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Fashion Issue Flirty Looks

for Stepping Out


It’s Festival Season

Dress to Dazzle WHAT’S NEXT? Latest Scoop on Development Deals GETAWAY CAPTIVATING CARMEL VALLEY


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in this issue











Playful prints. Flattering frames. Mini and maxi dresses. Step up your style with these fresh finds from downtown retailers.

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in this issue


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talk of the town

what’s in season

Acclaimed sculptor Patrick Dougherty’s monumental stick art comes to Civic Park. Napa and Sonoma Valley wineries showcase world-class art. It’s festival season. Our list of events not to miss. As the building boom continues, we bring you up to date on the latest projects in the city’s pipeline. Plus, meet the four individuals running for WC City Council in the fall.

Perfect for breakfast, blueberries are packed with vitamins and flavor. Local farmers’ markets are brimming with baskets of this petite superfood to use in all kinds of recipes.


53 DINING GUIDE A definitive resource to eating at the area’s top restaurants for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and beyond.



making a mark

pooling tips

We shine a light on five fabulous women who are making a mark in their careers and communities.

California restaurant owners may now require waiters to share their tips with the back of the house.



captivating carmel Plan your next getaway to Carmel Valley where lavender fields, chic resorts, and championship golf courses dot the landscape.


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Happenings, events, art, theater, festivals, and music for your pleasure and your calendar.

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fashion ISSUE 2018 Publisher Pam Becker Kessler Editor Lauren Kessler Art Director Carrie Wallahan website Cale Finta Photography Rachel Capil, Alexxa Grace, Bob Brittain Jessica Freels, Sarah Grunder, Scott Hein Josh Isaacs, Kyle Luman, Brian Murphy, Anne Rabe contributing writers Deborah Burstyn, Lynn Carey, Sophie Johnson Kathryn McCarty, Fran Miller, Alison Negrin Robert Stankus, Dale Tafoya, Alix Wall operations intern David Kessler


Kessler Communications, Inc. Walnut Creek Magazine PO BOX 5550 WALNUT CREEK, CA 94596 (925)212-5146 No print or online material from Walnut Creek Magazine may be reproduced without written consent.


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Publisher’s Note

Summer. It’s almost here. All those temptations. Time to take a break, travel a bit, hit a lake, eat funnel cake, and explore Mt. Diablo. Or, simply dream on a chaise lounge soaking up the sun and the surrounding beauty. If your lifestyle affords it, you may even have a majestic mountain view from your home. It’s been 33 years since Walnut Creek voters went to the polls and approved Measure A, essentially setting maximum height limits for new construction and redevelopment in the city. While it’s not exactly popular among developers, Measure A reflects the values of city residents. When voters passed the zoning ordinance in 1985, their motivations were pretty simple: they didn't want tall buildings sprouting up all over town blocking views and creating a dense atmosphere. While much has changed since then, it’s reasonable to assume the same values that led residents to pass Measure A in 1985 remain today. One of our greatest assets, the natural environment, continues to be a major reason why new residents come to live here and pay steep rents and mortgages. They’re enticed by the natural environment and want to see it from the comfort of their new home. However, conversations are beginning again about “rethinking” Measure A. Fortunately, this can only happen by a vote of approval by the electorate. And since this is an election year, with four hopefuls on the ballot for two seats on the city council, it might be a good time to find out how each one weighs in on Measure A. We introduce them to you in our Talk of the Town section and take a look at the myriad of new projects coming our way.

Enjoy a wonderful day in the wine country

This issue also helps you get a jump on summer travel with a look at the emerging art scene in the wine country and bucolic landscape in the Carmel Valley. We shine a light on five amazing women who are making a mark in their communities and their careers, and show off the season’s top fashion trends. It’s a pretty cool issue full all of kinds of ways to spend your sizzling summer days. As we celebrate the city and the bounty of Northern California, we are mindful of the extraordinary challenges so many face in their daily lives. Why not make it a point to look up, smile, and say hello. Kindness goes a long way.


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Pam Becker Kessler



COMING up... SUMMER 2018

josh isaacs is one of the Bay Area's premier freelance photographers. A wedding specialist, he is also known for corporate, real estate, and private party work.

Fran Endicott Miller is a freelance travel and feature writer who enjoys exploring Northern California destinations, eating great food, and sharing her finds with readers.

jessica freels has been taking photographs since she was eight years old. Her passion is sports photography because it gives her a chance to spend time with her son. A long time Bay Area resident, she resides in Walnut Creek.

Rob Stankus is a marketing communications consultant, a 20-year Walnut Creek resident, a community volunteer, and a supporter of schools, youth soccer, local arts, and pretty much everything Walnut Creek.

Sophie Johnson is a Walnut Creek native with a diverse background in food and technology. When not writing, she can be found walking city streets and trails, meeting new people, and sharing their stories.

kathryn G. mccarty has been part of the Bay Area theatre scene for over 20 years. Her award-winning plays have been performed in NYC, LA and Chicago.



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ay from Steps Aw shopping, ass world-cl ng, and dini ment entertain

Walnut Creek’s Premier Senior-Living Community In the Heart of Downtown

Join us at the upcoming special events: ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF ACTIVE SENIOR LIVING DAY July 11, 5-7pm, Sips & Savors with The Mayor WE ARE ACTIVE IN THE ARTS The first 25 lucky individuals will be awarded tickets for a Shakespeare Improv at the Lesher Center with a Barbeque Dinner following the performance. July 15 at 3:00pm, call us to sign up. Schedule a tour of our beautiful garden property and enjoy a complimentary lunch or dinner too!

(925) 943.7427 1785 Shuey Avenue Walnut Creek, CA 94596 fashion 2018 / walnut creek



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of the town

photography by jessica freels

communal craftmanship | LOCAL WILDLIFE | WINE & ART | FESTIVAL SEASON


Patrick Dougherty’s acclaimed stick art comes to Civic Park It’s hard to miss the new 40 x 40 public art installation in Walnut Creek’s Civic Park. In May, world-renowned artist Patrick Dougherty constructed the large-scale willow sculpture, "Sure Enough", with the help of 60 volunteers. Dougherty, who has created more than 250 monumental scale environmental works over the last 30 years, says the sculpture is meant to convey that “art is everyone.” Attracting both children and adults into its jar-shaped interior, the intriguing maze was made on-site by bending, twisting and weaving thousands of fragrant willow branches. ➤ fashion 2018 / walnut creek


talk the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) on what to do if you encounter one of region’s more dangerous residents: Leave it alone. Do not try to capture or harm it. Move carefully and slowly away. If bitten, stay calm and send someone to call 911.

SNAKE SEASON As the weather heats up, so do the rattlesnakes.

Dougherty, based in North Carolina, is known for his signature sculpting style that combines master carpentry skills with a love of nature. His innovative projects can be found in public settings across the United States. His remarkable piece of interactive urban art was made possible through the efforts of the Bedford Gallery and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. It will remain in Civic Park for two years.

Living among wild things is one of the great joys— and complications— of the East Bay. Like humans, snakes like to explore when the weather gets warm. And while they are an important resource in the natural environment, snakes and particularly rattlers, are best enjoyed from afar. Here are some tips from

Lie down with the affected limb lower than the heart. Do not waste precious time on tourniquets, “sucking,” or snake bite kits. If you are alone, walk calmly to a phone and call 911. Do not run.


New kids in town It’s not every day you get to watch an adorable gray fox outfit a storm drain for her pups. From the comfort of his Rossmoor deck, local wildlife photographer Brian Murphy captured these images of a female fox and her babies. Murphy says the fox has given birth in the storm drain for the past three years, only this time she had six; twice as many pups as last year. “It became so crowed in the 10 inch storm drain, she moved them to a more spacious location. They grew so quickly she was only able to nurse three at a time,” Murphy says. “I hope she returns next year.”

Carolyn Federman knows a lot about cooking with kids. Aside from raising two teenagers, the Berkeley-based food educator worked closely with Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard Project before founding the Charlie Cart Project, a nonprofit that teaches children about nutrition and cooking. Her New Favorites for New Cooks (Ten Speed), features 50 simple and fun recipes for pint-sized home chefs.


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CHOOSE US When it comes to a beautiful smile, be a perfectionist. Our Walnut Creek dental team provides patients with state of the art dental care when treating everything from oral hygiene to restoration and complex cosmetic procedures. Plus we do it all in a friendly, relaxed environment. If you are looking for a great dentist, call us today. We will make you smile with confidence.

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Palate to Palette wine country VINTNERS CELEBRATE art

Known for its world-class wine and spectacular countryside, the Napa and Sonoma valleys are also home to worldclass art collections. It’s the perfect pairing – great wine and great art—in tasting rooms and on estate grounds. Wineries are drawing art lovers from all over the world to view their collections. Here are a few worthy of a visit next time you’re sipping your way through summer.


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Hall : Soaring high in the sky, a striking silver sculpture named Bunny Foo Foo is one of 35 modern art pieces that welcome guests to Hall Napa Valley. Curated by proprietors, Craig and Kathryn Hall, works at this art-rich winery are found in whimsical locations. The winery’s tank room is painted in splashes of red and adorned with Pinwheels’ by Jim Drain and Ara Peterson. Graham Caldwell’s blown glass

“Red Rain” hangs in a tasting room and Jim Campbell’s “Exploded View” hypnotizes with its LED light displays. In the garden, a large scale sculpture by Patrick Dougherty, “Deck the Halls,” beckons with its fantastical branches. Make sure to sip the winery’s acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon while you tour.

Hess Collection: At

Donald Hess’s historic winery, 40-years of fascination with art has culminated into an iconic collection with works by Robert Motherwell, Francis Bacon, and Gerhard Richter. Front-andcenter is the flaming typewriter, Hommage, created by Leopoldo Maler as a tribute to his uncle who was persecuted for writing political essays. Spend enough time to tour the entire art collection then relax with a sip of Hess Petite Sirah.

Robert Mondavi Winery: At this famous

St. Helena winery’s entrance, a seven-foot, 3,000 pound copper sculpture by Len Urso pays tribute to trail blazer Robert Mondavi. The late vintner and his wife Margrit, an artist herself, were captivated by the fusion of art, wine, and food.

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The winery’s permanent collection features an enormous St. Francis of Assisi sculpture by the celebrated Beniamino and over the years has highlighted Richard Diebenkorn, Wayne Thiebaud, and Nathan Oliveira.

Donum Estate: This Carneros region winery boasts 30 aweinspiring sculptures; each cleverly displayed on the massive 200-acre property. Standouts in the ever-evolving collection include gigantic pieces by Zhang Wang, Artuor Di Modica, Fernando Botero, and Ai Weiwei, scattered among the 150-year-old olive trees and organic farm. Contemporary Terra Cotta Warriors by Yue Minjun look after the art.


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Imagery Estate Winery: When Joe Benziger founded Imagery in the 1980s, he commissioned Healdsburg-based artist Bob Nugent to design the winery’s first label. Since that time, artwork by more than 300 artists have graced Imagery

bottles; each with a unique depiction of the Parthenon, the winery’s signature logo. Past labels by renowned artists such as Sol LeWitt, Shoichi Ida, Goncalo Ivo, and Judy Pfaff can be found in the Glenn Ellen tasting room. Taste at the wine bar or picnic at the tables. — By Fran Miller

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, It s


Whether you choose to hit a San Francisco street fair, eat garlic ice cream, or listen to LIVE music, here’s how to have some fun over the next few months.

Outside Lands For concert-go-

ers interested in seeing Janet Jackson, Florence and the Machine or Beck, it’s a three-day race — fueled by lots of good food. Michelin-starred Rich Table returns with porcini doughnuts, alongside newcomer Dumpling Time, plus your fave carnival fare: loaded funnel cakes, hand-dipped dogs and cotton candy bouquets. August 10-12, Golden Gate Park, SF,

Danville Summerfest

A family and dog-friendly event with live music, fine arts booths, chicken skewers and fried veggies, plus a classic car show. June 23-24, Downtown Danville, Hartz Avenue,


Walnut Creek First Wednesdays This Cypress Street

fest features live bands, food, fashion, and so much more. Upcoming performers: 7/11 The 925 Band; 8/1 Cut Loose Band; 9/5 The Jesse Daniel Band,

Fillmore Jazz Festival

A throwback to the 1990’s, this year’s lineup includes stints from some of the city’s greats in jazz, hip-hop, Latin and funk including The Mo’Fessionals, Alphabet Soup, Jungle Biskit, and Dogslyde. June 30-July 1, Fillmore Street, SF,

Blues & Brews Sample unique craft beers while you listen to

music by the Spencer James Band, Delta Wires, Zydeco Flames and more. July 21, Pleasant Hill Park,

Wanderlust Squaw Valley Yogis

bend over backwards for this wellness and mindfulness festival which includes workshops, top musical performers, and farm-to-table dining. July 19-22, Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe,

Gilroy Garlic Festival

Craving garlic ice cream? Head to the South Bay for three glorious days of eating, cooking, frying, and drinking all things garlic. ➤

fashion 2018 / walnut creek


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talk/events From garlic kettle corn to garlic pineapple upside down waffles, this is the original foodie fest. July 27-29,

Berkeley Kite Festival Earth, wind, and sky merge at this vibrant event where giant kites as big as houses soar through the air. July 28-29, Berkeley Marina, Alameda Art & Wine Faire Park Street comes alive with over 300 arts, crafts, and food vendors, local wines and regional beers, live music and a special kids’ area. July 28-29, Benicia Waterfront Festival Make a

splash at this picturesque event with two days of live music, craft beer, and tasty foods. July 28-29, First Street Green,

Broadway Plaza Concert Series Three Thursdays in August, enjoy the coolest sounds of summer: 8/16 Kalimba, The Spirit of Earth; Wind & Fire; 8/23 Caravanserai, The Santana Tribute; 8/30 Bee Gee’s Gold, The Tribute,

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Mondavi Concert Series For five Saturdays

this summer, wine, music and food converge at Napa Valley’s historic Robert Mondavi Winery. This year’s lineup includes: Gavin DeGraw, Citizen Cope, Brandi Carlile, X Ambassadors and Fitz and The Tantrums, among others. In its 49-year history, the series has raised millions of dollars to support charitable music organizations. June 30-July 28,

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Construction of an upscale 174-unit senior community is underway. As part of the sprawling Orchards development in Shadelands Business Park, digging has begun on the new senior living complex known as Viamonte. When completed in 2020, the amenity-rich development by NCPHS will feature everything from an onsite gourmet restaurant and bistro bar to bocce court, fitness center, game room, art studio, pool, spa, and more. Prices for the one and two bedroom floor plans—between 750 to 1,525 square feet—range from $860,000 to $1.6 million.

See you there

A substantial new drive-thru CVS Pharmacy opened at Rossmoor Shopping Center. Part of a long overdue makeover, a drive-thru Starbucks is coming next, followed by phased redevelopment of the plaza. Black Angus is back. The North Main Street steakhouse reopened with a bang in May. Speaking of beef, the Broderick team launched Batch & Brine, a stylish new Lafayette eatery. Menu highlights include a killer Reuben and duck confit fries. Fish lovers beware! Pacific Catch is here! The seafood house is located at The Agora on South Main. GOT BUZZ? Email us at

Upgraded Experiences Developers meet workforce demands with added amenities. Move over millennials. People born between 1995 and 2012 are seventy million strong and expected to have a major impact on the economy. According to The Registry, by 2020 the age group known as “Gen Z” will represent 40% of U.S. consumers. And they have distinct workspace preferences. Savvy commercial real estate developers are catering to the emerging workforce by stepping up onsite amenities. At Walnut Creek’s Cal Plaza, CBRE Global Investors infused $5 million into the office plaza including hi-tech conference rooms, shared workspaces, a catering kitchen, bocce ball, fitness center, public art, and valet parking. So far new tech and healthcare tenants have leased over 25,000-square-feet of office space at the plaza.


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Changing Times Nothing lasts forever. Built in 1965, a one-story building on Locust Street, adjacent to The Lyric’s Water Light Public Plaza, is currently under city review for demolition and redevelopment as Heritage on Locust. Plans submitted by Nazeri & Associate Architects call for a new 6,710-square-foot, two-story retail and office building with a ground floor restaurant.

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The man behind many of the city’s top restaurants is turning out a food hall. On the vacant Locust Street site, that once housed the Veteran’s Hall, developer Brian Hirahara has ambitious plans. Best known for Va de Vi, Sasa, Slice House, and Rooftop, Hirahara’s latest project, The Foundry, turns the 18,368-square-foot parcel — across the street from Century 14 movie theaters — into a community gathering area with dining patio, beer garden, children’s play zone, and turf lawn game area.

Cashing in on Cannabis Consumers are paying as much as 45 percent in taxes for recreational weed. Tax revenue from cannabis sales amounted to $34 million in the first quarter of 2018, the first results since California legalized recreational marijuana. Governor Brown had predicted $175 million in the first half of the year, according to the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office. What went wrong? Taxes. Buyers would rather hit up the black market. What’s Up with Weed in Walnut Creek? Sources tell us members of the WC City Council recently went a “field trip” to a marijuana dispensary in Oakland. After significant community pressure, particularly from Rossmoor residents, the council is expected to approve two delivery-only medical marijuana facilities in Walnut Creek.


F our H opefuls for T wo Seats As of June 1, 2018, three candidates will challenge incumbent Cindy Silva in the fall for two open seats on the Walnut Creek City Council.






Councilmember Cindy Silva, and mayor pro tem, is running for her fourth fouryear term on the council. Silva was first elected in 2006, served as mayor in 2010-11, and again in 2012-13. Prior to her election to the city council, Silva served on several commissions and tasks forces, both in governmental and non-profit sectors. One of her greatest accomplishments is the founding of Walnut Creek’s Community Service Day.

Currently serving his second term on the city’s planning commission, Iman Novin is a principal at the Walnut Creek branch of Novin Development, a real estate development firm. A resident at The Lyric downtown, Novin is on the board of the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce and Trinity Center.

A Northern California native, Spencer Dress moved to Walnut Creek in 2012. He recently graduated from St. Mary’s College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and hopes to bring a new, young voice to city government.

Land-use attorney Matt Francois served on the city planning commission for eleven consecutive years, from 2007-2018, before entering the city council race. Francois lives in Walnut Creek’s Parkmead neighborhood with his wife and two children.

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Making a


Get ready to be inspired. The five women profiled on these pages are leading the way in their careers and communities. PHOTOGRAPHY BY JESSICA FREELS

fashion 2018 / walnut creek


women to watch

him conceive and create Bing Crosby’s restaurant. “I’ve always been motivated to make things, bring people together, and share ideas,” says Dudum who founded Walnut Creek’s boutique clothing store VICI with her step-daughter Aimee. “It was post-recession when I was inspired to create the VICI brand. Consumers were cautious about spending and I sensed women’s desire for affordable fashion. So I curated a line that offers quality, affordable, on-trend styles for all ages and body types.” Success was immediate for VICI; one store quickly grew to two. At her second location in Newport Beach, The Real Housewives of Orange County are regulars. Beyond the reasonable prices—99% of VICI items are $68 or less—Dudum says what sets VICI apart is an unwavering commitment to customer service and a zeal for social media marketing. She credits her talented team for VICI’s success, who work closely with customers to style outfits.


S 28

CEO VICI andra Dudum is a creative visionary. At age seven, well ahead of the Gatorade curve, she was making her own flavored juice blends. She went on to study at the Fashion

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Institute of Design in Los Angeles and after graduation landed a job with Guess. She then spent nearly 20 years as a stylist, curator, brand promoter, and buyer for Nordstrom, before marrying Rick Dudum and helping

“We post 20 new looks each day on Instagram and Facebook so women can see how to style themselves,” says Dudum, who regularly jets back and forth between Walnut Creek and Newport. The company’s Instagram following is 350K strong and its office walls are lined with framed features from Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, and Redbook. “I’ve always had a passion for fashion, for trends, and for empowering women,” says Dudum. “And what’s more empowering than looking good and feeling good?” –FRAN MILLER

women to watch



Community and Economic Development Director, City of Walnut Creek

ity leaders from around the world travel to Walnut Creek to glean ideas on how to replicate the city’s quality of life in their own communities. And there’s a good chance Sandra Meyer, Walnut Creek’s Community and Economic Development Director, has had a hand in the revered city planning. Since 1989, Meyer has played an integral role shaping the city’s present and future. She realized her civic calling at UC Davis, but after graduating amidst the Proposition 13 revolution, found few opportunities in city government. Instead, she worked for a developer of retirement communities and gained insight into the private sector’s perspective – lessons that have contributed to the “big picture” in her current role.

What’s kept her here all these years? Meyer credits a city government and a community supportive of long range planning, providing opportunities to grow. “People generally don’t realize that planning is what distinguishes Walnut Creek from other communities,” she says. And while changes in growth policies, height restrictions, and zoning can alter plans, the longer term vision has remained intact. In her role today, Meyer is focused on people and policy management, building a sustainable,

skilled team, and working with the city manager and the council to inform and implement goals. She is also committed to the city’s future— understanding that maintaining a high quality of life is dependent upon having the resources to maintain it. A changing world with fewer cars, fewer retail stores, and ultimately less sales tax revenue point to the need for new local economic stimulus. She loves her job, the people, and the good fortune to do work that makes a difference for generations to come. –Rob Stankus

After a stint with the City of Fairfield, Meyer joined the City of Walnut Creek as an associate planner in a job share position while was raising her two boys. Working her way up the ranks, she went on to serve as the city’s planning manager before taking the director’s reins from Valerie Barone eight years ago. During her 29-year tenure, Meyer has seen a lot of change, and she’s played a key role in creating it, most notably at the “Golden Triangle” Cal Plaza office park, BART station, Plaza Escuela, John Muir Medical Center, and many other places. She recalls there was a time when Walnut Creek was desperate for more traffic downtown. Vacant stores and empty streets in 1989 prompted the city to boost the downtown economy with an “Alive After Five” campaign, which turned into a successful partnership with the Lesher Center for the Arts.

fashion 2018 / walnut creek


women to watch

Pony Express, Loaves & Fishes and the League of Newcomers Club, among others, support Trinity’s work. “I believe the best way to get things done is to partner and to collaborate. If someone is already doing it, we don’t need to duplicate their efforts,” says Colombo. A Walnut Creek resident for over 35 years, Colombo understands that homelessness is tied to economic vitality, housing, mental health, and public safety. In partnership with the WCPD, she created the Homeless Task Force in 2013, bringing key city partners together to find effective solutions for homelessness.

ADVOCATE Donna Colombo Executive Director of Trinity Center


ision, dogged perseverance, and genuine compassion drive Donna Colombo every day to exceed even her own expectations. After a successful career as a project manager in corporate training and development, Colombo decided to pursue her real calling—to help people without a home. Inspired by her mother’s last words, “go make memories,” Colombo and her team of volunteers, transformed the former Fresh Start into Trinity Center, a place where people in need can access a broad spectrum of services eight hours a day, five days a week.


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At the helm of Trinity Center as Executive Director since 2012, Colombo has worked tirelessly to raise community awareness about homelessness and inspired support through donations, volunteerism, and grants. Currently serving between 50-60 individuals each day, Walnut Creek’s respite center offers basic safety net services—food, clothing, showers, laundry facilities, mail delivery, telephone service, and a safe place to rest. They also provide advocacy and referral services, and partner with Kaiser Permanente on behavioral health care. Nineteen security cameras monitor members, keeping the facility safe. Local church groups, White

As Bay Area rents soar, Colombo points to the affordable housing crisis as the primary reason for the increasing numbers of people without a home. “We’re not talking about criminals, it’s not a crime to be homeless. Our members come to us from all walks of life. Many have kids and grandkids.” One of her greatest challenges is finding a place for Trinity’s members to sleep at night. “When the police clear out the camps, the people have nowhere to go,” Colombo says. After six years of tireless perseverance and dedication, May 16 marked the groundbreaking of Colombo’s innovative housing project, St. Paul’s Commons on Trinity Avenue, a partnership with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and Resources for Community Development. Uniting affordable housing units—44 studios and one bedrooms—with the services and resources required to elevate individuals out of poverty, St. Paul’s Commons is a model for other communities. “We need to work together so projects like this one happen all over the Bay Area,” she says. –PAM KESSLER

women to watch

To entice kids down the path of healthy eating, Gershen created the Sustainable Hospitality Program, an innovative curriculum in which students don’t just learn, they do. They plant, grow, and harvest produce in traditional campus garden beds and in high-tech vertical tower gardens. They prepare nutritious meals for other students, sports teams, and faculty members. And they teach, helping Gershen spread her wellness message to district elementary schools.

CHEF CINDY GERSHEN Culinary Instructor, Mt. Diablo High School


ydroponic lettuce gardens grace Chef Cindy Gershen’s classroom at Mt. Diablo High School where this food futurist works tirelessly teaching kids how to cook healthy food. The founder of Walnut Creek’s Sunrise Bistro and the non-profit Wellness City Challenge, Gershen has set her sights and

infinite energy on a much more ambitious endeavor—transforming the way kids eat. Her premise is simple: when kids eat well, they feel better, and when they feel better, they do everything better—school, sports, and life. And once they experience the benefits of being well-nourished, like doing better on a test after eating a good breakfast, students become believers.

While education and skills are essential to developing good habits, Gershen understands that access to nutritious food is a deal breaker, especially for at-risk children. So she keeps her classroom door open sharing trays of roasted vegetables and chicken with hungry kids, grateful for the generous donations from Whole Foods Market and White Pony Express. Her passion, energy, and curriculum recently caught the attention of Lennar Homes Five Point Communities who is funding a summer media project that will broadcast live cooking demos from Gershen's classroom. Gershen’s journey began many years ago when she battled her own health and weight issues before adopting heathy eating habits transforming her body and career. Today it’s kids that fuel her passion, even as she struggles to take care of her husband who was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. They inspire with words like, “You changed my life. I always eat breakfast. I always choose brown rice instead of white. I stay away from fast food.” Change can’t come fast enough for Gershen. She’s witnessed the impact of teaching kids how to make better choices. She’s seen the pride they take in cooking and feeding people. She’s driven to create a food ripple that spreads and nurtures. And there’s no stopping her now. –Rob Stankus

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women to watch

TRAIL BLAZER catherine aker VP Communications & Community Relations Oakland Athletics


s one of only two female vice presidents in Oakland A’s history, and the only woman to hold the title in the past 30 years, it’s fitting that Catherine Aker was selected by the San Francisco Business Times for the esteemed 2018 ‘40 Under 40 list.’ The Orinda resident and Sacramento native holds the coveted position of Vice President of Communications & Community Relations at the Oakland A’s where she leads communication efforts, oversees the community fund, and creates popular employee programs like the Front Office Speaker Series. Aker also initiated ‘Women of the A’s,’ a monthly networking group for female employees.


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Aker got her start in professional baseball as an intern for the Arizona Diamondbacks while a student at the University of Arizona. “I started when the team was only four years old, and was given lots of opportunity to learn and grow,” she says. “At that time, we were able to create our own career paths.” In 2005, a new ownership group promoted Aker to director of corporate communications, a position she held for more than four years, during which time she earned her MBA at U of A.

ment didn’t last long. In 2015 she learned that the A’s were seeking a communications director and threw her cap back into the ring.

After the birth of her first child, she ‘retired’ from the Diamondbacks, and moved with her husband and son back to Northern California. While raising her young family, now including a daughter, Aker founded Give Together, a nonprofit that creates volunteer opportunities for families with children. But MLB retire-

Aker admits her demanding schedule only works because of her supportive husband Chris, a Silicon Valley techie. “Chris knows my busy times, like during spring training, and he moves his travel schedule to complement mine,” she says. “I simply could not do this job that I love, without a partner who helps out.” – FRAN MILLER

Aker acknowledges there are challenges in raising a five and six-year-old while working a 162 MLB game schedule, but she loves surrounding her kids with baseball. “I was able to bring Stomper to kindergarten career day recently,” Aker says. “My son thought that was pretty cool.”

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Captivating Carmel Valley A p l ac e to p l ay, i n d u l g e , a n d d i s co v e r . When you think about Carmel, chances are you imagine seascape with storybook cottages and sandy beaches. But there’s another Carmel. The one warmed by a sun that often evades its coastal cousin. The one that’s a little more casual, but equally as luxurious. Carmel Valley, a sublime pastoral hollow in the heart of the Santa Lucia Mountains, is graced with chic resorts, lavender fields, and historic wineries. Add to that hiking and biking trails, championship golf courses, working ranches, and a 4,000-acre regional park, and Carmel Valley is a tempting place for a getaway. BY PAM KESSLER & FRAN MILLER

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Stay Situated on 850-acres of lush fairways, fragrant meadows, and sparkling lakes, the plush suites at Quail Lodge & Golf Club are a special place for a retreat. Built in 1964, the lodge underwent a multi-million dollar renovation a few years ago, unveiling rich updates and first-rate dining at the resort’s restaurants: Covey’s and Edgar’s. A pet-friendly place, furry guests are greeted with souvenir goodie bags complete with portable water bowl and fleece blanket. Spacious rooms feature hardwood floors, deep


soaking tubs, and private patios. The resort's signature "Quail, a Motorsports Gathering" happens each year in August. Nestled amongst vineyards with spectacular mountain views, Bernardus Lodge boasts a Forbes Four Star travel designation. The property features a serene spa, world-renowned restaurant, pool, bocce ball, and tennis courts. Large guest rooms combine chic ranch house décor with comfy furnishings. A handful of posh suites and villas offer a little more luxury

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with free-standing copper soaking tubs, al fresco showers, heated floors, and private patios.

Dine Enjoy celebrated California cuisine at the Bernardus standout Lucia where Chef Cal Stamenov has set the region’s culinary bar. Culling from the Lodge's onsite organic garden, cornucopia of fruit trees, and cache of chickens, Stamenov highlights the best of each season in his creative dishes.

At Quail Lodge, enjoy your eggs benedict on Covey’s sunny lagoon deck or grab a yogurt and granola to go. Evenings are best by the fire pit with a craft beer and artisanal cheeses. Over at Edgar’s, join the golfers and locals for a perfectly grilled filet mignon or a luscious bowl of cioppino. For a hearty ‘down home’ breakfast, head out to Wagon Wheel Coffee Shop where rumor has it that Robert Redford and Bill Murray are regulars. Check-out recently renovated Earthbound Farm and its Farm Stand for

organic hot meals, sandwiches, and an outrageously abundant salad bar. Dine al fresco at Roux, where Chef Fabrice Roux incorporates local ingredients into his French-inspired cuisine.


Vineyards, Talbott, Cowgirl, and Parsonage. The Frenchinspired Folktale Winery sits on 15 rich acres of sustainablyfarmed land along the Carmel River.

WINE TASTING: A top global wine destination, Carmel Valley is renowned for its Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc varietals poured at over 20 tasting rooms, each with a unique style and character. Check-out Durney-Heller Estate, Bernardus, Georis, Joullian

HIKING: A favorite among hikers of all levels, hikes at Garland Ranch Regional Park pass through maple-filled canyons, dense oak woodlands, and thick strands of chaparral. For an extra challenge, try the 5.4-mile Sky Trail with its 1,700 feet elevation gain and valley views.

MUSEUM: Motorcycle aficionados cruise to the Moto Talbott Motorcycle Collection to check out the largest West Coast public exhibition of rare motorcycles and vintage dirt bikes. SPA: For a relaxing day at the spa, try Refuge, a two-acre adult-only water park filled with soaking pools in varying temperatures. Hit the steam and sauna rooms after your dip.

GOLF: Actor Clint Eastwood is famous for his movies and now his golf course. Tehama Ranch, is an exclusive private golf club sitting on a high ridge with views of Monterey Bay. Can't get the nod? Head over to the course at Quail Lodge to challenge its renowned 18-hole Robert Muir Graves designed course.

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* Eyelash Extensions feel natural and weightless. * Delicate strands are individually and meticulously applied to your natural lashes to mix beautifully for a look that’s all your own. * For all occasions, special occasions or just because. * Wear day and night. * Save time getting ready for your day. * For women of all ages. * Want to learn more, call for a complimentary consultation.

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(925) 305-1497 at Sola Salon Studios, Walnut Creek, CA


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Only you will know they’re not your lashes



S e m i - P e r m a n e n t

Have you ever wanted l o n g e r, thicker,




playful prints. Striking metallic.

Flowers in bloom. mini and maxi dresses. Flattering frames. Statement

earrings. Retro heels. Pops of red.

step up your style with these fresh finds from downtown retailers.

Photography by Josh Isaacs

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PINK One of the season’s hottest color trends, pink is everywhere. Michael Kors soft pink satchel ($328), Rachel Roy ice pink jacket ($149), over cosmic pink knit sweater dress ($129), at Macy’s.


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Add a retro vibe to your look with sunglasses by Oliver People’s ($365), at Broadway Eyeworks.

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BRING THE HEAT Hot red dress by Guess, ($118, Macy’s). Add some dazzle with strappy metallic sandals and gold clutch ($78), at Red Box.


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Step out for a night on the town in this metallic number by Ralph Lauren ($190, Macy’s). Jazz it up with a sequin clutch by Hoss ($160, Deliciouz). fashion 2018 / walnut creek




Michael Kors powder blue leather bomber jacket ($495, Macy’s) gives the sundress ($135, Red Box) an edge. Complete the look with a big tote ($168, Red Box) and Face a Face black & white shades ($510, Broadway Eyeworks). 44

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DRESS OBSESSED Playful print mini pairs perfectly with our sultry summers. If your legs can handle it. Foxiedox ($175, Macy’s).

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Cowboys, panamas, floppies and even berets, straw hats come in every shape and style. Try this one on ($33), at Macy’s. Your face will thank you.


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Summer straw hat ($33), MaxMara linen dress ($475). Complete the look with a pair of strappy metallic sandals ($65), at Macy’s. fashion 2018 / walnut creek



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in season

Photography by Jessica Freels

LOCAL FARMER'S MARKETS | blueberries | seasonal recipes | EAST BAY GUIDE

blueberries They’re perfect for breakfast. They’re great for dessert. They’re delicious fresh or frozen. This petite super food is packed with vitamins and linked to lowering the risk of high cholesterol and cancer. To pick the best, find blueberries that are firm. They’ll last for a week in the fridge or for up to a year frozen. Local farmers’ markets are brimming with berries to use in an array of recipes. ➤

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Ingredients 2 cups blueberries ½ medium red onion, finely chopped ½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped ¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice 1 teaspoon kosher salt Directions Coarsely chop 1 ½ cups of the blueberries. In a bowl, combine chopped and whole blueberries and remaining salsa ingredients. Let stand for one hour. Serve with tortilla chips, or use on fish tacos or grilled meat.

BLUEBERRY WRAPS A low-fat lunch simple to prepare and take to work.

Ingredients 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt 2 tablespoons mayonnaise ¼ cup celery, finely chopped ½ scallions, finely chopped ¼ teaspoon salt 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped ¾ cup fresh blueberries 6 large lettuce leaves 6 (6-inch diameter) whole-wheat tortillas


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Directions In a bowl, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, celery and salt. Stir in chicken and blueberries. Top warmed tortillas with each lettuce leaf and ½ cup chicken blueberry salad, roll, then cut in half.

Ingredients 1 pound of strawberries 1 pint blueberries 8 oz. whipped cream cheese or crème fraîche, softened 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla 3 tablespoons local honey


Directions Wash strawberries and blueberries. Let dry. Mix softened cheese with vanilla and honey. Core strawberries with melon baller. Pipe or spoon the cheese mix into strawberry. Top with a blueberry. Yum!




Ingredients 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1 ½ cups quick cooking oats ½ cup sugar 1 ½cups white sugar, divided ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon baking soda ¾ cup cold butter 2 cups blueberries ¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice Directions Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix: flour, oats, ½ c sugar, cinnamon, & baking soda. Cut butter in to form crumbs. Set aside about 1 ½ cups of the mix and press the remaining into the parchment lined 9 “dish to form crust. While constantly stirring (to avoid burning) the “jam”, bring blueberries, ¼ cup sugar, cornstarch, & fresh lemon juice to a boil in a saucepan until thick, about 3 minutes. Spread blueberry jam over crust. Top with reserved crumbs. Bake 25 minutes until just browned. Cool in pan then remove parchment to a board for easy cutting.



Ingredients 4 ½ cups blueberries, approx. ¾ pound 1 cup honey 1/2 cup water 2 pinches salt Four whole spring of lemon thyme 2 tablespoons lemon juice Directions Combine all ingredients EXCEPT lemon juice in a heavy bottomed pot. Cook on low until honey is fully incorporated with the liquid, 5-10 minutes, stirring slowly. Raise heat and bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Lower heat to maintain a simmer, stirring constantly to avoid scorching. When jam is thick, remove lemon thyme sprigs. Cool completely, then add lemon juice. Pour into small mason jars and cover with lid. Cool. Jam will keep for 3 months in refrigerator.

The latest cookbook by Bay Area author Stephanie Rosenbaum Klassen, A Little Taste of San Francisco: Recipes for Classic Dishes (Blue Streak Books, 2018) celebrates some of the city’s most iconic drinks and dishes. Among the recipes: Irish Coffee from Buena Vista Cafe; Garlic Fries sold at Giants games; Crab Louie from Swan Oyster Depot; Roast Chicken and Bread Salad from Zuni Café.

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local FARMERS’ MARKETS ALAMO Alamo Plaza Every Sunday, 9am-2pm BENICIA First Street, Between B&D Thursday, 4pm-8pm CLAYTON Diablo Street, Main & Center Saturday 9am-1pm MORAGA Moraga Shopping Center Every Sunday 9am-1pm DANVILLE Railroad & Prospect Saturday 9am-1pm ORINDA Orinda Village Saturday 9am-1pm WALNUT CREEK North Locust Street Sunday 9am-1pm DIABLO VALLEY Shadelands Business Park Saturday 9am-1pm CONCORD Todos Santos Plaza Willow Pass & Grant Tuesday 10am-2pm Thursday 4pm-8pm


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Nothing says summer like a patriotic pie. Ingredients For the crust: 1/2 vanilla bean 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 11 graham crackers, broken into pieces For the filling: 6 cups blueberries (about 3 pints), divided 1/2 cup orange juice 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon lemon zest, divided 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 cup cornstarch 3/4 cup heavy cream 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup total raspberries and strawberries, sliced Directions Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Split vanilla bean and scrape out seeds. In a small skillet, melt butter. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla bean seeds and salt. Let cool slightly. In a food processor or blender, combine graham crackers until

finely ground. Add butter mixture and pulse to combine. Press mixture into bottom and sides of 9 inch pie pan. Bake until lightly browned, 12-14 minutes. Make the filling: Reserve 1/2 cup blueberries for garnish, set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat orange juice, 2/3 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, and salt, stirring until mixture comes to a boil. Add remaining five 1/2 cups blueberries. Stir in cornstarch and bring to a low boil. Stir constantly, gently mashing berries with back of a spoon until thickened. Remove from heat and spoon into pie crust. Let cool for 15 minutes. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or up to 1 day. Finish the pie: In large bowl, beat cream to soft peaks. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, and vanilla extract into cream and beat into soft peaks. Spread whipped cream in center of pie, leaving a 1 inch border of blueberry filling on sides. Top with berries.


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Dining Guide where to eat now Edited by Anneli Rufus

These listings include advertisers and non-advertisers at the discretion of Walnut Creek Magazine. We suggest that you phone the restaurants ahead for reservations, current hours, and days of operation. All listings are in the (925) area code, unless noted otherwise. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please write to us: Dine, Walnut Creek Magazine PO Box 5550, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 or email us at



BACK FORTY TEXAS BARBECUE: Meat is king here - from steak and sliced brisket to chicken and ribs, much of it cooked according to Austin-style family recipes.100 Coggins Dr., Pleasant Hill, 935-1440, BUTTERCUP: At this family- run restaurant, it’s all about savory

homemade meals. Besides big breakfasts, Buttercup dishes up lunch and dinner. And on Fridays, they serve Matzo Ball soup. 660 Ygnacio Valley Rd., 932-2763,

CORNERS TAVERN: Upscale comfort food served in a spirited

atmosphere. Get communal around the 30-seat bar or hang out in the lounge alcoves with mussels, sliders or garlicky shrimp. Great collection of craft beers. 1342 Broadway Plaza, 948-8711,

DENICA’S: There’s a lot to love at this north Walnut Creek restaurant starting with the mouthwatering pastries lining the bakery’s shelves. Other show stoppers include Benedict four ways and big salads. 2280 Oak Grove Rd., 945-6200,

KATY'S KREEK: With 12 kinds of Eggs Benedict, a full bar and brunch served every day, this is the place to satisfy your cravings. If your taste buds prefer the sweet, Katy's is famous for its blintzes and Swedish pancakes. 1680 Locust St., 946-0949, LETTUCE: A salad emporium that loads farm-fresh produce into

generously sized classics and creative new inventions. Locals love the Napa and Pink Lady salads. 1632 Locust St., 933-5600,

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MOOYAH: It’s a franchise with a load of personality. Take your kids to this colorful burger joint and let them build their own burger and eat it with a side of fries. 1815 Ygnacio Valley Rd., 280-5555,

RUTH’S CHRIS STEAKHOUSE: New Yorks, rib eyes and filets are

served on sizzling 500-degree plates cooked to perfection. Round out the meal with spinach au gratin and potatoes Lyonnaise at this swanky steakhouse. 1553 Olympic Blvd., 977-3477,

SAUCED BBQ: With dozens of tv screens and as many craft beers

on tap, Sauced is the place for watching games, while indulging in a heaping pile of nachos. Order the juicy brisket or tender ribs, it’s all good, especially with a side of buffalo blue fries. 1410 Locust St., 433-5957,

STANFORD’S: Happy hour is hot here with steak bites, flatbreads, and burgers on the menu. This is the place to take a shopping break and sip a signature cocktail. 1330 S. Main St., 944-0895, SUNRISE BISTRO: The emphasis here is on fresh, healthy food. For breakfast try the sweet potato hash or yogurt pancakes. At lunch, you can’t go wrong with a chicken salad sandwich or big salad. 1559 Botelho Dr., 930-0122, THE COUNTER: Upscale burger joint where they make it the way you want it, from exotic to classic, and top it with your favorites. Plump patties range from beef, bison, turkey and mahi mahi. 1699 N. California Blvd., 935-3795, THE ORIGINAL HICK’RY PIT: This diner is known for its honest American food served all day with a heaping side of hospitality. House specialties are barbecue ribs and homemade pies. 1495 S. Main St., 935-7450, TRUE FOOD KITCHEN: Always packed, Dr. Weil’s culinary venture is a hit here. The grass-fed burger is one of the best in town, so is the beet bruschetta, squash & ricotta pizza, and seasonal salads. Organic, gluten-free ingredients are used in the cocktails. Broadway Plaza, 952-7314,


CHINESE / VIETNAMESE / JAPANESE / THAI / FUSION DRAGON POND: Executive Chef Xiao creates Hunan and Mandarin delicacies. House favorites include Mango Chicken, Honey Walnut Prawns and Salt & Pepper Calamari. 1353 Locust St., 926-0278,


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CHINESE / VIETNAMESE / JAPANESE / THAI / FUSION LE CHEVAL: Renowned for its classic Vietnamese cuisine, sample the shrimp rolls, vermicelli salads, lemongrass chicken, clay pots or the sweet curry seafood special. 1375 N. Broadway, 938-2288,

KOJA KITCHEN: This Korean-Japanese fusion fast casual chain gets high marks for barbecue short ribs and Kamikaze fries. They also do salads and bowls. 1550 Olympic Boulevard, 448-8218, MIXED GRAIN: Authentic Korean comfort food. Try the bibimbap, a big bowl of fluffy rice, colorful vegetables and creamy egg. Nine condiments accompany every meal, including spicy cucumber and seaweed salad. 1546 Bonanza St., 938-5959, NAMA SUSHI: This casual sushi spot in a north WC strip

mall is always packed with raw fish fanatics craving the chef ’s creative rolls, fresh fish and Japanese fare. 1502 Sunnyvale Avenue, 932-9540.

KEVIN’S NOODLE HOUSE: Classic Vietnamese pho noodle bowls

take center stage at this affordable, upbeat spot perfect for lunch or dinner. Tasty fish cakes and spring rolls are good bets for appetizers. 2034 N. Main St., 933-4746,

PF CHANG’S CHINA BISTRO: This large Chinese restaurant

manages to feel intimate with an interesting menu that draws on multiple Asian cooking styles. Try the lettuce wraps and Dan Dan noodles. 1205 Broadway Plaza, 979-9070,

PLEARN THAI: Regulars pack the tables for the succulent flavors in the barbecue meats, pan-fried eggplant and curry prawns. Save room for the heavenly batter-fried bananas topped with coconut ice cream. 1510 N. Main Street, 937-7999, SASA: Upscale Japanese izakaya with dazzling décor and

decadently fresh fish. Melt-in-your-mouth sashimi is served with an array of sake.1432 N. Main St., 210-0188,

VANESSA'S BISTRO: During happy hour, prices at this popular

Vietnamese spot drop to $6 for most small plates and cocktails including green papaya prawn salad, petrale sole fish tacos and crispy Saigon rolls. 1512 Locust St., 891-4790,

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PASTA / FISH / ORGANIC PRODUCE A’TRIO: Lively restaurant-lounge inside the Walnut Creek Marriott

turns out delicious California cuisine with a Mediterranean flare. Flatbreads, salads, tasty burgers and salmon. Live music on weekends. 2355 N. Main St., 934-2000,

1515 RESTAURANT LOUNGE: Always bustling for cocktails, flavorful pastas and fresh fish, the heated outdoor patio is a good place to people watch. 1515 N. Main Street, 939-1515, CITRUS: This hip restaurant inside Renaissance Club Sport, features

Pacific Rim dishes and California classics. Sunday brunch is a weekend ritual with Bloody Mary’s on the patio. 2805 N. Jones Rd., 938-8700,

CHOW: Always packed with locals, the menu offers plenty of comfort-

able choices from sandwiches to brunch fare. An adjoining market sells organic greens, and fresh meats. 53 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette, 962-2469,

MAIN STREET KITCHEN: Farm-fresh ingredients grace the menu here. Standouts include fish and chips with house cabbage slaw. Burgers are made from grass-fed beef and fried green pickles come with a lemon aioli. 1358 N. Main St., 933-1001, METRO: In a seriously chic space with a huge outdoor patio, the kitchen turns out international fare from diverse organic ingredients. 3524 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, 284-4422, THE PEASANT'S COURTYARD: A casual spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner served in a charming outdoor courtyard. Pancakes, ribs, burgers and calamari. 3195 Danville Blvd, Alamo, 362-0088,



O F B U R G E R.

VA DE VI BISTRO: With its sophisticated vibe and al fresco dining under an old oak tree, the restaurant's sips are accompanied by a sampling of small plates--bite size burgers, pasta, risotto, and seafood. 1511 Mt. Diablo Blvd., 979-0100,

ITALIAN / pizza IL FORNAIO: Italian food so innovative, you’ll forget it’s a chain. Lovely dining room with outdoor seating in the heart of downtown shopping. 1430 Mount Diablo Blvd., 296-0100,

MASSIMO’S: A mainstay among the theater crowd, innovative Italian cuisine is served at dinner and lunch on white linen tablecloths. Outdoor patio, piano bar, and happy hour plus a huge wine list. 1604 Locust St., 932-1474,

1815 Ygnacio Valley Road, Ste D • Walnut Creek, CA 94598 Across from Heather Farms 925.280.5555 • Sun-Thurs 11am-9pm; Fri-Sat 11am-10pm 56

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MONTECATINI RISTORANTE: An Italian restaurant with staying power; it opened the day of the big earthquake in 1989. The traditional menu features excellent seafood, pastas and veal. 1528 Civic Drive, 943-6608,

PINKY’S: Perfect for birthday parties and post-game feasts, Pinky’s is a

Walnut Creek tradition. Simple, affordable and comfortable, the pizzeria has remained true to its vision since opening in the 1960’s. 2085 N. Broadway, 939-5000,

POSTINO: In a romantic, fireplace-studded, brick building, executive chef Stewart Beatty and his team create elegant dishes from fresh seasonal ingredients. 3565 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, 299-8700, PRIMA: Everything’s made fresh on the premises at Chef Peter Chastain’s

acclaimed contemporary Italian restaurant. His flavorful risottos and light gnocchi will have you coming back for more. 1522 N. Main St., 935-7780,

ROCCO’S: This is the place for pizza aficionados. The meaty Dominator and vegetarian Dante’s Inferno are house specialties, along with heaping pastas and salads. 2909 Ygnacio Valley Rd., 947-6105, SKIPOLINI’S: Fans flock here for the family vibe and can't- miss pies. The Martinelli, white sauce topped with red peppers, cayenne chicken and fresh spinach, is a house favorite. Legend has it the Prego pizza brings labor on. 1535 Giammona Dr., 280-1100, 54 MINT FORNO: Burrata cheese makes a delicious appetizer followed by

lasagna from fresh pasta layered with ragu, béchamel and mozzarella. 1686 Locust Street, 476-5844,


MDine-in MCarry-out MCatering MBanquets MSaloon

EL CHARRO: A Lafayette favorite, the margaritas are magic accompanied with chips, salsa and “cheese dip.” From fish tacos to burritos, this restaurant has served generations of locals. 3339 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, 283-2345, MARIA MARIA: This beautiful Mexican restaurant is known for its creative dishes like creamy duck tacos, mole short ribs and spicy sweet chile rellenos. Start your meal with guacamole and margaritas. 1470 N. Broadway, 946-1010,

LEGENDARY TEX The way it was meant to be.

CINCO DE MAYO: This authentic downtown taqueria, attracts an eclectic mix of diners. They also serve up some seriously good fish tacos. Grilled or fried they come on a plate with refried beans and rice. 1372 Locust St, WC, (925)954-1050,

MID-TO-FAR-EAST Gyros / Greek Salads / Kabobs

BABALOU'S: Great food at great prices. The Middle Eastern menu is

seductive for vegetarians and carnivores alike—with aromatic meats and a tempting display of salads served in a brightly muraled room. 1645 Bonanza St., 930-8000,


100 Coggins Dr., Pleasant Hill

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Legendary Fresh Food

Serving Breakfast and Lunch Daily Enjoy our Healthy Comfort Food Mon-Sat 7:00AM – 3:00PM Sunday Brunch 7:00AM – 3:00PM

JACK’S: This restaurant has a warm vibe and big bar. Souvlaki and spanakopita honor the owners' Greek heritage; an eclectic international menu featuring pasta, steak and breakfasts. 60 Crescent Dr., Pleasant Hill, 849-6195,

SILK ROAD: Good food served in a sunny patio setting. House favorites are kabobs, gyros and falafels, but save room, you can make a meal from the appetizer plate served with piping hot pita bread. 1440 N. Main St., 932-9090,

(925) 930-0122

1559 Botelho Drive, Walnut Creek


SEAFOOD SCOTT'S: Elegant surroundings, attentive service and good food. They

also do a lavish Sunday brunch, catering and social events. 1333 N California Blvd., 934-1300,

WALNUT CREEK YACHT CLUB: For over 15 years, WCYC has been


cultivating customers with its lobster and crab feasts, fresh oysters, and fresh fish. The restaurant’s specialties — killer cocktails and phenomenal fish —attract barflies and foodies alike. 1555 Bonanza St., 944-3474,


YANKEE PIER: Bustling seafood house has an East Coast vibe and a

menu featuring fresh-shucked oysters, an array of grilled fish, popcorn shrimp, and beer-battered clams. House-made desserts and full bar. 3593 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, 283-4100,

SOUTH AMERICAN Peruvian / Spanish / Brazilian

Darlene BaxtER Agent

Baxter Insurance Agency 2216 Morello Ave., Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 925.270.1991 business • 925.915.9337 cell License # 0G53463 Auto • Home • Life • Business • Workers Compensation



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PARADA: While the menu offers a diverse selection, the ceviche is a must. Fresh fish is marinated in lemon juice and chilies and served with toasted corn nuts and spiced sweet potato. Rotisserie chickens are also a big seller, along with mac n cheese. 7001 Sunne Lane, 448-8118, SABORES DEL SUR: Chilean cuisine reigns at this north Walnut Creek eatery. You can't go wrong the robust empanadas stuffed with meat or vegetarian fillings inside fresh, flaky pastry dough. 3003 Oak Rd., 954-8300, TELEFERIC BARCELONA: Walnut Creek's newest Spanish hot spot serves tasty bites known as pinxtos, ahi tuna swabbed in wasabi sauce, along with fresh paella and steak in a stunning atmosphere. 1500 Mt. Diablo Blvd., 451-9576, LIMON: Famous for their rotisserie chicken, ceviche, and paella, the food here takes diners on a delicious journey of Latin discovery. 1524 Locust Street,

DELIs / cafés

salads / soups / sandwiches CREPES OOH LA LA: Thin pancakes made the Parisian way, poured on a hot griddle and spread to thinness. Range of toppings for sweet and savory palates. 1548 Locust St., 944-5790.

GENOVA: Italian meats, fresh ravioli and sauces. Take a number; fans line-up for the fresh sandwiches at lunch. Two WC locations: 1105 S. California Blvd., 939-3838 and 2064 Treat Blvd., 938-2888.



KINDER'S MEATS: Specialties at this family-run favorite include marinated ball tip, tequila-lime ribs, and barbecue chicken doused in signature sauce. 1831 Ygnacio Valley Road and 1293 Parkside Drive, MORUCCI'S: Fans travel from several towns away for these savory sandwiches. Try the 6 3/4: turkey, tomato and fresh mozzarella on ciabatta, pastrami or the popular chicken Caesar sandwich. 1218 Boulevard Way, 939-2426. MR. PICKLES: This little sandwich shop serves up flavor-packed

sandwiches at great prices. Big enough to split, bread is baked fresh and packed with your favorite fillings. 1991 N. Broadway, 280-5510,

sweets, treaTs and bakeries CREAM: The winning combination of ice cream sandwiched

between two warm cookies can't be beat. Neither can its super-friendly price of $3 or creative combos like double chocolate chip with peanut butter. 1372 N Main St., 891-4041,

LOTTIE'S CREAMERY: Scoops are packed with fresh ingredients at this

ice cream parlor, where everything, including the cones, is made in-house. 1414 Main Street, 472-0723,

LOVE + CHOCOLATE: This downtown family-run chocolate shop imports their sweets from Europe. Toffee, marzipan, petit fours, shortbreads and delicious chocolate. It's all here and more. 1397 N. Main St., 932-6666, NOAH'S BAGELS: Neighborhood deli serves fresh-baked bagels, sandwiches and home-style soups. Two Walnut Creek locations: 1930 Mt. Diablo Boulevard and 730 Bancroft Road,

SAN FRANCISCO CREAMERY: Perfect for birthdays and celebrations,

ACGfNcOP North Locust Street, Between Giamona and Lacassie

OPEN YEAR ROUND Market Hours: 9am-1pm

ACGfNcOP Spring F ling MAY 20TH


•••••• M��e

Markets ••••••

Orinda on Saturdays

22 Orinda Way (in front of Community Park)



serving up ice cream and toppings the old fashioned way. 1370 Locust St., 926-0228,

SWEET AFFAIR BAKERY: Sandwiches are legendary here, so are

the morning buns, cream cheese croissants and array of muffins, cakes and cookies that make this a mainstay for over 30 years. 1815 Ygnacio Valley Rd., 944-1910,


fashion 2018 / walnut creek


Pooling Tips


A rider in the 2018 federal budget may impact how California restaurants handle tips. BY SOPHIE JOHNSON

n Europe, waiters and “back of the house” staff like cooks and dishwashers work are paid by restaurant owners, not diners. Their remuneration is a cost of doing business. While this has held true for the most part in the United States, now as minimum wages rise in California, restaurant owners are looking for creative ways to compensate their cooks and wait staff equitably. With narrow two to three percent profit margins common, wage increases can spell disaster for small restaurants.


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What is a tip pool? At the end of each shift, a restaurant may com-

bine all the tips received and then distribute them among servers, bussers, bartenders and hosts — all the people in the “chain of service.” Others may require servers to distribute a set percentage of their tips to each staffer who worked with them. Until now, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act had restricted this practice, but reversed this restriction in seven states — including California — that do not have separate minimum wages for tipped and non-tipped workers. ➤

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fashion 2018 / walnut creek


restaurant scene

Even with minimum wage increases in many Bay Area cities, staffing shortages have become endemic in the restaurant industry, exacerbated by the pay disparity between servers and cooks. According to several local restaurateurs, servers are making a minimum of $30 an hour, while those in the back of the house are making half that. The argument for sharing tips has a lot to do with pay inequities inherent in American restaurant culture. California has some big-hearted ideas about fair pay. While the federal minimum wage is only $7.25 per hour, we have one of the highest minimum wages at $11.00. In some areas, such as Berkeley, San Francisco, and Santa Clara, the rate is even higher—as much as $15.00. For restaurant workers who receive tips, their compensation can be as much $40+ an hour.

“The pay discrepancy between the four walls of a restaurant is unsustainable. On top of the minimum wage, servers often get $30 or $40 an hour more. A cook, working just as hard, will expect similar pay.” Will diners experience changes? Raising food prices on menus may seem like an obvious solution, but that’s a slippery slope. Do diners really want to pay $25 for a burger? “Why should a high school teenager get the same rate of pay starting off as a long-time prep-cook who has years of work history? If things don’t change, we will be left with either a Chipotle/Panera model or super high-end dining. No one solution fixes the issue, but it helps close the gap, saves businesses, and keeps people employed,” says Rocco. In most of the country, tips can count towards the minimum wage, meaning restaurant owners can pay as little as $2.13 per hour for their employees, leaving the burden of wages largely in hands of diners. California is one of only seven states which requires employers to pay the full hourly minimum wage and not count tips towards that minimum; a belief in equitable pay has meant that everyone should earn at least $11.00 an hour. But that can back fire and exacerbate pay disparity. “We’ve had a tip pool for many years; now the kitchen staff will share, and deservedly so. Diners will not experience any changes,” says Rocco.


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While cooks, prep chefs and dishwashers applaud the change, many on the serving staff disagree. Full time fine-dining servers can make as much as six figures a year. They argue tips are meant as a reward for a personal experience. Parry Tong, an owner of Lafayette’s Postino says, “We are looking at it from all angles. Our diners will not notice whatever we decide to do.” One anonymous, long-time waiter at an all-hours joint in downtown Walnut Creek, lamented that customer-facing jobs require more demanding and varied skills. “They’re totally different jobs. We don’t expect a receptionist sitting at the front of an office to make the same salary as the boss!” Sharing tips with a hard-working kitchen staff makes good sense if you believe in pay equity. In that way, rule changes help even things out. “The change in the ruling will make it a little easier to hire kitchen staff, but there is a severe labor shortage to contend with,” says Rocco. Nevertheless, the economic pressures that restaurant owners and workers face keep intensifying. Regardless of how you feel about the new tipping rules, the next time you are faced with that voluntary gratuity line at the bottom of your check, keep in mind an even larger team of hard-working people are being sustained by your generosity.

where & when ART











This summer, Bedford Gallery commemorates the style and persona of visionary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, with an exhibit featuring the vibrant colors and fashion of Mexican culture. The World of Frida weaves juried and invitational shows with a national, traveling photography exhibit. July 8 – September 16, 1601 Civic Drive, ➤

fashion 2018 / walnut creek


where & when


Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival returns with colorful performances from across from the globe. A free festival opens the event at City Hall on July 6. Memorial Opera House, July14-15 & July 21-22,



ART In the first show of its kind, René Magritte: The Fifth

Season, features more than 70 artworks created from 1943 to 1967. Spread across nine galleries, the exhibition explores how Magritte balanced philosophy and fantasy to illuminate the difference between what we see and what we know. Through October 28, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,


Dog owners and lovers are invited to Diablo Ballet’s 3rd Annual PAWS de Tutu, a day of costume competitions, DOGA (dog yoga), training demos, adoptions, and so much more. Proceeds benefit the ballet’s PEEK Program (Performing Arts Education & Enrichment for Kids). June 23, 9-11, Lafayette Reservoir,


Celebrate Turkey Vulture Lord Richard’s 44th Birthday at a day long party. One of Lindsay Wildlife’s longest-living residents, Richard (a female!) came to the rehabilitation hospital in 1974, and assumed to be a male. Then in late 1980, Richard laid an egg, but instead of changing her name, Lindsay kept her a female “Lord!” June 30, 10-5, crafts, cupcakes and more!


walnut creek / fashion 2018

where & when

6 ART The Oakland Museum of California celebrates natural design and craft in J.B. Blunk: Nature, Art & Everyday Life an exhibit featuring the work of a midcentury California artist whose work reflects the connection between nature and art in everything from large-scale wood sculptures to small ceramics. Through September 9,



Now in its fourth year, the Flower Piano brings music, community and nature together in the heart of the city for a 12-day outdoor extravaganza. Everyone is invited to play and listen at the San Francisco Botanical Garden where 12 pianos tucked among flower-filled gardens come alive with everything from within chopsticks to Tchaikovsky. July 5-16, 9-6pm, Golden Gate Park, SF,




Lew the Jew and His Circle: Origins of American Tattoo looks at the work of one of America’s most influential tattoo artists. The exhibition includes previously unpublished and rare original tattoo artwork and photos. July 26-Dec. 2, Contemporary Jewish Museum, SF,

MUSIC DRAA (Diablo Regional Arts Association) presents Jazz at the Lesher Center with a

sizzling season of summer performances by: Sarah McKenzie (Sept. 14); Bria Skonberg with Wycliffe Gordon ( July 28); Marcus Roberts’ Modern Jazz Generation (Aug. 11); Eliane Elias (Aug. 18); Gerald Clayton Quintet (Aug. 25).

fashion 2018 / walnut creek


where & when


Octavio Solis’ Quixote Nuevo, a world premiere adaptation of Don Quixote set in a fictional Texas border town, opens Cal Shakes season. Actor Emilio Delgado, known for his 30+ years on Sesame Street, stars as a man who loses himself in chivalrous escapades and Tejano music. June 13- July 1, California Shakespeare Theatre, Orinda,


It’s a Freaky Friday when an overworked mother and her teenage daughter magically swap bodies one day before Mom’s big wedding. In this new musical, the two spend a day in each other’s shoes and learn to appreciate each other’s struggles. Through June 30,


In one of the most eagerly anticipated musicals of the year, Tony Award® winners David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori collaborate on their first work together, Soft Power. When a Chinese executive in America falls in love with a U.S. leader, the power balance between their countries begins to shift. June 20-July 8, Curran Theatre, San Francisco,


walnut creek / fashion 2018

13 MUSIC Forejore pays tribute to the music of 80's mega bands Foreigner & Journey, recreating the soundtrack of a generation with stunning accuracy. Forejour’s set list includes the 20th century’s most downloaded song, “Don’t Stop Believing”, as well as Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is” and Journey’s “Faithfully.” August 31, Town Hall Theatre, Lafayette,

where & when


In the final summer of the 60s, America is aching for change. In the cities, crowds are protesting the Vietnam War. In the skies, Apollo 11 is speeding upwards so man can experience A Walk on the Moon. This world-premiere musical by Pamela Gray and Paul Scott Goodman is based on the 1999 award winning movie. June 5– July 1, AC.T.’s Geary Theater, San Francisco,


The Bay Area premiere of Sarah Burgess’ razor-sharp comedy, Dry Powder, illuminates the world of high finance at a private equity firm and what it takes to squeeze millions of dollars out of struggling companies – no matter the consequences. June 22-July 22, Aurora Theatre, Berkeley,


Works of art from 50 west-coast artists come to life amidst the magnificent cactus and succulents at the annual Sculpture in the Garden event at Ruth Bancroft Garden. Take a break from your daily routine to experience the magic of the plants and the artworks. June 17 – August 19,



Follow four rollicking tales through all sorts of hilarious twists and turns in a Funny Little Thing Called Love, a deliriously funny comedy that wraps up Onstage Repertory Theatre’s 40th anniversary season. Through June 27, Campbell Theatre, Martinez,

fashion 2018 / walnut creek


where & when


Making its west coast debut, White navigates the treacherous waters of code-switching and cultural appropriation with biting wit and a splash of disco realism. The show tells the complicated story of a white male artist and curator at a prestigious museum. July 6-August 5, Berkeley,


Orinda Starlight Village Players 35th season opens with the Agatha Christie classic, Spider's Web. In this parady of a detective thriller, a diplomat’s wife is adept at spinning tales, but when a murder takes place in her drawing room, she finds it hard to cope. Through July 30, Orinda Amphitheater,


walnut creek / fashion 2018



Based on the hit film, School of Rock follows a wannabe rock star posing as a substitute teacher who turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mindblowing rock band. This high-octane smash hit features original songs and music by Andrew Lloyd Weber. Through July 22, San Francisco,

21 DRAMA Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part One: Millennium Approaches and Part Two: Perestroika continues its successful run at Berkeley Rep. This Tony Award epic explores politics, gay identity, love and loyalty. Through July 22,



event scene

let it shine! broadway plaza goes solar PHOTOGRAPHY BY jessica freels 3

In April, city officials joined Macerich to celebrate the company’s installation of 5,160 solar panels on the rooftop of the Broadway Plaza parking garage. 4



1. Peggy White, City Councilmember Rich Carlston, Linda Colberg

2. Shamrock Power, Stasia Allen, Adrienne Wayne, Yvonne Nilsen 3. Jeff Bedell, Vice President Sustainability, Macerich 4. Cindy Darling & Andrea Baldacci 5. Broadway Plaza Team: Mayo Caro, Daniel Sanchez, Tracy Dietlein, Shelly Dress, Nick Smith, David Deignan, Levi Ennis 6. Shelly Dress, Nicole Flynn, Tracy Dietlein

fashion 2018 / walnut creek


event scene

slice for a cause PHOTOGRAPHY BY jessica freels

Giants 2nd Baseman Joe Panik, Tony Gemignani & Giants 1st Baseman Brandon Belt

San Francisco Giants MLB players were in Walnut Creek to team up with 12-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani to kick-off a benefit for the George Mark Children’s House which cares for families with children facing life-limiting illnesses. From May 17 to September 19, proceeds from Panik Parm and Belt’s Monster Meat pies will be donated to the cause.

Ken Sommer, Tony G., Linda Hudak, and Katie Pena from George Mark Children’s House


walnut creek / fashion 2018



event scene

walnut creek downtown PHOTOGRAPHY BY josh isaacs 3



Walnut Creek Downtown (WCD) hosted a spring member social at Capital One Cafe. Business owners and managers gathered to schmooze, sip, and savor. 6 6



1. Lt. Sean Connelly 2. Suzi & Dr. Larry Mock, Broadway Eyeworks 3. Gary Skrel, WCD Board President 4. Akeel Bernard, Capital One 5. Kathy Hemmenway, Executive Director, WCD 6. Councilmember Luella Haskew, Bridgett Waller & Lorna Van Ackeren, Hillendale Homecare 7. Scott Slocum, WCCVB, Jenn Hagan, Jim Telford, Peggy White, DRAA 8. Dick & Sue Rainey

fashion 2018 / walnut creek


A look back

Farm History Walnut Creek was mostly orchards and vineyards during the 1920’s —a landscape of pears, grapes, apricots, and walnut groves. Where wheat had replaced cattle in the 1850s, now new profitable crops were being planted by farmers. Fruit and nut orchards gradually changed the golden complexion of the valley to a vast sea of green. Hubert Howe Bancroft, a prominent San Francisco-based historian, went searching for property in the Ygnacio Valley in 1885 as a cure for his asthma. He and his brother, publisher A.L. Bancroft, purchased 360-acres, built a family country home and established what would become one of the most successful fruit ranches in the valley and the state. By 1926, Hubert’s grandson Phil Bancroft was running the farm and harvesting over a thousand tons of fruit from the family’s orchards. He married Ruth in 1939, who developed a fascination with succulents and Mediterranean plants while her husband tended to the ranch. Today her legacy lives on at the internationally-acclaimed Ruth Bancroft Garden.–PK Source: “150 Years in Pictures, An Illustrated History of Walnut Creek” by Brad Rovanpera


walnut creek / fashion 2018

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Walnut Creek Magazine Late Spring 2018  
Walnut Creek Magazine Late Spring 2018