Wednesday, September 30, 2009

South First Fridays Art Walk

Every first Friday of the month you'll find an eclectic mix of artists, musicians, and free entertainment at the South First Fridays Art Walk. If you have never attended one of these, you definitely won't want to miss out. The fun starts at 8pm in SoFA and continues well past midnight. If the map below is any indication, you'll have plenty to do (each blue dot is something worth checking out, like galleries and exhibits). Click here to see what's on the agenda for Friday, Oct. 2nd!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Latest Discount Code

Just a quick post to let you know the latest discount code. Click here to select deeply discounted restaurant gift certificates for Silicon Valley restaurants, then when checking out enter the coupon code TREAT. This will take 70% off the cost of your gift certificates--which are already marked down 50%--ultimately giving you $25 restaurant gift certificates at a cost of $3. Killer deal if you like to eat out (I used one at Fuel tonight). The 70% off code expires Monday at 3am.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Worst Ad Possible for Broadway San Jose

While watching Heroes tonight (disappointing in and of itself), I caught a glimpse of the Center of the Performing Arts in a commercial, hit rewind on the DVR and decided to watch it. What I saw was the ABSOLUTE WORST WAY to plug a San Jose event possible. The person that wrote the script for this promo must be a complete idiot. Here's the exact wording, you can tell me what you think:

"Lawrence Scott, NBC Bay Area, here at the San Jose Center of the Performing Arts during Broadway San Jose's first ever Season. You know I've heard people in the city say that San Jose is limited in its culture and that it is basically like Fresno with money. Which I think is totally rude, I know plenty of people in Fresno with money. Fore more information... [blah blah]."

UPDATE: This spot was done as a promotion for the NBC Bay Area website and has no affiliation with Broadway San Jose.

Downtown San Jose Condo Sales Gaining Traction

There was a good article in the Merc a couple days ago that sheds more light on how high-rise condo sales are doing in Downtown San Jose. A few numbers have already been shared in the latest Downtown Dimension, but the image below really puts it all into perspective. While the numbers don't seem awe inspiring, keep in mind the economic times, the negative perception many people still have of downtown, and the fact that this type of housing product is a new concept to a city which is just now moving away from suburban thinking. Every time I visit Downtown I notice more lights turned on in the condo buildings, which provides me with an oddly reassuring feeling. By this time next year, hopefully every condo will have an owner and developers will be breaking ground on the next round of residential skyscrapers.

Click here to read the full Merc article.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Downtown Willow Glen

While many cities our size have a single urban focal point, we're lucky enough to have 3: Downtown San Jose, Santana Row, and Downtown Willow Glen--all of which are in close proximity from one another. I know I post a lot about Downtown San Jose, but I'm going to start posting more about the other two urban centers along with potential future centers (North 1st St., The Alameda, Midtown, Evergreen, Alviso, Coyote Valley, etc.).

Willow Glen has always had a lot of charm and character, but also possesses an interesting history. It was incorporated into a city in the 1920s to prevent San Jose from running a railroad down Lincoln, the main street in what is now Downtown Willow Glen. By the 1930s, there were over 30 commercial businesses in Willow Glen, setting the stage for the walkable Downtown it has today. Then in 1936 in was annexed to San Jose in order to prevent having to build its own sewage system. Willow Glen was essentially built on a marsh, great for farming but it created some complications with individual sewage systems. Since San Jose already had a great city-wide sewage system, the least expensive solution to the problem was being annexed into San Jose.

Willow Glen continues to retain its unique character and Downtown Willow Glen maintains a very enjoyable atmosphere for dining, shopping, or just sipping on a cup of coffee. I'll even go so far as to say that for many years, Downtown Willow Glen was more of a downtown than Downtown San Jose. Below are a few photos that I took last time I was in Willow Glen (click to enlarge the benches):

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Coupon!

It turns out that has promotions pretty frequently. This latest promotion isn't as amazing as the crazy 90% discount earlier this month, but is worth mentioning nonetheless. Click here and enter in the coupon code ENJOY to receive a 60% discount off of the already deeply discounted restaurant gift certificates. The bottom line is $25 dining gift certificates for $4, still a great deal! This coupon code is good until Monday, September 21st.

Last time I mentioned over 20 restaurants in Downtown San Jose that you can get certificates for. This time I dug up a handful in the Santana Row area:
  • Consuelo Mexican Bistro
  • Roux Lousiana Kitchen
  • Thea Mediterranean
  • Fuel (across the street from Santana Row)
  • Flames (across the street from Santana Row)
Again, he're the link for the certificates:, discount code: ENJOY. As new discount codes are released I'll post them here. Might as well take advantage of them until the economy picks up and restaurants stop offering them.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lost San Jose

I recently stumbled upon Lost San Jose by Josh Marcotte, a talented photographer, writer, and lifelong San Jose resident. Described as "guerilla photography in an urban sprawl," Josh puts a really interesting spin on forgotten areas of our city. My favorite is the photo of Alviso, the poster child for what's lost in San Jose (San Jose has a marina?? No way!). Take a look at his work below:

For more, check out:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 2009 Downtown Dimension Highlights

It's that time again, the latest issue of Downtown Dimension has arrived and here are the cliff notes:
  • 360 Residences is now open! The sales office has been moved from the Fairmont Annex to the 5th floor of the 360 Residences building, freeing up a key retail space in the process. Owners will start moving in towards the end of the year.
  • High-rise condo sales updates:
    • Axis: ~25% occupied (~80 units), sounds like they are selling about 4 homes a month.
    • The 88: selling an average of 4 condos per week
    • City Heights: over 50% occupied (over 62 units sold)
  • There will be a San Jose Open House from Sep. 26-27 where all 4 condo high-rises will be open and offer refreshments from downtown restaurants and pedicab rides between each tower.
  • 3 Downtown buildings are receiving Facade improvements:
    • Anaconda Building
      • 150 year old building at the entrance of San Pedro Square.
      • Ground floor anchored by Starbucks and La Victoria, which is finishing its expansion.
      • U Food Grill, featuring healthy dishes, will be moving into the remaining ground floor space.
    • Hackett building
      • Currently houses Pizza Chicago which will get new outdoor seating after the remodel.
      • Looking for a new tenant adjacent to Pizza Chicago.
    • Bo Town Restaurant
      • Getting a new roof, tiles, doors, lighting, and landscaping.
  • Decision to lower building heights by 2 floors on new development to accommodate airport complaints, has been postponed (hopefully indefinitely). Developers and urban advocates continue to push for taller buildings while SJC is fighting for the opposite.
  • First Street Improvements continue! Beautification projects between Santa Clara <> San Fernando and San Carlos <> Reed (SoFA) have been completed over the past couple of months. Later this year, Groundworks will "Beautify" the section of First Street that connects these 2 corridors... making one contiguous, walkable district between Santa Clara St. and SoFA.
  • Eleven new on-street parking spaces have been added in various Downtown San Jose locations.
  • The Center for the Performing Arts is getting a new 5,000 sqft lounge with a bar and seating for 350 people.
  • ZeroOne received almost $1 million for their next event (Sep. 15-19, 2010), check out for more information.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Amazing Discounts at San Jose Restaurants!

I would be lying if I said I didn't love food. My wife and I probably eat out 3-5 times per week, if not more. I've been to over 90 restaurants in Downtown San Jose, every single restaurant in Santana Row (at least twice), and have easily been to over 1,000 different restaurants in the Bay Area.

I have a little secret to share about saving a substantial amount of money dining out. There is a website called that allows you to purchase gift certificates at a discounted rate. For example, you can purchase a $25 gift certificate for $10. The catch is usually something along the lines of having to spend a total of $35 to use the certificate. So basically you're getting a net $15 discount off of your meal, and the restaurant gains a new potential customer.

Well, once and a while features promotions, and right now they have one that is INSANE. Select whichever certificates you want and when you are checking out use the discount code: NINETY. You will get a 90% discount on the price of your gift certificates! So in essence, a $25 gift certificate will cost you $1. There is absolutely no reason to pass this up. The promotion expires on 9/14, so get your "almost free" certificates while you still can.

Below is a list of Downtown San Jose Restaurants that you can get certificates for (bolded my favorites):
  • A Perfect Finish
  • Agenda Restaurant & Lounge
  • Azucar
  • Britannia Arms
  • Fahrenheit
  • Flames
  • Gumbo Jumbo
  • Hawgs Seafood Bar
  • Island Grill & Bamboo Lounge
  • La Nostra Pizza
  • Loft Bar & Bistro
  • Pagoda
  • Pizza Chicago
  • Rokko
  • San Jose Bar & Grill
  • Scott's Seafood
  • Tandoori
  • Teske's Germania
  • The Grill on the Alley
  • Tres Gringos
  • Vegetarian House

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The San Jose Blog is on Twitter!

It seems like the entire world is on Twitter now... and The San Jose Blog is no exception!! I'll be tweeting short blurbs and links to news impacting San Jose, mostly positive stuff (development news, restaurant/retail openings, and interesting events). Don't worry, I won't be posting what I'm doing every minute of every day... just relevant news ;) Click here to follow The San Jose Blog on Twitter!