Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gifts from Artists

I was riding my bike down San Fernando Street last night and as I crossed the Guadelupe River I heard bird calls and looked up to see this intriguing sculpture installed across the entire span of the bridge.  There were miniature tents (which I've always loved) mounted on metal pipes.  The text that accompanied the sculpture seemed a little wordy and somewhat gratuitous.  The little tents and bird calls and other sounds really speak for themselves and for several minutes allowed me to marvel over the artists' ability to transform this space.
This is just one of several newly commissioned public art projects that can be experienced for FREE.  Go to 2010 01SJ Biennial for a complete list of the public art on display now.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Our Friendly Neighborhood Parrot

Most mornings I am awakened by a big brown boxer but this morning I was awakened by some very loud parrot noises.  I often hear him when I am working out in my garden but until this morning he has been my phantom parrot.  Today he seemed to be posing at the top of my neighbor's walnut tree where there appears to be a nest. I think he is adorable. Has anyone else in San Jose seen parrots in their neighborhood?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Award Winning Tamales Just Five Blocks from My House!

While exploring the Five Wounds neighborhood yesterday, my friend and I discovered a tamale factory on S. 28th St.  We went into the lobby and noticed a small window (closed), a menu and a button to ring for service.  It was still pretty early in the morning for tamales so I went back today.  Turns out El Azteca Mexican Foods is celebrating 50 years of being in the tamale business.

It has been a family run business the entire 50 years and I had a nice long chat with Joe, the current family member in charge. They make two things, tamales and chile rellenos and both were the best I ever tasted.  I make my own chile rellenos from scratch and I think they're pretty darn good but El Azteca's have a better flavor and a puffy coating that's not too puffy.  The masa dough of their tamales is flavorful, chewy perfection and the fillings are tasty and ample.  I got the green chile, cheese and chopped olive filling and  brought home beef and pork tamales to the meat eaters in the family.

I served everything with the tasty chile relleno sauce for an extraordinary lunch.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Jacaranda Trees Shed Lovely Lavender "Snow"

I associate Jacaranda trees with southern California where they supposedly bloom in early spring but right now Jacaranda trees are deliciously in bloom all over downtown San Jose.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Phil Wood - I Never Knew Bike Parts Could be this Fabulous!

Last night's San Jose Bike Party ride was a memorial ride in honor of Phil Wood, a bicyclist who re-invented bicycle hubs, established a bicycle parts manufacturing business and made truly excellent bicycle parts.

 He died recently but his company lives on. Thousands of bicyclists gathered last night at the Phil Wood Company before heading out on their ride.  Tours of the company were available and while I never thought machine shops were anything I could get into, I ended up loving the tour.

Phil Wood hubs are gorgeous and the design and manufacturing process was fascinating. I had no idea San Jose was home to this very special company.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The A's May Have Just Moved One Step Closer to San Jose

People leaving the city council meeting tonight

Tonight I attended a city council meeting during which the council voted to certify the environmental impact report concerning a major league baseball stadium in downtown San Jose.  I have been an A's fan for about 28 years, ever since my oldest daughter started earning A's tickets by reading books for the A's reading incentive program.  Tonight the council heard many people speak on concerns about noise, parking, traffic and more.  But the council never lost sight of the immeasurable positive impact a major league baseball team can have on a city.  Go A's! 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Best Cappuccino Deal in Town

First cappuccino
I have resisted writing about Cafe Docanto because every time I've been there I have been the only female patron and it kind of bothered me that it was such a male dominated establishment.  But they are always very friendly and I can accept that certain places appeal to or are by tradition favored by one sex or the other.
When I was a kid, my father said the same thing every evening when he came home from work: "Did anyone send us any money today?" Well someone (the state franchise tax board) sent me some money yesterday and I wanted to celebrate by going out for coffee. So I headed over to Cafe Docanto and had TWO cappuccinos and some sort of creme filled pastry.
Second cappuccino
 The cappuccinos are strong and robust with just a hint of bitterness and each one costs just $2.  Cafe Docanto also serves Portuguese sandwiches starting at $2. The owner provides free morning newspapers for the customers to read which I really appreciate. There were men sidled up to the coffee bar drinking espresso shots like they were tequila shots and every seat in the cafe was taken and everyone was watching a futsal game.

 A lively discussion ensued when I asked what "futsal" was.  They were having trouble agreeing on a definition so I asked for an English translation and someone said "futsal" is "futsal" in English.  Well almost.  Futsal is like soccer (football) played on a smaller surface and indoors and with a harder, less bouncy ball. For the record, Brazil's and Portugal's futsal teams are internationally ranked first and fifth respectively.