There’s nothing better on a warm summer day in California than enjoying some live music outside. Luckily for us, both Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek have some outdoor concert series coming up, and I’ve got the lowdown on both of them.
First, let’s talk about Pleasant Hill: their summer “Concerts by the Lake” series takes place at City Hall and runs from the end of May to early September. The free shows even offer communal Adirondack chairs to relax in. Upcoming acts include the Groove Doctors, Native Elements, and Big Jangle (a Tom Petty tribute band).
In Walnut Creek, I’ve written many times before about the great Broadway Plaza Summer Concert Series. The month of August is jam-packed with great 80s tunes, including Dog N Butterfly, Fleetwood Mask, and Mustache Harbor. Tomorrow (Thurs., 8/3), Tainted Love will be playing a show.
Will I see you out at either of these events? The food items, drinks, and happy company is enough to keep me coming back for more – and that’s before we even get to the music! I will there to dance to Tainted Love, hope to see you too!
My clients, Farrah and Michael, were looking for a home and just closed on this beautiful one in Pleasant Hill. They wanted a place to relax, put up a hammock, and maybe even get a dog. They were referred to me by another client who closed on a house in Walnut Creek last year (thank you, Kim and Adam!).
We looked at just three homes and the third home was a charmer. They wrote on a newer home that was nicely updated but had no yard. They didn’t win that one, but it was a good thing in the end as this home on W. Boyd Rd. checked off most of their boxes. Funny how things just work out for the best.
To win this house, Farrah and Michael beat out three other buyers (in part because they had such a great loan benefit with Kaiser and Matthew Townsend at Union Bank as their loan officer, who knows how to rock through the Kaiser system and loan process quickly and smoothly).
Surprisingly, Farrah was on a trip and did not see the house in person until after we got into contract. She relied on lots of videos and pictures from Michael, and knew he would make a good decision without her physically being there. They looked so happy on closing day, and I’m thrilled at how it all worked out. A big congratulations to them!
Just listed Dorothy for sale in Pleasant Hill! It is a contemporary filled with light 1,544 square-foot, 2-bed, 2-bath home with a zen-vibe, listed for $1.1M. It is centrally located in Pleasant Hil and has easy access to I-680, Highway 24, shops, and BART.
There is a detached garage, which is being used as a flex space. It could be converted into an ADU!
Spacious primary bedroom
New HVAC in 2017
New Bosch dishwasher
Anderson windows throughout
Backyard Oasis of fruit trees – (cherry, fig, apricot, lemon, lime, nectarine, pomegranate, pears, and grapes – plus flowering plants!).
Maybe best of all, there are no rear neighbors, with a deck is conveniently located off the kitche/dining area. Please send me a note if you, or anyone you know, is interested in looking at the property!
It’s almost spooky season, folks! As we approach a heavy holiday season, I wanted to put together a few fun events around the area that anyone can enjoy! If you go to any of these, please reach out and let me know how you liked them – you might even see me there!
Bedford Gallery: “Off Menu” (thru Dec. 15)
The newest Bedford Gallery exhibit is live, and it’s a doozy. This one is called “Off Menu,” and is all food-related contemporary art. Check out works from artists as famous as Salvador Dali. More info here.
2019 Oktoberfest: Civic Park (Oct. 19)
Join your friends and neighbors at Civic Park for the 2019 celebration of Oktoberfest! This free, family-friendly event will feature a ton of craft brews and wines, and kicks off from 11-6 on Oct. 19. Check it out!
Fall Festival: Le Jardin Salon in Pleasant Hill (Oct. 20)
Le Jardin Salon is hosting a treasure hunt! They will be offering unusual gifts for the holiday season like decor, furniture, collectibles, and jewelry. There will be vendors and collectors aplenty! Get more here.
Moonlight Comedy: Stand Up Under the Stars in Oakland (Oct. 23)
Take in some live stand up comedy on the outdoor patio of The Uptown in Oakland. Doors open at 7 and shows begin at 7:30 – make sure to dress warm – it could get chilly! More information here.
Trick or Treat in Downtown Walnut Creek (Oct. 25)
Kids are invited to trick-or-treat through downtown at participating businesses. Meet at City Hall Plaza in your best costumes to start the fun from 2-5 p.m., then stay for the after-party! Details here.
It’s officially summer, in case you missed that massive heat wave at the beginning of the week! Time to plan around pool parties, trips to the beach, and picnics at the park! Here are some fun, local events for the next month or so happening in the Bay Area:
Exploratorium: Self, Made (thru Sept. 2)
A really cool-looking exhibit about self-discovery that is on display for all ages at the Exploratorium all summer. Find out what makes you, you at this interactive-heavy exhibit. Information here.
Walnut Creek: Uncorked (June 20th)
The best restaurants in Walnut Creek offer delicious food, you’ll get to sip wine and walk through downtown, and mingle with the rest of the local community at this annual event. Get tickets here!
Walnut Creek: Music and Movies at the Park (June 21st)
This summer movie and music series will start at Tice Valley Park on 6/21, showing Bumblebee and playing the Rossmorr Band. Music starts at 7 p.m., and the movie starts around 8:30 (at sundown). Bring your family! Information here.
Pleasant Hill: Summer Concerts by the Lake (June 23)
Can’t beat a great outdoor venue for some small-time theater. Though the run on A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be over at CalShakes, you could take up The Good Person of Szechwan or plan ahead for House of Joy or MacBeth later in the season. Get more info here.
One evening I was working late and another agent had asked me some questions. Then she asked if I was hungry as she was going to get some dinner and wanted to treat me for my help. She is Chinese and recommended going to a Chinese restaurant. I said only if she orders the more authentic dishes so I can try them, as I always get kung pao chicken.
It was delicious and I would have never ordered the items we did. Sichuan can be spicy, so Kathy, my co-worker, was concerned I might not like it. Below is fish soup in a spicy sauce that we got only half-spicy. That is where the bowl of rice really comes in handy: you grab some fish, douse it against the rice, and then eat both. The rice helps absorb some of the heat.
We also ordered their signature tofu dish. Again, it would not be something I would normally consider and it was my favorite! I would order this again. These pictures don’t show anybody there, but there were two groups and I left them out of the picture. By the time we left, there were another give groups eating!
For an authentic Sichuan meal, I’d definitely recommend checking this place out! Just don’t go for the standard Chinese fare and ask your server for what they would recommend as the house special.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of how many new restaurants open and how many old ones close in Walnut Creek. It’s an endless merry-go-round of openings and closings, which can be exciting but hard to track! Recently, my team member Denise tried Bounty Hunter, plus her daughter Erica is a hostess there, so they tried it three times during the past weekend soft opening for friends and family! Here are her insights:
Bounty Hunter Walnut Creek is the second location for this wine and spirits merchant. The rustic decor and only 25 tables create a comfy atmosphere. While the combination of a wine merchant serving BBQ sounds a bit odd, Bounty Hunter pulls it off amazingly well. The food is fabulous! The pimento cheese dip appetizer is a new twist on the southern version with a bit of a kick to it. The BBQ platter is a good way to try the pulled pork, brisket and ribs with the three house made sauces, a great dish to share. Not a huge fan of BBQ? The salmon on shaved brussels sprouts and tri-color quinoa was cooked perfectly (and looked beautiful too). The beer can chicken is one of their specialties and quite a site when the whole chicken (including the beer can) arrives at the table; and you can’t beat mac and cheese as the ultimate comfort food to go along with it all. Ah, the desserts . . . s’mores pie, cobbler, and panna cotta with kumquats are just a few of the tempting options. Even with the soft opening, service was very good with the entire staff creating a welcoming vibe.
The restaurant officially opened on April 8. Reservations are recommended and can be made up to two weeks out but only by phone or in person. The 15 bar stools and lounge area are open seating. The full menu is available at the bar. Beverages and appetizers are available in the lounge area. There are 24 wines by the glass available and 8 wine flights that have been put together for those who want to taste some great wines. Bounty Hunter is one of the few restaurants in Walnut Creek with a sommelier. Brandon has hand picked the 500+ wines that are available for purchase in the retail wine and spirits shop. There is a full bar and Bounty Hunter has 4 specialty cocktails on the menu. There is no happy hour nor door dash at this time 🙁
p.s. I can’t wait to try it and note, there are some vegetarian options!
There’s a burger restaurant taking the East Bay by storm. The closest location to Walnut Creek is in Pleasant Hill, so you can wander over to our neighboring town anytime to catch a bite of Fat Maddie’s!
According to their website, Fat Maddie’s is a family business with locations in Pleasant Hill, Blackhawk, and San Ramon. They create Southern food with ingredients from a family farm at the base of Mt. Diablo. They use herbs, eggs, and more from the farm to create the delicious meals at the restaurants.
I went with some friends to grab a bite before a movie. I had the Cali Chicken sandwich, but switched out broiled chicken for fried chicken and it was very good. My team member Denise went with her daughter and a friend – those are the pictures you see in this blog. It is a cute, but small, restaurant with sandwiches, salads, soups, a few entrees, and a bar. Perfect for dinner before the movies or lunch with some friends.
As with anything in Walnut Creek, prices to see a movie have skyrocketed in recent years. Going to Cinemark to catch a flick used to be a relaxing treat. Now, after tickets, popcorn, a drink, and parking downtown (if the lot is full), you’re looking at a solid $50 outing. Unless you went to Costco and got the movie passes which used to be about $7.50 a ticket, and has steadily increased in price over the years. The new price is $17.99 for two which gets me to point of this blog.
With the remodel of the new Lux seating in the theaters, you now have to plan way ahead and reserve your seat if you want to sit next to the person you are going to the movies with. The Costco tickets do not allow you to reserve online; you either have to go ahead of time to buy the tickets or be hopeful there are a couple of seats together. With the Movie Pass on the verge of non-existence (they are trying to rebound with unlimited movies every month), the best deal going is the Cinemark Movie Pass.
It automatically bills you every month for one ticket at $8.99, but you can buy more tickets for the same price and then you get 20 percent off your concessions and can earn points for more discounts. Plus, you can then reserve your seat online, which waives any fees. This is now a slightly better offer than what you can get at Costco. Oscars are just around the corner and it always my favorite time of year to catch up on the movies nominated. Just don’t make the mistake I made when booking the Favourite. I accidentally got the movies for Thursday night when I was going on Friday. Note my surprise when I no longer had tickets. I still had the email receipt and the manager was kind enough to print 2 ticket for Friday!
If you don’t mind going on a Tuesday, it is $6 all day in Walnut Creek and $5.75 in Pleasant Hill. What a great deal, but for those of us who work and have families, fitting that day and time in can be a challenge.
Remember back in the day, how Festival Cinema 5 was the downtown theater to go to? Those of us who have lived in Walnut Creek for a while will remember! It was opened in 1969 and expanded to five screens (wow! LOL) in 1971. It was closed and demolished in 2001, and now Momo’s stands on its corner. Check out this old picture:
Movie-going in Walnut Creek (and in general) sure has changed over the years, but it’s hard to complain about the quality of theater and film we get nowadays! Just curious to know, how many of my readers enjoy going to the movies by themselves? I have done this a few times and actually don’t mind it!
As anyone who has lived in Walnut Creek for more than 30 seconds knows apartments are popping up all over town to keep up with the demand of our popular little town. The newest ones being finished right now are primarily on Riviera, walking distance to the Walnut Creek Bart station. The main picture is a very large complex on Ygnacio and Trinity called Vaya. These are all meant to be walking distance to Walnut Creek BART (and they definitely are!), they feel a little more spread out and each their unique style than their counterparts in Pleasant Hill. Below is low-income apartments that back up to the freeway.
The Pleasant Hill station jammed a lot of units on their parking lot without much regard to design and aesthetics. I think Walnut Creek is trying to do it differently, there is still a lot of construction, so we will have to wait and see on the final product. Live Riv, pictured below, is on Riviera, which are condos for sale ranging from $495k for a junior 1 bedroom to $695k for a 2 bedroom. Riv’s refined, contemporary exterior welcomes you into design-savvy living spaces that feature keyless entry, nine-foot ceilings, hardwood floors and oversized windows. European-style open kitchens showcase sleek cabinetry, under-cabinet lighting, quartz counters, tiled backsplashes, and stainless steel appliances.
Below is another on Riviera that is also affordable housing with a 4,000 person waitlist that requires you to meet a certain income threshold and then the tenants will be picked lottery style. That is what happens when you have a studio apartment for $900 rent in Walnut Creek!
The overall idea is to provide living opportunities close to Bart so people don’t have to drive to commute to the city. Walnut Creeks is also building another multi-level garage, but more people are moving to our once quaint town and trying to find solutions to traffic will be an ongoing challenge over the next 20 years.