Tuesday, July 19

The Property Brothers Debut Scott Living Furniture at Orchard Supply Hardware - San Jose

This weekend, the Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott were in town to promote their new book and outdoor furniture line at Orchard Supply. Of course our family went to catch our favorite HGTV co-hosts.

The book is called Dream Home and gives tips on when to determine to fix up a home or buy a new one. Then specific tips on fixing and decorating. It can be purchased on Amazon.
Link here. <--- This is not an affiliate link.

Samples of their furniture line was displayed in the outdoor furniture section. It's called Scott Living. It will be available for sale at Orchard Supply Hardware stores in August 2016.

Even though the line wrapped around the building, it was a very organized event. People were in and out quickly. The Scott brothers were energetic and all smiles. We enjoyed getting to meet them.

Drew Scott is coaching little Colin to look at the camera and smile. No luck on the smiling part though.

Sunday, July 17

Nintendo Flavors Launch at Yogurtland - San Jose

Between July 1 and Sept 8 this summer, Yogurtland is featuring different Nintendo themed flavors rotating through the weeks. By visiting https://www.yogurt-land.com/, fans of Nintendo, Yogurtland and winning cool prizes can enter for a chance to win a Wii U system and one year of free frozen yogurt. All participants have to do is visit the website starting on July 1 and follow the simple steps to enter. One grand prize package will be rewarded every week during the 10-week promotion. By entering the sweepstakes, you are also eligible for instant giveaways, including unlimited frozen yogurt cups, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games, as well as shiny new Nintendo 3DS systems that come with one game.

At the launch party this weekend, we tasted flavors like Mario's Chocolate Gelato, Toad's Rocky Road, and Yoshi's Honey Dew. There were also raffles and spin wheel prizes and a photo booth with Mario.

My bowl had Toad's Rocky Road which tasted like malted chocolate, Sea Salt Caramel, and Birthday Cake flavors. They were all great.

Phil had Toad's Rocky Road with gummi bears and oreo cookies.

His second bowl had Mario's Chocolate Gelato. It tasted like a thicker and richer version of the rocky road.

 We posed for a few photos at the photo booth with our Mario mustaches.

We had a great time at this family friendly event. Bring the kids down to try these flavors while they last.

Yogurtland Westgate West
5395 Prospect Road, San Jose

Friday, July 15

Inchins Bamboo Garden - San Jose

Indian Chinese food is not a category I see often here. It sounds like a good pairing as both cultures use spices and sauces throughout many of their dishes. Earlier this month, a new Indo-Chinese restaurant called Inchin's Bamboo Garden opened in San Jose, and I was excited to join their Media Preview dinner. The location is on the ground floor of the River Oaks Place apartment/condo complex on North First Street. It's very spacious and beautifully decorated with Asian influenced decor. I can see this place being good for happy hour and business dinners due to its location near big companies.

Here are a few highlights from my meal at Inchin's Bamboo Garden. The media dinner was complimentary so I won't be posting prices. You can see their menu here.

Shanghai Silk - vanilla vodka, half & half, cake crumble rim, served with passion fruit jelly

I started the evening with a wonderful cocktail. It was sweet and had a cake crumble rim. I highly recommend you ask for this drink if you like sweet, dessert type of drinks.

Vegetarian burnt garlic rice
My favorite food item of the night was the garlic rice. The bits of burnt garlic added great flavor to the basmati rice.

Shrimp pepper salt
The fried shrimp battered in a peppery coating was very satisfying with the garlic rice.

Lamb szechwan dumplings
I enjoyed the lamb meat inside and its seasonings. I don't see lamb dumplings often either.

Chili mustard paneer
This dish had paneer cheese slices with a chili mustard sauce. It's more mustardy than spicy.

Mongolian beef
The sauce on these thin slices of beef was more sweet since it had caramel. It also goes well with rice.

Thai basil chicken
Breaded and fried chicken pieces on a bed of fried basil

Szechwan fish
The Szechwan fish was more filling and than the other dishes. I think the fish here was also breaded and fried.
Darsaan with ice cream
The fried wonton noodle strips with sesame seed and honey went well with the vanilla ice cream. I enjoyed this dessert.

Date wontons with ice cream
This dessert was also in a similar vein as the dessert above except with dates inside wonton wrappers.

We also received goodie bags at the end of the night which had a package of noodles and Asian flavored drinks.

If you work near North First Street, Inchin's would be a good place to go to after work. The ambiance is just right for a gathering with coworkers. Lots of space and a good bar program to facilitate mingling. There is also another location in Sunnyvale too.

55 River Oaks Place, #70 
San Jose, CA 95134

Tel: 408-471-3322

Tuesday, July 12

Events, Openings, Announcements - July 2016

Michael Mina's Bourbon Pub Celebrate's National Ice Cream Month with Special Desserts

Who:  Bourbon Pub, Michael Mina’s casual and approachable restaurant located at Levi’s® Stadium offering whimsical plays on pub-style dishes complemented by light, healthier options, will celebrate National Ice Cream month with weekly specials created by Pastry Chef, Amy Lee.

What:  Bourbon Pub will be featuring four special ice cream desserts on the menu that will change weekly and are only available throughout the month of July, in honor of National Ice Cream month. The weekly rotating menu will include different styles of ice cream desserts, all housemade and featuring seasonal ingredients.

Menu:                                          
July 5 - 9
STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM BAR
Red Verjus Gastrique
$6

July 11 - 16
HORCHATA AFFOGADO
Espresso, Roasted Almonds, Chantilly Cream
$6 

July 18 - 23
BOURBON MINT CHIP ICE CREAM SANDWICH
$6

July 25 - 30
BRULEED BANANA SPLIT
Strawberry, Vanilla, Roasted Banana Ice Cream
$9


When:             July 5 – July 30

Where:           Michael Mina’s Bourbon Pub; Levi's® Stadium, Ground Level
                        4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way Santa Clara, CA 95054

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Taste Of Orleans Comes To Great America July 23-24 & 30-31Cajun & Orleans Food, Live Music And Décor In Orleans Section Of Great America


California’s Great America will introduce the exciting new
Taste Of Orleans festival July 23-24 and 30-31 in the park’s Orleans Place area. Taste of Orleans will feature live Cajun, Jazz and Mardi Gras style music, regional food delicacies and drink and will be open to all Great America guests.

Regional cuisine includes chicken gumbo with red beans and rice, Po’boys, muffuletta, crawfish etouffee, beignets and much more. The live music features four jazz and Cajun bands that will entertain guests throughout the day.

“The Taste Of Orleans Festival renews a tradition of branding areas of Great America that represent and celebrate regions across the United States,” said California’s Great America Vice President and General Manager Raul Rehnborg. “This festival, and holiday events such as Halloween Haunt and our new WinterFest, provides even more and unique reasons for guests to visit Great America.”

A Chalk artist will paint Mardi Gras murals throughout festival and there will be mask decorating for kids 12-and-under. To close each evening, a Taste Of Orleans fireworks show set to Cajun music will decorate the sky.

2016 Season Passes are currently on sale for just $67 and feature a season of fun in both Great America and Boomerang Bay Water Park. A $99 Gold Pass includes Halloween Haunt, WinterFest, Gilroy Gardens and more, making Great America one of the regions best family valued entertainment options.

More Info here
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Whole Foods Market to open Santa Clara store July 26NorCal’s newest location anchors Santa Clara Square Marketplace

Whole Foods Market opens its new 50,000 square-foot Santa Clara storeJuly 26 at 2732 Augustine Drive (corner of Scott & Bowers). Santa Clara Mayor Lisa M. Gillmor will join the company to host a bread-breaking ceremony for the store and ribbon cutting for Santa Clara Square Marketplace at 9:45 a.m. Doors open at 10 a.m.

For a first look at the store, members of the public can attend a Preview Party on July 23 from 5-7 p.m. The event includes cooking demos, food and product samples, games, raffle, and 3D chalk art photo booth. Tickets are $5; Whole Foods Market will donate all proceeds to Santa Clara Vanguard. RSVP at eventbrite.com.

This is the first Whole Foods Market location in Santa Clara, and the 44th in Northern California. The store brings an estimated 225 new jobs to Santa Clara.

Highlights of the new store include:

TAP ROOM

Beer and Wine on tap – 16 taps feature local beers including brews from Camino Brewing Company, Santa Clara Brewing Company, and even Whole Foods Market’s own brewery in the San Jose Store. National favorites and wine on tap will be available as well.

Signature Menu by Melissa King – Top Chef finalist Melissa King designed many of the items on the Tap Room menu, including the Seoul Burger with kimchi, arugula, and sesame-gochujang aioli; Tokyo Burger, with shiitake mushrooms, greens, caramelized onions, and yuzu miso aioli; Lemongrass Meatballs; Chicken Karaage; Gomae-Spinach Sesame Salad; Enoki Bacon (Enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon and finished with togarashi); and simple Zucchini Rounds.

THE SPECIALTY DEPARTMENT

Chromatic Coffee & Camino Brewing Company Collaboration Brew – The star of this store’s beer set is 22-ounce bottles of Chromatic Coffee and Camino Brewing Company’s Café Con Leche coffee stout. Whole FoodsMarket Santa Clara will be the only place to snag bottles of the tasty collaboration brew through the fall. Guests can browse among a large curated selection of international, national, local, and micro brews, too.

IN THE AISLES

Local product selection – Some of the local products customers will find on shelves include:
Rabbit’s Foot Meadery (Santa Clara Valley)
Frontier Bites (San Jose) – nutrient-dense snacks
Uncie Ros’s (Santa Cruz) – New York-style wood-fired pizza
Small Bees Honey (Los Gatos)
Stueve Biodynamic and Organic Pasture-Raised Eggs (Oakdale)
Camino Brewing Company (San Jose)
Chromatic Coffee (Santa Clara)
Bonny Doon Vineyards (Davenport)
Ridge Vineyards (Cupertino)

More Vegan, Gluten Free, and Paleo options than ever before – The Produce section will house Whole FoodsMarket’s standard selection of top quality fruits and vegetables, as well as an expanded value added set with zucchini noodles, coleslaw mixes, stir fry veggie kits and ready-to-nosh platters. In the Bakery, Sugar Plum cookies are vegan, gluten free, and GMO free; they’re just one of the vegan and gluten free brands the store will sell. The Meat department will offer bacon cured without sugar, and in Prepared Foods customers will always find plenty of plant-strong items on the hot and salad bars.

Imperfect Produce – As part of Whole Foods Market’s ongoing commitment to reduce food waste, the company will feature its partnership with Imperfect Produce at the Santa Clara Store. Guests will find specially-packaged “ugly” fruits and veggies like potatoes and apricots on sale at great prices. Historically, small, misshapen, or otherwise cosmetically-flawed produce never makes it to market, but Bay Area startup Imperfect Produce and Whole Foods Market are helping it see its way to the shelf.

Whole Body natural makeup and body care – Tiger Nuts are the nutrient-dense superfoods are taking the fitness world by storm, and customers can find a new Tiger Nut Smoothie Mix in the Whole Body department. There will also be an expanded lifestyles section with aromatherapy infusers, yoga gear, organic and responsible clothing lines, and plenty of candles and books. This complements the store’s regular selection of natural makeup and body care lines like Andalou Naturals, Juice Beauty, Dr. Hauschka, Mineral Fusion, and Pacifica.

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J-Pop Summit is Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24th at Fort Mason Center’s Festival Pavilion, located at 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123.

This year, J-POP SUMMIT attendees will be able to experience a vibrant 2-Day celebration of Japanese pop-influenced culture including edgy fashion events, pop art exhibits, live music, a technology summit and display, and interactive activates, accented by ramen vendors, sake-tasting, and additional attractions also highlighted by celebrity Guests of Honor. Full details on 2016 J-POP SUMMIT are available at: www.J-POP.com.

A variety of affordable ticket options and V.I.P packages will give J-POP SUMMIT attendees the maximum amount of flexibility to customize a memorable festival experience. Adult single-day passes start at only $25.00 each; 2-day passes start at only $40.00 each. Ticket details are available at www.J-POP.com/Tickets.

About J-POP SUMMIT
J-POP SUMMIT is one of the world’s biggest Japanese pop culture events, held every summer in San Francisco, CA. By introducing the latest in Japanese music, fashion, film, art, games, tech-innovations, anime, food, as well as niche subcultures, the festival has become a landing platform for new trends from Japan. 

Official website: www.j-pop.com
Official YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JPOPSUMMIT/featured

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FAME - Fashion Art Music Exhibition


A street culture marketplace by the people and for ALL the people.

Founded in 2010, FAME is an event that strives to connect the fashion, art, and music counterculture communities under one roof to exhibit the work of passionate and respected artists, open minds, and challenge stereotypes.

WHEN
Saturday, July 30, 2016 from 8:00 PM to 11:59 PM (PDT)

WHERE
Mexican Heritage Plaza - 1700 Alum Rock Avenue, San Jose, CA 95116

Tickets here
Facebook here

Thursday, July 7

Sonoma 2016 - Frank Family Vineyards - El Dorado Kitchen - AirBnB

A few weeks back, I went to my good friend's bachelorette getaway in Sonoma. We stayed at the cutest AirBnB ever. Totes perf for a girl's trip. It looked like someone bought all the teal and moroccan patterned items from Home Goods and decorated the home. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and cooked a light dinner before our reservation at The Girl & The Fig.

The next morning, we set out a large and mostly healthy breakfast spread with fresh summer fruits.

It was basically an avocado toast bar and here's my open faced avo-toast sandwich with pickled red onion. Yum.

After breakfast, we went to Frank Family Vineyards for their premium wine tasting and picnic. There were 5 wines poured and they gave an extra tasting of a dessert wine. 

Our picnic spread is all from Safeway.

Finally, brunch at El Dorado Kitchen before we left on Sunday. I really enjoyed my meal here a few years ago so I was happy to be back at this beautiful hotel and restaurant.

($14) Heirloom Tomato Salad - with corn, arugula, balsamic vinaigrette, and crostini.
It doesn't look like much but these tomatoes are big and filling. Definitely approved by this heirloom tomato fan.

($17) Smoked Salmon Benedict - on sourdough toast with braised greens, potatoes, and a mixed salad.

($12) Truffle Fries - one of the better truffle fries I've had. Nice and crispy and truffly.

Stay tuned for the next recaps of our Sonoma trip with reviews of The Girl & The Fig, and also Goose & Gander. Restaurants really like to name themselves something & something.

Wednesday, July 6

Lemonade Preview Opening - Palo Alto

Lemonade is a popular restaurant in Los Angeles. Chef/Founder Alan Jackson was a chef of fine dining cuisine which he left to start Lemonade. He and his wife were frustrated at the inconvenience of dining out, especially with a child. They sought to open a restaurant that made things more efficient while still maintaining a healthy quality menu.The chain has become a huge hit in SoCal and is now expanding up North. Lucky for us, Palo Alto's location is open. Here's my experience from the preview day the other week.

The restaurant is set up in a cafeteria style with areas called Marketplace, Leafy Greens, Land & Sea, Sandwiches, Hot Dishes, Dessert and Lemonade. You can skip any area and order any combination of food. The food is served by employees from behind a glass sneeze guard. Below I will list menu prices for each item, although for the media dinner, the combinations were set and the meal was complimentary.

($2.95) Watermelon radish with seared ahi tuna - The tuna pieces were larger than expected, which is a good thing, and the snow peas were nice and crisp. I wasn't a huge fan of the watermelon radish in thin slices. They seemed to wilt as they had been sitting in the serving tray. Maybe a different veggie for this or a thicker cut. It was also a little bitter. I'm a big fan of watermelon radishes when they're pickled.

($2.95) Sesame marinated lo mien noodles - No complaints about the noodle. They were very satisfying. It's a cold noodle salad.

($7.95) BBQ brisket - This item is from the hot bar and it's really good. Very flavorful, good bbq sauce, and tender meat. I think the price for the portion size is steep. It only gets you this little bowl which is not filling and you will need to spend more money for sides. 

($2.95) Chinese long beans - The beans were crunchy and the portion was hefty. I was very satisfied with this dish.

($2.95) Heirloom carrots - They also scooped a decent portion of the carrots. I love heirloom carrots. These were just a bit plain. I tasted more parsley and parmesan and less of the truffle and vinaigrette.

($6.95) Seared ahi tuna - Super satisfied with this item. The cuts are large and they gave me 3 slices. It was seasoned just right and the fish was fresh. My favorite item of the night.

(Top) Old Fashioned Lemonade ($3.50) and the dessert is Strawberry Smores ($6) in a jar - The dessert was too expensive and not very tasty. It's hard to eat out of a jar too. I do recommend the classic lemonade. They do it well.

(Bottom) Guava Limeade ($3.50) and the dessert is a Chocolate Chip Cookie ($3) with a glass of blood orange sangria on the house - I didn't taste much guava in my limeade and it was just ok. The cookie really hit the spot and was quite large and chewy.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS
 The cafeteria style serving is an interesting concept. I like the convenience of skipping the line and choosing your food as you see it. This can lead to over ordering though which leads me to my biggest concern. The prices. A meal here can be cheap if you stick to the marketplace items. But I assume most of us need more, like protein or hot food, and those items are pricey. Lemonade has a variety of options that seem healthy and you can make a satisfying and meal if you don't go overboard on quantity.

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