Friday, July 21, 2017

Best of Summer Beer Dinner

Silicon Valley Beer Week kicks off today, and something special has been cooked up by Scott's Seafood and Santa Clara Valley Brewing. On Monday, July 24th, a special "Best of Summer" Beer Dinner is being hosted on the Scott's Seafood patio overlooking Downtown San Jose.

The food and beer pairing consists of five courses featuring Santa Clara Valley Brewing Company's award winning beers. Here is the full menu:

Best Of Summer Beer Dinner Pairing Menu

Opening Reception: Charcuterie and cheese platter
Beer Pairing: Dry Creek Blonde

2nd Course: Scallop Crudo: Thinly sliced raw sea scallop served with citrus wasabi soy sauce
Beer Pairing: Alviso Hefeweizen

3rd Course: Steak Tartare served with arugula and crispy shallots in a citrus dressing
Beer Pairing: Electric Tower IPA

4th Course: Halibut served with a saffron risotto and a mushroom ragout topped with basil pesto
Beer Pairing: New Almaden Red

5th Course: Chef's sweet surprise
Beer Pairing: Loma Prieta Rye Stout

Tickets cost $60 and the event runs from 6pm to 9pm this Monday. To learn more and purchase tickets, head over here.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

New "all-you-can-fly" airline comes to San Jose

A new type of airline called Surf Air is about to launch several routes to San Jose. Instead of booking individual tickets, you subscribe to a membership that starts at $1,950/mo that gives you access to unlimited flights. This is aimed directly at executives and people who travel constantly within California.

Initial routes from San Jose will include Seattle, San Diego, and Las Vegas. It may also launch a route to Sun Valley, Idaho. Presumably they will fly out of the private aviation side of SJC, but that was not confirmed in the source article. Technically they could use any regional airport as the planes are Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprops.

Perks also include streamlined booking and the ability to arrive just 15 minutes before scheduled flight take-off.

This might be a very niche service, but I am sure it will be appreciated by the tech elite that are wealthy, yet not wealthy enough to own a private jet. It will be interesting to see how successful Surf Air becomes in the Bay Area.

Source: SVBJ


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Taste Of Orleans Festival at Great America on July 22-23 & 29-30

The annual "Taste Of Orleans" festival is transporting California's Great America to Louisiana for the next two weekends. Access to the event is included with admission.

The event features traditional Cajun cuisine including crawfish etouffée, chicken and andouille sausage gumbo over rice, hushpuppy shrimp skewers with Cajun dipping sauce, crispy frog legs with creole aioli, blackened catfish sliders, and either classic beignets, or praline bread pudding for dessert. A tasting card with six selections is only $25. You can also pick up muffuletta pizza and bananas Foster funnel cakes a-la-carte. 

Orleans Place will also host family-friendly entertainment such as live music, stilt walkers, and chalk art. A fireworks show will cap the event each night at 9:45pm. 

If this is anything like the Great America Red, White & Brews event, it will raise the bar for the type of food you would expect in a theme park. The menu sounds outstanding!

For more information, the full press release is below and you can buy park admission tickets over here.

Taste Of Orleans Festival Returns To Great America July 22-23 & 29-30
Cajun & Orleans Food, Live Music And Décor In Orleans Section Of Great America

SANTA CLARA, CA – California’s Great America will once again bring its Orleans Place to life with the Taste Of Orleans festival July 22-23 and 29-30. Taste Of Orleans features live Cajun music, midway entertainment, regional food and drink and will be open to all Great America guests. To close each evening, a Taste Of Orleans fireworks show set to Cajun music will decorate the sky.

Cajun cuisine available with a $25 tasting card includes crawfish etouffée, chicken and andouille sausage gumbo over rice, hushpuppy shrimp skewers with Cajun dipping sauce, crispy frog legs with creole aioli, blackened catfish sliders with tangy slaw and a choice of classic beignets or praline bread pudding. Additional Orleans foods available a la carte include muffuletta pizza and bananas Foster funnel cakes.

“The response to Taste Of Orleans from our guests last year was incredible and we’re excited to bring back the event in 2017,” said California’s Great America vice president and general manager Raul Rehnborg. “In addition to traditional amusement park fun, Great America is committed to building on our tradition of live entertainment options.”

A chalk artist will paint Mardi Gras murals throughout the festival and there will be mask decorating for kids 12 and under.

2017 Season Passes are currently on sale for just $69 and features a season of fun in both Great America and Boomerang Bay Water Park. A $105 Gold Pass includes Halloween Haunt, WinterFest, free Great America parking, Gilroy Gardens and more.

Great America is currently hiring for the 2017 season and applicants can apply online at

California’s Great America is a 100-acre theme and water park located in Santa Clara, CA that contains thrill rides, family attractions and live shows. The park opens for weekends in March, operates daily Memorial Day through mid-August, continues weekends through fall with Halloween Haunt, and the season concludes in December with WinterFest.

California’s Great America is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: FUN), a publicly traded partnership and one of the largest regional amusement-resort operators in the world. The Company owns and operates 11 amusement parks, two outdoor water parks, one indoor water park and five hotels. For more information, see

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sourisseau News: Wetting your Whistle

It looks like I missed quite a few Sourisseau News videos from earlier this year so I will be playing catch-up for the next few weeks. The two minute video below highlights many of San Jose's famous watering holes from the past century. 50 years from now, I wonder if San Joseans will be watching similar videos about the top bars of the 2010s.

To see an archive of past videos, head over here.

Sourisseau News Wetting your Whistle November 2016 from WMS media Inc. on Vimeo.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Embracing Urbanism - Part I - NVIDIA's Endeavor

This is the first in a new series here at The San Jose Blog; Silicon Valley - Embracing Urbanism.

Silicon Valley has gone through numerous phases of tech expansion with most recent growth focused on next generation workspaces and flagship campus development. While the corporate campus is not a new phenomenon, Silicon Valley has become synonymous with tilt up concrete low rise warehouses and land consumptive single family development for decades. This modular approach allowed companies to be nimble while growing or retracting with the ebbs and flows of the economy.  

Technology today is much more ingrained and rooted in our daily lives. With this, many tech firms have had unprecedented growth and large workforce requirements. With land values at a premium and traffic congestion at an all time high, there is pressure to rethink our built fabric. While planners, politicians, and thought leaders propose higher density, it also requires our region's main stakeholder, the technology sector, to act. The technology sector holds capital and resources to demand new innovation in workspace and campus design.  At the same time, the character and form of their campus reinforces brand, collaboration, and role in the community.

Among the most recent campus developments, Samsung Semiconductor completed their North American “cube” headquarters in North San Jose in 2015. Apple is nearing completion of the Apple Campus 2 in Cupertino aka “the spaceship” with it’s signature landscape open space in the center. Facebook completed their Building 20, a 430,000 square feet single open room in Menlo Park and landscaped green roof. Google has their “tent” campus plans moving forward in Mountain View as well as plans for upwards of six million square feet in the Diridon development in Downtown San Jose. (The San Jose Blog plans to cover this development in more depth in a future article).

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Images left to right, Samsung Semiconductor, Apple Campus 2, Facebook Building 20, Google Mountain View, taken from their respective website.

NVIDIA, an industry leader in graphics, deep learning, and most recently self driving technology, embarked on a multi-year campus redevelopment to meet projected staffing demands. Internally known as endeavor, the project has undergone multiple design phases, scope changes, and municipal review. In 2015, NVIDA’s new campus began to take shape, with completion slated for late this year.

Image: NVIDIA Endeavor Phase 1, Walsh & San Thomas Expressway in Santa Clara (2015)

Earlier this year, NVIDIA and SPUR graciously hosted a tour of the first phase of their new campus at the intersection of Walsh and San Tomas Expressway in Santa Clara. As other players in the tech space have developed iconic shapes, NVIDIA’s CEO Jen-Hsen Huang and design team looked to their own product for inspiration. Triangles; the basis for modern computer graphics became the perfect shape for connecting users and encouraging collaboration. As part of the design process, NVIDIA developed IRAY, a proprietary rendering engine to view the space in 3D with accurate lighting and materials in real time.

Here are some fast facts about NVIDIA’s Project Endeavor:
  • 500,000 square feet
  • Capacity for 2,300-2,500 employees
  • 1,400 parking spaces
  • 120 triangular skylights
  • Minimal use of elevators
  • $370m on time & budget
  • Developer - Sares Regis
  • Architect - Gensler
  • Interior Architect – Gensler
  • Landscape Architect – TGP
  • General Contractor - DEVCON

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Image: Phase 1, with NVIDIA’s campus to the left and right. 400ft Aerial Photography (2017)
The impressive structure is oriented as a series of two floors over below grade parking. While there are visible entries from San Tomas, the main entry is underground at the center, focused upwards. This unique arrangement enables employees to park or be dropped off under the main building and enter a triangular atrium through a “grand” staircase, linking multiple mezzanines and two main floors.

The tech scene’s mandatory dining space has a stadium seating amphitheater for presentations or impromptu meetings. The upper floor is host to a “bar” for spontaneous creative collaboration. As the focus of the new campus is to drive innovation through “creative collisions”, all circulation generally returns to the central triangular atrium. The main open floor workspaces are configured with raised floors for flexible realignment over time. These open floor plates are second only to the contiguous floor area of Facebook’s Building 20.

Exterior entry

Entrance to the Heart

As machine learning and technology advances, the campus will be monitored through automated systems capable of tracking individuals on campus. The tour took place prior to finish installation with the concrete and steel giving a cold appearance. It was revealed on the tour, wood and textiles will be introduced to soften and add warmth to the design.

Stadium seating oriented towards dining and common space.
Open Floor Plan, over open floor substrate

The Heart, “Designed to Inspire”, some of the 120 skylights in roof structure.

Triangular Atrium and Grand Stair, within the Heart.
Glass Exterior, parking entrance seen below
Bridge connecting upper mezzanines. (Reminiscent of a Deathstar bridge)
While the campus is generally open, there are no public spaces. However, the campus will have a series of walking trails and landscaped berms along the edge of the campus. Since the building’s capacity will exceed the number of parking provided, NVIDIA intends to rely on commuter shuttles, cycling, and future self driving services to offset the traditional demand for a 1:1 car to human ratio. Employees are able to take shuttles from nearby Caltrain stations to make a quick connection to the Peninsula and San Jose.

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Rendering from San Thomas; Gensler (2013)
Through advanced computer modeling and continuous refinement, the building seeks to reduce the impact on the environment through 75% reduction of potable water, reduced electrical grid demand through use of smart lighting, skylights, solar, and continued optimization.  Further optimization is achieved through a network of sensors for future automation and machine learning.  The building is slated for LEED Gold which is a monumental for a project of this size and scope.

I was very impressed with the project and look forward to seeing NVIDIA’s final product. It is worth stating NVIDIA’s CEO and board took this project through many iterations over many years with the end result better for it. I commend their efforts for efficiency and reduction of demand on the automobiles.

As future phases of this campus are built, it will help redefine the suburban office park. Time will tell if all future phases are realized, but as machine learning and self driving cars demand, more growth and future phases will likely take place.

Thanks to John O’Brien of NVIDIA and Noah Christman of SPUR for providing an in-depth preview of the Endeavor project.  Check out for updates from NVIDIA.

NVIDIA campus Satna Clara The Registry real estate
Initial rendering of Phase 1 and 2.  Presently Phase 1 is under construction: NVIDIA (2013)

-Andrew Rivlin

Introducting Andrew Rivlin

We are going to start the week off right with an epic development post from our newest blogger, Andrew Rivlin. This will be the first in a new series of "Embracing Urbanism" posts.

Andrew Rivlin is an Urban Designer and Landscape Architect with LPA, Inc. He has an interest in mass transit, urbanism, sustainable design and is excited to witness San Jose’s transformation. Based in the South Bay, he brings a unique perspective from prior experiences in Southern California, Singapore, and Vancouver. Andrew is a member of SPUR and a Planning Commissioner in the City of Campbell. He enjoys cycling, exploring the local brewery scene, and traveling with his family.

Andrew's first post for The San Jose Blog will go live in an hour!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

San Jose Musical Roundup

I have a couple updates from the local music scene. 19-year-old San Jose resident, Anja Kotar, has just released a brand new song entitled "How to Be Cool" (video below). Anja studied classical piano for 12 years and used a successful Kickstarter project to fund the creation of her first album when she was only 17. You can check out her portfolio of songs over here (I personally really like Black Soul).

Next up is new work from San Jose rapper Lucid Optics. His new album is entitled "illogic" and features futuristic, electronic melodies. All the music is original (no samples besides drum kits) and his lyrical skills are impressive. You can listen to the album over here. The songs are also available for purchase as a digital download, CD, or vinyl. Lucid Optics is going to support the release with a US tour later this year.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Playful People Productions Presents: Disney The Aristocats KIDS

What's a cat to do? In Disney The Aristocats KIDS, Madame's jealous butler Edgar cat-naps Duchess and her Aristokittens and abandons them in the Parisian countryside. Luckily, Thomas O'Malley and his rag-tag bunch of alley cats come to their rescue! This fun musical, based on the Disney film, features many of your favorite characters from Thomas O’Malley the Alley cat to Amelia and Abigail the bold Geese Sisters

This feline adventure is sure to get you tapping your feet to its upbeat, jazzy beat with a score that includes the Disney favorites "The Aristocats," "Scales and Arpeggios" and "Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat.” 

Our shows often sell out prior to the show weekend. Be sure to buy your tickets early, you won’t want to miss out on this fantastic production. 

All Shows at the Historic Hoover Theatre, 1635 Park Ave  San Jose, CA 95126
Show Times:
Friday, July 21st - 7:00pm
Saturday, July 22nd - 11:00am3:00pm and 7:00pm
Tickets available at
$12 attendees 12 and up, $8 children 11 and under,  and $6 Children’s floor seating
Tickets at the door (30 minutes prior to curtain)
$15 attendees 12 and up, $10 children 11 and under, and $6 Children’s floor seating
For questions:
Founded in 2010, Playful People Production’s mission is to provide a quality, caring environment where children, teens and their families can have positive theater experiences. We strive to involve all family members in the many aspects of on stage and backstage theater in a safe and fun environment and offer participation in theatrical productions, classes, summer stock and camps for ages 3-103