Try Brian’s For Family Luncheons

Posted on September 29, 2014 by  
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Brians RestaurantCome Saturday lunchtime, local cyclists gather at Brian’s Restaurant in Rancho Shopping Center after a long ride. On Sundays, well-dressed people arrive after church for lunch. During the week, though, lunchtime is reserved for seniors.

“We focus on families,” said restaurant owner Brian Whitlock. “We feed people going to work and feature kid menus and crayons. We also cater to business meetings because our business is ham and eggs and waffles – and it is becoming a Wi-Fi hotspot.”

Whitlock learned the restaurant trade when he opened the old Los Altos Coffee Shop on Second Street with his wife Jeannie in 1977.

“She was the waitress and I was the cook,” he said. “I made sure that the fruit was always fresh, along with a menu of bacon and eggs any style. As we became busy, I started to hire other people.”

The Los Altos Coffee Shop was open only for breakfast and lunch. When Whitlock opened Brian’s at Rancho in July 2006, he maintained the same meal schedule. The restaurant is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Whitlock’s daughter Marisa ran the downtown eatery for more than a year before the family closed it and moved to Rancho Shopping Center. Two servers and a cook from the old Coffee Shop still work for Whitlock at the new location.

“We have the same menu, but we’ve added a lot of new stuff and people seem to like our system,” Whitlock said. “Seniors drop in for lunch and have a half-sandwich and soup or half (an order of) eggs Benedict with Hollandaise sauce.”

After more than three decades and a change of location, Brian’s has maintained its reputation as a quality family-friendly restaurant. For more information, visit


Petting Zoo & Car Show Highlight Fall Festival

Posted on September 26, 2014 by  
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Fall FestivalThe 23rd annual Fall Festival is scheduled for 10 am to 5 pm, this Oct. 4th and 5th, in the South Parking Plaza in downtown Los Altos.

More than 150 arts and crafts booths will offer a variety of unique handmade items, many of them showcasing fall and holiday themes. Food selections will include Chef Chu’s, Armadillo Willy’s and a variety of vendors selling tamales, burritos, crepes, smoothies, kettle corn, frozen yogurt and gyros. Soft drinks, select wines and Gordon Biersch beers will be available.

The Children’s Alley will include rides, slides, bounce houses and the Little Explorer’s Petting Zoo, which provides opportunities for hands-on interaction with goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs, a pot belly pig, an alpaca and giant tortoises. Lisa the Facepainter will paint children’s faces.

The festival will feature a variety of activities and games hosted by local schools and organizations, including pumpkin painting, removable tattoos, fishing for prizes, beaded necklaces, a lollipop tree, toss games, crafts and more.

Several local musicians will perform on the KFC Main Stage, including The Mary Ellen Duo, featuring Mary Ellen Duell and Randy Cszaro; Fenny & Rossi, playing New Orleans blues; Ryan & Cece, contemporary country; Bluehouse, acoustic rock; Drive, contemporary rock; and Old School, classic ’60s rock.

A classic car show will feature more than 100 vintage cars, from a 1931 Franklin to a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle and Bus. British sports cars, including Austin Healeys, Jaguars, Triumphs, MGs and Morgans, will be showcased Sunday. Car show judges will include Los Altos Mayor Megan Satterlee, Los Altos Hills Mayor John Radford and Los Altos Police Chief Tuck Younis.

For more information, call 948-1455 or visit


A Great Family Adventure

Posted on September 22, 2014 by  
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Hidden VillaFor most of us, Hidden Villa is simply a nice place to visit for a few hours. It’s a good site for a family outing. You can hike, tour the gardens, visit the historic buildings, see the farm animals, do some bird watching, enjoy a picnic, or all of the above. There is lots of space—1600 acres of it and it’s all natural and real.

The property is nestled in a large valley. Hikes take you up to surrounding hills on the east and west, along riparian corridors, over sunny open meadows, and through dark, shady forests. You can walk with your children along the gentle grades of the Creek Trail, climb up the switchbacks of the more challenging Hostel or Toyon trails to the top of 1200-foot Elephant Mountain, or climb up 2280 feet on the Black Mountain trek to the biggest peak in the northern Santa Cruz Mountains.

For background, Hidden Villa was founded by Frank and Josephine Duveneck, who purchased the land in 1924 and offered it as a gathering place for discussion, reflection, and incubation of social reform. Over the following decades, the Duvenecks established the first Hostel on the Pacific Coast (1937), the first multiracial summer camp (1945), and Hidden Villa’s Environmental Education Program (1970). The Trust for Hidden Villa was established as a nonprofit in 1960.

Every year 30,000 people participate in one of our formal programs. An additional 20,000 visitors come to our preserve annually to explore our farm and gardens or to hike on our eight miles of trails.  So, we encourage you come on out an enjoy a fun family outing.

For more information on this wonderful community asset, please visit:


Earthquake Safety Tips For Residents

Posted on September 18, 2014 by  
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quakeIn light of the 6.0-magnitude earthquake that struck the Napa Valley region last month, we are encouraging residents to follow safety measures in the event of another earthquake.

According to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, major earthquakes registering magnitudes between 6.3 and 8.3 have occurred in California every 5.4 years, on average, for the past 200 years. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there is a 90 percent chance of a major earthquake striking an urban area in California within the next 30 years.

A 2010 California Earthquake Preparedness Survey conducted by the UCLA School of Public Health revealed that fewer than 20 percent of California households have structurally reinforced their homes or had their homes inspected for earthquake resistance and only 40 percent have made family disaster plans and keep the recommended minimum of three gallons of water stored per person.

We encourage you to adhere to the following earthquake safety measures from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Ready campaign site (, California’s Department of Conservation ( and the U.S. Geological Survey (

• Identify potential hazards in your home and fix them. Start now by moving furniture away from beds, sofas or other places where people sit, sleep or spend a lot of time.

• Move heavy objects to lower shelves. Move flammable or hazardous materials stored in garages and utility rooms to low, more secure areas.

• Retrofitting before an earthquake is relatively cheap and could reduce damage and save you money.

• Create a disaster supply kit and keep it in an easily accessible location. See the sidebar above for a list of items to include in the kit.

• Create a disaster preparedness plan. Decide how and where your family will reunite if separated during a quake. Select an out-of-state friend or relative to call and alert other relatives and friends that you are all right.

• During an earthquake, drop, cover and hold on. You cannot tell from the initial shaking of an earthquake if it will suddenly become intense, so drop to the ground, take cover by getting under a sturdy desk or table and hold on to your shelter until the shaking stops.

Homeowners’ kits should include:

• First aid supplies with medications not requiring refrigeration.

• Spare eyeglasses (if needed) and essential hygiene items.

• Drinking water (minimum one gallon per person per day).

• A whistle (to alert rescuers).

• Emergency cash in small bills.

• Snack foods high in calories, plus canned and packaged foods.

• Cooking utensils, including a manual can opener.

• Food and a leash or carrier for your pet.

• A working flashlight with extra batteries.

• Baby formula, disposable diapers, baby wipes, bottles, pacifiers, powdered milk for infants and comfort items for children, like stuffed animals and other toys.

• A battery-operated radio (and spare batteries).

• Warm clothing, gloves, sturdy shoes, extra socks and blankets/sleeping bags.

• Heavy-duty plastic bags for waste and other uses.

• A-B-C-type fire extinguisher.

• Copies of vital documents such as insurance policies, personal identification and medical consent forms for dependents.

• Remember to replace perishable items on a yearly basis.


Gorgeous Blackhawk Country Club Home

Posted on September 18, 2014 by  
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3367 Quail Walk Lane

3367 Quail Walk Ln, Danville, CA 94506
Listed at $1,174,900 / Sold at 1,160,000
4 Beds / 3 Baths / Home: 3,006 sqft / Lot Size: 6,534 sqft +/-
Single Family Detached
Represented: Buyer


LASD Hosts Educational Conference

Posted on September 12, 2014 by  
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LASD Learning PrinciplesIn an effort to expand connections in the education world, Los Altos School District officials are hosting an educational conference this month.

EdSummit LASD is a three-day event open to educators in the Bay Area. It includes a keynote event, followed by a full-day conference of more than 70 educational sessions and an Edcamp collaboration event.

Alyssa Gallagher, the district’s director of strategic initiatives and community partnerships, describes the conference as a regular professional development day open to the broader educational community that offers many opportunities in varied subjects.

While surveying district teachers last year, Gallagher learned that teachers feel very isolated. So district officials identified ways to break the “Silos of Education.”

“Part of what we are trying to do is to encourage our teachers to build connections beyond just the Los Altos School District,” Gallagher said. “We recognize that if we are going to make a difference for kids, we can’t be insulated in our own school or district. We really have to open it up and see what the community is doing and begin building those relationships.”

EdSummit will open with a presentation from two best-selling business book authors. Warren Berger, author of “A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas” (Bloomsbury USA, 2014), and Lisa Kay Solomon, author of “Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations that Accelerate Change” (Simon & Schuster, 2014), will discuss “Creating Conditions of Discovery & Inquiry in Our Schools.”

“Their books are about creating those moments of impact for change and questioning,” Gallagher said. “Their presentation will cover how to bring those moments into the classroom.”

The keynote speaker presentation is scheduled 6:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. It is free and open to the public.

The following day, all Los Altos School District teachers, in addition to teachers from around the Bay Area who have registered, will participate in the all-day conference at Covington School. The conference is free to district teachers as part of their regularly scheduled professional development. There is a fee for nondistrict teachers.

The conference has scheduled more than 70 sessions, including Teach like a Pirate, App Smashing, Improv for Educators, Hack Your Classroom and Minecraft.

The final day will be the Edcamp, where teachers can mingle and create their own half-day of collaboration and discussions on education topics that interest them. “Saturday is a chance for teachers to interact and bounce thoughts and ideas off each other,” Gallagher said.

For more information, visit


An Estate With Unparalleled Views

Posted on September 8, 2014 by  
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24877 Olive Tree Lane, Los Altos Hills, CA 94024
Listed at $3,850,000 / Sold at $3,720,000
5 Beds / 4.5 Baths / Home: 5,082 sqft / Lot Size: 44,170 sqft +/-
Single Family Detached
Represented: Seller


Train Days Returns To Los Altos

Posted on September 7, 2014 by  
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Train DaysTrain Days returns to the Los Altos History Museum 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 20 and 21.

The annual event showcases model railroading. Elaborate layouts, intricate scenery and scaled renditions of prototypes, whimsical engines and theme cars – complete with steam, lights and sound – will speed along rails. Museum visitors are invited to explore and ask questions about the gauges and scales associated with American and Asian model railroading layouts.

In 1907, Southern Pacific put Los Altos on the map with its steam railway connecting Palo Alto with Los Gatos. Mirroring railroad development through the years, Train Days tracks the transition from early steam locomotives to diesel engines and electric and high-speed passenger trains – all scaled in miniature.

Participants include the Live Steamers from the Bay Area Garden Railway Society (G scale); the Diablo Pacific Short Line (G scale); the Golden Gate Lionel Railroad Club (O scale); a private collector’s Swiss Narrow Gauge (HO scale); Peninsula NTrak and AsiaNrail (N scale); and a private collector’s Civil War’s First Battle of Manassas/Bull Run (N scale).

California Operation Lifesaver will provide education on proper rail safety and gourmet food trucks will be on-site.

“We’re thrilled that our favorites are returning, and bring something new every year,” said Kristen Fuller, event chairwoman. “This year, we will go back in time as far as the Civil War, with the historic First Battle of Manassas, plus we will again go around the world to Asia and beyond – in HO and N scale.”

Admission is $5. Children 4 and under are free. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

The Los Altos History Museum is located at 51 S. San Antonio Road.  For more information, visit


Turning Parents Into School-day Advocates

Posted on September 5, 2014 by  
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Project CornerstoneParent volunteers at Montclaire Elementary School in Los Altos are gearing up for the seventh year of Project Cornerstone, a countywide YMCA initiative that encourages students to become champions for themselves and others.

The program draws on a national study that connected developmental assets such as family support, adult role models and reading for pleasure to reduced risky behavior. The assets help children feel empowered, valued, respected and safe. The program theorizes that the more resources children perceive within their community, the less likely they are to engage in high-risk behavior.

The program is showing results. At the end of last year, Montclaire’s first- through fifth-graders weighed in on the emotional resource program. Of the 408 students who responded to an online survey, 80 percent reported that they felt there was at least one person at the school they could talk with or approach for help, and 82 percent claimed that the program had offered them ways to deal with conflict and bullying. Approximately one in five of the respondents reported feeling bullied or teased at times.

Parent volunteers at Montclaire developed several ways to help students during the school day. As part of the Asset Building Champion Readers program, volunteers read a topical book to classes each month, discuss the concepts and lead a related activity or project. The Montclaire Parent Teacher Organization (MPTO) supports the program, which uses parent volunteers as a key part of the school community.

The MPTO also started a lunchtime program, FunVisors, which focuses on the playground during lunchtime recess at Montclaire. Parent volunteers are present to provide a caring adult presence; to witness, deter and respond to teasing or bullying; and to provide alternative lunch recess activities so that children who are not engaged with friends can spend quality time and make new friends. Recent popular activities include arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, chalk drawing on the blacktop, yoga and playing with Hula-Hoops.

For more information, visit


Modern Art Exhibit Comes To Town

Posted on September 3, 2014 by  
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Christies 2014The Los Altos-based Passerelle Investment Co. is teaming up with Christie’s auction house to host a pop-up exhibition of post-war and contemporary art Sept. 10-18 at 359 and 242 State St. in downtown Los Altos.

The event will showcase major works by Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Richard Diebenkorn and Tracey Emin, as well as contemporary art. Displays will feature highlights from the coming auction season and works of art to be offered for private sale.

The exhibition includes an opening reception 6-10 p.m. Sept. 10.

The schedule will also feature a panel discussion, StART Up: Beginning (and Growing) Your Art Collection, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 13. Panelists will include Janet Bishop, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s curator of painting and sculpture and co-curator of “Project Los Altos: SFMOMA in Silicon Valley;” Sabrina Buell, art adviser at Zlot Buell & Associates; Claudia Altman-Siegel, gallery founder and director at Altman Siegel; and art collector Ravin Agrawal.

Charlie Adamski, Christie’s specialist on Post-War and Contemporary Art based in San Francisco, noted that while it is well-known that the Bay Area is home to some of the “most impressive” collections in private hands, it has recently become evident that it is also one of the most robust emerging markets for art collecting with a growing group of young and new collectors.

“We are particularly excited to open a dialogue with the community and new collectors at StART Up: Beginning (and Growing) Your Art Collection,” she said.

For more information, visit: Christie’s