Showing posts with label san jose culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label san jose culture. Show all posts

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Urban Putt, a love letter to San Jose's past, present, and future

With anticipation building for over a year, I thought there was no way that Urban Putt could possibly live up to the expectations in my head. I was wrong. Best. Minigolf. Course. Ever.

You walk through a very subtle entrance at 201 S. Seconds St., right next to Scott's Seafood. As soon as you walk in you are immediately transported to another planet. If Urban Putt was a standalone bar, it would already be one of the best ones in San Jose. Specialty drinks include The Winchester Old Fashioned with a smoke bubble, 10th Street Penicillin using local San Jose-made whiskey, Steve's Espresso Martini (pictured below), and a fruity Happy Accident which you wear around your neck and take with you as you golf.

For food, I just sampled a small number of their menu items at the media preview night but have plans to return this weekend for "more thorough research." The Pad Thai pizza was super tasty, as was the street corn salsa and Bavarian Pretzel with locally produced IPA mustard. I'm looking forward to trying their OMG Burger, which is a smash-burger on Texas toast with avocado and a fried egg.

Okay now for the best part. The golf course is incredible. It puts any other course I have ever done to shame in terms of creativity, engineering, and localization. It starts with an homage to Downtown San Jose and then blends innovation with nostalgia. I don't even want to show all the photos so that you get to experience some surprises while you're there. 

Some of the holes are actually races with your party of up to 4 people, including a game of labyrinth. One is a real-life game of Duck Hunt. Another is inside of the Winchester Mystery House. There's a shark, a downed UFO, a replica of the San Jose Electric Light Tower, a submarine, and a finale worthy of Silicon Valley. Some of the holes even have hidden tricks and easter eggs, including some trippy optical illusions and effects with vacuum tubes.

If there was ever a time to run out and support a new local business, this is it. I already have my next two trips lined up. Urban Putt officially opens to the public today at 4pm. After 8pm it will be 21+ only.

This has immediately become my top destination to take people from out of town. What a way to start 2024!

Friday, February 2, 2024

Santana Row 2024 Lunar New Year Event on Feb 10th

Santana Row is welcoming the Year of the Dragon with entertainment and specials at several restaurants and stores. On February 10th, Santana Row Park will filled with lion dances, cultural performances, and surprise red envelopes containing gifts and offers. The event will be hosted by NBC Bay Area's Mike Inouye.

Scroll on down to see the dining and shopping specials that will only be available on Lunar New Year.


Dumpling Time - Visit the pop-up bar outside Dumpling Time for to-go dumplings & drinks.

EMC Seafood - $20 gift card to customers that dine-in Chinese New Year who spend over $20 (before tips & tax) Card valid 2/25-4/30. One card per table, only in store.

Fogo De Chao - $25 Fogo Card for every purchase of a Trilogy Wine Box or purchase of the Seafood Tower Appetizer. 

LB Steak  - To celebrate the Year of the Dragon and the good fortune it will bring, LB Steak is offering a special Wagyu Fried Rice and cocktail offerings during February. Plus, receive a red envelope with your meal, containing a special offer to redeem upon your next visit. Offers include a complimentary dessert, appetizer, or even a Tomahawk steak!  Available for lunch and dinner, from February 10th-February 18th along with regular menus.

Maido - $5 off purchase from 2/10-2/19

Momosan  - Head into Momosan for a special discounted offer on 2/10/24.

Oveja Negra - 20% off 

Ozumo - Complimentary Dragon Crunch Roll with the purchase of a signature roll. Available 2/10/24 from 12pm-5pm.

Palmetto Superfoods - Pop in for an in-store promotion and 10% Off when you order the Just Acai Smoothie with Renude's Chaggaccino (must order with a staff member to receive discount)

Rosie McCann's - Enjoy Lunar New Year Festivities within Rosie McCann's and Chinese dinner special, plus specialty cocktail, Dragon Sour!

Straits- Receive a free glass of sparking for dine in guests only with your food order. 


Amour Vert - Year of the Dragon Sip & Style event , 2024  promotion and 15% off.
Atelier Studio - Receive $20 off for any new service.

BoConcept - 20% off 2/10/24-2/11/24

Fjällräven - End of season sale, select items 30% off.

Le Labo - 1.5 Ml Fragrance samples within red envelopes (while supplies last).

Optical Illusions - 35% off Trunk Show Items 2/10/24 only. 

Vince - 15% off entire purchase on 2/10/24 only. 

Some restrictions apply, see merchant for details.  Valid Saturday, February 10, 2024 only.

Monday, January 22, 2024

San Jose's Electric Light Tower and its connection to the Eiffel Tower

Built in 1881, the San Jose Electric Light Tower was one of the 50 tallest man-made structures on earth upon completion. It stood nearly as tall as the Signia Hotel in Downtown San Jose, but was built over 120 years ago. Not only was it extremely innovative for its time (illuminating a half-mile radius), but there several connections between this project and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. This is all the more reason to build a new landmark that pays homage to San Jose's Electric Light Tower.

You can now rent Tom Wohlmut's exceptional documentary linking the San Jose Electric Light Tower to the Eiffel Tower over here. The 56 minute film takes you through a journey of how San Jose's innovative light tower was built, how it brought San Jose international recognition, and how it was tragically destroyed. 

There were also several short interviews recorded about the relationship between the two towers that not many people had the chance to see. You can find those videos embedded below. 

Friday, January 19, 2024

Honest reviews of San Jose's "iconic" statues

SJtoday had a post today rating various San Jose landmarks. I won't spoil the reviews, but I would rate the one below as 🐍💩 / 10. That is all, happy Friday. Oh, the reviews are over here.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Content 16.2

The latest issue of Content Magazine is about to drop (Silicon Valley's top publication on local arts and culture). This issue will come with a limited edition flexi disc vinyl record from Needle to the Groove, as long as you preorder or subscribe by January 31st.

To top it off, they will do a Pick-Up Party in partnership with Creekside Social on February 22nd at 20 Barack Obama Boulevard in Downtown San Jose. Subscribers always get some sort of perk at these parties--often a free cocktail, apps, or other goodies.

Here are some of the people featured in the upcoming issue:

Musician - Amara 林 | Videographer - Victor Aquino | Photographer - Britt Bradley | Rapper - Chow Mane | RecordLabel - Discos Resaca Collective | Dancer - Srividya Eashwar | Artist - Girafa | Rap Crew - Kid Lords | Photographer - Josie Lepe | Artist - Julie Meridian | Record Shop and Label - Needle to the Groove Records | Illustrator - Shaka Shaw | 2024 San José Creative Ambassadors - Dancer - Alice Hur - Artist - Pantea Karimi - Artist - Deborah Kennedy - Artist - Rayos Magos - Storyteller - Yosimar Reyes

To learn more or subscribe, head over here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Pianist Nicolas Namoradze performs for Steinway Society in San Jose

WHO: Steinway Society – The Bay Area presents

WHAT:  Nicolas Namoradze 

WHEN: Sunday, January 21, 2024 @ 2:30 pm

WHERE: Montgomery Theater, 271 S. Market St., San Jose.  Live and LIVE STREAMED



Pianist and composer Nicolas Namoradze came to international attention in 2018 upon winning the triennial Honens International Piano Competition in Calgary, Canada—among the largest prizes in classical music. His recitals around the globe have been met with universal critical praise, and recent album releases have received extraordinary accolades, including the Choc de Classica, Record of the Month in Limelight, Instrumental Disc of the Month in BBC Music Magazine, Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, Editor’s Choice in Presto Classical and Critics’ Choice in International Piano.


Among the most critically acclaimed musicians of his generation, Namoradze was bestowed the 2020 & 2021 Young Pianist Award by the UK Critics’ Circle, which called him “very much more than a top-flight pianist.” Recent highlights include recitals at concert halls including New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin and the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan; festival appearances at Tanglewood, Banff, Gstaad, Santa Fe and more; and performances with orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra and Sinfonieorchester Basel.


Namoradze earned his master’s at The Juilliard School and his doctorate at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is currently pursuing postgraduate studies in neuropsychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College, London, where his research interests include the effects of mental practice and mindfulness on musical performance. Namoradze is the author of the book “Ligeti’s Macroharmonies,” published by Springer in the Computational Music Science series, and his compositions are published by Muse Press.


”Set to become one of the truly important artists of his generation.”

–American classical pianist Emanual Ax


Bach-Busoni, “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr” BWV 639

Bach, French Suite No. 1 in D minor BWV 812

1.    Allemande

2.    Courante

3.    Sarabande

4.    Minuet

5.    Gigue

Bach, The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080

1.    Contrapunctus VI

2.    Contrapunctus VII

Fauré, Preludes Op. 103

1.    No. 3 in G minor

2.    No. 6 in E-flat minor

3.    No. 9 in E minor

Ligeti, Etudes

1.    1. No. 11, “En suspens” 

2.    2. No. 13, “L’escalier du diable”

3.    3. No. 16, “Pour Irina”


Nicolas Namoradze, Memories of Rachmaninoff’s “Georgian Song”

Pärt, Für Alina

Pärt, Variationen zur Gesundung von Arinuschka

Rachmaninoff-Namoradze, Adagio from Symphony No. 2, Op. 27

Scriabin, Sonata No. 4 Op. 30



Single Tickets: $45 to $70 

General Admission: $70/$60/$50

Senior & student: $65/$55/$45

Livestream online: $25 per household / live + unlimited listens for 48 hours  

Purchase Tickets:

Box Office: 408.300.5635


Sunday, December 24, 2023

Introducing San Jose Monopoly!

Monopoly has been running local city editions for some time now, and finally San Jose gets their own version of the famed game. This is long overdue, especially considering that San Jose has the largest Monopoly board in the world.

The entire board features local landmarks and even the money has been personalized for San Jose. Properties include San Jose State, San Pedro Square, Municipal Rose Garden, and Plaza de Cesar Chavez. Instead of railroads, you have the VTA. I also like how the game uses one of my favorite photos of Downtown San Jose towards the bottom of the board. 

The question everyone was wondering is which two locations get the coveted Boardwalk and Park Place spots--the most valuable on the board. One is the Winchester Mystery House and the other is Original Joe's. Okay, here is where the criticisms start. I get the Winchester Mystery House, it's easily one of the top attractions in San Jose. Original Joe's? It's not even originally from San Jose, the first one was in San Francisco. I like Original Joe's and it was one of my favorite restaurants growing up; however, I really think that spot belonged to Santana Row.

Second, Downtown San Jose has it's own spot but so do many locations that are within Downtown San Jose. I'm not sure how you can own Downtown without owning everything inside of it. I think it would have made more sense to put a Downtown neighborhood like SoFA on there or the SAP Center which is oddly missing.

Thirdly, there are three spots dedicated to the Santa Cruz area. Everything else is from San Jose, so those could have been the Alviso Marina, the Salt Flats, Almaden Beach, etc.

I know, it's just a game and I'm probably taking it too seriously. I'm still thrilled that it exists, caveats and all.

Now actually finding the Monopoly San Jose Edition might be a bit more difficult than you would think. It's sold out every place I checked and hopefully will be back in stock at Amazon at some point over here. I was able to get a copy right when it came out, but now it's gone. The VTA is giving away 20 copies as part of a contest in January.

Monday, December 4, 2023

New Downtown San Jose illustrations

Phillip Gonzales from West Coast Artworks prints original illustrations highlighting our city with a pinch of creative license on museum-grade canvas. As mentioned before, I have bought a couple of his pieces in the past and love them (in fact, everyone that sees them loves them).

He has two new art pieces. The first takes a look down San Fernando featuring The 88, 50 West San Fernando, St. Joseph's Basilica, One South, and The Bank of America Building.

The second is a newer version of one of his most popular illustrations. The perspective is of SoFA from San Carlos at street level. Nirvana Soul, The Continental, and the SoFA Market are new additions as is the Sparq midrise in the background.

I'm looking forward to more of his projects in the future--I just need to free up more wall space. To go through all of his work, head over here! 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Stunning new illustration of Downtown San Jose

It's a pretty small community of people that make art specifically about San Jose. I'm a big fan of Phillip Gonzales from West Coast Artworks who prints original illustrations highlighting our city with a pinch of creative license on museum-grade canvas. I have bought two of his pieces in the past, SoFA district 1.0 (3rd one down) and Downtown San Jose (fourth one). Everyone that sees them at my house loves them.

He has a new work that is simply titled San Jose Downtown 2023. It features the Downtown San Jose skyline from the 280 and 87 intersection. If you look closely you'll spot some of our newer high-rises like 200 Park and the Miro Towers.

Phillip is also working on a couple of new pieces that should be ready in a few weeks. To go through all of his work, head over here. I'll also update my X and Facebook banner temporarily in honor of the new work!

Sunday, October 22, 2023

De.coded - A Human Atlas of Silicon Valley

De.Coded is a portrait of Silicon Valley’s Diversity and Impact using multimedia by artist Marcus Lyon. De.Coded is an exploration of 101 change makers from Silicon Valley, nominated by local grassroots leaders and activists for their extraordinary contribution to the region and beyond. The project features photographic portraits, app-based image-activated oral history soundtracks, and ancestral DNA mapping to create a deeper understanding of the valley and its communities.

The project aims to honor the exceptional diversity of the valley and tell a deeper narrative about one of the most influential regions on earth. The 101 individuals represent a wide range of backgrounds, professions, passions, and causes. They include entrepreneurs, educators, activists, artists, scientists, engineers, athletes, politicians, and more. 

De.Coded is not only a celebration of Silicon Valley’s human capital, but also a challenge to rethink our assumptions and stereotypes about the region. If you are curious to learn more about De.Coded and the stories behind the portraits, you can visit the official website or download the app on Google Play or iTunes App Store. There will also be a book signing on Oct 29th at Books Inc. in Palo Alto from 11am to 1pm.

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Mid-Autumn Festival today at San Jose's Berryessa Branch Library

The mid-autumn festival is a wonderful opportunity to learn about and appreciate the diversity of Asian cultures in San Jose. Decorate paper lanterns, munch on delicious treats, and enjoy performances by lion dancers and storytellers.

The festival celebration takes place today, September 30ths, at the Berryessa Branch Library from 10am-1pm. The library is located at 3355 Noble Avenue in San Jose.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Urban Confluence meeting to discuss placing Breeze of Innovation in Plaza de Cesar Chavez

Urban Confluence is working on building a new landmark for the city of San Jose that plays homage to the San Jose Electric Light Tower, an innovative structure that may have provided some inspiration for the Eiffel Tower. They are looking for your feedback on the new project and have an event coming up tomorrow, Sep 29th, from 5:30pm to 6:30pm at the San Jose Chamber of Commerce (101 West Santa Clara Street).

The agenda will cover a history of the project, the Plaza de Cesar Chavez master plan, and plenty of time for public comments and questions.

Below is an early concept render, but no finalized design currently exists. The project will be developed in collaboration with park neighbors, event producers, visitors, and all interested citizens of San Jose.

Some of the ideas being thrown around for the project in its new location are:
  • Improved infrastructure such as a stage, lighting, and sound for park events such as concerts and Christmas in the Park
  • A possible expansion of the park footprint based on recommendations from the San Jose Department of Transportation
  • Elements that honor Cesar Chavez
To participate, please either send a text to (408) 813-5984 or email 

Monday, September 25, 2023

Little Italy San Jose Street Festival this weekend

The 6th Annual Little Italy San Jose Festival kicks off this Saturday, September 30th from 6-10pm and continues on Sunday, October 1st from 11am-7pm. It'll feature authentic Italian cuisine, entertainment, Cal-Italia wine tasting, Italian supercars, arts & crafts, and will of course highlight both the existing and new Little Italy San Jose businesses. There is also a silent auction to benefit the Italian Museum & Cultural Center which is located right inside Little Italy.

The list of sponsors includes some big names like Google and The Sobrato Organization, which is great since over 15,000 people could participate this year. It's always a fun event and a great way to explore one of San Jose's newest districts. I would recommend parking at San Pedro Square and walking over or using Uber/Lyft so you can really enjoy those Cal-Italian wines.

For more information head over here!

Thursday, September 21, 2023

CODAsummit: Art, Technology and Place - Oct 4-6

CODAsummit San Jose is a 2.5 day conference that that explores the intersection of Art, Technology, and Place. For years I have believed that San Jose's best opportunity to differentiate its art scene is to lean into its technological and innovative heritage. Combining art with interactive, digital, and dynamic elements is how we can create a unique brand for ourselves in the global art scene and make San Jose much more lively.

This is why I was incredibly excited when I found out about the CODAsummit. It's a series of presentations, showcases, and discussions to shine a spotlight on how art can transform our urban landscapes. 

I'll throw out some examples of projects in San Jose that have done just that. Of course there is Sonic Runway which attracts hundreds of people at night to experience a light show in a tunnel synced to music right in front of City Hall. The 88 had a fully interactive light system that anyone could control from their cell phone. If you wanted the first four floors of the high-rise to be red, all you had to do is dial the number and enter the right code. More recently, there have been new animated murals that really take things to the next level.

So, I can't wait to see what types of projects around the world will be highlighted at the conference. The target audience is artists that want to explore new mediums, city planners that want to revitalize public spaces, or people that are passionate about the transformative power of art. I fall into the last bucket and will be there to cover the full event for the blog. I'll also be posting real time updates on X / Twitter.

If you are interested in attending as well, you can register for the conference over here.

Sonic Runway in front of San Jose City Hall

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Culture Night Market at Hillview Park in East San Jose, Sep 23

Another Culture Night Market is coming to San Jose, except this time on the East Side. This is an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate San Jose culture through food, art, and music. 

A key goal of the event is to empower small businesses, artists, and local entrepreneurs in the area--especially those that are still recovering from the impact COVID had on our economy.

The event takes place Saturday, September 23rd from 4-10pm at Hillview Park (2255 Ocala Ave, San Jose).

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Content 15.4 "Profiles" pick-up party

Content Magazine is releasing their newest issue on Thursday, August 17th. As is tradition they are hosting a party to celebrate the release, which is taking place at the San Jose Museum of Art (SJMA). Music and entertainment will be provided by DJ Weezmatic, Yosimar Reyes, Ervin Wilson, James Mertke, Paul J. Gonzalez, Together We Create, and more.

The event takes place from 6-9pm and is free to the public. Content Subscribers also get a complimentary beverage and hors d'oeuvres courtesy of El Cafecito by Mezcal Restaurant.

For more info or to become a subscriber, head over here.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Italian Family Festa this weekend at History Park San Jose

The 41st Italian Family Festa returns this weekend at History Park. There will be delicious Italian foods, live entertainment, culinary demos, five wineries, arts and crafts, a street dance, grape stomping, and even a re-enactment of a Roman encampment complete with Italian sword fighting. 

The event will run from 11am to 8pm on Saturday and 11am to 6pm on Sunday at History Park San Jose (1650 Senter Road). Admission is free and all ages are welcome. For more info and a full schedule of events, head over here.

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Monopoly: San Jose Edition

Did you know San Jose has the largest Monopoly board in the world? You can find it at Discovery Meadow near the Children's Discovery Museum and for $300 you can rent it for a private party. The 3-hour game even uses giant game pieces and dice. 

Now we're getting a normal size version of the game, but with a San Jose twist. The makers of Monopoly are creating a San Jose Edition of the game where all 38 spots on the board will represent local areas. You can submit ideas for the 22 property spots at So if it's always been your dream to own both Santana Row and Valley Fair and add a couple hotels to them, this will be your chance.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

100 Things To Do In San Jose Before You Die - 2nd Edition

Welcome to the blog post that has stayed in "draft" the longest. I started writing this right as COVID had just started to spread and decided to table it until the pandemic was over. Then last year, life got crazy... so this has been in draft for over three years!

Five Eight years ago I read the first edition of Susannah Greenwood's "100 Things To Do in San Jose Before You Die." As a hardcore San Jose aficionado, I was shocked (and delighted) that I had only done 54 out of the 100 things to do in the book. There is so much to do and see in San Jose.

25% of the entries on the second edition are new, and the rest have been updates with extended tips. I have used the book as sort of a checklist to see how many I can do. The answer is 52. In the 2nd Edition I have been able to do 52/100.

Some of the new entries include:
  • Hiking Mount Umunhum
  • Having a picnic at the Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve
  • Bike, Blade, and Board at Viva CalleSJ
  • Letting your taste buds travel with a Little Ethiopian in Little Ethiopia
  • Indulge at Adega (I think this will be updated for the 3rd Edition)
  • Pair farm-fresh food with gorgeous valley views at the Mount Hamilton GrandView Restaurant
  • Celebrating the geekiest week of the year with Star Wars Day and Free Comic Book Day
...and many, many more. It's a great book and still very relevant, especially if you want to get the most out of the beautiful place where you live and uncover as many hidden gems and fun attractions as possible in your own home. San Jose is one of the most underrated cities in the United States, and this book will help explain why.

If I haven't been super clear, I highly recommend the 2nd edition (even if you have the first). You can get the book in paperback or Kindle form over here.

"In sitting down to revise the book, I thought a lot about San Jose, how it has and continues to change, as well as what a successful travel experience for me personally constitutes. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to 6 continents and I examined what my favorite places were and why they ranked so. Certainly natural beauty, history, cultural offerings and great weather all play a part in connecting one to a destination and creating a positive travel memory, but what it really comes down to for me, are the people. That is the x factor. The people you meet, at least in my experience, can leave as much of a lasting impression in many cases as the food or the views or the activities you engage in. The people you meet have the power to transform a moment into a story and create a shared experience that extends its impact well after you’ve returned home. In short; conversations create connection and that connection is ripe for the picking in San Jose.

They say it’s not about the destination - it’s the journey, but I think San Jose truly proves they’re both very much intertwined. The featured places and events in the book were especially selected to not only represent our culture and highlight our tremendous natural landscape, but to underscore our strong sense of community. Each of the entries certainly qualifies as a stand-alone adventure, but each of them also strives to put the participant directly in the path of our cities most magical asset; San Joseans. These are the places you’re most likely to strike up that all important conversation with the most passionate and knowledgeable secret tour guides, each genuinely eager to enhance and elevate your experience with additional history, tidbits, and previously undocumented advice. It’s less of a guide to physical places perhaps as it is a curation of potential conversations by which one can better understand and enjoy our awesome City.

Whether you're a first time visitor to this biggest little city in the heart of Silicon Valley, a regular traveler to the area, or a local this 2nd edition is a great catalyst to exploring what makes San Jose tick and getting to know the authentic San Jose." -Susannah Greenwood

Monday, April 17, 2023

Bay Area's first Portugal Restaurant Week! April 17th - April 24th

As a Portuguese-American it used to be a huge challenge to even find Portuguese food at restaurants in the Bay Area. Once Sousa's Restaurant (Azorean Portuguese) on Santa Clara Street closed down, there wasn't a single proper sit-down Portuguese restaurant in San Jose.

Fast forward to today and it's a different story. The first and only Michelin Star restaurant in San Jose and the only Portuguese restaurant with a star in the United States is ADEGA--coincidentally in the same East San Jose retail spot as Sousa's used to be. One of the hottest Downtown San Jose restaurants is Petiscos. Then you have Uma Case in SF, LaSalette in Sonoma, and Tasca Tasca also in Sonoma. There are also outstanding Portuguese-influenced restaurants popping up like Broma in Mountain View (with a Michelin Star chef from Chez TJ).

A celebration of these restaurants kicks off today with the Bay Area's first-ever Portugal Restaurant Week. Special discounted multi-course menus will be available at Adega, Petiscos, Uma Casa, La Salete, and Tasca Tasca. Now's the time if you have yet to experience Portuguese food, which is best served family-style with wide varieties of things to try. You can't go wrong with any of the five options, but please support our San Jose restaurants so they stick around for a long, long time. 

For more info and menus, head over to the Portugal Week site over here! The event only runs until April 24th.