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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.

Restaurants

La Sen Bistro Opening in Downtown Walnut Creek Mid April


1606 N. Main St, Walnut Creek

Concord-based La Sen Bistro, featuring French-Vietnamese cuisine, is opening a new location in downtown Walnut Creek where Ottavio used to be and are expecting to open in mid-April. Check out their menu here. I look forward to trying this place out; has anyone been to their Concord location?

From their website:

In the Vietnamese language, La Sen means “lotus leaves,” but it also represents a deeper meaning. We aim to encompass a type of French cooking that has no defined borders and seamlessly marries influences of the French, the Vietnamese, and the diversity of the Bay Area. Our philosophy is quite simple: Cooking comes from the intuition, imagination, and passion for good food.

Salons

LunchboxWax Opens in Orchards Shopping Center in Walnut Creek


Orchards Shopping Center, Walnut Creek

A new waxing salon called LunchboxWax opened recently in the Orchards shopping center in Walnut Creek. Check out their services here.

From an email:

Lunchboxwax is a speed-waxing salon that takes a pride in our team and unique technique. We dedicate our services to helping women (and men) feel and look their best!  Our culture and vibe is contagious, as we are chic, a little cheeky, and are intent on making every person we meet feel respected, cared for, and adored! Although LunchboxWax got its start in Boise, Idaho, we are so excited to be building the Bay Area and introduced LunchboxWax to California in 2015.

More photos of the inside after the jump… Continue Reading

Restaurants

Boba Scuttlebutt – T4 Tea for You Coming to Downtown Walnut Creek


1385 N. Main St, Walnut Creek

The Candy Counter closed last spring in downtown Walnut Creek and now word on the street is that the boba tea cafe T4 Tea for U is opening a second Walnut Creek location after Ygnacio Plaza. If this turns out to happen that means downtown Walnut Creek will be home to four boba tea cafes after i-Tea opens. This would exceed the number of downtown ice cream spots: Lottie’s Creamery, CREAM, and San Francisco Creamery although Godiva and Kara’s Cupcakes offer soft serve ice cream.

Restaurants

KoJa Kitchen Opening in Downtown Walnut Creek


1550 Olympic Blvd, Walnut Creek

Thanks to everyone for sending word that the Korean-Japanese restaurant KoJa Kitchen is opening in downtown Walnut Creek where Citra Grill used to be. Check out their menu here. They also have a food truck, has anyone been?

From their Facebook page:

The name “KoJa”, a shorthand for Korean-Japanese, was born from our founders’ desire to reinvent the way that Korean and Japanese cuisine is traditionally prepared and to create a unique Asian fusion concept that is both fun and delicious. From the get-go, KoJa Kitchen took the San Francisco foodie scene by storm with our signature creation, a burger made with garlic-flavored rice buns and meats seasoned with KoJa Kitchen’s unique sauce No. 96™. With growing popularity, we opened our first brick and mortar restaurant in 2014.