Hearts on Hartz in Danville!

I was recently in Danville for an appointment but first had to stop by the post office. And there, at the entrance into the parking lot, was a cute polka- dot heart by artist Lisa Hoffman #16. I saw two, without having to look, the second one #14 is by Suzanne Gale and you can tell where it is located. As you know, I regularly comment on the thriving arts program in downtown Walnut Creek and was interested to find Danville was hopping on the bandwagon.


This summer, the Town of Danville is inviting its residents and visitors to discover 17 uniquely adorned heart sculptures placed all around downtown (I just gave you the link to the map, but maybe you do a scavenger hunt trying to find all 17). The public art exhibition will be installed mid-June and run through October 16.

Each heart sculpture is unique, with each design created by a different Bay Area artist. Some of the hearts boast a Danville theme, with imagery ranging from oak trees to Mount Diablo. Others incorporate playful designs and motifs. With an array of styles and subject matters represented, from traditional to contemporary, this outdoor exhibition is not to be missed. 

The exhibition will come to a close with an online auction. All proceeds from the online auction will go to a public art fund so that the Town can coordinate another public art project for all to experience in the future.

Event Round-Up: Mar. 14, 2020

Spring has nearly sprung around Walnut Creek, and though I’m so excited for the Open Space to bloom, I am hoping we have a good amount of rain in March! This can be a great time of year to go exploring – here are some fun events to check out for the next few weeks in and around Walnut Creek.

The Real Irish Comedy Fest at the Lesher Center – Mar. 15 (Walnut Creek)

Join comedians and performers at the Lesher Center for a gut-busting Irish-themed comedy show before the official St. Patty’s Day celebrations take shape. Tickets as low as $25.

St. Patrick’s Day Bands and Corned Beef at Norm’s Place – Mar. 17 (Danville)

Live bands. Green beer. Guinness. And hundreds of pounds of corned beef and cabbage! It may not smell great, but that’s going to be a darn good, tasty time at Norm’s Place in Danville! More info here.

Belgian Beer Tasting at Bierhause – Mar. 18 (Walnut Creek)

Bierhaus’ first tasting was a sold-out success! Join them on Mar. 18 to learn about the world of Belgian beer. A $20 tasting fee gets you a free drink and huge discounts. The event takes place from 6-7:30 p.m.

Sports Basement BrewFest at the Presidio – Mar. 28 (San Francisco)

Speaking of beer, you don’t want to miss this huge brewery blow-out at the Sports Basement in the Presidio. You can’t beat the locale, and you get to try beers from a ton of great craft breweries! Get more info here.

Easter at the Garden – Apr. 12 (Walnut Creek)

Bring the kids to the Ruth Bancroft Gardens for Easter activities! This will include an easter egg scavenger hunt and other festivities! Tickets are only $8-10 right now.


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!

Event Round-Up: Mar. 23

It’s finally Spring, everyone! That means less hiding inside from the rain and a lot more hiking, biking, and going-outsiding! Here are some outdoor-centric events coming up for the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy!

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Spring Brews Festival – Mar. 30th (Concord)

This is a TSBA Arts Foundation benefit from 12-4 p.m. A ticket will get you access to tastings from more than 60 breweries, plus live music and food! More info available here.

Makenplay Robotics – Mar. 30th (Walnut Creek)

Okay, this one isn’t outside. But it’s a really cool opportunity for your kids to get a crash course in robotics and other STEM-related learning! Ages 6-13 welcome, and it’s at Sweetwaters Tea downtown. It isn’t cheap, but it is a great 3-hour course. Check it out!

Shops & Hops Craft Brew Stroll – Apr. 4 (Danville)

Cute downtown Danville? Check. Shopping? Check. Beer festival? CHECK! From 6-9 p.m. the Museum of San Ramon Valley is hosting this craft beer stroll and tickets are only $25!

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Meet the Easter Bunny! – Apr. 13 (Alamo)

Make your kids’ day by bringing them to Alamo Plaza Shopping Center from 12-2 p.m. to meet the Easter Bunny! There will be other child-friendly activities there, too. Just make sure to bring your own camera!

Downtown Walking Tours – Apr. 13 (Walnut Creek)

The Walnut Creek Historical Society can answer all of your questions about the history of downtown on this $5, 90-minute tour. It starts at Liberty Bell Plaza and check-in will commence at 9:00 a.m. sharp! More details.

Event Round-Up: June 16

Welcome back to the newest installment of Event Round-Up! As always, this is where we gather five of the best Bay Area events taking place over the next month or so. Let us know if you go to any of these, and if so, how you liked them!

1. Walnut Creek Uncorked (Weds., June 20)

Walnut Creek Downtown presents a brand new event, designed for the wine-lovers in our town. Tickets are $40 in advance, and get you access to wine tastings, restaurants, artisan fashion and jewelry stands, and live entertainment. You must be 21 to buy a ticket!

2. Danville Summerfest 2018 (Sat., June 23 & Sun., June 24) 

Danville has a little festival of its own that you may want to check out! Our neighbor has a cute downtown that will be filled with local music, art, and food vendors. There is a classic car show on Sunday, and the event is family and dog-friendly. Danville Summerfest will take place from 10-5 each day.

3. Alameda County Fair (Fri., June 15 – Sun., July 8)

It’s that time of year again! The Alameda County Fair at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton kicked into full gear yesterday, and will carry on through the weekend after 4th of July. If you don’t have larger travel plans, you can trek over to Pleasanton for this awesome annual event – LeeAnn Rimes, Blue Oyster Cult, and Sean Kingston are some of the many musical acts expected to perform this year.

4. 4th of July Fireworks (Weds., July 4)

I don’t have any particular event or link for you here. There are generally tons of good spots to choose from to watch East Bay fireworks on the 4th of July. Take the kiddos, your leftover BBQ, and a blanket to enjoy the show. My favorite place to catch them is up at Tahoe.

5. Walnut Creek First Wednesdays (Weds., July 11)

Another stellar outdoors event to celebrate all that Walnut Creek summers have to offer! There is free parking after 5 p.m. in many major downtown garages to help you get around. If you’ve never experienced a First Wednesdays celebration, it is chock-full of live music, food trucks, drinks, games and even a Kids Fun Zone. Check it out from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Cypress St. in downtown.

Road Trips: Bay Area Hikes with a bar at the end

John Solaegui, a realtor in San Francisco (ironically, I went to high school with his sister!), shared a blog about five Bay Area hikes that end with a reward – in this case, a drink! I know we typically talk about actual road trips here, but hiking is just as much a way of life in the Bay Area as driving, so we can make an exception this time around, plus you most likely will have to drive to the destination!

See below for a summary of the 5 in the initial blog, as well as two I’ve added myself!

Hike #1: Grape Stomp Trail (2.4 miles) in Sonoma

The best part of this hike is that you start AND end at Bartholomew Park Winery. So, if you lose motivation at the beginning, you can just sit down with a bottle and enjoy the sunshine anyway. But, for the purpose of respecting the hike, let’s talk about Grape Stomp Trail – it is a 2.4-mile loop that starts and finishes at the winery, just to the left of the tasting room. You can see views of San Pablo Bay and cross Arroyo Seco Creek twice. If you stay left on the You-Walk Miwok Trail, you can “summit” the trail at 640 ft.

Hike #2: Zinfandel Trail (2.9 miles) in Cupertino

A beautiful hike that starts from the southern end of Picchetti Winery’s parking lot and loops back a few miles later. The winery itself is a sight to behold – more than 100 years old, shaded by oak trees, and home to a brood of peacocks! On the hike, you’ll walk past wild roses, small ponds, and a creek. At the end, you’ll end your day with a nice glass of Picchetti’s famous red wine.

Hike #3: Dipsea Trail or Sun Trail (1.5-4 miles) in Mill Valley

You may have heard of this one. A hike through part of the Dipsea Trail in Mill Valley will take you to the Nature Friends Tourist Club. The German lodge, buried within the trees of Mt. Tam and erected in 1917, is a local favorite. But you either have to be a member, or plan your hike on a day that they open to non-members. You can hike straight from Panoramic Highway down the Sun Trail, or start in Mill Valley and climb all the steps for the first part of the Dipsea Trail to get there and enjoy some German lagers, food and music!

Hike #4: Muir Beach to Tennessee Valley Trail to Green Gulch Trail (9.7 miles) in Mill Valley

Wow, that’s a mouthful. But so is the meal and drink at the Pelican Inn when you arrive. If you’ve hiked the entirety of the Dipsea Trail, you’ve probably seen the Pelican Inn at some point. This is a little bit longer, more difficult route that will start you at Muir Beach, take you through the Tennessee Valley Trail (can’t-miss views of the ocean!) in Mill Valley, and eventually out onto the Green Gulch Trail. That will bring you back close to the Muir Beach parking lot, where you’ll be ready to gorge and splurge at the Inn.

Hike #5: Coastal Trail/Lands End Trail (3.3-6.6 miles) in San Francisco

Ah, a Bay Area classic! For being a big city, San Francisco has an enormous amount of beautiful, natural hiking spots within it. One of the best, and most popular, is the Lands End trail that gives you unobstructed views of the Golden Gate Bridge. If you take this trail down the coast, past the Sutro Baths, you’ll end up at one of the most iconic restaurants (with a surprisingly affordable bar), Cliff House. You can’t beat this one!

Now, for a few of my more local favorites…

Hike #6: Danville Fire Trail in Las Trampas 

Las Trampas Regional Wilderness towers over Danville on the West side of 680, and most people don’t seem to bother with it. There are so many hiking spots in the Bay Area (and the East Bay specifically), that it might not seem worth the trouble. But the Danville Fire Trail loops back onto itself, and spits you out just a few blocks from the cute downtown area of Danville, where you can do anything from grab a beer at any restaurant or taste wine at Auburn James.

Hike #7: Lafayette Reservoir Loop

No list like this would be complete without a local favorite like the Lafayette Reservoir. You can take your fur baby up for a short loop around the reservoir, or take a friend on the long loop for spectacular views of the East Bay. Once you’ve looped back to the start, tack on another half hour walk, or jump back in your car, to get to downtown Lafayette. Once there, you have no shortage of drink options, but I’d highly recommend Rustic Tavern, Chow, and The Cooperage.

My new favorite breakfast place: Sideboard

img_9371If you haven’t been to Sideboard for breakfast or lunch yet, drop everything you’re doing and go now! I recently visited the new Danville location (it was moved down the street to a cool old B&B-style building) and absolutely love the vibe there!

To go along with a rustic, hip feel, the new location has a huge back patio for diners and all their same amenities still apply: dog treats for our furry friends, awesome holiday decorations and clever order markers for the tables.

As an added bonus for those who love their weekend bike rides on the Iron Horse Trail, Sideboard is only about a block from one of the trail exits!

I have now been a couple of times and have had  their chilaquiles, which is a Mexican dish with fried tortillas, sauce, salsa and fried eggs, topped with feta cheese.

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A lady who I was sitting by on the big farm style tables says she comes all the way from Oakland to eat breakfast there often. I have ordered their delicious, fluffy beignets twice, once as a take out and once served – they are best fresh and warm, but delicious no matter what.

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A new addition is Sideboard is in Lafayette. I have yet to visit, but have been told they have a picnic service, where they’ll bring your meal out to you on a blanket on the grass in a picnic basket. What a nice touch! If you haven’t checked out Sideboard yet, make sure to do as soon as possible. It’s well worth it!