Friday, November 28, 2014

San Jose Harvest Festival Kicks Off Today

The San Jose Harvest Festival starts today and continues all the way through Sunday. Instead of going to the mall, why not look for more unique and personal gifts at one of the largest indoor arts and crafts festivals. Over 24,000 items will be available for purchase, all handmade in the US.

The event is located at the San Jose Convention Center and also includes live music, entertainment, and kid's zone, and festival foods. Tickets are $9 for general admission, $7 for seniors, and $4 for kids. For more information, head over here.

Top Rated Craft Show Boasts Shopping, Music, Food and Prizes

(San Jose, Calif.)--- Don't be fooled by empty "door buster" deals designed to lure you to the Big Box retail stores this Black weekend. For a truly enjoyable shopping experience, visit the San Jose Harvest Festival®, November 28-30 at the San Jose Convention Center, and help support the independent artisan instead.

The San Jose Harvest Festival® is one of the largest indoor arts and craft shows on the West Coast and was recently rated among the top 200 craft shows in the country.  The show offers over 24,000 handmade arts and crafts, including original art, jewelry, photography, clothing, specialty foods, holiday decor, and more.

Many of the artists at the Harvest Festival offer bargains and show specials that can only be obtained at the event. Plus, attendees can meet the artists and can often get their purchases personalized. There will be a grab bag prize drawing each day, and the Grand Prize drawing, happening of the show, features a brand new ipad mini.

Throughout the weekend, the Harvest Festival offers upbeat live music, including performances from Tom Rigney and Flambeau, a band that blends American Roots styles into a completely original sound, mixing infectious grooves with deep musicality and spectacular solos. On Saturday afternoon, there will be a special one time performance by the Sweet Adeline's.

Gingerbread on the Go will co-host the KidZone and will feature make-and-take gingerbread cookie projects. Nature of Art for Kids, an eco-friendly company offering non-toxic art supplies for children, will also be participating by offering crafts using "green" and repurposed materials. Plus, parents can stop by the New York Life booth to obtain a free Child ID kit.

The Harvest Festival will welcome back its official non-profit partner, Humane Society Silicon Valley, a charity committed to animal welfare in every facet. Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) will receive half of the proceeds from shopping bag sales and all of the proceeds from the bag and parcel check.

Loaves and Fishes, a San Jose based non-profit organization which serves free, nutritious meals to the working poor, families, homeless and seniors, will be the food donation partner for the show. Anyone who brings a monetary or non-perishable food donation to the show will receive $2 off their admission.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Wishlist: Michelin Star Restaurants (2015 Edition)

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I'm going my 6th annual rant on needing to get some internationally recognized Michelin-starred restaurants in San Jose! The Michelin guide is the most renowned rubric for measuring culinary greatness, and for the most part San Jose restaurants have been excluded from its pages. However, I think the foodie culture is continuing to build momentum in San Jose, especially Downtown. I'm continuing to be optimistic for the future!

Michelin has three different star categories:
  • One Star - A very good restaurant in its category with cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard. A good place to stop on your journey.
  • Two Stars - Excellent cuisine, skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality. Worth a detour.
  • Three Stars - Exceptional cuisine with distinctive dishes and superlative ingredients. Worth a special journey.
I created a Google doc listing all of the star recipients for 2015, along with tabs for all previous years and some general statistics. Below is an image capture from the doc. This year there were a total of 40 restaurants on the list, which is up 2 from last year and down from the peak of 47 in 2012. 53% of the restaurants are locating in SF, 25% in Wine Country, 20% in Silicon Valley (split evenly between the South Bay and the Peninsula), and 3% in the East Bay. There are two new restaurant on the list this year, Kusakabe and Maruya (both Japanese) as well as three upgrades: Saison and Benu now have the elusive 3-star rating and Acquerello was upgraded to 2 stars. No restaurants from 2014 were dropped.

I will also mention that there are some restaurants in the Michelin guide that do not get a star, but are considered "Michelin Recommended." Within this category San Jose scored a total of 9 restaurants:
  • Downtown
    • Vung Tau
    • Back A Yard
  • The Alameda
    • Zona Rosa (NEW)
  • North San Jose
    • Smoking Pig BBQ
  • South San Jose
    • Bun Bo Hue An Nam
    • Thien Long
  • Willow Glen
    • The Table (NEW)
    • Fratello
  • Camden
    • Rangoli
Zona Rosa and The Table are two well-deserved additions. Unfortunately, there were some restaurants from 2014 that did not make the cut this year: SJ Omogari in Japantown, La Costa in East San Jose, LB Steak in Santana Row, and Pizza Antica which is also in Santana Row. If we don't get some stars, at the very least we'll hopefully get more Michelin Recommended or Bib Gourmand restaurant ratings in 2016. If you haven't been to the restaurants above, I can vouch that all 9 are well worth checking out.

Source: Michelin Guide

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

$120 Million Santana Row Office Project is a Go

Last week Federal Realty started working on their latest project at Santana Row--a six-story 232,000 SQFT office building next to the CineArts Movie Theater. The building is designed with loft-style soaring ceilings and the large floor plates that contemporary Silicon Valley companies love these days. The new office will also add one extra retail space (probably a cafe) and net an additional 500 parking spaces that can be used by shoppers during evenings and weekends.

Also on tap is an additional 500,000 SQFT of office space across two more buildings, one of which features 30,000 SQFT of retail. These are in the city approvals stage, so we won't be seeing shovels for either of them any time soon. When complete, they will finish the original vision for Santana Row. Fortunately, Federal Realty still has plenty of expansion options across the street.

Source: SVBJ

Monday, November 24, 2014

Downtown San Jose Restaurant List Updates! (2014 Edition)

I have finally caught up with updating the Downtown San Jose Restaurants database (it has been a while, sorry about that). We are up to a grand total of 250 eateries! This is yet another record-breaking number for Downtown San Jose! To put it in perspective we were at 206 eateries in 2011.

We are up to an all time high despite some notable closures such as Blackbird Tavern, Bella Mia, and Los Gatos Brewing Company. I'm sad to see those go, but there are so many great places that opened in 2014 that I think more than makes up for the losses. Here are some of the newcomers:
  • C.R.E.A.M - The famous ice cream sandwich chain opens a new shop Downtown on 1st street. Open until 2am on weekends, you will almost always see a line out the door... but don't worry it moves deceptively fast.
  • Paper Plane - Not only do they serve up amazing craft cocktails here, but they have a menu that is up to par with their drinks. Try the deviled eggs and pork belly chicharron.
  • First to Market - Great traditional American cuisine in SoFA, brought to you by one of the same founders as Singlebarrel.
  • Taurinus Brazilian Steakhouse - Downtown gets a Brazilian steakhouse again! Great selection of meats and a sidebar with salads and Brazilian delicacies for when you need to take a protein break.
  • Power Bowl - New healthy offering with Acai-based fruit bowls and smoothies.
  • Garlic Bread - Finally open and providing tasty BBQ in Fountain Alley.
  • Ozu Sushi - Sushi place taking the baton from Smile Sushi.
  • Da Kine Island Grill - Traditional Hawaiian food, often accompanied by music, entertainment, and drinks.
  • Nomikai - Asian tapas and fusion pizzas along with craft drinks.
  • Louisiana Bistro - Cajun delicacies with a nice kick to them.
  • Nick the Greek - Best casual Greek spot in Silicon Valley. Killer food at reasonable prices.
  • Boba Bar Teahouse & Eatery - New Boba spot right next to SJSU.
    • San Pedro Square Market
      • Arepa Swing - Unique Venezuelan arepa eatery.
      • Spuds - Awesome potato bar where you can get everything from BBQ pork potatoes to Italian Pesto potatoes. Great food and great service, one of my new favorites at the SPSM.
    • SoFA Market (NEW!)
      • Falafel Bar - Today's flagship offering at the new SoFA Market. The falafels here are out of this world and you can customize your sandwich or bowl any way you'd like.
      • Vero's Coffee - Yet another outstanding coffee shop Downtown. I recommend the Mexican Mocha.
    • Other Places Coming Soon
      • Ramen Bar and Pizza Place in the SoFA Market
      • M Lounge Bar and Restaurant (in the P.F. Chang Spot)
      • The Continental in SoFA
    Below is the changelog from the Downtown San Jose Restaurants Database:

    1/4/20148 Treasure Restaurant replaced Asian Gourmet at 150 S. First
    1/4/2014Power Bowl is open at 132 E. San Fernando (was once Blendz)
    1/4/2014Ninja Star Sushi closed
    1/4/2014Added Sweet Express to the list
    1/5/2014Ozu Sushi & Grill replaces Smile Sushi
    1/5/2014Tico's Tacos Closed, the oldest Downtown restaurant I had a confirmed opening date for (1957)
    2/9/2014Added First to Market, at 399 S. 1st
    2/9/2014Added hours and Yelp info to CREAM, one of the few dessert shops open late
    2/9/2014Added Louisiana Bistro at 19 N. Market
    3/22/2014Zenon's Peruvian closed on 167 San Fernando but has been replaced with Taurinus Brazilian Steakhouse
    4/28/2014La Victoria is taking over the old Tico's Tacos site at 291 N. Fourth and Julian
    5/11/2014Added M Lounge Bar and Restaurant, which is taking over the P.F. Chang's location at 98 S. 2nd Street
    6/15/2014Added Arepa Swing and Spuds (coming soon), both in the San Pedro Square Market
    6/15/2014Added Nick the Greet at 143 W. Santa Clara St.
    6/15/2014Added Mid GoGo at 185 Park Ave, #189
    6/15/2014Added Cafe Eden at 2 N. 1st St.
    6/15/2014Added Seven Seas Sushi at 130 E. Santa Clara (replaces Ninja Star Sushi)
    6/29/2014House of Siam closed (owners reopening Tee Nee Thai on The Alameda)
    9/29/2014Los Gatos Brewing Company Closed (to be replaced with gaming lounge and bar)
    10/7/2014Blackbird Tavern Closed
    11/22/2014Bella Mia Closed due to escalating rents
    11/22/2014City Restaurant at 301 E. Santa Clara Street replaced with Bobo Drinks
    11/22/2014Hydration replaced with Boba Bar Teahouse & Eatery
    11/22/2014Added Garlic Bread in Fountain Alley

    If you haven't bookmarked it yet, here's the link to the spreadsheet! There is also a permanent link over to the right entitled Downtown San Jose Restaurants.

    Sunday, November 23, 2014

    Celebrate San Jose's Birthday Today!

    Screen Shot 2014 11 16 at 10.04.00 AM resized 600

    Join SPSM and History San Jose for a special family & friends event celebrating San Jose's birthday!

    Co-sponsored by History San Jose and the San Pedro Market

    Location: Peralta-Fallon Historic Site, 175 West Saint John Street
    Cost: Fallon House Tours: HSJ Members Free; 4 & under free; Adults $8; Children (5-17) $5; Hands-on Activity Wristband: HSJ Members Free; $5 all others

    Celebrate San Jose’s 237th Birthday at the Peralta Adobe Historic Site! San Jose, or El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe, the first Pueblo of California, was founded November 29, 1777. Come have a slice of birthday cake and help celebrate! Meet members of Founding Families, participate in hands-on activities, and visit the historic Peralta Adobe.

    1:00pm – 4:00pm
    • Live Music by Los ArribeƱos de San Francisco
    • Hands-on Activities: Rope a “bull,” make a corn husk doll, dip a candle, design your own brand!
    • Historical Displays
    • Peralta Adobe Open House

    Celebrate with Cake and Coffee – First Come First Served!

    1:00pm, 2:00pm and 3:00pm

    Three Tours of the Fallon House Leave on the Hour
    Sign up fast! Each tour is limited to 12 visitors.


    Event Ends. Thank you For Coming!

    Saturday, November 22, 2014

    Saturday Stats: #1 Easiest City For Finding a Job

    In order to find the easiest and hardest cities for finding jobs, looked at the population of each metro and compared it to the number of job listings in the area. With 123 advertised jobs for every 1,000 residents, San Jose took the cake by a mile. The runner up was Raleigh, North Carolina with 88 openings for every 1,000 residents. Washington, DC came third (87 jobs per 1,000 residents) followed by Boston (83) and Denver (80).

    Source: Forbes

    Friday, November 21, 2014

    Turkey Trot 2014 Next Week

    The 10th Annual Turkey Trot is taking place next week on Thanksgiving morning. There will be Elite 5k/10k races, a Wheelchair 5k/10k, a Run/Walk 5k, Costume Contests, and a Kid's Fun Run. The race starts at Santa Clara Street at Market and finishes at Santa Clara Street at Delmas with a huge festival at the Guadalupe River Park and Arena Green. Over the past 9 years this event has raised $4 million for local charities. The goal for this year is to raise $1 million!

    For more information and to sign up for the event, head over here!