You pa-gotta try Parada

Nestled in a quaint corner of the new-ish Pleasant Hill BART area – but technically still in Walnut Creek – lies a hidden gem of foreign cuisine. Parada, the latest brainchild of the Michelin rated Chef Carlos Altamirano, is a delicious, colorful display of Peruvian food that will definitely bring you back for seconds.

Chef Altamirano’s name may ring a bell; he has Mochica and Piqueos in San Francisco, Barranco in Lafayette, a fleet of Sanguchon food trucks, as well as La Costanera in Half Moon Bay, where he earned Michelin stars in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He trained under some of the Bay Area’s most renowned chefs, combined that background with an upbringing infused with Latin American culture and cuisine in Southern Peru, and created a food empire.

Now I know from personal experience that Peruvian cuisine, especially when cultivated by Chef Altamirano, is a can’t-miss eating opportunity.

The restaurant itself is quite small, but you wouldn’t know it when you’re in there enjoying your meal. Parada is open for lunch and dinner every day of the week, though hours vary. It’s a little bit pricey, but that’s what quality fine dining in Walnut Creek will get you these days!

If you haven’t been to Parada yet, I insist you do so. When you go, let me know how you liked it!

Event Round-Up: May 19

Welcome back to the next installment of Event Round-Up! Below, you’ll find five of the best events around the Bay Area for the next few weeks. If you attend any, please let us know how they were – you may even be mentioned in a future blog!

Image result for bay to breakers

Bay to Breakers (May 20, 2018 – San Francisco)

Look, if you’ve still never experienced Bay to Breakers in San Francisco, you’re truly missing out on a one-of-a-kind spectacle you can’t get anywhere else in the world. Take advantage of this “race” of usually around 100,000 people dressing up in ridiculous outfits, drinking mimosas, and enjoying the sunshine in the city. It’s an early start, but you can take part in the festivities without actually registering for the race. Be there tomorrow – you won’t regret it!

Civic Park Public Art Installation (May 26, 2018 – Walnut Creek)

This will be a super cool, unique event. The Bedford Gallery and City of Walnut Creek Public Art Department have a National Endowment for the Arts grant for a public art installation in Civic Park. It brings world-famous sculptor Patrick Dougherty to town and should continue to put Walnut Creek’s art on the map. He plans to install a huge project made of woven willow saplings, and he’s calling for the public’s help volunteering to assist. The project has already begun and ends on May 26th, when there will be a free celebration in the park for your viewing pleasure!

Image result for patrick dougherty art

Mission Mural Tour (June 2, 2018 – San Francisco)

If you’ve ever wandered through The Mission District in San Francisco, you’ve probably eaten amazing Mexican food, stumbled upon a few mind-boggling murals, and then eaten even more amazing Mexican food. But it’s the middle thing we’re focusing on here, as you now have the chance to join a public, professional walking tour of the murals in The Mission. It will give you information, history and context around some of your favorite murals in The Mission. The tours are free, but the guides accept donations and tips!

First Wednesday (June 6, 2018 – Walnut Creek)

Cypress Street in downtown Walnut Creek will have a lot going for it on Wednesday, June 6th. That will be the next installation of the First Wednesday event that shuts down a whole city block and invites live music, dancing, food trucks, adult drinks, a Kids Fun Zone and games. There will also be a Chef’s Demo (in partnership with the Contra Costa Certified Farmers Market) and chances to win free prizes. You can park for free after 5 p.m. in all downtown garages that day, and the festivities last from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. I can’t recommend it highly enough – it’s always a great time!

Image result for murals mission district

Haight Ashbury Street Fair (June 10, 2018 – San Francisco)

Similar to First Wednesday (only bigger, better and more famous – sorry Walnut Creek!), the Haight Ashbury Street Fair will take place a few days later in San Francisco. This fair has been around for decades and seems to get better every time I go. There is a ton of live music, the best food, drink and craft vendors around, and – as is typical with any event in San Francisco – a TON of people. As if you need an excuse to enjoy one of the city’s most famous neighborhoods on a beautiful day, go check out the Haight Ashbury Street Fair!

April events to mark on your calendar!

Believe it or not, it’s already almost April! As the calendar turns from winter to spring, Diablo Magazine has provided a few awesome ideas for local events in the Bay Area next month.

Image result for mt. diablo

Here are four of the best ones that I’m personally interested in going to:

The Naked Magicians: April 3rd at Livermore’s Bankhead Theater

An Australian duo who put on “the world’s naughtiest magic show,” complete with illusions and comedy. Adults only!

Bay Area Craft Beer Festival: April 22nd at Martinez waterfront

More than 50 local breweries, live music and food trucks from all over the East Bay? Yes, please!

Diablo Trails Challenge: April 15th at Mt. Diablo

You can choose from a 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon and a 50K. Partial proceeds go to Save Mount Diablo!

Monet: The Early Years: Through May 29th at Legion of Honor (San Francisco)

You can get a cool perspective on Claude Monet’s early period of work, covering his evolution to Impressionism at the SF Legion of Honor.

Leave a comment if you know any other fun things to do next month!

Broadway Plaza grand opening

Last Thursday, you may have been startled by big explosions in downtown Walnut Creek. Don’t worry, it was only fireworks signifying Broadway Plaza’s grand re-opening at their “Party in the Plaza” event! If you missed the food trucks and concert that night, you can still catch the encore to the celebration tomorrow (Fri., Sept. 9) from 6-9 p.m.

broadway_plaza_walnut_creek_01

Tomorrow’s festivities are themed “A Night of Thanks” and is aimed to thank the community for its patience and support during construction. There will be in-store events, musical performances, food and wine tastings, and more. Boudin, Clarks, GAP, Diablo Magazine and the Walnut Creek Downtown are sponsors and partners of the event.

We can’t guarantee more fireworks, but this seems like a pretty great way to spend a warm summer night downtown, exploring the newest re-addition to the city. The one-night only celebration will include a special “Meet & Greet” from a NYX celebrity beauty influencer, a Fall Fashion sneak peek, and a fundraiser for Wardrobe for Opportunity.

Stores participating with special events or deals include:

  • Allen Edmonds
  • Athleta
  • Hanna Andersson
  • J. Jill
  • Kate Spade New York
  • Kiehl’s
  • L’Occitane
  • Macy’s
  • Sephora
  • Soma Intimates

Beatles Band, Food Trucks and Downtown Walnut Creek!

firstwednesdayWalnut Creek’s downtown has ample amounts of activities: dining, shopping, people watching and celebrating. One way to engage in all of these is to join the Walnut Creek Downtown’s First Wednesday. Recently extended through June of 2016, the first Wednesday of every month, come celebrate, eat dinner and enjoy downtown Walnut Creek from 5pm – 8pm. Located on Cypress St. between N. Main and Locust. The roadway becomes pedestrian friendly, food trucks adorn the curbside and entertainers keep the energy alive. Come taste the treats of Ceviche & Co or Lexie’s Frozen Custard to name a few.

 beer-and-wineBeer & wine are also available for purchase along with cotton candy and snow cones –  mid-summer treats!  cotton candysnoconeEnjoy a few residents of Lindsey Wildlife experience and flora and fauna from The Ruth Bancroft Garden.

This Wednesday July 1st come out and celebrate while dancing in the streets to the Rubber Soles, a Beatles Tribute band. If this isn’t tempting enough, there will be shiny vintage cars from the ’50’s and ’60’s to gaze upon. Hope to see you out there!

~cheers