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My Breakfast House

Check Out “My Breakfast House”

Maybe it’s the just the Midwest in my DNA, but I am a big fan of simple breakfast diners that are low on the frills but high on quality food that’s affordable.  Throw in great service, and it makes going out to breakfast FUN, as it should be.   Downtown San Carlos has become synonymous with the chic restaurants and bars that have popped up on Laurel Street over the past decade, but I feel we have been sorely missing a true family breakfast spot (especially since the demise of Vic’s on San Carlos  Avenue) where you feel equally comfortable in your Saturday sweats or your Monday business suit.

Well, I’m happy to report that such a place does exist in San Carlos:  My Breakfast House, at 1137 Laurel Street.

You Won’t Leave Hungry.

My Breakfast House recently took over the spot that was once occupied by Big Joe’s.  It’s on one of those parts of Laurel where you can drive by it a thousand times and never see it.   But once you check it out, you’ll be glad you did.

The food is awesome, as the reviews in Yelp will attest to.  I had an omelette that was cooked to perfection, and was almost too big to eat ( but I managed, though.)  Many of the reviews rave about their french toast, which I can’t wait to try on my next visit.  The menu is extensive and the service is friendly and attentive, which is important for a breakfast diner.   Breakfast isn’t usually a social meal like dinner — people generally want to get in, eat, and get on with their day.

The decor is about as low frills as you can get, which is absolutely perfect in my book.  They even have a kids room, so the parent’s can actually eat their breakfast at a normal pace.  Like I said, it’s a throwback to the old Midwest diner, and it makes going out to breakfast fun and stress free.   It’s a welcome addition to downtown San Carlos.

So check out My Breakfast House, and support a great little San Carlos restaurant.
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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San Carlos to (finally) Get a Peet’s Coffee.

Peetsmug

Old Blockbuster Location.

Two good things happened in one announcement at last night’s City Council meeting.   By mid-2011, San Carlos residents who are fans of Peet’s Coffee & Tea will no longer have to go outside the city limits to get their fix.   Peet’s has already signed a lease to occupy the long-vacant store front at the corner of Cherry and Laurel Streets that used to be home to Blockbuster Video store.   It’s no secret that Peet’s has been looking for a long time to set up shop in San Carlos, and different rumors swirled around about where they might land.   The most recent was that they would occupy some of the ground-floor retail space at the new 1001 Laurel condo complex.

So Peet’s coffee lovers will finally get their own San Carlos location, and Laurel Street finally rids itself of a long-standing vacant store-front.  That’s a win-win for that corner.  But there are some who will bemoan the arrival of yet another coffee house in downtown San Carlos.

Too Much Coffee?

When the second Starbucks location opened a few years ago on Laurel near the corner of Arroyo Avenue, there was some public backlash that Laurel street was becoming saturated in coffee….so to speak.  With Starbucks now flanking both ends of Laurel Street, the belief was that it would spell the end for the few independent coffee shops left on Laurel.

Certainly, the coffee shop that will likely feel the most pressure from the arrival of Peet’s Coffee won’t be Starbucks.  It will be the Plantation Coffee Roastery — which unfortunately is located right across the street from the new home of Peet’s.    But coffee drinkers are a funny lot (I know, I’m one of them.)  They tend to be extremely brand-loyal, even more so than beer drinkers.   Fans of Peet’s stick with Peet’s; same goes with Starbucks.

I think this phenomenon will ultimately protect Plantation from the arrival of a chain coffee shop right across the street.   They have a very die-hard following,  some of which are our own police officers and at least one San Carlos City Council member.      Plantation has survived (and even thrived) despite the arrival of 3 Starbucks stores, so they should be OK when Peet’s ultimately arrives.

But let’s not leave that to chance.  Celebrate our breadth and diversity of coffee shops by welcoming Peet’s to the neighborhood, and by supporting our small, local shop too.
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Sutter Health to Move Forward With San Carlos Outpatient Clinic.

PAMFSutter

But Hospital Still on Hold.

The San Francisco Business Times reported today that the Board of Directors at Sutter Health has given the go-ahead to build an outpatient clinic and 1,000 space parking structure at the San Carlos location that was originally slated to be the site for their new hospital.  You’ll recall that Sutter put the hospital plans on hold last year, citing a general weakness in the economy.   According to the article, the full-scale hospital plan remains on hold despite the approval to move ahead with the clinic.

The approved construction calls for an outpatient and urgent care center, offices for 120 physicians, the parking structure, an on-site lab, and diagnostic and testing services.  Construction is slated to begin in January of 2011.   For the complete article, click here:   Sutter Health OKs building San Carlos clinic, postpones hospital again | San Francisco Business Times
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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“The Office” Comes to San Carlos.

7633

…Not the TV Series.

Not to be outdone by the trendy northern section of San Carlos, White Oaks has scored another home run of a dining establishment: The Office.   Longtime San Carlos residents and real estate partners Dave Parks and Steve Hicks of Gateway Properties have been kicking around ideas on how best to utilize the extra space at their realty office at 1748 El Camino Real — why not do a restaurant?  After all, this very address used to be home to the very popular San Carlos mainstay Paul Joes restaurant, and according to Dave and Steve, it has been a watering hole of some sort ever since San Carlos was incorporated.

Keeping it Simple.

In deciding what kind of fare to offer and what level of service to provide, they wisely chose to keep it simple.    Rather than hassle with complexities of table service, you simply order your food at the counter, and grab a seat.   They’ll bring it out to you when it’s ready.   And the menu looks to be spot-on: Burgers, sandwiches, salads, and a few other choice specialties.  And most important?  It’s very affordable.  The vast majority of their menu is under $10, and the most expensive menu item is only $12.   They are clearly targeting the San Carlos family dining crowd, and they appear to have nailed it.

Great Amenities, Location.

They did an outstanding job designing this restaurant.  There’s a huge patio area in front for outdoor dining, complete with three separate fire pits for those warm San Carlos summer nights.  Inside, there are additional tables with and a full bar with multiple flat-screen TV’s.   Can’t sit still?  There’s even a “beer-friendly” bocce ball court on the side alley.    It’s a clean, classy place that’s perfect for White Oaks families who want a great, affordable dining experience that’s within walking distance from their home.

The Office, San Carlos

The Office, San Carlos

Open Now.

Although they haven’t had an official grand opening yet, they’ve been open on a “soft-open” basis for a week or so just to work out the kinks that every new restaurant faces.  Smart move, because I think the newest addition to White Oaks will be a smashing success.  So be sure to check it out this weekend!
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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Dollar Tree Opens Its Doors in San Carlos.

Grand Opening.

Just a few short months after getting the conditional-use permit approved by the City of San Carlos, the Dollar Tree store that stands where Hollywood Video once did opened their doors to the public today.   This store is so new that their corporate website doesn’t even show it yet.  Oops!  But check the store out.  It’s a clean, well-stocked place with lots of useful stuff for .. you guessed it… $1.

There was some mixed feeling posted on this site when it was first announced that Dollar Tree was coming to San Carlos.  But give the place a chance.  I know the one in Belmont is busy all the time, and the City of Good Living can use every dollar of tax revenue it can get right now.   The new Dollar Tree Store is located at 1121 Old County Road in San Carlos in the Home Depot parking lot.
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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San Carlos Businesses on Twitter

A Great Business Tool…

Twitter is an amazing online tool for posting 140-character, real-time updates on….well, just about anything.  The early users of Twitter used the tool to update people on their whereabouts, like “I’m eating dinner at Town” or “Just dropped the kids off at school.”   OK, I guess there was some importance to informing the world on the minutiae of their day.   Since those early days of Twitter, the basics of the technology have remained largely unchanged, but how the tool is being used couldn’t be any different.

All of the major news networks now use Twitter as an effective way to post breaking news and draw traffic back to their websites.   “The Miracle on the Hudson” plane crash was first broken and covered on Twitter by witnesses and survivors, not by cable news networks like CNN.  And now, smart business owners are finding interesting ways to promote their company and their brand image on this medium.

San Carlos Businesses That Use Twitter.

There are a handful of San Carlos business owners who have embraced the real-time capabilities of Twitter to uniquely and effectively promote their businesses.    The technology is a perfect match for businesses whose products or services may change on a daily or hourly basis.  Here are three examples of San Carlos business owners who have truly elevated their brand image and customer awareness in this way:

Zest Bakery:  Our newest bakery in town also happens to be one of the few gluten-free bakeries on the Peninsula.  They post real-time updates about what specials they have on a particular day, and what samples are sitting warm and toasty on their counter.   Last week, they posted a picture of a lemon cake glazed with chocolate icing.  That’s just not playing fair 😉

Jett Cakes:  Food trucks have been around for decades..but specialty cupcakes on the road?   That’s a very unique business idea that totally relies on a) great cupcakes, obviously… and b) customers knowing where you’re going to be and when every day.  Marianne does a great job of using Twitter to take care of the latter, posting tweets about what her special baked treats are for that day, and where she will be selling them.

The Reading Bug:  Books – talk about an ever-changing industry!  The key for small, specialty bookstores to compete with the big, online gorillas is to get people into their stores.  The Reading Bug shines in this area by hosting reading sessions for the kids, and by constantly getting new releases into their inventory — all things that you can find out about on their Twitter page.

Wait…There’s More.

These three aren’t the only San Carlos businesses that use Twitter.   Here’s what I’m sure is just a partial list of businesses who are putting their business online in a cool fashion.  Just click on the name to go right to their Twitter feed.

Did I miss anyone?  Of course I did!  If you know of a San Carlos business that isn’t mentioned above and is using Twitter in a cool and unique fashion, let us know by leaving a comment below.   I’ll add it to the Twitter List that I have already started to compile:  San Carlos Businesses on Twitter.  Feel free to follow this list on your own Twitter account!
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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High Speed Rail to Run Above Ground in San Carlos

Plan Released

According to the detailed plan that was released by the California High Speed Rail Authority on Thursday, most of the high-speed rail section that will someday traverse the Peninsula and the South Bay will do so above ground, and not in an underground trench as many communities had hoped for.   According to this article in the Daily News, the Rail Authority assigned most Peninsula cities above-ground implementations since they are the least expensive, but that decision was not well received by many community leaders on the Peninsula who were lobbying very hard to minimize the intrusion of the new rail system.

Elevated? Been There, Done That…

While many communities on the Peninsula now face the first prospect of an elevated train track splitting their city, San Carlos is one of the only cities that has at least some experience in this area.   Years ago, amidst a sea of contention, San Carlos opted to elevate the Caltrain tracks through its city limits as a way to alleviate the chronic traffic tie-ups at the railroad crossings.   Opponents to the plan believed that an elevated berm would isolate the east side of the city from the west — a fear many community leaders on the Peninsula are now expressing for their own constituents.

Whether or not this was the net effect on San Carlos is a subjective matter, but what one cannot argue is the fact that traffic flow at the Howard Avenue, Brittan Avenue, and Holly Street intersections is immeasurably better since the tracks were elevated.  They’re still far from perfect, but much better than before.

A Little More Noise?

Aside from the isolation concerns, one of the biggest objections to an elevated track will be the noise impact.   It’s not a stretch to see how the wind noise and rail noise that’s generated by a train that is capable of 200 mph will be far different (and quite possibly louder) than what we’re accustomed to with CalTrain today.   Granted, the train will likely not be hitting those speeds on the Peninsula, but the noise element will be a big concern for many.

In reality, with all of the objections already being voiced by community leaders, it’s easy to see how the whole California High Speed Rail idea could spend the next decade or so in the court system…instead of fulfilling the dream of a high-speed rail backbone in California.

What are your thoughts on the High Speed Rail Initiative?
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
Don’t miss a single update!
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Dollar Tree Coming to San Carlos?

Update — 7/26:

The San Carlos Planning Commission has just given the go-ahead needed for the Dollar Store to move into the space formerly occupied by Hollywood Video.

Former Hollywood Video Site.

A Dollar Tree store in San Carlos?  It could happen.   A few years after a competing store was blocked from setting up shop in what is now Bianchini’s Market, the Dollar Tree is eyeing the spot of the former Hollywood Video Store that’s in the Home Depot/Lucky’s parking lot on Old County Road.   For those of you not familiar with the Dollar Tree (or other stores like it) they sell a bunch of stuff that’s priced at $1, hence their name.

In tonight’s Planning Commission Meeting, the owner of the building at 1121 Old County Road will ask the City to modify the conditional use permit that’s in place for the building, thus clearing the way for a wider variety of uses for the building…like a Dollar Tree store.   For more information, check out this article in the Daily Journal..

What Do You Think?

San Carlos residents already punted on the idea of a “discount” store like this one, but it was closer to downtown.  What do you think about a Dollar Tree store in San Carlos?
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Welcome to to the White Oaks Blog — the most widely read blog dedicated to the San Carlos real estate market! Have blog updates sent to you automatically by subscribing for free by clicking here. Be sure to follow the White Oaks Blog on Facebook at https://Facebook.com/WhiteOaksBlog , and on Twitter @WhiteOaksBlog.
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