Slice o' victory: winning pie and International Pizza Expo help new restaurant State of Mind rise

Photos Courtesy of Amy Betz
State of Mind co-owner Amy Betz, above, holds her finished masterpiece, El Puerco Fantastico, at this year’s International Pizza Expo. El Puerco Fantastico, inset, is an apple-cider-braised pork belly pizza with pork sauce, jalapeños, pickled apples, kabocha squash, honey vinaigrette and mozarella and San Joaquin Gold cheeses. Owner Lars Smith said the pork pizza will most likely be featured on State of Mind’s menu in the next few weeks.

Foie gras and pickled cherries on a pizza may not sound like the average toppings at your favorite pizzeria, but they’re not supposed to.

The seemingly unique toppings are what helped Lars Smith, owner of Los Altos’ State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria, earn a world pizza championship title last year.

Is socially responsible investing worth it?

Socially responsible investing seeks to balance both financial return and social good.

The idea of promoting social good through investment selection gained worldwide prominence in the 1970s as part of the effort to end apartheid in South Africa. Although the socially responsible investing effort alone did not bring an end to apartheid, it arguably contributed to its demise.

Toilet impresario has gleaned tales from the tank

This Old Toilet
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Gary Tjader, above, matches vintage toilet tanks with homeowners in need of a fix through his business, This Old Toilet.

Los Altos resident Gary Tjader has presided over a nationwide empire of obscure toilet parts, but you’ll only know of him if the worst has happened: that cracking shatter of porcelain hitting tile as a bathroom fixture meets its end.

His home base in Loyola Corners, a 1940s home converted into office space by a previous occupant, houses row upon row of tank lids organized by brand, model and color in a rainbow backyard array. Take a tour of the Kohlers, American Standards and Eljers and you’ll see the iconic Ming green of the 1960s blend into the spruce green and sunflower of the 1970s. His oldest lid dates back to 1915.

BBB: How to redeem gift cards when business goes bankrupt

Gift cards might seem like the perfect present for a hard-to-shop-for friend or family member, but they are not without drawbacks.

When a store goes out of business, gift cards do, too. That’s unfortunately what many Toys “R” Us customers just found out. The chain is closing its stores, and gift card holders have 30 days to use their cards.

Spring flowers spring up in a north Los Altos garage

As Los Altos hovers between winter and spring – with cool weather and rains to make it obvious – flower-market wares also hover between seasons.

Those early spring blossoms are in evidence if you wander by the garage of Los Altos resident Eryn Johnson, whose floral business Flowers by Eryn has just begun to bloom over the last year. She heads to San Francisco’s venerable SF Flower Mart at 6 a.m. once a week to browse the ever-varying selection of wholesale flowers. By the time the market opens to the public at 10 a.m., some vendors have finished for the day.

Downtown Egg Hunt set for Saturday

The Easter Bunny plans to hide more than 4,000 candy-filled eggs along Main and State streets in preparation for the 55th annual Downtown Los Altos Easter Egg Hunt.

Hosted by the Los Altos Village Association, the Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled 10 a.m. Saturday, when a Los Altos Police squad car will signal the start with several siren blasts.

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