The gallery exhibit from Works ‘An American Mosaic’ celebrates many firsts, first live gallery exhibit for this year, first collaboration with Mosaic America and School of Arts & Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza. For me this was also my first time at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose. Last Sunday I enjoyed the Chili Mole Pozole Festival with live music, artisan vendors, and, of course, the exhibit of ‘An American Mosaic’.
The $10 entry fee was for the festival and it came with a bag of tortilla chips and a choice of salsas. My two salsas were both pretty spicy.
Fourteen San Jose artists express their creativity and love for the Bay Area. As diverse as the artists are their works, with sculptures, painted bottles, and many different painting styles. It felt good to be experiencing art again and I enjoyed the multitudes of ideas and approaches. My favorite was Tulio Flores RGB.
This exhibit will tie in with the upcoming free Mosaic Festival on October 2. Mosaic America celebrates the diversity of America through art, performance, movement, and food. So, maybe this will be your first festival of the year?
If you are still a bit hesitant about festivals you can view the exhibit the next two weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) from 12 – 4: except October 2nd.
The Silicon Valley Mosaic Festival is Saturday, October 2nd, from 12 – 6pm at the School of Arts & Culture Gallery at Mexican Heritage Plaza, 1700 Alum Rock Ave at King Road, San José
We are all ready to go out again to meet friends. I know, the mask mandate for indoor places has been reinstated. Nevertheless you could go to the Castro Valley Marketplace, shop and hang out at the many outside tables. This is a much smaller version of the San Francisco Ferry Building, but they both talk to the foodie in you. Castro Valley Marketplace has olive oils and spices, an artisan bakery, and a butcher, a sushi counter, and a brewery. All of this gets put together with a natural food store. Oh, and the basement has a cellar and lounge. You immediately get why their slogan is: “Only good things, only good food”.
We visited on a Sunday with the brunch crowd. There was a band playing outside and people were enjoying themselves. Nobody seemed to mind the 50 minutes wait for their food order. This space is made for gatherings. If you want to grab a quick bite you might choose the prepared foods at Castro Valley Natural Grocery. This, by the way, is Castro Valley’s first locally owned, independently operated, and certified green whole health market. Besides the tables outside there are a few tables upstairs. The upstairs right now hints at the potential for more gatherings with a pop out kitchen. Future plans are to have cooking classes and local makers to share their talent and products.
Formerly the Daughtrey’s department store, the Castro Valley Marketplace had its grand opening on July 9th, 2021.
You can find the Castro Valley Marketplace at 3295 Castro Valley Boulevard.
I did not receive any compensation to publish this blog post.
Remember my post from two weeks ago: Treat yourself to something sweet? If you were looking for the alfajores and did not have time to stop by the Wooden Table Cafe in Oakland, you can find them at the Castro Valley Natural Grocery store!
Today my mother would’ve been 80. Being German she loved coffee and cake in the afternoon. I’ll definitely have a nice piece of cake and a strong coffee in her honor. In this post I picked five Bay Area bakeries with special treats I love. I am not affiliated with any of the businesses and have not received anything for posting this. (This is not to say I wouldn’t be open to a taste test.)
Pastelaria Adega – San Jose
One of my favorite sweets is pastel de nata, a Portuguese egg custard tart pastry. Pastelaria Adega in San Jose does it right. You can watch them making the tart and stirring the custard in a large copper pot. Besides the traditional plain they also have fruit versions. If you are not interested in custard, maybe try some of their donuts, or savory items?
Alfajores – You had me at dulce de leche; put two shortbread cookies around and you get this Argentinian dessert. For an extra indulgence try them covered in chocolate! They also have many gluten-free options.
Cocohodo is a traditional Korean pastry, shaped like a walnut, filled with bean paste and a chunk of walnut. If I still had a small child this would be my go-to place. You can watch the machine that makes the pastry right there, while also enjoying their great coffee.
Another Korean favorite are taiyaki – fish shaped cakes filled with either custard, hazelnut spread, or red bean paste. They are freshly made and come in four fishes. The cafe is actually a hair salon and due to COVID restriction not a sit-down cafe. The taiyaki are fun when they are warm, but they don’t travel well.
Mini Taiyaki Cafe
5075 Stevens Creek Blvd
Santa Clara, CA 95051
Rosalind Bakery – Pacifica
The artisan bread at Rosalind is amazing, but their croissants are what I crave. The almond one is filled with almond paste, topped with shaved almond, and the crunch is music to my ears.
Yes, you read that right, ice cream tacos. This is not your usual decision between cup and cone. If you insist on a cup you can get this here too, but where’s the fun in that?
The cones at Rocko’s are shaped like taco shells. You pick your flavor of ice cream. (By the way, they also offer vegan ice cream flavors.) Some liquid nitrogen makes sure this stays in place. Sauce? Sure! Three kinds of chocolate or peanut butter. For me white chocolate, please. For some fun crunch you can have this dipped into some nuts. Et voilà – an ice cream taco!
Nitrogen, vegan ice cream, a love for real ingredients. It should not surprise that behind Rocko’s is Lori Phillips with a PhD in Immunology. Rocko’s evolved from an idea in 2013 to an ice cream cart that grew into a food truck. The food truck is still around, ready for your next party. The brick and mortar stands in Santa Clara, near the university.
Rocko’s currently operates with limited hours. Please check their website.
Rocko’s Ice Cream Tacos
2905 Park Ave, Santa Clara, CA 95050
All of this is my personal opinion. I did not receive any form of payment for this post.
And if Ice Cream Tacos are too much for you, you can always search for the classic ice cream experience – Burlington’s It’s It!
Some wise man once said: “When fish smells like fish it is old.“If you want to be sure you buy the freshest fish I highly recommend the Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay.
As you enter the Pier, you can read signs on what fish have been caught that day, the prices, and which boat is selling. You can also Call the Fish Phone at 650-726-8724 for information about which boats are selling and what is available.
This is a great way of buying local, fresh fish.
What an adventure even if you haven’t caught the beauty yourself!
I have never been fishing or hunting. I think hunting is a bit too much for survival skills, but fishing seems like an interesting capability to know.
The other day we went to the public fishing pier in Pacifica. It smells like salt-water and fishing bait. I saw people use shrimp, calamari and little fish as live bait. I am not sure, but I think there might be a distinction of what fish you can catch depending on where on the pier you cast your rod.
If you prefer to go fishing on a lake you can either apply for a license or take advantage of the two Free Fishing Days. The last one this year was on July 4th and the next one is on September 5th, 2020.
But honestly I can’t complain too much. We are very privileged going into this pandemic and have a nice place to hang out and wait this out.
I hope everyone is safe and healthy!
It is also very important to support local businesses right now. Since July 22nd Mountain View has closed off most of Castro St. for vehicular traffic and made it a great place for outdoor dining!
The 100 to 400 block on Castro is now a pedestrian zone, with the crossing streets, Evelyn, Villa, Dana, California and Mercy, still open. The city opened up additional short term parking in City parking lots and garages behind Castro. The Castro Summer StEATS is a pilot program to see if it revives the downtown area.
All is done with social distancing in mind. Circles on the floor show where the assigned tables should go, signs on the street lead you to the hand wash stations, and all waiting staff are wearing masks.
Finally the city is taking advantage of the weather and provides us with a piazza experience! The last time I visited I noticed a lot of children playing in the street. What a lovely accomplishment to enhance city living! Bravo!
What is your opinion about the Castro Summer StrEATS?
Actually the city is asking, please take 7 minutes of your time and fill out the questionnaire:
It’s now been over 100 days in shelter-in-place. All of our summer plans have been scratched, or as we like to think of it: postponed. Even though we just sit at home every once in a while it is great to swap out walking around the block for going to the beach. You can’t really sit on the beach here, but walking along it and smelling salty air is worth the drive.
One of our favorite go-to spots is the path near the surfer museum in Santa Cruz. A long standing tradition after the walk is to stop by Marianne’s ice cream on Ocean St. Right now, you have to order on one side and pick up at the next window, or place on online order. Masks are required. I’m not sure if they give you a taste. With 80+ flavors I know it is hard to decide which to choose. Marianne’s ice cream has been around since 1947 – a true institution.
Marianne’s is open everyday from 10 am – 9 pm.
What’s your favorite ice cream place?
Have you ever been to It’s It Ice Cream in Burlingame? I wrote a post about it: Scream for Ice Cream
Let’s hear it for your favorite ice cream parlor in the comment section.
Easter will be April 12th, this year. There is a confusing tradition that links bunnies to eggs, which I don’t understand or even feel qualified to explain. But for now let’s just focus on eggs.
Before the shelter-in-place order I went to Aptos to see the egg vending machine at the Glaum Egg Ranch. I believe it is still open, but in these days and times anything can change. Are we even allowed to drive that far? I think not.
Please take this as a virtual tour and when you have the chance of freely moving around again consider this as a fun activity for young kids. It is not the vending of the eggs that I refer to here, it is the show that is offered after you vend. You can see this demonstrated in this YouTube video (be my first subscriber to my new channel!):
To see the show you need four crisp dollar bills and you will be rewarded with 18 eggs and a show. The barn store will be happy to provide you with wrinkle free money. By the way the barn store is open Mon – Fri 8am – 4pm and Sat 8am – 2-pm. There you can get a lot of products around eggs. One was succulents in little egg shells, such a cute idea! They also have interesting gift ideas mostly food related.
Since Tuesday we are officially ordered to ‘shelter in place’. So I like to take this time to introduce you to my series: ‘50 things to do’. I try to find 50 things to do in a city nearby. It is an interesting challenge and I enjoy discovering every aspect of a city.
In my latest ‘50 things to do’ I discovered Cupertino. Most of you might know Cupertino as Apple’s headquarters, but this is not all this city has to offer. I was really surprised to see how many interesting options for sports they have. From disc golf to archery, hiking in the hills, and yoga in the park. This city also has two bowling alleys and an ice rink!
There are some cool outings for kids, too, like the 16 feet wide aquarium in the library or the Deer Hollow Farm at Rancho San Antonio. If you like to explore local history you’ll be able to enjoy a few fascinating finds.
If you have any suggestions of places that I might have missed I’d love to hear from you!