork – on the utility box in front of Vineyard Vines (corner of Mt. Diablo Blvd. and N. Main St.) is a perfect tribute to thank them for their efforts. And it adds to the beautification of downtown Walnut Creek, especially this corner!
Are you looking for a fun, free, family-friendly event this weekend? Check out the Harvest Block Party tomorrow (Fri., Nov. 17) from 3-7 p.m. It should be a real hole-in-one!
The Boundary Oaks Golf Course is hosting the party, which is free for Walnut Creek residents. They will have games for kids, a pie-eating contest, live music, pumpkin decorating, and food and drinks. Even if you don’t live right next door, you can swing on over to a beautiful venue to take part in the free (!) festivities (again, as long as you’re a Walnut Creek resident).
You don’t have to be a golfer, either, to appreciate Boundary Oaks. And you don’t have to be a neighbor to appreciate free events like this, just a Walnut Creek city resident! It’s a perfect way to keep your kids entertained for a few hours and mellow out before the weekend.
Boundary Oaks is at 3800 Valley Vista Rd., over by Arbalado Field and Northgate High School. For more information, you can call (925) 943-4775, or visit their website.
When those devastating fires in Napa and Sonoma started spreading through the wine country, most people outside the immediate area probably only found about it by seeing a story on the news or social media, or seeing a lot of hazy smoke in the sky.
While there’s nothing wrong with that, it always helps to have immediate notification of an emergency, sent right to your phone. Walnut Creek is part of Contra Costa County’s emergency notification system, which alerts members to all local disasters and emergencies in a very timely manner.
Listed and unlisted landline phone numbers are already included in the database and do not need to be registered. But to get them instantly on your cell phone, to your email or on a VoIP phone, you can go to https://cwsalerts.com/ to register.
Once you’ve signed up for those free alerts, you’ll know exactly what, when and where a disaster or emergency has struck. That way, you can help spread the word, reach out to people you know in the affected areas, and clear out of danger yourself.
There’s a new sushi place in town, and I tried it recently – it did not disappoint! It is hard to break into the sushi game in the Bay Area these days, but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed my meal along with the sake at IKOI, which is located across from La Scala.
The sushi itself was very fresh, though it took a while to get the second roll I ordered. It’s so new, there’s still a coffee logo on the floor of the restaurant from the previous tenants!
We ordered the small plate sampler with ceviche and “Hamachi Love,” all unique and deliciously fresh. Though they don’t have a large selection of rolls, the select few are quality and tasteful. I found the information about their chef and co-owner on the website really interesting, too: Chef Koji has been cooking for 40 years and trained under famed sushi master Chef Hiroshi Hiyama. He has worked in acclaimed restaurants in Japan before opening the first of three restaurants he now has in the Bay Area.
Apparently, “Ikoi,” means “rest and relaxation” in Japanese, which is perfect. I felt very satisfied and happy after eating there. I’d definitely recommend Ikoi to any sushi fans out there in Walnut Creek! It gets 4 out of 5 Mt. Diablo’s from me only due to the delay in getting the second roll. If it was on quality of sushi alone, it would be a 5+!