Whenever I'm meeting a friend for lunch who's coming from the South Bay, I usually end up meeting him/her at the book store on Castro and walking to a nearby restaurant (this way is one person is late, the other person can browse books while they wait). Anyway, Casa Lupe is a short walk from the bookstore and I love Mexican food so I've eaten there at least 3 or 4 times. Everything about the place - atmosphere, food quality, flavor, prices, etc. - is good. I can't think of a single thing to complain about. Even still, there isn't anything about this place that makes it exceptional in my book.
Have you seen the movie "Office Space"? There are a couple of scenes in the movie that poke fun at themed family restaraunts - I think the fictional restaraunt in the movie is called "Flingers." Modelled after TGIFridays, Applebees, and any number of other overly designed, overly corporate restaraunts, Flingers represents everything off putting about the corporate theme restaraunt experience: fasley perky wait staff, overdone motifs, and mediocre food.
Based on the fact that I tend to agree with this portrayal, you'd think I wouldn't be a big fan of Ruby Tuesday's, but I am. To begin with, all the badness that tends to accompany these kinds of restaurants is pretty toned down. For instance, in the three times I've been to Ruby Tuesday's I've yet to hear "Happy Birthday" sung in unenthusiastic unison by every waiter in the restaraunt. More importantly the food is actually pretty good all things considered. Also, for folks like me with kids, food comes quickly and the kid-support infrastructure (high chairs, big booths, crayons, etc.) is good.
"Classic" is the right name for this local gem. For starters it's been in business for as long as I can remember (at least the mid 80's). The place is clean, the atmosphere is friendly, and the selection of hair care (and related) products is excellent and offered at reasonable prices. They carry Redken, Nexxus, and all the fancy salon brands you can't find at Raley's (right next door).
There's usually 6 or 7 hairstylists working which means they can usually accomodate walk-ins if you're like me and never schedule hair cuts. My wife says the stylists always seem up on the latest fashions/cuts (I wouldn't know since I've had the same hair style since I was in 9th grade).
Lastly, they have a very cool desk at the front of the shop made from the front end of a refurbished classic car. I have no idea what it has to do with a hair salon, but it's still cool.
There are a number of Hobee's sprinkled around the Bay Area and beyond. They are primarly breakfast spots. In my opinion, their food is a little bit better than ordinary, save for one thing - their coffee cake. The piece is usually about 4 cubic inches, but if you look hungry and order with a tone of desperation and passion in your voice the waitress will sometimes score you an exceptionally large piece. The cake itself is always moist and hot with just the right number of sweet blueberries mixed in. What really makes the whole experience, however, is the cinnamon-sugar crust layer at the top of the cake. When the dollop of whipped butter melts into this sweet crunchy topping it is pure heaven.
The other reviews here capture what I have to say about Winter Lodge, but I didn't see that anyone mentioned that you can take strollers onto the ice. For those of us with several children, one of whom is still a baby or toddler, this is a pretty big deal. I was able to push my daughter around the ice in her stroller while my son skated beside us.
Since I'm a big burger fan, it bums me out that there aren't many good burger joints in downton Los Altos. You can get a good hamburger at Maltby's, but it's not a burger joint at heart and therefore lacks the right "feel." Dairy Belle (now Burger Town), in contrast, has the right makings. The place is small, prices are cheap, and they focus of burgers and soft server ice cream(another favorite). Unfortunately the burgers are only OK, the folks behind the counter seem pretty bummed to be there, and the entire interior of the building needs to be scrubbed with a good grease cutter. Hopefully they'll get their act together soon.
I was born in Iowa and though my family isn't a farming family, we definitely had what I would characterize as a farmer's sensibility about animals--respectful, practical, utilitarian. With such an upbringing, it boggles the mind that my relationship with my dog (Daisy) has evolved to it's current state. She's a great dog (a mutt, the best kind in my opinion) and she's wonderful with my children, but the level of pampering is pretty rediculous.
One of the ways this manifests is in the monthly (ish) bath at our local Petco. You see, Daisy doesn't like cold water. Aparently it doesn't agree with her delicate sensibilities. Also, her skin is sensitive and prone to flaking so we dare not use harsh detergents on her. Finally, with the frigid climate here in Northern California (sometimes dipping in the 50s...gasp) a drying ritual, making use of both towels and blow dryers, is absolutely required.
With all these fussy requirements, we've found not just any dog wash will do - and certainly not the hose in the backyard which would have been considered ludicrous pampering by my grandfather. At any rate, Daisy and I are both happy with the facilities, supplies, and cost of the Petco dog wash (noting that Daisy seems less price sensitive than I am). And, since the whole spectacle provides about an hour of fun for the wife and kids (you should hear the squeels of glee when Daisy shakes her soapy fur all over me, and that's just my wife), I've found peace with the process.
Setting: my house early Saturday morning
Wife: "You know what we should do?"
Me: "No dear. I can't imagine."
Wife: "We should build a flagstone path between our two patios."
Me: "When you say "we" is it safe to assume that your role is having thought up the project?"
Wife: "Yes. You'd better get to work. Daylight's burning."
So I head off to Garden Supply with hope that one of two things will save me from a weekend's worth of manual labor: they won't carry the right type/color flagstone, or it'll be too expensive. Wrong on both accounts. They have exactly what I need and at a very reasonable price. Crap.
For what it is--a museum dedicated to the development of a small town--the Los Altos History Museum is actually quite nice. About once every other month or so we pack up the kids and head over for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon. My 4 year-old son's favorite exhibit upstairs is a model of old Los Altos that includes a train. My favorite exhibit is a wheel-of-fortune-style wheel modeled after one used during the early development of Los Altos. Apparently promotion participants could spin the wheel to win free stuff like a set of dishes or a plot of land in Los Altos (times certainly have changed along with real estate values).
In the downstairs of the museum exhibits rotate. On our most recent visit, they had a large display of fantastic train sets which fascinated my son for nearly an hour.
For those that wish to make a trip to the musuem more of an outing, there is a library next door that makes for a nice adjunct. Also, as was mentioned in one of the other reviews, there is a nice garden area perfect for picnicing.
I like to imagine I've been out at Mavericks since sun up paddling my long board into one double overhead wave after another for hours (instead of riding a desk all morning). Physically drained, spiritually enriched, and starving I drop into L & L (nevermind that San Mateo isn't particularly close to Mavericks) for a giant plate lunch -- the bar-b-que combo. A heaping pile of assorted meats, a giant mound of rice, and a hearty dollop of macraroni salad garnished daintily with shredded cabbage (you don't want to go too heavy on the vegetables). The huge, inexpensive meal nourishes my wave-battered body and I'm ready to tackle the rest of my adventure-filled day (i.e. a conference call, email, and trying to look busy).