Wednesday, November 30, 2016

#12DaysofArts Social Media Scavenger Hunt (Dec 1 - 12)

#12DaysofArts takes over San Jose
San Jose Art Partners Gifting the City with Holiday Cheer Through Social Media Scavenger Hunt

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Nov. 22, 2016) – For the second consecutive year, San Jose arts partners will give away mystery prizes through a citywide scavenger hunt. From Dec. 1 through Dec. 12, participants can utilize #12DaysOfArts during this social media campaign, to create awareness for the arts in San Jose.

Each day will start anew with a social media clue. Check the Downtown Associations social media daily for directions on where to go; seek out museums, theaters and galleries – search high and low. Go online Dec. 1 to take part and spread the word with, #12DaysofArts. Off you go in search of a mystery prize, to see the arts through a new set of eyes. The first ten players at each location will win, and the next day the hunt starts again.

“We all enjoyed the 12 Days of Arts so much last year that we had to do it again.” Says Sherrill Ingalls, Director of Marketing and Communications at the San Jose Museum of Art. “It’s a fun way for the arts organizations to give back to the people who support the arts downtown year-round and to spread the word about the variety of offerings in San Jose. We hope that people familiar with the San Jose Museum of Art will discover new experiences in theater and music, and vice versa.”

Don’t worry, there will be two grand prizes during this scavenger hunt flurry. Use Twitter and Instagram to post #12DaysofArts, and discover what San Jose holds dear to its heart.

"#12DaysofArts provides everyone with the opportunity to take a timeout from the usual holiday craziness, be inspired and pique our own creative instincts," said Rick Jensen, Communications Director, San Jose Downtown Association. "Enjoy the thrill of the hunt."


About San Jose Downtown Association
The SJDA is a non-profit, membership-based organization founded in 1986 to represent business and property owners. We make downtown a better place for business, residents and visitors through events, advocacy, marketing and more.

About San Jose Museum of Art
The San Jose Museum of Art celebrates new ideas, stimulates creativity, and inspires connection with every visit. Welcoming and thought provoking, the Museum delights visitors with it’s surprising and playful perspective on the art and artists of our time.

About Team San Jose
Team San Jose (TSJ) is an innovative partnership unifying the San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau, hotels, arts, labor and venues to deliver an exceptional visitor experience. TSJ manages the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, California Theatre, Center for the Performing Arts, City National Civic, Montgomery Theater, Parkside Hall, and South Hall. For more information, visit

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

San Jose's NextEV launches fastest electric car in the world

North San Jose is quickly becoming a mecca for electric car companies and the history goes back far. Tesla originally wanted to build their factory in Alviso. Only after they were rejected by the state, did they choose the Fremont location. NextEV and LeEco on the other hand setup their US Headquarters in North San Jose. Access to high-end engineering talent in Silicon Valley and industrial space were no doubt major factors in those decisions.

Last week, NextEV finally pulled back the curtain on their first car. Like Tesla, they are starting with limited-production expensive cars and then creating mass-market vehicles. The NIO EP9 will be the fastest electric car in the world. It can hit 124 MPH in 7.1 seconds and has a top speed of 194 MPH. Range is about 265 miles. The EP9 just set a world record on the Nurburgring, video below. Unfortunately, those specs won't come cheap... the car costs about $1,000,000 (correct number of zeros).

We'll have to see how the less expensive cars in their lineup compete with both traditional car companies and Tesla, but for now you can take some pride in the fact that this is a San Jose company. NextEV is located at 3200 N 1st Street.

Source: Electrek

Monday, November 28, 2016

Why it’s better to work in San Jose than San Francisco

Guest Post by Fabianne Rico

As a professional working in tech in San Jose, something I hear too much from people is that San Jose isn’t considered as part of the “real bay area” compared to places like Oakland and San Francisco.

I even hear this from people I know personally that work in San Francisco who brag about their daily free food and all the cool company events they get to go to.

“Oh, who do you work for in San Jose again? Must be a pretty small company.”

For your information, I work for a mobile design and development agency called Impekable. Even if our company is on the smaller side, our work’s quality and the awards we’ve won speak for themselves. Not to mention we’ve worked with companies like Google, HP, Motorola, and Groupon,to name a few. This is a company I’m proud to work for, and what reinforces this sentiment is we are a San Jose-based company.

Don’t get it twisted. I love SF as much as the next guy. It’s a wonderful hub of culture and activity, and to add onto that, I’m a huge fan of cool breezes and fog. However, the smugness of some people I talk to from this supposed “real bay area” irks me because despite the nice parts, it can be argued that San Jose is actually a better place to work than San Francisco.

Let’s start with one of the more obvious reasons.

Unless you’re legitimately rich enough to afford the price of rent in SF, chances are you’re living somewhere outside the center. Even so, you’ll be looking at rooms for upwards of $1000/mo anywhere north of Santa Clara.

With that, you’ll be living pretty far from your company’s top floor office in the city. Studies show that longer commutes contribute to higher levels of anxiety and a decline in life satisfaction, so make sure you have your favorite podcast prepared because the commute is gonna be looooooong.

Oh, and once you arrive, good luck finding parking. Expect to spend 15-30 minutes on average circling the block to find a space that isn’t occupied by the red and white signs on otherwise usable parking meters. Believe it or not, your SF employer might not even provide parking, so you might be on your own there.

If you have to resort to the lengthy commutes, you’re probably someone who lives closer to Downtown San Jose than San Francisco. Even if you’re more in the north, it’s faster to go against rush hour traffic anyway.

There is more parking in San Jose as well with a good amount of car parks nearby, at a reasonable price. In addition, local employers and work spaces in Downtown San Jose simply buy their employees monthly parking passes to the city’s car parks.

At this point, it’s a given that employees in San Jose have better commutes than San Francisco, but what about the locations they work at?

Unless you work for one of the larger tech companies downtown like Adobe, Oracle, EY, or Accenture, you probably can’t afford a giant SF office. However, another benefit to being based in downtown San Jose is access to the many options for coworking spaces nearby, for every budget.

Whether you’re an up and coming start up or a self-employed individual, it’s always nice to have friends.

NextSpace is the coworking space where our office is located and we enjoy being a part of the community by interacting with other companies in the space during weekly happy hours or walkabout lunch. Being a member of a coworking space provides us with the opportunity to network with other NextSpace companies and even created new business connections for us.

Founders Floor is just down the street from our office, so sometimes we’ll host speaking events and we take some time to appreciate that sweet downtown view! Another coworking space is WeWork that recently opened up on the 6th floor of the nearby Valley Towers in downtown. They have a pretty awesome setup with beer on tap and their trendy interior design, similar to the aesthetic you would see in San Francisco offices, but without any of the hassle.

WeWork San Jose has been an awesome place for us to host our design workshops, so our students interested in starting a career in app design can have a taste of the Silicon Valley dreamer lifestyle. I mean does YOUR classroom have a view like this?

Downtown San Jose is lucky to have so many options as far as where to work, but what options do they have for lunch?

Another huge perk of working downtown is the food! If you have a certain food craving, it’s very likely that it’s very close by with options to choose from like Thai food, Malaysian, Indian, Greek, delicious sandwiches, Halal, Mexican, pizza, Vietnamese, sushi, even Carribean! YOU NAME IT!

All these food options can definitely be credited to the diversity San Jose has to offer. Diversity should be one of the critical reasons why the 7th most diverse city in the United States, San Jose is better to work than San Francisco, which was ranked at 20. For being the so-called capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose is aware that innovation is not a vacuum. It requires exposure to different backgrounds and collaborating with those who come from different walks of life.

As a San Jose based company, we can’t help but take pride in the city we’re in. However, people who work anywhere in the Bay Area are blessed to operate in such a progressive region with a strong sense of community that welcomes innovation and diversity with open arms.

And yes, just in case it wasn’t clear enough, South Bay still counts Bay Area. Cheers.

About the author:

Fabianne Rico is a Marketing Manager for Impekable, a design and development agency that specializes in using the latest technology and trends to create apps that are both useful and usable. Go to for more info.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Shop Small Saturday

Instead of supporting giant chain stores this "Black Friday weekend," why not support local Downtown San Jose businesses?

9 Downtown shops are participating in Shop Small Saturday tomorrow, Nov. 26. All are colorful, offering an eclectic assortment of merchandise perfect for holiday gift-giving.

They’re a collection of museum shops and true moms-and-pops. These unique shops are one-of-a kind.

San Jose has more than 56,000 small businesses that have fewer than 35 employees.

The day is dedicated to supporting small businesses, getting shoppers to do their holiday shopping at local retailers, and boosting the local economy. These small businesses constitute a significant proportion of the San Jose economy and are a vital factor in creating local jobs.

These are the participating shops:

  • KALEID Gallery, 88 S., Fourth St. (1)
  • Tabard Theatre Co, 28 N. San Pedro St. (2)
  • Children's Discovery Museum Gift Shop (CDM): 180 Woz Way (3)
  • Museum of Art Gift Shop: 110 S Market Street (4)
  • Tech Museum Gift Shop: 201 S Market St (5)
  • San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles: 520 S 1st Street (6)
  • Joan Philips, Executive Director or Lousie Horkey, Volunteer, Events and Retail Coordinator
  • Cathedral Gift Shop: 80 S Market St (7)
  • Hammer and Lewis: 19 S First Street (8)
  • Diaz Menswear: 70 E Santa Clara Street (9)

This event has been put together by the San Jose Downtown Association and you can find more information as well as an interactive map over here.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

Hope you all have a wonderful time and lots of good eats today. Warm wishes to you and your family from your friends at The San Jose Blog!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Silicon Valley Turkey Trot

The Turkey Trot is a San Jose Thanksgiving Day tradition! Events include a 5k run/walk, a 10k run, a Celebrity/CEO 5k, and a wheelchair 10k.

The event starts at 8:30am in Downtown San Jose and goes until noon. Registration typically runs around $45. Even if you are not walking, running, or rolling, there is a festival area and kid zone with plenty of fun things to do.

For more info and to register, head over here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl & Grill @ San Jose Bass Pro Shops

Bass Pro Shops has to be one of the most insane retail stores I have ever seen. The giant diorama-filled 145,000 SQFT space has everything from an aquarium to a 12-lane bowling alley. The building is larger than most Costco's and it attracts shoppers that live as far as two hours away. I have to recommend that everyone check out the store at least once, even if you are not the outdoorsy type.

Over the weekend, I was invited to try out the new menu at Uncle Bucks, a full-service restaurant within the store. The restaurant is nestled to the side of the bowling alley and has several rooms of various sizes for private parties and events. There can easily be over a one hour wait for the restaurant, so it would be a good idea to put your name on the list first before you head out to explore the store.

For lunch, we had the following:
  • Alligator with jalapeno cream sauce - This is one of their signature items and is a must try. The spiced fried alligator does not taste as exotic as it sounds and goes really well with the sweet sauce.
  • Smoked Wahoo dip - This was my wife's favorite. It's a smoked Wahoo pate with crackers and cucumber slices.
  • Islamorada Portofino - Another signature item. Blackened Tilapia topped with grilled shimp and lobster cream sauce. The fish was both flavorful and filling.
  • Firepit Burger - My personal favorite. This is a double cheeseburger with jalapenos and pepperjack. It came with crispy battered fries.

We were so stuffed from those items, we couldn't handle a dessert. The Key Lime pie was tempting though. For the full menu, click here.

The restaurant is extremely kid-friendly and features Disneyland-grade nautical decorations. For adults, there is a bar sitting underneath the bow of a ship in the middle of the bowling alley. Scroll down for all the photos. For more information, head over to the Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl & Grill Facebook page.

Bass Pro Shops and Uncle Bucks is located at 5160 Cherry Avenue. The store is open from 9am-9pm Monday through Saturday and 9am-8pm on Sunday. Hours are extended during the holidays.

Alligator with jalapeno cream sauce

Smoked Wahoo dip

Islamorada Portofino

Firepit Burger

Monday, November 21, 2016

Rendering of the Valley Title Towers

KT Properties has been one of the most prolific builders in Downtown San Jose. Axis, One South, and Silvery Towers (under construction) exist thanks to KT. Their newest project is going to be a pair of towers towards the entrance of SoFA at San Carlos and First Street. Currently an ugly two-story building and giant parking lot sit on this lot.

Below is the latest render of the towers. As a point of reference, the five-story building on the lower right is Original Joe's and you would find Anno Domini and Cafe Stritch immediately to the right of the rightmost tower. SJSU is two blocks to the left.

If built, this would be an amazing infill development that would fill a key retail gap in SoFA and add another thousand residents to Downtown's most artsy street.

Source: Bobby_Guz_Man from the San Jose Development Forum

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Nirvana Uplugged tonight at Forager

Forager is tasting room, eatery, and event space that has taken over the South First Billiards space in SoFA. Tonight they are hosting Nirvana Unplugged, a live music event with 16 different musicians that will perform Nirvana's "Unplugged" album.

The event starts at 7:30pm tonight and tickets are $12 at the door. You can get more details and tickets over here.

San Jose Presents: Nirvana Unplugged! We're bringing together 16 musicians from different bands, genres, backgrounds and styles to perform Nirvana's iconic Unplugged album in its entirity. This is not an event to miss! This is our community in action and we'd love to see you all there!

Be sure to get your tickets early!
$10 presale / $12 door
All Ages

San Jose Presents

Justin Imamura
Alex Nguyen
chris pounders
Chris Reed
Israel Sanchez
Natasha Littlewood
Sailing South
Brian Hart
Felix Archuleta
Jonathan Shaheen
Jared Kauk
Steely Nash
Troy Joseph Curtis
Mathew Gabriel Gonzales/ Philthy Dronez

Special Guest Host:
Peter Allen@

Friday, November 18, 2016

"For Pete's Sake" Brewfest at Spartan Stadium

In case you haven't yet heard, there's an epic tailgate party/local beerfest at Spartan Stadium tomorrow - Saturday, Nov. 19 - from 2:30pm to 6:30pm. Tickets - $40 if purchased in advance and $50 for any remaining on the day of the event - include a 5-oz. taster to sample brewery offerings, unlimited tastings and a ticket to the final home game for Spartans football. You’ll need code “FORPETESSAKE16” to purchase tickets.

The beerfest - "For Pete's Sake" Brewfest - is brought to you by Hermitage Brewing Company in partnership with the SJSU Athletics Department and will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and event namesake Peter Cogan.

Below is the current list of participating breweries:
  • Hermitage Brewing Company
  • Tied House Microbrewery
  • Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
  • Santa Clara Valley Brewing
  • Strike Brewing Co.
  • Red Branch Cider Company
  • Rabbit’s Foot Meadery
  • High Water Brewing
  • Uncommon Brewers
  • Almanac Beer Co.
  • Santa Cruz Ale Works
  • Discretion Brewing
  • El Toro Brewpub
  • Bison Organic Beer
  • Faultline Brewing Company
  • Gordon Biersch Brewing Company
  • Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
  • Seabright Brewery
  • Sactown Union Brewery
Check out my post on my local beer site for a Q & A with Peter Cogan, a longtime employee of Tied House/Hermitage and overall good guy.

SJC now has robot helpers

San Jose International now has three robots to help "Silicon Valley's Airport" feel more like, well, Silicon Valley's Airport. The set of robots cost $120,000 and are named Norma, Amelia, and Piper. They conveniently speak six different languages and can help travelers find their way, locate places to dine, and provide helpful information. They'll even take photos and email them to you. This is a neat little way to make the airport more interesting to visitors.

The robots were programmed by a Milpitas-based company called 22 Miles and manufactured by Korea-based Future Robot.

You can find SJC's newest robotic attractions near Gates 11, 21, and 25. For more info, you can follow the trio on Twitter at #SJCRobots.

Source: SVBJ

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Hawaiian Airlines / Kristi Yamaguchi Downtown Ice, presented by Sobrato Organization

Open daily Nov. 18, 2016 - Jan. 16, 2017

SAN JOSE – Hawaiian Airlines, Kristi Yamaguchi and her Always Dream Foundation partner with the San Jose Downtown Association to produce the Hawaiian Airlines / Kristi Yamaguchi Downtown Ice, presented by Sobrato Organization rink Nov. 18 through Jan. 16. at the Circle of Palms, 120 S. Market St.

Yamaguchi, the 1992 Olympics figure skating gold medalist, will help with opening celebration at Nov. 23 at 5 p.m. at the rink.

Family and friends, along with fellow ice skaters can enjoy the beautifully lit palm trees  for an unforgettable experience.

“My kids ask me, is that the place with the palm trees? And when I tell them yes, they race to the car,” Yamaguchi said.

The website posts daily hours.  In general, during November, early December and after the holidays in January, Downtown Ice is open 5-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 5 p.m.-midnight on Friday; noon-midnight on Saturday; and noon-9 p.m. on Sunday.  During the winter break, the rink is open 11 a.m.-midnight daily.  Special hours apply to the holidays.

Admission is $15 for children 10-under and $17 for skaters 11-older. Those who bring their own skates will be admitted for $10.

Discounts and details are at  The rink phone number is (408) 291-0525. Parking information is at

Downtown Ice is located within steps of Christmas in the Park displays, which occupies Plaza de Cesar Chavez starting Nov. 25. These two downtown San Jose holiday attractions are supported in part by participants in the 5-kilometer TiVo Santa Run Silicon Valley held on Dec. 18.  Dress up in costume and run a 5-kilometer race as lights descend on downtown.  A children’s division will also be participating along with a costume contest with great prizes, some fun mileage markers and surprises along the course.  Sign up at

Besides skating, the community can support Downtown Ice in another important way:  Make a donation to the Schools on Skates program.  Fifth- and sixth-grade students from areas schools – who may not otherwise have the opportunity to go ice skating –  take a field trip to skate.  Contact Joe Noonan, sponsorship manager,

Hawaiian Airlines / Kristi Yamaguchi Downtown Ice details

When:  Open daily Nov. 18, 2016 – Jan. 16, 2017

Nov. 18 – 25
Friday, Nov. 18: 5 p.m. - midnight
Saturday, Nov. 19: noon - midnight
Sunday, Nov. 20: noon - 9 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 21: 5 - 10 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 22:  5-10 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 23, the day before Thanksgiving: 6:30 p.m. - midnight
Thursday, Nov. 24, Thanksgiving: 2 p.m. - midnight
Friday, Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving: 11 a.m. - midnight

Nov. 26 – Dec. 15
Saturday: noon - midnight
Sunday: noon - 9 p.m.
Monday -Thursday: 5 - 10 p.m.
Friday: 5 p.m. – midnight

Dec. 16 – Jan. 7 (Winter Break)
Daily: 11 a.m. - midnight*
*Special Christmas and New Year’s holiday hours
Sunday, Dec. 25, Christmas: 2 p.m. - midnight
Saturday, Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve: 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 1, New Year’s Day:  Noon - midnight

Jan. 8 – Jan. 16*
Sunday: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Monday - Thursday: 5 - 9 p.m.
Friday: 5 p.m. - midnight
Saturday: noon - midnight
*MLK Holiday special hours: 11 a.m. - midnight Sun., Jan. 15 and 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Mon., Jan. 16

Children 10 years & younger: $15
11 years & older: $17

Cash, Paypal, Visa, Mastercard accepted. Admission includes ice time and rental skates (skate sizes range from toddler 8 to men's 13).

Skate all you want (no in-and-out privileges)/ First-come, first-serve.

Address (starting November 18):  120 S. Market St., San Jose, CA 95113
Phone: (408) 279-1775 (SJDA); (408) 610-4055 (rink starting Nov. 18)


  • SEASON PASS:  Unlimited visits throughout the season. $50 before Nov. 22 and $60 after Nov. 22.  Purchase online or at the SJDA office, 28 N. First St. Suite 1000
  • Downtown Ice and Hawaiian Airlines have combined on airfare discounts to the islands.  Go to
  • Holiday Hat Trick – $28 combination ticket to Downtown Ice, San Jose Museum of Art, and The Tech Museum exhibition (47 percent discount)
  • Aloha Fridays $10 ticket to anyone wearing Hawaiian attire. Regsiter for a free trip for two to Hawaii.

Multiple other discounts are available, but cannot be combined, and are available online at


The San Jose Downtown Association (SJDA), established 1986, is a non-profit group of business and property owners working to improve the vitality and livability of downtown San Jose. SJDA advocates on issues that affect downtown business and property owners; enhances the image of downtown and attract new visitors through year-round marketing, public relations, and special events; and collaborates with its Property-Based Improvement District (PBID) for ongoing improvements to downtown’s cleanliness, security, aesthetics and delivery of services.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wednesday Wishlist: robotic parking garages

Check out this innovative approach to solving parking issues in our urban areas. An automated garage would take less space, be more convenient, and can be converted to apartments or offices when self-driving transportation makes garages mostly irrelevant.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Ride VTA's historic trolley during the holidays

The VTA’s "Holly Trolly" is already decked out for Christmas and is circling Downtown San Jose. I did drop the ball a bit since it actually began service on October 14th with a Halloween theme.

The Trolley operates between the Civic Center and San Jose Diridon light rail stations and the best part is that the ride is completely free all holiday season!

Riders can expect some fun surprises including a Virtual Reality experience using Google Cardboard. Don’t forget your smartphone and to download the Cardboard app through Google Play or the App Store, or view VR videos on YouTube.

Instructions for Google Cardboard:
1. Download the Google Cardboard app, then select your video. Or select a VR video on YouTube.
2. Place your smartphone in the front of the Google Cardboard and secure your device.
3. Push the play button on the side of the Cardboard to start your video.
4. Enjoy your VR experience!

2016 Historic Trolley Service:
October 14 through December 31, 2016.*
Fridays                             6:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Saturdays & Sundays      2:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.

*Weather permitting. Please check for updates on service.

For more details and to plan your trip, call VTA Customer Service at 408-321-2300 or check the schedule and hop on board!

The Historic Trolley, Car 2001, was built in Milan, Italy in 1928 where it originally operated until the mid-1980s when it was donated by the Italian government to the San Jose Trolley Corporation. VTA's Car 2001 is one of six restored trolleys maintained by VTA.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Tramell Crow Diridon Project

A slick video has been released promoting the new Diridon mixed-use development in Downtown San Jose. As a reminder, the project includes 1 million SQFT of office space, 325 luxury apartments, 35,000 SQFT of retail space, and multiple public plazas.

The video cites various perks of the location including immediate access to the largest transit hub on the west coast, easy highway access, proximity to the airport, and of course being in the very center of the tech world. It is only 3 minutes long and is worth a watch. It's impressive to see the caliber of projects we are now getting.

Source: Hillrise from the San Jose Development Forum

Diridon from Diridon on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Saturday Stats: Rents are higher near the Shark Tank

There is a sometimes controversial theory that sports venues increase property values around them. A recent RentCafe study adds some legs to the connection. Based on their analysis, rents are on average 27% higher within a 2-mile radius of NHL arenas. San Jose in particular has 18% higher rents within this radius than the rest of the city.

This is not always the case. For example, rents are a 31% less near the Oakland Coliseum based on a similar study for NFL teams (Levi's Stadium shows up as 9% higher rent). For more info, hit the source link.

Source: RentCafe

Friday, November 11, 2016

Harvest Festival 2016 - Nov. 25-27 at the SJ Convention Center

The West Coast's largest indoor arts and crafts show is coming to Downtown San Jose in two weeks. The festival features thousands of American-made arts and crafts including original art, jewelry, clothing, toys, and home decor. Many of the gifts can be custom ordered or personalized.

To compliment the shopping, there will be an assortment of food, music, and live entertainment. Several bands will be performing throughout the show including James Garner's Cash Tribute. Holiday-themed entertainers will also wander the halls throughout the three day show.

While parents shop, kids can play at an interactive KidZone. Here the tykes can build their own art projects such as gingerbread cookie decorating.

The Harvest Festival will run from (Black) Friday, November 25 to Sunday, November 27th at the San Jose Convention Center. Hours are 9am-6pm on Friday, 10am-6pm on Saturday, and 10am-5pm on Sunday. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and military, $4 for teenagers, and those 12 & under are free. You can print a $2 off coupon on this page (lower right). Admission includes the whole weekend, not just a specific day.

For more information or to buy tickets, head over to the Harvest Festival website over here.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

"Fountain Gallery Alley" 2-Day Pop-Up Art Gallery in Downtown San Jose

SAN JOSE - Local artists, residents, and nonprofits come together to host a 2-day pop-up art gallery, “Fountain Gallery Alley” at Fountain Alley, a neglected alleyway in downtown San Jose. On Friday November 11 (12pm-8pm) and Saturday November 12 (2pm-8pm), Fountain Alley will be filled with live painting, community mural, music, performances, games, artwork, and interactive installations for a whimsical experience day to night. The goal off the event is to harness the power of local art, talent, and energy to re-envision the alley as a downtown gem and beautiful public space.

Fountain Alley lies between 1st and 2nd Street, just south of Santa Clara Street in downtown San Jose. It is the alley that connects the downtown Santa Clara VTA station/Transit Mall.

Fountain Alley lies in the heart of the historic district of downtown San Jose, California. While next to downtown's most iconic building - the Bank of America tower, and surrounded by popular restaurants and nightlife destinations, the alleyway mostly sits empty and is plagued with poor public perception.

"I live near Fountain Alley and walk through it every day. I believe the space can do so much more for the community than what it is right now," said Rosalyn Lum, downtown resident and member of the Fountain Gallery Alley team.

Local artists and community members have yearned for change for many years and wish to see the space be an open, safe, and welcoming space for everyone.

The objective of "Fountain Gallery Alley" is to turn Fountain Alley to a greater community asset through a pop-up gallery showcasing local artists.  By making incremental yet impactful changes, and creating an environment that is open, inviting, and beautiful, the community aims to change the perception and connection people of the alley. "There is so much creative and dedicated talent in San Jose and when pulled together we can accomplish so much" says Erin Salazar, Director of the Exhibition District.

This project is supported by the Knight Foundation and 8 80 Cities through the Emerging City Champions Fellowship, and the San Jose Downtown Association.  For more information please visit

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wednesday Wishlist: Michelin Star Restaurants (2017 Edition)

Welcome to the 8th annual Wednesday Wishlist post where the topic is getting restaurants in San Jose worthy of Michelin starts. The Michelin guide is the most renowned rubric in the world for measuring culinary success. This is where I typically say something like: "I'm optimistic it will only be a matter of time until our food scene gets the recognition it deserves." Well guess what--not this year! San Jose finally has a restaurant with a Michelin Star, and the honor goes to Adega in Little Portugal. I could not think of a more worthy restaurant to be San Jose's first recipient of a star.

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.
There are also restaurants in the Michelin guide that do not get a star, but are considered "Michelin Recommended." This is already a significant honor that a very small percentage of restaurants achieve. Within this category San Jose scored a total of 12 restaurants.

I created a Google doc listing all of the star recipients for 2017, 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 54 restaurants that were awarded Michelin stars, which is up 4 from last year and an all-time high for the Bay Area. 61% of the restaurants are locating in SF, 19% in Wine Country, 19% in Silicon Valley (split evenly between the South Bay and the Peninsula), and 2% in the East Bay. This is the first year in which Silicon Valley tied with Wine Country when it comes to star distribution--thanks to Adega in San Jose and Madera in Menlo Park (which was added back this year). There are 7 new restaurants on the list for 2017 and only three from 2016 did not make the cut: All Spice, Ame, and Kusakabe (all located in SF).

San Jose Michelin Starred Restaurants:
  • East San Jose
    • Adega (* 1 STAR *)

San Jose Michelin Recommended Restaurants:
  • Downtown
    • Vung Tau
    • Back A Yard
    • Swaad
  • The Alameda
    • Zona Rosa
  • Midtown
    • Walia
    • Din Tai Fung (New)
  • North San Jose
    • Smoking Pig BBQ
  • South San Jose
    • Bun Bo Hue An Nam
    • Thien Long
    • Lau Hai San
  • Willow Glen
    • The Table
  • Camden
    • Zeni

In addition to Adega, Din Thai Fung (Chinese) is the latest newcomer to San Jose's "Michelin Recommended" list for San Jose. We did lose two that were recommended last year, Fratello and Rangoli. Overall, this is far and away San Jose's strongest showing in the Michelin guide to date. I'm hoping the trend continues and Adega inspires other San Jose restaurants to shoot for the moon! 

Source: Michelin Guide

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Bowlero opens its first Northern California location in San Jose

The old Bowlmor San Jose near Westfield Oakridge has been converted into a Bowlero, which is far cry from your traditional bowling alley. Bowlero features wall-to-wall screens playing movies and sporting events, hip music, arcades, a high-end bar with fancy cocktails, and a solid food menu. The ambiance and amenities align well with what is now expected in Silicon Valley.

Bowlero has 59 lanes across the 50,000 SQFT building. There is even a sectioned-off VIP room with 9 lanes and its own bar, ideal for parties and private events. The entire space is well appointed and has a chic luxury feel throughout.

The food menu also has several entertaining options designed for sharing--and photographing. The most interesting one was a 5-lb "Behemoth Burger" with a 14-inch patty (photo down below). They also have super-sized Party Pretzels and a S'Mores Skillet. On the bar side you have the Dunk Tank, which comes in a Fishbowl and is designed to share with 2-3 other people.

Bowlero San Jose is the 12th location to open in the US and the only location in Northern California. The address is 5420 Thornwood Drive and hours are Mon 4pm-1am, Tues-Thur 4pm-12am, Fri 12pm-2am, Sat 11am-2am, and Sunday 10am-12am.

For more info, head over to the Bowlero website.