Art Town: Ducks at Arroyo

I love these cool ducks at the new Arroyo apartments at 1250 Arroyo Way in Walnut Creek. It’s one of the most unique pieces I’ve seen around town at any of the new complexes.

Did you know: The Walnut Creek Public Art Program was adopted in 2000 when ordinances requiring funding and the inclusion of public art in new development and renovation projects was passed by the City Council? I think that’s a wonderful idea!

Are Walnut Creek’s In-N-Out dreams dead?

According to ABC7, the new In-N-Out location Walnut Creekians have been salivating over might be in trouble.

Just TRY to say no to this picture…

Apparently, a community near the proposed site (N. Main St. at Second Ave.) of the new location is trying to stop the construction because of the expected long drive-thru line that will cause traffic and late night noise.

The city has not taken a stance yet, and the owner of the property already has it zoned for a restaurant, so it may very well still happen. Would In-N-Out have a restaurant without the drive-thru window? If so, how will In-N-Out feed all the folks who don’t want to leave their cars to eat their fast food?

Anyway, the local community rightly likes its quiet, peaceful street and think there is already a plethora of fast food restaurants nearby, making In-N-Out unnecessary.  My son will be bummed, I for one am indifferent.  They are not my favorite, the patty is too small…stay tuned for future blogs on our areas burger locals.

This would look great on N. Main St. Just saying.In all seriousness, it looks like the city will plan a few public hearings after they review the proposal again. It remains to be seen if the local community will have their way, or if residents of Walnut Creek will be able to save themselves 10 minutes of driving on 680 (in either direction…) for those juicy burgers.

For what it’s worth, the anti-In-N-Out petition on Change.org has about 10 times as many signatures as the pro-In-N-Out petition. At least our town gets involved.

Just Be Yoga is my go-to spot in Walnut Creek

About 1 1/2 years ago, I joined Just Be Yoga after I went on a Just Be and Dragon Fly Yoga retreat to Nosara, Costa Rica. I went with my favorite yoga teacher who I originally met at Forma Gym, named Kelli.

The owner of Just Be Yoga, Jenny Wendell, has created an amazing community. The people and the instructors there are incredible. The yoga studio itself has a 2-door glass garage that opens and shuts whenever necessary. They have heated classes, a little courtyard outside of the studio, and multiple yoga retreats per year from Yosemite to Hawaii, among other domestic and international locations. Another of my favorite instructors, Malia Hill, even offers an occasional SUP (stand-up paddleboard) yoga class in Alameda! This summer she is headed to Croatia for a SUP/Yoga retreat.

Courtesy of Just Be Yoga’s website.


I think my favorite thing about going to Just Be Yoga and the retreat in Costa Rica, were meeting all the great people and instructors and just feeling like I belong. The benefits of learning to breathe, sweat and get that afterglow/relaxed feeling is a big release from the stress of daily life as a real estate agent.

A big benefit to yoga, in general, is that they really get you in touch with your body. I had no idea how much I lacked in range of motion and flexibility. Kelli’s classes often focus on areas I never knew I could stretch like hips, IT bands and sides. These tend not to be the Deep Yoga class, but they have some great Vinyasa flow and I love the Yin classes. Just Be Yoga is located right behind Wish downtown. Check them out, try them out and come be part of this wonderful community. You can do an introductory trial month for $39.

Courtesy of Just Be Yoga’s website.

As for the retreat, we stayed at Blue Spirit and I stayed in the Eco Hut. I thought it meant “eco-friendly hut,” but I was wrong. Oops! It had no A/C, it was a shared room, and it was more than 100 uphill steps to get to the yoga studio and it meant economy hut ;-).

Despite all that, the experience was unforgettable! There was evening meditation, yoga twice a day and plenty of time to enjoy the beach (which was right next to our resort), horseback riding, surfing and more. Check out this slideshow below!

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Art Town: Sparks

Tucked away in front of a building on Cole Ave. (off N. California Blvd. by The Counter), is a cool sculpture called “Sparks.” I never would have noticed it if not for looking up while I was walking by.

The sculptor is Linda Fleming, a longtime sculpture professor at California College of the Arts. She has three major pieces at the Oakland Museum, which you can see HERE, HERE and HERE.

Lesson learned: always pay attention to your surroundings so you don’t miss anything!

Broderick doesn’t live up to the legend of Hubcaps

My son Jackson and I tried Broderick recently. And as much as I loved Hubcaps, which formerly occupied the space there, I have to say Broderick was slightly disappointing.

I used to go to Hubcaps for burgers before movies, and it was a Walnut Creek classic. But it definitely needed a remodel, so when the owners shut it down with the intent of rebranding as Broderick, I was pretty excited.

There’s a definite decor and lighting change, and a better bar-sitting situation if you want to watch a game while eating. The casual atmosphere is nice, and updated compared to its predecessor. Unfortunately, that’s about as far as the positives went.

Jackson ordered a burger and I ordered a fried chicken sandwich. I had visions of the fried chicken you get at Tender Greens, however, I got a thickly, breaded, heavily-seasoned coating that separated from my chicken. Jackson’s burger was ordered medium but only had a tiny bit of pink in the middle – and was dry.

This may sound like a funny complaint, but we also had so many fries on our plates that there was no room to put ketchup. Speaking of the fries, they had weird seasoning on them. The sriracha-mayo doused my chicken sandwich and made the whole situation sloppy and hard to eat.

The huge pickles on the sandwiches were good, and the artisan buns were great. They do have brunch there and the wait staff was attentive, but did not ask us about our meal. The food just wasn’t special and it cost $38 for two burgers, fries and a beer.

Overall, I give it 2 Mt. Diablo’s out of 5.

More change coming to downtown WC

The ever-evolving landscape of downtown Walnut Creek is about to change again. Soon enough, there will be another new restaurant and Amazon’s new brick-and-mortar location.

Citra Grill, which has held a corner location by the movie theater for a few years now, is already out. In its place goes KoJa, which is a food truck-turned-restaurant that serves up a Korean-Japanese sandwich fusion with crispy garlic rice buns instead of bread.

Additionally, there is a physical Amazon location coming to Walnut Creek. The new bookstore, which will go in Broadway Plaza, will infuse a little literature into a town that lacks it. I find it ironic that Amazon’s business model literally (pun intended) closed most of the brick and mortar stores because it was much cheaper to order books via Prime. How I have missed browsing a book store before a movie, but isn’t that the problem? We as consumers browsed and then bought online and now with Audibles, I just download a book. I am curious to see how and why this fits their warehouse-style business model that ships to your door.

The last update is one recommended to me by a team member. Apparently, there’s a new sushi joint next to Crepes Ooh La La called Kurumi Sushi that gives gigantic portions for fair prices and which he says is above average in taste! I personally don’t think you can have both (great food and large portions), especially with Walnut Creek real estate rents, so you decide and let us know.

Art Town: Whaat?

Here’s another fun utility box project on the corner of N. Main St. and Duncan, right near Tomatina, kitty corner from the head fountain!

The painting here is a little more simple than others we’ve showcased, but still grabs your eye with the bright orange background and strange design in blue. It almost looks like a person with spiky hair listening to music, doesn’t it?

I can’t find much information on the piece itself or on the artist, James Woods Marshall, but it’s hard to miss this one when you’re walking down N. Main! Just another cool piece in a town chock full of hidden art.

Cornology & Chaology on Locust St.

Has anyone ducked into Cornology or Chaology on Locust St. downtown? They are in the old Bead House location, two doors down from Peet’s Coffee and across the street from Lark Creek Cafe.

 

I went in there recently to check them out and both spots are pretty unique! Cornology is expensive for popcorn, but they do give you a ton of popcorn in each bag and have some cool, different flavors. You can get anything from kettle corn to truffle oil corn there!

Chaology serves everything from tea to smoothies to boba, but also has a wide-ranging menu to give a bunch of different options. They do sweet and savory crepes, yogurt and pan-rolled ice cream. Both shops in that location are well worth a try, but if you’re on your way to the movie theater, I would just get my popcorn there!

Newell Promenade becoming apartments soon?

I have some unsurprising news, fellow Walnut Creekians: another block of high-rise apartments is expected to go up in the downtown area soon.


This time, it’ll be where the Newell Promenade is (360 Burritos, former home of Taxi’s, etc.), across from Kaiser. A developer bought the commercial space and they want to develop it into a mixed space with retail on the bottom and more apartments above. It would include a 5-story, 120,574-sq. ft. building with 102 residential apartments, more retail than is currently in the plaza, plus two levels of parking.

There have been discussions about utilizing the creek in that area; I can see a restaurant with a patio overlooking the creek, but then where would the front entrance be?

The developers who bought the buildings in the Newell Promenade have had conversations about presenting ideas formally to the Parkmead and other surrounding neighborhoods. So far, they’ve had two conversations with members of the Parkmead Community Association but only got some basic input and opinions; not a representation of the entire community.  There have also been some informal meetings amongst home owners and attendance at the planning committee.

Walnut Creek City Council asked the group to prove more what they want to do and to make the presentation more user-friendly.  Then we will see how it works out. I asked my favorite cleaners – Vogue, who currently are doing business in the Newell Promenade, what their thoughts were. They think it will be a few years out before anything happens and they have another two years on their lease, so they can’t worry about what will be and only continue to focus on their business. My biggest concern will be how much the rents will go up and whether my cleaners will be able to stay at that location.

You can get more information on the development proposal at this link.

Also, on a sidenote, the city is finally putting in a z-shaped crosswalk to make it safer. We won’t have to worry about running over people scurrying across that busy road between Kaiser and Newell Promenade!

Sauced Opens in the old Pyramid Location

Pyramid Alehouse was a long-standing favorite in downtown Walnut Creek, but has recently given way to a new barbecue joint called Sauced.

The owners are cousins (one raised in Pleasanton, one in the South) and imported everything from the South – from the wood used in the restaurant to the menu and drinks. Their goal is to bring authentic BBQ to Northern California, but they did not bring southern pricing to the table.


Where the old Pyramid brewery tanks were is now a huge, open bar and that seating area looks massive with the new layout. They do trivia on Tuesday and Bingo on Wednesday each week, and the dining area also has plenty of space for big groups.

I had the brisket which was served with apple coleslaw (very good) and a slice of corn bread with whole kernel corn (authentic and tasty) plus two drinks. It was rich and I had a food coma for a few hours, but maybe the drinks attributed to the feeling.

The food and ambiance is good; my son ordered a Cubana, which includes a fried pickle in it and two sides, the cost $20. The BBQ I have had outside of Austin, TX would cost much less and is just as good, but we can’t all go to Austin for some down-home BBQ and I am sure our rents are much higher, thus Sauced is local and may be the next best thing if you are hunkering for BBQ.

They do have a great bar area, tons of mico-brews to choose from and a daily happy hour. It is a great place to gather with friends and enjoy a game. Pyramid left some pretty big shoes to fill, considering its popularity, so time will tell if Sauced can keep the seats filled. I do hope they continue the live music on the patio in the summer and would love to hear what you think and if you know of any other great BBQ spots!