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August Walnut Creek Mayor's Message

Jul 31, 2016 08:17PM ● By Loella Haskew

Loella Haskew, Mayor of Walnut Creek


“Yum!”  “Fantastic food!”  “Great experience!”  “Loved that new restaurant!” Stroll any street in downtown Walnut Creek and that’s the kind of thing you’ll hear.  It really is no surprise that Walnut Creek was designated the 2016 Tenth Best Foodie City in the country by  My surprise is that the city was only ranked 10th.

Let’s look at some of the reasons why Walnut Creek won.  The criteria for judging had something to do with the result.  First, restaurants had to be critically acclaimed.  Second, many restaurants had to be independent (and not part of a larger chain).   Third, that there is access to healthy foods and farmers’ markets, and fourth was there were James Beard award winners in the mix.  The final criterion was that there be a low obesity rate. Fortunately, Walnut Creek has so many places to walk, swim, bicycle, ice skate (in the winter), golf, work out, or shop (a favorite Walnut Creek exercise), Foodies get enough exercise to counter all the fabulous eating opportunities. 

If the judges had added two key additional benchmarks, surely Walnut Creek’s ranking would have jumped even higher.  The first yardstick would be that there are a variety of cuisines.  While no one may be able to list all the cuisines and subgroups, with very little research and in no particular order, I found:  Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Russian, continental, South American, deli (the kind with sandwiches and salads), Indian, Vietnamese, Persian, Greek, the all-inclusive Middle Eastern, Spanish, Korean, Caribbean, Mediterranean, American, fusion, steakhouse, seafood, hamburger joint (from lowly to high end), barbecue, vegetarian, vegan, and noodle.  The second measure would be of options for when to eat out and why.  Exemplars of this standard would include: specialty breakfast spots, places to grab just a bite or a power lunch, great food but casual dress places, very special occasion places, TGIF with the gang places, ice cream for supper places, sophisticated pre-dinner cocktail places, the food-is-important-but-oh-the-ambience places, places to take the kids and the corollary spots for dinner for two. And finally, options for those times when you simply want to try something new.  Walnut Creek has outstanding dining opportunities in all those categories.

There is not a single restaurant named in this article.  That is intentional.  There is no way one could pick one or two fantastic Italian restaurants in Walnut Creek without leaving out scads of other delightful, delicious, attractive, and special Italian restaurants.  Multiply that by the variety of dining choices and this column would be filled with nothing but names.

Wikipedia defines a Foodie as “a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages.”  (Nonalcoholic beverages should be included in my opinion.)  “A Foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger.”  I say there is no better place to learn the finer points of Foodie-ism than Walnut Creek.  Come join us.  Eat, drink, and enjoy!

Safety Tip:  Courtesy and forgiveness go a long way to making driving safer and more enjoyable for everyone.  If you find yourself getting stressed, remember to take a deep slow breath to bring back calmness and good judgment.  


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