Craning Skyward

My wife came home from running errands yesterday and quickly dragged me outside (in the heat, which I was doing my best to hide from), to see an incredibly tall crane sticking up from somewhere in the Mount Carmel neighborhood. Although the heat made me somewhat reluctant to go out — I had intentionally taken a walk on Monday, which, as forecast, turned out to be the coolest of our weekdays — my curiosity indeed got the better of me: I just had to go see what was going on. Fortunately the crane wasn’t too far from my home, and I was able to stand in the shade of a mature street tree and watch the going’s on along, it transpired, the 100 block of King Street. PG&E had closed off the entire block and had filled it with a great many trucks of all sorts. The main feature, though, was a crane that seemed almost impossibly tall for something mounted on the back of a truck:

They needed the crane to replace a transformer on top of a power pole, and at least in that part of Mount Carmel the power lines run down the middle of the blocks, behind the houses. This appears to be the pole that they were working on:

(You may want to zoom in on the above; the pole is in the gap between the trees, in the dead center of the photo.) Because of how the lines run, in order to remove the old transformer and install the new one — which you can see sitting in the street just to the left of that large cable spool — they needed a crane that could reach over the top of the brick-colored house and beyond to the power pole behind it. Which explains why they needed such a tall crane. 

Because of the heat — and because I had an article to write — I didn’t stick around long enough to actually watch the procedure. They may have done more than just replace the transformer: they appeared to have all of the equipment they would need to replace a power pole. However, that equipment was also truck-mounted, and could by no means reach that pole, so I’m guessing that they didn’t actually end up doing that. Anyway, if you happened to see the crane and wondered what was going on, now you know.

Last week I began my post by showing the fantastic mural that was recently painted on the side of the Arroyo Green building facing Redwood Creek and Main Street. I had also noted that on the side of the building facing Bradford Street there had been painted a “colorful array of small objects.” At the time I was not able to make any sense of them, although it did occur to me that perhaps they were the muralist’s way of laying out their image. As it turns out, that apparently was what they were for: I revisited the site again this week and the Bradford Street side has now been painted to go along with the Main Street-facing side:

Impressive, isn’t it? It is a very realistic — but gigantic — image of a pickleweed. Now, the image wraps around two sides of the building.

While I was there, I was delighted to see that another mural installation that I had heard was coming was indeed painted last weekend as planned. You can’t help but see some of this other mural in the above photo: the vibrant colors make it really stand out. Here is a much better image of this new mural, which was painted on the otherwise nondescript Bradford Street Pump Station:

It is a beautiful image in its own right, made even more beautiful by the fact that it was conceived and implemented by a group of fourth-grade students from Adelante-Selby Spanish Immersion School under the auspices of Art in Action. The mural itself is named “Connection, Community, and Hope,” and is accompanied by the delightful little design they painted on the adjacent electrical transformer, which the kids have “transformed” into an ice cream truck. Bravo!

Redwood City’s restaurant scene never fails to amaze me. Some time ago I took a walk into San Carlos, a walk that I began by heading down Whipple Avenue and turning north on Industrial Way. I had to stop and take a picture when I saw this sign:

This sign says “NO Chick-Fil-A Parking”. Which, given the traffic troubles that Chick-Fil-A created when they came to town, is not a surprise in and of itself. But this sign is located more than two full blocks down Industrial Way; from here you would have to walk those two blocks back to Whipple Avenue, turn left, and then walk halfway down the long side of the block to get to Chick-Fil-A. It just shows the literal lengths to which people are willing to go in order to buy what Chick-Fil-A is selling. Incredible.

The above sign, incidentally, stands in front of a building (shown below) one of who’s tenants is La Paradita Peru, a tiny Peruvian market. They apparently have very limited hours — according to Yelp, they are only open on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. But based on the very few reviews of the place on Yelp, it is a terrific little market that apparently is the place to go for “Peruvian items you can’t find anywhere else.” Not being familiar with Peruvian food I’m not sure what those items might be, but if you know, check them out. You should be able to find parking right in front now that the Chick-Fil-A people have been told to go elsewhere…

My heart briefly sank when I noted that Mademoiselle Colette was closed when I went by some weeks ago, but it rapidly rose again when I saw the note taped to their door, which indicated that they were doing some minor remodeling and would be back again shortly. They’ve been back for a couple of weeks now, and I find their pastries and such as good as ever. I’m just pleased that they’ve apparently invested a little more time and money into their Broadway location in Redwood City: it seems a good indication that they are doing well in the old Pamplemousse space. They seem to have been one of the really lucky businesses that got through the pandemic unscathed.

We lost a few restaurants during the pandemic, but not as many as I would have expected. And now that things are pretty much back to normal, I’m particularly pleased to see some of the closed restaurants spaces being snapped up. For instance, the storefront at 917 Main St. that for a brief time was home to Nam Vietnamese Brasserie — which unfortunately opened not too long before the shutdown — will apparently be home to a new restaurant as soon as next month. According to an article in the SF Chronicle, the new restaurant will be called Warung Siska and will be a “fast-casual” restaurant serving Indonesian-inspired dishes. Chef Siska Silitonga apparently will be using the Nam Vietnamese space pretty much as-is, which explains how she can open so quickly. I was by there the other day, and managed to get a photo of the interior, which does indeed look ready to go:

As much as I miss Nam Vietnamese, this new venture should be a tremendous addition to our restaurant scene; I look forward to their opening in July. Note that Anne Le Ziblatt, who brought us Nam Vietnamese, is one of the partners in this new venture; we haven’t seen the last of her (I believe she is also consulting on the restaurant that would be part of the reworked Sequoia Hotel, for one thing).

Following the pattern, Summit Coffee, in Roosevelt Plaza, closed during the pandemic, to be replaced shortly thereafter by Masala Desi Cafe.

They serve Indian food, of course, both at their Redwood City location and at their Burlingame one. I have yet to give them a try, but their menu looks good and they have some good comments on Yelp. Roosevelt Plaza is a convenient location for me, so I certainly will be giving them a try. If you get there before I do, though, and care to share, let us know via the comments.

Redwood City actually had a number of restaurants open their doors for the first time during the pandemic, including the incredibly popular Zareen’s on Broadway (who serves some absolutely delicious contemporary Pakistani and Indian food). Zareen’s opened in October, not long after The Bap (also on Broadway) was transformed into Vons Korean Chicken. I’ve written about Zareen’s and Vons in the past, but I just wanted to give my personal thumbs-up to both businesses: my wife and I have patronized both on a number of occasions since they opened, and we’ll continue to do so in the future. One restaurant that opened during the pandemic that I have yet to try is Marufuku Ramen; it opened in late October on Theatre Way:

Not having tried it, I can’t say all that much about it — although both in person and online the place looks terrific. Marufuku Ramen has three Northern California locations (including Redwood City) plus one (and one more to come) in Southern California and one in Texas, of all places. That tells me that they know what they are doing, and are thus worth trying. Something I will do, one of these days…

Casa Zamora, on El Camino Real across from BevMo, closed during the pandemic, but a new venture has opened in its space. Although apparently not a conventional restaurant (at least, not yet), MA Kitchen appears to be operating a catering business out of the restaurant space but is offering “grab and go” items that you can pick up from their storefront at 1714 El Camino Real:

Their banner advertises “tacos, burritos, tortas & more” but curiously enough, if you check out their website, the food they list there (on their catering menu) is not Mexican (I’m seeing salmon, beef tenderloin, pasta primavera). So there is a bit of a mystery about this place. An intriguing one, though, and one worth investigating. The next time I actually walk by, I just may stick my head in and see what this place is really all about. And if any of you beat me to it, let us know what you learn, in the comments.

A little birdie has told me that our beloved summer concerts will indeed be returning, albeit for a somewhat abbreviated season. It appears that both Concerts on the Square and Concerts in the Park (in Stafford Park), at least, will return sometime in July, with the season running into August. If you enjoy these concerts as much as I do, be sure and keep an eye out for an official announcement from the city.

Redwood City has begun the long process of updating its Housing Element, the document that lays out how Redwood City intends to address the city’s immediate and long-term housing needs. This document, which needs to be complete by January 2023, relies heavily on community input. The city has already held one workshop on the subject, but there will be plenty of more opportunities for those of us who care about the subject, and want to help guide it, to make our feelings known. Most immediately, we have been invited to participate in a very brief survey, which you can do online. Head to the web page dedicated to the effort, and look for the link at the very top of the page. After taking the survey, scroll down to the “Get Involved” section and consider signing up for email updates.

6 thoughts on “Craning Skyward

  1. RE: No Chick Fil A Parking Sign. In spite of the situation faced by the business at 1500 Industrial Way, I question whether that sign has the enforcement of law. The public street is painted with Green, which limits the parking time, but I doubt can control who is allowed to park there.

  2. I can attest that Marufuku Ramen is really good. They have outdoor dining as well as takeout. However, I would recommend dining there if you can for the first time because the presentation of the bowl 🥣 adds more to the meal.

    Is there anything that can be done regarding Chick-Fil-A’s parking line that stretches onto Whipple and sometimes out to the intersection at Veterans Blvd? It blocks the entire right lane on Whipple sometimes. They should have anticipated this.

  3. You might note, that is not an officially approved/posted “no parking sign”.
    The City would not name only one business whose customers could not park there.

  4. We’ve gotten take out perhaps a half dozen times from Masala Desi since they opened last year. I think their food is really good. I do wish they didn’t close mid afternoon because that’s usually when I want to eat lunch!

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