Mysteries of Walnut Creek

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    • The Ruth Bancroft Garden1552 Bancroft Road, Walnut Creek, CA
      Becca Bandit recommended The Ruth Bancroft Garden
      The Ruth Bancroft Garden is a very large dry botanical garden containing cactus and succulents. There are gigantic succulents, nothing like I ever seen before. This is truly a unique garden and it's ... read more
      clear this has been a lifelong passion of Ruth Bancroft. This garden is absolutely worth seeing!
      .Comment.9 months ago. Report
      Barbara Kossy thanked Becca Bandit for this recommendation.
      Becca Bandit

      A great hidden gem is the Ruth Bancroft Garden if you've never been. It's a huge garden with lots of succulents and absolutely worth seeing!

    • ØL Beercafe1541 Giammona Drive, Walnut Creek, CA
      Pro 2014
      Eric Brink recommended ØL Beercafe
      When Gayle and I were in Barcelona last year, we tasted a Beer (whose name escapes me) that was advertised as being developed by by wine makers who wished for a similar tasting experience for a ... read more
      complex ale. That certainly was a different experience as we swirled, sniffed for its nose, and slowly sipped our way down to the bottom of the glass. I should have brought some home, but at the El Prat Airport, a Gaudi-inspired carafe of Torres Brandy beat me to the carry-on punch. ØL Beer Cafe and Bottle Shop is a place to have a similar beer tasting experience. This Trappist Doppelganger serves hard to find drafts and stocks hundreds bottles of carefully chosen and well cared for beer. There are also various configurations of glasses available for sale to further match more sophisticated preferences than I have. I'm remain fundamentally a quaffer. Not surprisingly, the selection favours Belgian and Belgian Style Beers, and there are 4 main options available to imbibe. The handsome and comfortable wood-accented front room has tables to hang out with your beer, and order snacks (including Pizza from Skipolini's next door). Then there's the separate bottle shop, a rustic bar, and well stocked refrigerator displays. I also noticed 2 prices on each bottle, depending on whether I wanted to drink in or take out. My only quibbles were: - The guy running the place definitely knew his beer, but considering my wine shop experiences was surprisingly reserved. I'm more used to folks talking up their selections. - I wish ØL could find a small space in their selection for local beers such as Linden Street, Ale Industries, Trummer Pils, and Heretic. I ended up with a nice 4-pack of Green Flash beers (from San Diego) and a clear intention to come back with friends. And since it's close to Gayle's work and I sometimes have to wait for her to finish up, I could easily see myself making myself right at home here.
      .Comment.10 months ago. Report
      Eric Brink

      If this is your thing...

    • Creek WalkIron Horse Trail / Civic Park
      Pro 2014
      Eric Brink recommended Creek Walk
      Thanks to the recently concluded Saturday Morning walks with Mayor Bob, I've learned a lot about the various Open Space and other nature opportunities within the City Limits of Walnut Creek. Walnut ... read more
      Creek was founded because of its namesake waterway, and it continues to be an important part of this East Bay City's life. Community groups organize creek clean-ups, and residents can enjoy the Walnut Creek channel by strolling the pedestrian creek walk, stopping at the scenic overlook by the Maria Maria Cantina restaurant on Broadway, and continuing on to Liberty Bell Plaza (at the corner of Broadway and Mt. Diablo Blvd). This is where the Creeks meet underneath the concrete, and the artistry on it marks the spots. The newest part of the Creek Walk is the pretty section just off the Iron Horse Trail. Gayle and I attended its dedication a few years ago. Mayor Bob led us through for a refresher just a few weeks ago. It's a nice and easy stroll, and a bit of an eye opener for those (like me) who often land in a City and take this kind of stuff for granted.
      .Comment.10 months ago. Report
      Barbara Kossy thanked Eric Brink for this recommendation.
      Eric Brink

      Yes there is a Creek to see!

    • Walnut Creek Public Library1644 North Broadway, Walnut Creek, CA
      Pro 2014
      Eric Brink recommended Walnut Creek Public Library
      The Walnut Creek Library is brand new, modern, and a wonderful addition to the City. My son comes here for Teen Tuesdays and Gayle and I have been here for a Lesher Center related event. There's cool ... read more
      artwork, modern technology, meeting rooms, and of course books. What a cool place to hang out!
      .Comment.10 months ago. Report
      Barbara Kossy thanked Eric Brink for this recommendation.
      Eric Brink

      A very nice place.

    • Eleve Restaurant1677 N Main St, Walnut Creek, CA 94596
      Pro 2014
      Eric Brink recommended Eleve Restaurant
      Élevé seems to be more upscale Vietnamese and appears to be part of an Asian Fusion trend as other places like Vanessa's and The Door are also now in Walnut Creek. My only real (and relatively minor) ... read more
      complaint about our evening was the waiter, who although personable, friendly, conscientious, and competent, didn't really know the menu as well as he should have, and sometimes had to go back and check. I also agree with some other reviews that the price vs. quantity ratio may need to be balanced better. At the same time, there's so much to like about Élevé including: - A handsome, yet understated chic space with hard wood floors, dark woods, smarty spacing, and lots of natural light.. We sat at one of the lower tables by the window and I we thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere, the comfort, and the easy ability to have a conversation. - A robust wine and a unique cocktail selection, although a little more variety on the beer side would have been welcome. Both Gayle and Patrice enjoyed their Martinis, while I opted for a nice big bottle of Rogue Ale. Side Car Anyone? - Really good food. We started with the Shrimp Spring Rolls, which were indeed a little bland, but the sauce helped make up for that. We then moved on to sharing the tender cubed fillet mignon, chicken in yellow curry , green beans with garlic, and one dish each of jasmine and brown rice. We paired that all off with a nice shared bottle of Prosecco as the bubbly and celebratory sweetness counterbalanced the nice spiciness of the main dishes. We then finished off with some strong French Press and Vietnamese drip coffees and a delicious made-to-order dessert cake with a chocolate interior and Vanilla bean ice cream on the side. - Convenient parking, especially if you go to one of the lots and don't waste your time hunting for street spaces.
      .Comment.10 months ago. Report
      Barbara Kossy thanked Eric Brink for this recommendation.
      Eric Brink

      A very nice Asian Fusion place.

    • Pro 2014
      Eric Brink recommended Corners Tavern
      Gayle took me to Corners Tavern for my Birthday Dinner yesterday. It's located where Bing's used to be at a parking-friendly north end of Broadway Plaza. We had a very nice time together, but to ... read more
      paraphrase my Lovely Bride - "They're Still Working Things Out". First the NEGATIVES: - SPACE. Unlike what the word Tavern implies, the Corners dining room is open and with high ceilings. As you might expect, it's loud and non conducive to quiet conversation. On the SF Chronicle scale, it's at the Bomb symbol rating. Some sound dampening enhancements are definitely in order. - SEATING. The first choice our host gave us was a small table squeezed next to another group. There's no need for this kind of close quarters in a space like this. Our roomier second choice closer to the booths was much better. - BAR SERVICE. It took 20 minutes for Gayle to receive her Martini and my beer from the Bar. Unacceptable. - MENU. I looked online at the Corners Tavern Menu and was pleased to see that a burger was offered and that it distinguished between appetizers, small plates, and main courses. However, once we sat down, there was no burger offered and the menu didn't have those markers that would have made the choices much less confusing. Is it really that hard to have the online information match what's at the restaurant? Next the POSITIVES: FOOD. Except for the Americano Coffee (which tasted like instant), the food was fabulous! We first shared a really tasty soft pretzel (with mustard) as an appetizer over our tardy cocktails. Gayle ordered a few small plates, with the baked apples and Gorgonzola being a huge hit. Her salmon and asparagus dish was also excellent. I went for the "Fish and Chips" (with potato salad rather than frits) and was very pleased. For Dessert, we shared the Chocolate-Cake n' Ice Cream (Milk Chocolate Mousse Cake, Peanut Brittle, Malted Milk Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate Streusel), which was luscious and more than we could finish. TABLE SERVICE - Our Service was friendly and prompt. Bread was on the table when it should be and the food came out quickly. My only recommendation is that Staff should take a little time up front and explain the menu. Finally, There are Items of Which the Jury is Still Out: DECOR - Interesting to say the least. On the dining room side there's 2 walls of art featuring scary fairy tales. One the bar side, there are mounted animals, a chandelier, and nice art on the walls. In between, there's exposed I-beams and pretty rugs, light posts with coat racks, and areas embedded pennies within a stained concrete floor. I'm still not quite sure what to make of it. BAR - It was full and folks seemed to be having a good time. There's an area on the far end that features stuffed antique furniture and a more intimate chance to hang out with friends and loved ones. But it's still loud and a bit crowded. PRIVATE ROOM - There's 1 in back that looks like it could seat around a dozen people comfortably. I'll keep that in mind for future business dinner onsiderations and the fact that it's the only quiet place in the house. OUTDOOR SEATING? - There's a small exterior space in front and 2 big garage doors that may open up interesting fresh air possibilities inside. WHETHER I'LL COME BACK - Yes, but not anytime soon. That's based on the noise, a menu currently in flux, and bar service to the dining room that leaves much to be desired. Walnut Creek has a great range of restaurant options and Corners Tavern has not yet earned its place to compete again for my dining dollar.
      .Comment.10 months ago. Report
      Barbara Kossy thanked Eric Brink for this recommendation.
      Eric Brink

      Gayle and I have since gone back and this place is now running on all cylinders.

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