Mon12222014

News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Keeping it weird: Nonconformity reigns in hipster Portland


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
Portland’s Steel Bridge crosses the Willamette River, above left.

True to its origins, Portland pioneers in art, food, bicycles and brews.

Its 11 bridges span the Willamette River in varying designs, just as ruggedly independent as its residents.

Established at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers in 1851, Portland offers more than just the precious local and sustainable ingredients mocked on the television show “Portlandia.” Sitting at the base of Mount Hood, the City of Roses is a haven for hipster culture.

The city’s unofficial motto – Keep Portland Weird – stresses conforming to nonconformity. Instead of run-of-the-mill doughnuts, for example, Portlanders have Voodoo Doughnut (22 SW Third Ave.), and its fans form lines around the block. The ubiquitous pink boxes they come in hold Grape Ape doughnuts with lavender and grape sprinkles, Voodoo Doll doughnuts, Loop doughnuts with Froot Loops and more variations.

A seven-day summer visit revealed plenty to do and see both indoors and out. Despite its rainy reputation, the city sweltered in three-digit temperatures the day we arrived in the best way possible – on the Amtrak Coast Starlight sleeper train.

The overnight trip from San Jose ($950 for two, one-way) allowed us to sleep in a comfortable bunk room with a private shower. At breakfast in the dining car, we enjoyed great vistas of California forests and rivers until we reached the Oregon border. Wine and cheese hours for sleeper ticket-holders allowed us to get to know our neighbors. We passed through Klamath Falls and the Cascades to Salem and Portland.

Downtown diversions

The Portland streetcar is free in the downtown Pearl District, or you can take the TriMet train system. The efficient public transportation network makes it easy and cheap – $2.50 a ticket, less for seniors – to get around without a car.

Downtown, men in shorts carrying messenger bags roamed the streets as women in sundresses sauntered by. Thrifty Portlanders dress casually to save the earth.

After checking into the boutique Kimpton Hotel Monaco at 506 SW Washington St. ($239 a night for a king suite), we went downstairs for the popular happy hour. The lounge boasts Moorish arches, richly colored rugs and soft sofas. On hot days, the hotel serves ice cream bars. Rooms include animal print robes and free bike use.

The Monaco’s adjacent restaurant, Red Star Tavern, was open for most meals and nightcaps. Kimpton members receive a $25 daily dining credit through Sept. 8.

Not far away, the LEED-certified luxury Nines Portland Hotel, 525 SW Morrison St., offers similar rooms starting at $329 per night, with additional breakfast packages available. The landmark Meier & Frank Building near Pioneer Courthouse Square houses both the hotel and the Urban Farmer Steakhouse.

Here’s a guilty pleasure: Moonstruck Chocolate Co., 340 SW Morrison St., boasts a tiny cafe where you can feed your chocolate fix. Choose some truffles to take home or buy a few to eat as you wander, as I did.

Another chocolate option is Cacao Drink Chocolate, 414 SW 13th Ave., a craft chocolatier featuring house-made drinking and hot chocolates.

Friends who are longtime Portland residents took us to Ken’s Artisan Bakery, 338 NW 21st Ave., in the Alphabet District. Founded by 2013 James Beard pastry chef finalist Ken Forkish, the cafe offers its own multigrain breads, soups, sandwiches, pastries and croissants. Desserts include the outstanding devil’s food cake with raspberry cream for only $15.95. The cafe, which rates only two dollar signs, offers five-star taste. Forkish also runs Ken’s Artisan Pizza, 304 SE 28th Ave., where the pies baked in 700-degree ovens are rumored to rival those in Italy.

The Pearl District is home to the massive Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W. Burnside St., a must-see for bibliophiles and browsers. Powell’s is the world’s largest independent book chain, and this is its flagship store.

Nearby is Living Room Theaters, 341 SW 10th Ave., which shows first-run movies. There’s a bar when you enter, the audience sits in armchairs instead of regular theater seats and popcorn is served in large ceramic bowls to round out the homey atmosphere.

Idiosyncratic shops abound in the neighborhood. If you’re looking for snake-print tights, for example, stop in at the Radish Underground, 414 SW 10th Ave. The store bills itself as the place for independent fashion and art.

Portland rivals Amsterdam in its bicycle mania, so it’s no surprise that the Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave., is hosting the “Cyclepedia: Iconic Bicycle Design” exhibition through Sept. 8.

Some 40 bikes suspended from the museum’s ceilings appear as if they are mid-ride. The display includes a bike meant for winter with a skate in front as well as souped-up mountain bikes from Vienna designer Michael Embacher’s collection. Admission is $15 adult, $12 seniors (55 and up) and free for youth 17 and under.

Food and fun

Portland is known for its colorful food carts that advertise Asian, Thai, American and all kinds of other goodies for sale. Sample a few carts, but the real food is in the restaurants.

Try OX Restaurant, 2225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., a steakhouse Portland style, meaning that everything is sustainable. The cocktail and wine lists are extensive.

Thai restaurant Pok Pok, 3226 SE Division St., requires an adventurous appetite, but most visitors should enjoy Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings for $15.

Friends from Portland took us to Piazza Italia, 1129 NW Johnson St., a casual but authentic trattoria, for lunch. The prices were reasonable and the pasta fantastic – try the Penne al Pesto for $12.50 or the $11 Spaghetti al Pomodoro.

The City of Roses has a beautiful International Rose Test Garden, 400 SW Kingston Ave., a good place to stroll and walk off all the fantastic food. Two other rose gardens – Ladd’s Addition in southeast Portland and Peninsula Park Rose Garden in the northern area of the city – have miniature tea roses and lush paths.

Before leaving Portland, we visited the Saturday Market on West Burnside Street, where all kinds of wines and artisan beers are sold. Residents also refer to Portland as “Beervana” because of the city’s 10 microbreweries.

A good way to see the skyline is to rent a pedicab and take a loop around the Willamette River. It’s great exercise, and you can stop at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, 1945 SE Water Ave.

For more information, visit travelportland.com.

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