Archive for July, 2009

Togos

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

If you’re looking for a quick, yummy and affordable bite, Togos may be just the place. It’s located in the shopping center parking lot at the intersection of South Winchester and Payne. It sits near Winchester just south around the corner from the Rite Aid drug store.

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The chips and soda belonged to my dinner companion (the editor of the SWN) but the #24 Turkey and Avocado sandwich was all mine!

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They were even having a special that night so my sandwich was an extra good deal. That’s a little red onion and peppercinis you see tucked in with the lettuce, avocado and light mayo. This will probably be my only review of Togos because I never try anything different when I go there. I love this sandwich and am sticking with it.

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The dining area is quite small. Just a single row with a few tables but we’ve always managed to grab one when we’ve been there.

1341 South Winchester Blvd
San Jose, CA 95128

(408) 379-1584

Community Meeting reveals I-880/I-280/Stevens Creek/Winchester plans

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Officials with the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and the City of San Jose Department of Transportation presented proposed changes to the I-880/I-280/Stevens Creek/Winchester interchanges at a public meeting on July 22.

Margaret Simmons-Cross, Highway Program Manager at the VTA, presented the proposed changes. There are three main focus areas of the changes: The I-880/Stevens Creek Boulevard interchange, the I-280/I-880 interchange, and the I-280/Winchester Boulevard interchange.

I-880 / Stevens Creek Boulevard

Changes to the I-880/Stevens Creek interchange

Changes to the I-880/Stevens Creek interchange

The current configuration of the I-880/Stevens Creek Boulevard interchange is known as a Cloverleaf design. This was a popular design when the interchange was constructed in the 1950s. The chief advantage of cloverleaf designs was that they were free-flowing and didn’t require the use of such devices as traffic signals. A problem with this design is the merging of exiting and entering traffic in the same lane, known as weaving.

The proposed changes to the interchange would turn it into a Diamond design. This would require additional traffic lights on Stevens Creek. A strict Diamond design has no loops, but the I-880/Stevens Creek interchange will retain the loop from Eastbound Stevens Creek to Northbound I-880, making this interchange a hybrid of a Diamond and a Parclo (partial cloverleaf interchange) design.

The Southbound I-880 to Westbound Stevens Creek exit will also feature a dedicated lane for North Monroe Street that bypasses the traffic signal, which will handle the traffic destined for Westfield Valley Fair and other parts northward. VTA found that about 30% of all traffic using this exit was destined for North Monroe Street.

I-280 / I-880

Changes to the I-280 / I-880 connector

Changes to the I-280 / I-880 connector

This new connector will separate the regional traffic that wants to go from I-280 Northbound to I-880 Northbound from the local traffic that is destined for Stevens Creek. In the present design, traffic utilizes the same ramp system to both Stevens Creek and I-880, requiring merging and jockeying for position. Traffic destined for I-880 Northbound will use the new connector, and traffic destined for Stevens Creek will use the existing ramps.

I-280 / Winchester

One proposed design for the I-280 / Winchester exit

One proposed design for the I-280 / Winchester exit

Winchester Boulevard is presently only half-connected to I-280. Traffic can only enter Winchester Boulevard from I-280 in the southbound direction, and traffic from Winchester Boulevard can only enter I-280 in the northbound direction. Designers have produced two different designs for a I-280 northbound exit onto Winchester Boulevard – a five-legged intersection and a hook ramp design.

Both designs connect with Tisch Way just east of Winchester Boulevard. One design would turn Tisch Way into a one way street traveling westbound. The other would be a hook design, adding an additional traffic signal where the ramp meets Tisch Way. Officials have not chosen a design nor is one design favored over the other.

Q & A

After the presentation, Simmons-Cross was joined by Ray L. Salvano, a Senior Engineer with the City of San Jose Department of Transportation.

Margaret Simmons-Cross from the VTA and Ray L. Salvano from the City of San Jose answer resident questions.

Margaret Simmons-Cross from the VTA and Ray L. Salvano from the City of San Jose answer resident questions.

Residents raised two main concerns with the changes.

Residents overwhelmingly supported the I-280 / Winchester design that kept Tisch Way a two-way street. Area residents use Tisch Way and South Monroe Street as an express route to go from South Winchester Boulevard to I-880. This route only has a couple stop signs. The alternative route – traveling north on Winchester and then east on Stevens Creek – has drivers encountering 5 additional traffic lights.

The second concern was the new ramp to Winchester Boulevard would only handle traffic from I-280 east of I-880. This means that traffic from southbound I-880 could not use the same ramp to exit onto Winchester Boulevard. This traffic would need to exit at Stevens Creek Boulevard and navigate along Stevens Creek or along South Monroe Street and Tisch Way.

The project is divided into two tiers. The first tier is the I-880/Stevens Creek and I-280/I-880 improvements, and construction could start in the next 18 to 24 months. The Winchester exit is a tier two project, and construction would be expected to be 10 years away. Total construction cost is expected to be $130 million – $150 million.

A draft environmental impact report will be released in January 2010. Citizens will then be able to write down their comments and there will be additional public meetings before the environmental report is finalized. People with questions can contact the VTA’s Community Outreach Department at (408) 321-7575, visit the web site at www.vta.org, or email at community.outreach@vta.org.

Fuel Vietnamese Restaurant + Lounge

Friday, July 24th, 2009

I have to say I’d never been a big fan of Vietnamese food…. Until Fuel Restuarant + Lounge opened on South Winchester Blvd. just across from Santana Row. With a great location and it’s own parking lot it’s easy to spot and easy to park. Two big plusses that make it that much easier to get to their fab food! 

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These pictures are so yummy I don’t think I need to say anything about Fuel’s Grilled Chicken Rolls except to hurry up and go try them! They’re my faves and what I order each time I go for lunch, dinner or to pick up something to go. Each order is 4 large pieces.

Here is the Lunch menu description of them: Grilled Chicken Salad Rolls (Goi Cuon Ga Nuong)wrapped in rice paper with rice noodles, lettuce, green apples, mint, and peanut sauce. Served with nuoc cham, a Vietnamese dipping sauce. ($8)*

I think they also have thin strips of mango in them and the dipping sauce is delicious!

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To make a reservation or place to-go orders dial: (408) 248-0018

385 S. Winchester Blvd., San Jose, CA 95128

Lunch:
Weekdays: 11:30-2:30 PM 
Sat. – Sun. 12-5:00 PM

Dinner:
Mon. – Wed. 5-10:00 PM 
Thurs. – Sat. 5-11:00 PM 
Sun. 5-9:00 PM

Santana Row Parking Garage has Grand Re-Opening

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

The newly re-opened parking garage is the best thing to happen to Santana Row since the fire of 2002 was extinguished.

Entrance to the Winchester Garage

Entrance to the Winchester Garage

The new garage, opened on Saturday, July 18, features an additional 805 parking spots and an express ramp that brings drivers directly from Winchester Boulevard to the third level of the parking structure. When leaving, drivers can take the ramp directly to South Winchester Boulevard from any of the first three levels. Previously, there were no direct route from South Winchester Boulevard to any of the parking areas.

The new express ramp

The new express ramp

On a Sunday afternoon, which is usually a busy time with hard-to-find parking, the entire 5th and 6th levels of the garage were empty.

An entire level of open parking spaces

An entire level of open parking spaces

Earlier this summer, Santana Row installed several signs to direct drivers to available parking spots. Until now, most of these signs were stuck on “Full” (except for the broken sign for the south east parking lot, which shows hundreds of spots available when the lot was completely full). The new sign for the Winchester parking garage shows hundreds of spots available.

Something never seen before at Santana Row - hundred of open parking spaces

Something never seen before at Santana Row - hundreds of open parking spaces

The views from the top of the parking garage are great. From 6 levels up, you can see across the valley.

The views from the top of the Winchester parking garage

The views from the top of the Winchester parking garage

The Best Mint Chip Ice Cream… Ever

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Summertime is the best time for ice cream. And the best Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream can be found at Baskin & Robbins. I really couldn’t care less what the other 30 flavors are at “31 Flavors.” For years this has been my only choice. Yeah I tried other flavors in the past and each time I did I suffered from ice cream regret because no other flavor came close to my favorite Mint Chocolate Chip.

If you think another flavor is newsworthy by all means leave us a comment and sing its praises. Even though I won’t try it I’d love to hear all about why you love it.

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Baskin Robbins
1302 S Winchester Blvd 
San Jose, CA 95128 
(408) 866-8885

www.BaskinRobbins.com

Public Meeting on I-880/I-280/Stevens Creek Interchange This Wednesday

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

A community meeting to discuss the I880/I280/Stevens Creek Boulevard/Winchester Improvements Project will be held on Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at the Amber Drive School, 3500 Amber Drive, San Jose.

Presented by the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), San Jose Department of Transportation, and the San Jose Redevelopment Agency, the meeting will begin at 6:15 with a review of the maps and drawings of the proposed changes, followed by presentation and commentary, general Q & A, and drawing specific discussions.

The project proposes to improve traffic flow, safety and access between the Interstate 280 and Interstate 880 freeway corridors near Stevens Creek Boulevard, including modifications to the freeway-to-freeway intersection of State Route 17/I-280/I-880 freeway interchange, as well as the adjacent interchanges at I-880/Stevens Creek Boulevard and I-280/Winchester Boulevard. Of particular interest to South Winchester Boulevard residents will be the new freeway access by constructing a new northbound I-280 off-ramp at Winchester Boulevard.

Proposed changes to I-280/I-880/Stevens Creek Boulevard/Winchester Boulevard

Proposed changes to I-280/I-880/Stevens Creek Boulevard/Winchester Boulevard

Construction is slated to occur from 2011-2013 at a cost of $130 – $150 million.

The meeting is sponsored by the Winchester Neighborhood Action Coalition. Click here for information on the project.

Michi Sushi

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

For years I’ve considered Michi Sushi to be one of the best Japanese restaurants in the South Bay when it comes to really delicious (albeit kind of pricey) sushi.

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The original location is at 2220 South Winchester Blvd., Campbell, CA. Michi Sushi now has a second location further down the same street at 2455 Winchester Blvd., Campbell, CA 95008. It’s funny (odd) that this is just one of two restaurants that have two locations on the same street. Krung Thai also has two locations within blocks of each other.

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This is the interior of the original Michi Sushi. As you can see it is very nicely decorated with a large salt water aquarium at the far end of the room.

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As soon as we were seated the waitress brought us an order of edamame.

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I had the miso soup. It was good which translates to not too salty but salty enough.

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For Lunch I had a single sushi roll called the Orange Blossom. It was fantastic: Sake (salmon), avocado and unagi, wrapped in more sake (salmon) and finished with tobiko, thinly sliced green onions and freshly ground up macadamia nuts with unagi glaze. It was delicious! But this single roll is priced at $22. Was it worth it? Yes. Could I have this every week? Not really. But as an occasional treat it ranks high on my list. 

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Here is what my lunch companions ate:

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Sushi

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Chicken Teriyaki

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Sushi and Sashimi Bento Box

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This restaurant is decorated so beautifully. If ambiance is important to you I really think you’ll enjoy the interior.

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Here is the Tatami Room. Note how the bench has space beneath the table so that if you choose to you can dangle your legs as if you’re sitting at a regular table.

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This is the exterior South facing wall of Michi Sushi. If you’re in the mood for great food and can afford to splurge a bit I don’t think you will be disappointed. I’ve been eating here for at least the past 6 years and have always received great food and service.

Michi #1, 2220 Winchester Blvd., Campbell, CA 95008
 (408) 378-8000 

Michi #2, 2455 Winchester Blvd., Campbell, CA 95008
 (408) 378-8000

Rally for Single-Payer Universal Heath Care on Sunday

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

There will be a “Peaceful Street Rally” on Sunday, July 5, from noon to 3 pm at the corner of South Winchester Boulevard and Stevens Creek Boulevard in support of Single-Payer Universal Heath Care.

The rally is being put together by a number of organizations: Raging Grannies Alliance, One Voice!, South Bay Mobilization, San Jose Peace and Justice Center, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, Californians for Justice, and Santa Clara County Single Payer Healthcare Coalition.

According to WikiPedia, “Single-payer health care is a term used to describe the payment of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers from a single fund. It is often mentioned as one way to deliver universal health care.”