Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas Day

I'd meant to post this on Christmas Day but was having too much fun to remember to write anything.

Christmas Eve, my father and stepmom and brother-in-law came over and we drank and ate. I'd made my late mother's "world famous" manicotti recipe. She'd made it for years and years, and we make it at special times. It takes time to make. If you're interested, let me know and I'll post it.

I'd bought the ingredients at Lundardi's. What a GREAT place. Salvatore is my favorite checker. He teased me to no end at my bad Italian accent. It's "manicotti" not "manicatti." I said it was because my mother was from "joisey" that my accent was so bad.

I'd bought 2001 Mount Edan Vinyards Merlot, and it was perfect. It had the UMPH required for the strong flavor of the slow cooked tomato base. My brother in law brought a bottle of Sterling Cabernet & it was nice, but it would have been better with a roasted chicken. It was a calmer wine.

But why did I bring up Christmas? Oh, for memories of course. I remember how much fun I had marching in the Christmas parade when I was a Girl Scout. And once I became a teen, all the joy went out of my life :-) I had to take the SAT the same day as the parade, and I forgot, and was trying to get back home after the SAT (and you remember how DRAINED you felt???) and couldn't get back because E. Main Street was still closed. Now mind you, back then, not many Los Gatos Teens had cars (I was borrowing my Dad's '78 Buick station wagon) and no one had credit cards & few had cash. So I had maybe a few bucks. Maybe. And I can't go home, and so I went to Oak Meadow & walked around until I knew I could go back home. Boy was I pissed :-)

My favorite memory was when my brother & I would go for a walk in the afternoon. We'd go down to the 7-11, get junk food, and then toss a football around on the lawn of the library. One year, we walked all the way down to the 7-11 where Blossom Hill hits N. Santa Cruz! We could walk forever and talk about anything and everything. 7-11 was the only thing open on Christmas Day, I should mention.

My brother hasn't been home for Christmas in about 10 years. When he'd come home, we'd go to Mervyn's and I'd buy him a new wardrobe. I miss him so much. I'm glad he's happy and doing what he wants to do, and I'm so proud of him. Doesn't make me miss him any less.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Main Street Burgers

So the other month, we met my parents at Main Street Burgers in Lyndon Plaza. They'd fetched our daughter from school, and so my husband & I went "whoohoo, we get a date hour!!" We parked behind Mountain Charleys (so we obviously got there early), and walked down to C. B. Hannigans where my husband tried two single malt scotches. Good thing we were walking since he hadn't eaten anything in 5 hours and they both went to his head. It was cute & endearing since he rarely does anything like that. We promised ourselves that we'd find a date time to go there & let him try the cask strength. He read somewhere that this one guy drank cask strength and woke up 2 days later face down in the backyard. We might be able to do that today since our daughter is going over to her grandparents to make cookies.

So, Main Street Burgers got two big thumbs up. My daughter got a hot dog and ate it all up which is unusual. I got the regular burger & it was fabulous, perfectly cooked, etc. The fries and onion rings weren't greasy. Husband got the blue cheese burger & swore we're going back since he couldn't get enough of it.

It was a nice evening and we sat outside watching cars & letting our daughter run around while we finished up. My parents had been there before a few weeks prior & were hesitant...the food was good, but they hadn't had the outdoor seating, and there was no one else there, and the staff all sat there staring at them to see if they wanted or needed anything. I can't see that as happening any more since every time I walk past, I see people in there.

So give it a try!

Bridge to lunch memories

My daughter was taking tap/ballet classes through the recreation department and since it was only an hour, I'd go for a walk around. Earlier this summer, I was surprised to see that the bridge between Forbes Mill and Old Town was locked off. So when I went down to poke around, I was delighted that the bridge is open again. There were a lot of lovely paintings done by the local Girl Scout troops.

During high school, my friends & I would run to Old Town using that bridge because of B. J. Bull pasties. My favorite was the beef and mushroom. I can't remember what Sean and Brent got. But we'd grab them and run back and eat lunch in some classroom before having to get to the next class.

I was so bummed when B. J. Bull's closed down. I imagine the rent at Old Town was outrageous even then. So, when I worked at Adobe in the mid 90s, I was tickled pink to see them at the San Jose Farmer's Market, and the beef and mushroom pasty tasted just as good as I'd remembered, which doesn't happen very often!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Kuletto's is Gone

I was down at the rec building waiting for my daughter's beginning tap/ballet class to end when I realized that Kulettos is no longer at the new hotel. I forgot to write down the name of the new one.

Still, how does this bode? I wonder why Kuletto's didn't make it. There's a wedding at the hotel every weekend. They wouldn't be hurting for clientele. I had one friend go there for her husband's 40th and they spent $200 for 4 people including wine, which isn't unreasonable considering that they did a full meal.

I never went there because, well, you know me. I love Viva.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

It's August Already in Los Gatos

Well, it's finally the dog days of summer. I hope you all snuck out last Friday the 9th to see the Perseids as it was the best day for it. We walked over to the school around 9pm so it wasn't the best viewing, and we saw 4 in 15 minutes. By then, my daughter was "bored beyond belief" and insisted it was time to go home and put her to bed.
So, we did and she had the nerve to protest that she was no longer tired. Can you imagine.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Domus is a Happy Place

My daughter wanted to make vegetable soup yesterday. We don't really have any small soup cups, and dear hubby likes to have a small amount of soup before dinner, and frankly it looks silly have a small amount in our regular sized cereal bowls.

So, to Domus we go. Their tagline is that they're "Your Lifestyle Shop" and I'd have to agree. Considering I've been buying stuff there since it was called Habitat, it's grown with my lifestyle.

So, we ended up buying some beautiful Japanese style tea cups with a blue glaze to use as our soup bowls. And it was just the right size.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

An Anniversary Made in Viva and C.B. Hannigans

Ok, so that's virtually heaven.

For our 12 year anniversary, we had dinner at Viva. We started with clam chowder, and were really impressed at how "clammy" it tasted. They used real salt pork instead of cheating with bacon. And it was served HOT. I love my soup hot. I have viognier and hubby had an 18 year maccallan. I had the most delicious spit roasted lamb with red potatoes and green beans. I had a glass of Syrah with this and it matched perfectly.

Hubby had a delightful beef chop that was served over prime rib hash, mixed veggies (they called it a ragout), and blue cheese mashed potoates. The special was with garlic, but he requested the blue cheese ones, and they're always happy to accomodate.

We skipped dessert, and found a parking spot behind Sur La Table. I was shocked. It was like 630pm. There were PARKING SPOTS. It was a Saturday!! And Smith & Hawken was even closed. Very odd.

So we walked up one side window shopping & then crossed & popped into C.B. Hannigans where hubby could try expensive single malt scotches with impunity. We tried Oban and Bruichladdich 10 year which was clear as a bell. I confess, I'm not that hot on hard alcohol, and I'm really particular about what I kiss on his breath, and I loved both of these. The next day we went to BevMo and bought the Oban 14 year.

The weather was warm, and the evening was delightful.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Gotta love the Los Gatos Library

So, I took a mini-vacation and went ... to Los Gatos! Wait, I am already in Los Gatos. It's true, sometimes there is no place like home.

I went to the Los Gatos Public Library website to see about some events since it's fun to go hang out there. And there's going to be a local author on the 18th.

The book is called The Bad Man from Bodie: The Life and Violent Death of John Franklin Showers. I went to Borders to find out if they had any, being a local author and all, and they didn't. However, they snagged the flyer from me, and intend upon ordering them. Hoorah!

So if you're interested in meeting the author and getting a book and getting it signed, go to the Los Gatos Council Lobby on the 18th at 7pm. The flyer is here but be warned, it's a pdf doc.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Diving the strip and what do i see?

So, I had to go into downtown to Sur La Table and get a Lodge Chicken Fryer....yes, I have been watching too much foodnetwork thanks for asking...and so I'm parked behind in that center parking area.
And I flash back when there used to be a rug shop on the bottom and a French restaurant on the top. I can't remember the names for the life of me, but you accessed them through the parking lot. Anyway, the French restaurant used to have a Sunday buffet. When Ma was out of town once, Daddy took us there for brunch. I flirted with the matre d and he brought me a special dessert. Fresh strawberries with brown sugar and triple sec. To this DAY that's my absolute favorite dessert.

Ok, so after I get out of Sur La Table (you don't want to know the final bill...I needed a meat tenderizer too, and my daughter needed a treat), I'm driving down N. Santa Cruz and where Ford's Cleaners & Crown Books used to be is GUTTED. They're remodeling or something. I hope there wasn't a fire or anything.

Ford's Cleaners was there forever and a day. I remember walking past that day after day seeing their advertisments for preserving your wedding gown, and it filled my head with flowers and dreams.

Of course, I eloped so that's another story.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Are the clouds usual

Well, yes, actually the cloudy weather is usual. When it gets really hot inland, it sucks the marine layer in from the coast and keeps us at moderate temperatures.
I'm honestly not complaining because my last PG&E bill was over $300.

Remember what Samuel Clemens once said...about the coldest summer of his life was spent in San Francisco....darn, I wish I could find the exactly quote. If you know it, post it in the comments.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Town Counsel or Console Me

Ok, I'm an idiot, I admit it. I really don't know who is on the Town Council let alone mayor of Los Gatos. Sure I voted, and at the time, I read all the biographies. But the truth is, my head is in the sand about all of this. I really don't know what the issues are, what their goals are, or even who they are.
And I consider myself politically active.
I'm so ashamed. Time to start acting locally and get my head up & looking again.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What's with all the type A personalities?

So, I was complaining about trying to ride my bicycle with all the insane drivers. And of course, I had nothing but good experiences the rest of the week. People were giving me wide berth. I do appreciate that.

It got me to thinking, though. What are we all in such a hurry for?

Think about this for a second. You're in a rush to get ahead. But who are you getting ahead of, and why? Where are you going? Some of the best times are spent in the moment. The ability to look at someone & genuinely understand them. The moment when the rollercoaster is just about to go down that first drop.

The end of the race is death, and I'm not in any hurry to get there.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Hot hot hot hot hot...ouch

Ok, so I made the mistake of walking around outside barefoot the other evening. Well, my daughter had learned to ride wtihout training wheels as I may have mentioned (is it obvious that I'm a proud parent?) and every night after dinner without fail for the last 4 weeks, we have gone outside so she could ride her bike around. Ok, so it's 98, and I go outside and I'm running around with her until such a point as I realize "Ok, this was not one of my brighter moments." I had her do her loop around the school while I watched, and then we went back home so I could put on my Tevas.
Then the three of us bicycled around the school in the oppressive heat and by the time I got home, my brain was more melted then a soft serve cone in direct sunlight.
It's cooling down a bit...I think we were only 93 instead of 98.
The corn isn't doing well not because I don't water it daily (sometimes twice a day) but because when I let my cat out (15 years old and a spitfire), she goes over & chews on it. Today, she pulled one of the better ones out entirely & it's sitting there with its little roots exposed. Oh I was not happy. She got no table scraps tonight.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Happy Solstice

I hope you're all having the best time today, the longest amount of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere.

I'm hiding in the house working but hope to get outside and go for a walk or a bike ride later.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bicycling Along Los Gatos

So, you'd think that Los Gatos would be a perfect town for bicycling in, right? Wrong. The streets are narrow, and there are so few bicycle lanes. You can't imagine the number of times I almost got creamed by a psycho in his Porsche on his way to Starbucks.

Thankfully, the Los Gatos Creek Trail cuts through the center of town if you really just need to go from one side to the other.

But if I wanted to bicycle down to Borders, it's not worth the stress of the narrow roads and insanely rude and self-absorbed drives.

But don't get me wrong. There's a lot of insanely rude & self-absorbed bicyclists out there too. (they're probably the same drivers who nearly mow down the commuting bicyclists.) On College Avenue, it's 1.5 lanes wide, and certain times of the day, the sun hits just right to be completely blinding. And there's a blind corner after the first big uphill segment.

Imagine the fun & excitement when you go around the blind curve and 4 bicyclists are coming around that blind corner...4 abreast.

Or you're driving up the hill and get stuck behind them 4 abreast & they're screaming to share the road with bicyclists. Yes, SHARE, not have the bicyclists HOG the road any more then the car should HOG the road.

The problem is the person, not that they're walking, bicycling, motorcycling, or driving. Get a grip people. Courtesy goes a long way.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


We started corn seeds in an egg carton back in April, and I planted them in the ground in May. They're probably 3-5" tall at the moment, which isn't going to give me fresh corn for the 4th of July, and I don't even want to extrapolate when it will be as high as an elephant's eye.

I've heard that it is possible to grow corn around here, and I'm watering them daily. I think it's just not gotten hot enough for the plants to really sprout.

Yesterday, we planted some flower seeds (four o'clocks and California poppies) in some flower pots. Hopefully those will sprout soon. It's definitely fun to get your hands dirty.

Growing up, we were always successful at growing cherry tomatos. I'd get such a prolific crop of them. We'd also grow lemon cucumbers, and that's about it. Where our strip of dirt was didn't get that much direct sun. It was on the West side of the house, but there was a large hill that would block most of it, and it was below the level of a retaining wall. Still, a garden is a garden, and it teaches you marvelous real life lessons.

You can't cram it all in at the last minute and expect a bumper crop, and sometimes you can do everything right, and it still doesn't work out.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

More thoughts on Bookstores

It's funny...when Barnes & Noble and Borders started getting really big, people thought it would be the death knell of independent bookstores. Funny to look back and reflect. We still have some independent bookstores that are niche (i.e. Hicklebees), and we lost the mid-sized chains like Waldenbooks, B. Dalton, and Crown.

Of course, Amazon had a huge impact as well since you can get whatever book you want within a few days.

The interesting thing about Amazon is that they weren't the first online bookstore. was the first, and you got in by telnet'ing. So for all of you out there with a good idea that you think has been done, don't sweat it. Just do it in a bigger way and become ubiquitous.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

what's with the weather?

Ok, you're probably tired of me ranting about the weather, but dammit, what's with the weather? It didn't get over 67F today, and it's JUNE for the love of pete. I am so not used to a mild June like this. I want to wear miniskirts and tanktops. Enough with my jeans and sweatshirts already!!!

And what do you call the rays of the sun that stream down from a broken cloud cover?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Burger Pit

There used to be a Burger Pit between the Wherehouse Records & Tapes and Oldsmobile dealership. It's now PetFood Express and Moore GMC, and the old Burger Pit is an abandoned building. The parking lot is used to store new GMC cars and trucks. It's sad really. I asked someone once why he didn't open his restaurant there, and he said that the person who owed Moore wouldn't allow it. So then I have to wonder why they don't just raze the darn building & turn it into more showroom parking lots...The council had their knickers in such a knot about Swanson Ford closing....

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Premium Coffee At McDonalds

Ok, so the latest is that McDonalds now had "premium coffee." I was totally skeptical since they changed from regular coffee to expensive coffee years ago, and it was undrinkable. They fell under the Peets/Starbucks idiotic mantra that stronger coffee tastes better. No, it doesn't. Thanks. Give me a flavorful properly roasted coffee any day.

Well color me surprised that it was actually pretty tasty. Do I think it's worth the price? Enh. But it's better thne it was.

I remember buying large cups of coffee from McD's drive through for cheap when I'd go on long car rides, and it was surprisingly mellow and suited the purpose. Some day, maybe we'll get back to regular tasting coffee.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Vasona Park and Sailing

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at Vasona Park near the boathouse. I remember back in the 70s, you could take a series of lessons down there starting with canoe and moving up to the large sailboats. I think they were things like Dolphins and Sunfish. My brother got to take lessons (and I didn't, boohoohoo). They don't do sailing lessons or rent sailboats anymore, but they do rent canoes and paddleboats.

The water level is pretty high right now making for some very nice boating.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mural at Carl's Jr.

So, I'm heading home and I remember that I need catfood. Well, I don't need the catfood...the cat does. I swing into PetFood Express, buy the catfood, and phone home to find out what I'm making for dinner. Husband wants leftovers redone but this time with an exciting side dish. I head into Trader Joe's (love that store), and find a frozen veggie pack that will do the trick. The daughter calls and she wants Carl's Jr. Ok, chicken stars one night this week won't kill her arteries.

I'm standing there waiting for my order remembering when that building was a fruit & vegetable store, and I'm blanking on the name. Martini's Orchard? Anyway, I look at the wall and there's a beautiful mural of Los Gatos in an artists rendition of downtown 1880s. I'd seen it before thousands of times, but this time, I really looked at it, and wondered what was life like back when you had to take a train for long hauls. What was life like with a slow pace?

Today, everything is hurry up and wait. How many of you get impatient waiting for microwave popcorn to be done? And that's only 3 minutes of your life. It would be fun to put aside the cellphones, blackberries, treos, laptops, autos, and just go back to walking for a day. Just to remember that we're humans, not androids.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Youth Science Institute

Just in case you're not aware, there's a Youth Science Institute (aka YSI) that has a branch in Vasona Park. They have lots of cute classes like Hike & Bike, Radical Reptiles, etc.

Boy I sure wish they had that when I was growing up. We'd ride our bikes down to Vasona and spend the day playing around the creek, looking for lizards, etc.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Happy June Day - School is almost over and Aldo's

Hey, early June used to get me so excited because school was almost over. As a parent, I'm flipping out because school is almost over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Right now, I'm busy with the end of the year parties and activities. Tomorrow is Pioneer Day, and I'm in charge of teaching 36 8-year olds to cross stitch. It'll be fun. I wish we'd done that when I was in 2nd grade.

And apropos of nothing, I went to Aldo's for dinner and had yet again the most perfect meal. I truly recommend them for special dinners or lunches. They're such a warm and friendly place with perfect food.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Happy Memorial Day

Hey, so we didn't bbbq, but we did raise a glass to the memory of those that have fallen in the name of freedom. Thank you to every one who has served our country to protect our freedoms.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Nail & Hair Salons

I was driving down University the other day just shocked & amazed at how many antique stores are now hair or nail salons (or both).

When growing up, everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING was an antique store. It was a miserable place for growing up because there wasn't much to do. At the bottom of College Avenue on E. Main Street, there was a video game arcade where they had a pool table, pinball, and they must have had other stuff. We enjoyed pinball, my brother and I.

I think that I mentioned that the Town of Los Gatos had to put in a morotorium on more hair or nail salons. I'm sure that the rents are astronomical. And yet, they stay in business, so it must be what the market can bear. It's just ... well, there needs to be more fun things in town. Another bookstore besides Borders. More places to just hang out and be a kid.

Perhaps Los Gatos kids these days are just too busy being shuttled from activity to activity to tutor to activity that they don't have time to just be kids. And that's too bad.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Listen to the radio...

I was driving yesterday with the windows down and music from my iPod playing. Every car around me was playing a different song, and while part of me thinks "rightous" another part of me misses that time when you'd pull up to a stoplight, and the guy in the car next to you was playing the same song that you were, because you both had it set to 98.5 KOME (hey, there's KOME on your dial!) or 92.3 KSJO. Sometimes it was KMEL, KEZR or KFOG. I can't remember the numbers anymore.
But it was a real rush when you realized that everyone around you was listening to the same song as you were at the same time. Nowadays, it's just a fluke.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Who would expect rain in may?

So, it was a very wet weekend here. I have some corn planted, and for the first time in 3 weeks, I didn't have to water them. I must say, I'm not at all used to the idea of rain this late in May. I can't even remember such a time, and I've been here 30 years.

I was reading an article in the Merc that said, and I quote,
Instead of a glorious beachside wedding on the Monterey Bay, a bride and groom tied the knot inside a banquet room.

``It's very stressful for the parties involved,'' said Liz Williams, a concierge at the Seascape Resort in Aptos. ``They still wanted to have it outside, but it's just not the right way to go, with people all dressed up in their finery.''

end quote.

Can you imagine *that* Bridezilla wanting her guests to get soaked & ruin their clothes just because she had to have HER wedding HER way and anyone who gets in HER way will be steamrollered. Thank goodness someone had the good sense to be firm.

And that, my friends, is why I eloped.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Go Kari!
Local girl, Kari Byron, is now one of the stars of Mythbusters, at least according to my male friends.
Read all about her history in Los Gatos here

I love Mythbusters, although, I have disagreed with some of their methods like why you don't lockstep over a bridge...they chose the wrong kind of bridge to test it on! But that's another rant.

Kari, you do Los Gatos proud!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Lost Day

I have no idea what happened to yesterday. I showed up to work and a peer was sick, so I had to do my work and his work. It was a long day. I dragged myself out of the office and drove home, walked in the door, and hubby & daughter were yelling at one another over her homework.
I turn around, and go to the Big Mac Supper Club to take out dinner. (I did like the Asian Salad) I walk back in the door, and they're at each other's throats. Ugh.
Didn't McD's have an ad campaign years ago about how french fries are friend makers? Believe it, baby. Dinner became more relaxed, homework was finished, and we laughed the rest of the evening about it.
Supersize me with that relaxation.

Monday, May 15, 2006


So, in a small town, you wonder if a premium ice cream store can really survive let alone *2* of them. Coldstone Creamery is in downtown and on the Boulevard. And truth be told, it's always busy when I go in. Huzzah. I won't say that premium is better then non-premium. There's something to be said for going to RiteAid and getting a triple scoop of chocolate chip, mint chip, and vanilla.

Let's face it, I grew up on Dolce Spazio's. I really miss Cassis Compote, but they haven't had it in years. I also love the pumpkin gelato that they make in the fall.

So what do I get at Coldstone? Well, last time, I bought coffee with Butterfingers smooshed in...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mother's Day

Ok, Mother's Day Weekend has officially started. I hope you made reservations at Viva or California Cafe. No? There's so many restaurants now in Los Gatos. I'm not sure which one to pick either. I think I'll just stay home & have the husband bbq some ribs for me.
Speaking of which, some really tasty ribs are at Little Lou's BBQ.
I usually get the tri tip salad, my daughter loves the pork ribs, and my husband loves it all. And try the potato salad. I'm really a snit when it comes to potato salad (no egg, no relish, nothing fancy), and this stuff is so tasty. I could eat the whole large side by myself. Oh and be warned, the hot links really are hot.
I'll order the Captains Platter, and then walk down to either Kings Court Liquors or Trader Joe's to pick up some wine or beer.
Maybe I'll do that tonight! It's either that or Outback...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Affordable Treasures

Affordable Treasures used to be over in King's Court Shopping Center (where Lundardi's is), and it was always small and cramped. Then they moved to Los Gatos Blvd right next to Jack in the Box, and whoah nellie! Did they expand! It's actually really cool. I love looking at the Oriental Trading Company catalog. However, I really don't want to buy a gross of anything. Affordable Treasures buys things by the bulk, and I can get a few for treats or a bunch for a class party.

The other day when I went hiking with the Brownies, I stopped to get metal whistles and compasses. Now, a bunch of 2nd grade girls are going to be pretty rough, so you don't want to spend a lot, but you want something special. And they had what I wanted and for $2 each whistle and compass, we were in business!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Goodness, I'm in the dark

Well, last night I was blogging about something and the power went out. So we went outside and chatted with the neighbors and walked around to see who had power and who didn't.

That's the one thing I love about our neighborhood is that it's so friendly. People watch out for everyone else. Cars drive carefully. We have court parties on 4th of July and New Years Eve.

And when the power is out, there's a party in the making :-) Too bad it came back on at 930, but it was time to get the kids to bed for school.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Oak Meadow Park

It's time to go out & feel like a kid again. Oak Meadow park is free for residents, and yes, you have to show your driver's license.

Parking is hit or miss. If you can't get parking directly in the main lot, continue up the hill and turn right onto University. You usually can find a spot there, and walk down the steep trail.
Or, if it's after hours, I think you can park across the street in the doctor's lots. There's actually a large number of office buildings back there, including my opthalmologist, Dr. Basham who rocks. He weilds a mean laser for cataract surgery or detatched retinas.

So, back to the park. What I love is going on the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad. It's not a long trainride, so it's good for very young kids. But it's just fun. And then there's the restored carousel. Who doesn't love to feel 7 years old again on a horsey going up & down to carnival music?

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Whenever Senior Prom season hits, I always miss Idamina's Dress Shop. It was right on the main drag, and had some of the most beautiful clothing in the world (well, in my mind, anyway). Dad would take us there to find something for Ma for her birthdays and Mother's days.

I once needed a formal'ish dress for a piano recital. And at the time, it HAD to be a McClintock. So we went to Idamina's and found a perfect forest green calico dress. The staff helped me try it on and then had me stand on the raised dais with the three way mirrors usually used for brides. I thought I was worth a million bucks right then and there because of the way they treated me.

It's hard to find that kind of service nowadays especially since everyone wants it cheaper. But it'll never be better. And so Idamina's faded away. Sure, she was getting old, but there was no one interested in maintaining a high end dress shop. Nowadays, there are only boutiques if you want high end clothing. I truly think they've gone the way of the payphone booth.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

From Sambos to Baker's Square

Once upon a time, there was a very cool breakfast place that had the best pancakes called Sambo's. They'd provide a mini comic book to keep kids happy while they cooked up the flapjacks, and it involved Little Black Sambo who chased a tiger around a palm tree so fast that the tiger turned into a stack of pancakes which Little Black Sambo ate.
Before you send hate mail, this was in the 70s. It was totally racist, absolutely. And that's why they changed it.
It became some "Garden" place and then something after that before finding it's current owner of Baker's Square at some point. My brain doesn't work as well as it used to. As a teenager in '83, we went there after a night of sampling from a beer keg all night for breakfast. I couldn't eat a thing.

It wasn't a bad place, but something happened in the last few years. We'd go on occasion after getting our hair cut at Christina's of Los Gatos (395-HAIR), and the service got downright *surly* last year. The wait-thing argued with me over my choice of wine. I chose white instead of red to go with my BLT. Go figure.

And after 2 of the mini-bottles of wine, I'll forgive most anyone for anything, but the last time we were there, they messed up my order, and then didn't make it right, and then my wait-thing never came back. Ever. So we had to just walk up to the register to pay.

I guess I'm not surprised that it's never busy there. They need to fix the inner problems before they can fix the external problems. Pity because it's so convenient to go there.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Ok, the jewel in the crown of Los Gatos has got to be Manressa. It's tucked away in Little Village Lane which is between N. Santa Cruz and University between highway 9 and Bachman Avenue.
This place was listed in Zagat Survey as being, I think, 2nd only to French Laundry in the Bay Area. I've talked with some people who went there, and wow. Talk about an incredible anniversary experience.
We have some friends who went there just for dessert and thought it was worth every penny.
I'm saving my pennies.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Spring Fever

Goodness, I got spring fever but bad yesterday. Maybe thinking about hiking at St. Joseph's Hill did it for me. Saturday, I hike the Cholone trail at Pinnacles. The hills were so green...and so was the poison oak. Yikes. Sometimes that trail was pretty narrow too.

So Monday, I had to hike at Almaden Quicksilver Mines. The trails thankfully are wide and the poison oak is not so obvious. But the wildflowers were incredible. I saw both big and small of every color under the sun. Thankfully it wasn't too hot. I don't think it got over 80, and a breeze started to blow around 130 when we needed it the most.

Get Out and enjoy it now while we can. In a few weeks, it's going to be a hot time in the old town.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Perfect day for a hike

If you head up College Ave about .6 of a mile, you'll reach Jones Road. Take that to the end and you reach a nice open space preserve. I think it's called St. Joseph's after the Lake that's up there. As a kid, I used to run around here a lot. I try not to think about all of the Mountain Lion sightings up there.
But now that the weather is nice, it's a perfect hike to go to the top of the trail and look down about Lexington especially now that it's full.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


If you ever have a taste for yummy Chinese food, I highly recommend Jasmine. They're in Lyndon Plaza which is the "mall" on the corner of North Santa Cruz and W. Main Street.
They make a wicked tangerine chicken. They opened sometime in the early 80s, and we used to go there when Dad was on a business trip. It was run by a husband & wife and this one other cool dude. When I go in now, it's just the husband and cool dude, so I'm afraid that I fear the worst.
When one parent dies, you lose a bit of innocense that you can never, ever regain, and you look at those situations with a hollow viewpoint. I've been in a lot, and she's never there. Not for lunch, nor dinner. She was cool and would always bring me extra hot mustard for my egg rolls.

Well, I actually went to the site and found the History page . They opened in '82, so my memory isn't quite so bad. He doesn't mention much about his wife. Hopefully she's home making new recipes. Maybe my innocence isn't lost after all.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

What's your Habitat

Domus is a wonderful home goods store. When they first opened, they were called Habitat. They expanded with a store in Old Town called The Dutch Fox. These were the best places to get a present for your mother. Domus is also a great place to go to get unusual drink glasses. We get most of our Scotch tumblers there. What I like is that you can buy one at a time or sets.
Domus used to be the only place where you could get unusual kitchen gadgets like a shrimp de-veiner.

Eventually, Sur La Table moved in down the street, and it appears that there's room for everyone here. Domus still has a lot of gadgets but has expanded more into really unique dinnerware. I think Domus has become more what the Dutch Fox used to be.

One other cool thing of note...where the cards are located in Domus? That used to be the original Steamers restaurant and you could get a huge bowl of steamed clams in a nice broth. They opened up a new location in Old Town called Steamers Too. Now they're located across the street near Sur La Table and they go by the name Steamers Grillhouse.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It's like Magic

Once upon a time, at the end of the "block" on N. Santa Cruz Avenue (down past The Chart House but not quite so far as Forbes Mill Steak House) there was a marvelous magic shop where you could buy the coolest tricks for the cheapest amount. I loved getting "smoke" that would appear from my fingers. My father would buy card tricks, and my brother loved the silly tricks like whoopie cushions.

I was really sad when he retired. The owner didn't even sell off the business...he just shut it down. It was the coolest way to spent my allowance after school or on a weekend.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Gilley's and the Bakery

Further down N. Santa Cruz, there was a wonderful bakery. I used to buy shepherd's rolls, and then walk down to Vasona and share them with the ducks.

A little further down was Gilley's Coffee Shoppe. I never actually went there, but my friends did and loved it. Then there was the Loma Prieta quake of 1989. I walked downtown a few weeks later (when they finally opened it back up) and looked in the window and thought "there is no way that will ever open up again."

I'm proud to say that they did. And they're still open. I wonder if they're the longest opened store there.

I was shocked when Bears in the Woods closed.
I'll have to poke around down there and see if Round Table Pizza is still open. They were one of the last ones to use corn meal on the bottom of the crust.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Red, White and Bleu

I was just thinking about another good place to go for real deli sandwiches...the Red, White, and Bleu. It used to be on N. Santa Cruz Avenue on the ground floor a few doors down from Mountain Charleys.
I remember getting a wonderful sliced turkey sandwich on white bread. The pickle spear was my favorite. Perhaps the memory is better then the reality.

Next to it was a stationery store...I think it started with a "C." I used to buy a box of chocolate toffee there. There are no stationery stores any more. I think the last one was McWhorters which was where Trader Joe's now is.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bonfante Gardens

What a fun day at Bonfante Gardens. I have been taking my daughter there since the second year it opened which I think is 2001 (so I've been going since 2002, I think...). It's a perfect haven from stress with all of the gardens. The rides are simple and fun. I think it's good for kids about 10-12. And it's the perfect place to drag the Grandfolk to as well. I hear you going "Gilroy???" Yes, they have lots of benches, bathrooms and shade. Ok this year the costs seemed to go way up for water and snacks and stuff. I'm willing to suck it up, though, to see the park survive.
So, Los Gatos Girl, what the bleep does this have to do with Los Gatos? Glad you asked! The creator of Bonfante Gardens is Mr. Bonfante who created Nob Hill Foods. Of which there is one in Los Gatos. We used to call it Snob Hill and it was patronized by the Kennedy crowd. We common folk went to Food Villa.
At least, until Lundardi's moved in.
And at this point, I'd like to wax poetic about Italian grocery stores. Lunardi's, Food Villa, Nob Hill, Cosentinos. They had "it" whatever "it" is. You'd walk in, feel at home and find the freshest foods.
Anyway, Michael Bonfante sold Nob Hill to Raleys and Bonfante Garden's is run by a Board of Directors through Paramount. So if you're like me, you buy the VIP pass from Great America, and truck on down to Bonfante Gardens for fun in the sun.
Mr. Bonfante, if you ever read this, you succeeded. You rock. I now go to Nob Hill all the time because it has exactly what I want...which is a reasonable variety staffed by extremely helpful and professional people. Oh, and the same with Bonfante Gardens.
I was talking with the father of a classmate of my daughters and we both said that we just feel safe at Bonfante Gardens.
So break your arm patting yourself on the back. You absolutely deserve it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

How long does it take to get to Santa Cruz from the High School

For those who went to Los Gatos High School, there came a time in the Spring where it was just too nice to sit through class. And you'd race to the beach, dip your feet in, laugh & then drive back before anyone missed you.

Back then, there wasn't the amount of traffic all the live long day that there is now.

So, we'd get from the lower parking lot to the "free" parking along the side street in 23 minutes. At night, we'd get there faster.

The free parking is along 3rd Avenue almost all the way to Riverside. It was a sandy area that we all piled our cars into. Now they've paved it over and put in parking meters.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


There's a nice store called Affordable Treasures on Los Gatos Boulevard. Once upon a time, there used to be an aquarium store that had a reasonable selection of the basic fishes.

Next door was a fish & chips place. I was always a bit worried about going there wondering where they got their fish from!

It all burned down in the early 90s, and they built nice, new buildings there. Affordable Treasures used to be in Kings Court. I was really happy when they expanded the store. Where else can you take $10 and come out with a whole bag of toys?

Monday, April 17, 2006

To Auto or not to Auto

There's an interesting article in today's San Jose Mercury News about the disappearing car dealerships in the Heart of Beautiful Downtown Los Gatos.

Once upon a time, the area across the street from South Bay Honda used to be a Dodge dealership where they sold swanky van conversions.

The Rotunda strip mall used to be a Chevy dealership.

McHugh Lincoln Mercury moved to Capitol Expressway.

The Flames became an Auto Mall high end car dealership. But it blew up.

And now Swanson Ford is closed because they could get a better deal if they sold the land that they'd owned for generations. Oh, and Los Gatos Hummer wants to move as well.

So what's the controversy? The Town of Los Gatos is trying to prohibit Swanson from selling the land to be anything BUT another car dealership. Swanson maintains that they should be free to honor their deal with Sand Hill Properties.

They're trying to claim that buying a car in a little town is a much better experience.

I'm sorry, guys, but balogne. It's harder to test drive because you have to go far out of your way to find a spot to get the car REALLY up to speed. Steven's Creek Auto Mall is far better because you can pop onto 280, floor it, and then take the Wolfe Road exit which is a reverse camber and allows for really excellent testing of "roll" on a car.

I've bought a few cars, and one was from a Los Gatos dealership. I didn't feel my experience was any better or higher quality.

The Town worries that they'll try to put a Fry's in. Hah. As if. The Town is quite hostile to businesses, and I can't imagine a Fry's wanting to put themselves into a no-win situation like that.

Currently, Yarndogs and the Bead Store are embroiled in a problem with what constitutes teaching a class. The Town wants them to pay a huge amount of money each month because they're teaching classes. The amount is far more then the in store tutoring sessions.

No, Town of Los Gatos, you are not business friendly, and you're going to keep losing businesses until you wake up and learn to appreciate them.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Rotund Rotunda

My goodness, that structure really does stand out, doesn't it?
It used to be a Chevy dealership. When I had an internship at Apple one summer, I priced the "speck" cars since I desperately wanted a car ( I ended up buying my best friend's Honda Accord hatchback and learned to drive a stickshift). Hoo boy, never give a salesman your phone number if you're single. He called & asked for a date almost every week that entire summer. Cute guy, though. I had a boyfriend, now my husband. I can't remember the name of the dealership though.

So Crown books used to be on the N. Santa Cruz strip, and they were one of the first people to move into the new strip mall, and were on the end under the rotunda. It was nice to buy a book and then go sit out in the front in the shade.

The woman who was the buyer for the children's book section was a buyer or worked at Chanticleer Books which was located at the bottom of College Avenue where it popped out on E. Main Street. They were one of the best children's book stores. Ever.

I think I'll go curl up now and finish The Silver Chair...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Here comes the sun...

Wow, finally, we get some more sun!

So more musings on the corner of Los Gatos Blvd and Blossom Hill Road.

Food Villa had the best bakery where I could get iced gingerbread cookies where the black icing would make your tongue purple. I loved it.

Before Viva, it was Viva Primavera, and before that it was Fresh Choice. That was after the remodel.

Across the street, the Peets and Wooden Horse used to be a large B. Dalton bookstore. It was a funky little strip mall that they revamped. The Togo's was always there that I remember. And the Lundardi's used to be a very run down Safeway. Then they built the new Safeway over off of N. Santa Cruz. Now it's kind of the run down Safeway, and the one off of Union and Los Gatos Almaden is the "new" Safeway. I think it's a shell game.

B. Dalton couldn't compete, and shut down. Peets and The Wooden Horse moved in. I'm not exactly sure why The Wooden Horse had to move from Old Town, but I suspect it didn't fit in with their upscale model. All of the artists were run out of Old Town as well.

I'll save the Giant Rotunda for tomorrow's musings.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Scarlette La Rue's

Just so you don't think I'm a downtown snob, I remember when the strip mall at the corner of Blossom Hill and Los Gatos Blvd had a Thrifty Drug anchored on one end and a Food Villa on the other. In between was Los Gatos Cyclery (or was it Los Gatos Schwinn...they sold Schwinn bicycles), and a cleaners, and a Photo Drive-Up which is where I brought all my 110 film.

And, there was also Scarlette La Rue's. It was where all the guys wanted to go when they were 21. It had more mystique then Black Watch (now The Watch) which everyone *knew* was a biker bar. Scarlette's had popcorn on the bar. Scarlette's had dixieland jazz playing. Scarlette's was a *party* A dear family friend used to hang out there, and they would have him play his banjo.

When they remodeled that strip mall, Scarlette's moved to somewhere in San Jose. Princeton Plaza maybe? I don't think it's been in business for a long time.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Elegant Buns

Sorry I missed yesterday. I have a headcold. I forget that I usually get one around this time of year. Is it the plants and it's really just allergies or do I just get a cold? Who knows.

We were talking about the best burger ever, and I don't think that there is the best burger ever forever and a day. BUT, Elegant Buns used to be at the restaurant area of Mountain Charley's and they had a killer burger with blue cheese in the center. They also had blue potato fries. It was heaven.

But, and this is a bit typical for Los Gatos, they were shut down because people didn't like the name. It was too suggestive, I guess. True? You be the judge.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Thanks! I think it was called The Nutt Shoppe or Nutt House or something like that. It was the coolest place. I wanted to work there thinking "What could be better then working in a candy store?"

But there was another candy/pastry shop...Hansel & Gretel's Honey Haus, I think, across the street. I loved being able to buy jelly bellys for $4/lb. I'd get 1/4 lb at a time. What I loved also were the exotic European chocolates. This was long before you could walk into Safeway or Whole Foods and buy these off of the shelf. Chocolate was Hersheys or Mars, and milk chocolate was in everything. Let's face it, the Hershey bar I preferred was called "special."

Just an aside, I was looking for an image of Hershey Special Dark that I could put in here to make this blog more colorful. I was playing around Hershey's site, and they don't list Special Dark in their products! It's called Extra Dark.

I guess it's not special any more.

Aned in about 1983 or 1984, Lunardi's moved in. It used to be a really run down Safeway and they cleaned it up and added an incredible meat counter. No one else except the Los Gatos Market had such a great selection of meats and butchers. More on that later. For now, I'll just say that they brought in good European chocolates, and then I had a choice. But since Hansel & Gretel's was walking distance, I still headed there.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cross Over The Bridge

I was trying like crazy to remember the name fo the candy shop from yesterday's blog. If anyone remembers, please post a comment. They had the coolest selection.

When I went to high school, I'd walk with friends across the bridge to Old Town. It was fun looking at the traffic, and upstairs at Old Town was a pasty shop. B. J. Bull's? I think? My favorite was the mushroom and beef.

They moved and opened up a shop in Palo Alto, and I occasionally found them at farmer's markets. I wonder if he's still in business?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Old Town Memories

Once upon a time, Old Town was the original elementary school. Then Old Town became a fun artist "commune" in the 70s. I remember Mud in Your Eye, and the Leathermakers or Leathermasters were anchors. You could go there on any given weekend, and small artists would have booths set up along the back. There were some booths "built in" that would close like wardrobes and lock during the week.

Along the side was a wonderful candy shop. I would always buy my mom marzipan figurines there for her birthday. And across the walkway was the original home of The Wooden Horse. This place is the best for fun and creative toys that last longer then the afternoon. I saved up my allowance to buy a marionette of a snake charmer. And I still have it.

Upstairs was Mimi's Cafe. It was always packed for breakfast and brunch on weekends. Sometimes, my mom would keep me home sick and we'd sneak over there for breakfast during the week. The blintzes were divine. It was always fun to sit out by the windows.

And then downstairs on the other side was Walden Pond, an independent bookstore. They had a nice layout of their shelves and wooden floors that were very inviting. They were forced out, and reopened in downtown San Jose as the Phoenix Bookstore, but it wasn't the same...and they shut down within a few years of moving.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A good cup of coffee

Before Starbucks and Peet's took over the world, there was the Los Gatos Roasting Company. Growing up near there, it was pure heaven to walk out in the morning and smell the roasting beans as I walked to school. They were true craftsmen in how they handled the beans. It's not this over-roasted dreck that you get these days.
Really, I mean, rant mode on, how hard is it to get a reasonable cup of coffee these days? Just a simple cup of coffee for less then a buck? Even McD's has gone upscale. Of course, they were charging over a dollar for overroasted dreck before.
I like the full bodied. I like the medium bodied. I just like a mellow cup of coffee that doesn't grab me by the lapels before I'm ready to be fully coherent.
Ah well. Back to dreaming of good coffee.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Rain Rain Rain

They say that it's a new record with the rainfall. They say that the last record of note was 1983. I remember all the rain from that year. I'd have to slog through an ocean to get to the math portables as a lake would form between the two trailers.
Then I'd have to go all the way up to the history wing and sit in class dripping wet.
Then I'd walk home! And I pretty much was soaked to the bone.
Yes, those memories never leave you.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Forbes Mill

I remember in the 70s, there were still parts of a flume that went from Lexington Dam down to Forbes Mill. Back then, parents would throw you out of the house if the weather was even remotely nice with the admonishment not to come home until the street lights came on. We'd go play hide & seek out there. No one ever got hurt. And it was pretty cool.

Forbes Mill is now a history museum and a steakhouse.

Monday, March 27, 2006

So much for good weather

I hear you asking, if you keep on about the perfect weather, what's with the cold? Good question. We really are getting spanked from the Great White North. I made the mistake of trimming my citrus trees right before the last cold snap. They're trying to decide whether or not to forgive me.

On the bright side, I was downtown at Yarn Dogs since I needed more needles, and the weather was glorious. I went for a bit of a walkabout. Across the street from Yarn Dogs is Kuleto's and the Los Gatos Hotel. Yes, if you search for Kuleto's, you'll get the website for their San Francisco location, but there's one in Los Gatos.

Well, the point of my musing is that this used to be a Foster's Freeze and Sir Toby's when I first moved there. Sir Toby's was a standard deli. It closed and in the early 80s, it opened up as a fantastic French restaurant called Petite Moulin Rouge. I think. Correct me if I'm wrong. The maitre d was a delightful Frenchman who would spoil me rotten with a long stemmed rose every time we went. The food was heavenly and perfectly balanced.

After a time, I think they got tired of running the place. The chef moved down to N. Santa Cruz Avenue and opened up another restaurant that used to have marvelous New Years Eve meals with two seatings. My parents used to love going to that. I did a search, and the only French restaurant on N. Santa Cruz Ave is Pigalle. I can't remember if that was the same one or if that's a new incarnation. If you remember, please post a comment! (Even if you don't, please post your comments)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Spilled MEAT

My friend was driving home last night and heard that there was a meat spill on the Penninsula. And there were marvelous quotable quotes like "meat in all lanes" and "a butcher truck lost its load."

So, imagine my surprise when there was nothing on!

So, being your loyal information hound, I did find some blurbs

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Another Rotten Day in Paradise

Yes, it was a hideous 71F and a dreary sunny sky all day long.
Check out The Weather Channel if you don't believe me.
My mother used to tell me that Los Gatos was one of the 3 best places to live in the world due to weather. The second was in Italy, and the third was in Japan.
Who was I to argue with her?

I know, though, that I've lived here too long. When we got cool in September when school started, I said "Expect a very hot Halloween." and Everyone laughed at me. Yup, it was broiling hot. When it's hot when school starts, it's rainy by Halloween.

March came in with a peep on the 1st and then a ROAR on the 2nd. I suspect we'll have a wild ride until April 1st.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

More on the Pet Rock and other Bars

I actually am old enough to remember wanting a pet rock and my parents wouldn't get me one. They said I already had a cat and a dog and why would they waste their money on something stupid like a pet rock.

Well, enough people thought it was great so old Gary built the bar Carry Nations.....Nice bar. Lots of beautiful stained glass.

It's right across the street from Mountain Charley's bar. When we first moved there, Mountain Charleys was a bar and a restaurant. The bar was well known for their belly bucking contests. Eventually, the restaurant went up the nose of the owner and they sold it to a number of less then memorable places. The best was the Alligator Bar & Grill. That's where I had my first Dixie Brewing Company Blackened Voodoo Lager.
Sorry...but "El YUMMO" :-D

Once upon a long time ago, every St. Patty's day, there would be a tricycle race down N. Santa Cruz Avenue. The "contestants" would tricycle from bar to bar and quaff a beer. I think they hit 17 bars starting from Number One Broadway on down to Magoo's Pizza (which bit the dust ages ago).

Number One Broadway was supposed to have been the senior project of a design student from UC Santa Cruz.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Welcome to My World

I laugh at all the latest with Orange County Moms and suburbia Reality. I grew up in a wealthy bedroom community of Silicon Valley. When the time came to buy my own home, I railed against buying here. After all, I didn't want to become a Stepford! The more we resist, the more it persists. The best home for the cheapest price was in Los Gatos. And so here I am again.
And I am reminded of why. It's a fun place.
There's a bar in town Carry Nations that was designed by Gary Dahl (inventor of the pet rock).
The bar Mountain Charlie's has a colorful history.
In this blog, I'll discuss the history & the current reality of that which is Los Gatos.