Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Mother's Day at Santana Row

It's not too late to book Mother's Day lunch or brunch. Below are several easy options at Santana Row:

Left Bank: Nothing says "je t'aime" like a truly great meal, oui? Indulge the special mother figure in your life with a delightful and authentic French dining experience at Left Bank Brasserie.Treat her to a delightful array of dishes curated with her in mind, featuring both our beloved brunch classics and new spring-inspired brunch additions, available from 10 AM to 3 PM. For dinner, savor our exceptional Braised Lamb Shank alongside our regular dinner menu, served from 3 PM to 8 PM. All Left Bank locations will be open from 10 AM to 8 PM. Click here to see Mother's Day Specials.

LB Steak: This Mother's Day, honor Mom with an unforgettable dining experience at LB Steak! We'll be serving the below Brunch menu additions, as well as the regular Brunch menu, from 10 AM-2:30 PM. We'll also be featuring Dinner menu additions from 3 PM to 8 PM. Our regular Dinner menu will also be served all day, from 10 AM to 8 PM, along with our special Peach Bellini for Mom. Relax and enjoy the beauty of family as we attend to every detail. It's never too early to start planning for reservations! Book your table online or by calling us at 408-413-3939 today. Click here to see Mother's Day Specials.

Meso Modern Mediterranean: Join us at Meso this Mother's Day to treat your mother, grandmother, aunt, or any other special mother figure in your life to a delicious brunch out at the beautiful Santana Row! On Sunday, May 12th, we will be serving the below brunch menu additions from 10 am-2:30 pm in addition to our regular brunch menu. A reduced all-day menu will also be served from 10 am-4 pm, and our regular dinner menu will continue from 4pm-close, along with the below special dinner addition. Reserve today on our website or by giving us a call! We are excited to be offering extended hours on Mother's Day, and will be open from 10 am-9 pm. Click here to see Mother's Day Specials.

Hotel Valencia: Join us at Hotel Valencia for a delightful Mother's Day Brunch Buffet! Enjoy a spread of gourmet treats and celebrate in style. Mother's Day Brunch Tickets, Sun, May 12th, 2024 at 11AM. Click here to purchase tickets. 

Monday, May 6, 2024

Starting this week on a high note with Purple Lotus

A prime 2,100 SQFT corner space that was formerly Peet's Coffee at 66 West Santa Clara Street has reopened as Purple Lotus cannabis store. They just had their ribbon cutting last Friday..

I believe this is the first urban dispensary in San Jose. Most are tucked away in industrial areas, including the original Purple Lotus location at 752 Commercial Street. That dispensary is much larger and has a thriving business for both in-person and delivery. The family-owned business employs 139 people and is currently San Jose's largest dispensary.

The Downtown location will take advantage of relaxed hours that were voted in last November and will be open from 8am to 10pm. This may actually be a significant draw for Downtown (and perhaps help nearby restaurants). While I have personally never bought anything at a dispensary, I also wouldn't underestimate their potential impact. San Jose collected $16.6 million in taxes from dispensaries last fiscal year.

Sources: SVBJ, The Mercury News

George Avalos/Bay Area New Group

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Cinco de Mayo in San Jose

If you are not celebrating Cinco de Mayo, today would be a good one to steer clear of Downtown and East San Jose. There are a series of planned roadway closures and given the large numbers of people expected to attend the Cinco de Mayo parades, traffic will be gridlocked.

If you are attending, plan to come really early. The lowrider parade in East San Jose starts at 10am along King Road from Alum Rock to Story Road. Afterwards there will be a festival at Emma Prusch Farm Park at noon.

In Downtown San Jose the Cinco de Mayo Parade starts at 9am in front of the San Jose City Hall and goes to Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The festival there will run from 11am to 5pm and has live music, food, vendors, and lucha libre wrestling.

It will be a much larger event than previous years, especially last year. As an added twist, the SJPD will be participating in the parade itself. There is some irony there given San Jose's anti-lowrider laws (which were overturned), but it will definitely be a sight to see today.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Taco Throwdown 2024

The Silicon Valley Taco Throwdown takes place today at Blanco Urban in San Pedro Square. It features tons of the hottest chefs, restaurants, and food trucks. $49 let's you sample 5 tacos. If you have an appetite $79 gets you an all-you-can-eat feast. For more info click here.

Friday, May 3, 2024

South FIRST FRIDAYS Art Walk - May 2024

South FIRST FRIDAYS is back with exhibits across multiple galleries in three different districts. Everything is open from at least 5-9pm. Participating venues include ANNO DOMINI, the Institute of Contemporary Art, KALEID Gallery, Works San Jose, the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, the SoFA Market, MACLA, Art Ark Gallery, MACHU PICCHU, San Jose Jazz, and Chopsticks Alley Gallery.

Worth noting this month is the screening of a short film, Pizza Monster, at MACLA at 7:30pm and 8:30pm. Also Sacred Heart Community Service at 550 S. First will have life-size sculptures by Ramon Franco Arambula.

It all goes down on Friday, May 3rd. As usual admission is free and all ages are welcome. Click here for a preview of featured art! Below is a map with all of the galleries to check out across all three different districts.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Elyse: elevated French Vietnamese cuisine in the heart of Downtown San Jose

Before we talk about about the new Elyse, I have to spend a moment to honor the original. Elyse was the first French Vietnamese restaurant in Downtown San Jose and took residence in the former House of Siam space that old school San Joseans will remember well. The first time I went, I was just happy that a Downtown space that sat vacant for years was finally filled up with a new restaurant. However, I was completely blown away by the cuisine, cocktails, and how romantic the space was. Despite my mission to eat at every restaurant in Downtown San Jose (I'm at 258 so far) I returned several more times and would easily place it in my Top 10 for all Downtown San Jose restaurants.

This was in 2018. Fast forward to the pandemic. During the early 2020s the owner endured multiple hardships including including the passing of her mom, break-ins, property damage, looting, a divorce, and then some. It was an incredibly challenging time, and Elyse closed their doors for an extended period. 

Now, not only is Elyse back... but they have a new location that is bigger and better than ever. This key corner space once belonged to Nemea at the corner of San Fernando and 1st Street. Like House of Siam, it has also been vacant for years. There is a lot of pressure on Elyse to bring something special to this high-traffic part of Downtown--and they delivered.

The space is open and inviting. There is a bar area, main dining room, a cellar-style wine room, a private dining space, and outdoor seating. There are large works of art themed around both France and Vietnam. The lit Eiffel Tower was my favorite.

I was fortunate to sample eight of their dishes. For the appetizers we had caviar blinis, mushroom tartlette (crowd favorite), head-on grilled shrimp, fried Brussel sprouts, mussels, and garlic noodles. I would recommend any of these. The caviar was a nice surprise since I don't remember that on the original menu and I'm not aware of any other restaurant in Downtown San Jose that has that available. As decadent as that was, my favorite app was the mushroom tartlette followed by the giant shrimp skewers with Vietnamese seasonings.

After the appetizers we had two of the mains--a glazed seabass with sauted bok choy and cofit as well as a braised short rib bourguignon with bone-in braised Angus beef short rib and Belgian style fries.

Both were phenomenal. I'm normally a carnivore and prefer steak, but the pan seared glazed seabass was truly outstanding and would likely be my choice. If you're out on a date, it's the perfect opportunity to get two different dishes and share. 

Unfortunately I had to leave the media preview night early to get to our baby at home and did not have a chance to try the desserts. They had a black sesame panna cotta and a Belgian chocolate lava cake, both of which I would have loved to try. I'm planning to head back there this weekend to get those desserts and try more of their dishes. I'm especially looking forward to trying some items that lean more towards the Vietnamese side and a cocktail or two.

In summary, Elyse gets two huge thumbs up. Please give them a try and let us know what you think! Could this be San Jose's next Michelin-recommended restaurant? Petiscos needs some company, and this may be it.

Elyse is located at 96 South 1st Street and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm to 9pm. Street parking is free after 6pm and pretty easy to get within a couple blocks of the restaurant. You can make reservations here as well as read more reviews (spoiler, they have a well-deserved 4.5/5 stars on Yelp). 

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Elyse has a full-blown wine room

Finally, tomorrow I'll have the full write-up for Elyse. There is too much content for one post (not even talking about the fist fight outside during the mayor's interview). One quick item I'll break out for today is that Elyse isn't just a restaurant, they are also a wine merchant.

They have a beautiful room that feels like a wine cellar and can store thousands of bottles of wine. I know they dabbled in making their own products, so it will be interesting to see which bottles are available for purchase.

Since Zanatto's and The Market by Safeway closed, this part of Downtown San Jose has not had a great spot to buy wines. That all changes very soon. You can find Elyse at 96 S. First St. (former Nemea corner space). 


Tuesday, April 30, 2024

California High-Speed Rail interior renders

Below is the first preliminary render of  a dining cab and bike storage for California High-Speed Rail. I have to admit that it looks pretty inviting. I especially like the idea of a bar with a moving view. At an equal cost to a flight, I would pick the train almost every time. The high-speed trains I have taken in Europe were amazing.

The San Jose station be at Diridon and connect with Caltrain, BART, VTA Light rail, ACE, Capital Corridor, and our bus network. Unfortunately, the timeline currently involves having trains running in the Central Valley by the end of the decade. There is no ETA for service to San Jose or LA, so could be a while.

As an added bonus, below is a rendering of one of the stations (Fresno). Just a thought, we're already breaking a cost of $100 billion for this project... we probably don't need the 80-90 foot tall canopies, just a system that works.

Source: Railway News