Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Always Something Interesting Along the River

Enjoyed a nice long walk along the Guadelupe River today and saw these colorful little flags again.  Does anyone know why they are there?

And then when we took a little side trip to check out Henry's Hi Life we peeked into a hole in the wall and saw this dazzling sight.

And then this.  Always something new to see, just around the corner.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Trade Rite Market - The Commercial Heart of Little Portugal*

Little Portugal (an area roughly bordered by King, 28th Street and Alum Rock) sits just a few blocks from where I live and yet I had never eaten traditional Portuguese food until last week when someone brought food catered by Rosa of Trade Rite Market to a meeting. We talked about Trade Rite and he recommended their breakfast burrito claiming: "You have one of Rosa's breakfast burritos and you're good for the day."  Well this morning at 8:30 I had one.  The delicious, chewy, warm tortilla was filled with tender scrambled eggs, grilled onions, and red and green peppers. I topped it with tiny, pickled red pimentos enjoyed every bite. It is now 2 o'clock and I am still not hungry.

I was really tempted to sample the Porto Lagrima which sat on the counter with tiny cups and a Santa who seemed to be encouraging me to try it, but with an alcohol content of 20% and the time of day being early morning, I decided to take a pass.

I don't know what those pastries on the left side of the tray are, but I know that before vacation is over I am going back for one and a cup of Rosa's espresso.

*The spiritual heart of Little Portugal is Five Wounds Church.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Just One More Day to Enjoy Christmas in the Park

Dogs are not allowed in the park but he enjoyed 
circling the park and watching the displays.

He especially liked the mechanical animals...

like Mary's little lamb in 
Harker Academy's display.

Christmas in the Park is celebrating its 30th year in San Jose.  I admit that this festival (which has grown from a cheesy little bunch of Christmas displays to a big, even cheesier carnival with rides and food stands) is hard not to love.

Everything is colorful and fun and they even have snow machines to give California kids a little taste of winter. Local schools, boy scout troops and other organizations decorate the trees. People are invited to vote for their favorite tree.

 There is also Ice Skating Under the Palms until January 18th (tickets must be purchased) and a raffle tomorrow night at 7:00.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Neighborhood Church with Some Seriously Interesting History

It was foggy and cold this morning when I took the dog out for a walk and I was just trudging along without any enthusiasm until we came to the First AME Zion Church.  Tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood that is well off of the beaten path, the presence of the church always comes as a surprise to me. I think the church is beautiful and this morning surrounded by fog it looked even better.  The history of this church is fascinating and I encourage you to check it out on the church website.  Just click on "links" and then A.M.E Zion history.  I am pretty sure they serve breakfast on Saturday mornings to people in need but I couldn't find that in writing any place.

I think I've posted a picture of this before but
this morning in the fog, with the Christmas lights
it was quite a sight.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

San Jose Holiday Parade - The fun never stops in San Jose.

We just barely escaped having rain on our parade (or maybe snow) but that didn't stop 125,000 people from coming out to enjoy the San Jose Holiday Parade.  Who isn't captivated by giant parade balloons?  My favorite was Hello Kitty.

Ocscar was being difficult.

But I also like the marching bands, especially the Marine Corps.

And people/dog watching:

All in all a splendid time.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Trot

Second Harvest Food Bank Truck - Donating 10 cans got you one of these turkeys:

This is an event that really makes sense.  Go out Thanksgiving morning and get a bunch of exercise, mingle with friends and make a contribution to Second Harvest Food Bank.  Perfect. The Silicon Valley Turkey Trot features races for different levels of competitiveness, a mayor's cup, a costume contest, a firefighters competition and a kids fun run.  The route wound its way through various downtown neighborhoods (all my haunts) and gave people a glimpse of what San Jose has to offer. San Jose was looking its sparkly clean and colorful best. I was so proud.

A chiropractic group formed a spine. Here are the front and back.

This guy got himself a turkey.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ministry of Transport and Art Gallery

It is my pleasure to turn people on to this unique and special business.  The Ministry of Transport and Art Gallery is an auto repair shop for people who want car service that transcends the ordinary. First of all, Dan, the owner, is the most personable, honest, laid back guy you'll ever meet. Just being in his presence is soothing.  His prices are fair, he is accommodating and just a pleasure to do business with.  This place is not for people looking for an impersonal car repair experience.  This is a place to savor.  First there's a little conversation, then a little exploration and then maybe a little time with Cookie the dog (who goes everywhere with Dan, including on his motorcycle). The artwork on the walls may not be the finest but just the fact that it is there makes this car shop a place to be treasured.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Feels Good to be the Chosen City for U.S. Figure Skating Championships

You have probably heard by now that San Jose has been chosen to host the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships (I wonder when the tickets will be available or if one can get in for free if one volunteers). If you've read my blog you've probably noticed I am a big fan of the Guadelupe River Park.  One of my points of departure when I go walking there is the little park just opposite the arena. Whenever I mention the wonderful carousel right there at the arena, I am always sorry to hear how few people even know of its existence.  And that is not the only attraction to draw a person to this park.  There are the monuments that honor the San Jose figure skating champions and a fascinating dry "pool" with quotes from famous San Jose skaters engraved into the surface. It is really fun to walk around and read the quotes and gaze up at the huge cylinders with mosaic work depicting significant events in the lives of our local skaters.  Check it out.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Philz! Coffee

Today was a rare mid-week holiday and I started it off with a walk down Guadelupe River Park then went in search of  a much needed cup of COFFEE.  Couldn't park anywhere near peets because of the parade but I remembered seeing a little coffee place on Paseo de San Antonio and so I headed over there.  I became an instant devotee of Philz.  The guy making the coffee was just about as personable and upbeat as a person performing their job could be.  He guided me through the somewhat different approach to coffee and I walked away with a rich, strong but mellow cup of coffee.  He even talked me into a bit of their cream and sugar, which I never have, and I loved it.  They really do make the coffee one cup at a time with a vast menu of different blends.

As I was driving home I spotted these men who were running laps around San Jose State.  One man was carrying the P.O.W. flag and the other the American flag.  Made me think of the little memorial plaque on campus near the chapel and also what a nightmare it must be for family members of P.O.W.'s.