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Judging Convenience Stores – ENroute Market in Walnut Creek


7000 Sunne Ln, Walnut Creek

Earlier this month we learned that the gourmet convenience store ENroute Market opened in the Avalon apartment complex near the Pleasant Hill BART station in Walnut Creek and recently I stopped by for a closer look. To say ENroute Market is a “convenience” store is like saying Bergdorf Goodman is just a department store. Yes, ENroute Market is a convenience store in the sense that you can find most anything found in convenience stores elsewhere, but the quality of goods seen here is unparalleled, especially considering the location. They carry everything from snacks, grab-n-go breakfast and lunch items, drinks, gifts, condiments and more. In the mood for pizza? They can heat up a gourmet frozen pie in two minutes with their Turbo Chef oven! How about kombucha? Two recent flavors on tap are grapefruit sage and pomegranate. They even carry Marvis toothpaste, toilet paper and other sundries.

The breakfast and lunch meals are made fresh daily by former Google chef Charlie Ayers, with leftover food donated to the Monument Crisis Center and UC Berkeley food pantry. I tried the pork bowl with quinoa which was delicious. They also carry baked goods from Emeryville-based Starter Bakery. The kouign-amann (see photo after the jump) was great. The bread is from Oakland-based Firebrand. Although not cheap, they do carry bacon bread which tasted SO good. For drinks, in addition to dark roast drip coffee, craft soda and juices they also offer craft beer, clever wine recommendations based on destinations such as “poolside”, “date night”, “girls’ night” and more.

What sets ENroute Market apart is the quality and distinctness of items carried. The owner has personally tried every one of the 700 stocked items and just by browsing around for a few minutes it’s clear they really care about everything they carry. Items like Torra caviar chips, Malvi marshmallow confections, Humphrey Slocombe Secret Breakfast ice cream, Snozzberry craft soda (available from the soda machine). I could go on and on but check out the photos after the jump to see what I mean. This place is amazing; you should definitely check it out when you have a chance!

Plenty more photos of the inside after the jump… Continue Reading

Shopping

Ministry of Supply Coming to Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek


Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek

Boston-based clothing store Ministry of Supply is coming to Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek where Vince Camuto used to be. Check out their website here. “Complimentary tailoring” is a nice perk. According to the Wikipedia page, it was founded by MIT students and funded by Kickstarter campaigns. Sounds interesting! Has anyone been to their San Francisco store? Thanks to a reader for sending word about the latest city permit info.

From their website:

What if the innovation was actually focused on making the experience of wearing the product better? Ministry of Supply was founded in 2012 to answer this question. We believe that clothing is both an expression of our identity and ideas, and an extension of the body, where form and function intersect. Our mission is to design and construct garments true to the form of the body, so we can unlock the body’s innate potential, leaving one truly unrestricted to focus on their daily pursuits.

Shopping

Painting with a Twist Opening Soon in Pleasant Hill


548 Contra Costa Blvd, Pleasant Hill

The Louisiana-based paint and sip art class studio Painting with a Twist is opening soon in Pleasant Hill right near the Pleasant Hill Shopping Center. Founded in 2007, there are now over 300 Painting with a Twist locations around the country.

From the Pleasant Hill Facebook page:

We provide all the supplies you need for an exciting, FUN night of painting, including a local artist who will host the session and guide you as you create your painting!!! We also sell beer, wine, coffee, and other beverages for your enjoyment! Come alone or bring a friend or two and leave with unforgettable memories and a great piece of art!!!

Class Prices: $35 per person for a 2 hour class and $45 per person for a 3 hour class.

Family Day and Senior’s Day are $25 per person for a 2 hour class.

Shopping

Atlas & Athena Reopens in New Downtown Walnut Creek Location


1387 N. Main St, Walnut Creek

The clothing store Atlas & Athena, which we learned last month would be relocating within downtown Walnut Creek has now reopened. For those who remember their original spot on N. Main St, this new location is almost directly across the street. Their Pleasant Hill location has also closed so this is now the only Atlas & Athena location.

Originally featuring only men’s clothing, Atlas & Athena now also offers a women’s section, hence the Athena addition to their name. Check out their website here and check out the photos after the jump. There are plenty of cool items on display so it’s definitely worth a drop-in if you’re in the area.

Plenty more photos the inside after the jump… Continue Reading

Shopping

Zoonie’s Opens in Lafayette


3591 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette

Earlier this month we learned that Powell’s Sweete Shoppe closed in Lafayette which caused quite a bit of concern to Facebook readers who only read the headlines when in actuality everyone who read the article here knew that there was no problem as it was going to be replaced by a new candy store called Zoonie’s with the same owners. Zoonie’s has now opened and I’m happy to say it’s almost identical to Powell’s with the exception of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang playing instead of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, a new color scheme and missing vintage Candy Land game boxes. An employee noted that new candies will be appearing soon in addition the usual sweet fare.