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C City Series

Food pg.24 Drink Outdoors Style Culture

Food & Drink —pg. 6 Shopping & Fashion —pg. 18 Recreation & Culture —pg. 26 Community & Business —pg. 36

— Alamo Danville San Ramon V.2


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contents

Food & Drink pg. 6 Shopping & Fashion pg. 18 Recreation & Culture pg. 26 Community & Business pg. 36 Dining Listings pg. 48 SHUTTERSTOCK

Last Look pg. 56 Diablo City Series


staff

The Alamo —Danville—San Ramon Book EDITOR IN CHIEF

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The Alamo-Danville-San Ramon Book is published by Diablo Country Magazine Inc. All rights to the contents of this magazine are owned in full by Diablo Country Magazine Inc. The Alamo-Danville-San Ramon Book may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Views expressed herein are those of the authors and advertisers and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the ownership or the management of the magazine. Contents © 2015. All rights reserved.


WILLIAM PRUYN

Blackhawk Grille


F &D

Food & Drink Once thought of as sleepy suburbs, the I-680 stretch of Alamo, Danville, and San Ramon has blossomed with a sophisticated dining scene. Take advantage of the great weather and eat outdoors, or stay out late and sing-a-long with dueling pianos—there’s so much to taste in the region.

Alamo—Danville—San Ramon 7


Go into Danville’s McGah’s Pub and Pianos on almost any Friday or Saturday night, and you’ll find the place packed with folks singing along to piano duo Travis von Cartier and Dave Alan. The pair has been playing together for the past three years; we sent them an identical list of questions to see just how in sync these guys really are. What is a song that you never get tired of playing? TVC: “Imagine” is a solid choice. DA: “Africa” by Toto. What song you would be fine with never playing again? TVC: “Brown Eyed Girl.” I grew tired of this when I was a humble bass player in a cover band. DA: That song from Frozen. What song makes you cry? TVC: The first time I heard “Do You Realize??” by The Flaming Lips, I got a bit of the feels. DA: That song from Frozen.

Dueling Pianos —Comparing tunes from an ivory-tinkling team. 8 Diablo City Series

What request earned your biggest ever tip? How much? TVC: I was offered $200 to play an Australian song I had never heard called “Khe Sanh,” which is, apparently, the Aussie equivalent of “Don’t Stop Believin’.” I listened to the song and attempted to learn it, then performed it to a room full of Aussies that luckily sang the majority of the lyrics. It was a passable performance and I got to keep the $200. DA: I’ve gotten $100 a few times, but I’m not sure which songs

were requested. Probably “Don’t Stop Believin’.” What is your favorite last call song? TVC: It’s good to end on an anthemic song that everyone will sing along to: “Livin’ on a Prayer” or “Bohemian Rhapsody.” DA: Anything metal! Who is the greatest piano-based songwriter of all time? TVC: I’d say John Lennon. The most common debate is Billy Joel vs. Elton John argument—Elton John resonates with me more. DA: I think names such as Burt Bacharach and Carole King often get overlooked. What do you drink while playing a set? TVC: Irish whiskey or Crown Royal unless I am feeling classy, at which point I drink red wine. DA: A cold beer, a nice whiskey; I try not to discriminate. For a couple on a first date, how likely are they to get lucky, when you two are at the keys? TVC: I have gotten people on a first date up on stage to do embarrassing stuff which seems to help relax their jitters. I’ve had a few couples who met under these circumstances return years later, still together, to say hello. DA: Though we do our best to help the process along, the alcohol probably deserves most of the credit. 743-8466, mcgahs. com. —Peter Crooks

CALI GODLEY

nightlife


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Alfresco Yum-O —Where to snag the perfect patio table— at any time of day.

Happy Hour Bridges Restaurant and Bar’s spacious patio is the place to be seen at 5 p.m., when its all-night weekday happy hour begins. What to order: A cocktail and phyllo-wrapped Brie. Danville, 820-7200, bridgesdanville.com.

Morning Coffee The ivy-covered front porch and shaded back patio at Cherubini Coffee House are just as cozy as the antiques-decorated interior. What to order: A latte and the quiche of the day. Alamo, 7430824, cherubinicoffeehouse.com.

Dinner Date The trickle of a small fountain and an enclosed patio provide extra ambience for an alfresco dinner date at Piatti Ristorante and Bar. What to order: Spicy prawn chitarra with saffron sauce and Calabrian chiles. Danville, 838-2082, piatti.com/danville.

Breakfast Tables fill quickly on the tree-shaded deck in front of Katy’s Korner, so get there early. What to order: Ricotta-filled blintzes topped with fresh berries. San Ramon, 831-2145. Weekend Brunch With its lakeside patio at the center of Blackhawk Plaza, Blackhawk Grille is an alfresco go-to. What to order: The crab cake Benedict with jalapeño hollandaise. Danville, 736-4295, blackhawkgrille.com. Weekday Lunch The View Restaurant at The Bridges Golf Club lives up to its name, with stunning views of Dougherty Valley’s rolling hills. What to order: The arugula and pear salad with sweet Dijon vinaigrette. San Ramon, 735-4253, thebridgesgolf.com.

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Family Dinner Through a wrought-iron gate and under tall trees, The Peasant’s Courtyard is a casual, warmweather dining hideaway. What to order: The smoked chicken salad sandwich. Alamo, 362-0088, rodneyworth.com/ peasants-courtyard. Dessert There are only a few tables outside Danville Chocolates, but Prospect Avenue is a quaint street for a treat. What to order: A chocolate, caramel, and pecan grizzly. Danville, 314-0001, danvillechocolates.com. Evening Drinks Snag a fire pit seat on Incontro Ristorante’s patio for drinks, live music, and people watching. What to order: Arancini alla Siciliana and a glass of Darcie Kent Vineyards Chardonnay. Danville, 820-2349, incontrodanville.com. —LeeAnne Jones

TOP TO BOTTOM: WILLIAM PRUYN; MICHELLE SMITH

outdoor dining


ALAMO Katrina Rozelle kicked off her sweet career in 1987, when she opened her first bake shop on Oakland’s College Avenue. A few years later, she opened Katrina Rozelle Pastries and Desserts in Alamo Plaza. The Alamo location, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2016, is where Rozelle creates work-of-art anniversary, birthday, and wedding cakes. Rozelle’s cake menu has something for every sweet tooth, but a good starting point is the “Obsession,” which features whole raspberries folded into rich chocolate mousse, layers of devil’s food cake, and dark chocolate ganache. Rozelle’s shop also offers cookies, cupcakes, and seasonal tarts, baked fresh daily. 837-6337, katrina rozelle.com. —Chip Dandy ➝ Also try: Loard’s Ice Cream, 743-1867, loards.com.

Katie Ortiz, owner of Miglet’s

The Sweet Life —In these three cities, finding a tasty treat is a piece of cake. 1 2 Diablo City Series

DANVILLE Katie Ortiz’s first happy customers were kids with celiac disease at Camp Arroyo in Livermore. Her cupcakes were so popular, she soon opened a shop called Miglet’s in Danville. The rest is gluten-free history. If you think gluten-free diets involve deprivation, a visit to Ortiz’s shop is likely to change your mind. Donuts? She’s got ‘em. Cream puffs? Dive in. Most importantly, these goodies remind customers of

childhood favorites they may otherwise have to go without. “I’ve had so many people cry for happiness,” says Ortiz. “Their days of sticking candles in Rice Krispies Treats are over.” 831-9016, migletsgf.com. —Nicholas Boer ➝ Also try: Danville Chocolates, 314-0001, danvillechocolates. com; Old Towne Danville Bakery, 837-7844, danvillebakery.info. SAN RAMON Café Attila is no secret to TriValley foodie families. While Attila Gogos whips up savory lunch items, his wife, Lynne, is the queen of sweets. She creates celebration cakes with a gourmet spin. Cut into that clown cake, and you may find yourself in the middle of the “Rigó Jancsi,” layers of white and dark chocolate mouse over devil’s food cake in a Kirsch syrup cage. Lynne also has an expert hand, sculpting flowers, patterns, and characters that are almost too pretty to eat. 837-2886, cafeattila.com. —LeeAnne Jones ➝ Also try: Crème Si Bon, 804-6261, cremesibon.com; Sweeeeet.com Desserts, 3029305, sweeeeet.com.

SHANNON MCINTYRE

desserts


top ten

Veggie Burger BAAGAN This saucy sandwich stars a grilled patty of sprouted chana (a nutty-tasting chickpea). San Ramon, 361-5470, baagan.com.

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Bites of Joy BLUE GINGKO Sashimi-thin slices of scallop are draped over rice and dotted with miso-garlic aioli and black tobiko. Danville, 648-7838, bluegingkosushi.com.

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Steamed Mussels DANA’S Gorgeous mollusks, studded with couscous and suffused with lemon and garlic. Danville, 838-7611, danasdining.com.

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Agnolotti GIANNI’S ITALIAN BISTRO Ravioli stuffed with goat cheese and zucchini in a light tomato sauce. San Ramon, 820-6969, giannissanramon.com.

That’s An Order —Try our favorite restaurant dishes from the past year. 1 4 Diablo City Series

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Braised Octopus INCONTRO RISTORANTE Tucked among marbled potato medallions, this tender squid comes slathered in a rich vinaigrette. Danville, 820-2349, incontrodanville.com.

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Meatloaf BLACKHAWK GRILLE A comfort food classic made with braised short ribs. Danville, 736-4295, blackhawkgrille.com.

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Spinach Pappardelle REVEL KITCHEN AND BAR Hand-rolled, with delicious wild prawns. Danville, 208-1758, revelkitchenandbar.com.

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Grilled Chicken Breast Salad SIDEBOARD Piled high with Point Reyes blue cheese, bacon, and avocado. Danville, 984-2713, itsontheside board.com.

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Short Ribs XENIA Melt-in-your-mouth meat and mashed potatoes. Alamo, 8559000, xeniabistro.com.

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Stuffed Crispy Chinese Eggplant YIPING RESTAURANT A light starter with a crackling crust and tender pork stuffing. San Ramon, 838-3233, yiping restaurant.com. —Nicholas Boer

SHANNON MCINTYRE

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spotlight

P H I L I P YA N G

—chef-owner, Blue Gingko

Next-Level Sushi —Philip Yang takes Japanese cuisine to new heights.

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The Insider Yang’s Favorite Local Dishes Café Attila: Mary’s roast chicken Gianni’s Italian Bistro: Pan-seared duck breast Yiping Restaurant: Stir-fried smoked pork belly

CINDY CHEW

For such a high-powered restaurateur, Philip Yang is remarkably low-key. “I actually try to hide from people,” he says, smiling. Eschewing a celebrity chef lifestyle doesn’t mean his restaurants can’t be glam. Blue Gingko, Yang’s $1 million 130-seat Blackhawk Plaza sushi restaurant, has a sparkling water-side lounge that would be at home in a Las Vegas resort. Yang says he has been shy from the time he left China in 1981. The English language has been a challenge. But he will be the first to tell you that he’s a “hyper kind of person.” Today he has four East Bay restaurants, including the highly lauded Sasa in Walnut Creek, and the beautiful Blue Gingko in Dublin, which opened this year. Coming so far hasn’t been easy, but for every opportunity— and restaurant door—that has closed, another has opened. Yang drew on his time cooking in Nice and Barcelona to open an ambitious project in

Blackhawk Plaza called Roti—a French-Spanish bistro. It failed, but that allowed him to create the remarkably successful Blue Gingko just a stone’s throw across the plaza’s waterway. Yang has found talented chefs to head up each kitchen. He’s a hands-on owner, racing from one restaurant to another to ensure consistent quality. “I want to be busy,” he says. Evidently. In 1999—when his daughter was just three months old—Yang and his wife opened the original Blue Gingko in a 34-seat Lafayette coffee shop. “We worked nonstop for seven years,” says Yang. “We had a full house since day one, and we never looked back.” Danville, 648-7838, bluegingko sushi.com. —Nicholas Boer


SHUTTERSTOCK


S &F

Shopping & Fashion From gift stores to kitchen shops to fashionable boutiques, Alamo, Danville, and San Ramon are packed with options for every shopper. Part of the pleasure of a shopping spree is visiting the charming retail areas of each town, which are packed with local personalities.

Alamo—Danville—San Ramon 19


spa day

Hot Stone Massage HEALING OASIS MASSAGE AND REFLEXOLOGY Hot stone massages improve blood flow throughout the body, and you can get one for a steal right in your own backyard. Treat yourself to an hour for $45, or splurge on the 90-minute version for $65. San Ramon, 833-0288, healingoasis massage.com. Facial JOLIE SALON AND SPA If you’re short on time but don’t want to skimp on your routine, look no further: a Lunch Time Facial will have you in and out in 30 minutes flat. This is a classic treatment sans extractions, so you won’t leave with irritated skin. Danville, 838-5654, jolie salonandspa.com.

nose, and chest aren’t off-limits here. Danville, 968-9217, skin careovations.com. Blowout TRIBEZ SALON AND BLOW DRY BAR Have a special event to get dolled up for? After doing some last-minute shopping in Blackhawk Plaza, head over to this extension of Danville’s wellknown Tribez Salon and Spa for a picture-perfect blowout. Beverly Hills 90210 and White Collar actress Tiffani Thiessen has been known to pop in while visiting friends in town. Danville, 362-8600, tribezsalon.com/ blackhawk. —Caitlin McCulloch

Refresh and Relax —Looking for a relaxing beauty touch up? These treatments will do the trick. 2 0 Diablo City Series

Waxing SKIN OVATIONS This day spa prides itself on using Cirepil wax, known throughout the industry as a high-quality product that sticks to only the hair follicles instead of the skin. Go for any area of your body that needs a little smoothing—even your stomach,

SHUTTERSTOCK

Manicure NEW YORK NAILS Whether you fancy a classic manicure, a shellac gel, or something snazzy such as handpainted Christmas designs or romantic roses, this no-frills nail salon has a reputation for attention to detail. Alamo, 820-3189.


member


top ten

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Date Night For dresses, jackets, and blouses, Duchess is the go-to shop for outfit glory. Danville, 831-0208, shopduchess.com.

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Big-Time Bling Get the perfect bracelet, ring, or emerald-jeweled earrings for that special someone at Heller Jewelers. San Ramon, 9040200, hellerjewelers.com.

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Trendy Threads With brands such as Naked Zebra and 3 Strands, Blackhawk Plaza’s Apricot Lane will keep your look current. Danville, 2632743, apricotlaneboutique.com.

4 Retail Therapy —From the fashionista to the serious cyclist, our community has something for everyone. 2 2 Diablo City Series

Young Style Little ones dress to impress on a budget at Snickerdoodles, a children’s consignment boutique. Danville, 820-4956.

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Master Gamer Seek out a roleplaying game or a classic board game, then play in the free open game room at House of Games. Danville, 3094087, h-o-games.com.

Décor-Centric J. Hettinger Interiors offers new furniture and artwork and superb assistance. Alamo, 8209336, jhettinger.com.

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The Gifter Need to find a wedding gift or birthday present? David M. Brian is the place to go. Danville, 362-0122, davidmbrian.com.

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Active Score a Giro helmet or a pair of Mavic shorts at Livermore Cyclery for your next ride around Las Trampas. Alamo, 718-8100, livermorecyclery.com.

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Fashionable Menswear Pair a Gant button-down with a pair of chinos from Pelican Rock and you’ll be ready for any occasion. Danville, 791-5154, pelicanrockclothing.com.

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Enchantment Galore Perfumed soaps, candles, fancy candies, bags, and jewelry await you at whimsical Niquea.D. Danville, 855-5538, niquead. com. —Caitlin McCulloch

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spotlight

TO D D W E I N B E RG

—owner, Edge Boutique

Charitable Threads —Todd Weinberg keeps the community well-dressed for a good cause.

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The Insider Weinberg’s Picks Places to eat: Sideboard, Esin, and Chow. Family activity: Hitting the Iron Horse Trail. Date spot: The cool vibe and live music on Bridges Restaurant and Bar’s patio for Sunday brunch.

AMELIA ARVESEN

With a mother who was a model and a father who worked in fashion sales, Clayton native Todd Weinberg grew up around the professional style industry. But Weinberg’s first job out of Santa Barbara’s Westmont College was in high-tech, a gig that brought him back to the Bay Area. “I was fortunate to be a part of a startup that was bought out by Yahoo,” says Weinberg. “I then got into venture capital finance. That put me in a position to look for something fun and different to do.” When a college buddy visited Weinberg, a shopping query led to the idea of delving into the familiar fashion business. “My friend asked where he could buy jeans,” says Weinberg. “I told him we could go to Broadway Plaza or to Stoneridge Mall. Then this light bulb went off: Why are there so many places for women to shop in town, but not men?” Weinberg opened Edge eight years ago, a men’s shopping paradise with a shav-

ing and shoe-shining station. The boutique added women’s clothing four years ago. One thing at the Danville shop stays constant: Weinberg’s desire to give back. “I am fortunate enough that I am in the position to provide 100 percent of net profits to local charities,” says Weinberg. Every January, Weinberg decides where the shop’s profits should go that year. One program he donates to is Teen Esteem, which helps teenagers learn how to navigate challenges and make good life decisions. “We have a lot of love in the area,” he says. “We have local support, which keeps us going. We’re just having a blast.” 831-8500, shop-edge.com. —Caitlin McCulloch


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SHUTTERSTOCK


R &C

Recreation & Culture Looking for an enriching escape? Alamo, Danville, and San Ramon have indie bookstores, art galleries, and museums aplenty. (There’s even a National Historic Site in appreciation of one of America’s greatest playwrights.) Want to take a hike? Some of the Bay Area’s best trails are right in our backyard. Want to just chill by the water? You can do that, too.

Alamo—Danville—San Ramon 27


outdoors

Why Go: This hike offers jawdropping, 360-degree views of the Bay Area. Starting Point: Drive almost to the summit of Mount Diablo State Park (admission is $10 per vehicle) and park just below the upper lot by the picnic tables, about 200 feet shy of the 3,849-foot summit. What to See: On a clear day, you’ll be able to see the Golden Gate Bridge and Farallon Islands to the west, and the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range to the east. Check out the Visitor Center at the summit. High-Tech Hiking: Go to audiblemountdiablo.com to download the guided audio tour. mdia.org. —Peter Crooks Madrone Trail Alamo / Moderate Miles: 3.6

Three Perfect Hikes —Take your pick of easy, moderate, or challenging hiking trails. 2 8 Diablo City Series

Why Go: A tranquil madrone grove is the perfect turnaround spot in this hike through the hills above Alamo and Danville. Starting Point: Drive to the end of Hemme Avenue in Alamo, off Danville Boulevard, where you’ll find the Ringtail Cat Staging Area. What to See: You’ll start to climb relatively early, giving you views of the valley below. Stay on Ringtail Cat Trail for 1.3 miles until you reach Madrone Trail. Expect to see plenty of cows

and mighty, old oak trees before you reach the madrone grove. Expand the Hike: Make a big loop by taking the Las Trampas Ridge Trail and the Corduroy Hills Trail. Or, go right when you hit the Madrone Trail to venture to the Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site. High-Tech Hiking: Get a step-by-step guide at eastbay trails.com. —Stacey Kennelly Mt. Diablo Grand Loop Danville / Challenging Miles: 6.8 Why Go: This half-day (at least) hike covers a range of terrain and some serious altitude. The payoffs are the constant, stunning views of the East Bay and greater Bay Area. Starting Point: Go to audible mountdiablo.com to download the guided hike and essential map to your smartphone before starting out, then head for the Juniper Camp parking lot in Mount Diablo State Park to begin the lengthy loop. What to See: The views are stunning year round. Spring hikers will be impressed by the abundance of wildflowers throughout the journey. There’s also no shortage of places to stop for one of the loveliest picnics anywhere. High-Tech Hiking: This is one of the most detailed hikes covered on audiblemountdiablo.com. —P.C.

SCOTT HEIN/SAVE MOUNT DIABLO

Mary Bowerman Loop Danville / Easy Miles: .7


Dog Days —Beauty parlors, boarding houses, and great, big parks. Here are places to take pooches in our backyard.

are Del Mar, Memorial Park, and Tassajara Ridge Staging Area. ci.san-ramon.ca.us/parks/parks_ facilities/parks.htm.

Family-friendly neighborhoods and houses with big backyards make this area ideal for dog lovers. Here are some resources for the canine-inclined.

Beds, Toys, and Treats For dog food, treats, chew toys, donut beds, and other canine distractions, Danville Pet Store is the place to go. The business also offers puppy socialization classes and teeth cleaning, among other services. danvillepetstore.com.

Dog Boarding and Day Care San Ramon’s Woof offers doggie day care (Fridays are movie nights!), overnight care, and extended boarding services. dogslovewoof.com. Dog Parks Danville The fenced “Canine Corral” of the lovely Hap Magee Ranch Park has sections for small and large dogs. Expect to make friends with the regulars (and their owners). danville.ca.gov/ things-to-do/parks/dog-park. San Ramon San Ramon has four dog parks, including its “Bark and Ride” facility, a meet-up spot for commuters with an adjacent dog park. The city’s other three parks

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Dog Walker Animal lover Heather Smalley has made a cottage industry out of walking dogs around Danville, and taking dogs and cats to their vet appointments; Diablo magazine readers voted her the best dog walker in the East Bay. (925) 789-7118, fortheloveof dog.biz.

Groomer When it’s time for a trim, head over to All Fur Love, a popular dog groomer in Danville. Haircuts, shampoos, and nail clippings are all on the menu, and they even groom cats—so Puss-in-Boots won’t get jealous. allfurlovegrooming.com. —Peter Crooks

ALE GIORGINI

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top ten

Things That Go Vroom Check out the Blackhawk Museum’s rotating collection of international automotive treasures. Danville, 736-2280, blackhawkmuseum.org.

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Play Like a Pro Batting cages and indoor soccer leagues at San Ramon Sports will keep your eye on the ball. San Ramon, sanramon sports.com.

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Show Your Artistic License The Village Theatre’s art gallery offers rotating exhibitions, featuring contemporary Bay Area artists. Danville, 314-3460, villagetheatreartgallery.com.

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A Day in the Life Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site celebrates the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright, who wrote much of his greatest work here. Danville, 838-0249, nps.gov/euon.

Indulge Your Inner Bookworm Peruse the hand-selected library of classic and contemporary literature at Rakestraw Books. Danville, 837-7337, rakestraw books.com.

Step Back in Time The Museum of the San Ramon Valley celebrates 30 years of preserving artifacts, photos, and historical narratives of the Valley’s past. Danville, 837-3750, museumsrv.org.

Arts and Culture —Ten places to have fun, get fit, and enjoy life.

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Bowl-a-rama Roll a few strikes at Danville Bowl. Or, enjoy “Midnight Madness” ever Friday and Saturday night. Danville, 837-7272, danvillebowl.com.

Try Horseback Summit Ranch Equine Center is bordered by Mt. Diablo State Park, providing private access by horseback to numerous trails. Alamo, 945-0267, summit ranchequine.com.

Live on Stage Billboard-topping artists and symphonic bands headline at the Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center. San Ramon, 973-3343, sanramon.ca.gov.

Make a Skate Date Strap on some wheels and take a turn or two around The Golden Skate rink. San Ramon, 820-2525, thegoldenskate.com. —Rachelle Cihonski

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spotlight

I A N S C H U ST E R

—cofounder, Schubros Brewery

Beer Made Easy —Ian Schuster takes the guesswork out of meal pairings with food-centric brews.

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The Insider Beers to Try Nico American Wheat: Clean and crisp; great for drinking in hot weather. 680 IPA: Very food versatile; pairs nicely with desserts. Diablo Bark: A nice solid black; pairs well with oysters and smoky foods.

CALI GODLEY

A “beer epiphany” doesn’t always come cheap. In the case of Schubros Brewery cofounder Ian Schuster, it cost $250: the price of an aged stilton cheese and barleywine pairing he tried in Nasu, Japan. “The way they came together, the way they mellowed each other out, the way they complemented each other—it blew my mind how two things taken independently can give such a different sensation when put together,” says Schuster. The $250 turned out to be a small price to pay, as the pairing inspired Schuster to open San Ramon’s Schubros Brewery. He and his team have been making food-focused beers since 2012. “I decided, as a beer, we were going to be a meal solution,” says Schuster. “We made sure all of our recipes enhance natural flavor profiles.” So at Schubros, almost nothing is accidental. The 680 IPA doesn’t demolish the palate with hops, and the Nico American Wheat gets an added boost

from rye to help it stand up to meatier dishes. All of the bottles for the epicurean-leaning brews also feature food-pairing notes, so matching the beers to meals is a no-brainer. Beer lovers can find Schubros’ beers at local beer bars, or pick up a bottle or pint at the taproom. Schuster continues to expand the brewery’s reach: Schubros was slated to triple its production by the end of 2015, and Schuster is on the hunt for a bigger brew space. But fans will still be able to find the tasting room in San Ramon. “It’s home,” says Schuster. 12893 Alcosta Blvd., Ste. N, San Ramon, (925) 327-0700, schubrosbrewery.com. —Kristen Haney


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C &B

Community & Business Just 50 years ago, San Ramon was an orchard—today, it is one of the most prosperous cities in the nation. Meanwhile, Alamo and Danville maintain a balance of sophistication and small-town charm that families love. Here are a few ways these communities offer an outstanding quality of life.

Alamo—Danville—San Ramon 37


The San Ramon Valley has always been a hub of business, commercial, and residential activity. With the booming economy, this busy area is primed to get even busier. San Ramon That story is especially true in San Ramon, which is about to get a major boost when its huge City Center opens its doors in 2017. The 420,000 square feet of retail and 470 apartments will be California’s version of a piazza, suitable for strolling, sipping and relaxing as well as shopping and staying out late. But this concept extends beyond just development: The idea is to establish a civic center where none existed and create a central focus for the suburban sprawl of San Ramon. The project compliments Bishop Ranch, with its 585 acres, nine million square feet of office space, and nearly 30,000 workers. The business park’s owner, Sunset Development Company, has also announced a partnership with San Rafael’s Moana Restaurant Group to create a culinary hub of five distinct dining experiences in the existing 2600 building. Danville Danville, on the other hand, has always had a thriving downtown business area. Establishments such as Elliott’s bar (founded in 1907) and Vally Medlyn’s (1950s) have been drawing locals since horses were as common on Hartz Avenue as cars.

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Coming Attractions —Expect to see new shops, restaurants, and residences.

San Ramon City Center

Danville Hotel

But nothing in the San Ramon Valley is more venerable than the Danville Hotel, which first appeared on the county books in 1858. Since then, it’s gone through many changes, and the latest iteration—expected to open in late 2015 and early 2016—will be a 35,000-square foot project with shops, a bakery cafe, a brewery restaurant, and Pizza Antica. The new Danville Hotel complex will also offer 16 second-story condos. Another 8,000-square foot retail development, at the corner of Church Street and Railroad Avenue, is slated to begin construction in 2016, and will add even more pizzazz to the vibrant scene. Alamo Alamo is also on the move, with some restaurant changes (RJ’s Asian Fusion, Alamo Grill, and Panera Bread recently opened), and a trailside park on Hemme Way and Danville Boulevard in the works. The park will sit beside Iron Horse Trail and offer pedestrians and bicyclists some green space, picnic tables, and restrooms to use before or after they enjoy the Valley’s beautiful oaks and vistas. Further down the line is a traffic roundabout for the intersection of Orchard Court and Danville Boulevard, just north of Stone Valley Road, that should both calm traffic and make Alamo more pedestrian friendly. —Clay Kallam

TOP TO BOTTOM: SUNSET DEVELOPMENT COMPANY; CASTLE COMPANIES

development


powerhouse schools

The Athenian School Get Wired: Students at this private school learn about robots, airplanes, and electric cars in the school’s Maker’s Studio. Get Packing: A number of students go on exchange each year, to places including France, South Africa, and Australia. 2100 Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd., Danville, 837-5375, athenian.org.

California High Get Healthy: The school’s Health Occupation Student Association gives kids the chance to learn emergency training, dentistry, and nursing. Get Motivated: The Sports Marketing Summit brings in a range of professionals in the sports industry to teach teens about careers in athletics. 9870 Broadmoor Dr., San Ramon, 803-3200, calhigh. schoolloop.com.

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Dougherty Valley High Get Independent: The Workability program trains special needs students on resumewriting and interviewing skills. Get Historical: At Vietnam Day, juniors re-enact 1960’s– style protests, rallies, and political speeches. 10550 Albion Rd., San Ramon, 479-6400, dvhs.schoolloop.com.

Monte Vista High Get Smart: The Physics and Engineering Together Program teaches students to use concepts learned in physics class in an engineering class. Get Experience: The iQuest program gives students the chance to work in an internship during the last period of the school day. 3131 Stone Valley Rd., Danville, 552-5530, mvhs. schoolloop.com.

San Ramon Valley High Get Cooking: The culinary arts program is looking at ways to partner with local restaurants, and is designing healthy dishes for the cafeteria. Get Coding: The 21st Century Learning Foundation brings tech professionals to instruct programming classes. 501 Danville Blvd., Danville, 552-3000, srvhs.net. —Stacey Kennelly

ALE GIORGINI

Special Programs —These high schools offer far more than just reading, writing and arithmetic.


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demographics

Who Are We? —The latest data on who is living next door and where we live.

Danville Incorporated: July 1, 1982 Population: 43,146 Physical area: 18 square miles Median age: 46 Median household income: $136,711 Median house or condo value: $868,775 Largest employers: Costco, Keller Williams Realty, J. Rockcliff Realtors

San Ramon

Alamo Incorporated: Unincorporated Population: 15,672 Physical area: 9.7 square miles Median age: 46 Median household income: $160,920 Median house or condo value: More than $1,000,000

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Sources: 2009–2013 American Community Survey, 2010 U.S. Census, ci.san-ramon.ca.us city-data.com, co.contra-costa. ca.us, danville.ca.gov, East Bay Economic Development Alliance. —Stacey Kennelly

COURTESY OF THE CITY OF SAN RAMON

The suburban East Bay is a rapidly expanding region, known for its affluent neighborhoods, highly ranked schools, and desirable living conditions. This is particularly true in Alamo, Danville, and San Ramon, three towns and cities that offer the good life for their respective residents. Here’s a snapshot of life in these neighborhoods.

Incorporated: July 1, 1983 Population: 72,707 Physical area: 18.1 square miles Median age: 39 Median household income: $131,309 Median house or condo value: $767,600 Largest employers: Chevron, AT&T, Bank of the West


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top ten

Rods and Roast Sip some java while checking out classic automobiles at Blackhawk Museum’s Cars and Coffee meet-ups, the first Sunday of each month. Year-round, Danville, blackhawkmuseum.org.

2

Get Crafty A range of artists show their stuff at the Fall Crafts Festival. October, Danville, danvillefall craftsfestival.com.

3

Holiday Spirit Celebrate the season at the annual Alamo Tree Lighting Festival. November, Alamo, comm unityfoundationofalamo.com.

4

Calling All Grinches Run off that eggnog at the Bah Humbug! 5K Run and Walk. December, San Ramon, www. sanramon.ca.gov.

Season’s Best —Your year-round guide to fun around town. 4 4 Diablo City Series

5

Play Galileo Watch the skies through a giant telescope during Star Gazing Nights at Old Ranch Park. February–May, San Ramon, www.sanramon.ca.gov.

6

Shear Fun Hone your farm and craft skills during Sheep Shearing Day at Forest Home Farms. April, San Ramon, srhf.org.

7

Ride the Wind Balloons, kites, and entertainment highlight the Art and Wind Festival in Central Park. May, San Ramon, artandwind.com.

8

Rock On Rock out at Livorna Park at the Summer Concert Series. June– August, Alamo, co.contra-costa. ca.us.

9

Let Freedom Ring Join the crowd along Hartz Avenue to cheer on the Kiwanis 4th of July Parade. July, Danville, kiwanis-srv.org.

10

Box Office Splash Grab some floaties and a snack, and hit the water for a familyfriendly aquatic-themed flick at Dive-In Movie Nights at the Pool. August, San Ramon, www.sanramon.ca.gov. —Rachelle Cihonski

COURTESY OF TOWN OF DANVILLE

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spotlight

PHIL WONG

—planning and community development director, San Ramon

Phil Wong started working for the city of San Ramon in 1984, just a year after it became incorporated. The new city was a charming community with great schools and beautiful parks but missing one key component: A downtown. “The general plan for San Ramon expressed a desire and need for a downtown area,” says Wong, the city’s planning and community development director. “There’s still that need, so it’s a huge accomplishment that it is finally going to happen.” Wong is referring to San Ramon’s City Center, a long-planned passion project between the city and Sunset Development, the developers behind Bishop Ranch, the city’s wildly successful business park. In 2013, Sunset signed internationally renowned architect Renzo Piano, the designer of stunning projects such as the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and the Whitney Museum in New York to

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create City Center—a mixture of retail, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The pedestrian friendly center will also have a high-end hotel. Construction on San Ramon’s City Center is scheduled to begin April 1, 2016, with an opening date set for the holiday season of 2017—if all goes well, San Ramon will have one of the most unique downtown areas in the Bay Area. Before the Renzo Piano project, the closest San Ramon’s City Center came to breaking ground was a 2007 project that the city had approved with a different architect. The economic recession of 2008 shelved that project, which opened the door to Sunset Development signing Piano. Wong says he is extremely excited about Piano’s designs, and about seeing this decadeslong downtown dream come true for the residents of San Ramon. “Not every planner gets to say they have worked on a city center of this magnitude, designed by a world-famous architect,” says Wong. “It has been a long time coming, but will be worth the wait.” —Peter Crooks

HALEY NELSON

Long-Term Plan —A career city planner sees a dream come true.


dining listings

A L A MO Alamo Grill In this convivial and wide-open space, you can dine on prime rib in a royal red booth or enjoy a burger at the bar. Either way, start with the killer wedge salad). For a real hands-on party get the signature and a mountain of nachos teetering with scoops of sour cream and avocado. 3160 Danville Blvd., (925) 820-1711, alamogrill.com. Dinner daily. 2 4 $$$

MaggieRay’s Barbecue The barbecue chicken here couldn’t be more tender. Baby back ribs also fall off the bone. The tangy barbecue sauce packs just enough heat, and the ultra-fresh coleslaw cools it down. The grilled shrimp yield a sweet, succulent bite. The lineup of beer and wine is not fancy, but it probably does the trick for a casual supper on the back patio. 3206 Danville Blvd., (925) 838-1158, maggieraysbbq.com. Lunch Tues.–Sat., dinner Tues.–Sun. 1 3 $$

DA N V I L L E

The Peasant’s Courtyard Ribs,

restaurant serves both Mandarin and Szechuan cuisines, with an emphasis on traditional dishes such as honeywalnut prawns and hot, spicy stir-fried eggplant or Chinese long beans. For lovers of mu shu dishes, there are versions made with beef, chicken, shrimp, or vegetables. A thriving takeout business hums both days and evenings. 120-C Alamo Plaza, (925) 820-1715. Lunch Tues.–Sat., dinner Tues.–Sun. 1 $

burgers, calamari, pasta, pancakes— what’s not to like? The real appeal here lies in the peaceful outdoor setting and the high-quality ingredients. A pulled pork sandwich marries sweet and tangy pork to a fresh, crisp carrot-spiked coleslaw, all on an artisan bun. The special ribs on our visit were decadent (and worth every bite). 3195 Danville Blvd., (925) 362-0088, rodneyworth.com. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 1 3 $

Akira Bistro If you like your Japanese fare tailored to Western palates, sleek Akira Bistro is for you. Vegetable tempura is fried in a batter thick enough to handle fish and chips. The sushi menu focuses on special maki named for nearby towns or with wordplays, like pay roll, bank roll, honor roll, or the Alamo roll, with spicy scallop inside, cool hamachi outside. 499 San Ramon Valley Blvd., (925) 552-5888, akirabistrodanville. com. Lunch and dinner daily. 1 3 $$

Don Jose’s Restaurant Don Jose’s has carved out a pleasant patio in the Stone Valley Shopping Center, with a vista of trees along the creek behind it. Menu selections are mostly traditional—enchiladas, flautas, fajitas, and tamales—with daily lunch and dinner specials. Look for the malinchi, a tostada-pizza with a choice of meats, plus tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole, and cheese on a crisp flour tortilla. 3168 Danville Blvd., (925) 743-8997, donjosesrestaurant.com. Lunch and dinner daily. 2 3 $$

Xenia With dim lighting, spacious

The Amazing Wok The Wok’s sizzling fresh fare is presented with style on edgy square plates. The allinclusive menu covers pretty much all of China. We especially liked the signature dishes, such as beef with bright red bell peppers or the musttry hot and spicy garlic eggplant. Anything with kung pao is good, too, as is the moo shu. 9000 Crow Canyon Rd., Ste. H, (925) 736-1888, amazingwokchinese.com. Dinner Wed., Fri.–Mon. 1 3 $

Alamo Palace Chinese Restaurant This narrow slip of a

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booths, and fried mozzarella sticks, Xenia has a retro vibe. Start with a mean martini and finish with a 16-ounce rib eye, or pair generous Kobe beef sliders with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Or enjoy classic spaghetti and meatballs with a glass of Chianti. The bar here is front and center, while an arched open kitchen warms the homey dining room. 115 Alamo Plaza, (925) 855-9000, xeniabistro.com. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat.– Sun. 1 3 $$

Amber Bistro Sleek yet woodsy, Amber is a great place for drinks or dinner. On our visit, the bruschetta had a lively vinegar lift. The special seasonal salad of arugula, fennel, and chèvre was just as refreshing. And the flat iron steak came with a vibrant romesco sauce. Cocktails are just as zippy; a fruity pineapple martini features a not-too-sweet houseinfused and seriously chilled vodka. 500 Hartz Ave., (925) 552-5238, amberbistro.com. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 2 3 4 $$$

The restaurants that appear in this section are reviewed by Diablo magazine’s panel of restaurant critics, who dine anonymously and at our expense. We do not accept advertising or other consideration in exchange for a listing. If your experience of a restaurant differs greatly from ours, please e-mail dish@maildiablo.com. Not all restaurants reviewed appear; for the complete listing, go to diablomag.com.

KEY TO SYMBOLS $ $$ $$$ $$$$

1 2 3 4 5

Cheap ($10 or less per dinner entrée) Inexpensive ($11–$17) Moderate ($18–$24) Expensive (more than $25) Wine and beer Full bar Outdoor dining Private room or parties of 50 or more Late-night dining (service after 10 p.m.)


The Basil Leaf Café Basil Leaf

Café is as much about the outside world as it is about the inside, with two levels of attractive patio seating along Hartz Avenue. The owners have given this vintage building an airy, open feeling, and no matter where you sit, you’ll have a wide choice of basil-spiked pasta dishes—as well as grilled fish or rosemary chicken. 501 Hartz Ave., (925) 831-2828, thebasilleafcafe.com. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. 2 3 4 $$

Blackhawk Grille The Grille’s seamless transition from fine to fun dining is complete, with a sexy new bar that draws you in. The huge exhibition kitchen dishes up trendy pizzas, classic salads, sandwiches— and filet mignon. Our short rib meat loaf captured the comfort food motif, while plump, sautéed mussels are one of many appetizers built to share. If you’re looking for an intimate experience, choose the retro booths or by the duck pond, where a warmweather brunch is particularly lovely. 3540 Blackhawk Plaza Cir., (925) 736-4295, blackhawkgrille.com. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat.– Sun. 2 3 45 $$$ Blackhawk Pizzeria There’s a

steady stream of regulars coursing in and out of this established Blackhawk Plaza pizza joint. Some stay in to eat on the spot, but just as many doublepark and zip in for a pie to take home. Pastas and salads round out the menu. Oh, and they deliver, too. 4050 Blackhawk Plaza Cir., (925) 736-6111, blackhawkpizzeria.com. Lunch and dinner daily. 1 5 $$

Blue Gingko at Blackhawk

Dana’s Come here for reliably

Blue Gingko’s waterside lounge reels in passersby to a piscine paradise. The sushi is always pristine, but lunch is the best value, with generous slabs of nigiri (ask for halibut fin, when available) and seaweed salad. Winning small plates include crunchy soft-shell crabs and tempura prawn lettuce wraps. 3496 Blackhawk Plaza Cir., (925) 648-7838, bluegingkosushi.com. Lunch and dinner daily. 2 3 4 $$

good, often transcendent, and always alluring California-American fare. Mussels are studded with Israeli couscous and suffused with lemon and garlic. A meaty rib eye and the sole piccata are assertively flavored and uncommonly good. It’s a cozy bistro with a contemporary lounge and plenty of patio seating. 416 Sycamore Valley Road W., (925) 838-7611, danasdining.com. Lunch and dinner Tues.–Sun. 2 3 $$$$

Bridges Restaurant and Bar

Esin Restaurant and Bar It has a reputation for fine dining, but Esin is really more of a classy neighborhood bistro, attracting friends and families with its affordable “small” plates and three-course dinner specials. House-made pastas, pot roast, and comforting cakes and pies, along with weighty flatware, crisp service, and a serious wine list add up to one of Contra Costa’s most consistently excellent restaurants. Depending on your mood, choose seating on the casual patio or in the stately dining room. 750 Camino Ramon, (925) 314-0974, esinrestaurant.com. Lunch and dinner daily. 2 3 $$$

After 25 years, Bridges remains remarkably fresh. The refined, Asianand French-accented menu shows both creativity (fig salad atop cubed butternut squash) and craftsmanship (New York steak with a classic French demiglace). Famous for its scene in Mrs. Doubtfire, Bridges’ stunning atmosphere (including the garden patio) is timeless. 44 Church St., (925) 820-7200, bridgesdanville.com. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sat.– Sun. 2 3 4 $$$$

Chow The airy, open Chow in

Danville is more family centric than Chow Lafayette, but the food is simply inspired. Among our favorites was juicy wild salmon (available in small portions) with sautéed corn and poblano chilies. Winners also include the thin-crust pizzette, with wild mushrooms; grilled squid on red beans; and any of the salads. 445 Railroad Ave., (925) 838-4510, chowfoodbar.com. Breakfast Mon.– Fri., lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat.–Sun. 2 3 45 $$

Faz Restaurant and Bar Faz’s

warm wood interior with surrounding redwoods, and a twinkle of tiny white lights creates an enticing mood. The menu features a Mediterranean medley of house-made pastas, smoked and spit-roasted meats, and fresh seafood. Start with smokey butternut squash soup, move on to grilled rack of lamb with mint chutney, and finish with tiramisu. 600 Hartz Ave., (925) 838-1320, fazrestaurants.com. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner Tues.–Sat. 234$$

Ferrari’s Cucina Italiana

Rodney Worth’s first all-Italian concept offers unpretentious, family-friendly comfort food in ample proportions with modest prices. For starters, don’t miss the garlicky Diablo prawns. Hungry? Try the Tuscan sandwich, with chicken breast covered in provolone, sundried tomatoes, and pesto. Less heavy, but still big enough to share, is the refreshing antipasto salad. 3451 Blackhawk Plaza Cir., (925) 309-4180, rodneyworth.com. Lunch and dinner daily. 1 3 $$

Fieldhouse Sports Grill

Fieldhouse is the hottest ticket in town. There are 25 TVs and nearly as many taps. We love the ahi tacos. The half-pound Kobe beef burgers are amazing. There are plenty of salads (Chinese chicken is first rate) and pizzas (including the pesto pizza). 3483 Blackhawk Plaza Cir., (925) 886-1812, fieldhousesportsgrill.com. Lunch and dinner daily. 2 3 4 $$

Fish on Fire Sushi Bar Stay on

close terms with the staff so they steer you to the best sushi, which, on our visit, included clear, fresh, supple bigeye tuna and rich, buttery salmon. Always good is the crisp wakame seaweed salad with its subtle sesame flavor. The tempura is as crunchy as you’ll find. And the tender, juicy teriyaki chicken bears the satisfying flavor of the grill. 101-C Town and Country Dr., (925) 837-1027, fishonfiredanville. com. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner Mon.– Sat. 2 4 $$

Alamo—Danville—San Ramon 49


dining listings

Forbes Mill Steakhouse With

its expansive lounge, Forbes feels like a Las Vegas–style steak house. Check out the white anchovy–dressed Caesar salad, the panko-crusted crab cakes, and buttery Kobe steaks. The wine list boasts powerful Napa Valley reds that can stand up to the meat. 200 Sycamore Valley Rd. W., (925) 552-0505, forbesmillsteakhouse. com. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily.

2 3 4 $$$$ Forge The crusts here have tang, and the toppings—made with pristine produce such as heirloom tomato, spinach, or even cauliflower—change with the season. Forge is urban cool, with a stark dining room and a simple bar, where you can nurse a pint while watching your pie burble in an 800-degree oven. Salads are as assertive as the smoke-kissed pizzas. 345 Railroad Ave., (925) 855-1700, theforgepizza.com. Lunch and dinner daily. 1 3 $$ The Growler For just $10, create

a flight from 20 beers on tap, or opt for wine on tap. The menu tops out at $16—for ”The Growler Classic,” or the deliciously spicy Chipotle chicken sandwich. Our kale salad and pastrami sandwich were vibrant. Minimalist decor but warm service. 515 San Ramon Valley Blvd., (925) 984-2706, growlerpubdanville.com. Lunch and dinner daily. 1 3 $$

Incontro Ristorante

Incontro is as soulful as it is dazzling. Impressive starters and salads include smoky strips of eggplant with marinara or basil pesto sauce, and a clean presen-

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tation of prosciutto and mozzarella. We loved the crisped duck breast; rich ruby tuna with bitter greens; and moist, pancetta-wrapped chicken. Start or finish your meal on the front patio with drinks by the open fire pit. 455 Hartz Ave., (925) 820-2349, incontrodanville.com. Lunch Thurs.– Sun., dinner Tues.–Sun. 2 3 4 $$$

Kane Sushi You’ve got to love a

menu whose most expensive item is the bling bling roll: The $22 maki plate is piled with enough soft-shell crab, tuna, hamachi, and salmon to satisfy a crew of hip-hoppers. The atmosphere is casual and fun. 125 Hartz Ave., (925) 362-8686. Lunch and dinner daily. 1 $$

The Little Pear This tiny, cozy

dining room opens to a tranquil patio, with the sights and sounds of Blackhawk Plaza’s waterways. Chat outside over fried artichokes, or enjoy a croque madame and espresso at the bar. Whatever your desire, Little Pear is a place to be fed, both body and spirit. We particularly loved the thin, buttery omelets and crispy bread pudding on our visit. 3407 Blackhawk Plaza Cir., (925) 736-4800, rodney worth.com. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 1 3 $$

Locanda Ravello Walk into the courtyard here, and you’ll know you’re in for a good time. Lights twinkle, wine glasses tinkle, and on our visit, a nearby table was serenaded—in Italian. At the end of the courtyard, a cozy cottage encloses the bar while an intimate dining room to the side sports a pizza oven painted with flames. That

oven turns out crusty loaves of bread and chewy pizzas with epicurean toppings (porcini, Burrata, prosciutto di Parma). The menu is extensive, and best perused with vino in one hand and an antipasti platter within reach. 172 E. Prospect Ave., (925) 984-2101, ravello-danville.com. Lunch and dinner Tues.–Sun., brunch Sat.– Sun. 234$$

Mangia Mi

At this zesty little Italian spot off Hartz Avenue, enjoy the bustling interior, or soak up the sun outside. Definitely try the signature house-made gnocchi smothered in Gorgonzola cream. Other memorable dishes include steamed clams in garlic-lemon butter sauce, and a light beet salad with goat cheese and Marcona almonds. Cocktails are fun and the wine list well priced. 406 Hartz Ave., (925) 831-3276, mangia-mi. com. Lunch Fri.–Sun., dinner daily.

2 3 $$ Maria Maria At this fifth incarna-

tion in Danville, Maria Maria offers up creamy duck tacos and a duo of salsas that, well, rock. Carnitas and chicken enchiladas suizas remain favorites, as do the slow-cooked Chipotle baby back ribs. 710 Camino Ramon Rd., (925) 820-2366, maria mariarestaurants.com. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. 2 3 4 $$$

McGah’s Pub and Pianos The American pub fare strikes just the right note: spicy shrimp with smooth jalapeño sauce; crispy fried chicken sandwich; and great burgers galore. The dueling pianos—weekend nights only—are a riot, and the sports theme is the real deal: E.W. McGah

helped found the Oakland Raiders. 148 E. Prospect Ave., (925) 743-8466, mcgahs.com. Lunch and dinner daily.

2 3 5 $$ The Peasant and the Pear Chef Rodney Worth serves smart salads and sandwiches, such as the Tuscan: sliced chicken and sundried tomatoes on focaccia. If you go for dinner, don’t miss the lamb shank and specialty martinis, such as the signature Spiced Pear-tini. 267 Hartz Ave., (925) 820-6611, rodneyworth.com. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. 2 3 4 $$$

Pete’s Brass Rail and Car Wash It’s all mythology and microbrews at Pete’s, where there’s nobody named Pete and certainly no place to get your wheels washed. No, the headliners here are the burgers and the locals who fill the place with stunning regularity. In summer, there’s no better place than Pete’s patio—with a cold beer from the impressive rotating selection. 201 Hartz Ave., (925) 820-8281, petesbrassrail.com. Lunch and dinner daily. 2 3 $$

Piatti Ristorante Although Piatti is part of a chain, it’s one of the best Californian-Italian restaurants in the Tri-Valley, with dishes such as Bellwether Farms ricotta gnocchi, Monterey Bay calamari, and fried Hog Island oysters. The filet mignon is thick and juicy, and the well-trained waitstaff will help you choose a wine to match. 100 Sycamore Valley Rd. W., (925) 838-2082, piatti.com. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. 2 3 4 $$$


5

Rates Esin “Very Good to Excellent” in every category

Michelin Guide Recommended

Ranks Esin #1 of 61 restaurants in Danville

defining eyewear

Rates Esin “Very Good to Excellent” in every category

Michelin Guide Recommended

Ranks Esin #1 of 61 restaurants in Danville


dining listings

The Prickly Pear Cantina

This boisterous hangout combines fantastic food with reasonable prices: Most dishes are under $18, except the Millionaire and Billionaire margaritas made with aged Grand Marnier. After appetizers of carnitas bean dip and jalapeño chimichangas, dig into the tender steak fajitas rancheros. If you like it hot, the spicy prawns al diablo is a must. 3421 Blackhawk Plaza Cir., (925) 984-2363, rodneyworth.com. Lunch and dinner daily. 2 3 4 $$

Revel Kitchen and Bar Revel is the hipster complement to Esin and Curtis deCarion’s statelier Danville restaurant, Esin. Entrées such as rabbit tagliatelle rock, but the menu’s thrust is bar snacks and small plates. We loved the garlicky hummus, and shrimp and grits. Desserts, famously homey at Esin, get an upscale twist. 331 Hartz Ave., (925) 208-1758, revelkitchenandbar.com. Dinner daily.

Similan Thai Cuisine This

restaurant is a cut above: charming decor, a full bar, and stunning food. Try the Similan treasure, a mélange of curried seafood served in a young coconut, or the pineapple fried rice served in half a pineapple. Don’t miss the roti: Thai pancakes sautéed until crisp and golden. Dip them into one of the creamy curry sauces for a treat. 9000 Crow Canyon Rd., Ste. K, (925) 648-1790, similanthai.com. Lunch Mon.–Sat., dinner daily. 2 3 4 $

2 3 $$$

Sushi Yokohama A revamped menu and fresh new look make Yokohama worth a visit. We loved the garlicky “new style” sashimi. Bright ahi poke and a refreshing tonkatsu salad with udon are cooling options. A range of skewers pair well with the beer list. Try the “drunken fish,” packed with shrimp tempura, unagi, and avocado. 558 San Ramon Valley Blvd., (925) 820-3823. Lunch Mon.– Sat., dinner daily. 1 $$

Sideboard Order at the counter,

Thai House Restaurant Bright

select mismatched silverware, and wait for consistently delicious dishes to be delivered in a rustic and quirky dining area. The cooking style here might best be described as “grandma gourmet.” Our favorites include an airy goat cheese pudding, and moist chicken salad with Pt. Reyes Blue Cheese, smoky bacon, and creamy avocado. Great coffee and desserts. 90 Railroad Ave., (925) 984-2713, itsonthesideboard.com. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 1 3 $$

and cozy Thai House is noted for its inventive, flavorful dishes that include pumpkin curry and lobster. Green papaya salad is pleasantly spicy and tangy, with the crunchy and chewy textures of ground peanuts and dried shrimp. Duck curry is cooked in a rich hot sauce enlivened with pineapple and grapes. Desserts include sweet sticky rice with Thai custard. 254 Rose Ave., (925) 820-0635, thaihousedanville.net. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily.

1 3 4 $$ Yanni’s Taverna Tucked in the

back of a boutique-lined alley, Yanni’s Taverna is a find for Greek-food lovers.

5 2 Diablo City Series

Avgolemono soup, with its simple lemon-infused chicken broth, is one of many light options. A classic gyro comes smothered with tzatziki sauce while deconstructed gyro sliders are great for sharing. The moussaka features light-as-air béchamel, and the lamb skewers shine. 120 E. Prospect Ave., (925) 820-7700, yannistaverna. com. Lunch and dinner Mon.–Sat.

1 3 4 $$ Yo’s on Hartz Dressed in black with a glowing blue bar, Yo’s has the pulse of a nightclub. The food veers from dim sum to Chinese classics to Asian-fusion tapas—plus a full complement of sushi (get the “girly man” roll). Grandpa’s pot stickers achieve the ideal crispy chew, and our fresh steamed buns with crispy pork belly put sliders to shame. 531 Hartz Ave., (925) 855-5580, yosonhartz. com. Lunch and dinner Tues.–Sat.

24 5 $$$

SA N R A M ON Baagan With its casual, calming

atmosphere and stimulating vegan fare, Baagan manages to be both healthful and indulgent. The veggie burger highlights a moist patty of sprouted chana. The hummus sandwich has a striking lemon-tahini lift. Hearty daily soups, amazing drinks (try the frozen “peanut” butter cup), and flavorful wraps are all memorably distinctive. 21001 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Ste. C8, San Ramon, (925) 361-5470, baagan.com. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. $

The Brass Door This venerable

steak house is a cozy place for tender beef or savory roast chicken. But don’t write off the menu’s other choices: The lobster ravioli with tomato and basil is a house specialty. An attentive staff serves it all with a friendly smile and neighborly charm. 2154 San Ramon Valley Blvd., (925) 837-2501, brassdoor.com. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. 2 45 $$$

Firehouse No. 37

With an expansive bar area, bright red decor, and live music, Firehouse is a happenin’ place to be. Predictably, the ribs and burgers are solid. But some of the more uptown offerings—bourbon chicken, Cobb salad—are worth going back for. Pizza and pasta were a bit inconsistent. The crowd favorite is the fried ravioli served crispy and hot: It’s worth the indulgence. 250 Market Pl., (925) 380-6565, firehouse37.com. Lunch and dinner daily. 2 3 4 5 $$

Fish on the Grill What a concept! Order your favorite fish at the counter. Grab a soda, a seat, and a smartphone. Then, devour said fish with a plastic fork. We loved the catches of the day (halibut and sea bass, on our visit), but the flash-frozen fish is nearly as good. The butterfish is silky, the mahimahi meaty, the fish tacos a messy treat, and the fried catfish plump, juicy, and delicious. 2475 San Ramon Blvd., Ste. 6, (925) 362-8688. Lunch and dinner daily. 3 $$


dining listings

Gianni’s Italian Bistro The menu here is a study in simplicity. Burrata is accented with bitter arugula and Prosciutto di Parma. Short ribs are encircled by thin, golden polenta. And ricotta ravioli come bathed in an earthy porcini sauce. Service in the understated dining room—overseen by owner Gianni Bartoletti—is sharp. And an all-Italian wine list is first rate. 2065 San Ramon Valley Blvd., (925) 820-6969, giannissanramon.com. Dinner Tues.–Sun. 1 $$$

Itto Sushi This is a comfortable

Giuseppe’s Giuseppe’s copper-

Katy’s Korner This cheerful

hooded hearth and decor evoke the Italian wine country. Bruschetta flaunts fresh pesto beneath diced tomatoes. Greens with Gorgonzola are fresh and spunky, the balsamic vinaigrette perfect. Much of the food is heavy, for better or worse. A lasagna features fennel-laced sausage and loads of cheese. Check out the warm brownie with vanilla ice cream. 2540 San Ramon Valley Blvd., (925) 820-8866, giuseppespastaandgrill. com. Lunch and dinner daily. 14 $$

Hung’s Kitchen This is the

perfect crossover restaurant, offering Chinese-American favorites alongside traditional dishes. A dozen varieties of steamed buns and dumplings arrive alongside exotic appetizers of jellyfish, anchovies, and seaweed. Don’t miss the steamed fish with ginger. The full bar includes a selection of sake and Livermore Valley wines available by the glass. 500 Bollinger Canyon Way, (925) 735-8880, hungskitchen. com. Lunch and dinner Wed.–Mon.

2 4 $$

5 4 Diablo City Series

sushi joint where football plays on the big screen and the hostess shares sake with the regulars. Huge pieces of silvery mackerel nigiri are fresh and firm. We also enjoyed the Mickey roll, soft-shell crab and avocado thrown in the deep fryer, and the summer roll, spicy tuna and avocado inside, hamachi and unagi on the outside. Skip the shabu-shabu. 2551 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Ste. 104, (925) 838-4848. Lunch and dinner daily. 1 $$

breakfast-and-lunch café is always busy, especially on weekends. But despite the crowd, the friendly staff seem to remember every customer’s name and preferences. Ten variations of eggs Benedict make Katy’s Korner worth the wait, as do the Swedish pancakes and cheese blintzes, both topped with fresh seasonal berries. Portions range from hearty to huge. 2550 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Ste. L, (925) 831-2145. Breakfast and lunch daily. 3 $

Miraku This sushi bar’s popularity

is in evidence by a collection of 1,300 personalized chopsticks. The dining room is deliberately styled. Flowers abound, lighting is low, and napkins are folded in decorative, eye-catching ways. The food is classic Japanese: sushi and sashimi, udon soups sukiyaki, and teriyaki. Order a gigantic bottle of sake and Miraku will hold it for future visits. 2416 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Ste. 120, (925) 820-8107, mirakusr.com. Lunch Mon.–Sat., dinner daily. 14 $$$

Sachi Sushi With its high ceiling and blond wood furniture, Sachi feels sleeker and airier than most shopping center sushi joints. The menu is extensive, with generous sushi and classic entrées, including a very sweet-brothed sukiyaki, with luscious vegetables and slender, white enoki mushrooms. Miso soup was of the richest, most flavorful quality. The tempura appetizer was light and crisp. 390 Market Pl., (925) 866-2248, sachisushisanramon.com. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner daily. 1 $$ Shiraz With its overflowing platters,

Shiraz draws Iranian families from around the East Bay. There are plenty of exotic dishes on the menu, such as zereshk polo (chicken with currants) and ghormeh sabzi (a beef stew with sun-dried limes). But the stars are moist and delicious kebabs grilled over an open flame, and finished with a squeeze of lime. 21314 San Ramon Valley Blvd., (925) 829-5558, shirazsanramon.com. Lunch and dinner daily. 1 3 4 $$

Uncle Yu’s The San Ramon outlet of this popular Chinese restaurant is elegant and ambitious. Crisp and tender Peking spareribs are a scrumptious, candylike treat. Also excellent is the yu shiang eggplant, silky-fleshed eggplant that’s fried to a golden brown and tossed with a dark, chileflecked garlic glaze. Cashew chicken has a mellow flavor and pleasant crunch. 2005 Crow Canyon Pl., (925) 275-1818, uncleyus.com. Lunch and dinner daily. 2 4 $$

Yiping Restaurant Yiping (pronounced e-ping) means “number one quality” in Mandarin, and the restaurant is true to its name. Stick with the classics: Mongolian beef, orange chicken, garlic pea shoots, and wok-fried string beans. There are lots of veggie dishes, and with good reason: Ingredients are market fresh and often organic. Eggplant may be at its zenith here. 2416 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Ste. 140, (925) 838-3233, yiping restaurant.com. Lunch and dinner daily. 14 $$ Zachary’s Chicago Pizza Since

Zachary’s opened its doors in San Ramon (after two decades in the 510), the teeming crowds have barely abated. But no matter, you can order your pizza the moment you walk in the door. And the deep-dish pies, with their buttery crust and generous fillings, are worth the wait. The thin-crust pizza with its crispy cornmeal-lined base is also delicious. 3110 Crow Canyon Pl., Ste. D, (925) 244-1222, zacharys.com. Lunch and dinner daily.

1 $$


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D A N V I L L E ’ S H A R T Z AV E N U E

has long been a shopping destination—even a century ago, when this

photograph was taken of Elizabeth and Joseph Foster on the steps of their general goods store. The Danville Emporium, and three homes, burned to the ground in 1926 when Joe Foster’s second wife, Annie, was making jelly on a coal stove in the rear of the store. According to reports in the Contra Costa Courier and Danville Journal, the jelly boiled over and burst into flames, sparking a fire that threatened the entire town, before firefighters from Lafayette and Walnut Creek extinguished the blaze. Damages and loss from the fire were estimated at $30,000. 5 6 Diablo City Series

COURTESY OF THE MUSEUM OF SAN RAMON VALLEY

last look


best better.

THE BAY AREA’S IS ABOUT TO GET

STONERIDGE CREEK IS S TA R T I N G I T S F I N A L P H A S E . Stoneridge Creek opened to rave reviews two years ago. Hundreds of local seniors are now enjoying life without the hassles of housekeeping or maintenance, with the convenience of restaurants, fitness center and spa, walking trails, performing arts center and more, on campus and included. With the new homes nearly gone, reservations have started for the community’s final phase — expected to open in 2017.

Call 1-800-785-8139 to schedule a tour or simply get the facts about what’s available now and what’s coming soon.

Expect more from your retirement. 3300 Stoneridge Creek Way Pleasanton, CA 94588 STONERIDGECREEK.COM

Continuing Life LLC provides support and services to leading senior housing communities under a services and licensing agreement that allows for use of the Continuing Life® mark. The company does not own, nor is it financially responsible for, Stoneridge Creek Pleasanton CCRC LLC. State of California License #019200474. Certificate of Authority #262.


Slim d’Hermès watch in steel set with diamonds, smooth sapphire blue alligator strap.

2005 Crow Canyon Place, #168 San Ramon, California 94583 925.904.0200

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Alamo Danville San Ramon City Series Volume 2  

Covering food to fashion, nightlife, fitness, the arts, and the great outdoors, The Alamo/Danville/San Ramon Book serves as the comprehensiv...

Alamo Danville San Ramon City Series Volume 2  

Covering food to fashion, nightlife, fitness, the arts, and the great outdoors, The Alamo/Danville/San Ramon Book serves as the comprehensiv...