Note to self: wine tasting doesn’t have to be a snobby and uptight affair. It can be fun, filled with food and friends and sunshine! Apparently, every year there is a Mountain View Art & Wine Festival. This year’s festival was over the weekend of September 12th and 13th and took place right on Castro Street in downtown Mountain View, making it super convenient.
I was really impressed by the scope and size of the festival. There was so much art I hardly even knew where to start looking, but once I did I was immediately immersed in the day. After a few glasses of wine I wanted to take home pretty much every piece I cam across. Luckily, I brought friends to remind me of my common sense. And I only picked up a couple of pieces, but there is nothing like an art fair to help you decorate your new house, right?
In addition to the great art and wine there was food and music. The food tastings were a lot of fun, but only further wet our appetites for some of the cool restaurants on Castro Street. We popped in about mid-day to help level ourselves out hunger wise and alcohol wise and enjoyed the people watching from our slightly removed vantage. Moving here from the city, I really thought I’d have to give days like this up, but more and more Mountain View is surprising me and turning out to be just as great as the city. I guess, maybe the only bad thing about this would be that since it’s a smaller area you might accidentally make a fool out of yourself while intoxicated in front of people you know instead of complete strangers. But then again, that means there is someone to carry you home.
When I’m not running or going to the concerts at Shoreline I’m usually attempting to cook. And I do mean attempting to cook. My cooking skills weren’t really facilitated by the ease of restaurants in the city and the fact that sometimes it was cheaper to eat out than to cook. So, since my move I’ve been trying out new recipes from the web, cookbooks and health food stores to improve my domesticity. This doesn’t always go well. Half the time I don’t know what the ingredient I’m using or looking for really is and sometimes I can’t even pronounce it; for example, the quince. I don’t really know what it is beyond a funny apple-looking fruit. But I decided in my boldness to bake it for a dessert. This time success, but not always.
The great thing about moving out her to Gables End is that no matter how many ingredients I need or how many times I need to go back to get them I can always make a quick trip to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. And they are pretty much right across the street from each other so if one doesn’t have what I’m looking for, chances are I can get it across the way. And the people at both stores are really helpful and don’t laugh (at least not in my face) when I ask all sorts of questions about ingredients and look for helpful suggestions. This honestly makes my move easier and more enjoyable. No more snobby clerks from the city passing judgment on some sad little meal I’ll probably burn. Now, I’m off to the kitchen because the pumpkin is my next challenge.
My friends and I love going out for drinks in Mountain View. The vibe is chill, the people are cool, and the music is great. There is a wide selection of bars but my ultimate fav is Molly Magees. Def a cool hangout either for a cocktail during happy hour or to meet up later in the night to party with friends. http://www.fibbars.com/ Check it out!
Call me a homebody, but nothing is as cozy to me as a quite Sunday spent wrapped up in a good book and my favorite blanket. There are those days when you don’t want to go anywhere, you don’t want to watch TV or a movie and all you want to do is escape. You might feel the need to add hot chocolate/tea/coffee or what have you to the moment, but I think you get the idea. Once you encounter those days all you need is a good book. Now, with there being so many books on this time and each of us only given so much time here it can be tough to find a book worthy of spending part of your existence on. That’s where BookBuyers on Castro Street right here in Downtown Mountain View comes into the picture.
This store is great for a day of browsing or for finding your new favorite book at a reasonable price. Plus they also have comic books, dvds and periodicals that are always in great shape. Being that this is a used bookstore you are also keeping your carbon footprint down by reusing something that has already been printed instead of buying a brand new copy. Thus we learn here that used books are good for both the planet and your wallet. The customer service here is amazing. Every member of their staff will go above an beyond to recommend something that very well could be life changing or just help you escape in the newest Jodi Picoult novel (don’t act like you don’t read them). But don’t worry, whether you pick up a Dickens novel or the latest by Picoult nobody will judge you. Well, maybe just a little.
I love getting in a great workout before I hit the grind behind my desk at work, but an early start means to survive the day I need coffee. Seriously, without a decent cup in my system by 8:30 I turn into some strange zombie/human hybrid; not pretty. Fortunately for you and everyone else I might come into contact with throughout the day there is Red Rock Coffee on Castro Street. If you like fancy drinks they have you covered, but I think the true mark of good coffee is when I can drink it black and here that isn’t a problem. It is always expertly prepared, tasty and served in a timely manner.
On the weekend this is a great place to sit and look smart while reading a book because they offer comfy seating, free wifi (with purchase, of course) and a laid-back vibe. This is not your pretentious New York coffee shop; it is very California and thus cool. Also, it’s right on Castro Street in the hub of downtown Mountain View so it’s a great jumping off point for a day of shopping, dining and social schmoozing. Who doesn’t love that? Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but good coffee is probably close on their heels.
I hate the treadmill. It makes me feel like some hapless little hamster on a wheel to nowhere. And even worse than a treadmill is a treadmill that is smack dab in the middle of some meat market gym where everyone is looking at my butt in my gym shorts while I’m trying to run. I don’t want to have to look cute while I’m running (there is plenty of time for that after my workout) which makes the judgmental stares from my fellow gym goers a little uncomfortable. So I toil away in said meat market until the spring and summer months bring out the warm weather. Once that warm air starts circulating there is nothing I enjoy more after a day cooped up in the office than a refreshing jog on an outdoor trail. There is something kind of magical when it all comes together just right; the warm breeze, the gravel crunching under your feet and the weight of the day falling off of your shoulders. Since moving to Gables End I’ve discovered a new outdoor trail that allows me to enjoy the solitude of an outdoor run, but provides the safety of a gym (minus the dreaded treadmill). The Stevens Creek Trail begins near the Shoreline Amphitheater and gives you a loop of about 4 miles to clear your head. On the trail I’ve seen hawks, quail, opossums and all sorts of wildlife I never saw on my runs in the city. It gives me a chance to feel like I’m really connecting with nature and getting in touch with myself instead of tuning out under false lighting. This is the stuff running dreams and magazines are made of. And knowing that as always the summer will fade and the gym will become necessary again means that my time is limited on the trail and motivates me to take full advantage of it while I can. Speaking of which, I think I hear the trail calling……
Moving to the suburbs doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your entertainment in exchange for breathing space. We went to a show at the Shoreline Amphitheater, which was just a 5-minute drive from our new home here at Gables End. Mountain View’s summer heat cools off enough in the evening for you to comfortably enjoy the evening’s festivities in a t-shirt and shorts at one of the Bay Area’s best venues. Who knew that this venue could be so amazing? The Shoreline is open air, has fun concession stands and great prices and because of the great setting attracts amazing bands from around the world.
Our evening’s entertainment included sets from Saving Abel, Papa Roach, Hinder and our headliner was Nickelback. Every seat in the house had a great view, but we were lucky enough to be so close to the stage we could feel the heat from the flames given off by the pyrotechnics. The crowd’s energy was soaring in anticipation and our patience was well rewarded by each act. Every set was unique and fun, but nobody topped Nickelback. Their set was a crowd pleaser whether you are a die-hard fan that owns every album or are the casual radio listener. Chad Kroeger, the lead singer was engaging and funny and carefully guided the audience through a comprehensive set of the band’s biggest hits including “Photograph”, “Rockstar” and “If Today Was You Last Day” and he even gave us a few lines and the chorus to Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places”. Everyone was on their feet for the whole show and had a fun night of rocking out to a great summer concert. I’m so glad I can afford my own home now at Gables End and still have access to some of the amenities I thought you had to live in the city for.